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Title:
APPARATUS FOR TRANSFERRING A CARRIER FOR SHELVES, CUPBOARDS, TABLES OR THE LIKE ALONG A PATH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1997/000631
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device for moving a support (2) for shelves (19), cupboards, tables or similar along a path, which support (2) is suspended in arm (1) that is pivotally connected to a base (9) about an axis of rotation (6) at one end of the arm (1), comprising: a load transmission means (13), for example a cogwheel, at the axis of rotation (6), which is connected to the base (9), at least one rotating means (16), for example a cogwheel, pivotally mounted on the arm (1) spaced apart from the load transmission means (13), an elongate rotation transmission means (14), for example an endless chain, which extends at least from the load transmission means (13) to the rotating means (16), the rotating means (16) being connected to the support (2), so that when the arm (1) is turned about the axis of rotation (6) the load transmission means (13) transmits the relative rotational movement between the arm (1) and the load transmission means (13) via the rotation transmission means (14) to the rotating means (16), so that the position of the support (2) is controlled dependent upon the position of the arm (1). Thus, it is possible to hold, say, a shelf (19) or a cupboard in the same position relative to the vertical plane whilst it is being raised and lowered.

Inventors:
Milsem, Stig
Application Number:
PCT/NO1996/000151
Publication Date:
January 09, 1997
Filing Date:
June 19, 1996
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Milsem, Stig
International Classes:
A47B46/00; A47B51/00; (IPC1-7): A47B51/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1995000055A1
Foreign References:
DE2919610A1
DE3731869C2
DE2306484A1
GB2108374A
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Claims:
P a t e n t c l a i m s
1. A device for moving a support (2) for shelves (19), cupboards, tables or similar along a path, which support (2) is suspended in arm (1) that is pivotally connected to a base (9), for example a wall, about an axis of rotation (6) at one end ofthe arm (1), characterised in that it comprises: a load transmission means (13) at the axis of rotation (6), which load transmission means (13) is operatively, preferably fixedly, connected to the base (9), at least one rotating means (16) pivotally mounted on the arm (1) spaced apart from the load transmission means (13), an elongate rotation transmission means (14), for example an endless chain, which extends at least from the load transmission means (13) to the rotating means (16), the rotating means ( 16) being operatively, preferably fixedly connected to the support (2), so that when the arm (1) is turned about the axis of rotation (6) the load transmission means (13) transmits the relative rotational movement between the arm (1) and the load transmission means (13) via the rotation transmission means (14) to the rotating means (16), so that the position ofthe support (2) is controlled dependent upon the position ofthe arm (1).*& 2.
2. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that the arm (1) is generally Lshaped.
3. A device according to claim 2, characterised in that the rotation transmission means (14) is an endless chain, belt or similar, that the load transmission means (13) and the rotating means (16) are cogwheels, pulleys or similar, and that the rotation transmission means (14) extends from the load transmission means (13) via a redirecting wheel (15), at least one rotating means (16) and over a reversing wheel (17) close to the end ofthe arm (1) opposite the axis of rotation (6).
4. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that the arm (1) is designed to be straight, with the load transmission means (13) positioned at one end thereof, by the axis of rotation (6), and the rotating means (16) positioned at the other end thereof.*& 5.
5. A device according to claim 4, characterised in that a wire (22) or similar extends from the other end ofthe arm (1), the support (2) or an article fixedly connected to the support (2), to a fixed point above the axis of rotation (6), which wire (22) is designed to raise and lower the other end ofthe arm (1) relative to the axis of rotation (6) when drawn in or paid out.*& 6.
6. A device according to any one ofthe preceding claims, characterised in that the load transmission means (13) is fixedly connected to a shaft (8), which in turn is fixedly connected to the base (9), that a sleeve shaft (7) extends concentrically with the shaft (8) and is fixedly connected to the arm (1), and that the sleeve shaft (7) is rotationactuated with the aid of a drive means (11), for example via a cogwheel (12) mounted on the sleeve shaft.
7. A device according to any one ofthe preceding claims, characterised in that the load transmission means (13) and the rotating means (16) have different gearing so that the position ofthe support (2) relative to the vertical plane, optionally the horizontal plane, is altered when the arm (1) is turned about the axis of rotation (6).*& 8.
8. A device according to any one ofthe preceding claims, characterised in that a plurality of rotating means (16) are arranged spaced apart from one another along the arm (1), which rotating means (16) are each in mesh with the elongate rotation transmission means (14) so that they each independently are rotationally dependent upon the load transmission means (13) and are each connected to their respective support (2). A device according to any one ofthe preceding claims, characterised in that the rotating means (16) is/are arranged so as to be moveable along the arm (1) and that the support (2) is arranged so as to be moveable relative to the rotating means (16).
Description:
APPARATUS FOR TRANSFERRING A CARRIER FOR SHELVES, CUPBOARDS,

TABLES OR THE LIKE ALONG A PATH.

The present invention relates to a device for moving a support for shelves, cupboards, tables or similar along a path, which support is suspended in arm that is pivotally connected to a base, for example a wall, in an axis of rotation at one end ofthe arm.

Devices of this type are used chiefly to lower shelves and cupboards from a position high up on a wall to a position lower down in order to facilitate access to articles placed high up for disabled persons, for example. A typical area of application is the raising and lowering of shelves in an overhead cupboard in a kitchen.

A number of such devices are known. Reference shall be made, for example, to NO- 163 162, DE-1 554464, DE-3 215 572, DE-3 914 307, DE-2 721 307, EP 242811, EP 661015, EP 402283, DE-3 635 592, DE 2 919 610, DE-3 433 137 and DE-2 524406. The devices according to these publications function for the most part either in that the cupboard or shelves are guided vertically, or in some cases slantwise, on rails or by means of arms of parallelogram configuration. These raising and lowering devices are set to guide the cupboard/shelves along a fixed path, which in the case ofthe rail-guided devices is a straight line, whereas it is a circular arc in the case ofthe devices which make use of arms of parallelogram configuration. The path which the cupboard/shelves follow is fixed once and for all when the device is installed.

With the known devices nor is it possible to lower an overhead cupboard below the level ofthe kitchen counter. Rail guides running on the outside ofthe kitchen counter would be inconceivable as these would prevent normal use ofthe kitchen counter. Nor do the parallelogram-guided devices provide any possibility of lowering, for example, an overhead cupboard below the kitchen counter. The lowering facility is limited by the length of arms, which in turn is limited by the height ofthe ceiling or the depth ofthe cupboard. For many disabled persons this may be insufficient to enable them to reach the top shelves in the overhead cupboard.

The raising and lowering devices, which function with the aid of arms of parallelogram configuration, have arms consisting of several links, which inevitably results in a certain slack and above all the danger ofthe arms "scissoring" the wrong way when the arms assume a position parallel to or almost parallel to one another. A second problem with the parallelogram mechanism is that when the sides (the arms) ofthe parallelogram

approach one another a great moment of force is exerted on the drive mechanism. The drive mechanism must therefore be dimensioned so as to be very strong or, alternatively, the moment of force must be compensated by means of weights or springs. Since the moment of force varies greatly depending upon the weight ofthe shelves, the weight or springs will not be able to compensate satisfactorily.

The objective ofthe present invention is to provide a device ofthe type mentioned above which allows the lowering of an overhead cupboard, for example, to a point below and optionally outside the plane ofthe kitchen counter and provides secure guiding ofthe cupboard/shelves without there arising any danger ofthe arms

"scissoring" the wrong way or inadvertently "locking", and without the occurrence of any significant moment of force. This is achieved by means of a device having the characterising features according to the characterising clause in claim 1 hereinbelow.

The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 illustrates a first embodiment ofthe invention in perspective and in detail;

Figures 2a-2d show the device according to a first embodiment ofthe invention in four different positions;

Figures 3a and 3b show the device according to the first embodiment ofthe invention adjusted for greater lowering height;

Figure 4 illustrates the device according to the invention in a second embodiment;

Figures 5a-5c show the device according to the second embodiment ofthe invention in three different positions; and

Figure 6 shows a third embodiment ofthe invention schematically presented in two different positions.

Figure 1 is a perspective view ofthe principal details of a first embodiment ofthe device according to the invention, partially in section. The device consists inter alia of a first arm 1 and optionally a second arm (not shown) spaced apart therefrom. A support . " . , of which one half is shown in Figure 1, is suspended between the first arm 1

and the second arm. The support 2 can be designed, for example, to support a number of shelves (not shown in Figure 1), and for this purpose is equipped with a shelf supporting rail 3, wherein grooves 4 are formed for the insertion of shelves at different levels. The shelf supporting rail 3 is suspended in a support shaft 5 which extends between the first arm 1 and the second arm. The first arm 1 and the second arm may be constructed so as to be identical, but do not necessarily need to be so, as the mechanism which will be described below only needs to be provided in the first arm 1. In this case, the second arm will function as a "slave" and follow the movement ofthe first arm.

In the first arm 1 , a mechanism is provided which ensures, for example, that the shelves maintain the right position when the arm 1 is swung outwards and downwards. The arm 1 is thus mounted about an axis of rotation 6. This can be done, for example as is shown in Figure 1, in that the arm is fixedly connected to a sleeve shaft 7 which is rotatably mounted on a shaft 8, which in turn is fixedly connected to a base 9, for example a cupboard bottom, via brackets 10. In order to turn the arm there may be provided, for example, an electric motor 11 which, via a cogwheel 12, is designed to rotate the sleeve shaft 7 and thereby turn the arm 7 about the axis of rotation 6.

A cogwheel 13 is fixedly connected to the shaft 8 and thus is in a non-moveable relation to the base 9. Over the cogwheel 13 there extends an endless chain 14 which, as can be seen in Figure 1, may be positioned inside a cavity in the arm 1 and extend the length thereof. Via a redirectioning wheel 15, the chain 14 extends along the arm up to a cogwheel 16, which is fixedly connected to the shaft 5. The chain 14 extends further over a reversing wheel 17, equipped with a tensioning device to tension the chain 14, and back to the cogwheel 13 via a redirecting member 24 at the bend or 18 of the arm 1.

The support 2 is slideably mounted in the arm 1 in such a way that the cogwheel 16 and the shaft 5 can be displaced along the arm. For this purpose a slot 26 is formed in the arm 1. The shelf supporting rail 3 may also be slideably mounted on the shaft 5.

In Figures 2a - 2d the function ofthe arm is shown, where Figure 2a shows the arm 1 having been turned a little forward from a starting position where the arm is turned right back to the left in Figure 2a and is inside a cupboard 25. Since the cogwheel 13 is non- rotationally connected to the base 9 the chain 14 will be retained by the cogwheel 13. The movement ofthe arm 1 will thereby be transmitted via the cogwheel 13 to the cogwheel 16 and cause this to be retained in the same rotational position relative to the cogwheel 13 and the base 9, i.e., the cogwheel 16 will not rotate about its axis. Thus,

the support 2 is also held in the same position relative to the vertical plane when the arm 1 moves forwards and downwards.

In Figure 2b the arm 1 has moved outwards so that the upper part ofthe arm 1 is now horizontal. The support 2 has now moved a small distance outwards but vertically to an insignificant degree. In Figure 2c the arm 1 has moved quite some distance downwards and the support 2 has moved likewise. In Figure 2d the outermost part ofthe arm 1 is pointing vertically downwards, and the support 2 is now positioned considerably lower than in the starting position. However it is still vertical, so that the shelves are held in a horizontal position. In the case illustrated in Figure 2d the support 2 has been lowered so that its lower end rests on a counter surface 20.

However, it is also possible to lower the support 2 so that its lower end comes to rest some distance below and thus also outside the counter surface 20. This is shown in Figures 3a and 3b. Here, the cogwheel 16 has been displaced along the arm 1 towards the free end thereof. In practice, this is done by slackening the chain 14 so that it can be brought out of mesh with the cogwheel 16, thereby enabling the cogwheel 16 to be displaced in the slot 26. At the same time, the support 2 is lowered relative to the cogwheel 16 in that the shelf supporting rail is lowered relative to the shaft 5, so that the upper end ofthe support assumes approximately the same height when the arm 1 is in the starting position as is the case in the situation in Figures 2a - 2d. However, when, on the other hand, the arm 1 is swung out and down to the position shown in Figure 3b, the support 2 will depend from the arm 1 to a far greater extent than in the situation shown in Figure 2d. In this way the shelves 19 will be capable of being positioned outside and below the counter surface 20.

In Figure 4 a second embodiment ofthe device according to the invention is shown. Here, the arm is not L-shaped but straight. The cogwheel 13 in Figure 4 corresponds to the cogwheel 13 in the preceding embodiment. It is also fixedly connected to a base 9. However, in this case the support 2 is connected to a cogwheel 16 at the free end ofthe arm 1 opposite the cogwheel 13. The cogwheel 16 here has the same function as the cogwheel 16 in the preceding embodiment and also the function ofthe reversing wheel 17.

This embodiment is best suited for lowering whole cupboards down from a high position on a wall. Here, instead ofthe operation ofthe arm 1 at its axis of rotation, a motor 21 is provided secured to the wall above the axis of rotation, and preferably also

above the free end ofthe arm 1, whence a wire 22 extends down to the front edge ofthe cupboard. This is shown in Figures 5a - 5c. In Figure 5a the arm 1 is in the starting position. When the wire 22 is slackened the cupboard 23 will be lowered towards the floor. Since the cogwheel 15, which is fixedly connected to the cupboard 23, cannot rotate relative to the cogwheel 13 and thus also the wall, the cupboard 23 will be held in the same orientation relative to the wall whilst it is being lowered. In Figure 5b the cupboard 23 is lowered down to the floor approximately immediately below the position it had on the wall in the starting position. However, in Figure 5c the axis of rotation of the arm 1 is located at a lower point so that the cupboard comes to rest further out from the wall in its lowered position. This makes it possible to lower the cupboard outside a table or another cupboard (not shown) positioned on the floor against the wall.

In Figure 6 a third embodiment ofthe device according to the invention is shown, where three cogwheels 16a, 16b and 16c are in mesh with the chain 14, which in turn is in mesh with the cogwheel 13, which here too is fixedly connected to the base 9. Thus, the cogwheels 16a, 16b and 16c will not be able to rotate relative to the cogwheel 13. When the arm, which is not shown here in order to facilitate understanding ofthe drawing, is lowered to the position which is indicated by means ofthe broken line on Figure 6, the shelves 19a, 19b and 19c will have changed places with one another. Nevertheless, throughout the movement ofthe arm they will be held in a horizontal position.

Although in the above embodiments ofthe invention have been described where an endless chain is used to retain the rotation ofthe cogwheel 16 relative to the cogwheel 13, other means may also conceivably be used to transmit these loads. Belts, straps, tapes and similar are obvious. Within the scope ofthe invention, however, there is also a possibility of using shafts having conical cogwheels at each end. The cogwheels 13 and 16 must then, of course, also be conical. By arranging the cogwheel 16 slideably on the shaft, this embodiment will provide the same possibilities for adjustment as if a chain or similar were being used.

Although in the above embodiments have been shown where the support is held in the same position relative to the vertical plane during the movement ofthe arm, it is also within the scope ofthe invention to be able to alter this position during the movement of the arm. This can be done, for example, by providing a gear between the cogwheel 13 and 16 which is different from one to one. It is also possible to arrange the cogwheel 13 so that it is capable of being rotated relative to the base 9, e.g., with the aid of a motor,

so that by turning the cogwheel 13 the cogwheel 16 is caused to turn, resulting in an alteration ofthe position ofthe support 2. Other modifications are also conceivable within the scope ofthe patent claims below, and in particular independent patent claim 1 below.