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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CONNECTOR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/000021
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A connector (10) for connecting two items (20) together, each item (20) including a structural component (18), includes a body member (12) of a resiliently flexible material, the body member (12) defining a mounting formation (14) and a securing formation (16) spaced from the mounting formation (12), the mounting formation (12) being configured to be displaceably mounted on the structural component (18.1) of one of the items (20). A detent-like mechanism (22) is associated with the mounting formation (14) to releasably lock the body member (12) in at least one of an inoperative position in which the securing formation (16) is free of the structural component (18. 2) of the other of the items (20) and an operative position in which the securing formation (16) engages the structural component (18.2) of the other of the items (20) for maintaining the items (206) in a desired relationship relative to each other.

Inventors:
KING, David (c/- King Furniture Australia Pty Ltd, 123 Turrella StTurrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
LAWSON, Ryan (c/- King Furniture Australia Pty Ltd, 123 Turrella StTurrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
PANAGOPOULOS, Anastasie (c/- King Furniture Australia Pty Ltd, 123 Turrella StTurrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
RECHBERGER, Tanya (c/- King Furniture Australia Pty Ltd, 123 Turrella StTurrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
LEVEY, John (c/- King Furniture Australia Pty Ltd, 123 Turrella StTurrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/050622
Publication Date:
January 04, 2018
Filing Date:
June 21, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KING FURNITURE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD (123 Turrella St, Turrella, New South Wales 2205, 2205, AU)
International Classes:
F16B7/04; A47C7/00; F16B2/22; F16B9/02; F16B12/32
Foreign References:
US5957530A1999-09-28
US20150043968A12015-02-12
DE1964028U1967-07-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FB RICE (Level 23, 44 Market StSydney, New South Wales 2000, 2000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A connector for connecting two items together, each item including a structural component, the connector including

a body member of a resiliency flexible material, the body member defining a mounting formation and a securing formation spaced from the mounting formation, the mounting formation being configured to be displaceably mounted on the structural component of one of the items; and

a detent- like mechanism associated with the mounting formation to releasably lock the body member in at least one of an inoperative position in which the securing formation is free of the structural component of the other of the items and an operative position in which the securing formation engages the structural component of the other of the items for maintaining the items in a desired relationship relative to each other.

2. The connector of claim 1 in which the body member, when viewed in plan, is elongate with the mounting formation being arranged at, or proximate, a first end of the body member and the securing formation being arranged at, or proximate, an opposed, second end of the body member.

3. The connector of claim 2 in which the securing formation is a clip defining the second end of the body member.

4. The connector of claim 3 in which the clip includes a manipulating element to assist in displacing the body member between its operative position and its inoperative position.

5. The connector of any one of the preceding claims in which the mounting formation is configured to at least partially surround its associated structural component.

6. The connector of claim 5 in which the mounting formation comprises a pair of opposed jaws interconnected by a bridging portion.

7. The connector of claim 5 or claim 6 in which an interior surface of the mounting formation is substantially arcuate, and in which the detent-like mechanism comprises a plurality of circumferentially spaced, transversely extending slots.

8. The connector of claim 7 in which a spacing between predetermined slots approximates a spacing between adjacent vertices of the structural component of the item.

9. The connector of claim 8 in which the predetermined slots are alternate slots in the arcuate surface of the mounting formation.

10. The connector of any one of the preceding claims in which the body member includes a displacement limiter which limits displacement of the body member relative to the structural component of the item on which the body member is mounted.

11. The connector of any one of the preceding claims in which each item is an article of modular furniture and the structural component of the article of modular furniture is a frame member of a frame of the article of furniture.

12. The connector of any one of claims 1 to 10 in which each item is a component of an article of furniture and the connector is operative to restrain the components against movement relative to each other.

13. A modular furniture system which includes

a first item of modular furniture, the first item of modular furniture including an inner frame having at least one structural component;

a second item of modular furniture, the second item of modular furniture including an inner frame having at least one structural component; and

a connector, as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, mounted on the at least one structural component of the first item of modular furniture and engaging the at least one structural component of the second item of modular furniture to retain the items in a desired orientation relative to each other.

14. The system of claim 13 in which the first item is a first article of modular furniture and the second item is a second article of modular furniture.

15. The system of claim 14 in which the inner frame of each article of modular furniture includes a retaining arrangement carried on the at least one structural component, the retaining arrangement being configured to inhibit displacement of the connector along each of the structural components.

16. The system of claim 15 in which each structural component is in the form of a frame member of the inner frame and the retaining arrangement comprises a first member and a second member spaced from the first member, the first member and the second member extending parallel to each other and orthogonally relative to the frame member, a spacing between the first member and the second member approximating the width of the body member of the connector.

17. The system of claim 13 in which the first item is a first component of an article of modular furniture and the second item is a second component of the article of modular furniture.

18. The system of claim 17 in which the first component is a seat base of the article of furniture and the second component is a rest of the article of furniture.

Description:
"Connector"

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

[0001] The present application claims priority from Australian Provisional Patent Application No 2016902530 filed on 28 June 2016, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

Technical Field

[0002] This disclosure relates, generally, to a connector and, more particularly, but not necessarily exclusively, to a connector for connecting two furniture -related items together.

Background

[0003] These days, modular furniture is becoming increasingly popular. This enables users of the modular furniture to alter the appearance of their suite of furniture as and when desired. However, when two articles of modular furniture are to be connected together, it is desirable that the two articles be securely connected to each other so that they do not move relative to each other. It will be appreciated that it is aesthetically unappealing if the two articles of furniture are not aligned with each other when they are connected together.

[0004] Some modular furniture includes rests, such as armrests and/or backrests, which are removably mounted to a seat base. It is also desirable to be able to attach a rest to its associated base securely so that the rest is not displaced from the base when a user leans with force against the rest.

Summary

[0005] In some embodiments of the disclosure, there is provided a connector for connecting two items together, each item including a structural component, the connector including

a body member of a resiliency flexible material, the body member defining a mounting formation and a securing formation spaced from the mounting formation, the mounting formation being configured to be displaceably mounted on the structural component of one of the items; and

a detent- like mechanism associated with the mounting formation to releasably lock the body member in at least one of an inoperative position in which the securing formation is free of the structural component of the other of the items and an operative position in which the securing formation engages the structural component of the other of the items for maintaining the items in a desired relationship relative to each other.

[0006] By "detent-like" is meant, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, at least one catch or stop on the mounting formation of the connector which cooperates with the associated structural component to inhibit displacement of the mounting formation of the connector in the absence of the application of a force to the body of the connector.

[0007] The body member, when viewed in plan, may be elongate with the mounting formation being arranged at, or proximate, a first end of the body member and the securing formation being arranged at, or proximate, an opposed, second end of the body member.

[0008] The securing formation may be a clip defining the second end of the body member. The clip may include a manipulating element to assist in displacing the body member between its operative position and its inoperative position. In one embodiment, the manipulating element may be in the form of an outwardly extending tab arranged at the second end of the body member. In another embodiment, the manipulating element may be an enlarged, bulbous formation arranged at the second end of the body member.

[0009] The mounting formation may be configured to at least partially surround its associated structural component. The mounting formation may comprise a pair of opposed jaws interconnected by a bridging portion.

[0010] An interior surface of the mounting formation may be substantially arcuate, and the detent- like mechanism may comprise a plurality of circumferentially spaced, transversely extending slots or grooves. A spacing between predetermined slots may approximate a spacing between adjacent vertices of the structural component of the item. By "vertices" is meant, unless the context indicates otherwise, each of those points at which two sides of the structural component meet, it being understood that the structural component is polygonal for example, square, in cross-section.

[0011] In this way, the body member can be releasably locked in the inoperative position as well as in the operative position. In addition, the body member may be rotatable to a third, releasably locked, storage position. The inoperative position may be intermediate the operative position and the storage position.

[0012] The predetermined slots may be alternate slots in the arcuate surface of the mounting formation. For the avoidance of doubt, the term "alternate" has its ordinary dictionary definition of "every second one of a series".

[0013] The body member may include a displacement limiter which limits rotational displacement of the body member relative to the structural component of the item on which the body member is mounted. More particularly, the displacement limiter may be formed integrally with the body member as a one piece unit and may be in the form of an outwardly projecting rib or lip, arranged outwardly of the mounting formation, as an extension of the body member. The lip may bear against a further component of the item, when the body member is in its storage position, to inhibit further rotation of the body member in a direction away from the operative position of the body member. The further component may, for example, be a leg of the article of furniture.

[0014] In an embodiment, each item may be an article of modular furniture and the structural component of the article of modular furniture may be a frame member of a frame of the article of furniture.

[0015] In another embodiment, each item may be a component of an article of furniture and the connector may be operative to restrain the components against movement relative to each other.

[0016] In some embodiments, the present disclosure provides a modular furniture system which includes a first item of modular furniture, the first item of modular furniture including an inner frame having at least one structural component;

a second item of modular furniture, the second item of modular furniture including an inner frame having at least one structural component; and

a connector, as described above, mounted on the at least one structural component of the first item of modular furniture and engaging the at least one structural component of the second item of modular furniture to retain the items in a desired orientation relative to each other.

[0017] In an embodiment, the first item may be a first article of modular furniture and the second item may be a second article of modular furniture. The inner frame of each article of modular furniture may include a retaining arrangement carried on the at least one structural component, the retaining arrangement being configured to inhibit displacement of the connector along each of the structural components.

[0018] Each structural component may be in the form of a frame member of the inner frame and the retaining arrangement may comprise a first member and a second member spaced from the first member, the first member and the second member extending parallel to each other and orthogonally relative to the frame member, a spacing between the first member and the second member approximating the width of the body member of the connector.

[0019] In this embodiment, the frame member of the article of modular furniture may extend substantially horizontally. The first member may be an end member, such as a front member, of the framework with the second member being an auxiliary, retaining member extending parallel to the first member, operatively inwardly of the first member.

[0020] In another embodiment, the first item may be a first component of an article of modular furniture and the second item may be a second component of the article of modular furniture. The first component may be a seat base of the article of furniture and the second component may be a rest, such as a backrest, an armrest or combined backrest and armrest, of the article of furniture. The connector may be carried by the rest to clip to an underside of the seat base to retain the rest in position relative to the seat base.

Brief Description of Drawings

[0021] Embodiments of the disclosure are now described by way of example with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which: -

[0022] Fig. 1 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a connector, in use, the connector being shown in its inoperative position;

[0023] Fig. 2 shows a schematic side view of the connector in a first, storage position;

[0024] Fig. 3 shows a schematic side view of the connector in a second, inoperative position;

[0025] Fig. 4 shows a schematic side view of the connector in a third, operative connecting position;

[0026] Fig. 5 shows a schematic side view of the connector, when in its storage position, illustrating operation of a displacement limiter of the connector;

[0027] Fig. 6 shows a schematic side view of a further embodiment of a connector;

[0028] Fig. 7 shows a schematic side view of the embodiment of the connector of Fig. 6, in use, in a first, inoperative and storage position; and

[0029] Fig. 8 shows a schematic side view of the embodiment of the connector of Fig. 6, in use, in a second, operative position.

Detailed Description of Exemplary Embodiments

[0030] In Figs. 1-5 of the drawings, reference numeral 10 generally designates a first embodiment of a connector for use in a modular furniture system. Referring to Figs. 2- 5 of the drawings, the connector 10 is illustrated in greater detail. The connector 10 comprises an elongate body member 12 of a resiliently flexible material such as, for example, a suitable synthetic plastics material.

[0031] The body member 12 defines a mounting formation 14 at, or proximate, a first end of the body member 12. The body member 12 further defines a securing formation 16 at, or proximate, an opposed, second end of the body member 12. In the drawings, the connector 10 is shown mounted on a structural component, in the form of a frame member 18 of an article of modular furniture, part of which is shown at 20 in Fig. 1 of the drawings. The connector 10 is intended for connecting two articles of modular furniture 20 together to retain the articles of furniture 20 in a desired, fixed orientation relative to each other.

[0032] The mounting formation 14 is rotatably, displaceably mounted on a frame member 18.1 of a first of the articles of furniture 20. The connector 10 includes a detent-like mechanism 22 (Figs. 2-5) associated with the mounting formation 14 of the body member 12. The detent-like mechanism 22 is configured to lock the body member 12 releasably, via the mounting formation 14, in one of a number of positions relative to the frame member 18.1 of the article of furniture 20.

[0033] In particular, the detent-like mechanism 22 is operative to lock the body member 12 releasably in an inoperative position, as shown in Fig. 3 of the drawings, where the securing formation 16 is free of a frame member 18.2 of a second of the articles of furniture 20. The detent-like mechanism 22 is further operative to lock the body member 12 in an operative position in which the securing member 14 releasably clips to the frame member 18.2, as shown in Fig. 4 of the drawings.

[0034] Optionally, as shown in Fig. 5 of the drawings, the detent-like mechanism 22 is further operative to lock the body member 12 in a storage position where the body member is contained within the article of furniture 20 and does not protrude outwardly from the article of furniture 20. Each article of furniture 20 is supported on a plurality of legs 24, one of which is shown for each of the articles of furniture 20 in Figs. 1 and 5 of the drawings. [0035] The body member 12 includes a displacement limiter 26 arranged adjacent that end of the body member 12 carrying the mounting formation 14. The displacement limiter 26 is in the form of a tab which projects outwardly from the body member 12 to abut an upper surface of the leg 24 of the first of the articles of furniture 20 when the connector is in its storage position as shown in Fig. 5. The displacement limiter 26 thus inhibits rotation of the body member 12 into an interior of the article of furniture where it may be difficult for a user to access the connector 10.

[0036] The mounting formation 14 comprises a pair of arcuate jaws 28 interconnected by an arcuate bridging portion 30 to define a substantially arcuate inner surface 32. It will be appreciated that the spacing between the jaws 28 is such as to enable the mounting formation 14 to be clipped over the frame member 18.1. Further, the spacing between the free ends of the jaws 28 is such that the frame member 18.1 is held releasably captive between the jaws 28. While the embodiment has been described with reference to the mounting formation 14 of the connector 10 being mounted on the frame member 18.1, it will be appreciated that the mounting formation 14 could, instead be mounted on the frame member 18.2 of the other of the articles of furniture 20.

[0037] The detent-like mechanism 22 comprises a series of transversely extending, circumferentially spaced slots, or grooves, 34 defined in the inner surface 32 of the mounting formation 14 of the connector 10. As illustrated in the drawings, the frame member 18.1 is substantially polygonal in cross-section, more particularly, of substantially square cross- section. For a frame member 18.1 of substantially square configuration, the detent-like mechanism 22 includes four slots 34 spaced substantially equidistantly from each other. Alternate slots 34 cooperate with each other and vertices 36 of the frame member 18.1.

[0038] While the frame members 18.1 and 18.2 have been shown as being of square cross-section, it will be appreciated that the frame members could have any

substantially polygonal shape with a greater or lesser number of slots 34 being provided, depending on the shape of the frame members 18.1 and 18.2. Further, while the term "vertices" has been used to describe the junction between two sides of the frame members 18.1, 18.2, these "vertices" are not necessarily sharp edges but, instead, could be slightly rounded as illustrated in Figs. 2-5 of the drawings. [0039] As indicated above, in the present embodiment, alternate slots 34 cooperate with each other to engage adjacent vertices 36 of the frame member 18.1. Thus, counting from that end of the body member 12 having the displacement limiter 26, when the connector 10 is in its storage position, as shown in Figs. 2 and 5 of the drawings, slots 1 and 3 engage adjacent, vertically spaced vertices 36 on an operatively inner side of the frame member 18.1. When the connector 10 is in its inoperative position, as shown in Fig. 3 of the drawings, slots 2 and 4 engage adjacent, horizontally spaced vertices 36 on an operatively upper side of the frame member 18.1. When the connector 10 is in its operative position, as shown in Fig. 4 the drawings, slots 1 and 3 engage the adjacent, horizontally spaced vertices on the operatively upper side of the frame member 18.1.

[0040] The slots 34, together with the resilience of the jaws 28 of the mounting formation 14, therefore serve to retain the body member 12 of the connector 10 in the desired position. The application of a force to the body member 10 is sufficient to cause the slots 34 to disengage from the relevant vertices 36 of the frame member 18.1 to enable the body member 12 to be rotated relative to the frame member 18.1 until the further pair of alternate slots 34 engages the relevant vertices 36 of the frame member 18.1.

[0041] The securing formation 16 is formed by a cranked part of the body member 12 to form a clip 38 spaced from the mounting formation 14. The clip 38 is configured to engage the frame member 18.2 of the other of the articles of furniture 20 to retain the articles of furniture 20 in their desired orientation relative to each other. The clip 38 includes a manipulating element in the form of an outwardly extending tab 40 to enable a user to manipulate the body member 12 to apply a force to the body member 12 to displace the body member 12 to the desired position relative to the frame members 18.1 and 18.2. As illustrated most clearly in Fig. 1 of the drawings, at least an upper surface 42 of the tab 40 is roughened to facilitate its being gripped by the user. The roughened surface 42 may be defined by a plurality of transversely extending ribs arranged on an operatively upper surface of the tab 40.

[0042] In use, the two articles of furniture 20 are positioned relative to each other so that, for example, the front portions of the articles of furniture 20 are aligned with each other. While the articles of furniture 20 are being positioned relative to each other, the connector 10 is preferably in the inoperative position shown in Fig. 3 of the drawings rather than the storage position as shown in Figs. 2 and 5 of the drawings. It will be appreciated that, were the connector 10 to be in its storage position, it may be difficult for the user to gain access to it once the articles of furniture 20 have been positioned relative to each other.

[0043] The frame member 18.1, 18.2 of each article of furniture 20 forms part of a frame 44 (Fig. 1) of the article of furniture 20. More particularly, the frame member

18.1, 18.2 is a lower, substantially horizontally extending frame member of the frame 44. The frame 44 of each article of furniture 20 further includes a substantially vertically extending front frame member 46. The frame 44 also includes a retaining arrangement, or member, 48 arranged operatively inwardly of, and extending parallel to, the substantially vertically extending front member 46. The spacing between the retaining member 48 and the front frame member 46 approximates the width of the body member 12 of the connector 10 so that the connector 10 is held captive on the frame member 18.1, 18.2 and is inhibited from sliding along the frame member 18.1,

18.2. Thus, due to the location of the connector 10 near the front of the article of furniture 20, it is readily accessible by the user to manipulate the connector 10 to clip it into its operative position to retain the two articles of furniture 20 in the desired orientation relative to each other.

[0044] Conversely, when it is desired to separate the articles of furniture 20 from each other, the user accesses the clip 38 of the connector 10, pushes up on the tab 40 of the clip 38 to release the clip 38 from the frame member 18.2 by rotating the body member 12 of the connector 10 to the position shown in Fig. 3 of the drawings. In this way, the articles of furniture 20 are able to be separated from each other and to be able to be moved relative to each other.

[0045] Figs. 6 to 8 of the drawings show a further embodiment of a connector 10. With reference to the previous drawings, like reference numerals refer to like parts, unless otherwise specified. [0046] While the embodiment described above with reference to Figs. 1-5 of the drawings illustrates connecting two articles of modular furniture 20 together, the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 6 of the drawings is used to connect two items of an article of modular furniture together. For example, the connector 10 of Fig. 6 of the drawings is used to connect a seat base, a part of which is shown at 52 in Figs. 7 and 8 of the drawings, and a rest, a part of which is shown at 54 in Figs. 7 and 8 of the drawings of an article of furniture 56 together. The rest 54 may, for example, be a backrest, armrest, combined backrest and armrest, or a headrest of the article of furniture 56. The article of furniture may be, for example, a chair, a sofa, a chaise, a bed, or the like.

[0047] In this embodiment, the connector 10 is attached, via the mounting formation 14, to a frame member 18.1 arranged in the rest 54 so that at least the clip 38 of the connector 10 projects from a bottom of the rest 54. Prior to mounting the rest 54 on the base 52, the connector 10 is retained in its inoperative position by the detent-like mechanism 22 as shown in Fig. 7 of the drawings. In this embodiment, the detent- like mechanism 22 only comprises two slots 34. Once the rest 54 has been positioned on the base 52, the body member 12 of the connector 10 is rotated relative to the frame member 18.1 of the rest 54 so that the clip 38 clips over a frame member 18.2 arranged in the base 52 of the article of furniture, as shown in Fig. 8 of the drawings. The frame member 18.2 is accessible via a bottom of the base. It is to be noted that, in this embodiment, the detent-like mechanism 22 is inoperative when the connector 10 is in its operative position due to the clipping interaction between the clip 38 and the frame member 18.2.

[0048] Also, in this embodiment, the manipulating element is a bulbous formation 50 instead of the tab 40, to enable the user to manipulate the body member 12 of the connector 10 and displace it relative to the rest 54 and the base 52 of the article of furniture 56.

[0049] The clip 38 contains roughened surfaces 58 and 60 on its opposed, operatively outer surface to facilitate clipping of the clip 38 to the frame member 18.2 and unclipping of the clip 38 from the frame member 18.2, respectively. The roughened surfaces 58 and 60 are, for example, ribbed surfaces. [0050] The use of the connector 10 in this embodiment inhibits the rest 54 separating from the base 52 if a user leans with force against the rest 54 . In particular, in the case of a combined armrest and backrest, the connector 10 is arranged near an operatively front region of the armrest portion. Thus, were a user to lean with force against the backrest portion of the combined armrest and backrest, the provision of the connector 10 inhibits a front of the armrest portion separating from the base 52.

[0051] It is therefore an advantage of the described embodiments that a connector 10 is provided which facilitates simple but secure connection of items together, whether the items be articles of furniture or components of an article of furniture. The provision of the detent-like mechanism also provides a simple solution to retaining the connector 10 in a desired position relative to its associated item.

[0052] Further, the detent-like mechanism facilitates secure attachment of the connector 10 and reduces the likelihood of its falling off and/or being lost during storage and/or transportation.

[0053] It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the above-described embodiments, without departing from the broad general scope of the present disclosure. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.