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Title:
IMPROVED CABINET
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/146474
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A cabinet for the display and serving of food items. The cabinet includes a chassis configurable by the mounting of additional components thereto to provide a cabinet of having desired properties. The cabinet is further provided docking system to permit two similarly configured cabinets to be releasable connected to one another. The docking system includes a male docking arrangement provided on one side of the cabinet and a female docking arrangement provided on another side of the cabinet, the male docking arrangement has a first docking formation which projects from the cabinet and the female docking arrangement has a second docking formation which extends into the cabinet, wherein the first and second docking formations are provided with a lock mechanism which is operable to secure the docking formations to one another when the male docking arrangement is received in the female docking arrangement. The cabinet may be provided with integrated flu id supply and drainage conduits with quick release, self-sealing connectors.

Inventors:
STEELE MICHAEL JAMES (GB)
NUTTALL ALAN D (GB)
Application Number:
GB2018/050350
Publication Date:
August 16, 2018
Filing Date:
February 08, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
THE ALAN NUTTALL PARTNERSHIP LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A47F10/06; A47B87/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007114774A12007-10-11
Foreign References:
GB2482782A2012-02-15
GB2368264A2002-05-01
US3746417A1973-07-17
JPS4945612Y11974-12-13
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GRAY, James (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A cabinet for one or more of the preparation, display and serving of food items, the cabinet includ ing a chassis configurable by the mou nting of add itional components thereto to provide a cabinet of having desired properties, the cabinet includ ing a top, a front, a rear and opposing sides, wherein the cabinet is further provided docking system to permit two similarly configu red cabinets to be releasable connected to one another, the system includ ing a su bstantia lly horizontally alig ned male docking arrangement provided on one side of the cabinet and a correspond ing su bstantially horizontally alig ned female docking arrangement provided on another side of the cabinet, the male docking arrangement having a first docking formation which projects from the cabinet and the female docking arrangement having a second docking formation which extends into the cabinet, wherein the first and second docking formations are provided with a lock mecha nism which is operable to secu re the docking formations to one another when the male docking arrangement of one cabinet is received in the female docking arrangement of another cabinet, wherein each docking arrangement extends in a front to rear alig nment between the front and rear of the cabinet 2. A cabinet as claimed i n claim 1 , wherein the female docking formation includes a channel shaped recess and the male docking formation includes a complementarily shaped projection .

3. A cabinet as claimed in claim 2, wherein the channel shaped recess includes an inclined bearing surface and the complementarily shaped projection includes a correspond ing inclined bearing su rface.

4. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim wherein cabinet is provided with upper and lower substantially horizontal male docking arrangements on one side of the cabinet, and upper and lower substantially horizontal female docking arrangements on the other side of the cabinet.

5. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the lock mechanism includes a movable lock member located within one of the male and female docking arrangement and a locking recess in the other of the male and female docking arrangement.

6. A cabinet as claimed in claim 5, wherein the movable lock member is located within the female docking arrangement and the locking recess is located in the male docking arrangement.

7. A cabinet as claimed in claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the lock member is rotatable. 8. A cabinet as claimed in claim 7, wherein the lock member is provided with an integral actuator operable to rotate the lock member.

9. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the chassis is configurable to provide one or more features selected for from the list comprising : one or more heated, chilled or ambient wells, one or more heated, chilled or ambient shelves, one or more canopies, one or more Bain Marie wells, and one or more hot plates.

10. A cabinet as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8 wherein the chassis is configurable so as to provide a work or support surface on said top of the cabinet. 11. A cabinet as claimed in claim 10 wherein the work or support surface is planar.

12. A cabinet as claimed in claim 11 wherein the male and female docking arrangements are aligned along axes that are parallel to the plane of the work or support surface.

13. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the cabinet is further provided with lighting gantries to illuminate the food items supported thereupon.

14. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the frame defines an interior space of the cabinet, the interior space being configured to include one or more shelves, and/or heating or cooling apparatus.

15. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the underside of the cabinet is provided with a support formation adapted to releasably receive a power module. 16. A cabinet as claimed in claim 15, wherein the formation comprises opposed channels which are configured to receive opposed flanges of a power module.

17. A cabinet as claimed in claim 15 or claim 16 and including a power module received and supported by the said support formation.

18. A cabinet as claimed in claim 17 wherein the power module comprises a box like structure having a power input formation and at least one power output formation.

19. A cabinet as claimed in claim 17 or claim 18 wherein the power module includes opposed flanges which extend from an upper region of the power module. 20. A cabinet as claimed in claim 14, wherein the interior space has a rear wall and the rear wall is provided with a support formation adapted to releasably receive a power module.

21. A cabinet as claimed in claim 20 wherein the rear wall is provided with an aperture though which the power module is accessible from the interior space.

22. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the cabinet is provided with an integrated water supply conduit system having a quick release, self-sealing connection.

23. A cabinet as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the cabinet is provided with an integrated water drainage conduit system having a quick release, self-sealing connection.

Description:
Our ref: P341099PCT

Improved Cabinet

The present invention relates to an improved cabinet for the preparation, display and/or serving of food items.

For event catering situations, it is known to construct a food display and serving arrangement. In a simple form, the food display and serving arrangement may comprise a plurality of tables upon which food items are presented. For more complex catering arrangements, where some or all of the food items are required to be heated or chilled, purpose built cabinets may be used in place of tables. Such cabinets are typically provided with appropriate heating or chilling means. The present invention relates to improvements in cabinets of this type. Such cabinets may also be used in the provision of catering services in, for example, cafes, shops, museums, motorway service areas and the like.

The use of such cabinets is particularly useful in connection with "pop up" catering establishments where there is a temporary need to provide food display and serving arrangements at a location where such facilities are not present.

According to the present invention there is provided a cabinet for one or more of the preparation, display and serving of food items, the cabinet including a chassis configurable by the mounting of additional components thereto to provide a cabinet of having desired properties, the cabinet including a planar top, a front, a rear and opposing sides, wherein the cabinet is further provided docking system to permit two similarly configured cabinets to be releasable connected to one another, the system including a substantially horizontally aligned male docking arrangement provided on one side of the cabinet and a corresponding substantially horizontally aligned female docking arrangement provided on another side of the cabinet, the male docking arrangement having a first docking formation which projects from the cabinet and the female docking arrangement having a second docking formation which extends into the cabinet, wherein the first and second docking formations are provided with a lock mechanism which is operable to secure the docking formations to one another when the male docking arrangement of one cabinet is received in the female docking arrangement of another cabinet, wherein each docking arrangement extends in a front to rear alignment between the front and rear of the cabinet. The provision of docking formations which are horizontally aligned along an axis which is parallel to the plane of the top surface has benefits when assembling a cabinet arrangement comprised of a plurality of such cabinets. The horizontal alignment of the docking formations permits relative fore and aft movement of adjacent cabinets. This allows the staggering of adjacent cabinets with respect to one another within a cabinet arrangement.

Also, the horizontal alignment of the docking formations enables removal of a cabinet from group of cabinets in a cabinet arrangement without requiring lateral separation of the cabinets. It will be understood by a person skilled in the art that a cabinet can be removed from a group of cabinets by disengaging the lock mechanisms retaining the cabinet to the group of cabinets, and thereafter moving the cabinet in a direction parallel to the axes of the docking formations. The first and second docking formations may be provided on opposing sides of the cabinet. Alternatively, the first and second docking formations may be provided on adjacent sides of the cabinet.

The female docking formation may include a channel shaped recess and the male docking formation may include a complementarily shaped projection. The channel shaped recess preferably includes an inclined bearing surface and the complementarily shaped projection includes a corresponding inclined bearing surface.

The female docking formation may preferably comprise a pair of substantially parallel channel shaped recesses and the male docking formation comprises a pair of substantially parallel and complementarily shaped projections.

The lock mechanism may include a movable lock member located within one of the male and female docking arrangement and a locking recess in the other of the male and female docking arrangement.

The movable lock member is preferably located within the female docking arrangement and the locking recess is located in the male docking arrangement.

The lock member is rotatable between a locked position and an unlocked position. The lock mechanism, together with the inclined bearing surfaces of the docking formations, acts as a self-levelling arrangement which ensures that the tops of adjacent cabinets are provided at the same height. It will be understood that

The chassis may be configurable to provide one or more features selected for from the list comprising, but not limited to, one or more heated, chilled or ambient wells, one or more heated, chilled or ambient shelves, one or more canopies, one or more Bain Marie wells, and one or more hot plates. Alternatively, the chassis may be configured purely for internal storage or to provide an expanse of work surface. The work surface may, for example, be utilised for food preparation. Alternatively, the work surface may be used to support ancillary food storage and display equipment and which may be provided with electrical power supplied by the chassis.

The cabinet may further provided with lighting to illuminate the food items supported thereupon.

The chassis may define an interior space of the cabinet, the interior space being configured to include one or more shelves, and/or heating or cooling apparatus.

The cabinet may be provided with a support formation adapted to releasably receive a power module. The formation may comprise opposed channels which are configured to receive opposed flanges of a power module.

The cabinet may further include a power module received and supported by the said support formation. In an alternative embodiment, the interior space of the cabinet may be provided with a rear wall, and the rear wall further provided with a support formation adapted to releasably receive a power module. In such an embodiment, the rear wall may be provided with an aperture though which the power module is accessible from the interior space.

The power module may comprise a box like structure having a power input formation and at least one power output formation.

The power module may include opposed flanges which extend from an upper region of the power module.

Each power module is configured to supply power to powered accessories which are incorporated into the cabinet and/or supported upon or in the cabinet. The power modules of adjacent cabinets are connectable to one another so as to provide a chained power supply to the cabinets. The cabinet may be provided with an integrated water supply conduit system having a quick release, self-sealing connection. The cabinet may also be provided with an integrated water drainage conduit system having a quick release, self-sealing connection. An embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures in which :

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of a cabinet according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 shows a side view of the cabinet;

Figure 3 shows a further side view of the cabinet; Figure 4 shows a rear view of the cabinet;

Figure 5 shows a front view of the cabinet;

Figure 6 shows a top plan view of the cabinet;

Figure 7 shows a bottom plan view of the cabinet;

Figure 8 shows a further perspective view of the cabinet;

Figure 9 shows another perspective view of the cabinet;

Figure 10 shows another perspective view of the cabinet with a front panel removed;

Figure 11 shows a detail view of a channel arrangement on one side of the cabinet;

Figure 12 shows a detail view of a channel arrangement on the other side of the cabinet;

Figure 13 shows a perspective view of an arrangement of a plurality of cabinets;

Figure 14 shows a further perspective view of the cabinet arrangement of figure 13;

Figure 15 shows a perspective view of a power box;

Figure 16 shows a rear view of the power box;

Figure 17 shows a top plan view of the power box;

Figure 18 shows a side view of the power box;

Figure 19 shows a further perspective view of the power box;

Figure 20 shows a perspective view of a cabinet according to another embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 21 shows a side view of the cabinet of figure 20;

Figure 22 shows a further side view of the cabinet of figure

20;

Figure 23 shows an end view of the cabinet of figure 20;

Figure 24 shows another end view of the cabinet of figure 20; Figure 25 shows a top plan view of the cabinet of figure 20; Figure 26 shows a bottom plan view of the cabinet of figure

20; Figure 27 shows a further perspective view of the cabinet of figure 20;

Figure 28 shows a perspective view of another cabinet according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

Figure 29 shows a side view of the cabinet of figure 28.

Referring firstly to figures 1 to 12 there is shown an embodiment of a cabinet according to the present invention generally designated 10. The cabinet 10 has a top 12, a front 14, opposing sides 16,18, an open rear 20 and a base 22. The top and front 12,14 of the cabinet 10 are defined by readily removable top and front panels 24,26 as will be described in greater detail below. The opposing sides 16,18 are defined by side panels 28,30. Each panel 28,30 is provided with a pair of access apertures 32.

In the embodiment shown, the base 22 is defined by a lower frame 34. The cabinet 10 is further provided with an upper frame 36 upon which the top panel 24 rests, in use. Depending upon the desired internal configuration of the cabinet 10, the base 22 may be defined by a lower panel instead of a lower frame 34. Similarly, the upper frame 36 may be replaced by an upper panel if required by the desired internal configuration of the cabinet 10.

The cabinet 10 is further provided with an interior front panel 38 which extends between the side panels 28,30. The interior front panel 38 is aligned along a plane that is spaced from and parallel to the plane of the front panel 26. The side panels 28,30, front panel 26 and interior front panel 38 co-operate to define a services space 40 of the cabinet 10. The position of the access apertures 32 of the side panels 28,30 is such that these provide access to the services space 40. The services space 40 is provided such that there is a separate and dedicated region within the cabinet 10 for the location of services. Such services may include, for example, cables to supply power and or data to powered items carried by and/or incorporated into the cabinet 10, water supply conduits and water drainage conduits. Such fluid conduits are provided with self-sealing, quick release connections to facilitate the quick and straightforward connection and disconnection of fluid services per cabinet 10.

The interior front panel 38 of the cabinet 10 separates such service cables and conduits from the main body of the cabinet interior, and thus prevents food items, dishes, cutlery and such like from contacting said cables and conduits. Access to the services space 40 for the purpose of connecting and disconnecting said cables and conduits may be effected though the access apertures 32 and/or via one or more doors or hatches provided in the interior front panel 38.

The open rear 20 of the cabinet 10 provides access to an interior space 42 of the cabinet 10. In the embodiment shown, the interior space 42 is provided with a plurality of shelves 44. In this configuration the cabinet 10 is provided with an optional brace member 46 which extends between the upper and lower frames 34,36, and a divider panel 48 which extends between the optional brace member 46 and the interior front panel 38.

The lower frame 34 is further provided with a plurality of feet 51. In alternative embodiments a greater or lesser number of feet 51 may be provided. In yet further alternatives, the lower frame 34 of the cabinet 10 may be provided with wheels or casters. As noted above, the top and front panels 24,26 of the cabinet 10 are removable. This may be achieved through the use of appropriately configured fasteners. For example SNAPLOC (RTM) fasteners manufactured by Bolhoff GmbH may be utilised. Such fasteners enable the top and front panels 24,26 to be easily and repeatedly attached to and removed from the cabinet 10 without the need for specialised tools. Such fasteners also permit interchangeability of top and front panels 24,26 between similarly configured cabinets 10.

The configuration of the cabinet shown in figures 1 to 12 is merely illustrative of one of a number of cabinet configurations. Underpinning each configuration is a chassis of the cabinet 10 which is comprised of the lower frame 34 or panel, the upper frame 36 or panel, the side panels 28,30 and the interior front panel 38.

The cabinet 10 of the present invention may advantageously be releasably connected to one or more similar cabinets. Such connection is affected through the use of docking formations provided on the side panels 28,30. The docking formations comprise a pair of female docking formations or runners 48a, 48b provided on one of the side panels 28, and a pair of complementarily configured male docking formations or runners 50a, 50b on the other of the side panels 30. Each side panel 28,30 is provided with an upper docking formation 48a, 50a and a lower docking formation 48b, 50b. The upper docking formation 48a, 50a of each side panel 28,30 is aligned with an upper edge 52 of the side panel 28,30. Similarly, the lower docking formation 48b, 50b of each side panel 28,30 is aligned with a lower edged 54 of the side panel. The docking formations 48a,48b,50a,50b extend in a front to rear direction between the front 14 and rear 20 of the cabinet 10. The docking formations 48a,48b,50a,50b are also aligned along axes that are parallel to the plane of the top panel 24.

Looking now at figure 11, an upper female docking formation 48a is shown in greater detail. The formation 48a has the form of a channel like member which is formed by folding a sheet of material. In an alternative embodiment, the formation 48a may be created by other forms of manufacture. For example, the formation 48a may be formed by extrusion. The formation 48a includes a recess 56 which runs for the length of the formation 48a. The recess 56 includes an inclined bearing face 58 which is orientated upwardly and outwardly with respect to the interior space 42 of the cabinet 10.

The lower female docking formation 48b has the same configuration as the upper female docking formation 48a. The lower female docking formation 48b is however mounted to the side panel 28 in an inverted position such that the inclined bearing face 58 is orientated downwardly and outwardly with respect to the interior space 42 of the cabinet 10.

Figure 12 shows an upper male docking formation 50a in greater detail. As with the female docking formations 48a, 48b, the upper male docking formation 50a has the form of a channel like member which is formed by folding a sheet of material. In an alternative embodiment, the formation 50a may be created by other forms of manufacture. For example, the formation 50a may be formed by extrusion. The formation 50a includes a projection 60 which runs for the length of the formation 50a. The projection 60 includes an inclined bearing face 62 which is orientated downwardly and outwardly with respect to the interior space 42 of the cabinet 10.

The lower male docking formation 50b has the same configuration as the upper male docking formation 50a. The lower male docking formation 50b is however mounted to the side panel 30 in an inverted position such that the inclined bearing face is orientated upwardly and outwardly with respect to the interior space 42 of the cabinet 10.

In order to releasably secure adjacent cabinets 10 to one another, a latch arrangement is provided between the cabinets 10. The latch arrangement comprises a pair of rotatable latch members 64 mounted on each female docking formation 48a, 48b, and a pair of corresponding latch recesses 66 provided on each male docking formation 50a, 50b.

The use of complementarily shaped inclined bearing faces 58,62 has the following advantages. When two cabinets 10 are moved into side to side contact, the respective inclined bearing faces 58,62 of the docking formations 48,48b, 50a, 50b move into contact with one another. By accurate positioning of the docking formations 48,48b, 50a, 50b on the side panels 28,30 during manufacture of the cabinet 10, the upper surfaces of the top panels 24 of the cabinets 10 accurately align along a common plane. Also, where three or more cabinets 10 are joined together, an interior cabinet (which is to say a cabinet which has one or more cabinets on opposing sides) can easily be removed without the need to disturb the orientation of the cabinet arrangement as a whole. The cabinet needing to be moved/removed can be moved in a linear manner along the longitudinal axes of the projections and recesses 56,60 of the docking formations 48, 48b, 50a, 50b. Lateral separation of the cabinets is thus avoided.

Figures 13 and 14 show an arrangement of cabinets generally designated 100. The arrangement 100 comprises four cabinets 10 of the type described above with shelved interiors, and a fifth cabinet 68 configured as a heated food cabinet with a glazed hood. The cabinets 10,68 are provided in staggered formation. Whole 70 and half sized 72 cosmetic finisher panels are provided where needed to occlude exposed portions of the cabinet side panels 28,30. The arrangement incudes a lighting gantry 74.

In the embodiment shown the cabinets 10,68 all have the same width. It will be appreciated that an arrangement may be made from a plurality of cabinets having differing widths. Furthermore, it will be appreciated that in the embodiment shown the cabinets 10,68 are all provided in a side by side arrangement. In alternative embodiments (not shown) internal and external corner cabinets may be provided which change the direction of the arrangement. Such corner cabinets are provided with docking formations in adjacent as opposed to opposite sides.

From the foregoing it will be understood that power may be required to be supplied to a cabinet, for example to operate a heating or cooling element or a light. Such power may be supplied by an optional power box, generally designated 110, shown in figures 15 to 19.

The power box 110 includes a face 112 having a plurality of output sockets 114. In the embodiment shown, the output sockets 114 are of a UK 3 pin format. It will be appreciated that other socket formations may be utilised . The power box 110 is fu rther provided with another face 116 having a plu rality of isolation switches 118 for the aforementioned sockets 114. The power box 10 is further provided with an input socket 120 which permits the power box 110 to either be connected to an external power su pply, or to a second power box in series.

The u pper face 122 of the power box 110 is provided with opposing flanges 124. These flanges 124 facilitate the mou nting of a power box 110 to a cabinet chassis. As can most read ily be seen in figu re 4, the u nderside of the lower frame 34 is provided with a pair of spaced apart and opposing recesses 76. The spacing of the recesses 76 is such that the flanges 124 of the power box 110 can be slid therein such that the power box 110 is suspended below the lower frame 34. Items requ iring electrical power on a cabinet can thereafter be plugged into the sockets 114, and electrical power su pplied to the power box 110 via the input socket 120. As the power box 110 is not bu ilt into the cabinet, then it can read ily be removed, for example for the purpose of testing or maintenance, without requiring d isassembly of the cabinet.

The recesses 76 may also be used to facilitate transport and positioning of a ca binet, especially in instances where the ca binet is not provided with wheels or casters. In such a n instance, a wheeled trolley may be temporarily retained in the recesses.

Referring now to figu res 20 to 27 there is shown a fu rther embod iment of a cabinet generally desig nated 200. Featu res common to the cabinet 10 described with reference to figu res 1 to 14 are identified with like reference numerals prefixed with "2". The cabinet 200 of figures 20 to 27 differs from the cabinet 10 of figures 1 to 14 in that the cabinet is provided with caster wheels 253 in addition to feet 251. The caster wheels 253 are provided to assist with movement of the cabinet 200 to and from a location at which it is intended to be used. The caster wheels 253 may thus be movable between ground contacting and ground non-contacting positions.

The cabinet 200 further differs in that the rotatable latch members 264 of the upper and lower female docking arrangements 248a, 248b are connected by a shaft 249. In the embodiment shown the shaft 249 comprises a metal rod having a substantially hexagonal cross-section. It will however be understood that the shaft 249 may have other configurations.

The shaft 249 enables synchronous rotation of the latch members 264 connected by the shaft 249. To assist with rotation of the latch members 264, the shaft 249 is provided with a handle portion 249b. It will be appreciated that by integrating a means to actuate the latch members 264 the need to have a separate tool for moving the latch members 264 is removed.

The power box 110 of the cabinet 200 is located in the services space 240 of the cabinet 200. The output sockets 114 of the power box 110 are accessible from the interior space 242 of the cabinet 200 through an aperture 239 in the interior front panel 238 of the cabinet 200. As before, the power box 110 is not built into the cabinet 200, but is releasably mounted to the cabinet 200. This allows the power box 110 to be tested separately from the cabinet 200 and permits easy replacement of the power box 110 in the event of failure. Access to the services space 240 from the opposing sides of the cabinet 200 is enhanced by the removal of the access apertures 32 from the side panels 228,230. The side panels 228,230 of the cabinet 200 no longer extend across the services space 240 with the result that the services space 240 is fully open at each side.

As with the cabinet 10 described with reference to figures 1 to 20, the docking formations 248a, 248b, 250a, 250b are provided on the sides 216,218 of the cabinet 200 and extend in a front to rear direction between the front 214 and rear 220 of the cabinet 10. The docking formations 248a, 248b, 250a, 250b are also aligned along axes that are parallel to the plane of the top panel 224. The front to rear orientation of the docking formations 248a, 248b, 250a, 250b cabinet 200 realises the same advantages noted above in relation to the cabinet 10 with respect to alignment of adjacent cabinets 200 and the removal of a cabinet from a run of cabinets 200.

The cabinets 10,200 described with reference to figures 1 to 27 are configured to be customer facing. The cabinets 10,200 are provided with a front panel 26,226 which faces a customer in use. The rear 20, 220 of the cabinet 10,200 in turn faces a server or catering professional. It will however that cabinets constructed in accordance with the present invention may be used in a non- customer facing role.

Referring now to figures 28 and 29 there is shown a further embodiment of a cabinet generally designated 300. Features common to the cabinet 10 described with reference to figures 1 to 14 are identified with like reference numerals prefixed with "3". The cabinet differs in that it is not provided with a front panel 26 and instead is intended to face a wall or like substantially vertical surface 400. It will this be appreciated that the services space 340 is thus defined between the wall 400, top panel 324 and interior front panel 338.




 
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