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Title:
AN INTERMEDIATE GONDOLA SUPPORT SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR USE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/035868
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Present examples include intermediate gondola support systems for engaging and supporting fully loaded gondolas, pallet racks, and display racks to allow moving of such racks. Intermediate gondola support systems include a first mobile unit and a second mobile unit connected to one another and positioned on or near a structural member of a gondola for engaging, elevating, and supporting the structural members of the gondola.

Inventors:
TAYLOR, Gerry, H. (9941 Prospect Avenue, Santee, CA, 92071, US)
Application Number:
US2018/000132
Publication Date:
February 21, 2019
Filing Date:
August 15, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GONDOLA SKATE MOVING SYSTEMS INC. (9941 Prospect Avenue, Santee, CA, 92071, US)
International Classes:
B65G1/02; B65G7/04
Foreign References:
US20110297905A12011-12-08
US5413193A1995-05-09
US2502285A1950-03-28
US8794899B22014-08-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SONNENBERG, Joel, S. et al. (Hahn Lopeser & Parks LLP, 200 Public Square Suite 280, Cleveland OH, 44114, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gondola moving system comprising: a first mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel; a second mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel; a bearing surface where the bearing surface may extend from at least one of the first or the second mobile unit; at least one pin for extending through the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit thereby securing the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit to secure and support a gondola support between the first mobile unit, the second mobile unit, and on the bearing surface.

2. The gondola moving system of claim 1 where the bearing surface is a top side of the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit or a top side of the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit.

3. The gondola moving system of claim 1 further comprising a latching mechanism extending from the first mobile unit where the latching mechanism includes a recessed surface.

4. The gondola moving system of claim 3 where the recessed surface is the bearing surface.

5. The gondola moving system of claim 3 where the latching mechanism is adjustable in a vertical direction.

6. The gondola moving system of claim 5 where the latching mechanism is adjustable in a lateral direction.

7. The gondola moving system of claim 1 where the latching mechanism is between the first mobile unit and the second mobile unit when the first mobile unit is secured to the second mobile unit.

8. The gondola moving system of claim 3 where the first mobile unit further comprises a receiver for receiving a controller for raising or lowering the latching mechanism.

9. The gondola moving system of claim 8 further comprising a ratcheting mechanism for raising or lowering the latching mechanism by way of the controller.

10. The gondola moving system of claim 1 where the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit is recessed below a top of the first mobile unit frame and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit is recessed below a top of the second mobile unit frame.

11. A method for supporting a gondola system comprising: securing one or more lifting members to one or more ends of the support member of a gondola system; lifting the one or more ends of a support member of the gondola system using the one or more lifting members; positioning, at an intermediate location of the support member of the gondola system, a first mobile unit adjacent a second mobile unit where the first mobile unit includes a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel and the second mobile unit includes a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel; connecting the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit with at least one pin extending through the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit thereby securing the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit to secure and support a support member of a gondola system between the first mobile unit, the second mobile unit, and on top of a bearing surface extending from at least one of the first or the second mobile unit; moving the gondola system, supported on the bearing surface, across a surface on the at least two casters of the first mobile unit and the at least two casters of the second mobile unit.

12. The method for supporting a gondola system of claim 1 1 further comprising: raising or lowering the bearing surface by way of a receiver at the first mobile unit.

13. The method for supporting a gondola system of claim 12 where the bearing surface is a recessed surface on a latching mechanism.

14. The method for supporting a gondola system of claim 1 1 where the support member of the gondola support system secured between the first mobile unit and the second mobile unit is a mid-span bar.

15. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 11 where the pin comprises an eye bolt at a first end and a securing mechanism at a second end to secure the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit between the eye bolt and the securing mechanism.

16. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 1 1 where the first mobile unit is opposite the second mobile unit relative the support member when positioning.

17. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 1 1 where the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit are positioned under the support member when connecting.

18. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 1 1 where the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit engages the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit under the support member when connecting.

19. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 11 where the bearing surface is on the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the connecting channel of the at least one second mobile unit.

20. The method for supporting a gondola support system of claim 12 where the receiver operates a ratcheting mechanism for raising or lowering the bearing surface.

Description:
AN INTERMEDIATE GONDOLA SUPPORT SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR USE

[0001] This application claims priority to, and the benefit of, United States Provisional Application No. 62/545,900 filed on August 15, 2017 with the United States Patent Office, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Examples relate to storage racks and display racks for merchandise sold in stores, also known as gondolas, pallet racks, and storage racks. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a system for engaging and supporting fully loaded gondolas, pallet racks, and display racks, to allow moving of such racks.

SUMMARY

[0003] In one example, an intermediate gondola support system is provided for use with one or more lifting members positioned at a perimeter of a gondola. The intermediate gondola support system comprises a first mobile unit and a second mobile unit.

[0004] More specifically, an intermediate gondola support system comprises: a first mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel; a second mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel; a bearing surface where the bearing surface may extend from at least one of the first or the second mobile unit; at least one pin for extending through the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit thereby securing the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit to secure and support a gondola support between the first mobile unit, the second mobile unit, and on the bearing surface. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] Reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which particular examples and further benefits of the examples are illustrated as described in more detail in the description below, in which:

[0006] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an intermediate gondola support, in accordance with an example.

[0007] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an intermediate gondola support, in accordance with an example.

[0008] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an intermediate gondola support secured to a longitudinal support of a gondola, in accordance with an example.

[0009] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a gondola with an intermediate gondola support secured to a longitudinal support positioned on the gondola and two additional lateral supports extending to the perimeter of a gondola, in accordance with an example.

[0010] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the intermediate gondola support system of FIG. 4 used in combination with lifting members located at the perimeter of the gondola, in accordance with an example.

[0011] FIG. 6 is an end view of the intermediate gondola support systemin accordance with an example.

[0012] FIG. 7 is an end view of the intermediate gondola support system, in accordance with an example.

[0013] FIG. 8 is a side view of the intermediate gondola support system, in accordance with an example.

[0014] FIG. 9 is a top view of the intermediate gondola support system, in accordance with an example.

[0015] FIG. 10 is a bottom view of the intermediate gondola support system, in accordance with an example. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0016] Present examples include intermediate gondola support systems for engaging and supporting fully loaded gondolas, pallet racks, and display racks, to allow moving of such racks. Intermediate gondola support systems are positioned on or near internal structural members of a gondola for engaging, elevating, and supporting the internal structural members of the gondola. This, however, does not exclude the use of the intermediate gondola support system at a perimeter structural member of the gondola, which may be used in other examples.

[0017] An intermediate gondola support system, or gondola moving system, comprises a first mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel. The intermediate gondola support system further comprises a second mobile unit including a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel. A bearing surface, for supporting a gondola structure, may extend from at least one of the first mobile unit and/or the second mobile unit. The bearing surface may be the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and/or the connecting channel of the second mobile unit. Additionally or alternatively, the bearing surface may be a latching mechanism, described in greater detail below, extending from the at least one first mobile unit and/or the at least one second mobile unit.

[0018] At least one pin extends between the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit to the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit. The pin secures the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit. The connected mobile units secure and support the gondola structure between the first mobile unit, the second mobile unit, and on a bearing surface.

[0019] As illustrated by FIG. 5, A gondola may be engaged, supported, and lifted by lifting members 2000. Lifting members 2000 engage the gondola at accessible locations of the gondola, generally at the perimeter of the gondola. By example, lifting members 2000 may be positioned on the four corners of a square or rectangular gondola as shown in FIG. 5. Further, support members may extend between lifting members 2000 for engaging, supporting, and lifting the perimeter of the gondola. Likewise, lifting members 2000 may be positioned on the perimeter of gondola of other shapes or configurations. Once the gondola is engaged, supported, and lifted by the lifting members 2000, the intermediate locations of the gondola structure may sag, drag, or endure stresses. Therefore, as illustrated by FIG. 3 an intermediate gondola support system 10 is necessary for supporting the intermediate locations of the gondola or the gondola support members, such as a mid-span bar 1000. As described, herein, one or more intermediate gondola support systems 10 may be used in combination with the one or more lifting members 2000.

[0020] Referring to FIG. 1, an intermediate gondola support system 10 comprises a first mobile unit 100 and a second mobile unit 200. The first mobile unit 100 includes a frame 1 10. Extending from the frame 1 10 are at least two casters 120 for supporting and rotatably moving the frame 1 10 across a surface. In addition to the casters 120 being rotatable for moving the frame 1 10 across a surface, one or more of the at least two casters 120 may swivel in yet another direction relative the frame 1 10. In an alternative embodiment, a single caster 120 may be used on each mobile unit for moving the frame 1 10 across a surface. The first mobile unit 100 further comprises at least one connecting channel 130. As illustrated by FIG. 1 , the connecting channel 130 is recessed below a top of the first mobile unit frame 1 10.

[0021] The second mobile unit 200 generally comprises the same features as described with respect to the first mobile unit 100, above. In particular, the second mobile unit 200 includes a frame 210. Extending from the frame 210 are at least two casters 220 for supporting and rotatably moving the frame 210 across a surface. In addition to the casters 220 being rotatable for moving the frame 210 across a surface, one or more of the at least two casters 220 may swivel in yet another direction relative the frame 210. In an alternative embodiment, a single caster 220 may be used on each mobile unit for moving the frame 210 across a surface. The second mobile unit 200 further comprises at least one connecting channel 230. As illustrated by FIG. 1 , the connecting channel 230 is recessed below a top of the second mobile unit frame 210.

[0022] Still referring to FIG. 1 , upon positioning the intermediate gondola support system 10 at an intermediate location of a gondola, the at least one connecting channel 230 of the first mobile unit 100 is secured to the at least one connecting channel 230 of the second mobile unit 200 by a pin 300. The pin 300 is inserted through the at least one connecting channel 230 of the first mobile unit 100 and the at least one connecting channel 230 of the second mobile unit 200, thereby, bringing the first mobile unit 100 in communication with the second mobile unit 200 or engaging the first mobile unit 100 with the second mobile unit 200. The pin 300 may be a structural member for stabilizing and structurally attaching the first mobile unit 100 to the second mobile unit 200. In the example of FIG. 1, the pin 300 has an eye bolt 320 located at one end. The eye bolt 320 is of a greater dimension than the channel 230 of the first and/or second mobile unit 200 and therefore prevents the pin 300 from passing through the channel 230 of the first and/or second mobile unit 200. To the opposite end of the pin 300, relative the eye bolt 320, the pin 300 comprises an aperture 310 for attaching a securing mechanism. The securing mechanism may be a cotter pin 300, a bolt, a wire, spring mechanism, or the like. The securing mechanism is additionally prevented from passing through the channels 230 of the first and/or second mobile unit 200 and, thereby secures the pin 300 into the channels 230 of the first and/or second mobile unit 200. In particular and as illustrated by FIG. 2, when the securing mechanism is in place the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile unit 200 are secured together by the pin 300, between the eye bolt 320 and the securing mechanism. Some examples may include multiple securing mechanisms and/or may replace the eye bolt 320 with a securing mechanism of a different configuration. In some examples, and as illustrated by FIGs. 1-2, multiple pins 300 may be used in combination with multiple channels 230. In yet another example, multiple pins 300 may extend from a single structure for inserting into the multiple channels 230. In still another example, a structure may be attached to or be formed as a part of the pins 300 for securing multiple pins 300 together at one or both ends of the pin 300. Such a structure would allow insertion of the pins 300 into the multiple channels 230 in unison. A bearing surface 240 may extend from the first mobile unit 100 and/or the second mobile unit 200. In one example, the bearing surface 240 may be a top surface of the channels 130, 230 of the first mobile unit 100 and/or the second mobile unit 200. As illustrated in FIGs. 1-2, a bearing surface 240 may, additionally or alternatively, be a latching mechanism 140. In the instance the bearing surface 240 is separate from a top surface of the channel, such as where the latching mechanism is the bearing surface, the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile unit 200 are easily insertable to an underside of a gondola support structure and the pin is inserted into the channels without interference from the gondola or the gondola support structure. [0024] The latching mechanism 140, as illustrated by FIGs. 1-2, is for engaging and securing a support used in combination with the gondola structure. In FIGs. 1-2 the latching mechanism 140 has a recessed surface 145 shaped for receiving the support and/or gondola structure. More specifically, the recessed surface 145 may be the bearing surface. The latching mechanism 140 may additionally be adjustable and moveable in height, or the vertical direction. The latching mechanism 140 may, additionally or alternatively, be adjustable and moveable in the lateral direction.

[0025] As illustrated by FIGs. 1-2, the latching mechanism 140 is between the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile unit 200 when the first mobile unit is connected to the second mobile unit. In this example, the latching mechanism 140 extends from the first mobile unit 100. The first mobile unit may further comprise a receiver 150 for receiving a tool, or controller, for operating a ratcheting mechanism. The ratcheting mechanism is for adjusting and/or moving the latching mechanism 140. The receiver 150 is shaped to receive a controller for the ratcheting mechanism, such as a handle which may be rotated or moved to impart movement at the latching mechanism. The ratcheting mechanism is provided to raise and lower the latching mechanism 140 so the latching mechanism engages the support and/or the gondola structure. A screw jack, or the like, may be used as an alternative to the ratcheting mechanism. In one particular example, the latching mechanism 140 may be elevated up to one inch. The latching mechanism 140 may additionally be provided to engage feet of a gondola system. In a similar fashion as the above ratcheting mechanism, a lifting mechanism may be provided to raise and lower the entire frame 210, the channels, the latching mechanism 140, and or a combination thereof, based upon the required use.

[0026] As illustrated by FIGs. 1-2 the latching mechanism 140 and the channels are recessed below the top of each mobile unit frame 1 10, 210. Thereby, the support and/or gondola structure is secured between the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile unit 200, when secured together. Such an engagement is illustrated by FIG. 3. Also illustrated by FIG. 3, even when the support and/or gondola structure is secured between the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile the receiver 150 remains accessible. The frame 210 of each respective mobile unit may further secure the gondola support structure and/or the gondola, itself, into an independent support structure of the gondola support system 10, in addition to the latching mechanism 140.

[0027] As previously described, the intermediate gondola support may be used in combination with support members which may extend the longitudinal and/or lateral direction of a gondola structure. As illustrated in FIG. 4, an example of a support member includes a mid-span bar 1000 that is positioned to the base of a gondola structure and is secured by the intermediate gondola support system 10. The mid- span bar 1000 may extend the entire length of the gondola structure. In some examples, the mid-span bar 1000 may be adjustable. In FIG. 4, the mid-span bar 1000 extends a partial length of the gondola structure with perpendicular end bars 1100 provided to each longitudinal end of the mid-span bar 1000. Like the mid-span bar 1000, the length of the end bars 1100 may additionally be adjustable. The mid- span bar 1000 and/or the end bars 1100 are provided to distribute the intermediate load of the gondola from the structural members of the gondola to one or more intermediate gondola systems.

[0028] In the example of FIG. 4, the mid-span bar 1000 and the end bars 1100 are positioned below the gondola structure. The end bars 1100, however, extend overtop a gondola structure at the perimeter of the gondola structure. The end bars 1100 may additionally or alternatively connect to a support member extending between lifting members 2000. This configuration secures each of the mid-span bar 1000 and the end bars 1100 into engagement with the gondola structure and further increases the lifting moment at the center of the gondola structure by further distributing the load of the gondola to the one or more perimeter lifting members 2000. FIG. 5 illustrates a gondola having an intermediate gondola support system 10 comprising a mid-span bar 1000 supported by a first and a second mobile unit 200 where end bars 1100 are secured to each longitudinal end of the mid-span bar 1000. The end bars 1 100 extend to the opposing sides of the perimeter of a gondola. Lifting members 2000 are additionally positioned at the perimeter of the gondola.

[0029] FIGs. 6-7 illustrate opposing end views of a first mobile unit connected to a second mobile unit of an intermediate gondola support system 10. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the first mobile unit 100 and the second mobile unit 200 of an intermediate gondola support system 10 is illustrated. The first mobile unit 100 includes a frame 110, at least two casters 120, and connecting channels 130. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the second mobile unit 200 also includes a frame 210, at least two casters 220, and connecting channels 230. A pin 300 is inserted through each connecting channel 130, 230. The receiver 150 and a ratcheting mechanism 155 is further illustrated. FIG. 8 illustrates a side view of a first mobile unit 100 connected to a second mobile unit 200. In FIG. 8, the connecting channel 130 of the first mobile unit 100 engages the connecting channel 230 of the second mobile unit, with a pin 300 extending through each connecting channel.

[0030] FIG. 9 illustrates a top view of a first mobile unit 100 connected to a second mobile unit 200 of an intermediate support system 10. FIG. 10 illustrates a bottom view of a first mobile unit 100 connected to a second mobile unit 200 of an intermediate support system 10.

[0031] A method for using the gondola support system, or an intermediate gondola support, is also disclosed herein. The method for supporting a gondola system comprises securing one or more lifting members to one or more ends of a support member of a gondola system. The method further comprises lifting the one or more ends of the support member of the gondola system using the one or more lifting members and positioning, at an intermediate location of the support member of the gondola support system, a first mobile unit adjacent a second mobile unit. During the step of positioning, the first mobile unit may be opposite the second mobile unit relative the support member. The first mobile unit includes a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel. The second mobile unit includes a frame, at least two casters, and at least one connecting channel.

[0032] The method for using the gondola support system also comprises connecting the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit with at least one pin extending through at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit thereby securing the first mobile unit to the second mobile unit. During the step of connecting, the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit and the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit may be positioned under the support member when connecting or upon connecting. Thereby, the at least one connecting channel of the first mobile unit engages the at least one connecting channel of the second mobile unit. This engagement may occur under the support member when connecting or upon connecting. The connected first and second mobile units secure and support a member of a gondola system between the first mobile unit, the second mobile unit, and on top of a bearing surface extending from at least one of the first or second mobile units. Finally, the method for using the gondola support system may further comprise moving the gondola system, supported on the bearing surface, across a surface on the at least two casters of the first mobile unit and the at least two casters of the second mobile unit.

[0033] The method for using the gondola support system may also comprise the additional steps of raising or lowering the bearing surface by way of a receiver at the first mobile unit. The bearing surface may be a recessed surface on a latching mechanism.

[0034] The terms "comprising," "including," and "having," as used in the claims and specification herein, shall be considered as indicating an open group that may include other elements not specified. The terms "a," "an," and the singular form of words shall be taken to include the plural form of the same words, such that the terms mean that one or more of something is provided. The terms "at least one" and "one or more" are used interchangeably. The term "single" shall be used to indicate that one and only one of something is intended. Similarly, other specific integer values, such as "two," are used when a specific number of things are intended. The terms "preferably," "preferred," "prefer," "optionally," "may," and similar terms are used to indicate that an item, condition or step being referred to is an optional (i.e., not required) feature of the invention.

[0035] While this invention has been described with reference to particular examples thereof, it shall be understood that such description is by way of illustration only and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claimed invention. Accordingly, the scope and content of the invention are to be defined only by the terms of the following claims. Furthermore, it is understood that the features of any specific example discussed herein may be combined with one or more features of any one or more examples otherwise discussed or contemplated herein unless otherwise stated.