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Title:
MECHANIZED WARDROBE FOR HANGING CLOTHES WITH EASE OF STORAGE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2000/032074
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The mechanized wardrobe for hanging clothes comprises at least one compartment with a drive mechanism (7) imparting vertical motion to the bar or horizontal-drive mechanism (10) carrying the ghangers with the clothes (9), and have the shelf above (6, 19) mobile with the said bar or said horitonzontal-drive mechanism. The hangers with the clothes are advantageously carried by a carousel mechanism (10) and chain (11). The vertical motion of the shelf and of the bar or carousel is imparted by extending columns (7) operated by electrical, pneumatic or hydraulic linear actuators. The said extending columns can be positioned close to the side walls (18) of the wardrobe. Various embodiments of the actuators are emvisaged including, in the most economical versions, simple rope tackle.

Inventors:
Zanfi, Paolo (Via Guercino, 51 Castelfranco Emilia, I-41013, IT)
Muratori, Stefano (Via Trento Trieste, 119 Formigine, I-41043, IT)
Lapelosa, Michele (Via D. Alighieri, 20 Castelfranco Emilia, I-41013, IT)
Lolli, Stefano (Via Montanara, 191 Vignola, I-41058, IT)
Bignardi, Mauro (Via F. Ghiaroni, 157 Modena, I-41100, IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IT1999/000397
Publication Date:
June 08, 2000
Filing Date:
December 02, 1999
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Zanfi, Paolo (Via Guercino, 51 Castelfranco Emilia, I-41013, IT)
Muratori, Stefano (Via Trento Trieste, 119 Formigine, I-41043, IT)
Lapelosa, Michele (Via D. Alighieri, 20 Castelfranco Emilia, I-41013, IT)
Lolli, Stefano (Via Montanara, 191 Vignola, I-41058, IT)
Bignardi, Mauro (Via F. Ghiaroni, 157 Modena, I-41100, IT)
International Classes:
A47B61/00; (IPC1-7): A47B61/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gasparini, Alberto (Ufficio Finderoute Via Ugo Sbrillanci, 17 Carpi, I-41012, IT)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A mechanized wardrobe (2) for hanging clothes (9) with ease of storage, comprising at least one compartment fitted with a mecha nism (7,10) driving the bar for the clotheshangers and doors (5) closing off the compartment, characterised in that said bar is connected to the shelf (6,19) above and the said drive mechanism simultaneously lowers the bar and the shelf.
2. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in the previous claim, cha racterised in that said drive mechanism (7) imparts precisely ver tical movement to the shelf (6,19) and the bar.
3. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in the previous claim 2, cha racterised in that the said mechanism consists of linear actua tors.
4. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims 2 or 3, characterised in that the said mechanism (7) or the said actuators are motorised and operated under the control of the user (15).
5. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims 2 or 3, characterised in that, in the place of the said bar, there is a mechanism (10,11) imparting horizontal movement to the clo theshangers (8) with the hanging clothes (9).
6. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in the previous claim 5, cha racterised in that the said horizontaldrive mechanism consists of a carousel (10) with a chain (11) carrying the clotheshangers and wheels (16) rotating on a said horizontal shelf.
7. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims 3 or 6, characterised in that the said actuators are situated in side the extending columns (7) to support the said shelf (6,19) and the said bar or horizontaldrive mechanism (10).
8. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims, characterised in that the shelf (19) and the bar or hori zontaldrive mechanism (10) carrying the clotheshangers are sup ported by brackets (20) projecting from the inner side walls (18) of the wardrobe (7).
9. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims, characterised in that the extending columns (7) and/or the linear actuators are located in the corners of the inner compart ment of the wardrobe.
10. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims, characterised in that the said doors (5) slide to and fro.
11. A mechanized wardrobe, as claimed in one of the previous claims from 1 to 9, characterised in that said doors fold open and shut.
Description:
MECHANIZED WARDROBE FOR HANGING CLOTHES WITH EASE OF STORAGE The invention concerns a mechanized wardrobe for hanging clothes with ease of storage, that is, a new type of wardrobe where clo- thes are hung on a mechanized device for easier handling; further the remaining parts of the wardrobe are more functional in their construction and use, particularly for disabled people in wheel- chairs.

Prior art comprises conventional wardrobes where the clothes are stored in various compartments, generally in accordance with the user's seasonal requirements, with all the clothes for a given season stored together in a single compartment; also, so-called "wall wardrobes", that is wardrobes built into a small room where the clothes are hung and the user enters to retrieve or replace said clothes, and where the walls of said room form the walls of the wardrobe.

Also, devices are known that operate the horizontal bars located in the compartments of the wardrobes to facilitate the placing and removal of hangers with the articles of clothing: the bar is sup- ported by a rocker mechanism which, when operated by the user, brings it down and out to a lower level; this device is generally located in a single compartment of said multi-season wardrobes.

Also, for use in dry-cleaning establishments and industrial clo- thes warehouses, devices are known for the movement of hanging clothes comprising a carousel, on a variable closed circuit, on which the clothes-hangers are hung.

However, the aforesaid wardrobes do not make for easy storage and retrieval of clothes, and so they cannot be used by disabled peo- ple in wheelchairs, insofar as storage/retrieval has to be carried out standing up; furthermore, said devices are costly and imprac- tical for the disabled.

Such prior art may be subject to considerable improvement with a view to achieving internal movement of the clothes and of the

structures of the wardrobe that will facilitate its use by the disabled.

From the foregoing emerges the need to resolve the technical pro- blem of inventing a device that will vouchsafe internal motion in the wardrobe and allow the space available therein to be fully utilised, while being easy to use for disabled people.

The invention resolves the said technical problem by adopting a mechanized wardrobe for hanging clothes with ease of storage, com- prising at least one compartment fitted with a mechanism for mo- ving the bar carrying the clothes-hangers and the doors of the compartment, in which said bar is connected to the upper shelf and said moving device lowers the bar and the shelf simultaneously.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said drive-me- chanism with exactly vertical excursion of the shelf and bar.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said mechanism consisting of linear actuators.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said mechanism or said actuators motorised and operated by the user.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: in the place of said bar, a mechanism imparting horizontal movement to the hangers with the hanging clothes.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said horizontal drive-mechanism consisting of a carousel fitted with a chain carr- ying the clothes-hangers and wheels rotating on a said horizontal shelf.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said actuators located inside extending columns and supporting said shelf and

said bar or horizontal drive mechanism.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: the shelf and the bar or horizontal drive mechanism carrying the hangers suppor- ted by brackets that project from the internal sidewalls of the wardrobe.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: the extending columns and/or the said linear actuators located in the corners of the inner compartment of the wardrobe.

Also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said doors being sliding doors.

Finally, also adopting, in a further preferred embodiment: said doors being folding doors.

This invention has the following advantages: the lifting device and the carousel for rotating the hanging clothes make the wardro- be according to the invention easy to use not only for the disa- bled but also for the elderly and for people who have trouble using domestic step-ladders and step-ups; the considerable storage capacity, achieved by making the wardrobe twice as deep as normal, allows a large number of articles of clothing to be hung on the same level without their being placed in parts of the wardrobe that are inaccessible or accessible only with difficulty; further- more, the device lowering the inner shelf and the carousel carr- ying the hanging clothes makes the wardrobe extremely versatile.

This new type of wardrobe with the mechanized storage device makes the fullest possible use of the space it occupies, whether in the form of a free-standing structure, as in the case of a wardrobe that is independent of the walls of the room in which it is loca- ted, or in the form of a"wall wardrobe", in which two or three side walls consist of the walls of the room in which it is situa- ted: in the latter case, the lifting device, with actuators fixed

to the sidewalls, offers great advantages; in any case, the war- drobe can be constructed with the supporting shelf and the carou- sel as long as is required.

Some embodiments of the invention are illustrated, purely by way of example, in the three tables of drawings attached, in which Fi- gure 1 is the front view of a wardrobe fitted with the device for lifting the storage shelf and carousel for the hanging clothes; Figure 2 is similar to the previous figure but with the shelf lo- wered; Figure 3 is the plan view of the wardrobe in the previous figures; Figure 4 is the lateral section of the wardrobe with the disabled person in the act of removing or replacing the articles of clo- thing; Figure 5 is a similar section to the previous one with the storage shelf at minimum height to enable the disabled person to replace objects on said shelf; Figure 6 is a partial front view of the wardrobe in which the lif- ting device of the storage shelf is incorporated in the sidewall of the wardrobe.

The figures show: 1, Figure 1, the sidewalls of the wardrobe 2, complete with a back wall 3 and a top 4; 5, the sliding doors, re- presented for simplicity with just the frame, and A, the direction of movement of said doors; 6, the storage shelf, raised by means of an extending column mechanism 7 endowed with movement S obtai- ned by means of linear actuators inside said column and not shown; 8, the clothes-hangers and, 9, the hanging clothes; 10 the carou- sel with chain 11 rotating on said columns 7 with motion G; 12, the containers positioned on said shelf 6 and, 13, the drawer-set equipped with wheels 14.

The figures also show: C, Figure 3; the excursion of the drawer- set when the shelf and the carousel are lowered, so as not to crush the hanging clothes; 15, the disabled person in a wheelchair who can only effect movements D; 16, the wheels of the carousel 10

supporting and moving the chain 11.

Finally, the figures show: 17, Figure 6, a second wardrobe in which the said extending columns 7 are incorporated in the side side-wall 18 of the wardrobe: the storage shelf 19 is supported by brackets 20, which support the carousel 10.

The functioning of the mechanized wardrobe according to the pre- sent invention is as follows: the user, wishing to retrieve or re- place the hanging clothes, operates the control of the said linear actuators of the extending columns 7 to bring the carousel 10 to the desired level by lowering the unit comprising carousel 10 and shelf 6, movement S in the figure, then loads onto or unloads from the chain 11 of the carousel the clothes hangers 8 with the requi- site clothes 9; if the user is restricted in his movements or in a wheelchair, the operation is greatly facilitated by the degree to which the unit comprising the shelf 6 and carousel 10 can be lowe- red; furthermore, should the user wish to retrieve or replace clo- thes in boxes or containers 12 on the shelf 6, he lowers the said shelf further to the position shown in Figure 5 and so is able to put the requisite containers onto said shelf and take them off again without difficulty; in the latter case, the drawer-set 13 must be extracted in direction C from the inside of the wardrobe 2 to prevent the hanging clothes 9 from being crushed on it. For ea- sier access, the front of the wardrobe is divided into doors sli- ding in direction A which make the whole front of the wardrobe, including the carousel 10 and the shelf 6, accessible for loading: the user, especially if in a wheelchair, need only perform move- ments D in relation to the wardrobe and so gain access to all parts of the shelf 6.

The carousel 10, consisting of the chain 11 carrying the clothes- hanger 8, can be constructed in various known ways, generally with two wheels axial to the said extending columns 7, or also as a mo- norail on which interconnected trolleys can run. Said carousel is advantageously motorised, with a feed reduction gear, moreover not

shown, and enables the disabled user to move the hanging clothes 9 while remaining at the same opening between the doors 5 and making the hanging clothes slide past. The controls of the carousel, and/or of the extending columns can be separate or contained on a single control panel, moreover not shown; it can also be designed without wires, that is, with a small radio-control unit.

The above-mentioned linear actuators can be of various known types, that is, electrical with a motor, also step by step, and with an internal screw to transform rotary into linear power; said actuators can well be pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders. Despite this, the raising and lowering of said columns can be achieved, in the cheapest of embodiments, by means of rope pulleys, inside the said columns, with a tackle and windlass for winding up the rope: it can be operated by hand or with an electric reduction gear.

The carousel 10 need not be motorised if the wheels 16 and the chain 11 are low-friction.

In the embodiment with the extending column 7 incorporated in the side wall 18 of the wardrobe 17, in Figure 6, the floor of the wardrobe is freer and the drawer-set 13 can be placed more easily: the wheel 16 of the carousel is coupled to swivel below the brac- ket 20 and the shelf 19.

Furthermore, both in the embodiment with the extending column pla- ced on the floor and with said column incorporated in the side wall of the wardrobe, the wardrobes can be advantageously con- structed in the wall version, making use of suitable areas of the flat and being free to construct the shelf 6 or 19 and the relati- ve carousel 10 to the specification necessary to occupy the whole of said space.

The wardrobe according to the present invention makes the best possible use of space on the premises since all the clothes are hanging in the same room and are readily accessible; however, it can be constructed without a carousel and to a normal depth, desi-

gning shelf 6 with a fixed horizontal bar beneath it on which the hangers 8 with the hanging clothes 9 are hung: this embodiment can be advantageous where the user does not have great quantities of clothes to hang up, but at the same time needs a wardrobe with ea- se of storage; it being possible to lower the shelf and the bar to the level of disabled person in a wheelchair, thus making the war- drobe easy to use.

In practice, the materials, dimensions and details of execution may differ from, but be technically equivalent to, those indicated without departing from the juridical domain of the present inven- tion.

Although less advantageously, the mechanism can be realised diffe- rently from the said extending columns 7, as for example with ar- ticulated quadrilaterals or also with ropes and relative pulleys: in any event, the raising and lowering movement S of the bar or carousel and shelf complex 6 must always be practically vertical or sub-vertical.

Finally, the said actuators, when consisting of pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, can be operated by hand pump in the usual manner.