FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This disclosure is related to impact protection system in general and, more specifically, to impact protection systems for in-store displays.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Grocery stores, warehouse clubs, and other retailers often make use of large open-top chest style freezers and refrigerators. Customers may be able to walk up and view cold or frozen merchandise and reach inside to make their selections. While this is convenient for the customer, the freezers often impede thoroughfares used by stocking crews to transport goods from one location in the store (e.g., a stockroom) to another (e.g., a display space). Moreover, in larger retail environments, pallet skids, forklifts, or other power equipment may be used to increase efficiency, but further increase traffic.
Unfortunately, collisions will occur between the power equipment and the display freezers. While the power equipment is typically quite rugged and able to withstand these impacts, the freezer units typical suffer unacceptable damage. In the past, freezers have been equipped with bumpers attaching directly to the freezer. These bumpers usually attach along the sides and will be larger at the corners to provide additional protection. However, the structure of the freezer itself is generally not strong enough to avoid damage over time, even with the bumpers.
What is needed is a system that addresses the above and related problems.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention disclosed and claimed herein, in one aspect thereof comprises an impact protection system. A plurality of anchor posts is provided with at least one transverse support member between at least two of the plurality of anchor posts. The at least one transverse support member attaches rigidly between the anchor posts to transfer impact force from one anchor post to the next as a compressive force along an axis of the transverse support member.
In one embodiment, the plurality of anchor posts form the corners of a substantially rectilinear barrier around a protected object, and at least one transverse support beam spans the space between each adjacent anchor post. At least one leg may be provided supporting at least one transverse support beam a predetermined distance above the floor. The leg may support the transverse beam against vertical movement but does not necessarily impede axial movement of the transverse beam.
The at least one transverse support member may attach to each of the plurality of anchor posts proximate a lower end of the posts. The plurality of anchor posts may be anchored to a solid floor via at least one anchor bolt. In one embodiment, the plurality of anchor posts and at least one transverse support member comprise food-grade stainless steel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a high impact protection system according to aspects of the present disclosure.
FIG. 2 is a side partial cutaway view of a bollard mounting according to aspects of the present disclosure.
FIG. 3 is a side cutaway view of a portion of the high impact protection system of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4A is a side view of a high impact protection system corner according to aspects of the present disclosure.
FIG. 4B is a superior view of the corner of FIG. 4A.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring now to FIG. 1, a perspective view of a high impact protection system according to aspects of the present disclosure is shown. The high impact protection system, or HIPS, may be constructed so as to surround and protect a protected object. The protected object could be a freezer 101 (as shown in FIG. 1), another kind of retail display, or any other object needing barrier protection against impacts and other damaging events. It can be seen that the present system 100 provides a plurality of bollards or anchor posts 102. In the present embodiment, a single bollard 102 is provided at each of the four corners of the rectilinear shaped freezer 101. The system 100 could easily be adapted to provide impact protection for other systems, even those that are not square or rectangular in shape.
In the present embodiment, the four bollards 102 at the four corners of the chest freezer 101 will be anchored securely to the ground or floor 104. A segment of continuous railing 106 is provided between each bollard 102. The continuous railing 106 operates as a transverse support member between each of the bollards 102. Corners 108 may be affixed to each bollard 102, providing connecting means to interface with the continuous railing 106. It can be seen that the continuous railing 106 is supported a predetermined distance from the floor 104 by legs 110. In the present embodiment, the legs 110 function as intermediate support members for the continuous railing 106.
In one embodiment, the corners 108 will be allowed freedom of movement in the vertical direction relative to the bollard 102. In such embodiment, it is the legs 110 that restrain the continuous railing 106, and thus the corners 108, at the appropriate height above the floor 104. This allows impacts received at any one of the bollards 102 to be transmitted only in a transverse direction through the transverse members or continuous railing 106 to one or more adjacent bollards 102. Thus, an impact at one bollard 102 that is excessive enough to cause movement of the bollard 102 will be transmitted directly to an adjacent bollard 102 without damage to the legs 110 or other components. The impact force may be transmitted as a compressive force along the axis of the continuous railing 106 between the bollards 102. In one embodiment, the legs 110 will provide a sliding fit with the continuous railing 106 such that axial forces along the continuous railing 106 are not impeded by the legs 110 and such forces do not affect the integrity of the legs 110.
Referring now to FIG. 2, a side partial cutaway view of a bollard mounting according to aspects of the present disclosure is shown. In one embodiment, the bollards 102 of FIG. 1 may comprise the separate elements as shown in FIG. 2. In one embodiment, the body or post 202 may be threaded with threads 204. The threads 204 interfit with threads 208 provided along the inner diameter of base 206. It can be seen that the base 206 is secured to the floor 104, which may be concrete, by an anchor bolt 210. In order to provide a flush mounting of the bollard 102 onto the floor 104, the base 206 will be secured by anchor bolt 210 into the floor 104. Following this, the post 202 will be screwed into the base 206.
Referring now to FIG. 3, a side cutaway view of a portion of the high impact protection system of FIG. 1 is shown. The portion 300 of the high impact protection system shown in FIG. 3 illustrates the bollard 102 having been anchored securely to the ground 104 as described previously. In the present embodiment, the corner 108 has been provided on the bollard 102 and in the present embodiment is allowed to slide freely up or down the bollard 102. Both the bollard 102 and the corner 108 may be made from a number of different materials, including but not limited to food grade stainless steel, painted iron materials, powder coated materials, and/or polymer materials such as plastic.
The corner 108 can be seen interfacing with the continuous railing 106. The present embodiment provides a slip joint configuration between the corner 108 and the continuous railing 106. The continuous railing 106 is supported a predetermined distance above the floor 104 by the leg 110. The leg 110 may be securely anchored to the floor 104 by an affixed or captive anchor bolt 302. As described previously, the floor 104 may be concrete and therefore the anchor bolt 302 may be a concrete anchor bolt.
Referring now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, FIG. 4A illustrates a side view of a high impact protection system corner 108 according to aspects of the present disclosure while FIG. 4B is a superior view of the same component. The corner 108 may comprise a ring member 402. In the present embodiment, the high impact protection system is designed to protect a substantially rectilinear freezer chest 101. Therefore, the corner 108 also comprises two right angle members 404. The right angle members 404 attach to the ring member 402 at substantially right angles to one another.
Distal from the ring member 402 on the right angle members 404 is a collar 406. The collar 406 attaches to mating ends 408. As can be seen from FIG. 3, the mating ends 408 are sized to interfit with an inner diameter of the continuous railing 106. In one embodiment, the collar 406 defines the limit to which the continuous railing 106 can slide over the mating end 408. From the superior view of FIG. 4B, it can be seen that the ring member 402 defines a bollard ring 410.
In one method of constructing the high impact protection system of the present disclosure, a number of bollards 102 may be affixed to the ground 104 as was described with respect to FIG. 2. The corners 108 may then be interfitted with the continuous railing 106. Following this, the corners 108 may be slid down on top of the bollards 102. The legs 110, if so provided, may then be securely anchored to the ground 104 as well. In another embodiment, the base 206 of the bollards 102 may be anchored in place around the freezer 101 followed by anchoring of the legs 110 in the appropriate location. The continuous railing 106 may then be interfitted with the legs 110. At this point, the corners 108 may be mated up with the continuous railing 106. Following this, the body or post 202 of each bollard 102 may be threaded to the base 206 as previously described.
Thus, the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objectives and attain the ends and advantages mentioned above as well as those inherent therein. While presently preferred embodiments have been described for purposes of this disclosure, numerous changes and modifications will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. Such changes and modifications are encompassed within the spirit of this invention as defined by the claims.