(19)
(11)EP 1 828 695 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
12.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/07

(21)Application number: 05813306.7

(22)Date of filing:  13.10.2005
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F25D 25/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2005/036992
(87)International publication number:
WO 2006/044641 (27.04.2006 Gazette  2006/17)

(54)

SHELF ASSEMBLY

ABLAGEAUFBAU

ASSEMBLAGE D'ÉTAGÈRE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR

(30)Priority: 15.10.2004 US 619087 P
12.08.2005 US 707623 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
05.09.2007 Bulletin 2007/36

(73)Proprietors:
  • Magna Mirrors of America, Inc.
    Holland, MI 49423 (US)
  • Clarion Technologies, Inc.
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • PICKEN, Alan D., Clarion Technologies Inc.
    Grand Rapids, Michigan 49512 (US)
  • BECKMAN, William
    Holland, Michigan 49423 (US)
  • NESTELL, David, E.
    Spring Lake, Michigan 49456 (US)
  • REPP, R., Scott
    Holland, Michigan 49424 (US)
  • SCHROEDER, Kevin, J.
    Holland, Michigan 49423 (US)

(74)Representative: FRKelly 
27 Clyde Road
Dublin D04 F838
Dublin D04 F838 (IE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 0 271 288
US-A- 5 297 486
US-A- 5 735 589
US-A- 5 947 574
US-A1- 2003 038 571
US-A1- 2004 056 575
US-B1- 6 227 636
US-B2- 6 588 326
JP-A- 2002 071 267
US-A- 5 362 145
US-A- 5 813 741
US-A- 6 105 233
US-A1- 2003 222 043
US-A1- 2006 213 849
US-B2- 6 429 408
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to shelving and, more particularly, to a shelf assembly for use in refrigerators and the like.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] It is known to provide a substantially transparent glass shelf for a refrigerator, where the shelf is supported on a pair of supports extending at least partially along the side edges of the glass shelf. The supports receive the edges of the shelf along side caps or the like to retain the shelf to the supports and to provide a lip along the upper surface of the shelf to form a "spill proof" shelf. Such lips or caps may limit spillage over the edges of the shelves, but may interfere with the upper surface of the shelves and may not be aesthetically pleasing to look at. Examples of such shelves are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,105,233; 6,786,562; 6,113,206;
    6,120,720; 5,228,764; 6,488,347; 6,679,573; 6,604,800; 4,934,541; and 6,729,704. US2004056575 relates to a removable, spill-proof refrigerator shelf that includes a glass shelf panel, a one-piece molded plastic frame member extending about the periphery of and supporting the glass shelf panel, and an adhesive injected into a channel created by the frame member for sealingly fixing the shelf panel within the frame member. The top of the adhesive is made flush with the top surface of the shelf panel, thereby forming a substantially continuous and easily cleaned surface. An integral outer rim is provided about the periphery of the frame member and acts as a barrier to prevent any liquid spilled on the shelf from flowing onto shelves and/or food below.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0003] The present invention provides a shelf assembly for use in a refrigerator in accordance with claim 1. Advantageous features are defined in the dependent claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0004] 

    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a refrigerator shelf assembly in accordance with the present invention, with the side regions turned or curved upwardly along the sides of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the refrigerator shelf assembly of FIG. 1;

    FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the shelf assembly taken along the line III-III in FIG. 2;

    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an unclaimed embodiment of another refrigerator shelf assembly of the present invention, with the side regions turned or curved to form a gutter along the sides of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the shelf assembly taken along the line V-V in FIG. 4;

    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an unclaimed embodiment of a another refrigerator shelf assembly, with the side regions turned or curved to form a raised bump along the sides of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 7 is a sectional view of the shelf assembly taken along the line VII-VII in FIG. 6;

    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another unclaimed embodiment of a refrigerator shelf assembly, with a generally flat shelf panel;

    FIG. 9 is a sectional view of the shelf assembly taken along the line IX-IX in FIG. 8;

    FIG. 10 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 9, showing a shelf panel bonded to a carrier;

    FIG. 11 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 9, showing another shelf assembly having a support bracket with a spill proof lip;

    FIG. 12 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 9, showing another shelf assembly having a shelf panel bonded to a slide or roller mechanism;

    FIG. 13 is a sectional view of the front portion of the shelf panel taken along the line XIII-XIII in FIG. 8;

    FIG. 14 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 13, showing another unclaimed embodiment of a shelf panel;

    FIG. 15 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 13, showing another unclaimed embodiment of a shelf panel, with an extruded channel member along the front edge of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another unclaimed embodiment of a shelf;

    FIG. 17 is a sectional view of another unclaimed embodiment of a shelf panel, with a spill proof form bonded to the upper surface of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 18 is a perspective view of another shelf assembly of the present invention, with the shelf panel having all four perimeter edge portions turned upward to provide perimetal spill protection;

    FIG. 19 is an end elevation of one of the support rails along a side edge portion of a shelf panel of the present invention;

    FIG. 20 is a perspective view of another refrigerator shelf panel in accordance with the present invention;

    FIG. 21 is a plan view of the shelf panel of FIG. 20, showing planar shelf portion dimensions of an exemplary embodiment of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 22 is another plan view of the shelf panel of FIG. 20, showing exemplary dimensions of the shelf panel;

    FIG. 23 is a side elevation of the shelf panel of FIGS. 20-22;

    FIG. 24 is an enlarged sectional view of a rear portion of the shelf panel of the present invention;

    FIG. 25 is an enlarged sectional view of a front portion of the shelf panel of the present invention;

    FIG. 26 is a sectional view of a rear portion of the shelf panel of the present invention; and

    FIG. 27 is a sectional view of a side portion of the shelf panel of the present invention.


    DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0005] Referring now to the drawings and the illustrative embodiments depicted therein, a shelf assembly 10 includes a substantially transparent shelf panel 12 that is supported at least partially along its side regions or edges 14 by respective supports or support brackets or rails 16 (FIGS. 1 and 2). The support brackets 16 are attachable or mountable to a support structure (not shown), such as to a support rack or the like within a refrigerator. The underside or lower surface 18 of shelf panel 12 is bonded to the support brackets 16, such that the support brackets are secured to the lower surface of the shelf panel and thus do not extend over or intrude onto the upper surface of the shelf panel 12. The perimeter side regions or edges 14 and/or the front edge or region 20 and/or the rear edge or region 22 of the shelf panel are curved or bent to provide a spill proof shelf, as discussed in detail below. Although shown and described as a shelf panel assembly for a refrigerator, the shelf panel assembly of the present invention is intended for use in other types of cabinets or coolers or the like, and the term "refrigerator" is intended to include other food storage containers or cold storage containers or devices or cabinets or freezers or the like.

    [0006] Shelf panel 12 comprises a glass panel, and is a substantially transparent strengthened glass panel, such as a tempered or toughened glass panel, suitable for use in a refrigerator environment. The glass panel is be cut to the desired size and shape for the shelf and formed to have the desired curvature along the peripheral edges or perimeter regions of the shelf. For example, the shelf panel is pressed to bend or turn or curve the perimeter regions to the desired shape. In the illustrated embodiment, of FIGS. 1-3, the panel is press bent or pressed against a form so as to form generally upwardly turned side regions 14 to limit or substantially preclude spillage of liquids over the sides of the shelf. For example, the shelf panel is pressed upward against a substantially flat form (with curved side or perimeter edges) while the glass shelf panel is heated, whereby the side edge portions of the shelf panel are bent at the perimeter edges of the form. The shelf panel is then lowered away from the form and cooled or quenched to form the shelf panel. The formed shelf panel is substantially planar or flat between the curved side edge portions or regions..

    [0007] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, each support bracket 16 includes a generally vertical portion 16a that includes tabs 24 or the like at a rearward end of the bracket for mounting the support bracket and shelf assembly within the refrigerator, such as in a manner known in the art. As shown in FIG. 3, each support bracket 16 includes a generally horizontal support portion 16b that extends generally horizontally from an upper end of the vertical portion 16a. The support portion 16b is curved to receive an adhesive bonding material therealong (as discussed below) and/or to generally correspond to the curvature of the side regions 14 of panel 12 (as also discussed below).

    [0008] The side regions 14 of shelf panel 12 thus rest on the support portions 16b of the brackets 16 when the shelf panel is attached to the support brackets 16. As shown in FIG. 3, the lower surface 18 of the shelf panel along the side regions 14 is bonded to the generally horizontal support portion 16b of support brackets 16, such as via curing of a bonding or adhesive material 26 and utilizing bonding processes of the types described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,298,606; 6,128,860; 5,966,874; 5,704,173; and 5,551,197. In the illustrated embodiment, the shelf panel 12 includes a frit layer 28 along the lower surface 18 and along the side regions 14 of the shelf panel to substantially conceal the support brackets or rails along the side regions so that the brackets or rails are not readily viewable through the shelf panel from above the shelf panel.

    [0009] The bonding adhesive 26 is selected from a number of adhesive types or classes including moisture-activated urethanes, such as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,707,521, moisture-activated silicones, moisture-curable activated urethanes, chemically-activated adhesives, and thermally-activated adhesives, and/or the like. Other adhesives, such as aerobically-cured, anaerobically-cured, and radiation-cured adhesives can also be used. When cured, the bondline thickness is in the range of about 1 micron to 10 mm, or about 5 microns to 5 mm, or about 25 microns to 1 mm. The adhesive may be a moisture-activated adhesive, a chemically activated adhesive, a heat or radiation or ultraviolet or microwave radiation activated adhesive or the like, and the shelf panel and brackets or rails are exposed to the appropriate conditions or elements or radiation to cure the adhesive and bond the shelf panel to the brackets or rails, such as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,298,606; 6,128,860; 5,966,874; 5,704,173; and 5,551,197; and 5,331,784.

    [0010] A temporary fixturing adhesive (not shown) may also be provided, such as a hot-melt thermoplastic, which temporarily locates or fixtures the bracket or rail against the panel or frit layer, while the bonding adhesive 26 cures and forms the permanent primary bond. The temporary fixturing adhesive may secure or hold the brackets to the shelf panel until the bonding process is complete and the bonding adhesive has cured and formed the permanent bond. To improve and promote the bonding characteristics of the bonding adhesive, the glass surface (or frit layer), and/or the rail or bracket portion 16a, may be coated with an adhesion-promoting compound or primer, such as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,298,606; 6,128,860; 5,966,874; 5,704,173; and 5,551,197.

    [0011] As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the glass panel includes a frit layer 28 disposed along the side regions of the shelf panel and in the areas or regions at which the brackets are bonded. The frit layer comprises a ceramic frit layer and may function to facilitate adhering or bonding of the edge regions of the shelf panel to the rails. The frit layer is substantially opaque, and thus improves the overall appearance of the shelf, since the bonding surfaces are not readily discernible or viewable through the shelf panel and the frit layers. Examples of such frit layers are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,298,606; 6,128,860; 5,966,874; 5,704,173; and 5,551,197. The frit layer comprises a black or substantially opaque layer, or comprises a white layer or other color as desired, such as to match a color scheme of the refrigerator. The frit layer is disposed onto the lower surface 18 of the shelf panel in any desired pattern, such as stripes, dots, wave pattern or the like, to provide the desired appearance to the refrigerator shelf, depending on the particular application of the shelf assembly.

    [0012] The frit layer is disposed or deposited on and bonded to the lower surface 18 of shelf panel 12 as an opaque frit layer. In some embodiments the frit layer is an opaque ceramic frit layer or coating covering and concealing a region of the surface 18 from a peripheral edge 14a inward. Shelf panel 12, which may be initially in an unstrengthened or untempered condition after cutting and sizing to its desired shape, can be painted, such as by screen coating or other techniques, with a coating of ceramic paint on its lower surface 18. Thereafter, shelf panel 12 may be heated and bent or pressed to the desired contour with a bending furnace or other bending apparatus, followed by strengthening, such as tempering, to strengthen the glass. Such heating, bending and tempering operations cause the ceramic paint to become fused to the lower surface of the shelf panel. Thus, although starting as a layer of paint containing ceramic particles and pigment, the coating ends up as a thin frit layer of ceramic material, which is fused to the lower surface of the glass shelf panel. Since the ceramic frit coating includes a pigment of a desired color, the layer results in a permanent, second or lower surface coloration of the glass shelf panel..

    [0013] The refrigerator shelf of the present invention thus provides a substantially transparent or clear shelf panel (such as a strengthened or tempered glass panel) that is mounted to or bonded to support brackets or rails with no caps or lips extending over the perimeter edges and onto the upper surface of the shelf panel. The shelf panel is formed to have a desired raised shape or lip along one or more of the perimeter edges or regions to limit spillage of liquids over the formed or curved perimeter region or regions. The present invention thus provides a strengthened or tempered glass shelf that is bonded to the support brackets and that has upwardly turned or curved perimeter edge regions. The mounting or bonding portions of the supports or brackets may have bumps or raised portions or dimples or protrusions spaced along the generally horizontal portion of the supports to set the desired or appropriate bond gap or bond layer thickness between the shelf panel surface and the mating surface of the supports or rails or brackets.

    [0014] The shelf panel of the present invention comprises a substantially clear or transparent panel and the bracket comprises a polished or finished metal bracket (such as a painted or coated bracket or a brushed aluminum bracket or a brushed or polished stainless steel bracket or the like). Such a substantially clear shelf panel is often desired for various refrigerator applications or other food storage containers or cabinets or freezers or the like. The brackets and shelf panel of the present invention are attached or secured or bonded together via a curable adhesive bonding material, and the curable adhesive bonding material is selected to be substantially transparent or clear and, index matched or substantially index matched to the glass material (which may have an optical index of approximately 1.45 to approximately 1.55, or about 1.48 to about 1.53, or about 1.5 to about 1.52) and has few to no bubbles or other noticeable imperfections. Thus, a person viewing through the shelf panel from above may principally see or view the bracket and the mounting portion of the bracket under the shelf and not the adhesive or any other materials or components of the shelf assembly. The mounting surfaces or portions of the brackets may be textured or finished or otherwise formed/processed so as to be aesthetically pleasing or cosmetically attractive for viewing through the shelf panel and the adhesive bonding layer. Spacers or beads or the like may be positioned along the bond line to space the shelf panel the appropriate or desired amount above the mounting portion of the brackets, so as to provide a desired bond layer thickness between the mounting portions and the shelf panel. Such spacers or beads are optically index matched with the adhesive material and/or the glass panel material.

    [0015] Optionally, in an unclaimed embodiment the perimeter regions of the shelf panel may be formed to have other shapes. For example, a refrigerator shelf assembly 10' (FIGS. 4 and 5) may include a shelf panel 12' that is pressed or formed or curved to have a channel or trough 30 along the perimeter side edges or regions 14'. As shown in FIG. 5, the shelf support or rail 16' may include a curved generally horizontal portion 16b' that is curved to form a channel that generally corresponds to the shape of the side regions 14' of the shelf panel 12'. The shelf panel may be bonded to the shelf brackets via a bonding material 26', and the lower surface 18' of shelf panel 12' may include a frit layer 28' along the side regions 14', in a similar manner as described above.

    [0016] Similarly, and with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, a refrigerator shelf assembly 10" may include a shelf panel 12" that has a raised bump 32 or reversed channel or trough formed along the perimeter side edges or regions 14". As shown in FIG. 7, the shelf support or bracket or rail 16" may include a curved generally horizontal portion 16b" that is curved to form a channel for receiving the bonding material 26" therealong to bond the panel to the support bracket. The lower surface 18" of shelf panel 12" may include a frit layer 28" along the side regions 14" in a similar manner as described above.

    [0017] Optionally, and with reference to FIGS. 8 and 9, the refrigerator shelf assembly 110 may include a substantially flat shelf panel 112 that is supported on support brackets or rails 116. The perimeter side regions 114 may be bonded to a generally horizontal and partially curved support portion 116b of brackets 116 via a bonding material 126 in a similar manner as described above. The shelf panel 112 may include a frit layer 128 along the lower surface 118 and along the side regions 114, such as described above.

    [0018] Optionally, and as shown in FIG. 10, the support bracket 116' may include a carrier member 134 that is bonded to the shelf panel 112' and that engages or attaches to or receives a portion of the generally horizontal support portions 116b' to secure the shelf panel 112' to the support brackets 116'. In the illustrated embodiment, the carrier member 134 is a generally C-shaped member extending along the lower surface and side regions of the shelf panel (when bonded thereto) and receives an edge or end 116c' of the horizontal portion 116b' of the support bracket 116'. The carrier member 134 may be bonded to the lower surface 118' of panel 112', and preferably to a frit layer 128' at the bonding area 126' along the edge portion 114' of the panel 112'. Such a carrier member may be suitable for use with any of the other shelf panels of the present invention, such as the upwardly curved or channel shaped shelf panels.

    [0019] Optionally, and with reference to FIG. 11, the support bracket or rail 116" of a shelf assembly 110" may include a generally vertical portion 116a" that extends upward above the generally horizontal portion 116b" and that extends or protrudes above the upper surface 136 of the shelf panel 112", in order to provide a lip 138 at least partially along the side edge of the shelf panel to provide a spill proof function to the refrigerator shelf assembly 110". The shelf panel 112" may be substantially flat or planar (as shown in FIG. 11) or may include generally flat side regions or edge portions 114" or curved or bent side regions or edge portions. The lower surface 118" of the shelf panel 112" may include a frit layer 128" thereon and may be bonded (at bonding region 126") to the generally horizontal portion 116b" of the shelf support brackets 116", in a similar manner as described above.

    [0020] Optionally, and as shown in FIG. 12, a shelf panel 112''' of a shelf assembly 110''' may be slidably or movably mounted to the support rails or brackets 116''' and may be movable along the support rails or brackets, such as via a slide mechanism or roller mechanism 144 or the like. For example, the support bracket or rail 116''' may include a roller or rollers 144a (such as two or more rollers spaced along the support bracket) that extend from the rail 116''' and rollingly engage or rotatably support a carrier or rail 144b of a shelf panel 112'''. The carrier 144b may be an elongated rail that defines a channel or track 144c for rotatably receiving the rollers 144a, such that an upper surface 144d of the channel or track 144c rests on the rollers 144a when the shelf panel is mounted to the support or rail or bracket 116'''. The carrier 144b may be bonded to the lower surface 118''' of shelf panel 112''' (and optionally may be bonded to a frit layer along the lower surface of the shelf panel), such as via a bonding adhesive 126'''. The shelf panel 112''' thus may be slidably or movably mounted to the support rail 116''' to facilitate movement of the shelf panel along the support rails or channels. Although shown as a roller and track mechanism, other moving or rolling or sliding means may be implemented to provide relative movement between the shelf panel and the generally fixed support that is mounted in the refrigerator.

    [0021] Optionally, the front and/or rear perimeter regions or edges of the shelf panel may be curved or formed to provide a spill proof function and/or to provide a handle or the like for a user to grasp to move the shelf, such as to lift the shelf to detach the support brackets or rails from the support within the refrigerator, such as to adjust a height or position of the shelf within the refrigerator. For example, and as shown in FIG. 13, the forward edge 120 of the shelf panel may be curved upwardly to provide a spill proof edge along the front of the shelf panel. Optionally, and with reference to FIG. 14, the forward edge 120' may be curved to form a bump 132 along the front edge of the shelf panel. Alternately, the forward edge 120" (FIG. 15) may be generally flat and may be received within and along an extruded member or lip 140 that may provide a handle function and/or a spill proof function along the front edge of the shelf panel. Other shapes or curvatures or forms may be implemented may be implemented.

    [0022] As shown in FIG. 16, a shelf panel 212 may have a bump or raised curvature 232 along the front edge portion 220 and along the side portions 214 (and optionally along the rear edge portion (not shown in FIG. 16) as well) to form a shelf panel that provides a spill proof function substantially or entirely around the perimeter of the shelf panel. The curved perimeter regions may be formed by pressing the strengthened or tempered or toughened glass panel or sheet against a desired form to bend the glass to the desired shape along one or more of its perimeter regions or edges. The panel may be cut or otherwise formed to have a handle portion 242 at a generally central region along the front edge portion 220. Optionally, it is envisioned that the front region may include a frit layer along at least a portion of the front of the shelf panel to enhance the appearance of the shelf and/or to make the handle portion readily viewable and discernible, depending on the application of the shelf assembly.

    [0023] Optionally, and with reference to FIG. 17, a shelf panel 312 may include an upper frame portion or form or guard 346 bonded to the upper surface 336 of shelf panel 312 and along one or more edge regions 314, 320, 322 of the shelf panel. The upper form 346 may be bonded to the upper surface 336, such as via a bonding adhesive 326, such as described above. The upper form or forms are thus bonded to the upper and often Class A finish surface (i.e. a surface readily viewable by a user of the refrigerator and thus required to be aesthetically and functionally acceptable) of the shelf panel. Optionally, the upper form or forms may be bonded to a frit layer at the upper surface of the shelf panel. The upper form or forms may comprise a polymeric or plastic material or may comprise a metallic material or the like. The upper form 346 provides a spill containment function to the otherwise generally flat surface of the shelf panel along the edge region or regions.

    [0024] The upper form 346 may be bonded to the upper surface along the front and/or rear perimeter regions of the shelf panel, particularly for applications where the side regions of the shelf panel are turned upwardly or otherwise formed to provide a spill containment function. Alternately, or additionally, the form may be bonded to the upper surface along the side perimeter regions of the shelf panel, particularly for applications where the front and rear perimeter regions are upwardly turned or otherwise formed to provide a spill containment function. Optionally, an upper frame portion may comprise four sections unitarily formed or joined together and bonded to the upper surface of the shelf panel and along all four perimeter regions of the shelf panel to provide a spill containment function around the perimeter of the shelf panel.

    [0025] Although shown in FIG. 17 as a curved or half-moon shaped form, the upper form or forms or frame may be any other shape or form. It is further envisioned that the upper form or forms or frame may be shaped or molded or otherwise formed to provide other functions. For example, the form or forms may be shaped or molded or otherwise formed to provide a storage or holding function for holding or storing refrigerated items, such as bottles or cans or eggs or the like. For example, the form or forms may include generally cylindrical depressions or recesses for receiving bottles or cans, or may include depressions or recesses for holding or receiving other items, such as eggs or the like. The forms or frame thus may be larger than the form shown in FIG. 17, and may encroach further onto and over the upper surface of the shelf panel to provide for sufficient sized shapes or depressions or recesses or the like for receiving and/or holding and/or retaining the appropriate items or goods thereon. The upper frame or form of the present invention thus may provide a spill containment function and/or a food/drink/etc. storage or holding or retaining function at or near or along the perimeter regions of the upper surface of the shelf panel, and optionally along other regions of the upper surface of the shelf panel as desired.

    [0026] With reference to FIG. 18, a shelf assembly 410 includes a shelf panel 412 supported on support rails or slides or roller assemblies 416. The shelf panel 412 comprises a glass panel with a generally planar central or storage portion 412a and an upwardly turned or curved perimeter portion or spill prevention portion 414. The perimeter portion 414 includes opposite upwardly turned or curved side edge portions 414a, an upwardly turned or curved front edge portion 414b and an upwardly turned or curved rear edge portion 414c, so that the entire perimeter edge portion of the shelf panel is curved or bent upwardly to limit or substantially preclude spillage. The shelf panel thus provides a substantially planar support portion and a four-sided integrated spill protection portion that circumscribes the circumference or entire perimeter of the substantially planar support portion of the shelf panel.

    [0027] The shelf panel comprises a tempered glass panel and is substantially transparent or translucent so that a person may readily view items through the shelf panel or panels of a refrigerator. The glass comprises a thermally tempered glass or a chemically tempered glass, whereby the glass panel is made with a reduced thickness of about one millimeter thick or thereabouts, while providing enhanced strength over other types of glass materials. The panel is press bent or pressed against a form so as to form generally upwardly turned perimeter regions or edge portions to limit or substantially preclude spillage of liquids over the front, rear and/or sides of the shelf panel. For example, the shelf panel is pressed upward against a substantially flat form (with curved perimeter edges) while the glass shelf panel is heated or at an elevated temperature, whereby the perimeter edge portions of the shelf panel are bent at the perimeter edges of the form. The shelf panel is then be lowered away from the form and cooled or quenched (such as air quenched) to form the shelf panel. The formed shelf panel is substantially planar or flat at the central, support or storage region.

    [0028] The shelf panel may be formed via other forming techniques, such as glass molding or the like, to achieve the desired form. Anchor points or bumps or the like may be molded into the lower surface of the side edge portions of the molded shelf panel to provide anchor points for setting the bracket location. A portion of the bracket is molded with the shelf panel so as to provide an integrally or unitarily molded shelf panel and bracket portion. Desirably, the shelf panel comprises substantially clear or transparent glass, but may comprise a tinted glass or colored glass or a plastic material or the like, and may have a pattern or frit layer or the like screened or otherwise applied to the glass or plastic material.

    [0029] As shown in FIGS. 18 and 20-23, the front and side perimeter edge portions 414b, 414a of shelf panel 412 protrude upwardly, such as, for example, about five to ten millimeters or thereabouts, while the rear perimeter edge portion 414c may protrude upwardly a greater amount, such as, for example, about ten to fifteen millimeters or thereabouts, in order to provide a greater lip or raised edge portion along the rear of the shelf panel to substantially preclude items from falling off the rear of the shelf panel. For example, and as shown in FIGS. 23, 24 and 26, the rear edge portion may be turned upwardly to provide a spill prevention lip that extends upward about 14.5 mm from a lower surface of the shelf panel, while FIGS. 23, 25 and 27 illustrate that the front edge portion 414b and/or the side edge portions 414a may be turned upwardly to provide a spill prevention lip that extends upward about 10 mm from the lower surface of the shelf panel. The shelf panel 412 and the edge portions 414a, 414b, 414c are formed and sized to provide the desired generally planar shelf support area and desired spill limiting perimeter lip for the refrigerator shelf. For example, and as can be seen with reference to FIGS. 21 and 22, the shelf panel has cross dimensions X, Y (FIG. 22) of about 435 mm by about 444 mm, with a generally planar support portion having cross dimensions X', Y' (FIG. 21) of about 402 mm by about 397 mm. Such a configuration thus may provide a substantially large generally planar support portion with a reduced amount of the overall shelf length and width dimensions being dedicated to the formation of the upwardly turned spill prevention portions.

    [0030] The shelf panel 412 is supported by a pair of opposite rails or support brackets 416. In the illustrated embodiment, and as can be seen in FIGS. 19 and 27, the side perimeter edge portions 414a are curved upwardly and provide a substantially planar attachment region 414d for attaching a substantially planar bracket attachment portion 416b of the support brackets 416 thereto, as discussed below. For example, and as shown in FIG. 27, the side edge portion 414a has an upwardly turned angle of approximately 30 degrees (but could be formed at other angles). The front edge portion and/or rear edge portion may have a similar upwardly turned angle, or may have a greater or lesser upward angle. For example, the front and side edge portions may have similar upward angles (such as about 30 degrees), while the rear edge portion is curved or bent or formed at a greater angle, such as, for example, about 60 degrees. Such a difference in angles between the side edge portions 414a and the rear edge portion 414c can be seen with reference to FIGS. 26 and 27. The upward angle of the side edge portions may be selected to correspond to the upward angle of the angled attachment portion 416b of the support brackets, so that the support brackets substantially uniformly engage the side edge portions of the shelf panel, as can be seen in FIG. 19.

    [0031] As shown in FIG. 26, the rear perimeter edge portion 414c may be curved or angled upwardly and may be curved upwardly from a location, for example, about 30 mm (or thereabouts) inward from the rear edge (which defines the rear perimeter edge region of the planar portion 412a). The rear perimeter edge portion 414c may curve upwardly at a desired angle and may provide a generally planar or flat region of about 6 mm or thereabouts at an upper portion of the rear edge portion 414c. Likewise, and as shown in FIG. 27, the side perimeter regions or portions 414a may curve upwardly from a side perimeter edge of the planar portion 412a, such as at a location, for example, about 25 mm (or thereabouts) inward from the outer edge of the shelf panel. The side perimeter regions 414a may curve upwardly and may provide the generally planar attachment portion or surface 414d, which may have a generally planar surface of, for example, about 12 mm wide or thereabouts along the length or substantially along the length of the side perimeter portions 414a.

    [0032] Support brackets 416 may be similar to the brackets described above, and may include a generally vertical arm portion 416a and an angled attachment portion 416b for attaching or adhering to the attachment portion or surface 414d of the upwardly turned perimeter side edge portions 414a of shelf panel 412. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 18, brackets 416 are roller assemblies that include roller bearings such that the shelf panel may be substantially smoothly moved between a retracted position and an extended position to ease loading and unloading of items on the shelf. Although shown in FIG. 18 as a roller support assembly, the bracket may comprise a static bracket or a friction slider type bracket or a roller/slider type bracket. For example, and as shown in FIG. 19, the bracket 416' may comprise a static bracket with a generally vertical arm portion 416a' and an angled attachment portion 416d', with the angled attachment portion 416d' angling upward and laterally outward (and angled at an angled or bent region or knee region 416e') to substantially coincide with the angle of the perimeter edge portions. The bracket attachment portion angles downwardly and inwardly, with the vertical arm portion at the outward portion of the bracket, or the bracket attachment portion may be generally horizontal and may extend laterally inward to attach to the lower surface of the generally planar support portion of the shelf panel. The mounting or bonding portions of the support rails or brackets have bumps or raised portions or dimples or protrusions (such as protrusions 416f in FIG. 19) spaced along the angled attachment portion to set the desired or appropriate bond gap or bond layer thickness between the shelf panel surface and the mating surface of the supports or rails or brackets.

    [0033] The brackets may comprise any suitable material, such as a metallic material, such as a powder coated metallic material (such as a white powder coat or a stainless steel looking powder coat or other coatings) or other metallic materials, such as stainless steel or the like, or may comprise a plastic or polymeric material. For slide out or roller bracket applications, the front portion of the shelf panel may include a handle portion formed or established thereon. For example, a handle portion or gripping or grasping element may be bonded to the front portion (such as to the lower surface of the planar support portion and/or of the upwardly turned front portion), to provide a means for a person to readily grasp the shelf panel to pull the shelf panel outward, such as for loading or unloading items at the shelf panel.

    [0034] As can be seen in FIG. 19, attachment portion 416b' of bracket 416' is angled relative to arm portion 416a' to generally correspond with the planar attachment region 414d of side perimeter edge portions 414a of shelf panel 412. A bead of suitable adhesive 417 (such as discussed below) may be applied along the attachment portion of the bracket and/or along the attachment region of the side perimeter edge portion, and the bracket may then be pressed against the attachment region of the shelf panel to adhere or bond the bracket to the shelf panel. As also shown in FIG. 19, the attachment portion 416b' may include a channel or groove 416c' therealong that receives and retains excess adhesive when the bracket is pressed against the attachment region of the shelf and with a bead of adhesive therebetween.

    [0035] The attachment portion 416b thus may be readily adhered to or bonded to the attachment region 414d, such as via a bead of adhesive or the like. Desirably, the adhesive may comprise a transparent adhesive, such as a transparent or substantially transparent epoxy or acrylate or the like. The adhesive may comprise a UV curable adhesive, such as a UV curable acrylate or epoxy or a UV curable optically matching adhesive, such as the optical adhesives of the types commercially available from Norland Products of Cranbury, NJ, or other suitable transparent or substantially transparent adhesive. Such UV curable adhesives provide rapid curing or bonding of the glass shelf panel to the support bracket after the bracket is pressed against the attachment portion of the panel with the adhesive therebetween.

    [0036] The adhesive is selected to be at least partially to substantially space filling so that any tolerances or gaps between the attachment portion 416' of bracket 416' and the lower attachment region 414d of shelf panel 412 are filled in or taken up by the adhesive. Preferably, the adhesive is a clear or substantially transparent adhesive to limit viewability of the adhesive. Beads, such as index matching beads, such as glass beads or fibers or polymeric beads or fibers or the like, may be provided so that the adhesive has an enhanced space filling function between the bracket and the shelf panel.

    [0037] The attachment regions of the shelf panel have a non-transparent coating or frit layer or paint or ink or the like disposed thereon, so as to substantially conceal the support bracket and limit viewing of the support bracket and adhesive through the shelf panel. The frit layer may be disposed or established on the underside of the shelf panel. However, because the lower surface of the shelf panel typically may pass over and contact rollers while the glass is still hot (during manufacturing of the shelf panel), it may be desirable to dispose or establish a frit or paint or ink layer or coating on the upper surface of the shelf panel and along the side attachment regions, while the support bracket is bonded or adhered to the lower uncoated glass surface of the shelf panel. The frit or paint or ink layer or coating is disposed or screened onto either the lower surface or upper surface of the shelf panel after forming the shelf panel. In applications where a non-transparent frit layer or other pattern or the like may be disposed at the attachment portion of the shelf panel, the adhesive may comprise a substantially non-transparent adhesive.

    [0038] Therefore, the present invention provides a substantially transparent glass shelf panel that is bonded along the side regions of its lower surface to a pair of side shelf support brackets so as to avoid interference or intrusion onto the upper surface of the shelf panel. The shelf panel may be formed to have curvatures along one or more side or front or rear perimeter portions or regions, in order to provide the desired appearance and function, such as a spill proof function or handle function or the like, to the shelf panel. The shelf panel may include a frit layer along its lower surface and in the bonding area along the shelf support brackets to conceal the brackets so that they are not readily discernible and viewable through the substantially transparent glass shelf panel. The shelf panel may include an upper frame or form bonded to the upper surface of the shelf panel to provide a spill containment function and/or a storage or holding function at the upper surface of the shelf panel.


    Claims

    1. A shelf assembly (410) for use in a refrigerator, said shelf assembly comprising:

    a shelf panel (412) comprising a glass material;

    said shelf panel (412) comprising a generally planar glass shelf portion (412a) and a perimeter integrated glass spill protection lip that is formed with and circumscribes said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a) and curves upwardly above a generally planar upper surface of said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a);

    wherein said perimeter integrated glass spill protection lip comprises a glass upwardly angled front perimeter region (414b), a glass upwardly angled rear perimeter region (414c) and glass upwardly angled opposite side perimeter regions (414a);

    wherein said glass shelf panel (412) comprises a substantially transparent glass material;

    a frit layer (28) along said upwardly angled side perimeter regions (414a) of said shelf panel (412);

    wherein said upwardly angled front perimeter region (414b), said upwardly angled rear perimeter region (414c) and said upwardly angled perimeter side regions (414a) are upwardly angled along respective perimeter regions of said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a) and curve upwardly above said generally planar upper surface of said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a);

    said upwardly angled side perimeter regions (414a) and said upwardly angled front (414b) and rear perimeter regions (414c) cooperating to provide a raised substantially continuous upwardly angled perimeter integrated glass spill protection lip around the perimeter of said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a);

    said upwardly angled side perimeter regions (414a) having (i) respective upwardly angled upper surfaces above said generally planar upper surface of said generally planar glass shelf portion (412a) and (ii) respective upwardly angled lower attachment surfaces (414d) at an underside of said upwardly angled side perimeter regions (414a); and

    a pair of opposite support rails (416'), each of said support rails (416') having a generally vertical portion (416a') and an angled portion (416b') that extends at an angle from an upper edge region of said generally vertical portion, said angled portions of said support rails (416') being angled to generally correspond to the angle of said upwardly angled side perimeter regions (414a) of said shelf panel (412), said angled portions of said support rails (416') being bonded via a cured adhesive layer (417) along a respective one of said lower attachment surfaces of said side perimeter regions (414a) of said shelf panel (412), wherein said cured adhesive layer comprising a substantially transparent material, said cured adhesive layer comprising an optical index that generally corresponds with an optical index of said substantially transparent glass material.


     
    2. The shelf assembly of claim 1, wherein said shelf panel (412) comprises tempered glass.
     
    3. The shelf assembly of claim 1, wherein said angled portions of said support rails (416') include generally planar portions that are bonded to said lower attachment surfaces of said side perimeter regions (414a) of said shelf panel (412).
     
    4. The shelf assembly of claim 3, wherein said angled portions of said support rails (416') comprise curved portions.
     
    5. The shelf assembly of claim 1, wherein each of said support rails (416') comprises a slide mechanism.
     
    6. The shelf assembly of claim 5, wherein said slide mechanism comprises a fixed rail that is mountable in the refrigerator and a movable rail that includes said angled portion that is bonded to said lower attachment surface of a respective one of said side perimeter regions (414a) of said shelf panel (412), said movable rails being movable along said fixed rails of said support rails (416') to move said shelf panel (412) relative to said fixed rail.
     
    7. The shelf assembly of claim 6, wherein one of said fixed rail and said movable rail includes at least one roller and the other of said fixed rail and said movable rail defines a track therealong, said roller rolling along said track as said shelf panel (412) moves relative to said fixed rail.
     
    8. The shelf assembly of claim 1, wherein said angled portions include a plurality of protrusions (416f') to set a bond layer thickness of said cured adhesive layer between said support rails (416') and said lower attachment surfaces of said shelf panel (412).
     
    9. The shelf assembly of claim 1 including spacing elements between said generally planar portions of said support rails (416') and said lower attachment surfaces of said shelf panel (412), said spacing elements having an optical index that substantially matches said optical indexes of said cured adhesive layer and said substantially transparent glass material.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Ablageaufbau (410) zur Verwendung in einem Kühlschrank, wobei der Ablageaufbau Folgendes umfasst:

    eine Ablageplatte (412), die ein Glasmaterial umfasst;

    wobei die Ablageplatte (412) einen im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnitt (412a) und einen umfangsintegrierten Glasverschüttschutzrand umfasst, der mit dem im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnitt (412a) gebildet ist und diesen umschreibt und nach oben über eine im Allgemeinen planare obere Fläche des im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnittes (412a) gebogen ist;

    wobei der umfangsintegrierte Glasverschüttschutzrand einen nach oben gewinkelten vorderen Glasumfangsbereich (414b), einen nach oben gewinkelten hinteren Glasumfangsbereich (414c) und nach oben gewinkelte gegenüberliegende seitliche Glasumfangsbereiche (414a) umfasst;

    wobei die Glasablageplatte (412) ein im Wesentlichen transparentes Glasmaterial umfasst;

    eine Fritteschicht (28) entlang der nach oben gewinkelten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) der Ablageplatte (412);

    wobei der nach oben gewinkelte vordere Umfangsbereich (414b), der nach oben gewinkelte hintere Umfangsbereich (414c) und die nach oben gewinkelten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) entlang jeweiliger Umfangsbereiche des im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnittes (412a) nach oben gewinkelt sind und nach oben über die im Allgemeinen planare obere Fläche des im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnittes (412a) gebogen sind;

    wobei die nach oben gewinkelten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) und der nach oben gewinkelte vordere (414b) und hintere Umfangsbereich (414c) kooperieren, um einen erhöhten, im Wesentlichen durchgehenden nach oben gewinkelten umfangsintegrierten Glasverschüttschutzrand um den Umfang des im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnittes (412a) bereitzustellen;

    wobei die nach oben gewinkelten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) (i) jeweilige nach oben gewinkelte obere Flächen über der im Allgemeinen planaren oberen Fläche des im Allgemeinen planaren Glasablageabschnittes (412a) und (ii) jeweilige nach oben gewinkelte untere Anbringungsflächen (414d) an einer Unterseite der nach oben gewinkelten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) aufweisen; und

    ein Paar gegenüberliegender Stützschienen (416'), wobei jede der Stützschienen (416') einen im Allgemeinen vertikalen Abschnitt (416a') und einen gewinkelten Abschnitt (416b') aufweist, der sich in einem Winkel von einem oberen Randbereich des im Allgemeinen vertikalen Bereichs erstreckt, wobei die gewinkelten Abschnitte der Stützschienen (416') gewinkelt sind, sodass sie im Allgemeinen dem Winkel der nach oben gerichteten seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) der Ablageplatte (412) entsprechen, wobei die gewinkelten Abschnitte der Stützschienen (416') über eine gehärtete Klebstoffschicht (417) entlang einer jeweiligen der unteren Anbringungsflächen der seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) der Ablageplatte (412) geklebt sind, wobei die gehärtete Klebstoffschicht ein im Wesentlichen transparentes Material umfasst, wobei die gehärtete Klebstoffschicht einen Brechungsindex umfasst, der im Wesentlichen einem Brechungsindex des im Wesentlichen transparenten Glasmaterials entspricht.


     
    2. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Ablageplatte (412) Hartglas umfasst.
     
    3. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 1, wobei die gewinkelten Abschnitte der Stützschienen (416') im Allgemeinen planare Abschnitte beinhalten, die an die unteren Anbringungsflächen der seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) der Ablageplatte (412) geklebt sind.
     
    4. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 3, wobei die gewinkelten Abschnitte der Stützschienen (416') gebogene Abschnitte umfassen.
     
    5. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 1, wobei jede der Stützschienen (416') einen Gleitmechanismus umfasst.
     
    6. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 5, wobei der Gleitmechanismus eine feste Schiene, die in dem Kühlschrank montierbar ist, und eine bewegliche Schiene umfasst, die den gewinkelten Abschnitt beinhaltet, der an die untere Anbringungsfläche eines jeweiligen der seitlichen Umfangsbereiche (414a) der Ablageplatte (412) geklebt ist, wobei die bewegbaren Schienen entlang der festen Schienen der Stützschienen (416') bewegbar sind, um die Ablageplatte (412) relativ zu der festen Schiene zu bewegen.
     
    7. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 6, wobei eine von der festen Schiene und der bewegbaren Schiene zumindest eine Rolle beinhaltet und die andere von der festen Schiene und der bewegbaren Schiene eine Spur dort entlang definiert, wobei die Rolle entlang der Spur rollt, während sich die Ablageplatte (412) relativ zu der festen Schiene bewegt.
     
    8. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 1, wobei die gewinkelten Abschnitte eine Vielzahl von Vorsprüngen (416f') beinhalten, um eine Klebeschichtdicke der gehärteten Klebstoffschicht zwischen den Stützschienen (416') und den unteren Anbringungsflächen der Ablageplatte (412) festzulegen.
     
    9. Ablageaufbau nach Anspruch 1, beinhaltend Beabstandungselemente zwischen den im Allgemeinen planaren Abschnitten der Stützschienen (416') und den unteren Anbringungsflächen der Ablageplatte (412), wobei die Beabstandungselemente einen Brechungsindex aufweisen, der im Wesentlichen mit den Brechungsindizes der gehärteten Klebstoffschicht und des im Wesentlichen transparenten Glasmaterials übereinstimmt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Assemblage d'étagère (410) destiné à une utilisation dans un réfrigérateur, ledit assemblage d'étagère comprenant :

    un panneau d'étagère (412) comprenant un matériau en verre ;

    ledit panneau d'étagère (412) comprenant une partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) et une lèvre de protection contre les déversements en verre intégrée au périmètre qui est formée avec et circonscrit ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) et s'incurve vers le haut au-dessus d'une surface supérieure généralement plane de ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) ;

    dans lequel ladite lèvre de protection contre les déversements en verre intégrée au périmètre comprend une région de périmètre avant inclinée vers le haut en verre (414b), une région de périmètre arrière inclinée vers le haut en verre (414c) et des régions de périmètre latérales opposées inclinées vers le haut en verre (414a) ;

    dans lequel ledit panneau d'étagère en verre (412) comprend un matériau en verre sensiblement transparent ;

    une couche de fritte (28) le long desdites régions de périmètre latérales inclinées vers le haut (414a) dudit panneau d'étagère (412) ;

    dans lequel ladite région de périmètre avant inclinée vers le haut (414b), ladite région de périmètre arrière inclinée vers le haut (414c) et lesdites régions latérales de périmètre inclinées vers le haut (414a) sont inclinées vers le haut le long de régions de périmètre respectives de ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) et s'incurvent vers le haut au-dessus de ladite surface supérieure généralement plane de ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) ;

    lesdites régions de périmètre latérales inclinées vers le haut (414a) et lesdites régions de périmètre avant (414b) et arrière (414c) inclinées vers le haut coopérant pour fournir une lèvre relevée de protection contre les déversements en verre intégrée au périmètre inclinée vers le haut sensiblement continue autour du périmètre de ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) ;

    lesdites régions de périmètre latérales inclinées vers le haut (414a) présentant (i) des surfaces supérieures inclinées vers le haut respectives au-dessus de ladite surface supérieure généralement plane de ladite partie d'étagère en verre généralement plane (412a) et (ii) des surfaces de fixation inférieures inclinées vers le haut (414d) respectives au niveau d'un dessous desdites régions de périmètre latérales inclinées vers le haut (414a) ; et

    une paire de rails de support opposés (416'), chacun desdits rails de support (416') présentant une partie généralement verticale (416a') et une partie inclinée (416b') qui s'étend selon un angle depuis une région de bord supérieur de ladite partie généralement verticale, lesdites parties inclinées desdits rails de support (416') étant inclinés pour correspondre généralement à l'inclinaison desdites régions de périmètre latérales inclinées vers le haut (414a) dudit panneau d'étagère (412), lesdites parties inclinées desdits rails de support (416') étant liées par l'intermédiaire d'une couche adhésive durcie (417) le long d'une respective desdites surfaces de fixation inférieures desdites régions de périmètre latérales (414a) dudit panneau d'étagère (412), dans lequel ladite couche adhésive durcie comprenant un matériau sensiblement transparent, ladite couche adhésive durcie comprenant un indice optique qui correspond généralement à un indice optique dudit matériau en verre sensiblement transparent.


     
    2. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit panneau d'étagère (412) comprend du verre trempé.
     
    3. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites parties inclinées desdits rails de support (416') incluent des parties généralement planes qui sont liées auxdites surfaces de fixation inférieures desdites régions de périmètre latérales (414a) dudit panneau d'étagère (412).
     
    4. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 3, dans lequel lesdites parties inclinées desdits rails de support (416') comprennent des parties incurvées.
     
    5. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacun desdits rails de support (416') comprend un mécanisme de coulissement.
     
    6. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 5, dans lequel ledit mécanisme de coulissement comprend un rail fixe qui peut être monté dans le réfrigérateur et un rail mobile qui inclut ladite partie inclinée qui est liée à ladite surface de fixation inférieure d'une respective desdites régions de périmètre latérales (414a) dudit panneau d'étagère (412), lesdits rails mobiles pouvant être déplacés le long desdits rails fixes desdits rails de support (416') pour déplacer ledit panneau d'étagère (412) par rapport audit rail fixe.
     
    7. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 6, dans lequel un dudit rail fixe et dudit rail mobile inclut au moins une roulette et l'autre dudit rail fixe et dudit rail mobile définit une glissière sur sa longueur, ladite roulette roulant le long de ladite glissière à mesure que ledit panneau d'étagère (412) se déplace par rapport audit rail fixe.
     
    8. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites parties inclinées incluent une pluralité de saillies (416f') pour définir une épaisseur de couche de liaison de ladite couche adhésive durcie entre lesdits rails de support (416') et lesdites surfaces de fixation inférieures dudit panneau d'étagère (412) .
     
    9. Assemblage d'étagère selon la revendication 1 incluant des éléments écarteurs entre lesdites parties généralement planes desdits rails de support (416') et lesdites surfaces de fixation inférieures dudit panneau d'étagère (412), lesdits éléments écarteurs présentant un indice optique qui correspond sensiblement auxdits indices optiques de ladite couche adhésive durcie et dudit matériau en verre sensiblement transparent.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description