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United States Patent Application 20170029171
Kind Code A1
Wang; Scott Chien-Kuo February 2, 2017

TRAY WITH MAGNET FOR SECURING TO VERTICAL SURFACE

Abstract

A portable tray for holding objects, like parts and tools, at a work area, having one or more magnets for securing the tray to a vertical magnetizable surface. The tray comprises a receptacle having a bottom surface, and a wall extending from the bottom surface. The bottom surface does not form a closed shape, but has end edges at each end of the wall. A back panel attaches to each end edge to close the wall. One or more magnets are fixedly disposed in the back panel and are configured to secure the tray to a substantially vertical surface while the tray is in a substantially horizontal orientation. The tray may also include a hanging tab for hanging the tray using fasteners. The tray may also have magnets fixedly disposed on the bottom surface to secure to the tray to a substantially horizontal magnetizable surface while the tray is substantially horizontal.


Inventors: Wang; Scott Chien-Kuo; (Irvine, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

AMPRO NORTH AMERICA CORP.

Chino Hills

CA

US
Assignee: AMPRO NORTH AMERICA CORP.
Chino Hills
CA

Family ID: 1000001375870
Appl. No.: 14/846569
Filed: September 4, 2015


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
29534429Jul 28, 2015
14846569
29534430Jul 28, 2015
29534429
29534439Jul 28, 2015
29534430
29534441Jul 28, 2015
29534439

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: B65D 1/34 20130101; B65D 25/22 20130101
International Class: B65D 25/22 20060101 B65D025/22; B65D 1/34 20060101 B65D001/34

Claims



1. A tray for holding objects, comprising: a receptacle having a bottom surface having a perimeter, a wall extending upward from the perimeter of the bottom surface wherein the wall does not form a closed shape such that the wall has a first end edge and a second end edge, and a back panel attached to the first end edge and second edge, the back panel intersecting the first end edge and second end edge along a full length of the first end edge and along a full length of the second end edge, wherein the wall, the bottom surface, and the back panel form a container having an open top; the receptacle having a receptacle plane defined by one of: a plane defined by a top edge of the wall; and a plane defined by the bottom surface; and a magnet fixedly disposed on the back panel and fixed in a non-adjustable position, the magnet configured such that when the magnet is secured to a substantially vertical magnetizable surface, the receptacle plane is substantially perpendicular to the magnetizable surface.

2. The tray of claim 1, wherein the receptacle has a partial circular shape, such that the bottom surface has a partial circular shape and the wall has a horizontal cross-section which is a partial circular shape.

3. The tray of claim 1, wherein the receptacle has a rectangular shape, such that the bottom surface has a rectangular shape and the wall comprises three sides of a rectangle.

4. The tray of claim 1, further comprising one or more bottom magnets fixedly disposed on a bottom of the receptacle.

5. The tray of claim 1, further comprising a hanging tab disposed on the back panel, the hanging tab comprising a flat panel oriented substantially perpendicular to the receptacle plane and having a plurality of hanging holes.

6. The tray of claim 5, wherein the hanging tab extends laterally upwards from the back plate.

7. The tray of claim 1, further comprising a riser attached to a bottom of the bottom surface, the riser extending downward from the bottom of the bottom surface.

8. The tray of claim 7, further comprising one or more magnets fixedly disposed on the riser.

9. The tray of claim 7, wherein the riser has a resilient bottom insert having grooves.

10. The tray of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of risers attached to a bottom of the bottom surface, each riser extending downward from the bottom of the bottom surface.

11. The tray of claim 10, further comprising one or more magnets fixedly disposed on each riser.

12. A tray for holding objects, comprising: a receptacle having a bottom surface having a perimeter, a wall extending upward from the perimeter of the bottom surface wherein the wall does not form a closed shape such that the wall has a first end edge and a second end edge, and a back panel attached to the first end edge and second end edge, the back panel intersecting the first end edge and second end edge along a full length of the first end edge and along a full length of the second end edge, wherein the wall, the bottom surface, and the back panel form a container having an open top; the receptacle having a receptacle plane defined by one of: a plane defined by a top edge of the wall; and a plane defined by the bottom surface; a magnet fixedly disposed on the back panel and fixed in a non-adjustable position, the magnet configured such that when the magnet is secured to a substantially vertical magnetizable surface, the receptacle plane is substantially perpendicular to the magnetizable surface; a hanging tab disposed on the back panel, the hanging tab comprising a flat panel oriented substantially perpendicular to the receptacle plane and having a plurality of hanging holes; and a riser attached to a bottom of the bottom surface, the riser extending downward from the bottom of the bottom surface.

13. The tray of claim 12, wherein the receptacle has a partial circular shape, such that the bottom surface has a partial circular shape and the wall has a horizontal cross-section which is a partial circular shape.

14. The tray of claim 12, wherein the receptacle has a rectangular shape, such that the bottom surface has a rectangular shape and the wall comprises three sides of a rectangle.

15. The tray of claim 12, further comprising one or more bottom magnets fixedly disposed on a bottom of the receptacle.

16. The tray of claim 12, wherein the hanging tab extends laterally upwards from the back plate.

17. The tray of claim 12, further comprising one or more magnets fixedly disposed on the riser.

18. The tray of claim 12, wherein the riser has a resilient bottom insert having grooves.

19. The tray of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of risers attached to the bottom of the bottom surface, each riser extending downward from the bottom of the bottom surface.

20. The tray of claim 19, further comprising one or more magnets fixedly disposed on each riser.
Description



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This Application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. design patent applications Ser. Nos. 29/534,429, filed Jul. 28, 2015, Ser. No. 29/534,430, filed Jul. 28, 2015, Ser. No. 29/534,439, filed Jul. 28, 2015, and Ser. No. 29/534,441, filed Jul. 28, 2015, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. Section 120, and any other applicable laws. The contents of the aforementioned application(s) are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety as if set forth fully herein.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The field of the invention generally relates to portable trays used to store parts, tools and other objects for convenient access, such as when assembling or repairing devices, and more specifically to portable trays having a side mounted magnet for detachably securing the tray to a substantially vertical, magnetizable surface (e.g., a metallic surface, ferromagnetic surface, etc.) at an easily accessible location.

[0003] A variety of portable trays having magnets for securing the tray to a magnetizable surface have been previously disclosed, such as mechanic's trays. Mechanic's trays and the like are typically used to hold parts and/or tools at the work area for assembling, disassembling and/or repairing machinery such as automobiles, other motorized machines, electronic devices, electromechanical devices, etc. Mechanic's trays are particularly useful in locations where there is not a convenient place to put parts and tools at the work area such as in an engine compartment. The magnets keep the tray from being tipped over, knocked off the spot where they are placed, or sliding on the supporting surface.

[0004] These portable trays generally have a bowl-shaped receptacle and one or more magnets disposed on the bottom of the receptacle. While such trays are useful in situations where there is a substantially horizontal magnetizable surface at the work area, there are situations in which a vertical magnetizable surface is most convenient.

SUMMARY

[0005] The present invention is directed to an innovative portable tray for holding objects, like parts and tools, at a work area, in which the tray has one or more non-adjustable magnets configured to secure the tray to a substantially vertical surface while the tray is in a substantially horizontal orientation. As used herein, the terms "non-adjustable," "fixed" and "fixedly" mean that an element is fixed in position relative to the remaining structure of the tray and cannot be moved without disassembling or breaking the tray or a part of the tray. The term "substantially" with respect to the orientation of an element, such as "substantially vertical" or "substantially horizontal" means that the orientation is within .+-.15.degree. of the reference orientation.

[0006] In one embodiment, a tray according to the present invention comprises a receptacle for holding objects. The receptacle has a bottom surface having a perimeter, and a wall extending upward from the perimeter of the bottom surface wherein the wall does not form a closed shape such that the wall has a first end edge and a second end edge. For example, for a circular shaped receptacle, the wall may extend through an arc of 300.degree. instead of a full 360.degree. circle. The first end edge and second end edge are formed by the edge of the wall at the opposite ends of the arc. A circular shaped wall is only an example, as the wall can be any suitable shape. A back panel is attached to the first end edge and second end edge. The back panel intersects the first end edge and second end edge along a full length of the first end edge and along a full length of the second end edge, thereby forming a closed shape. Thus, the wall, the back panel, and the bottom surface form a container having an open top.

[0007] The orientation of the receptacle is defined relative to the top edge of the wall or the bottom surface of the receptacle. In other words, when the receptacle is in a normal horizontal position, the receptacle has a receptacle plane defined by one of: a plane defined by a top edge of the wall; and a plane defined by the bottom surface. This definition is used to describe the position of the receptacle when the magnets of the tray are secured to a substantially vertical surface, as described below.

[0008] One or more magnets are disposed on the back panel of the receptacle and are fixed in a non-adjustable position. The magnet(s) are configured such that when the magnet(s) are secured to a substantially vertical magnetizable surface, the receptacle plane (and thus, the receptacle) is substantially perpendicular to the magnetizable surface. Accordingly, the tray can be secured to a vertical magnetizable surface using the magnet(s), while the receptacle is oriented in a substantially horizontal position. In this way, the receptacle can effectively hold objects, such as parts and tools (including non-magnetizable objects), while the tray is secured to a vertical surface.

[0009] In another aspect of the present invention, the tray may also have one or more bottom magnet(s) fixedly disposed on a bottom of the receptacle. This allows the tray to also be secured to a substantially horizontal surface, while keeping the tray substantially horizontal for effectively holding objects. The bottom magnets also serve to hold magnetizable objects in the tray regardless of the orientation of the receptacle plane, including being oriented vertically, horizontally, upside-down or any orientation in-between. The bottom magnets also allow the tray to be secured to a substantially vertical service, while the receptacle is oriented in a substantially vertical position.

[0010] In still another aspect, the tray may include a hanging tab disposed on the back panel. The hanging tab may comprise a flat panel oriented perpendicular to the receptacle plane. The flat panel has one or more holes for inserting fasteners, such as nails, screws or bolts, to fasten the tray to a surface, such as a wall.

[0011] In yet another feature, the tray may also include a riser attached to the bottom of the bottom surface of the receptacle. The riser extends downward from the bottom surface and has a substantially flat riser bottom for placing the tray on a flat surface. Where the tray has a riser, the bottom magnet(s) may be disposed on the riser which forms a bottom of the receptacle. For a tray having a larger receptacle, the multiple risers may be disposed on the bottom of the bottom surface of the receptacle, and magnet(s) may be disposed on each of the risers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The invention is illustrated by way of example and not limitation in the figures of the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numbers refer to similar elements, and in which:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a back perspective view of a tray with magnets for mounting to a vertical surface, according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the tray of FIG. 1.

[0015] FIG. 3 is front elevation of the tray of FIG. 1.

[0016] FIG. 4 is back elevation view of the tray of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the tray of FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 6 is a back perspective view of a tray with magnets for mounting to a vertical surface, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of the tray of FIG. 6.

[0020] FIG. 8 is front elevation of the tray of FIG. 6.

[0021] FIG. 9 is back elevation view of the tray of FIG. 6.

[0022] FIG. 10 is a bottom view of the tray of FIG. 6.

[0023] FIG. 11 is a back perspective view of a tray with magnets for mounting to a vertical surface, according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 12 is front elevation of the tray of FIG. 11.

[0025] FIG. 13 is back elevation view of the tray of FIG. 11.

[0026] FIG. 14 is a bottom view of the tray of FIG. 11.

[0027] FIG. 15 is a back perspective view of a tray with magnets for mounting to a vertical surface, according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

[0028] FIG. 16 is front elevation of the tray of FIG. 15.

[0029] FIG. 17 is back elevation view of the tray of FIG. 15.

[0030] FIG. 18 is a bottom view of the tray of FIG. 15.

[0031] FIG. 19 is a back perspective view of a tray with magnets for mounting to a vertical surface, according to still another embodiment of the present invention.

[0032] FIG. 20 is front elevation of the tray of FIG. 19.

[0033] FIG. 21 is back elevation view of the tray of FIG. 19.

[0034] FIG. 22 is a bottom view of the tray of FIG. 19.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0035] Turning first to FIGS. 1-5, one embodiment of a tray 10a having vertical mounting magnets 12 according to the present invention is shown. The tray 10a comprises a receptacle 14 which is configured to hold objects, such as parts and/or tools. The receptacle 14 has a bottom surface 16 which forms the bottom of the receptacle 14. The bottom surface 16 has a perimeter at which the bottom surface 16 intersects a wall 18 which extends upward from the perimeter of the bottom surface 16. The horizontal cross-section of wall 18 does not form a closed shape such that the wall 18 has a first end edge 20 and a second end edge 22 (best shown in FIG. 4). In the case of a circular shaped receptacle 14, the horizontal cross-section of the wall 18 is an arc of less than 360.degree., such as an arc ranging from 200.degree. to 330.degree.. The first end edge 20 and second end edge 22 are formed by the edge of the wall 18 at the opposite ends of the arc. While the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5 has a circular shape, this is only one example, and the wall 18 can be any suitable shape, such as rectangular, other polygonal shape (e.g., pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, etc.), oval, etc. The bottom surface 16 typically will have the same or substantially similar shape. The bottom surface 16 and wall 18 may be formed of any suitable material, such as metal (e.g., steel, stainless steel, aluminum, etc.), or polymer (i.e., plastic). The bottom surface 16 and wall 18 may be formed of the same material or different materials. In addition, the bottom surface 16 and wall 18 may be integrally formed in one part, or they may be separate parts attached together, such as by welding, bonding, adhesive, etc.

[0036] The receptacle 14 also has a back panel 24 attached to the first end edge 20 and second end edge 22, as well as the back side of the bottom surface 16. The back panel 24 intersects and is attached to the first end edge 20 along the full length of the first end edge 20. Similarly, the back panel 24 intersects and is attached to the second end edge 22 along the full length of the second end edge 22. The back panel 24 is a flat plate having edges which intersect and match the first end edge 20, second end edge 22, and bottom surface 16. The back panel 24 may be formed from the same material as bottom surface 16 and/or wall 18, or it may be formed from a different material. The back panel 24 is a separate part from the wall 18--as the wall 18 has the first end edge 20 and second end edge 22--and the back panel 24 is attached to the wall 18 at the first end edge 20 and second end edge 22.

[0037] In order to define the relative orientation of the receptacle and a mounting surface, a normal horizontal position of the receptacle 14 will be specified. The receptacle 14 is shown in its normal horizontal position in the elevation views of the figures, in which a plane defined by the top edge 29 of the wall 18 and/or the bottom surface 16 are in a substantially horizontal orientation. Thus, when the receptacle 14 is in the normal horizontal position, the receptacle 14 has a receptacle plane defined by either a plane defined by the top edge 29 of the wall, or a plane defined by the bottom surface 16. In the case that the top edge 29 or the bottom surface 16 are not flat (i.e., not in a single plane), then the receptacle plane is interpolated from the top edge 29 or the bottom surface 16.

[0038] The tray 10a has a plurality of magnets 12 disposed on the back panel 24. In this exemplary embodiment, there are four round, flat magnets 12 fixed in accommodating recesses or holes in the back panel 24. Any suitable number of magnets 12 may be utilized. For instance, one large magnet may be disposed on the back panel 24, or 2 or more suitably sized magnets may be disposed on the back panel 24. The magnets 12 are positioned and oriented (i.e., configured) such that when the magnets 12 are secured to a substantially vertical magnetizable surface, the receptacle orientation as defined by the receptacle plane is substantially perpendicular to the magnetizable surface. A magnetizable surface is a surface made of a magnetic material such that in the presence of a magnetic field the magnetic material is magnetized creating a force tending to pull the magnetizable element toward the magnetic field source (e.g., steel, materials containing iron, etc.).

[0039] The tray 10a may also have one or more bottom magnet(s) 32 (see FIG. 5) fixedly disposed on the bottom of the receptacle 14 for magnetically securing the tray 10a to a substantially horizontal surface with the receptacle plane in a horizontal orientation, or to a vertical surface with the receptacle plane in a vertical orientation. The bottom magnet(s) 32 may be disposed on a riser 30 forming the bottom of the receptacle 14, as described below.

[0040] In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the tray 10a has a hanging tab 26 for hanging the tray 10a on a substantially vertical surface. The hanging tab 26 is optional, and the embodiments of FIGS. 5-10 and 15-18 show trays 10b which do not have a hanging tab 26. The hanging tab 26 extends from the back plate 24, and may be an extension of the back plate 24 or a separate part attached to the back plate 24. The hanging tab 26 in the described embodiments extends upward from the back plate 24, but may alternatively, or in addition, extend downward or to side(s) of the back plate 24. The hanging tab 26 has a plurality of hanging holes 28 extending through the hanging tab for inserting a fastener which can then be fastened to a wall for hanging the tray 10a.

[0041] The tray 10a also comprises a riser 30 attached to the bottom of the bottom surface 16. The riser 30 extends downward from the bottom of the bottom surface 16 and has a substantially flat riser bottom 34 for placing the tray 10a on a flat surface. This allows the tray 10a to sit very stably on a flat, substantially horizontal surface. Where the tray has a riser, the bottom magnet(s) 32 may be disposed on the riser which forms a bottom of the receptacle 14. For a tray having a larger receptacle (e.g., see embodiment of FIGS. 19-22), multiple risers 30 may be disposed on the bottom of the bottom surface 16 of the receptacle 14, and magnet(s) may be disposed on each of the risers 30. A riser bottom 34 may include a bottom insert 36 made of rubber, plastic, polymer, or other resilient material giving the bottom a more non-slick surface when the tray 10a is placed on a non-magnetic, substantially horizontal surface. The riser bottom 34 and/or riser insert may have grooves for better traction.

[0042] Use of the tray 10a is relatively straightforward. For use in a work area with a substantially vertical magnetizable surface, the tray 10a is secured to the vertical magnetizable surface by contacting the back panel 24 flat against the vertical magnetizable surface. The receptacle plane will extend substantially perpendicularly away from the vertical magnetizable surface, such that the receptacle 14 extends substantially horizontally away from the vertical magnetizable surface. For use in area with a substantially horizontal magnetizable surface, the tray 10a is secured to the horizontal magnetizable surface by contacting the bottom of the receptacle 14 (either the bottom of the bottom surface 16, or the riser bottom 34) to the horizontal magnetizable surface. The receptacle plane will then be substantially parallel to the horizontal magnetizable surface, such that the receptacle is in a horizontal position. For a tray 10a having bottom magnets 32 as described above, the tray 10a can also be secured to magnetizable surfaces having any other orientation, such as horizontal, vertical or anything in-between, and the tray 10a can even be oriented upside-down while magnetically holding objects within the receptacle 14.

[0043] Turning now to FIGS. 6-10, another embodiment of a tray 10b according the present invention is shown. The tray 10b is very similar to the tray 10a except that the tray 10b does not have a hanging tab. Accordingly, like reference numerals refer to like elements among the embodiments, and the description of such elements herein with respect to FIGS. 1-5 applies equally to the elements shown in FIGS. 6-10, as well as FIGS. 11-22, where applicable. Thus, such descriptions are not repeated.

[0044] Turning now to FIGS. 11-14, another embodiment of a tray 10c according to the present invention is shown. The tray 10c is the same as tray 10a, except that the receptacle 14 has a square shape. Accordingly, the bottom surface 16 and wall 18 have a square-like cross-section ("square-like" in that one of the sides of the square is missing). The tray 10c also has a hanging tab 26 having hanging holes 28.

[0045] Referring now to FIGS. 15-18, still another embodiment of a tray 10d according to the present invention is shown. The tray 10d is the same as tray 10c, except that the tray 10d does not have a hanging tab.

[0046] Now turning to FIGS. 19-22, yet another embodiment of a tray 10e according to the present invention is shown. The tray 10e is similar to the tray 10d in most respects, except that the tray 10e is rectangular in shape, the overall tray 10e may be larger than the tray 10d, and the tray 10e comprises two risers 30. As described herein, the magnets 12 may be disposed on the risers 30. The tray 10e also includes two sets of magnets 12 on the back panel 24 so that it can support more weight when the magnets 12 are secured to a substantially vertical magnetizable surface.

[0047] Although particular embodiments have been shown and described, it is to be understood that the above description is not intended to limit the scope of these embodiments. While embodiments and variations of the many aspects of the invention have been disclosed and described herein, such disclosure is provided for purposes of explanation and illustration only. Thus, various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the claims. For example, not all of the components described in the embodiments are necessary, and the invention may include any suitable combinations of the described components, and the general shapes and relative sizes of the components of the invention may be modified. Accordingly, embodiments are intended to exemplify alternatives, modifications, and equivalents that may fall within the scope of the claims. The invention, therefore, should not be limited, except to the following claims, and their equivalents.

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