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United States Patent Application 20170280875
Kind Code A1
Buckley; Thomas I. ;   et al. October 5, 2017

WELDLESS SUPPORT BEAM FOR RACK SHELVING

Abstract

A shelving support member includes a unitary member of a bent sheet material and defining a support portion extending along an axis to a first end and a retention portion disposed at the first end of the support portion. The retention portion defines a base extending congruently with the support portion at least partially along the axis and to a first fold in the member. A reinforcement portion extends from the first fold along and in contact with the base. A first punched area is defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement portion of the retention portion.


Inventors: Buckley; Thomas I.; (Stevensville, MI) ; Duffy; Patrick J.; (St. Joseph, MI) ; Lownds; Zachary A.; (St. Joseph, MI) ; Pennington; Matthew E.; (St. Joseph, MI)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION

BENTON HARBOR

MI

US
Assignee: WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION
BENTON HARBOR
MI

Family ID: 1000002126323
Appl. No.: 15/086680
Filed: March 31, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47B 96/1441 20130101; B21D 47/01 20130101; A47B 47/021 20130101; A47B 57/34 20130101
International Class: A47B 96/14 20060101 A47B096/14; A47B 47/02 20060101 A47B047/02; B21D 47/01 20060101 B21D047/01; A47B 57/34 20060101 A47B057/34

Claims



1. A shelving support member, comprising: a unitary member of a formed sheet material and defining: a support portion defining a C-shaped cross section of the sheet material and extending along an axis to a first end; and a retention portion disposed at the first end of the support portion and defining a base extending congruently with the support portion at least partially along the axis, the base further extending to a first fold in the member, a reinforcement portion extending from the first fold along and in contact with at least a portion of the base; wherein a first punched area is defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement portion of the retention portion.

2. The shelving support member of claim 1, further including a first attachment rivet coupled with the unitary member through the first punched area.

3. The shelving support member of claim 2, wherein a second punched area is defined through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion, the support member further including a second attachment rivet coupled with the unitary member through the second punched area.

4. The shelving support member of claim 2, wherein a second punched area is defined through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion, the support member further including a retention tab coupled with the unitary member within the second punched area.

5. The shelving support member of claim 2, wherein the unitary member further defines a second fold at an end of the reinforcement portion opposite the first fold and an stabilizer tab extending from the second fold perpendicular to the axis.

6. The shelving support member of claim 5, wherein upper and lower flanges within the C-shaped cross section define respective edges extending along an upper and a lower edge of the stabilizer tab, respectively.

7. The shelving support member of claim 1, wherein the punched area is defined by three cut edges and one folded edge, the folded edge joining a coupling tab with the retention portion.

8. The shelving support member of claim 7, wherein the coupling tab includes a first portion extending congruently from the base and a second portion extending congruently from the reinforcement portion, the first and second portions of the coupling tab contacting each other.

9. A shelving system, comprising: a first vertical member; and a shelf support beam, including: a unitary member defining: a support portion including sheet material extending along an axis from a first end; and a retention portion disposed at the end of the support portion and defining a base extending congruently with the support portion and at least partially along the axis, the base further extending to a first fold in the unitary member, a reinforcement portion extending oppositely from the first fold along and in contact with at least a portion of the base, a first punched area being defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion; wherein the shelf support beam is coupleable with the first vertical member at the retention portion thereof such that the shelf support beam extends perpendicularly from the first vertical member.

10. The shelving system of claim 9, wherein: the shelf support beam further includes a first attachment rivet coupled with the unitary member through the first punched area; and the vertical member includes at least one slot along a portion thereof, the slot receiving the attachment rivet to couple the shelf support beam to the vertical member.

11. The shelving system of claim 10, wherein: a second punched area is defined through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion of the shelf support beam; and the shelf support beam further includes a second attachment rivet coupled with the unitary member through the second punched area.

12. The shelving system of claim 9, wherein: the unitary member further defines a second fold at an end of the reinforcement portion opposite the first fold and an stabilizer tab extending from the second fold perpendicular to the reinforcement portion; the reinforcement portion is positionable along a first surface of the first vertical member when the shelf support beam is coupled therewith; and the stabilizer tab extends along an edge of the first vertical member adjacent the first surface when the shelf support beam is coupled therewith.

13. The shelving system of claim 12, wherein the support portion of the unitary member defines a C-shaped cross section of the sheet material, upper and lower flanges within the C-shaped cross section defining respective edges extending along adjacent upper and lower edge of the stabilizer tab.

14. The shelving system of claim 9, wherein: the first punched area is defined by three cut edges and one folded edge, the folded edge joining a first coupling tab with the retention portion; and the vertical member includes at least one slot along a portion thereof, the slot receiving the first coupling tab to couple the shelf support beam to the vertical member.

15. The shelving system of claim 14, wherein a second punched area is defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion, the second punched area being defined by three cute edges and one folded edge, the folded edge joining a second coupling tab with the retention portion.

16. The shelving system of claim 14, wherein the first coupling tab includes a first portion extending congruently from the base and a second portion extending congruently from the reinforcement portion, the first and second portions of the first coupling tab contacting each other.

17. A method for making a shelving support member, comprising: bending an extension tab extending from a support portion, the support portion defining a C-shaped section of sheet material and extending along an axis to a first end, and the extension tab initially extending along the axis beyond the first end of the support portion and being bent to form a first fold separating the extension tab into a base extending congruently with the support portion and a reinforcement portion extending oppositely from the first fold along and in contact with at least a portion the base; and forming a first punched area in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement member.

18. The method of claim 17, further including coupling an attachment rivet with the base and the reinforcement portion through the punched area.

19. The method of claim 17, further including subsequently bending the reinforcement portion to form a second fold and defining a stabilizer tab extending perpendicularly from the reinforcement portion and extending along respective upper and lower flanges of the C-shaped cross section.

20. The method of claim 17, wherein the punched area is formed through the base and the reinforcement member by forming three cut edges and folding respective sections of both the base and the reinforcement member within the three cut edges into a coupling tab spaced from the reinforcement member and having a portion extending generally parallel thereto.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] The present device generally relates to a support member for use in a shelving system. In particular, the support member includes ends thereof that are reinforced for retaining the support member in the related system without the use of welding.

[0002] Rack-type shelving systems are used in heavy-duty storage scenarios. These types of shelving systems typically use elongated metal components that are assembled together to give the resultant shelving units their shape, mechanical support, and to position the associated shelves. Typically, these components are assembled at 90.degree. angles that extend relative to each other in various directions, depending on the particular component. Variations of this shelving include components that can be assembled together without separate fasteners or tools by use of interlocking tabs, slots, and the like. Further, the components of these types of shelving are often fabricated from bent sheet material or various extrusions, to give the desired strength at a reduced weight and cost compared to solid or cast materials.

[0003] Because of the structure of the assembled shelving units, in which various components are relied upon in the assembly for providing strength along the various axes, relatively thin materials can be used with profiles that generally resist bending along the lengths of the components. However, in the areas where the components are assembled together, such thin material may not be able to withstand the loads imparted thereon due to shelf loading or the like. Accordingly, coupling ends of these components, particularly longer shelving support members or beams, are often made of thicker material that is welded onto the ends of the component. The additional material and components associated with this construction can add to manufacturing time and overall cost. Accordingly, further advances may be desired.

SUMMARY

[0004] According to an aspect of the present disclosure, a shelving support member includes a unitary member of a bent sheet material and defining a support portion extending along an axis to a first end and a retention portion disposed at the first end of the support portion. The retention portion defines a base extending congruently with the support portion along the axis to a first fold in the member. A reinforcement portion extends from the first fold toward the first end of the support portion in contact with the base. A first punched area is defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement portion of the retention portion.

[0005] According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a shelving system includes a first vertical member and a shelf support beam. The shelf support beam includes a unitary member defining a support portion including sheet material extending along an axis from a first end and a retention portion disposed at the end of the support portion. The retention portion defines a base extending congruently with the support portion along the axis to a first fold in the member. A reinforcement portion extends oppositely from the base along the axis in contact with the base. A first punched area is defined in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement member of the retention portion. The shelf support beam is coupleable with the first vertical member at the retention portion thereof such that the shelf support beam extends perpendicularly from the first vertical member.

[0006] According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a method for making a shelving support member includes bending an extension tab extending from a support portion along an axis to a first end. The extension tab initially extends along the axis beyond the first end of the support portion and is bent to form a first fold separating the extension tab into a base extending congruently with the support portion and a reinforcement portion extending oppositely from the base along the axis in contact with the base. The method further includes forming a first punched area in an aligned manner through both the base and the reinforcement member.

[0007] These and other features, advantages, and objects of the present device will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art upon studying the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] In the drawings:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a shelving support beam according to an aspect of the present disclosure;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a shelving system including the shelving support beam of FIG. 1;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a perspective detail view of the shelving support beam of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a top detail view of the shelving support beam of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a perspective detail view of the shelving system of FIG. 2, including the shelving support beam of FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a perspective detail view of the shelving system of FIG. 2, including the shelving support beam of FIG. 1 in a step of assembly with an associated vertical member;

[0015] FIG. 7 is a perspective detail view of the shelving system of FIG. 2, including the shelving support beam of FIG. 1 in a subsequent step of assembly with an associated vertical member;

[0016] FIG. 8 is bottom elevation detail view of a variation of a support beam shown in the assembly of FIG. 2;

[0017] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an alternative shelving support beam according to another aspect of the present disclosure;

[0018] FIG. 10 is a rear detail view of the shelving support beam of FIG. 9 during a stage of assembly with an associated vertical member of a shelving system;

[0019] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a further alternative shelving support beam according to another aspect of the present disclosure;

[0020] FIG. 12 is a rear detail view of the shelving support beam of FIG. 10 during a stage of assembly with an associated vertical member of a shelving system; and

[0021] FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a further alternative shelving support beam according to another aspect of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0022] For purposes of description herein the terms "upper," "lower," "right," "left," "rear," "front," "vertical," "horizontal," and derivatives thereof shall relate to the device as oriented in FIG. 1. However, it is to be understood that the device may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.

[0023] Referring to the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-7, reference numeral 10 generally designates a shelving support member. Shelving support member 10 includes a unitary sheet material member 12 that is bent or otherwise formed to define a support portion 14 extending along an axis 16 to a first end 18. Unitary member 12 further defines a retention portion 20 disposed at the first end 18 of the support portion 14. Retention portion 20 further defines a base 22 extending congruently with the support portion 14 along the axis 16 to a first fold 24 in unitary member 12. A reinforcement portion 26 extends oppositely along axis 16 from the first fold 24 in contact with base 22. A first punched area 28 is defined in an aligned manner through both base 22 and reinforcement portion 26 of the retention portion 20.

[0024] As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the punched area 28 included in the retention portion 20 of the present embodiment is defined by a generally U-shaped or C-shaped cut through both retention portion 20 and reinforcement portion 26. In particular, the cut defining punched area 28 includes a first cut edge 72 and respective upper and lower 74 and 76 cut edges extending away from first cut edge 72. In this manner, a coupling tab 78 can be formed integrally with retention portion 20 by bending the remaining portions of base 22 and reinforcement portion 26 defined within punched area 28 along a folded edge 80 extending between ends of cut edges 74 and 76 opposite cut edge 72. Further, coupling tab 78 can be bent back toward reinforcement portion 26 such that at least a portion thereof extends generally parallel with reinforcement portion 26. Coupling tab 78 can facilitate coupling of support member 10 with an associated component of a shelving system 34 (FIG. 2), as discussed further below.

[0025] As shown in FIG. 4, coupling tab 78 includes a first portion 82 extending integrally with reinforcement portion 26 and a second portion 84 extending integrally with base 22. In this manner, the inclusion of coupling tab 78 integral with retention portion 20 can serve to at least partially secure reinforcement portion 26 against base 22 due to the presence of folded edge 80 and the additional end of coupling tab 78 itself (or at least increase the resistance of retention portion 20 from being un-bent at fold 24). Further, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, folded edge 80 can be angled with respect to, for example, first fold 24. This arrangement may further facilitate retention of reinforcement portion 26 against base 22. By providing retention portion 20 with two material layers (base 22 and reinforcement portion 26) that together retain coupling tab 78, support member 10 can be strengthened in the area of connection with a related vertical shelving member 32 (FIG. 2) without the need for an additional welded component. Accordingly, support member 10 can include a single sheet material comprising unitary member 12, as described above, while providing desired strength in the area of coupling tab 78.

[0026] Referring now to FIG. 2, a shelving system 34 is illustrated that includes a number of support members 10 coupled with a set of four vertical members 32. As illustrated, support members 10 can extend horizontally between two respective vertical numbers 32 and can be arranged in horizontally-aligned pairs between respective sets of such vertical members 32. In this arrangement, the horizontally-aligned pairs of support members 10 can support a shelf 33 thereon. As depicted, additional structural elements can extend perpendicularly to support members 10 between adjacent vertical members 32 to fully retain system 34 together. These structural elements can include, for example, braces 35, shelf supports 37, additional braces, or the like. As further shown in FIG. 2, the vertical members 32 can include a plurality of slots 36 arranged along a height thereof at regular intervals. Such slots 36 can be spaced apart at intervals to allow for varied, user-selected spacing between the pairs of horizontally-aligned support members and, accordingly, the shelves supported thereon.

[0027] As further shown in FIGS. 5-7, the plurality of slots 36 included in vertical member 32 can be shaped to receive coupling tab 78 therethrough by movement of support member 10 toward vertical member 32 in a generally horizontal direction. Slots 36 can further provide an interengaging arrangement, in which a portion of vertical member 32 is captured between reinforcement portion 26 and coupling tab 78 when support member 10 is moved in a generally vertical direction 70 along vertical member 32. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, slots 36 are generally angled to match the angle of folded edge 80 and may include a tapered portion 86 to a lower end thereof to guide a portion of vertical member 32 between reinforcement portion 26 and coupling tab 78 during the above-described vertical movement of support member 10 with respect to vertical member 32.

[0028] FIG. 8 shows another support member 11 that is shown in the assembled shelving system 34 of FIG. 2 along the top and bottom of the system 34 in place of the beams 10 discussed above with respect to FIGS. 1 and 3-7. In particular, support member 11 includes a unitary sheet material member 13 defining a support portion 15 and retention portions 21 on opposite ends thereof, including first end 19. As illustrated, retention portion 21 includes a two part-base including a first portion 23a that extends from support portion 15 along axis 17 and a second portion 23b joined with the first portion 23a at a bend 25a such that second portion 23b is approximately perpendicular to and extends away from first portion 23a. Fold 25b is positioned along the end of second base portion 23b with reinforcement portion 27 extending therefrom back toward first portion 23a in a doubled-over manner similar to reinforcement portion 26 and base 22 of support member 10, discussed above. As further shown in FIG. 8, a coupling tab 79 that is generally similar to coupling tab 78 is present within retention portion 21 extending from a punched area 73 through second base portion 23b and reinforcement portion 27. Coupling tab 79, accordingly, includes respective portions 83 and 85 extending congruently from reinforcement portion 27 and second base portion 23b.

[0029] As shown in FIG. 2, the positioning of coupling tab 79 along second base portion 23b and the associated reinforcement portion 27 can position coupling tab 79 so as to engage with one of the slots 36 positioned toward the outside of the support member 11 (i.e. ones of slots 36 that are perpendicular to those of slots 36 engaged by the coupling tabs 78 of support members 10). This may be advantageous for the joining of vertical members 32 in the locations in which support members 11 are illustrated, including for structural and assembly purposes. Further, variations of assembly 34 are possible with support members 11 in place of one or all of the support members 10. Conversely, an assembly 34 with additional ones of support members 10 in place of support members 11 is also contemplated.

[0030] As discussed above, support member 10 comprises a bent or otherwise formed structure of metal (such as steel, for example) sheet material. Accordingly, in a method of fabricating support member 10, a blank of sheet material of metal having appropriate properties, and of appropriate size for the particular support member 10 being fabricated, can be cut into a shape that can be bent and folded in the form shown in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4. Suitable materials may include galvanized or stainless steel, various aluminum alloys, or the like. In general, the cut form will include a two-dimensional shape with areas thereof corresponding to vertical portion 48, upper flange 50, and lower flange 52 of support portion 14, as well as areas for base 22 and reinforcement portion 26. The cut material may be formed using stamping, sawing, laser cutting, or the like.

[0031] Subsequently, the material can be bent to form upper flange 50 and lower flange 52 of support portion 14, including by bending the designated area corresponding thereto with respect to vertical portion 48 such that upper flange 50 and lower flange 52 extend inwardly away therefrom at the desired angle (e.g., 90.degree.). Additionally, if desired, shelf recess 54 can be bent into upper flange 50. Subsequently, retention portion 20 can be formed by bending the cut material along the desired area of first fold 24 to define base 22 and reinforcement portion 26. Subsequently, the above-described punched area 28 can be formed through retention portion 20 by stamping or punching of base 22 and reinforcement portion 26 in a single operation, according to the various techniques described above. Coupling tab 78 can be defined within punched area 28 by forming folded edge 80 between cut edge 74 and 76 by bending, stamping, or the like, with coupling tab 78 being further shaped by bending or folding. In one embodiment, punched area 28 and coupling tab 78 can be simultaneously formed by a combined punching and stamping operation in which a single tool and die arrangement is used to form cut edges 72, 74, and 76 in a single operation in which the portion of retention portion 20 defined within cut edges 72, 74, and 76 is then bent to define folded edge 80 and the desired shape of coupling tab 78. Support members 11 can be fabricated in a similar manner, with an additional fold 25a being incorporated between respective portions 23a and 23b.

[0032] Turning now to FIG. 9, a variation of a support member 110 that is generally similar in some respects to support member 10 discussed above with respect to FIGS. 1-7 is shown. Support member 110 includes a general structure, as described above, including a unitary sheet material member 112 defining a support portion 114 and retention portions 120 on opposite ends thereof, including first end 118. As illustrated, retention portion 120 includes a base 122 having a first fold 124 on an end thereof opposite support portion 114, such a fold 124 joining base 122 with a reinforcement portion 126 extending generally therealong in a doubled-over manner, thereby providing additional support for retention portion 120 in the same manner as discussed above.

[0033] As further shown in FIG. 9, shelving support member 110 can include at least one attachment rivet 130 coupled with the unitary member 112 through the first punched area 128. In this manner, rivet 130 is secured through both base 122 and reinforcement portion 126, thusly helping secure reinforcement portion 126 in contact with base 122. Further, rivet 130 may be configured to a facilitate coupling between retention portion 120 and a vertical support member 132, as part of a shelving system 134 that is generally similar to that which is discussed above with reference to FIG. 2. Thusly, the doubling over of unitary member 112 within retention portion 120 can provide beneficial additional structural strength. Particularly, in a similar manner to that which is discussed above, this reinforcement helps prevents deflection, weakening, or even rupture of retention portion 20 due to load concentration thereon due to the coupling and support provided by rivet 130.

[0034] With additional reference to FIG. 10, the present embodiment of support member 110 is shown having a second punched area 138 beneath first punched area 128, second punched area 138 having a second attachment rivet 140 extending therethrough to couple with both base 122 and reinforcement portion 126 of retention portion 120. This arrangement can give additional support and stability for the coupling between retention portion 120 and vertical member 132, and can also facilitate an arrangement in which support member 110 extends from vertical member 132 in a generally horizontal manner (i.e. generally perpendicular to vertical member 132). As shown in FIG. 10, first rivet 130 and second rivet 140 can be spaced apart vertically at an interval generally equal to an interval between slots 136 in vertical member 132. This arrangement can provide for an adjustment interval of support member 110 that is equal to the spacing between first rivet 130 and second rivet 140.

[0035] As further shown in FIG. 9, the present embodiment of support member 110 can include a second fold 142 at an end of reinforcement portion 126 opposite first fold 124, the second fold 142 positioning a stabilizer tab 144 in a generally perpendicular relationship with reinforcement portion 126 and with base 122. Stabilizer tab 144 can provide additional rigidity for retention portion 120. In particular, stabilizer tab 144 can make retention portion 120 further resistant to bending along axis 116.

[0036] Further, as shown in FIG. 9, within support portion 114 support member 110 can define a generally C-shaped cross-sectional profile 146. In such a profile, support portion 114 can define a generally vertical mid portion 148, from which base 122 extends congruently, as discussed above. An upper flange 150 and a lower flange 152 can extend away from vertical mid portion 148, thereby providing structural rigidity for support portion 114 and, further, providing an area 154 that is recessed to receive, for example, a substrate used to form the associated shelf (similar to shelf 33 in FIG. 2). As shown in FIG. 9, upper flange 150 and lower flange 152 can define respective edges 156 and can be arranged such that adjacent upper and lower edges 158, 160 of stabilizer tab 144 extend, at least partially, therealong. As shown, this arrangement can include stabilizer tab 144 being inset with respect to upper flange 150 and/or lower flange 152, which can help resist twisting or other deformation of support member 110, particularly at a junction between support portion 114 and retention portion 120. It is to be understood that a second retention portion may be present along support member 110 at an end of support portion 114 opposite first end 118, such second retention portion 120 being generally a mirror-image of retention portion 120 depicted in FIG. 9.

[0037] As shown in FIG. 10, support member 110 can be assembled with respective vertical members 132 in a shelving system that may be similar to that which is described above with respect to FIG. 2. In particular, vertical member 132 can include slots 136 appropriately sized and positioned to receive and retain rivet 130 therein. As shown in FIG. 10, when retention portion 120 is coupled with vertical member 132, reinforcement member 126 generally contacts a first surface 162 of vertical member 132. In some embodiments, stabilizer tab 144 may contact an edge 163 of vertical member 132 adjacent to first surface 162. In other embodiments, a second surface of vertical member 132 may extend away from first surface 162 such that stabilizer tab 144 is in contact therewith when support member 110 is assembled with vertical member 132. In particular, In this manner, a lower portion 136b of slot 136 can be generally narrower than the upper portion thereof such that rivets 130 and 140, which can be generally T-shaped in a rotational cross section, can capture a portion of vertical member 132 outside of slot 136 after movement thereof in the vertical direction 170. The relatively larger upper portion 136a can allow rivets 130 and 140 to pass through and into respective slots 136 during movement of support portion 120 toward vertical member 132.

[0038] Support member 110 can be fabricated in a manner generally similar to that used in fabricating support member 10, described above with respect to FIGS. 1-7. Specifically, support member 110 can be bent into the general shape shown in FIGS. 9 and 10, including support portion 114 and retention portion 120. In particular, the portion of the unitary sheet material 112 within retention portion 120 can be bent along first fold 124 to define base 122 extending congruently with support portion 114 and reinforcement portion 126 extending back along axis 126 in contact with base 120. Further, second fold 142 can be formed prior to formation of first fold 124, although the particular order may vary. Further, in a variation, retention portion 120 can be formed prior to formation of support portion 114.

[0039] After the desired forming of the sheet material has been completed to form the unitary support member 110, first and second punched areas 128 and 138 can be formed through retention portion 120, including by stamping or punching holes or the like through both base 122 and reinforcement portion 126, simultaneously. Alternatively, punched areas 128 can be formed by cutting holes through retention portion 120 and reinforcement portion 26, including by laser cutting or the like. Subsequently, first rivet 130 and second rivet 140 can be coupled, respectively, with first punched area 128 and second punched area 138. Variations of support member 110 including additional or fewer rivets 130 can be fabricated by a similar process with the desired number of punched areas and rivets being formed in and assembled with support member 110.

[0040] Turning now to FIGS. 11 and 12, a further embodiment of a support member 210 is shown that is, similar to support member 110, discussed above with respect to FIGS. 9 and 10, respectively. Support member 210 includes a general structure, as described above, including a unitary sheet material member 212 defining a support portion 214 and retention portions 220 on opposite ends thereof, including first end 218. As illustrated, retention portion 220 includes a base 222 having a first fold 224 on an end thereof opposite support portion 214, such a fold 224 joining base 222 with a reinforcement portion 226 extending generally therealong in a doubled-over manner, thereby providing additional support for retention portion 220 in the same manner as discussed above. A second fold 242 can define a stabilizer tab 244 generally perpendicularly arranged with respect to reinforcement portion 226. This stabilizer tab 244 can extend along portions of an upper flange 250 and a lower flange 252 that extend inwardly from a vertical portion 248 of support portion 214.

[0041] As further shown in FIG. 11, retention portion 220 includes a first punched area 228 and a second punched area 238 therein that extend through both base 222 and reinforcement portion 226. However, such punched areas 228 and 238 have generally rectangular shapes. As further shown, retention tabs 266a and 266b can be respectively coupled within first and second punched areas 228, 238 so as to extend generally inwardly from retention portion 220 (i.e. in the same direction as stabilizer tab 244). Further, retention tabs 266a, 266b can each have a hooked or bent shape such that at least a portion thereof extends generally in the direction of axis 216 so as to be spaced apart from reinforcement portion 226.

[0042] As shown in FIG. 12, such a support member 210 can be used in connection with a related vertical member 232 of a shelving system that can be generally similar to that which is described above with respect to FIG. 2. Vertical member 232 may be adapted to receive both retention tabs 266a and 266b in specifically-adapted slots 268 formed therein. Further, support member 210 can be coupled with vertical member 232 by movement of support member 210 in the vertical direction 270 indicated in FIG. 12.

[0043] Tab slot 268 can be similarly configured with the respective upper 268a and lower 268b portions receiving retention tab 266 therethrough during movement of support member 210 in a horizontal direction toward vertical member 232. Further, lower portion 168b can be narrower such that a portion of vertical member 232 is captured between respective portions of retention tabs 266a and 266b and reinforcement portion 226 after movement of support member 210 in the vertical direction 270. In this arrangement, the narrower lower portion 268b can be horizontally offset with respect to the upper portion, as opposed to being centered in the case of slot 136, discussed above.

[0044] A method for fabricating support member can be generally similar to the above-described method of fabricating support member 10 and support member 110. However, retention tabs 266a and 266b can be coupled with retention portion 220 as a separate element with the use of mechanical fasteners, adhesives, welding, or the like. Alternatively, first and second punched areas 228 and 238 can be formed using a three-sided punch or cut through both base 222 and reinforcement portion 226 with retention tabs 266a and 266b being bent from respective portions of base 222 and reinforcement portion 226 and being defined within punched areas 228 and 238 in a similar manner to that which is discussed above with respect to coupling tab 78.

[0045] A further variation of a support member 310 with a doubled over retention portion 320 is shown in FIG. 13. In such a variation, the base 322 associated with retention portion 320 is joined with portion 314 by first fold 324 in the unitary shape material 312 such that base 322 extends generally perpendicularly from support portion 314. The associated reinforcement portion 326 is then joined with base 322 by a second fold 242 such that reinforcement portion 326 extends back along base 322 to generally align with first fold 324 and support portion 344. A plurality of punched areas 328, 338, can be formed within retention portion 320, by cutting, punching, stamping, or the like through both base 322 and reinforcement portion 326, including through second fold 342. Remaining portions of retention portion 320 outside of the punched areas 328 and 228, including second fold 342 can, accordingly, define retention hooks 388 and 390 that can engage with corresponding slots in a vertical member similar to vertical members 32, 132, and 232, discussed above.

[0046] It will be understood by one having ordinary skill in the art that construction of the described device and other components is not limited to any specific material. Other exemplary embodiments of the device disclosed herein may be formed from a wide variety of materials, unless described otherwise herein.

[0047] For purposes of this disclosure, the term "coupled" (in all of its forms, couple, coupling, coupled, etc.) generally means the joining of two components (electrical or mechanical) directly or indirectly to one another. Such joining may be stationary in nature or movable in nature. Such joining may be achieved with the two components (electrical or mechanical) and any additional intermediate members being integrally formed as a single unitary body with one another or with the two components. Such joining may be permanent in nature or may be removable or releasable in nature unless otherwise stated.

[0048] It is also important to note that the construction and arrangement of the elements of the device as shown in the exemplary embodiments is illustrative only. Although only a few embodiments of the present innovations have been described in detail in this disclosure, those skilled in the art who review this disclosure will readily appreciate that many modifications are possible (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters, mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited. For example, elements shown as integrally formed may be constructed of multiple parts or elements shown as multiple parts may be integrally formed, the operation of the interfaces may be reversed or otherwise varied, the length or width of the structures and/or members or connector or other elements of the system may be varied, the nature or number of adjustment positions provided between the elements may be varied. It should be noted that the elements and/or assemblies of the system may be constructed from any of a wide variety of materials that provide sufficient strength or durability, in any of a wide variety of colors, textures, and combinations. Accordingly, all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the present innovations. Other substitutions, modifications, changes, and omissions may be made in the design, operating conditions, and arrangement of the desired and other exemplary embodiments without departing from the spirit of the present innovations.

[0049] It will be understood that any described processes or steps within described processes may be combined with other disclosed processes or steps to form structures within the scope of the present device. The exemplary structures and processes disclosed herein are for illustrative purposes and are not to be construed as limiting.

[0050] It is also to be understood that variations and modifications can be made on the aforementioned structures and methods without departing from the concepts of the present device, and further it is to be understood that such concepts are intended to be covered by the following claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.

[0051] The above description is considered that of the illustrated embodiments only. Modifications of the device will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the device. Therefore, it is understood that the embodiments shown in the drawings and described above is merely for illustrative purposes and not intended to limit the scope of the device, which is defined by the following claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law, including the Doctrine of Equivalents.

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