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Publication numberUS20010000464 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/729,373
Publication dateApr 26, 2001
Filing dateDec 4, 2000
Priority dateNov 14, 1997
Also published asCA2253918A1, CA2253918C, US6155772
Publication number09729373, 729373, US 2001/0000464 A1, US 2001/000464 A1, US 20010000464 A1, US 20010000464A1, US 2001000464 A1, US 2001000464A1, US-A1-20010000464, US-A1-2001000464, US2001/0000464A1, US2001/000464A1, US20010000464 A1, US20010000464A1, US2001000464 A1, US2001000464A1
InventorsAldon Beale
Original AssigneeBeale Aldon Evans
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reusable, flexible, liftable and dumpable container system and methods for units of bulk cargo
US 20010000464 A1
Abstract
A reusable lift-liner and methods transport units of bulk cargo and dispose of an inner cargo-carrying container initially carried within the lift-liner. Via tilt-bed trucks the cargo is transported to a waste site. At the site an openable wall of the reusable lift-liner is opened, the bed is tilted, the inner container slides from the lift-liner and is dumped off the bed. The lift-liner stays on the bed, then is prepared for re-use. Openable wall configurations include releasble closures at corners adjacent to the openable wall. Holes through which strands are laced releasably close the openable wall. Flaps joined to transition sections attached to the walls cause tucks to form when the flaps are closed across the lift-liner. The transition sections also have the releasable closures. Cutting the strands allows the openable wall to open. The strands may be re-laced in the holes for re-use of the lift-liner.
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Claims(68)
What is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for handling bulk cargo, comprising:
a flexible, reusable, liftable, container-lifter for containing and lifting bulk cargo, the container-lifter having at least one wall having spaced corners; an openable wall extending between the spaced corners; and releasable lacing at each of the spaced corners, each releasable lacing being releasably secured to the at least one wall and to the openable wall.
2. Apparatus according to
claim 1
, wherein the respective lacings are removable from the respective corners to release an initial amount of the bulk cargo from the container-lifter, and wherein for the re-use of the container-lifter the respective corners are adapted to be again secured to releasable lacing for containing a further amount of the bulk cargo.
3. Apparatus according to
claim 1
, wherein the container-lifter is adapted to be placed on a tiltable bed of a vehicle, the container-lifter further comprising:
a connector for securing the at least one wall to the bed of the vehicle so that with the bed tilted and the lacing at respective ones of the corners released from the respective at least one wall and from the openable wall the bulk cargo will flow out of the container-lifter.
4. Apparatus according to
claim 1
, wherein:
the at least one wall includes one wall opposite to the openable wall and other walls adjacent to the openable wall, the other walls having the two spaced corners, each of the other walls being provided with a top edge;
the openable wall extends between the two spaced corners and has a top edge;
the apparatus further comprising:
a transition containment section secured to each of the adjacent walls and to the openable wall along the respective top edges, each of the sections extending for a containment length to a flap edge corresponding to the adjacent wall and to the openable wall, each of the two spaced corners extending from between the openable wall and the respective adjacent wall to and between the transition section corresponding to the respective adjacent wall and openable wall to define corners of the transition sections, the corners of the transition sections being adapted to form a tuck configuration.
5. Apparatus according to
claim 4
, the apparatus further comprising:
a separate flap secured to each of the flap edges, a first one of the flaps being secured to the flap edge of the openable wall and having a first tie closure adjacent to the openable wall, the first flap having an elongated tie secured thereto, a second one of the flaps being secured to the flap edge of the opposite wall and having a second tie closure adapted to receive and direct the tie toward the first tie closure, the first tie closure being adapted to secure the tie adjacent to the openable wall to releasably secure the first flap over the second flap and to releasably hold the respective tuck configuration.
6. Apparatus according to
claim 5
, wherein:
one of the transition sections is secured to the top edge of each of the other walls to define third and fourth respective transition sections, the third section has a third flap edge and the fourth section has a fourth flap edge;
a third one of the separate flaps is secured to the third flap edge of the transition containment section corresponding to a third of the other walls and is adapted to extend over the first and second flaps without preventing access to the tie secured to the first tie closure; and
a fourth one of the separate flaps is secured to the fourth flap edge of the transition containment section corresponding to a fourth of the other walls and is adapted to extend over the first, second, and third flaps without preventing access to the tie secured to the first tie closure.
7. Apparatus according to
claim 4
, wherein:
one of the releasable lacings is releasably secured to the transition containment section corner that is defined between each one of the other walls and the openable wall.
8. Apparatus for handling bulk cargo, comprising:
a flexible, reusable, liftable, container-lifter for containing and lifting bulk cargo, the container-lifter having:
opposite walls each having a releasable corner;
an openable wall extending between the releasable corners;
releasable lacing at each of the releasable corners, each of the releasable lacings being releasably secured to the respective opposite wall and to the openable wall; and
a bottom secured to the opposite walls and to the openable wall to define the flexible, reusable, liftable, outer container-lifter for containing the bulk cargo when the respective lacings are secured at the respective corners to the respective opposite walls and to the openable wall;
the flexible, reusable, liftable, outer container-lifter being effective to release the bulk cargo when the respective lacings at the respective ones of the corners are released from the respective opposite walls and the openable wall.
9. Apparatus according to
claim 8
, wherein the respective lacings are removable from the respective corners to release the bulk cargo from the container-lifter, and wherein for the re-use of the container-lifter the respective corners are adapted to be again secured to releasable lacing for containing bulk cargo.
10. Apparatus according to
claim 8
, wherein the container-lifter is adapted to be placed on a tiltable bed of a vehicle, the bed having a front end and a rear end, the container-lifter further comprising:
a connector for securing the container-lifter adjacent to the front end of the bed so that with the bed tilted to lower the rear end with respect to the front end, and with the lacing at respective ones of the corners released from the respective opposite walls and from the openable wall, the outer container-lifter will stay secured to the vehicle and the bulk cargo will move out of the container-lifter.
11. A flexible, liftable container capable of containing and lifting a unit of bulk cargo, and being capable of opening to allow side-release from the container of the cargo as an integral unit, the container comprising:
a three dimensional flexible container having first and third walls and a second wall between the first and third walls, each wall having a top and a lower end;
the container further having a bottom secured to each of the walls at the lower end;
the container further having lift straps secured to the walls and to the bottom for lifting the container and the unit received inside the container;
the container further having a first corner between the second wall and the first wall; and
the container further having a second corner between the second wall and the third wall, each of the corners normally connecting the respective two walls, each of the first and second corners being provided with an openable closure to enable the second wall to be separable from the respective first and third walls to allow the second wall to open and expose the unit for side-release from within the container.
12. A container according to
claim 11
, the openable closure of each of the corners comprising:
two sets of apertures, one set of the apertures being defined in the openable second wall, the other set of the apertures being defined in the respective first or third wall, and
at least one removable closure strand received in at least one of the apertures of the second wall and in at least one of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third wall.
13. A container according to
claim 12
, wherein:
portions of the openable second wall and the respective first or third wall are positioned in overlapping relationship to align pairs of the apertures in the respective second wall and in the respective first or third wall, and
the at least one removable closure strand is received in at least one of the apertures of the second wall and in at least one of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third walls in a predetermined lacing pattern.
14. A container according to
claim 13
, wherein:
the overlapping relationship is a prayer relationship.
15. A container according to
claim 13
, wherein:
the predetermined lacing pattern is defined by a plurality of separate removable closure strands, each separate strand being received in one aligned pair of the apertures.
16. A container according to
claim 15
, wherein:
each separate removable strand is formed from a head and a retainer strand secured to the head;
the head is provided with a slot having internal teeth; and
the strand has external teeth engagable with the internal teeth to define a closed loop for maintaining the overlapping relationship of the respective walls.
17. A container according to
claim 12
, wherein:
the openable second wall and the respective first or third wall are positioned in an overlapping prayer relationship to align pairs of the apertures in the respective second wall and in the respective first or third wall, and
the at least one removable closure strand extends in a predetermined lacing pattern received in at least one of the apertures of the second wall and in at least one of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third wall, the predetermined lacing pattern being in a chain configuration.
18. A container according to
claim 12
, wherein:
the openable second wall and the respective first or third wall are positioned in an overlapping prayer relationship to align pairs of the apertures in the respective second wall and in the respective first or third wall, and
the at least one removable closure strand extends in a predetermined lacing pattern received in at least one of the apertures of the second wall and in at least one of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third wall, the predetermined lacing pattern being in a helical configuration.
19. A container according to
claim 12
, wherein:
each of the first and third walls and the second wall has an edge extending along the respective first and second corner; and
one of the sets of the apertures is defined along one of the respective edges.
20. A container according to
claim 11
, wherein the second wall has an inside facing the unit of bulk cargo, the container further comprising:
a layer of low coefficient of friction material provided on the inside of the second wall.
21. A container according to
claim 20
, wherein the layer of low coefficient of friction material is slick high density polyethylene.
22. A container according to
claim 11
, wherein the container is to be retained on a tiltable bed of a vehicle when the bed is tilted, the bed having a forward end provided with a connector structure and a rear end adapted to be lower than the front end when the bed is tilted, and wherein the container has an end wall opposite to the second wall, the container further comprising:
a retainer structure secured to the end wall and engagable with the connector structure.
23. A container according to
claim 22
, further comprising:
an inner flexible container adapted to contain the unit of bulk cargo as an integral unit, the inner container being adapted to be received in the three dimensional container; and
the retainer structure being effective upon tilting of the bed to retain the three dimensional container on the bed; and
the openable closures being effective when opened and upon tilting of the bed to allow the inner container with the integral unit of bulk cargo therein to slide toward the rear end of the bed and out of the three dimensional container.
24. A flexible liftable device capable of containing and lifting bulk cargo and being capable of opening to allow side-release of the cargo, comprising:
a three dimensional flexible container having first and third sides and a side-release side between the first and third sides, each side having a top and a lower end, a corner between adjacent ones of the sides, a bottom secured to each of the sides at the lower end, lift straps secured to the sides and to the bottom for lifting the container and the bulk cargo inside the container, each of two of the corners adjacent to the side-release side being provided with a releasable corner structure to enable the side-release side to be separable from the respective first and third sides to allow the side-release side to open and release the bulk cargo.
25. A flexible liftable device capable of containing and lifting a unit of bulk cargo as an integral unit, and being capable of opening to allow side-release of the bulk cargo in the form of the integral unit, the device comprising:
a first flexible container capable of containing the bulk cargo as an integral unit; and
a second flexible container having first and third sides and a side-release side between the first and third sides, each of the sides having a top and a lower end, a corner between adjacent ones of the sides, a bottom secured to each of the sides at the lower end, lift straps secured to the sides and to the bottom for lifting the second container and the first container in the second container, each of two of the corners adjacent to the side-release side being provided with a releasable corner structure to enable the side-release side to be separable from the respective first and third sides to allow the side-release side to open and expose the first container for side-release from the second container.
26. A liftable device according to
claim 25
, wherein:
the first flexible container is capable of containing the integral unit of bulk cargo having a weight of from about three tons to about twenty tons.
27. A liftable device according to
claim 26
, wherein:
the second container is capable of containing and lifting the first container with the bulk cargo as an integral unit therein;
the second container is capable of releasing the exposed first container;
the first side has a first edge coextensive with the corner between the first side and the side-release side;
the side-release side has a second edge coextensive with the corner between the first side and the side-release side;
the side-release side has a third edge coextensive with the corner between the side-release side and the third side;
the third side has a fourth edge coextensive with the corner between the side-release side and the third side; and
the releasable corner structures comprising:
a first set of apertures formed in the first side along the first edge;
a second set of apertures formed in the side-release side along the second edge;
a third set of apertures formed in the side-release side along the third edge;
a fourth set of apertures form ed in the third side along the four th edge;
each set of apertures extending substantially from the bottom to the top of the respective side;
a first removable closure strand extendable through at least a portion of each of the first set of apertures and the second set of apertures for holding the first edge secured to the second edge; and
a second removable closure strand extendable through at least a portion of each of the third set of apertures and the fourth set of apertures for holding the third edge secured to the fourth edge;
the first and second closure strands being removable from the respective apertures to allow the side-release side to separate from the first and third sides.
28. A liftable device according to
claim 27
, wherein:
the respective first removable closure strand and the respective second removable closure strand hold the respective first edge secured to the second edge and the respective third edge secured to the fourth edge with the respective edges overlapping in respective prayer configurations.
29. A liftable device according to
claim 27
, wherein:
the respective first and second removable closure strands are received in at least one of the apertures of the side-release side and in at least one of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third sides in a predetermined lacing pattern.
30. A liftable device according to
claim 29
, wherein:
pairs of the apertures of the respective first and second sets of apertures are aligned with each other;
pairs of the apertures of the respective third and fourth sets of apertures are aligned with each other;
the predetermined lacing pattern is defined by a plurality of each of the first and second removable closure strands, each separate closure strand is received in one respective aligned pair of the apertures.
31. A liftable device according to
claim 30
, wherein:
each separate removable closure strand is formed from a head and a retainer strand secured to the head;
the head is provided with a slot having internal teeth;
the strand has external teeth engagable with the internal teeth to define a loop for maintaining the respective first and second edges, and the respective third and fourth edges in overlapping prayer relationships at the respective corners.
32. A liftable device according to
claim 29
, wherein:
the side-release side and the respective first or third side have respective portions positioned in an overlapping prayer relationship to align pairs of the apertures in the respective second side and the respective first or third side, and
the removable closure strands extend in a predetermined lacing pattern through at least some of the apertures of the side-release side and through at least some of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third sides, the predetermined lacing pattern being in a chain configuration.
33. A liftable device according to
claim 29
, wherein:
the side-release side and the respective first or third side have respective portions positioned in an overlapping prayer relationship to align pairs of the apertures in the respective second side and the respective first or third side, and
the removable closure strands extend in a predetermined lacing pattern through at least some of the apertures of the side-release side and through at least some of the apertures of one or the other of the respective first or third sides, the predetermined lacing pattern being in a helical configuration.
34. A liftable device according to
claim 27
, wherein the second container is adapted to be placed on a tiltable bed of a vehicle and to be retained on the bed when the bed is tilted, the bed having a connector structure, the device further comprising:
the second container having a fourth side opposite to the side-release side, and
a retainer structure secured to the fourth side and engagable with the connector structure;
whereby when the bed is tilted the retainer structure engaged with the connector structure retains the second container on the bed and when the first and second closure strands have been removed from the respective apertures the side-release side is allowed to separate from the first and third sides and the separated side-release side allows the unit of bulk cargo in the first container to move out of the second container.
35. A liftable device according to
claim 34
, further comprising:
a layer provided on an inner surface of the side-release side of the second container, the layer being slick to provide a low coefficient of friction whereby the first container with the integral unit of bulk cargo therein may move on the layer and over the side-release side and from the second container onto the bed when the bed is tilted.
36. A liftable device according to
claim 25
, wherein:
each of the releasable corner structures includes an edge of the side-release side and an edge of a respective one of the first and third sides, each of the releasable corner structures further includes a series of apertures extending through each of the edges, each of the releasable corner structures further includes at least one removable closure strand extending through at least one aperture of each of the edges of the side-release side and extending through at least one aperture of the respective edge of the respective one of the first and third sides.
37. A liftable device according to
claim 36
, wherein:
the removable closure strands extend from one aperture of a respective one of the series of apertures to one aperture of a respective other one of the series of apertures in a predetermined lacing pattern, the predetermined lacing pattern being a plurality of circular configurations defined by a plurality of separate ring-shaped closure strands; and
the respective edges of the side-release side and the first side, and the respective edges of the side-release side and the second side, are held in an overlapping prayer configuration by the respective strands in the predetermined lacing pattern.
38. A liftable device according to
claim 37
, wherein:
each ring-shaped closure strand includes a head and an elongated strand extending through the respective apertures for holding the elongated strand in the circular configuration.
39. A liftable device according to
claim 36
, wherein:
the removable closure strands extend from one aperture of a respective one of the series of apertures to one aperture of a respective other one of the series of apertures in a predetermined lacing pattern, the lacing pattern being in a helical configuration; and
the respective edges of the side-release side and the first side, and the respective edges of the side-release side and the second side, are held in an overlapping prayer configuration by the respective strands in the predetermined lacing patterns.
40. A liftable device according to
claim 36
, wherein:
the removable closure strands extend from one aperture of a respective one of the series of apertures to one aperture of a respective other one of the series of apertures in a predetermined lacing pattern, the lacing pattern being in a chain configuration; and
the respective edges of the side-release side and the first side, and the respective edges of the side-release side and the second side, are held in an overlapping prayer configuration by the respective strands in the predetermined lacing patterns.
41. A container-lifter system for use with a vehicle, the vehicle having a tiltable bed provided with a front and a load section, the system comprising:
a three-dimensional flexible container adapted to contain from about three to about twenty tons of bulk cargo in a single integral unit; the container having first and third walls and a second wall between the first and third walls, each wall having a top and a lower end, the container having a bottom secured to each of the walls at the lower end, adjacent ones of the walls being joined at a corner to define a three-dimensional shape adapted to receive the unit therein with the unit over the bottom, the joined walls including the second wall releasably joined to the first wall at a first releasable corner, the joined walls further including the second wall releasably joined to the third wall at a second releasable corner, the first and second releasable corners being adapted to either contain the unit of the bulk cargo when releasably joined to the second wall and to the respective first and third walls or to provide an open side of the container when released from the respective first and third walls;
lift straps secured to the walls and to the bottom and adapted to lift the container and the single integral unit received inside the container and adapted to place the container on the load section; and
a connector secured to the container opposite to the second wall, the connector being adapted to be connected to the vehicle adjacent to the front of the bed to secure the container to the bed of the vehicle with the container resting on the load section.
42. A container-lifter system according to
claim 41
, the releasable corners of the container-lifter comprising:
the first and third walls each having an edge;
the second wall having opposite edges;
a first set of apertures provided in the edge of the first wall;
second and third sets of apertures provided in the respective edges of the second wall;
a fourth set of apertures provided in the edge of the third wall;
a first lace system normally laced through the first and second sets of apertures to normally join the edge of the first wall and one edge of the second wall in overlapping relationship; and
a second lace system normally laced through the third and fourth sets of apertures to normally join the edge of the third wall and the other edge of the second wall in overlapping relationship;
the first and second lace systems being removable from the respective sets of apertures to allow the second wall to separate from the respective first and third walls and provide the open side of the second container.
43. A container-lifter system according to
claim 42
, wherein:
each of the first and second lace systems comprising at least one elongated strand laced through the respective sets of apertures in a lacing pattern and holding the respective edges in a prayer configuration to define the overlapping relationships.
44. A container-lifter system according to
claim 43
, wherein:
the lacing pattern of the elongated strands laced through the respective sets of apertures is in a helical configuration defined by one or more of the strands.
45. A container-lifter system according to
claim 43
, wherein:
the lacing pattern of the elongated strands laced through the respective sets of apertures is in a chain configuration defined by one or more of the strands.
46. A container-lifter system according to
claim 43
, wherein:
the lacing pattern of the elongated strands laced through the respective sets of apertures is a plurality of circular configurations defined by a plurality of the strands extending through the respective apertures in circular paths.
47. A container-lifter system according to
claim 41
, the system further comprising:
a transition section secured to the top of each of the walls, each transition section having a flap edge;
adjacent ones of the transition sections being joined at a transition corner to define a three-dimensional transition section shape adapted to define tucks to contain the unit, one of the transition corners being a releasable corner that is an extension of the first releasable corner, another of the transition corners being a releasable corner that is an extension of the second releasable corner.
48. A container-lifter system according to
claim 47
, the system further comprising:
a flap secured to the flap edge of each of the transition sections for pulling on the respective transition section and defining the respective tuck; and
a tie system secured to the flaps to permit the flap secured to the transition section that is secured to the second wall to be accessed from adjacent to the second wall.
49. Apparatus for containing an integral unit of bulk cargo to be dumped, the cargo being hazardous material waste weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the apparatus comprising:
a first flexible container having a first open top for receiving the bulk cargo, the open top being defined by first transition sections extending above the cargo, the first transition sections being joined at first corners;
a first flap secured to each first transition section, the first transition sections and the first flaps being configured so that upon pulling the first flaps in succession across the cargo the first transition sections form first tucks at each of the first corners;
a first tie system for each first flap to secure each first flap in position across the cargo with the respective first tuck at each corner folded onto itself to securely close the first open top and define the integral unit of bulk cargo;
a second container for receiving the first container with the integral unit therein, the second container being provided with a lifter capable of lifting the first and second containers and the integral unit therein, the second container being provided with an openable wall and a second wall opposite to the openable wall and a third wall adjacent to the openable wall and a fourth wall adjacent to the openable wall, the respective adjacent walls being secured to the openable wall at respective wall corners, the second container having a second open top defined by second transition sections extending above a level of the closed first open top of the first container, the second transition sections being secured to a respective one of the walls, the second transition sections being joined at second transition section corners, each wall corner adjacent to the openable wall and each of the corresponding transition section corners being releasable to permit the openable wall to separate from the respective third and fourth walls and to permit the second transition section corresponding to the openable wall to separate from the second transition sections corresponding to the third and fourth walls, a second flap secured to each second transition section, one of the second transition sections that corresponds to the openable wall and one of the second flaps that corresponds to the openable wall each being openable with the corresponding openable wall;
the second flaps of the second container being configured so that upon being pulled in succession across the closed top of the first container the second flaps cause the second transition sections to form second tucks at the second transition section corners, after being pulled across the first container the second flaps of the second container being effective to fold the second tucks onto themselves to securely close the second open top; and
a second tie system corresponding to at least the last three pulled second flaps of the second container, the second tie system being configured with a tie for the openable second flap, the tie being accessible from an outside of the second container.
50. A method of dumping bulk cargo weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
providing a flexible three dimensional container with at least three sides and with a bottom connected to each of the three sides, one of the three sides being an openable side that is opposite to a connector, the openable side being movable to an open position aligned with the bottom, the container having a lifter capable of lifting the container and the cargo;
releasably and re-usably closing the openable side;
containing the bulk cargo in the container;
using the lifter to place the container, with the bulk cargo in the container, on the bed of a vehicle capable of tilting the bed, the vehicle having a dumping end, the lifter placing the container with the openable side facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
connecting the connector to the vehicle;
opening the openable side of the container and moving the opened openable side to the open position aligned with the bottom; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the bulk cargo to move across the bottom and across the opened second side and off the bed.
51. A method according to
claim 50
to prepare the container for reuse, comprising the further operation of:
again releasably and re-usably closing the openable side to permit reuse of the container.
52. A method according to
claim 50
, comprising the further operations of:
providing the container with a plurality of flaps foldable to cover the open top of the container, a first of the flaps being secured adjacent to the openable side and being extendable partially across the open top of the container, a second of the flaps being opposite to the first flap;
providing a first closure loop adjacent to the openable side;
providing a second closure loop on the second flap away from the first flap; and
providing a tie secured to the first flap and extendable through the second closure loop and tieable to the first closure loop to keep the first flap securely covering the open top.
53. A method of fabricating a reusable container for carrying bulk cargo weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
providing a flexible three dimensional container with at least three sides and with a corner adjacent to each of two edges of an openable one of the sides and with a bottom secured to each of the at least three sides;
providing each of the corners with mating edges having a line of apertures therein;
threading a removable strand through at least some of the apertures of each mating edge of each of the corners to releasably and reusably close the openable side; and
providing the container with a lifter capable of lifting the container and the cargo.
54. A method according to
claim 53
, comprising the further operations of:
providing the container with an open top defined by upper edges of the at least three sides;
providing the container with a plurality of flaps foldable to cover the open top of the container, a first of the flaps being secured adjacent to the openable side and being extendable partially across the open top of the container, a second of the flaps being secured to one of the at least three sides opposite to the first flap;
providing a first closure loop adjacent to the openable side;
providing a second closure loop on the second flap away from the first flap; and
providing a tie secured to the first flap and having a length enough to enable the tie to extend through the second closure loop and be tieable to the first closure loop to keep the first flap securely covering the open top.
55. A method of using the reusable container defined in method
claim 53
, comprising the operations of:
placing in the container a self-contained unit of the bulk cargo having a weight in the range of from about three to about twenty tons;
using the lifter to lift the container with the unit of the bulk cargo therein and to place the container and the unit onto a load section of a bed of a vehicle, wherein the bed is tiltable and the bed has a dump section aft of the load section; and
removing the strand from the apertures of the mating edges of each of the corners to releasably and reusably open the openable side and release each of the corners of the container to separate the openable side from each of the adjacent sides.
56. A method according to
claim 55
, further comprising the operations of:
moving the separated openable side onto the dump section of the bed with the opened side connected to a bottom of the container;
securing the bottom of the container to the vehicle; and
tilting the bed to tilt the container and the self-contained unit and cause the self-contained unit to slide over the separated side and over the dump section while the self-contained unit remains contained, the tilting of the bed causing the unit to slide off the vehicle.
57. A method of dumping bulk cargo weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
providing a flexible three dimensional container with at least one side defined by spaced edges, with a corner at each of the edges, with a normally closed and openable and reclosable closure at each of the corners, and with a bottom connected to the side, the side being an openable side that is opposite to a connector, the openable side being movable to an open position aligned with the bottom, the container having a lifter capable of lifting the container and the cargo;
containing the bulk cargo in the container;
using the lifter to place the container, with the bulk cargo in the container, on the bed of a vehicle capable of tilting the bed, the vehicle having a dumping end, the lifter placing the container with the openable side facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
connecting the connector to the vehicle;
opening the openable closure at each of the corners of the second container and moving the opened openable side to the open position aligned with the bottom; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the bulk cargo to move across the bottom and across the opened second side and off the bed.
58. A method according to
claim 57
, comprising the further operation of:
closing the openable closure at each of the corners of the second container to permit reuse of the container.
59. A method of dumping an integral unit of bulk cargo weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
containing the integral unit of bulk cargo in a first container;
containing the first container with the integral unit therein in a second flexible container provided with a lifter capable of lifting the first and second containers and the integral unit therein, the second container being provided with an openable side opposite to a second side;
using the lifter to place the second container, with the first container therein and with the integral unit in the first container, on the bed of a vehicle capable of tilting the bed, the vehicle having a dumping end over which dumping may occur, the lifter placing the second container with the openable side facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
connecting the second side to the vehicle;
opening the openable side of the second container; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the force of gravity to move first container and the integral unit within the first container across the opened second side and off the bed.
60. A method according to
claim 59
, wherein the bulk cargo is hazardous material waste, and wherein the first container maintains the hazardous material waste bulk cargo separated from the second container, the method comprising the further operations of:
disconnecting the second side from the vehicle; and
closing the openable side of the second container to facilitate reuse of the second container with another first container and another integral unit of the bulk cargo.
61. A method of dumping bulk cargo weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
loading the bulk cargo into a three dimensional container provided with at least a first wall having spaced first edges and a second wall adjacent to the first wall and having spaced second edges and a third wall adjacent to the first wall and having spaced third edges, the container having apertures along each of the edges, the container having removable strands in the apertures along the first and second edges to releasably hold the first and second edges together, the container having removable strands in the apertures along the first and third edges to releasably hold the first and third edges together, the container having a lifter capable of lifting the container and the cargo, the container having a connector opposite to the first wall;
using the lifter to place the container, with the bulk cargo in the container, on the bed of a vehicle, the vehicle having a dumping end and a tiltable bed, the lifter placing the container with the first wall facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
connecting the connector to the vehicle spaced from the dumping end;
separating the removable strands from the respective edges of the first and second and third walls to open the first wall; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the bulk cargo to move through the open first wall and off the bed.
62. A method according to
claim 61
, comprising the further operations of:
removing the container from the vehicle; and
again releasably holding the first and second edges together and the first and third edges together by threading removable strands in the apertures along the respective first and second and first and third edges to enable reuse of the container.
63. A method of assembling a used container for reuse, the container having a first wall, the first wall having spaced first and second edges, the container having a second wall adjacent to the first wall, the second wall having a third edge, the container having a third wall adjacent to the first wall, the third wall having a fourth edge, each of the edges having a series of apertures formed therein and extending along the respective edge; the method comprising the operations of:
threading at least a first removable strand in the apertures that extend along the respective first and third edges of the respective first and third walls to releasably hold the first and third edges together; and
threading at least a second removable strand in the apertures that extend along the respective second and fourth edges of the respective first and fourth walls to releasably hold the second and fourth edges together.
64. A method according to
claim 63
, wherein the used container has a first, second, and third transition section attached to each of the respective first, second, and third walls, the first transition section having spaced fifth and sixth edges corresponding to the first and second edges, the second transition section having a seventh edge corresponding to the third edge, the third transition section having an eighth edge corresponding to the fourth edge, each of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth edges having a series of apertures formed therein and extending along the respective edge; the method comprising the further operations of:
threading at least a third removable strand in the apertures that extend along the respective fifth and seventh edges of the respective first and third transition sections to releasably hold the fifth and seventh edges together; and
threading at least a fourth removable strand in the apertures that extend along the respective sixth and eighth edges of the respective first and fourth transition sections to releasably hold the sixth and eighth edges together.
65. A method according to
claim 62
, wherein the operation of again releasably and re-usably holding the first and second edges together and the first and third edges together comprises the further operations of:
providing the removable strands with a first end and a pull ring secured to the first end;
again threading one of the strands through the apertures of the first and second edges, the respective pull ring being positioned against one of the first and second edges;
tying a knot in the respective strand to secure the respective first and second edges together;
again threading one of the strands through the apertures of the respective first and third edges, the respective pull ring being positioned against one of the first and third edges; and
tying a knot in the respective strand to secure the respective first and third edges together.
66. A method according to
claim 65
in which the container is reused, comprising the further operation of:
containing an additional amount of the bulk cargo in the container prepared according to
claim 65
;
again using the lifter to place the container, with the bulk cargo in the container, on the bed of the vehicle, the lifter placing the container with the first wall facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
connecting the connector to the vehicle;
cutting each of the strands adjacent to the respective knots;
pulling on the respective pull rings to remove the strands from the respective apertures and open the first wall of the container;
moving the opened first wall to an open position aligned with the bottom; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the bulk cargo to move across the bottom and across the opened first wall and off the bed.
67. A method of containing an integral unit of bulk cargo for dumping, the cargo being hazardous material waste weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons, the method comprising the operations of:
receiving the integral unit of bulk cargo in a first flexible container, the container having a first open top defined by first transition sections extending above the cargo, the first transition sections being joined at first corners, the first container having a first flap secured to each respective first transition section;
pulling the first flaps in succession across the cargo to cause the first transition sections to form first tucks at the respective first corners;
tying the first flaps in respective positions pulled across the cargo such that the pulled and tied first flaps hold each respective first tuck at each first corner folded onto the respective first tuck to securely close the first open top;
receiving the first container with the integral unit therein in a second flexible container provided with a lifter capable of lifting the first and second containers and the integral unit therein, the second container being provided with an openable wall and a second wall opposite to the openable wall and a third wall adjacent to the openable wall and a fourth wall adjacent to the openable wall, the adjacent walls being secured to each other at a wall corner, the second container having a second open top defined by second transition sections extending above a level of the closed top of the first container, each second transition section being secured to a respective one of the walls, the second transition sections being joined at second transition section corners, each wall corner adjacent to the openable wall and each of the corresponding transition section corners being releasable to permit the openable wall to separate from the respective third and fourth walls and to permit the second transition section corresponding to the openable wall to separate from the second transition section corresponding to the third and fourth walls, the second container having a second flap secured to each second transition section, one of the second transition sections that corresponds to the openable wall and one of the second flaps that corresponds to the openable wall each being openable with the corresponding openable wall;
pulling the second flaps of the second container in succession across the first container to cause the second transition sections to form the second transition section corners into second tucks; and
tying at least the last three pulled second flaps in position after being pulled across the closed top of the first container such that the tied at least last three flaps hold each second tuck folded onto itself to securely close the second open top, the tying of the openable second flap being such that a tie secured to the openable flap is accessible from an outside of the second container.
68. A method according to
claim 67
for dumping the first container and the integral unit of bulk cargo from the second container, the method comprising the further operations of:
using the lifter to place the second container, with the first container therein and with the integral unit in the first container, on the bed of a vehicle capable of tilting the bed, the vehicle having a dumping end, the lifter placing the second container with the openable wall facing the dumping end of the vehicle;
accessing the openable flap tie from the outside of the second container;
untying the openable flap tie;
accessing the releasable wall corners and the corresponding releasble transition section corners from the outside of the second container;
releasing each of the accessed releasable wall corners and the accessed corresponding releasable transition section corners;
connecting the second wall to the vehicle; and
tilting the bed of the vehicle to cause the force of gravity to move the first container and the integral unit within the first container across the opened openable wall and off the bed to dump the first container from the vehicle, wherein during the dumping the first container maintains the hazardous material waste bulk cargo separated from the second container and in the form of the integral unit.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

1. This application is a continuation-in-part of, and claims priority from, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/176,441, filed Oct. 10, 1998, and entitled “Lift-Liner Apparatus With Improved Weight-Carrying Capacity” (the CIP Application); which CIP Application is a continuation-in-part of and claimed priority from parent U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/971,051, filed Nov. 14, 1997, and entitled “Lift-Liner Apparatus” (the Parent Application), which Parent Application issued on Jun. 27, 2000 as U.S. Pat. No. 6,079,934. This application claims priority from both such Parent Application and such CIP Application. The specification, drawings, and claims of both such Parent Application and such CIP Application are by this reference incorporated in this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

2. 1. Field of the Invention

3. This invention relates to handling bulk cargo, and more particularly to a flexible, reusable, liftable, container-lifter for containing and lifting an integral unit of bulk cargo onto a tiltable bed of a vehicle, wherein the container-lifter has an openable wall that for lifting is closed by releasable lacing and that for dumping the unit may be conditioned for release, wherein, upon tilting of the bed of the vehicle, such container-lifter stays on the vehicle and the unit, whether contained as an integral unit or loose within the container-lifter, moves onto the openable wall and off the vehicle.

4. 2. Description of the Related Art

5. In the Parent Application, the problems in the prior art were discussed in terms of the transport of cargo. It was said that methods of and apparatus for transporting cargo (or goods) are as varied as the cargo that is transported. The following was also noted. Transporting (or transport) involves moving one or more items of the cargo from one place (point of origin) to another place (destination point). The cargo may be said to be “shipped” or “transported” from the point of origin to the destination point. Methods of and apparatus for transporting cargo (or goods) are as varied as the cargo that is transported.

Transport of Bulk Cargo

6. When the items of the cargo are loose, such items are not contained for transport by other than the walls or the bottom or the top of the transport vehicle (e.g., a railroad car or a truck) that is used for the transport. Thus, the loose items are not in packages or boxes when they are transported Such loose cargo is said to be transported “in bulk”, and may be referred to as “bulk cargo” or as “bulk goods”.

Transport of Bulk Cargo: Hazardous Material Waste Or Radioactive Hazardous Material Waste

7. There are regulations controlling many forms of transport. For normal bulk cargo, such as plastic pellets for extruding machines or bulk foodstuffs, the regulations are relatively simple, as compared to regulations controlling the transport of hazardous material waste. Such hazardous material waste may include waste generated during manufacturing operations, such as toxic chemicals, or waste resulting from discarding a product after use, e.g., polychlorinatedbiphenols (“PCBs”) which were in electrical transformers. Although such toxic chemicals and PCBs, for example, are closely regulated at the state and Federal levels, hazardous material waste that is radioactive or that is nuclear waste (“radioactive hazardous material waste”) is even more closely regulated. Such radioactive hazardous material waste includes materials resulting from the manufacture of weapons (e.g., radioactive dirt) and radioactively contaminated demolition debris (e.g., building materials, concrete pillars and beams and scrap steel found, for example, at sites which are being dismantled), and both are forms of bulk cargo. The radioactive hazardous material waste may include radioactive materials that meet criteria as “low level radioactive” radioactive hazardous material waste, which has a radioactivity of two picoCuries. Such control of radioactive hazardous material waste includes:

8. (i) complete accountability and documentation for every pound of radioactive hazardous material waste;

9. (ii) state licensing of certain containers in which radioactive hazardous material waste is transported, e.g., licensing of intermodal containers (“IMCs”), which includes documenting the transport of such IMCs;

10. (iii) Federal, local, and state control of movement of radioactive hazardous material waste at or from a site at which the radioactive hazardous material waste was generated (the “remediation site”);

11. (iv) requirements that containers in which radioactive hazardous material waste is transported either not become contaminated with the radioactive hazardous material waste, or that such contaminated containers be decontaminated after use;

12. (v) prohibitions against transferring loose (uncontained) radioactive hazardous material waste from one transport container to another, for example, and requiring the radioactive hazardous material waste to be contained within a licensed container prior to and during transfer from one transport vehicle to the next transport vehicle;

13. (vi) establishing “exclusionary zones” at sites at which radioactive hazardous material waste is located, defining personal protection levels (PPLs) which vary according to the level of radioactivity of the radioactive hazardous material waste, and requiring that personnel who enter such “exclusionary zones” wear clothing suitable for protecting against injury from the radioactive hazardous material waste (they must be “suited up”) according to the applicable PPL; and

14. (vii) prohibitions against allowing loose liquid (“free liquid”) from being transported in other than a special tank car (whether via railroad or truck); for example.

15. These and other Federal, local, and state regulations place on the transporter of radioactive hazardous material waste numerous restrictions with which the transporter must comply in transporting the radioactive hazardous material waste. If the point of origin (the remediation site, for example) does not have a railroad spur on-site (i.e., if it is not “rail-served”), such transporting can be “intermodal”, such as via truck (one mode) from the remediation site (the point of origin) to a nearby railroad for long-distance railroad transport (another mode) to the destination point. If the destination point is not rail-served and the licensed container is an intermodal container (“IMC”), for example, the railroad delivers the licensed IMC (which contains radioactive hazardous material waste) to an intermodal railyard near the destination point. At the intermodal railyard, such licensed IMC is taken off the railroad car and put on a truck, for example, for further transport to the destination point, e.g., a storage site for the radioactive hazardous material waste. Such IMC may be moved within the storage site to a “cell” to which the radioactive hazardous material waste from the particular point of origin is assigned for storage.

16. The radioactive hazardous material waste is said to be “stored” because the radioactive materials of such hazardous material waste do not decompose in the manner of other hazardous material waste, due to the very long half-life of radioactive materials. Hazardous material waste that does not contain radioactive materials is said to be “disposed of”, or put into a landfill for “disposal”, because it decomposes over a relatively short time period, e.g., a few years.

Strong Tight Containers for Transport

17. From the standpoint of the licensed container or the railroad car or the other vehicle that is used for the transport of the radioactive hazardous material waste, the transporter must provide a “strong, tight container” (“STC”) in which the radioactive hazardous material waste is contained during every aspect of such transport. Use of such STCs is intended to avoid spilling the radioactive hazardous material waste on the ground during transport, for example, (which would result in creating another hazardous material waste site). Also to be avoided is mixing one load of radioactive hazardous material waste with another load of radioactive hazardous material waste. For example, if a licensed container has not been decontaminated after transporting a first load of one type of radioactive hazardous material waste before being loaded with a second load of another type of radioactive hazardous material waste, the mixing generates a new kind of radioactive hazardous material waste. As described below, the IMC and a related type of transport container, the “sea-land” container (“S/L IMC”), are types of transport containers that states require to be licensed as being suitable for the transport of any hazardous material waste, including radioactive hazardous material waste. On the other hand, as noted below, the standard railroad gondola car used with a suitable liner is exempt from state licensing and may be used on existing railroads for transporting hazardous material waste, including radioactive hazardous material waste.

Remediation Sites

18. To appreciate other aspects of the transport of hazardous material waste such as radioactive hazardous material waste, the regulatory aspects and characteristics of remediation sites must be understood. For example, the typical remediation site is generally not rail-served. The current cost of building a rail spur to a remediation site is prohibitive. Further, at the time of the Parent Application, substantial amounts of the hazardous material waste at remediation sites, and most, if not all, of the radioactive hazardous material waste at remediation sites, had to be removed from the site for either storage (for radioactive hazardous material waste) or processing to produce non-hazardous waste (for non-radioactive hazardous material waste). As an example, at the Department of Energy remediation site in Fernald, Ohio, there was so much radioactive hazardous material waste that it had been proposed to transport the radioactive hazardous material waste to a distant storage site using seventy car railroad trains. Since the storage facility in Utah noted below was the only radioactive hazardous material waste storage site in the United States which was then rail-served and had rail car roll-over equipment, the volume of radioactive hazardous material waste and the then-current mode of transport placed limitations on where the radioactive hazardous material waste from this remediation site in Ohio could be transported for storage. As another example, at the time of the Parent Application, at the Department of Energy remediation site in Miamisburg, Ohio, there were millions of cubic feet of radioactive hazardous material waste, including such waste in the form of demolition debris to be transported to a distant storage site.

19. For a remediation site that is not rail-served, the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste that is to be removed from the remediation site cannot be directly loaded into a railroad car, but instead must be transported from the remediation site (as the point of origin) via truck to a railroad line. For radioactive hazardous material waste, since regulation item (v) above prohibits transferring loose (uncontained) radioactive hazardous material waste from one transport container to another after the waste leaves the remediation site, the original loose hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste at the remediation site must be loaded directly into an STC for transport to the railroad.

20. Further limitations relating to such loading include the fact that many remediation sites that are not rail-served are very small relative to the room necessary for moving semi-trailer trucks, for example, into position for being loaded. Therefore, smaller tandem dump trucks are used at such smaller sites. At some remediation sites there is some room available for setting up many strong tight containers so that loading of the hazardous material waste into STCs can be done continuously. In this case, local roll-off containers may be used. The roll-off containers have a twenty by eight foot footprint and are rolled (pulled) onto a roll-off truck from the narrow end. This requires fifty feet of distance perpendicular to the row of roll-off containers for loading and driving the roll-off truck away from the row of roll-off containers.

21. Even if the remediation site is rail-served, it is frequently necessary to load semi-trailer trucks and carry the bulk cargo within the remediation site to the railroad car. In that case, one requires one hundred fifty feet of distance perpendicular to the railroad track to move the semi-trailer truck onto a ramp for dumping a load into the railroad car. This problem is increased by the fact that from four to five semi-trailer truck loads are required to fill one gondola car.

Sites for Disposal or Storage of Hazardous Material Waste

22. To appreciate other aspects of the transport of hazardous material waste, such as radioactive hazardous material waste, the regulatory aspects and characteristics of sites for disposal or storage of hazardous material waste must also be understood. Sites at which hazardous material waste is disposed of (“disposal site”), or at which radioactive hazardous material waste is stored (“storage site”), may be operated by or for the Federal government or be privately owned. The operators of such sites have their own regulations, and those regulations impact the type of container that may be used to transport the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste to the site.

Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratorv (INEEL)

23. In the Parent Application the following was said with respect to the storage of radioactive hazardous material waste at INEEL in Idaho Falls, ID, which is both a remediation site and stores radioactive hazardous material waste generated by INEEL. The INEEL site is not available for storage of radioactive hazardous material waste generated other than at INEEL. INEEL not only prohibits transferring loose radioactive hazardous material waste from one transport container to another at the storage site, but requires that such containers be capable of being stacked at least one on top of one other container. This stacking requirement means that one must be able to lift the container at the storage site and place the container in a stacked position.

Nevada Test Site

24. In the Parent Application the following was said about the Nevada Test Site in Mercury, Nev. It is operated for the Federal government and accepts radioactive hazardous material waste, provided the radioactive hazardous material waste is not loose or uncontained as with true bulk cargo. Further, the Nevada Test Site is not rail-served. To avoid expensive, single mode, long distance transport of the radioactive hazardous material waste via truck from the remediation site to the Nevada Test Site, e.g., from the Miamisburg, Ohio remediation site, such transport must be intermodal. Long distance intermodal transport of radioactive hazardous material waste by rail involves use of the North Las Vegas “transload” facility. Such facility is not a true radioactive hazardous material waste “transload” facility in that true transload facilities allow bulk (uncontained) cargo to be unloaded from a gondola car, for example, as by an excavator hoe. As noted above, regulation item (v) prohibits such loose unloading of radioactive hazardous material waste. Rather, the North Las Vegas transload facility allows transfer from the railroad to trucks of units of bulk radioactive hazardous material waste in licensed containers.

25. Such regulation item (v), and local regulations, also mean that whatever the manner of transport of the radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site, the radioactive hazardous material waste must be in an STC that is capable of being moved upon arrival at the Nevada Test Site. Further, there is no decontamination facility at the Nevada Test Site. Without a decontamination facility, as one example, if a S/L IMC is the strong, tight container used to deliver the radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site, the S/L IMC itself must be “buried” at the Nevada Test Site to achieve storage of the radioactive hazardous material waste. The cost of the S/L IMCs themselves (noted below as $135.00 per cubic yard of radioactive hazardous material waste stored) makes the S/L IMC a very costly mode of storage.

26. Without such decontamination facility, and to avoid burying such S/L IMCs which transport the radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site, it was said in the Parent Application that the Nevada Test Site recently started accepting radioactive hazardous material waste that is wrapped in a non-liftable liner, called a “Burrito Wrap”, sold by Transport Plastics, Inc., of Sweetwater, Tenn. The Burrito Wrap liner was designed to prevent contamination of the vehicle that is used to transport the radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site, so that without decontamination the vehicle may return to the remediation site for another load. However, the Burrito Wrap liner was designed to be transported only by a side dump truck which transports the radioactive hazardous material waste directly from the remediation site, and which carries the Burrito Wrap liner to the exact location within the Nevada Test Site at which the radioactive hazardous material waste is to be stored. At that location, the Burrito Wrap liner (and the radioactive hazardous material waste therein), are rolled out of the side dump truck. Although such Burrito Wrap liner is cost-effective (seven dollars per ton of radioactive hazardous material waste stored), because such Burrito Wrap liner cannot be lifted it cannot be used at the INEEL facility, for example. Since the side dump truck has a net load limit of 35,000 pounds, and since the side dump truck must return empty to the remediation site, it is too costly to use the Burrito Wraps and the side dump trucks for transport of radioactive hazardous material waste from far away places such as the Miamisburg, Ohio remediation site, for example.

27. It is also acceptable to store hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste at the Nevada Test Site if contained in drums, but the high cost of typical drums ($60.00 each) and the low capacity of each drum (less than one-third cubic yards) significantly increases the cost of storage using such drums.

28. In the Parent Application it was also said that the Nevada Test Site is an important site for storage of radioactive hazardous material waste because it has a very large capacity (e.g., one measured in millions of cubic yards), and only recently started to accept for storage bulk radioactive hazardous material waste in units such as that defined by the Burrito Wrap liners. Therefore, it is important to provide an efficient mode of transporting radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site.

Facility in Utah

29. In the Parent Application it was also said that there is a storage facility in Utah which is rail-served, and which is the only radioactive hazardous material waste storage site in the United States which, on arrival at the site, will work with true “bulk”, low-level radioactive hazardous material waste. However, to comply with other regulations, an STC must be used for the transport to the site. For example, a load of very low level radioactive hazardous material waste that is wrapped in a non-liftable “Super Load Wrapper” liner sold by Transport Plastics, Inc., may be transported in a gondola car. Such Super Load Wrapper liner and gondola car together form the STC. At this Utah storage site, the Super Load Wrapper liner containing the load of radioactive hazardous material waste is rolled out of the gondola car as the gondola car is inverted (rolled over). However, the Super Load Wrapper liner must be rolled off directly into a receiving area below the inverted gondola car. An earth mover is used to move the Super Load Wrapper liner (or the now-loose radioactive hazardous material waste from the Super Load Wrapper) within the storage facility to the final “cell” in which the radioactive hazardous material waste is to be stored.

30. Alternatively, the STC may be provided as an IMC which is not lined to prevent contamination of the IMC. In this case, as noted above, because of the requirement that containers in which radioactive hazardous material waste is transported either not become contaminated with the radioactive hazardous material waste, or that such contaminated containers be decontaminated after use, the IMC must be decontaminated after use As noted below, use of the decontaminated IMC inherently adds to total transport costs since the IMC must be returned empty to the remediation site. Such storage facility in Utah will also accept higher levels of radioactive hazardous material waste. Although this facility can invert gondola cars, it will also accept radioactive hazardous material waste in smaller units.

Liftable Containers

31. As a preface to describing liftable containers in the Parent Application, it was noted that certain liners, such as the Burrito Wrap liner and the Super Load Wrapper liner, may not be lifted, and the following was noted. The non-lift feature results from the fact that such liners were designed to only line the container and passively contain the load therein, and not to be able to support the load therein as forces are applied to the liner to lift the liner and the load therein off a transport vehicle or the ground. Those liners successfully perform those liner ftmctions. In contrast to such liners, the liftable containers described below not only contain a load, but forces may be applied to such containers from above to cause such containers to lift the load contained therein. However, the liftable containers described below have significant disadvantages also described below, such that these liftable containers do not solve the problem of efficiently transporting materials such as hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste.

The IMC

32. The IMC is a sturdy heavy steel container having a size of about twenty two feet long by eight feet wide and five feet high. The IMC is not self-propelled (as is a truck). Instead, the IMC may be lifted onto a transport vehicle, e.g., by a crane or an IMC lift truck having a boom on the truck. For long distance transport, the IMC is lifted onto a railroad car. IMCs must, and have been, licensed by various states for use as an STC for transporting hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste. The IMC may be lined with a standard liner which keeps the hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste from contacting the inner walls of the IMC. Thus, the IMC does not become contaminated. Alternatively, the IMC may be used without such a liner at sites which have a decontamination facility, and must be decontaminated before leaving the storage site.

33. In the Parent Application it was said that IMCs are generally leased at a price of about ten dollars per day (in 1997 Dollars) and on a long-term basis, such as monthly or annually Thus, the lessee has the incentive to make the best use possible of every particular leased IMC. A particular IMC is generally leased for a specific job, i.e., for one remediation site, and is licensed at least by the state in which such remediation site is located. For ongoing operations, that licensed IMC is generally returned empty from the disposal site or the storage site to the remediation site. Therefore, even if that IMC would be better next used at another site, generally a particular licensed IMC is returned empty to the remediation site in the state that licensed such particular IMC.

34. In the Parent Application it was also said that the cost charged by a railroad for such empty return (on a special flat bed railroad car) is almost the same as the cost the railroad charges to transport the full IMC from the remediation site to the storage site. Also, the IMC does not collapse, such that the entire twenty-two foot by eight foot footprint is involved if the IMC is to be stored at the remediation site prior to reuse or stored at the waste storage site prior to such empty return.

35. Since it is unlikely that the destination point will be rail-served (except for the above-noted facility in Utah), an intermodal railyard must be available to transfer the IMC from the railroad car to an IMC truck. As noted, once the IMC arrives at the disposal site, or the storage site, if the storage site has regulations prohibiting the hazardous material waste in the IMC from becoming loose, some way has to be provided for the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste in the IMC to be contained and moved to the appropriate cell for storage. The noted solution (burying the S/L IMC with the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste) is a very costly solution because even a used S/L IMC costs about $135 per cubic yard of stored load.

36. Although the IMC may be used to carry the cargo the entire way from the point of origin (e.g., the remediation site) to the destination point (e.g., the storage site), the IMC requires a truck for an entire short transport, or a truck for transport from the point of origin to the railroad, from the railroad to the destination point, and a special railroad flat car for transport on the railroad. Further, the IMC requires the truck in each such case for the return to the point of origin of the next load. Also, in view of the large size of IMCs, for example, space may not be available to facilitate loading of IMCs at the remediation site. Finally, when the IMC is used to carry the cargo the entire way from the point of origin to the destination point, the entire round trip from the point of origin to the storage site and back to the point of origin may take up to five weeks, whereas the actual amount of time the IMC is being moved is much less. Thus the shipper needs to lease many extra IMCs to offset the number of IMCs in transit.

Roll-off Containers

37. In the Parent Application it was also said that roll-off containers are sturdy open top steel containers designed to be loaded while resting on the ground, and pulled from one narrow end onto rails of a roll-off truck, and the following was said. The bed of the roll-off containers is about twenty feet by eight feet. The roll-off truck backs up to the narrow end of the roll-off container and pulls the container onto the rails. Such containers are used for local, not long distance, transport, such as from a remediation site to a railroad siding, or within the remediation site. The walls of the roll-off containers are about five feet high. For non-hazardous material waste, the waste is dumped into the roll-off container from the ground.

Valve-Type Bag

38. In the Parent Application it was also said that a valve-type bag has been used to define a unit or a volume of bulk material such as plastic pellets or foodstuffs, and the following was described. The unit and volume are small in that this valve-type bag has a “footprint” of about three feet by three feet, a height of about forty inches and a rated (maximum allowable) capacity of only about one ton. At the top, the three feet by three feet size provides an opening into which the bulk material is fed, e.g., from a hopper or chute. As described below, however, the three feet by three feet size opening does not allow the valve-type bag to be loaded by a front end loader. At the bottom of the valve-type bag a valve is provided for controlling the flow of the material out of such bag. The size of three feet by three feet, and the height of forty inches, provides the small volume of just more than one cubic yard.

39. To enable the valve-type bag to be lifted from above, straps are sewn to the outside of corners of the bag, with one strap sewn to each of the four corners of the bag. Each corner strap is sewn along a vertical line at which the strap overlaps only a short length of adjacent side walls of one corner of the bag. The overlap is about twelve to eighteen vertical inches. There is thus a vertical distance of about twenty-two to twenty-eight inches from the lower end of each corner strap to the bottom of the bag. No corner strap is provided or connected to the bag over that distance, nor on the bottom of the bag, nor on the side walls of the bag.

40. It is typical for a fork lift truck having two spaced lift bars to engage the straps. One such bar is used to engage two of the corner straps, and the other of such bars is used to engage the two other corner straps to lift the bag. Alternatively, each corner strap is connected to a six foot cable, and the four cables connect to the same ring. A back hoe bucket is used to engage the ring and lift the bag.

41. Also, it is common to transport such valve-type bags either on a flat bed truck or in a van-type semi-trailer truck (van trailers). A crane or other overhead lifting equipment is used to load such bag onto the flat bed truck. The use of the flat bed truck is acceptable for the plastic pellet or foodstuff bulk cargo usually carried in such bags, but is not an STC for transport of hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste. As to loading the van trailer, which is considered as an STC when used with such a valve-type bag, a fork lift truck is used to lift such bag enough to be moved into the van trailer and set on the floor. The height of the ceiling of the van trailer (e.g., about eight feet) prevents use of the fork lift truck to lift such bag via the corner straps and stack the bags on top of each other, because the mast of the fork lift truck must be higher than the top of such bag. Thus, one layer of (or about 34 of the three foot by three foot footprint) such bags will fit in a seven and one half foot by fifty-two and one-half foot van trailer; which is a load of about seventeen tons (compared to the capacity of such van trailer of about twenty-four tons).

Love Canal Bag

42. In the Parent Application it was also said that a liftable bag is in use in transporting hazardous material waste that was removed from the Love Canal area, and previously stored, and the following was said. This bag has the same design features and limitations as the valve-type bag, also defines a relatively small unit or small volume of bulk material, but has a slightly larger footprint. In particular, the Love Canal bag has a footprint of about four and one-half feet by four and one-half feet, and a height of about fifty-four inches. The exact rated (or maximum allowable load) capacity of such bag is not clear. The weight of loads customarily carried in such bags depends on the density of the material being carried. However, it appears that such bag is regularly used to carry loads that do not exceed six thousand pounds, e.g., in the range of five to five and one-half thousand pounds. Therefore, Applicant has concluded that it is unlikely that the rated capacity of such bags exceeds six thousand pounds, and clearly does not extend to even seven thousand pounds.

43. At the top of the Love Canal bag, the four feet by four feet size provides an opening into which the bulk material is fed, e.g., from a hopper or chute. The four feet by four feet size opening does not allow the Love Canal bag to be loaded by a front end loader. To enable the Love Canal bag to be lifted from above, the same type corner straps are provided as for the valve-type bag; i.e., a corner strap sewn to each of the four corners of the bag along a vertical line at which the strap overlaps adjacent side walls of a corner of the bag, so that there is about twelve to eighteen vertical inches of overlap. A vertical distance of about thirty-six to forty-two inches is left from the lower end of each corner strap to the bottom of the bag. No corner strap is provided or connected to the bag over that distance, nor on the bottom of the bag, nor on the side wall of the bag.

44. With about a four and one-half foot by four and one-half foot footprint, one would expect to be able to fit twenty-two Love Canal bags in the nine and one-half foot by fifty-two foot bed of a standard railroad gondola car. With the seven hundred-twenty cubic foot size of such bag and at eighty pounds per cubic foot of cargo, the twenty-two bags would weigh about 64 tons. It appears that in the Love Canal transport situation, however, it was desired to increase the number of such bags which would fit into one railroad car. As understood, there was no change made in the size or design of such bags. Rather, it appears that to increase the number of the Love Canal bags that would fit into a railroad car, it was decided not to use the standard railroad gondola car described below. Instead, a special (so-called “non-pool”) sixty-five foot long gondola car was used to carry an additional six Love Canal bags (for a total of twenty-eight of such bags per special car). Despite the adverse logistics of using such special cars (e.g., difficulties in obtaining such non-pool cars, not being able to release such cars at the end of a shipment, but instead returning them empty to the point of origin, and waiting for such return before loading more bags), such special cars were used rather than change the bag design or size. To Applicant's knowledge, the Love Canal bag remains the largest disposable bag available to both contain and lift a unit of bulk load, which load was of course hazardous material waste.

Concord, Mass. Bar

45. In the Parent Application it was also said that at a remedial site in Concord, Mass., small boxes and small bags are being used to remove hazardous material waste from inside a building, and the following was said. The bags are small versions of the Love Canal bags, and have sides that are three feet by three feet, and a height of three feet. Straps are also attached to the corners as described above for the Love Canal bag. Due to difficulty in loading these bags, the bags are loaded with from 0.6 to one ton of the hazardous material waste, although the rated capacity of the bags is about 1.2 tons. The difficulty is apparently that it is not possible to quickly put the hazardous material waste through the three foot by three foot top opening to load the bag.

B25 Box

46. In the Parent Application it was also said that a box known as the “B25” box has about a three and one half cubic yard volume (four feet by four feet by six feet) and is made from metal, and the following was said. It is typical to lift the B25 box from underneath using a fork lift truck which places the B25 box directly in a cell of a hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste storage site. This requires the forklift truck driver to enter the exclusionary zone.

Non-Liftable Wrappers

47. In the Parent Application it was also said that the Burrito Wrap liner and the Super Load Wrapper liner were mentioned above as non-liftable wrappers, and the following was noted. Another liner is being used at an oil drilling location in the North Sea (the “North Sea wrap”, or “wrap”). These three are non-liftable liners, i.e., that are “not able to lift” the load contained therein. The phrase “not able to lift” means that the liners cannot receive forces applied to the upper areas of the liners, and in response to such forces cannot raise the liner and the load therein off the ground or off any other support surface on which the liner has been at rest. These three are examples of liners designed for special situations that do not require the liners to be “able to lift” . The phrase “able to lift” means that the a container can receive forces applied to the upper areas of the container, and in response to such forces, the container and the load therein can be lifted off the ground or off any other support surface on which the container has been at rest. Thus, the Burrito Wrap liner was designed specifically for use at the Nevada Test Site in the (side dump truck) situation described above which did not require lifting of the Burrito Wrap liner after it was loaded. The Super Load Wrapper liner was similarly designed specifically for use in a standard gondola car at the facility in Utah, also in a situation (invert the gondola car) in which it was acceptable for the Super Load Wrapper liner to be not able to lift after it was loaded. The lined side dump truck and the lined standard gondola car have very large top openings (e.g., such gondola car has a fifty-two and one-half by nine and one-half feet opening) and are thus easy to load.

48. The wrap which is understood to be in use at the North Sea location was apparently designed to be placed empty in the bucket of a front end loader (e.g., having a six feet by four feet size). Such wrap has laces to provide an openable top, and has sides, and a bottom. The top is opened to enable material such as gravel to be loaded, and then the laces are tied to close the top. The front end loader then carries such now-full wrap to the seashore, at which a crane having a clam-shell bucket is provided. Since the laces cannot support the weight of such fully loaded wrap, which is about seven tons, such wrap is not able to lift in that it cannot be lifted by the laces. Rather, the clam-shell bucket closes under the bottom of the wrap and then lifts the wrap, so the wrap can be placed where desired. Thus, the containment capacity of the wrap compares to that of the Burrito Wrap liner, and each of these three wraps is not able to lift such a weight.

Loading Bulk Cargo into Containers

49. In the Parent Application it was also said that there are a variety of situations in loading the bulk cargo into the containers, liners and wraps described above, and the following was said. One of the most common pieces of equipment for loading bulk cargo (such as hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste) is the front end loader. As noted, the front end loader has a bucket that is six feet wide and four feet deep. It is thus very difficult to use the front end loader to load the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste into any unlined or lined container lined if the container has a top opening smaller than about six feet by about four feet. Although the large IMCs and S/L IMCs may be readily loaded using a front end loader, the above-described disadvantages of the large IMCs and S/L IMCs render them inefficient for transporting the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste.

50. While the Burrito Wrap liner and Super Load Wrapper liner which are used with large containers (e.g., with respective side dump trucks and railroad gondola cars) may be easily loaded using a front end loader, and while these liners have successfully served the radioactive hazardous material waste liner purposes for the sites and modes of transport for which they are intended, those purposes were not to contain and lift these large loads for transloading of a unit of radioactive hazardous material waste, e.g., from one mode of transport to another mode of transport. Thus, notwithstanding the ease of being loaded, the Super Load Wrapper liner is not suitable for transport of radioactive hazardous material waste to the Nevada Test Site, and the Burrito Wrapper liner is not suitable for transport of radioactive hazardous material waste to the noted site in Utah. Although the North Sea wrap fits into the bucket of a front end loader, such wrap is not able to lift.

51. On the other hand, although the valve-type bag and the Love Canal bag, for example, are able to lift, neither of these has any side that exceeds four and one-half feet. Due to the significantly larger size of the front end loader bucket than the size of the openings at the top of such bags, if one were to try to load hazardous material waste into such bags, a back hoe having a much smaller bucket, or some other smaller equipment, would have to be used, and would need to carefully and slowly direct the bulk hazardous material waste into the small open top of the bags to load the bags without spilling. This would slow down the loading of these bags, and would still risk spilling. Similarly, if the hazardous material waste is demolition debris, and if one tries to use such small bags to carry such hazardous demolition debris, the small size of the opening would require the time-consuming steps of cutting up the demolition debris into small enough pieces to fit through such small open tops. Such cutting would be too time consuming to be practical. When millions of cubic yards of radioactive hazardous material waste, for example, must be transported, slowness in loading becomes a major problem.

Transloading Facilities

52. In the Parent Application it was also said that when the remediation site is not rail-served, or when the storage site is not rail-served, more than one mode of transport must be used, and the following was said. The transfer from one mode to the next mode is done at a transloading facility, such as the North Las Vegas facility. Although such facility is not a radioactive hazardous material waste transloading facility, such facility, and one at Clive, Utah, are licensed for transloading hazardous material waste such as PCBs. The North Las Vegas facility also has a crane for lifting heavy loads. Such hazardous material waste transloading is performed with the hazardous material waste loose, as by using an excavator hoe to remove the bulk hazardous material waste from a gondola car, for example.

53. Most transloading facilities are not designed for transloading radioactive hazardous material waste, such that a way must be found to keep the radioactive hazardous material waste contained during transfer between modes of transport, here also called “transloading”. One such way is to use IMCs. At the time of the Parent Application, IMCs were used near the then-unlicensed Beatty, Nevada storage site. In that case, the transload facility transferred the IMCs from the special IMC railroad car to a flat bed truck. During the truck transport of the IMC to the Beatty storage site, the special IMC railroad cars were stored at the transload facility, which takes a substantial amount of room because of the large size of the IMCs. The low level radioactive hazardous material waste was dumped from the IMC, the IMC decontaminated, and the IMC was then returned by flat bed truck to the transload facility.

54. The true use of such transload facilities for loose bulk transloading is thus not available for radioactive hazardous material waste, and the noted alternate, IMC transfer, requires decontamination and return of the IMC. Therefore, at the time of the Parent Application there was still a need to provide a way of complying with the regulations applicable to radioactive hazardous material waste, yet efficiently “transloading” (or transferring) radioactive hazardous material waste from one mode of transport to the next mode.

Use of Railroad Gondola Cars

55. In the Parent Application it was also said that there are many advantages to using standard gondola cars that are used on a railroad (the standard gondola car is referred to herein as the “gondola car”), and the following was said. Compared to using special, non-pool (non-standard) gondola cars such as the sixty-five foot long special gondola cars noted above, and as compared to the process of leasing IMCs, for example, the gondola car is readily available to railroad customers in most situations. Also, gondola cars are one of the most universally used cars of a railroad. Therefore, once one load of bulk cargo has been emptied from a particular gondola car, the railroad customer may “release” that particular gondola car to the railroad, such that it is readily available at the destination point for use in transporting another load of cargo. At or near the point of origin at which the bulk materials are loaded, many gondola cars can generally be scheduled to be available to receive successive loads of the bulk cargo. Further, gondola car are exempt from state and local government licensing.

56. The gondola car has a large carrying capacity of 100 tons, and is fifty two and one-half feet long by nine and one-half feet wide. The gondola car is provided with low (sixty inch) sides and an open top for ease in receiving, and transporting, bulk cargo. Normal (non-hazardous and non-radioactive) scrap and waste materials are bulk cargo, and without being packaged, may be loaded directly into the gondola car through the open top. These bulk materials are contained within the car by the sides and the bottom of the car. Such bulk materials are generally covered with one cover that extends over the entire load that is carried by the gondola car. The bulk materials remain loose in the gondola car and are not in separate packages or boxes.

57. When the bulk material is scrap metal, the scrap metal may be loaded into and removed from the gondola car by an overhead crane and magnet, for example. For other types of bulk cargo carried in gondola cars, equipment is provided for rotating the gondola car on its longitudinal axis to invert the car and dump the cargo out of the car. When the bulk cargo is hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste, to avoid time consuming and costly decontamination of the gondola car, the gondola car must be protected, such as being lined with a protective liner, which may be the Super Load Wrapper liner, for example. The only practical problem in the planned use of such gondola cars is that few remediation sites are rail-served. However, no matter what type of railroad transport is to be used for long distance transport, the lack of rail-service at the remediation site requires that the cargo be moved some distance to the nearest railroad.

58. With the background of the Parent Application in mind, it is noted that significant savings have been achieved using flexible, liftable systems embodying Applicant's Parent Application, U.S. Pat. No. 6,079,934, issued Jun. 27, 2000 (the '934 System). The uses of the '934 System have been varied. For example, in one shipment, over 1,400 flexible, liftable containers of the '934 System were made and complied with Department of Transportation regulations (49 C.F.R.). Such containers were loaded with contaminated soil. Such containers were loaded onto and unloaded from one barge. The barge was used for ocean-transport, and upon completion of the trans-ocean transport, such containers were transloaded onto standard railroad gondola cars for transport to a disposal facility. Such containers kept the contaminated soil secure during the transporting. In this example, the savings included avoiding contamination during transport, such as contamination of the barge, avoiding use of soil-handling equipment to unload the barge, and keeping the soil in closed units. Time was also saved in that such containers were transloaded into and out of the barge in less time than it would have taken to handle loose soil, or small units of such soil.

59. Advantages of the '934 System have become appreciated by customers, such as those having needs for transporting and/or storing and/or disposing of units of bulk cargo. Generally, the '934 System has been used for transporting units of bulk cargo wherein the unit has to be lifted and set down in the course of the transporting. In many cases, such as the transporting of radioactive hazardous material waste, once the unit has arrived at the storage site, the entire unit has been stored as one integral unit. Thus, the stored unit includes a portion of the '934 System itself. That is, the stored portion of the '934 System may include the portion that defines the one unit (i.e., the inner container), plus the flexible, liftable, outer, container-lifter that enables the inner unit to be lifted and placed during transport.

60. Despite these and other advantages of the '934 System, interest has been expressed by users of the '934 System in achieving even greater savings. The need for more cost savings relates in part to the vast size of the market for flexible, liftable containers. For example, in all of the situations in which the '934 System has been used, cost savings would be desirable.

61. In some situations, the savings may be defined by the avoidance of traffic congestion caused by truck transport of extremely high volumes of bulk cargo. Where the cargo is non-contaminated an initial choice for transporting the cargo is by truck. However, when one considers that one typical barge can carry as much bulk cargo as about five hundred dump trucks, for example, long distance truck transport of such cargo would likely create substantial road-traffic congestion, especially in urban areas.

62. In other situations, the desired savings may be beyond those achieved in the above-discussed efficient transport resulting from avoiding use of IMCs in which gondola cars are used instead of the IMC. A current need at one facility is to transport large quantities (e.g., twelve to fifteen thousand tons) of non-contaminated fill (bulk cargo) to a site, and to transport similarly large quantities of hazardous waste material from the site to a storage facility that is about 500 miles from the site. In the prior art, trucking the fill and waste material would cause significant congestion, road damage, environmental (air) pollution, for example. If IMCs are used, the above-noted disadvantages would be experienced (e.g., IMC rental costs, large areas needed to store the IMCs in preparation for transport, etc.).

63. In another current situation, sand is needed as fill at a residential construction project. As in the above two-directional transport situation, in the prior art long-distance trucking of the sand would cause significant road-traffic congestion, such that use of barges for primary transport close to the project would be more desirable. However, since the sand is not contaminated and may be dumped loose rather than as a unit of bulk cargo, savings beyond those achieved by the '934 System are desired.

64. In an endeavor to meet these needs for greater savings, while retaining the advantages of the '934 System, Applicant has given consideration to providing ways of reusing parts of the '934 System. However, known approaches to reuse containers have a number of significant shortcomings. For example, in the prior art, some containers have been made reusable, but rely on emptying the container by flowing loose material out of the bottom of the container. Williamson U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,113,146 and 4,224,970, for example, reuse a container for loose material. The loose material flows into an open top of the container. An openable bottom is provided for allowing the loose material to flow out of the container. In the '146 Patent, the bottom is openable by piercing an inner bag. In the '970 Patent, a cord secures a spout at the bottom of the container. Thus, there is generally no concern in either Williamson Patent as to keeping the contained and flowable material as one unit of bulk cargo upon discharge from the container. Also, if the bottom of the container is placed on a support surface, the openable bottom cannot be opened without lifting the container off the surface.

65. Further, Flaniken U.S. Pat. No. 525,951, issued Sep. 11, 1894, describes containers having a releasable bottom to discharge loose materials, such as seed. In the Flaniken container, the loose contents may be discharged only when the container is lifted from a wagon. Thus, if the container remains on the wagon, the bottom cannot be opened. Such discharge of the loose material indicates a lack of concern for a need to keep the contents of the container as one unit of bulk cargo upon discharge from the container. The seed is not described as hazardous material waste, and there is no secure closure of the container for transport.

66. Others also discharge loose bulk material, as in Hendon U.S. Pat. No. 3,674,073, which provides a container for loose cotton. In Hendon, sides are laced at a top of the container. Also, side flaps and end flaps are laced at the top. A main cover is used to cover the lacing of the sides, and both sets of the flaps. It appears that the container must be lifted and inverted for the disclosed dumping of all such loose cotton through the top. For such dumping, the main cover must be removed from such covering position, and all of the sides, and the end and side flaps, must be untied before the container is lifted and inverted. One side of the container is lifted to both lift the bottom of the container off a support and invert the container to facilitate the dumping through the top.

67. In Applicant's experience, such bottom-dumping containers are not suitable for the random type of bulk materials encountered in transporting of hazardous material waste, for example. Also, the top dumping containers that require undoing of all flaps and the top of the container are not practical when one desires to achieve additional savings, e.g., of time. Similarly, the top-dumping and bottom-dumping containers that require lifting of the container off a support surface to effect the dumping are also not practical when one desires to achieve additional savings.

68. Even when there is no need for the unit of bulk cargo to be discharged (or dumped) from a container as one unit, other prior containers have limitations that render them unsuitable to meet the present need while retaining the advantages of the '934 System. For example, the above descriptions identify limitations of the non-liftable liner (called the “Burrito Wrap”) and the non-liftable Super Load Wrapper liner.

69. What is needed then, is a flexible, liftable container-lifter for units of bulk cargo, which is capable of achieving even greater cost-savings than the '934 System. In addition, such flexible, liftable container-lifter should not only meet this need for greater cost-savings, but should also retain the advantages of the '934 System. Also, it should be possible to provide such flexible, liftable container-lifter for a unit of bulk cargo and enable the unit to remain in the form of an integral unit as the unit of bulk cargo is released from the container-lifter. Therefore, such a liftable container-lifter that may be reusable, in whole or in part, should not be subject to the disadvantages of the above-noted prior art containers that discharge bulk cargo as loose cargo, instead of cargo in a unit, or that discharge the cargo from the bottom, or that require lifting of the container off a support surface in order to discharge the cargo.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

70. Broadly speaking, the present invention fills these needs by providing apparatus and methods in which a flexible, liftable container-lifter for bulk cargo is capable of achieving even greater savings than those resulting from use of the '934 System. The flexible, liftable container-lifter and methods of the present invention not only meet this need for greater savings, but also retain the advantages of the '934 System. Such flexible, liftable container-lifter is provided for a unit of bulk cargo and may enable the unit to remain in the form of an integral unit as the unit of bulk cargo is released from the liftable container-lifter.

71. One form of such flexible, liftable container-lifter of the present invention is a container-lifter that may be reusable, yet is not subject to the above-discussed disadvantages of prior art containers that discharge bulk cargo as loose cargo. For example, in the bioremediation of PCB's, live biological organisms are introduced to a quantity of the hazardous PCB's. The hazardous PCB's and the organisms are contained within a flexible, inner container that is received in a flexible, secure, reusable, liftable outer container-lifter. Over time, the organisms consume the PCB's and transform the PCB's into non-hazardous material waste. The flexible outer container-lifter may be used to lift the inner container (with the now-non-hazardous material waste therein) for transport to a standard landfill. One wall of the flexible, outer container-lifter may be opened to facilitate dumping of the now-non-hazardous waste, and advantageously such wall may be opened without the added step of lifting the container-lifter off the transport vehicle. Upon completion of such dumping, the flexible, liftable, outer container-lifter may be readily readied for reuse.

72. Another form of such flexible, liftable container is one in which a secure non-liftable inner container is used to maintain a unit of bulk cargo as a unit during and after separation from an outer, secure, flexible, dumpable, liftable container-lifter, and in which such outer container-lifter is provided with a readily-openable side wall to facilitate separation of the inner container from the outer container-lifter without lifting either the inner container or the outer container-lifter from a support surface on which such outer container-lifter rests. The secure inner container maintains the unit as a unit during such separation, and is suitable for storage of hazardous material waste. As in the above-noted form for use in bioremediation, one wall of the outer container-lifter is openable. Such openable wall facilitates dumping of hazardous material waste contained by the secure, inner container. Also, the flexible, liftable, openable outer container-lifter may be readily readied for reuse. In this example and in the bioremediation example, the savings include those resulting from reuse of the outer container-lifter.

73. A still further form of such flexible, liftable, container-lifter system of the present invention is a liftable container-lifter that may be reused and that may be used with or without an inner container. For example, for the above two-directional transport situation, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter may be used without an inner container for rail transport of the fill to the site in a standard gondola car. Such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter would then be readily prepared for re-use. In conjunction with a secure inner container, such outer container-lifter may be used for the return transport from the site to the storage facility, this time transporting the hazardous material waste, again by rail transport in a standard gondola car. Advantages and benefits of such reusable container-lifter include those discussed in the Parent Application with respect to the container-lifters, as well as the two-way use (re-use) of such outer container-lifter, which avoids the cost of purchase of an outer container-lifter for each direction of such transporting.

74. One further form of such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter system of the present invention is a liftable container-lifter that may be reused and that may be used without an inner container to achieve more savings while solving the problem, for example, in transporting sand for the above-noted construction project. To avoid the prior art long-distance trucking of the sand and the resulting significant road-traffic congestion, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter may enable lower-cost use of barges for the primary transport of the sand close to the project, which is at a waterfront location. Such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter may be used without an inner container for the barge transport of the sand. At the site of the project, using a readily-available crane, for example, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifters may be placed on standard lift-bed trucks, such as dump trucks or flat bed trucks, for short transport by roads to the particular location at the site at which the fill is needed. Upon opening of an openable wall of such container-lifter, the sand may be discharged as the lift-bed is raised. Such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter may then be readily prepared for re-use.

75. Methods according to the present invention may include operations in which each form of such flexible, liftable outer container-lifter is placed on a tiltable bed of a standard vehicle such as a truck. The flexible, liftable, outer container-lifter is secured to the front of the bed of the truck and the openable wall faces the rear of the truck. Another operation may include conditioning the openable wall for release of the inner container, and then tilting the bed of the vehicle. Upon such tilting the inner container may maintain the unit of bulk cargo as a unit, and the unit slides on a bottom, and on the openable wall, of such outer container-lifter and off the vehicle. Such outer container-lifter is then released from the front of the vehicle, folded into a compact package, and processed for transporting a next unit of bulk cargo, i.e., for containing, lifting, placing, and releasing another unit of bulk cargo as a unit.

76. In the Parent Application it was said that Applicant determined that there are at least two essential requirements for transport of bulk cargo such as hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste: (a) at all times the bulk cargo should be transported in a unit that is smaller than the size of an entire gondola car, and (b) such transport must be “efficient”, as defined below. Such efficient transport was described as applying to every mode of the transport, e.g., at the remediation site, between the remediation site and the railroad, during railroad transport, at a transloading facility, during transport to the storage facility, and at the storage facility. For example, at the remediation site, considerations are that (i) most remediation sites are not rail-served, therefore one must haul the bulk cargo to the railroad over the highway in volumes smaller than the gondola car (i.e., truck-sized units); (ii) there is a limited load capacity on highways, which is less than one-half of the load capacity of the standard gondola car; and (iii) there is limited area available at most remediation sites for loading, such that at some remediation sites only a tandem dump truck can be used for loading. In the Parent Application, transport from the remediation site to the railroad was discussed. Applicant there concluded that to meet these two requirements, there should be as large a unit volume and weight as can be loaded at most remediation sites and be carried within such highway load limits. The smallest remediation site would be served, e.g., by a tandem dump truck having a seven and one-half foot by eighteen foot bed and a forty-six thousand pound load capacity. Somewhat larger remediation sites would, e.g., be served by roll-off containers having about the same size beds as the tandem dump truck, and by roll-off trucks which carry the roll-off containers.

77. In the present invention, an apparatus having characteristics described in the Parent Application was generally referred to as a “bulk cargo unit container-lifter-liner”, which was abbreviated and called a “lift-liner”, or “container-lifter”. The examples below of efficient transport discussed in the Parent Application are provided by such reusable lift-liners of the present invention. Applicant's studies indicated that the efficient transport is provided when the bulk cargo is transported using a gondola car during the mode of transport that covers the longest distance from the point of origin to the destination point. That is, in transport which includes both rail transport and other modes of transport to the railroad or from the railroad, the distances traveled using the other modes of transport are short relative to the distance traveled by rail. The conclusion that only gondola cars should be used for such longest portion of transport took into consideration the most efficient use of an IMC. For example, Applicant considered the most efficient use of an IMC used to transport radioactive hazardous material waste as being for transport to the above-described rail-served storage site in Utah. The IMC was lined using a standard plastic liner and was loaded at the remediation site (point of origin). A truck was used for transporting the loaded IMC from the remediation site to the railroad, where it was lifted onto a special railroad flat car. After the long distance transport by railroad, at the Utah site the IMC was removed from the flat car, the radioactive hazardous material waste and the liner were dumped out of the IMC, and the IMC was decontaminated. The decontaminated IMC was then returned empty to the remediation site (point of origin) for reloading. The operator of the storage site will not generally accept the decontaminated IMCs for release to the railroad. Such refusal is generally due to the need to store such decontaminated IMCs prior to actual “pick-up” by the railroad, and the large amount of room necessary for such storage. Thus, even though this is the most efficient use of the IMC for this waste, there is no practical way to avoid the need to return the IMC empty to the point of origin for reloading, nor to avoid the logistics of arranging for the empty return via railroad, nor to avoid the transport from the railroad to the remediation site, nor to avoid the documentation of the return transport. These necessary logistical activities attendant such return render such use of IMCs substantially less efficient than the efficient transport contemplated by the present invention.

78. Such studies took into account the requirements that if decontamination is to be avoided when the bulk cargo is hazardous material waste, neither the gondola car nor any other car of the railroad is permitted to become contaminated during the transport. The “liner” aspect of the lift-liner of the present invention (which keeps the gondola car uncontaminated) avoids the need to somehow cover the contaminated gondola car and return the gondola car empty to the point of origin for reloading, rather than releasing the gondola car to the railroad for further use. By using the unregulated gondola car, this aspect of efficient transport avoids use of a state-licensed container such as the IMC. Further, since the use of a lined gondola car is recognized as an acceptable STC (i.e., the gondola car lined with a Super Load Wrapper liner), the gondola car containing a lift-liner is acceptable as an STC. In summary, the lift-liner does not raise any new regulatory issues, and as noted, avoids the state licensing required for IMCs, for example.

79. Efficient transport is also provided when there is “ease of filling”. With ease of filling, the bulk cargo is transferred to the lift-liner using standard material handling equipment, such as front loaders having the buckets that are six feet by four feet. Applicant has determined that for efficient transport the lift-liner that receives and defines the unit of the bulk cargo should have a top opening at least as large as the size of such bucket of the front loader. For the hazardous material waste, the conformity of the size of such a top opening of the lift-liner with at least the size of such bucket of the front loader, are important factors in achieving efficient transport operations because such conformity facilitates ease of filling, e.g., loading without spilling the radioactive hazardous material waste. Thus, efficient transport avoids use of containers such as the valve-type bag and the Love Canal bag, having the top openings of inherently small dimensions when compared to the size of the equipment that is available and regularly used to load the hazardous material waste. Instead, the efficient transport uses such standard front loaders, which may be used to readily load hazardous material waste carefully and directly into the lift-liner without spilling.

80. Efficient transport is additionally provided when as much as possible of the load capacity of the gondola car is used. This means that the weight of the units of the bulk cargo loaded into the gondola car should be as high as possible a percent of the weight-carrying capacity of the gondola car. Ideally, one hundred percent is desired. For transporting hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste with the unit lift and containment, and with all of the other aspects of efficient transport, seventy percent is acceptable. Applicant's studies indicate that such seventy percent capacity of efficient transport is provided by lift-liners having substantially greater weight-carrying and lifting capabilities than the valve-type bag or the Love Canal bag. For example, the hazardous material waste or radioactive hazardous material waste have a typical density of about eighty pounds per cubic foot. One embodiment of the lift-liner is rated to carry during lifting off the ground a unit of the radioactive hazardous material waste weighing up to ten tons and has been successfully tested carrying and lifting over twelve tons. This lift-liner with the ten ton rated (maximum allowable) lifting capacity is referred to as a “ten ton” lift-liner. The ten ton lift-liners are larger, there are fewer openings (or interstices) between adjacent lift-liners within the entire gondola car, and seven, ten ton lift-liners will fill the volume of a gondola car.

81. Efficient transport is further provided when there is efficient transfer of the bulk cargo into the gondola car. The lift-liner divides the bulk cargo at the point of origin into the units for transport. A crane, for example, that is normally at the railroad siding is used to lift the lift-liner into the gondola car. In this context, such efficient transport means that it takes a minimum number crane operations to fill the gondola car with the lift-liners. For example, efficient transport would not use the valve-type bag or the Love Canal bag having the small volume and low weight carrying capacity. Considering the larger of the two bags, the Love Canal bag, twenty-two of such bags (based on two rows, with eleven bags in each row) can fit into a gondola car. Therefore, it would require twenty-two operations of a crane to fill the volume of the gondola car. With the apparent three ton load limit of each such bag, the twenty-two bags could carry about sixty-six tons, which is only about sixty-six percent of the weight-carrying capacity of the gondola car.

82. In contrast, a ten ton capacity lift-liner has a footprint of seven feet by nine feet. The seven foot dimension fits across the width of a truck bed, which is about seven and one-half feet wide. The nine foot dimension allows two lift-liners to fit into the eighteen foot length of the bed of a tandem dump truck, or three lift-liners to fit into the thirty-two foot length of a semi-trailer truck. As to fitting the lift-liner in a gondola car, the nine foot dimension fits across the nine and one-half foot width of the gondola car, and seven of the seven foot dimensions of the lift-liner fit in the fifty-two and one-half length of the gondola car. Thus, seven of the ten ton capacity lift-liners can easily fit in the gondola car and result in use of seventy percent of the weight carrying capacity of the gondola car. It is seen that in addition to the other above-described advantages of providing efficient transport, the lift-liner also provides more than a five percent increase in the amount of the gondola car load-carrying capacity that is used. Further, as compared to the twenty-two crane operations to load the Love Canal bags in the gondola car, fifteen crane operations are saved in only loading seven lift-liners to fill the volume of the gondola car.

83. Related to the number of lift-liners that can be placed into a gondola car, Applicant's studies also indicate that there should not be any requirement to engage the bottom of a lift-liner using lift equipment, as with the North Sea wrap which requires lifting by a crane having a clam-shell bucket. Rather, efficient transport should be provided by having the lift-liner be designed to be lifted by forces applied to the lift-liner from above, so that for lifting the lift-liner no lift equipment need extend down the sides of the lift-liner as with the North Sea wrap. Any such lift equipment extending down the sides of the lift-liner would reduce the number of lift-liners which can be placed into a gondola car, for example.

84. Efficient transport is further provided when the bulk cargo is divided into units for transport and the units are capable of being stacked at the destination point in a stable condition. This means that the at-rest footprint of a lift-liner is large relative to that of such described bags, for example. Further, uniform settling of the bulk cargo within the lift-liner is facilitated by a smooth inner surface of the lift-liner. In the context of the present invention in which an outer lift-liner is used with an inner container, the “stackability” of the inner container is said to be stable because a first layer of inner containers may be provided by dumping many inner containers side-by-side and end-to-end. Then, another layer of inner containers may be provided on the first layer by dumping many additional inner containers side-by-side and end-to-end. The process may be repeated to form up to six stable layers of inner containers.

85. Efficient transport is further provided when the lift-liner that forms or defines the unit of the bulk cargo has a minimum empty volume and weight prior to being loaded with the bulk cargo. Thus, the lift-liner should collapse (or fold) for transport to the point of origin, be readily openable for loading, and itself be light-weight. As an example, about sixty two of the ten ton rated capacity lift-liners contemplated by the present invention can fit in one IMC.

86. Efficient transport may be further provided when a lift-liner system both defines the unit of the bulk cargo and efficiently couples the vertical lifting force provided by a crane, for example, to the structure of the lift-liner. In this sense, the system distributes portions of such vertical lifting forces to the lift-liner as secondary vertical forces applied vertically and uniformly to the bulk cargo within the lift-liner. In contrast, based on Applicant's analysis of the valve-type bag and the Love Canal bag, it appears that via such sewing of such corner straps only to the respective corners of the bags, the corner straps transfer lifting forces to the portions of the fabric of the sides of the bag that are below the lower ends of the corner straps. These forces are primarily in a diagonal direction extending away from the corner straps across the sides to the bottom of the bag. Also, there is about four feet (measured circumferentially around the bag) between adjacent pairs of such corner straps. Therefore, Applicant's analysis indicates that the upward forces applied to the corners of such bags are not only concentrated at the corners, but are applied where a minimum amount of the load is carried. In Applicant's analysis, such location of the corner straps at the corners, therefore, does not result in the application to the load of enough vertical components of force to enable lifting of loads that are substantially greater than three tons (e.g., ten tons). Since the low weight-carrying capacity and low volume Love Canal bags are made with four side panels, and the panels of each adjacent pair of panels are joined only at the corners by being overlapped and sewn together to form a seam, it appears to Applicant that the design of these bags requires that the corner straps be sewn to the bags only at the overlapping, or reinforced, corner seams, and only partially along the length of the corner. In view of these limitations of the valve-type and the Love Canal bags, Applicant has concluded that such bags are not practical or suitable for the efficient transport of hazardous material waste nor radioactive hazardous material waste.

87. Efficient transport may be further provided when the lift-liner that forms or defines the unit of the bulk cargo need not be used with a dedicated transport vehicle, such as a dedicated IMC. Rather, the lift-liner itself lines the inside of a roll-off container or gondola car and has integrity so as to prevent bulk cargo leakage or seepage from the lift-liner. The lift-liner will be strong enough to be able to keep at least ten tons of bulk cargo safely together as a unit despite dropping the lift-liner from heights such as two feet above the ground.

88. Applicant's studies also indicate that efficient transport is promoted by having lift-liner straps connected to the load-carrying container in a manner that assures an even, or uniform, distribution of lifting forces to the bottom of the container. In comparison, Applicant's studies also considered slings, such as the sling described in the Department of Energy Hoisting and Rigging Manual, April, 1993, Section 8.3.9. There, a Synthetic-Web Sling is described as including straight-pull configurations. Maximum safe working loads (capacities) of single basket hitch (vertical leg) configurations are given for Nylon web slings, including a 3,200 pound capacity for each one inch of width of such slings. Up to twelve inch wide slings having a capacity of 38,400 pounds are shown. Such Section of the Manual does not, however, describe or suggest joining such slings with containers or lift-liners, or other structures for lifting bulk materials. Also, such Section of the Manual does not appreciate the importance Applicant places on such joining of straps to the container to assure application of the vertical lifting forces uniformly across the entire area of the bottom of the container, and thus uniformly to the load resting on the bottom of the container, nor the ease of use of the lift-liner resulting from the joining of the straps to the container to assure such uniform application of the vertical lifting forces. Further, the slings described in the Manual are designed for reuse, and as such, are very expensive and subject to rigorous regulations.

89. Efficient transfer is also promoted when the lift-liner is used with a lifting grid (or force distributor) designed to apply lifting forces to the straps of the lift-liner. For the ten ton lift-liner noted above, the bottom of the lift-liner has an enclosed perimeter, and the straps are in a definite (or grid) pattern within that perimeter. The lifting grid distributes the single vertical lifting force from the one cable of a crane to a coupling for each of the sixteen strap ends of the ten ton lift-liner. This coupling is by providing a hook substantially vertically above every one of the strap ends so that as the crane lifts, each strap end is pulled substantially vertically upward to apply vertical forces to the respective walls and bottom of the container of the lift-liner. For the demolition debris lift-liner, a lifting grid having hooks positioned to match the perimeter of the seventeen foot by four foot lift-liner is provided. Such lifting grid distributes the single vertical lifting force from the one cable of the crane to the hooks. These lifting grids assure that the proper operation and use of the lift-liners does not become dependent on the type of equipment which happens to be available at the remediation site or the storage site. Rather, since cranes are generally always at such sites, the availability of the lifting grid assures ease and proper use of the lift-liner.

90. Efficient transport is also provided by a characteristic of the lift-liner which reduces the occurrence of subsidence of the stored bulk material and the lift-liners after time in storage. Subsidence is a special problem when, for example, wooden boxes are used to contain and permit lifting of radioactive hazardous material waste into position in cells of a radioactive hazardous material waste storage site. As the waste settles in such boxes, air spaces form within such boxes. Such boxes tend to rot and decompose over time. The waste from above settles into the lower air spaces, and all of the units move lower in the stack. As a result, the surface material that has been used to cover the stacked boxed units of radioactive hazardous material waste also settles and requires addition of fill and additional material handling to remedy the problem.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

91. Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, illustrating by way of example the principles of the present invention, in which:

92.FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a system of the invention of the Parent Application for transporting bulk cargo in a unit, showing a unit of demolition debris;

93.FIG. 1B is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application, showing a unit of hazardous material waste;

94.FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing a loading frame for supporting a container-lifter for loading the bulk cargo into a container;

95.FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing a front loader loading the bulk cargo into the container;

96.FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing a flap of the container being folded over the loaded bulk cargo;

97.FIGS. 5 and 6 are perspective views of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing other flaps of the container being folded over the loaded bulk cargo to close a top of the container;

98.FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing all of the flaps of the container folded over the loaded bulk cargo and closing the top of the container, with straps of a lifter ready to be used to lift the container;

99.FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing the closed container, with the straps connected to a lift grid, and a bridle of a crane ready to lift the container;

100.FIG. 9 is a plan view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 8, looking down on the top of the closed container, showing the perimeter of the top when the container is at rest on a support surface, with the lift grid ready to lift the container;

101.FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the second embodiment of the system of the invention of the Parent Application showing the closed container being lifted by the straps as the lift grid is raised by the crane;

102.FIG. 11 is a schematic plan view of the system of the invention of the Parent Application, showing various perimeters, including a perimeter of the loading frame, a vertical lift perimeter, an at-rest container perimeter, and a lifted-container perimeter;

103.FIGS. 12A through 12E are views of one corner of the container defined by walls, showing a transition containment section secured to the walls, and the flaps secured to the transition containment section, wherein the transition containment section is folded to form a tuck to securely close the top of the container;

104.FIGS. 13A through 13C are perspective views of the container being lifted, showing lift grid connectors applying substantially vertical forces to the straps and walls being substantially vertical;

105.FIGS. 14A and 14B are schematic views looking up at the bottom of two embodiments of the container, showing details of the straps crossing the bottom to divide the bottom into areas;

106.FIG. 15 is a plan view of the lift grid;

107.FIG. 16 is a cross sectional view taken along line 16-16 in FIG. 15, showing one lateral beam of the lift grid and a hook of the connector;

108.FIG. 17 is an elevational view taken along line 17-17 in FIG. 15, showing the hook of the connector;

109.FIG. 18 is a side elevational view of the container-lifter of the invention of the Parent Application showing a wall having one set of the straps secured thereto parallel to each other and extending in a continuous path to the bottom;

110.FIG. 19 is an end elevational view of the container-lifter shown in FIG. 18 illustrating another wall having another set of the straps secured thereto parallel to each other and extending in a continuous path to the bottom;

111.FIGS. 20 through 23 are plan views of the container during the folding of the flaps to close the top of the container;

112.FIGS. 24A and 24B are views of a roll-off container which may be used to transport the container-lifter of the invention of the Parent Application from a remediation site to a railroad siding;

113.FIGS. 25A and 25B are plan views of respective first and second embodiments of the container-lifter, showing how the container-lifter makes efficient use of the space and load-carrying capacity of a gondola car;

114.FIG. 26 is an elevational view of the gondola car;

115.FIG. 27 is a side elevational view of the first embodiment of the container-lifter of the invention of the Parent Application showing the first wall having one set of the straps secured to such wall and extending in a continuous path to the bottom;

116.FIG. 28 is an end elevational view of the first embodiment of the container-lifters shown in FIG. 27, showing an opposite wall having the set of the straps secured to the wall and extending in a continuous path to the bottom;

117.FIG. 29 is a plan view of the first embodiment of the container-lifter shown in FIGS. 27 and 28, showing the opposite walls with the set of the straps secured thereto parallel to each other and the flaps tied to close the top of the container-lifter;

118.FIG. 30 is a cross-sectional view of one of the walls taken along lines 30-30 in FIG. 18 showing a laminated sheet and a strap sewn to the sheet;

119.FIG. 31A is an elevational view of one embodiment of the lift grid shown in FIG. 1A;

120.FIG. 31B is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 31A showing the hook;

121.FIG. 32A is an elevational view of a second embodiment of the lift grid shown in FIG. 1B;

122.FIG. 32B is an enlarged view of a portion of FIG. 32A showing the hook;

123.FIGS. 33A, 33B, and 34 through 36 are diagrams of the steps of methods of the invention of the Parent Application;

124.FIG. 37A is a plan view of the bed of a truck which may be used to carry the container-lifters of the present invention;

125.FIG. 37B is a plan view of the bed of a truck which may be used to carry the container-lifters described above;

126.FIG. 38 is a plan view of a large sheet of material from which the container is made, showing the structure of the sheet prior to securing the straps to the container;

127.FIG. 39 is a cross-sectional view of one of the walls formed by multiple sheets, showing an inner sheet having a smooth surface, and an outer sheet connected to one of the straps;

128.FIG. 40 is a three dimensional view of the third embodiment of the container-lifter;

129.FIGS. 41A through 41D are three dimensional views of the third embodiment, illustrating a sequence of folding flaps of an inner container;

130.FIG. 41E is a plan view of the third embodiment illustrating a pattern of straps on the bottom of the container-lifter;

131.FIG. 41F is an end elevational view of the third embodiment, illustrating spacings between the straps;

132.FIGS. 42A through 46B show a fourth embodiment of the present invention in a preliminary sequence of separating an inner container from a flexible, liftable, outer, reusable container-lifter; FIG. 42A being an elevational view illustrating the flexible, liftable, reusable, outer container-lifter that has been placed on a bed of a standard lift-bed vehicle for transport to a location at which it is desired to unload a unit of bulk cargo; and FIG. 42B being a plan view illustrating the flexible, liftable, reusable, outer container-lifter placed on the bed of the vehicle in position for connection to a harness to hold the outer container-lifter on the bed as the bed is raised to unload an inner container that contains the unit of bulk cargo;

133.FIG. 43A is a partial elevational view similar to FIG. 42A, showing the harness secured to the outer container-lifter;

134.FIG. 43B is a partial plan view similar to FIG. 42B, showing the harness secured to the outer container-lifter;

135.FIG. 44A is an enlarged elevational view of a portion of the container-lifter shown in FIG. 42A, showing an opened, openable wall of the container-lifter;

136.FIG. 44B is a plan view of a portion the container-lifter shown in FIG. 42B, showing the openable wall having two corners opened;

137.FIG. 45A is a plan view similar to FIG. 42B, showing an edge of a fourth flap with a few loops untied from tie ropes to facilitate access to an area under the fourth flap;

138.FIG. 45B is an elevational view taken on line 45B-45B in FIG. 45A, showing the edge of the fourth flap having the few loops untied from the tie ropes and illustrating third, second, and first flaps under the fourth flap;

139.FIG. 46A is a plan view taken along lines 46A-46A in FIG. 45B, showing two second tie ropes secured to the second flap, extending through a respective second loop of the first flap, and showing the second tie rope untied from the second loop that is secured to the second flap;

140.FIG. 46B is an elevational view similar to FIG. 45B, showing the area under the fourth flap and under the third flap as providing access to the second tie rope secured to the second flap, wherein the second tie rope is shown extending past the second loop of the first flap, and untied from the second loop that is secured to the second flap;

141.FIG. 47 is a three dimensional view showing the openable second wall and openable second flap each opened, and the second wall moved with the second flap to a preliminary open position on a tailgate of the vehicle, and illustrating the outer container-lifter without the inner container;

142.FIG. 48 is a side elevational view showing a portion of the bed of the standard lift-bed vehicle, and showing the tailgate, covered by the second flap folded under the second wall, illustrating lift straps and rope ties also folded under the second wall;

143.FIG. 49 is a side elevational view showing the bed of the standard lift-bed vehicle tilted and the inner container having moved under the force of gravity onto the opened second wall and onto the opened second flap as the outer container-lifter is held on the bed against the force of gravity;

144.FIG. 50 is a side elevational view showing the inner container having moved under the force of gravity off the bed and almost completely off the tailgate, illustrating a wall of the inner container resting on the ground;

145.FIG. 51A is a side elevational view. showing the inner container having moved off the tailgate, illustrating the bed having been returned to a horizontal position after having urged the inner container to roll on the ground onto the top, and illustrating the outer container-lifter in a collapsed position (solid lines) awaiting disconnection from the harness and removal from the bed;

146.FIGS. 51B and 51C show a sequence of dumping loose bulk cargo from a flexible, liftable, outer, reusable container-lifter placed on a typical dump truck without an inner container; where FIG. 51B is a side elevational view of the opened container-lifter, showing the openable side wall having been opened and the loose bulk cargo starting to flow out of the container-lifter; and FIG. 51C is a side elevational view of the opened container-lifter, showing the openable side wall discharging the loose bulk cargo upon tilting of the bed of the dump truck;

147.FIG. 52 is a three dimensional view of the empty container-lifter, showing the releasable corners opened, and a slippery material on the bottom, on the openable wall, and on a flap attached to the openable wall to facilitate the movement of the inner container under the force of gravity off the bed and off the tailgate;

148.FIG. 53 shows one embodiment of a releasable corner closure of the openable wall, illustrating overlapping edges and a strand or lace holding the edges releasably closed;

149.FIG. 54A is a three dimensional view of another embodiment of the releasable corner closure in which the edges overlap in a prayer configuration and are held overlapped by the strand in a spiral stitch configuration;

150.FIG. 54B is a horizontal cross sectional view showing the spiral stitch configuration of the strand shown in FIG. 54A;

151.FIG. 55A is a horizontal cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the releasable corner closure in which the edges overlap in the prayer configuration and are held overlapped by the strand; the strand shown being inserted into holes in the edges;

152.FIG. 55B is a vertical cross sectional view taken on line 55B-55B in FIG. 55A, showing a chain stitch configuration of the strand;

153.FIG. 56 is a horizontal cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the releasable corner closure in which the edges overlap in the prayer configuration and are held overlapped by the strand in a plural-lace configuration defined by many wire-retainer-type closures;

154.FIG. 57 is a three dimensional view of the container-lifter of the fourth embodiment, showing the releasable corner closures closed, and the container-lifter ready for use or re-use;

155.FIG. 58A is a plan view showing one of two sheets cut to appropriate dimensions to define a width of the container-lifter of the fourth embodiment, the sheet being one of two used to fabricate the container-lifter;

156.FIG. 58B is a plan view showing a second of two sheets cut to appropriate dimensions to define a length of the container-lifter of the fourth embodiment, the sheet being one of two used to fabricate the container-lifter;

157.FIG. 58C is a plan view showing that the sheets shown in FIGS. 58A and 58B are overlapped and sewn together along a stitch line;

158.FIG. 58D is a plan view showing a measurement made from the stitch line along each strap for a distance that ends at a point corresponding to the desired end of the coupling of the straps;

159.FIG. 58E shows looped couplings formed so as to end at the point, whereby the heights of the ends of the couplings are the same distance from the ground when the container-lifter of the fourth embodiment rests on the ground;

160.FIGS. 59-64 show a sequence of fabricating the inner container of the fourth embodiment, wherein:

161.FIG. 59 is a plan view illustrating a roll supplying a sheet which is pulled onto a table past a cutting station and a sewing station to make a first part of the inner container;

162.FIG. 60 is a plan view showing how ropes and loops are attached to respective flaps of the inner container;

163.FIG. 61 is an elevational view showing the first part folded onto itself with cut edges overlapping, and then sewn together;

164.FIG. 62 is a side elevational view showing the first part lifted so that the flaps and sides hang vertically so that an edge of the sides of the first part may be joined to a lip of second bottom part;

165.FIG. 63 is a plan view of FIG. 62 showing the first and second parts ready to be sewn together;

166.FIG. 64 is a three-dimensional view of the configuration of the first and second parts sewn together to define the inner container as a three dimensional container;

167.FIGS. 65-68 show a sequence of closing the inner container of the fourth embodiment after being loaded with the bulk cargo; and in which:

168.FIG. 65 is a side elevational view of two flaps provided with loops and ropes for tying the flaps securely over the unit of bulk cargo;

169.FIG. 66 is a side elevational view of two further flaps provided with loops and ropes for tying the flaps securely over the cargo;

170.FIG. 67 is a plan view of the inner container of FIG. 66 showing the ropes and loops tied to securely close the four flaps of the inner container over the cargo;

171.FIG. 68 is a plan view of the inner container showing the ropes and loops of the last flap to be tied, illustrating a particular flap tied last and in a particular orientation;

172.FIGS. 69A through 71 show a sequence by which the container-lifter is securely closed after loading of the cargo has been completed; wherein:

173.FIG. 69A is a plan view showing a first flap pulled across the container-lifter to cover the inner container;

174.FIG. 69B is a three-dimensional view showing a first tuck defined by the first flap pulled across the container-lifter;

175.FIG. 69C is an elevational view taken along line 69C-69C in FIG. 69B, showing the tuck in relation to two other flaps;

176.FIG. 70A is a plan view showing a relatively short second flap pulled across the container-lifter;

177.FIG. 70B is a three-dimensional view showing a second tuck defined by the second flap pulled across the container-lifter;

178.FIG. 71 is a plan view showing a third flap pulled across the container-lifter;

179.FIG. 72 is a plan view showing a fourth flap pulled across the container-lifter and secured by ropes tied to loops;

180.FIG. 73A is a three-dimensional view of another embodiment of the loading frame in which hinges are provided to allow the sides to pivot outwardly to facilitate removal of the loaded container-lifter;

181.FIG. 73B is a side elevational view of a corner of the loading frame showing the one side pivoted on the hinges and held in an out position by chains; and

182.FIGS. 74 through 85 describe flow charts illustrating various operations in embodiments of the methods of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION General System Description First and Second Embodiments

183. Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 1A and 1B show respective first and second embodiments of a system 50-1 and 50-2 of the present invention for lifting a substantial volume and weight of bulk cargo 51 in a unit 52. For ease of description, elements of the system 50 described with respect to the first embodiment have a “dash 1” (i.e., “-1”) after the reference number, elements of the system described with respect to the second embodiment have a “dash 2” (i.e., “-2”) after the reference number, and general descriptions of the system elements without regard to a particular embodiment have no dash number. Similarly, the third and forth embodiments are identified by a “dash 3” and “dash 4”, i.e., “-3” and “-4”, as in 50-3 and 50-4. The volume (see FIG. 2, measured by a length L, a width W, and a height H) of each unit 52 of the embodiments of the system 50 (e.g., the first embodiment of the system 50-1 and of the second embodiment of the system 50-2) is less than the about 2,500 cubic foot volume of the interior of a gondola car 53 described above and shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, but is substantially more than that of typical prior one and one tenth ton and three ton bags described above. FIG. 2 shows the dimensions L-2, W-2, and H-2 of the second embodiment 50-2. The bulk cargo 51 in the units 52 of the first embodiment 50-1 is shown, for example, as demolition debris 54 (see cut away in FIG. 1A), whereas the bulk cargo 51 in the units 52 of the second embodiment 50-2 is shown, for example, as dirt, gravel and other natural materials 56-2 (see cut away in FIG. 1B). In each case, while the bulk cargo 51 need not necessarily be hazardous material waste, the advantages of the present invention are especially applicable to bulk cargo 51 that is contaminated, as is hazardous material waste, and in particular to hazardous material waste that is contaminated by being radioactive, or by being covered with radioactive material.

184. The system 50 includes a lift device 57, a lift grid 58, a loading frame 59 (FIG. 2), and a container-lifter 62, which includes a flexible container 63 and a lifter 64. Each of the lift device 57, the lift grid 58, and the container-lifter 62 (with the container 63 and the lifter 64) have some features unique to the first embodiment 50-1 and to the second embodiment 50-2 of the system 50. The lift device 57 may be a hoist (not shown) or a crane 66 (FIG. 1B) or a fork lift truck 67 (FIG. 1A). The lift device 57 is capable of lifting the units 52 of the bulk cargo 51 weighing as much as fifteen tons to heights of twenty feet, for example. A unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 is contained within the container 63. Considering the second embodiment 50-2 (FIG. 1B), the crane 66 has a hook 68 connected to a bridle 69 and the bridle 69 is connected to the lift grid 58-2. The lift grid 58-2 distributes two vertical force components (see arrows 72-2 in FIG. 32A) to each of a plurality of connectors 73-2, which in turn provide vertical forces (see arrow 74-2 in FIG. 32B).

185. Considering the first embodiment 50-1 (FIG. 1A), the fork lift truck 67 has two forks 77, each designed to enter one of two pipes 78 connected to a similar lift grid 58-1, which also distribute two vertical force components (see arrows 72-1 in FIG. 31A) among a plurality of similar connectors 73-1, which in turn provide vertical forces (see arrows 74-1 in FIGS. 31A and 31B). Although the crane 66 is shown used with the second embodiment 50-2 and the fork lift truck 67 is shown used with the first embodiment 50-1, the crane 66 and the fork lift truck 67, and the respective lift grids 58-1 and 58-2, may be used with the opposite embodiments 50-1 and 50-2, respectively.

186. In FIGS. 1A and 1B, the lift grid 58 is shown mounting the connectors 73 in spaced relationship around a vertical-lift perimeter 81 (shown in short, dash-dash lines in FIG. 11). With the connectors 73 spaced along such vertical lift perimeter 81, each connector 73 (or a hook 128 of the connector 73) is shown in FIGS. 10 and 13 A vertically (or very close to vertically) aligned with a lifted-container perimeter 82 (shown by longer, dash-dash lines in FIG. 11) of a container-lifter 62 of the system 50. Such lifted-container perimeter 82 is inside, or smaller than, an at-rest-container perimeter 83 (shown by spaced, dash-dash lines) of the container-lifter 62. Each container-lifter 62-1 and 62-2 includes one of the flexible containers 63 made from sheet-like material 84 (as shown, e.g., in FIG. 30) that defines a three dimensional enclosure 87-2 (FIG. 2) having an open top 88-2, a length L-1 or L-2, a width W-1 or W-2, and a height H 1-1 or H-2. In each case, the length L is defined by respective first and second opposite walls 91 and 92; and the width W is defined by third and fourth opposite walls 93 and 94, respectively. With the first and second walls 91 and 92, respectively, being opposite to each other, and the third and fourth respective walls 93 and 94 being opposite to each other, FIGS. 23 and 29 show that there is a corner between each adjacent first wall and third wall 91 and 93, respectively, (a corner 101), and between each adjacent first wall and fourth wall 91 and 94, respectively, (a corner 102), and between each adjacent second wall and third wall, 92 and 93, respectively (a corner 103), and between each adjacent second wall and fourth wall, respectively (a corner 104). Each container 63 has a bottom 106 (see FIG. 1B, 106-2) between the first, second, third and fourth walls 91, 92, 93, and 94, respectively. Flaps 107 are provided to close the top 88.

187. The lifter 64 of the container-lifter 62 is secured to the container 63. For the first embodiment 50-1 (FIGS. 1A, 27 and 28 ), the lifter 64-1 includes at least two straps 108-1, each having a length (see dimension line LS1 in FIG. 28) greater than twice the height H-1 (FIG. 28) plus the length L-1 (FIG. 27). The at least two straps 108-1 are referred to as a first set 11-1 (FIG. 29) of straps 108-1, and in the specific example shown in FIGS. 1A, and 27 through 29, the first 111-1 set of straps 108-1 includes eight straps 108-1.

188. For the second embodiment 50-2 shown in FIGS. 1B, 18, 19, and 23), the lifter 64-2 includes at least four straps 108-2, (e.g., shown as eight straps 108-2). The at least four straps 108-2 include both a first set 111-2 (FIG. 18) of straps 108 and a second set 112-2 (FIG. 19) of straps 108-2. In the specific example shown in FIGS. 18 and 19, the first set 111-2 of straps 108-2 includes five straps 108-2 and the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2 includes three straps 108-2. The straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 have a length LS1 (see dimension line LS1 in FIG. 19) greater than twice the height H-2 (FIG. 19) plus the length L-2 (FIG. 18). The straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2 have a length LS2 (FIG. 18) greater than twice the height H-2 plus the width W-2 (FIG. 19).

189. In each embodiment, the straps 108 of the first set 111 of straps 108 (i.e., at least two straps) extend in a continuous path P1 (first set 111) or P2 (second set 112). Referring to FIGS. 28 and 19 for the respective first and second embodiments of the container-lifter 62-1 and 62-2, each strap 108 in the first set 111 in the continuous path P extends along and is secured to the first wall 91, with each such strap 108 in the continuous path P1 extending along and being secured to the bottom 106, and each such strap 108 in the continuous path P1 further extending along and being secured to the second wall 92 opposite to the first wall 91.

190. Referring to FIG. 18 for the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2, each strap 108-2 of the second set 112-2 in the continuous path P2 extends along and is secured to the third wall 93-2, with each such strap 108-2 in the continuous path P2 extending along and being secured to the bottom 106-2, and each such strap 108-2 in the continuous path P2 further extending along and being secured to the fourth wall 94-2 opposite to the third wall 93-2. The continuous paths P1 and P2 of such straps 108-2 in each respective set of straps 111-1 and 12-2 are parallel to each other as shown in FIG. 27 (first embodiment 50-1) and in FIGS. 18 and 19 (second embodiment 50-2). Also, the continuous path P of each of the straps 108 extends spaced from all of the corners 101 through 104. In particular, as shown in FIGS. 27 and 18, for the respective first embodiment 50-1 and second embodiment 50-2, there is an outer left strap 108-1-OLC or 108-2-OLC of the respective straps 108-1 or 108-2. These outer left straps 108 extend in the respective continuous paths PI (FIGS. 28 and 19 ) along the first wall 91 nearest to the upper left corner 101 (formed by the first wall 91 and the third wall 93, FIGS. 23 and 29) and are horizontally spaced by a distance CSL (FIGS. 29 and 23) from that corner 101. Similarly, right outer straps 108-1-ORC and 108-2-ORC extend in the continuous path P 1 along the first wall 91 nearest to the other (upper right) corner 102 (formed by the first wall 91 and the fourth wall 94) and are horizontally spaced by a distance CSR (FIGS. 27 and 19 ) from that corner 102.

191. Reference is made to the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2. FIG. 23 shows a right outer strap 108-2-ORC, and such strap extends in the continuous path P2 (FIG. 18) along the third wall 93-2 nearest to the other corner 103-2 (formed by the third wall 93-2 and the second wall 92-2). Such right outer strap 108-2-ORC is horizontally spaced by a distance CSR from that corner 103-2. Similarly, a left outer strap 108-2-OLC extends in the continuous path P2 (FIG. 18) along the third wall 93-2 nearest to the other corner 101-2 formed by the first wall 91-2 and the third wall 93-2. Such left outer strap 108-2-OLC is horizontally spaced by a distance CSL (FIGS. 19 and 23) from that corner 103-2. Each of the outer straps 108-1-ORC and 108-1-OLC, and 108-2-ORC and 108-2-OLC, is spaced from the respective corner 101, 102, 103, or 104. Each such strap 108 of the first set 111 of straps 108 has a first free length F1 (FIGS. 28 and 19) extending past such first wall 91 and has a second free length F2 extending past such second opposite wall 92. Each such strap 108-2 of the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2 has a first free length F3 (FIG. 18) extending past the third wall 93 and has a second free length F2 extending past the fourth opposite wall 94.

192. Each such strap 108 is provided with a coupling 114 at a free end 115 of the respective free length F1, F2, F3, and F4 to facilitate connection of each strap 108 to one of the connectors 73 of the lift grid 58. Such straps 108 and couplings 114 are made from strong material, so that such straps 108 and couplings 114 are capable of collectively applying to such container 63 more than a minimum total of six thousand pounds of force vertically, such as a total of in excess of twenty-thousand pounds in the second embodiment 50-2 of the container-lifter 62-2 (FIG. 1B). Such container 63 is made from such material as is capable of containing bulk cargo 51 weighing more than six thousand pounds, such as twenty-thousand pounds in the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 when such straps 108-2 apply such force to such container 63.

193. In FIGS. 13A through 13C, where the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 is shown lifted from a support surface 116 (FIG. 7), a small acute angle (shown by arrow VA) indicates that the free lengths F1, F2, F3, and F4 of the straps 108 may be off exact vertical as they hang from the connectors 73. If not zero, the value of the acute angle VA depends on the type of the bulk cargo 51, the weight of such cargo 51 in the container 63, and the smoothness of the inner wall 117. In the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2, which is shown in FIGS. 13A through 13C carrying 25,560 pounds of bulk cargo 51 (four inch gravel), the acute angle VA was a maximum of ten degrees, for example.

194. The first embodiment of the container-lifter 62-1 is specially applicable to contain and lift bulk cargo 51 of the type described above as resulting from demolition of hazardous material waste sites commonly found at remediation sites such as those described above, e.g., demolition debris 54 in the form of concrete pillars and beams, and scrap steel. While such bulk cargo 51 need not necessarily be radioactive hazardous material waste, the advantages of the system 50-1 are especially applicable to such bulk cargo 51 as is described above as being contaminated by being radioactive, or by being covered with radioactive material. The demolition debris 54 (shown in FIG. 1A, and in dashed lines in FIG. 27) may have lengths DL (FIG. 27) which may correspond to (i.e., just less than) the length L-1 of the first embodiment of the container 63-1, for example. The container 63-1 of the first embodiment 50-1 of the system 50 is shown (FIGS. 1A, 27 and 29) having eight straps 108-1 spaced evenly (see equal dimensional arrows SS in FIG. 29) across the respective first wall 91-1 and second wall 92-1 and across the bottom 106-1 (FIG. 14A) from the third wall 93-1 to the fourth wall 94-1. The first embodiment 50-1 is referred to as the demolition debris embodiment and may have the length L-1 of seventeen feet, for example, and the width W-1 (FIG. 28) of four feet, for example, and the height H-1 of two feet, for example. The corners 101-1, 102-1, 103-1 and 104-1 are at the junctions of adjacent ones of the respective walls 91-1 and 93-1, 91-1 and 94-1, 93-1 and 92-1, and 94-1 and 92-1.

195. As shown in FIG. 29, with respect to the first wall 91-1, each of the straps 108-1 of the first set 111-1 of straps 108-1 is evenly spaced by the distance SS from the next adjacent strap 108-1 along the respective first wall 91-1 and the second wall 92-1. The term “evenly spaced” means that each strap 108-1 is spaced by the same distance SS from the next adjacent strap 108-1. In FIG. 29, all of the straps 108-1 of the first set 111-1 are spaced from all of the corners 101-1, 102-1, 103-1, and 104-1.

196. As shown in FIG. 30 applicable to both the respective first and second embodiments of the container-lifter 62-1 and 62-2, as the evenly spaced straps 108-1 of the first set 111-1 extend in the continuous paths P1 across the first wall 91-1 and the bottom 106, the straps 108-1 are secured to such wall 91-1 and bottom 106-1 (as by sewn threads 118) and thus are held having the even spacing SS.

197. Referring to FIG. 14A, with respect to the first embodiment 50-1, as the straps 108-1 cross the bottom 106-1, the straps 108-1 define a series of uniformly shaped first areas A-1 of the bottom 106-1. Each of such areas A-1 is bounded by at least two adjacent ones of the straps 108-1 (shown in FIG. 14A as two), and the areas A-1 have a width WA-1 and a length LA-1. The widths WA-1 extend completely across the width W (or WL) of the bottom 106-1. The lengths LA-1 are a fraction of the length L (or LL) of the container 63-1, and correspond to the spacing SS 1 of the straps 108-2 relative to each other. Thus, the lengths LA-1 are short relative to the value of the entire length LL of the bottom 106-1.

198. As shown in FIGS. 1A, 14A, 31A, and 31B, the even spacing of the straps 108-1 across the first wall 91-1 and the second wall 92-1 and the bottom 106-1 enables the straps 108-1 to apply the vertical forces 74-1 from the connectors 73-1 to the bottom 106-1 uniformly across the bottom 106-1 so that each of the areas A-1 (FIG. 14A) receives generally the same amount of vertical force 74-1 (FIG. 31B). Those generally equal amounts of vertical forces 74-1 applied to the first areas A-1 are spaced from the corners 101-1, 102-1, 103-1, and 104-1 by the respective distances CSL and CSR (FIG. 27). In this manner, the first areas A-1, on which most of the total weight of the bulk cargo 51 acts on the bottom 106-1, directly receive the lifting forces in the form of the vertical forces 74-1.

199. The second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 is generally applicable to bulk cargo 51 in the form of natural materials resulting from clean up of industrial sites, such as hazardous material waste sites (e.g., the remediation sites such as those described above). The natural materials include dirt, gravel, and other natural materials, for example. These materials are bulk materials as described above. While such bulk cargo 51 need not necessarily be radioactive hazardous material waste, the advantages of the system 50-2 are especially applicable to such bulk cargo 51 as is described above as being contaminated by being radioactive, or by being covered with radioactive material.

200. The container 63-2 of the second embodiment 50-2 (FIGS. 1B and 10) is shown having the first set 111-1 of straps 108-2 including five straps 108-2 spaced evenly across the respective first wall 92-2, the second wall 92-2, and the bottom 106-2. Further, the container 63-2 of the second embodiment 50-2 is shown in FIGS. 14B and 19 having the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2, including the three straps 108-2, spaced evenly across the third wall 93-2, the fourth wall 94-2, and the bottom 106-2. The second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 is referred to as a “ten ton” container-lifter 62-2, which means that the container-lifter 62-2 has a rated capacity of carrying ten tons of bulk cargo 51. For example, a prototype of the container-lifter 62-2 has been successfully tested carrying and lifting 25,560 pounds, and has a rated lift and containment capacity of ten tons. Referring to FIG. 2, the ten ton container-lifter 62-2 has a length dimension L-2 of nine feet, a width dimension W-2 of seven feet and a working, or loaded, height dimension H-2 of four feet.

201. The corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2 and 104-2 are provided in the container 63-2 of the second embodiment 50-2 in a manner similar to the first embodiment 50-1. As shown in FIG. 14B, each of the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 of straps 108-2 is evenly spaced along the respective first and second walls 91-2 and 92-2 and is spaced from all of the corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2 and 104-2 (FIGS. 14B and 23). As shown in FIG. 23, along the first wall 91-2, outer straps 108-2-OLC and 108-2-ORC of the first set 111-2 are spaced from the respective corners 101-2 and 102-2 of the first wall 91-2. Along the second wall 92-2, those same outer straps 108-2-OLC and 108-2-ORC of the first set 111-2 are spaced from the respective corners 103-2 and 104-2 of the second wall 92-2.

202. Similarly, each of the straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2 is evenly spaced along the third and fourth walls 93-2 and 94-2, respectively, and is spaced from all of the corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2 and 104-2. Along the third wall 93-2, outer straps 108-2-OLC and 108-2-ORC of the second set 112-2 are spaced from the respective corners 101-2 and 103-2 of the third wall 93-2. Along the fourth wall 94-2, those same outer straps 108-2-ORC and 108-2-OLC of the second set 112-2 are spaced from the respective corners 102-2 and 104-2 of the fourth wall 94-2.

203. As shown in FIG. 14B, as the evenly spaced straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 of straps extend in the continuous paths P1 and P2 from the respective first wall 91-2 and second wall 92-2 across the bottom 106-2, the straps 108-2 are secured to such walls 91-2 and 92-2, respectively, and to the bottom 106-2 and thus are held evenly spaced (see arrows SS1) and define a series of uniformly shaped first areas A-2 of the bottom 106-2 (see dashed lines in FIG. 14B showing one such first area A-2) of the container 63-2. Each of such first areas A-2 is bounded by at least two adjacent ones of the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 extending across the bottom 106-2 from the first wall 91-2 to the second wall 92-2. The first areas A-2 have a width WA-2 and a length LA-2. The widths WA-2 extend completely across the width W of the bottom 106-2 of the container 63-2, whereas the lengths LA-2 are a fraction of the length L (FIG. 18) of the container 63-2.

204. In the second embodiment 50-2, different from the first embodiment 50-1, the first areas A-2 defined between the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 are divided into smaller, second areas A-3 by the straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2. Thus, as also shown in FIG. 14B, as the evenly spaced straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2 of straps 108-2 extend in the continuous paths P2 (FIG. 18) across the bottom 106-2 from the third wall 93-2 to the fourth wall 94-2, these straps 108-2 are secured to such respective walls 93-2 and 94-2, and to the bottom 106-2, and thus are held evenly spaced (see arrows SS2) and divide the many uniformly shaped first areas A-2 of the bottom 106-2 into the smaller, second areas A-3. Each of such second areas A-3 is bounded by a strap grid 119 defined by four adjacent ones of the straps 108-2, two straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 extending from the first wall 91-2 to the second wall 92-2, and two straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2 extending from the third wall 93-2 to the fourth wall 94-2. The second areas A-3 have a width WA-3 and the length LA-2. The widths WA-3 are a fraction of the width W of the container 63-2 and the lengths LA-2 are a fraction of the length L-2 of the container 63-2.

205. As shown in FIG. 18, there are the even spacings SS1 of the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 across the first wall 91-2. As shown in FIG. 14B, the even spacing SS1 of the straps 108-2 continues on the opposite second wall 92-2 and on the bottom 106-2. As shown in FIG. 19, there are the even spacings SS2 of the straps 108-2 of the second set 112-2 across the third wall 93-2. As shown in FIG. 14B, the even spacing SS2 of the straps 108-2 continues on the opposite fourth wall 94-2 and on the bottom 106-2. These even spacings SS1 and SS2 result in the lengths LA-2 being short relative to the value of the entire length L-2 of the bottom 106-2, and result in the widths WA-3 being short relative to the value of the entire width W-2 of the bottom 106-2. Such even spacings SS1 and SS2 enable the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 and of the second set 112-2 to apply the vertical forces 74-2 (FIG. 32B) to the bottom 106-2 uniformly across both the length L-2 and the width W-2 of the bottom 106-2 so that each of the second areas A-3 receives generally the same amount of vertical force 74-2 from the straps 108-2 of the first set 111-2 and of the second set 112-2. Those generally equal amounts of vertical forces 74-2 applied by the strap grids 119 to the second areas A-3 are spaced from the corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2 and 104-2. As seen in FIG. 14B, the value of the areas bounded by the two outer straps 108-2-OCR and 108-2-OCL and the bottom 106-2 toward the respective corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2, and 104-2, are less than the second areas A-3, such that the walls that form the corners, and such two outer straps 108-2-OCR and 108-2-OCL provide enough vertical force 74-2 to lift the corners of the bottom 106-2.

206. The container-lifter 62 may be foldable for shipment to the remediation site, for example, for loading. By folding the exemplary seven foot width of the container-lifter 62-2 in half, and then folding the exemplary nine foot length in thirds, the entire container-lifter 62-2 will fit into an exemplary volume of fourteen cubic feet having an exemplary length of four feet and an exemplary width of three and one-half feet and a height of one foot. Each embodiment of the container-lifter 62-1 and 62-2 may be unfolded from such folded arrangement and held in an open, load-receiving position by the loading frame 59 as shown in FIGS. 2 through 7. FIG. 7 shows the loading frame 59 including a continuous horizontal top frame 120 spaced from the ground 116 by a distance HF. The top frame 120 defines a loading perimeter 121 (FIG. 11). The loading frame 59 is set on the ground or other support surface 116, and may be used to define the three-dimensional enclosure 87 of the container 63, such as the outer enclosure 172 (see FIG. 2, and description below), or to define the inner enclosure 171 (see FIG. 2, and description below) within such outer enclosure 172. As an example, FIGS. 2 through 7 show the inner enclosure 171 within the outer enclosure 172. In either case, the walls 91 through 94 and the bottom 106 are placed in the loading frame 59 with the bottom 106 on the surface 116, and with the flaps 107 open and extending over the horizontal top frame 120 of the loading frame 59 (FIGS. 2 through 4). The straps 108 also drape over the top frame 120. The horizontal top frame 120 and the draping flaps 107 and straps 108 hold the walls 91 through 94 vertical, and the bottom 106 remains horizontal on the surface 116 ready to receive the bulk cargo 51. In the case shown in FIGS. 2 through 7, these operations are performed with the outer enclosure 172, and then with the inner enclosure 171, to provide the inner enclosure 171 inside the outer enclosure 172.

207. A bulk material loader 122 (FIG. 3), such as a front loader having a bucket 123 dimensioned as described above, brings bucket loads 124 of the bulk material 51 to the open container 63 (or to the open inner enclosure 171). Because of the nine foot length L-2 and the seven foot width W-2 of the exemplary container-lifter 62, the front end loader 122 may easily be operated to drop the bucket loads 124 directly into the container 63 without spilling the bulk cargo 51. Loading continues until the level of the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63 reaches a load line 127 (FIG. 2) shown by generally horizontal, dash dot dash lines (which are shown as dash lines where the load line 127 is hidden in FIG. 2). The container 63 is shown in FIG. 4 filled with the bulk cargo 51 to the load line 127, which is now hidden by an upper surface 51 S of the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51. At this time, the loading of the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 is complete, and the flaps 107 are closed securely (FIG. 7). The loaded container 63 at rest on the ground 116 with the flaps 107 tied closed has the at-rest-container perimeter 83 (FIG. 11), which is larger than the lifted-container perimeter 82 (FIG. 11) of the container-lifter 62 as it is being lifted (FIGS. 10, 1A, and 1B).

208. Referring to FIG. 8, as appropriate for the particular embodiment 50-1 or 50-2, the lift grid 58 for that embodiment is moved by the crane 66 or fork lift truck 67 over the at-rest loaded container-lifter 62. With each connector 73 spaced around the vertical-lift perimeter 81 of the lift grid 58, the lift grid 58 is positioned to locate each connector 73 within the at rest-container perimeter 83. Each connector 73 is connected to a respective coupling 114 of the lifter 64. Each coupling 114 may be a loop at the free end 115 of each strap 108. To make this connection, the loop 114 is draped over one of the hooks 128 of the connector 73. The crane 66 (or the forks 77 of the fork lift truck 67) is operated to slowly raise the lift grid 58 and place each strap 108 in tension under the action of the vertical force 74. Continued raising motion of the lift grid 58 is effective to apply to the straps 108 the vertical lifting forces 74, which collectively are enough to lift the loaded container 63 off the surface 116 as far as is necessary to allow the container-lifter 62 to be moved over a vehicle, such as the gondola car 53 shown in FIGS. 1A and 12. With the container-lifer 62 lifted and vertically aligned with a top opening 129 of the gondola car 53, the crane 66 (or the fork lift truck 67) then lowers the lift grid 58, and hence the loaded container 63, until the bottom 106 of the container 63 rests on the floor 131 of the gondola car 53, for example.

209. Methods of the Present Invention

First Embodiment of the Methods

210. Referring to FIG. 33A, a first method of the present invention defines the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51, as having a weight in excess of three tons, for example, and lifts the unit 52 of bulk cargo 51. The method includes a step 201 of providing the bulk cargo unit container 63 made from the sheet-like material 84 (FIG. 30) that defines the three dimensional enclosure 87 having the open top 88, the plurality of opposite walls 91 through 94, and the bottom 106. The container 63 defines a volume sufficient to contain in excess of three tons of the bulk cargo 51. A further step 202 provides the container with the lifter 64 in the form of the plurality of the straps 108. As shown in FIGS. 27, 14A and 28, each of the straps 108 extends in the continuous path P1 along and secured to one of the opposite walls (e.g., to wall 91) and extends in the continuous path P1 along and secured to the bottom 106 and extends in the continuous path P1 along and secured to another of the opposite walls (e.g., the second wall 93). Each of the straps 108 has one of the free lengths F2 extending past the one wall 91 and has one of the second free lengths extending past the other wall 92. The continuous paths P1 of each of the straps 108 are parallel to each other, and the straps 108 are in such number and are made from high tensile strength material 132 (FIG. 30) so that the straps 108 are capable of collectively applying to the container 63 more than six thousand pounds of the vertical forces 74.

211. In a further aspect of the method, as shown in FIG. 33B, another step 203 places the bottom 106 of the container 63 on the support surface 116. Then, through the open top, a loading step 204 loads into the open top 88 of the container 63 the unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 having the weight in excess of three tons, and closes the open top 88. In step 205, the forces 74 are applied to the free ends 115. The forces 74 are substantially in a vertical direction and collectively sufficient to lift the container 63 off the surface 116. The container 63, and the bulk cargo 51 having a contained weight in excess of three tons, are lifted off the surface 116. Another aspect of the methods is a step 206 (FIG. 33B) of providing the two separate sets 111 and 112 of such straps 108, one set 111 on the first and second walls 91 and 92, respectively, and across the bottom 106; and the second set 112 on the third and fourth walls 93 and 94, respectively, and across the bottom 106. The straps 108 of the first set 111 and of the second set 112 each cross the bottom 106 and intersect at right angles with respect to each other to form the grid 119 and the uniform areas A-3 of the bottom 106.

Second Embodiment of the Methods

212. Another aspect of the methods of the present invention is shown in FIG. 34 by a second method embodiment in which the unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 having a weight in excess of three tons is both contained and lifted. The method includes the step 211 of providing at least one central lift point to which at least one lifting force 72 is applied (e.g., via the crane 66). In step 212, a bulk cargo unit container 63 is provided in the form of the flexible container 63 made from the sheet-like material 84 that defines the three dimensional enclosure 87 having the open top 88 (with the flaps 107), the plurality of opposite walls 91 through 94, and the bottom 106. Such container 63 defines a volume sufficient to contain in excess of three tons of the bulk cargo 51. The container 63 is provided with the straps 108, each of the straps 108 extending in the continuous path P1 along and secured to the opposite walls (e.g., 91 and 92) and extends in the continuous path P1 along and is secured to the bottom 106. Each of the straps 108 has one of the free ends 115 above the wall 91 or 92. The continuous paths P1 of each of the straps 108 are parallel to each other, and are in such number and are made from the material 132 capable of enabling the straps 108 to collectively apply to the container 63 more than six thousand pounds of the vertical forces 74. The vertical lifting force of the force components 72 is divided in step 214 into a plurality of the substantially vertical upward forces 74. The plurality of substantially vertical upward forces 74 are simultaneously applied in step 215 to each of the free ends 115 of each of the straps 108 to cause the straps 108 to apply the substantially vertical upward forces 74 to the container 63 and lift the container 63 off the support surface 116.

Third Embodiment of the Methods

213. Another aspect of the methods of the present invention is shown in FIG. 35 by a third method embodiment in which individual units 52 of the bulk cargo 51 formed by the first embodiment of the container-lifter 62 are both contained and lifted, and are efficiently loaded into the standard gondola car 53 described above. FIGS. 25A and 25B show the gondola car 53 with a given length GL in a direction of transport (see arrow T), a given width GW transverse to the direction of transport T, and a given height GH. The gondola car 53 has a net load weight capacity of about 100 tons. The method includes the step 221 of dividing the bulk cargo 51 into a plurality of the units 52 each having a unit width dimension. As the forces 74 are applied to the bulk cargo 51 during lifting, the unit width dimension varies from an “at-rest” width WAR (FIGS. 29 and 25A) having a value about equal to one-half of the given width GW, to a “lifted-width” WL having a value less than about one-half of the given width GW of the gondola car 53. The units also have a unit length dimension which is a fraction (such as one-third) of the given length GL and varies from an “at-rest” length LAR (FIGS. 25A and 29) having a value greater than the value of a “lifted” length LL (FIG. 14A) to a “lifted-length” LL having a value less than about one-half of the given length GL of the gondola car 53. The units 52 have an “at-rest” height HAR (similar to that shown in FIG. 8 with respect to the units 52 of the second embodiment 50-2) having a value less than a “lifted” height HL (FIG. 1A), wherein both the heights HAR and HL are less than the height GH (FIG. 26) of the gondola car 53.

214. The at-rest width WAR may be four feet and fits into the seven and one-half foot width WT of the bed 134 of a standard tandem dump truck 136 (FIG. 37A) or the seven and one-half foot wide bed 137 of a semi-trailer truck 138 (FIG. 37B). The at-rest length LAR of about seventeen feet is just less than the eighteen foot length LT1 of the bed 134 of such standard tandem dump truck 136, such that one unit will fit into such bed 134. The at-rest length LAR is a whole number multiple (e.g., 2) of the length LT2 of the bed 137 of the semi-trailer truck 138, such that two units 52 will fit end-to-end into the trailer bed 137. In the example shown for the third method embodiment, the weight of the bulk cargo 51 of each of the units 52 will vary according to the nature of the demolition debris 54, but will not exceed ten tons, so that the net weight capacity of such trucks is not exceeded.

215. A step 222 of the method also lifts a first of the units 52 to provide the unit 52 with the lifted width WL and lifted length LL dimensions. By a step 223, the lifted unit 52 is placed in the gondola car 53 with the lifted length LL parallel to the direction of travel T and the lifted width WL transverse to such direction T. Step 224 repeats the lifting step 222 and the placing step 223 in succession with respect to all of the other units 52 of the plurality of units, such that each next unit 52 is placed in the gondola car 53 adjacent to and touching the next previous unit 52 that was placed into the gondola car 53, first in a side-by-side relationship, and then in an end-to-end relationship. The step 224 of repeating the respective lifting and placing steps 222 and 223 is repeated until the gondola car 53 is filled with two six-unit layers of the units 52. As each of the units 62 is placed on the floor 131 of the gondola car 53, the unit 52 assumes the at-rest dimensions WAR and LAR. Since the gondola car 53 has the width GW of nine and one-half feet and the length GL of fifty-two and one-half feet, two rows of the units 52 with the at-rest widths WAR easily fit into the width GW. Also, three of the units 52 having an at-rest length LAR easily fit into each of the two rows in the gondola car 53.

216. By the third embodiment of the method, one further aspect of the efficient transport is provided in that there is efficient transfer of the bulk cargo 51 into the gondola car 53. The lift-liner 62 divides the bulk cargo 51 at the point of origin into the units 52 for transport. In this context, such efficient transport means that it takes a minimum number of operations of the crane 66, for example, to fill the volume of the gondola car 53 with the lift-liners 62. In the example of the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2, with only seven lift-liners 62 easily filling the volume of the gondola car 53 and using seventy percent of the weight-carrying capacity of the gondola car 53, as compared to the twenty-two Love Canal bags that fit in the volume of the gondola car 53, the fifteen crane operations are saved in only loading seven lift-liners 62 to fill the volume of the gondola car 53.

217. In the example of the demolition debris lift-liner 62-1 having a footprint of four feet by seventeen feet, twelve demolition debris lift-liners 62-2 can easily fit in the volume of the gondola car 53 and result in use of sixty-five percent of the weight-carrying capacity of the gondola car 53. As compared to the twenty-two Love Canal bags that fit into the volume of the gondola car 53, ten crane operations are saved in only loading the twelve demolition debris lift-liners 62 to fill the volume of the gondola car 53.

Fourth Embodiment of the Methods

218. Another aspect of the methods of the present invention is shown by a fourth method embodiment in which individual units 52 of bulk cargo 51 formed by the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 having a weight in excess of three tons (and preferably ten tons) are both contained and lifted, and are efficiently loaded into a standard gondola car 53 described above. The gondola car 53 has the same dimrensions and net load weight-carrying capacity as described above. Referring to FIG. 36, the method includes the step 231 of dividing the bulk cargo 51 into a plurality of the units 52. During lifting, the unit length dimension may vary from the “at-rest” length LAR, which for the second embodiment of the container 63-2 has a value about equal to the given width GW. Also referring to FIGS. 25A and B, the “lifted-length” LL of such unit 52 has a value less than the given width GW of the gondola car 53. The units 52 also have a unit width dimension which is a smaller fraction of the given length GL than the first embodiment of the container 63-2 During lifting, such unit width dimension varies from an “at-rest” width WAR having a value greater than the value of the “lifted” width WL. The units 52 have an “at-rest” height HAR having a value less than a “lifted” height HL, wherein both the heights HAR and HL are less than the height GH of the gondola car 53.

219. In the second embodiment, the at-rest length LAR will fit in the width WT of the bed 134 of the standard tandem dump truck 136 (FIG. 37A) or the bed 137 of the semi-trailer truck 138 (FIG. 37B). The at-rest length LAR is a whole number multiple of the length LT of the bed 134 of such standard tandem dump truck 136, such that two units 52 will fit into such bed 134. The at-rest length LAR is also a whole number multiple of the length LT of the bed 137 of the semi-trailer truck 138, such that three units 52 will fit into the semi-trailer truck 138. In the example shown for the fourth method embodiment, the weight of the bulk cargo 51 of each of the units 52 is ten tons, for example, so the weight-carrying capacities of such trucks 136 and 138, respectively, are not exceeded.

220. Step 232 of the method also lifts a first of the units 52. The unit 52 assumes the lifted width WL and lifted length LL dimensions. In step 233 the lifted unit 52 is placed in the gondola car 53 with the lifted length LL transverse to the direction of travel T and the lifted width parallel to such direction T. In step 234, by repeating the respective lifting and placing steps 232 and 233 in succession with respect to all of the other units 52 of the plurality of units, each next unit 52 is placed in the gondola car 53 adjacent to and touching the next previous unit 52 that was placed into the gondola car 53. This step 234 of lifting and placing is repeated until the volume of the gondola car 53 is filled with the units 52. As each of the units 52 is placed on the floor 131 of the gondola car 53, the unit 52 assumes the at-rest dimensions WAR and LAR. The at-rest length LAR easily fits into the width GW. Also, seven of the units 52 having an at-rest width WAR easily fit into the volume of the gondola car 53.

221. Another aspect of efficient transport is provided when as much as possible of the load capacity of the gondola car 53 is used. For transporting hazardous material waste and radioactive hazardous material waste as the bulk cargo 51 with the described containment and lift, and with all of the other aspects of efficient transport, the seventy percent achieved with the second embodiment of the lift-liner 62 is acceptable.

222. Further Descriptions

First Embodiment of the System 50-1

223. Referring now in greater detail to FIG. 1A of the drawings, the first embodiment of the system 50-1 is shown for lifting the substantial volume and weight of the bulk cargo 51 in the unit 52. The density of the bulk cargo 51 in the form of the demolition debris 54 varies according to the type of debris and the amount of any one kind of such debris that is in the unit 52. In general, the weight of the demolition debris 54 in an exemplary seventeen by four by two foot container 63-1 is from ten to twenty thousand pounds.

224. As shown in FIG. 25A, with one layer of six of the container-lifters 62-1 shown in the gondola car 53, the volume of each unit 52-1 is less than the volume of the interior of the gondola car 53 described above and shown in FIG. 1A, but substantially more than the volume or weight of the typical prior one ton, or three ton (Love Canal) bags (not shown). A second layer of six of the container-lifters 62-1 is placed on the first row.

First Embodiment of Lift Device 57-1

225. The lift device 57-1 of the first embodiment 50-1 is shown in FIG. 1A as the fork lift truck 67 type of hoist, which is capable of lifting the units 52 of the bulk cargo 51 weighing as much as fifteen tons to heights of twenty feet, for example. The fork lift truck 67 has the two forks 77 and columns (or masts) 141 on which a base (not shown) of the two forks 77 moves up and down to raise and lower the forks 77. Each fork 77 is designed to enter one of the two pipes 78, or other hollow member, that are connected to the lift grid 58-1 for applying the vertical force components 72 to the lift grid 58-1.

First Embodiment of Lift Grid 58-1

226. Referring to FIGS. 1A, 31A, and 31B, the first embodiment of the lift grid 58-1 is shown receiving the vertical force components 72 from the fork lift truck 67 via the two pipes 78-1, and distributing the vertical force components 72 from the forks 77 to a plurality of the connectors 73-1. The pipes 78 are welded or otherwise secured to two longitudinal beams 143 which extend in the longitudinal (or length L) direction of the container 63-1. The pipes 78-1 are centered between opposite ends of the beams 143 so that the weight of the bulk cargo 51 will be balanced from end-to-end as the fork lift truck 67 raises the lift grid 58-1. The beams 143 are also welded (or otherwise secured to) a series of lateral (or spreader) beams 144 that extend in the direction of the width W of the container 63-1. The lateral beams 144 are spaced by equal distances S1 that correspond to the distances SS1 by which the straps 108 are spaced along the first wall 91-1 and the second wall 92-1 of the first embodiment of the container 63-1. Thus, for each strap 108-1 that is secured to the first wall 91-1 and the second wall 92-1 of the container 63-1, there is also one lateral beam 144. Opposite ends 146 (FIG. 15) of the lateral beams 144 define the vertical-lift perimeter 81 (FIG. 11) of the lift grid 58-1. One of the connectors 73-1 is secured to each such opposite end 146. As shown in FIGS. 11, 31A, and 31B, each connector 73-1 is vertically aligned with the lifted-container perimeter 82 of the container-lifter 62-1 of the system 50-1 and with a loop 114-1 of the straps 108-1. The lifted-container perimeter 82 is shown slightly outward of the vertical-lift perimeter 81 for clarity of illustration. Such lifted-container perimeter 82 is inside, or smaller than, the at-rest-container perimeter 83 of the container-lifter 62-1. Referring to FIG. 31B, the connectors 73-1 may be in the form of the hooks 128-1 bolted to the opposite ends 146 of the lateral beams 144.

227. It may be understood that the pipes 78 receive the vertical force components 72 from the forks 77. The pipes 78 transfer, or distribute, the vertical force components 72 through the longitudinal beams 143, which further distribute the plural vertical force components 72 to the lateral beams 144. The lateral beams 144 further distribute the many vertical force components 72 to the ends of the lateral beams 144 at which the connectors 73-1 are located. In this manner, the original two vertical force components 72 from the two forks 77 are distributed to each of the hooks 128-1 of the connectors 73-1 as a separate one of the vertical forces 74-1. The two vertical force components 72 become a number of the vertical forces 74-1 corresponding to twice the number of the straps 108-1 secured to the container 63-1 of the container-lifter 62-1, which number is equal to the number of free ends 115 of the straps 108-1.

228. Alternatively, the longitudinal beams 143 shown in FIG. 1A may be spaced further apart to coincide with the vertical lift perimeter 81 (FIG. 11). Also, only two lateral beams 144 may be used, and spaced apart to the ends 147 of the longitudinal beams 143 to coincide with the vertical lift perimeter 81 (FIG. 11). The connectors 73 (via the hooks 128) are secured to the longitudinal beams 143 and the lateral beams 144, which define a rectangle coinciding with the vertical lift perimeter 81.

229. It may be understood that the lift grid 58 serves to evenly distribute the vertical force components 72, which may be called “primary force components”, so that the many vertical force components 74, which may be called “secondary force components”, are provided at the vertical lift perimeter 81. The lift perimeter 81 is spaced horizontally away from the primary force components. Thus, as the lift grid 58 performs the distribution, the primary force or forces 72 are divided into many secondary ones of the vertical forces 74, and provide those secondary vertical forces 74 substantially vertically aligned with the container perimeters 82 and 83. The lift grid 74 also serves to apply those secondary vertical forces 74 separately to the connectors 73, which serve to connect the secondary vertical forces 74 to the couplings 114. The couplings then, serve to receive the secondary forces 74 and separately apply the secondary forces 74 to the container 63 along the separate continuous paths P1 and P2.

Embodiments of the Container

230. Both the first embodiment of the container-lifter 62-1 and the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2 includes the flexible container 63 For each embodiment, the sheet-like material 84, or sheet, defmes the three dimensional enclosure 87-1 or 87-2 as having an inside 151 (FIGS. 24A and 3) of the container 63 and an outside 152 (FIGS. 24A and 19 ) of the container 63. The sheet 84 may be provided for each embodiment 87-1 or 87-2 formed from one laminated sheet 153, or may be two separate sheets 154 and 156, one of which nests within the other. For economy of description, the first embodiment 50-1 is shown using one sheet 84 (referred to as the laminated sheet 153) and the second embodiment 50-2 is shown using the sheet 84 in the form of the separate inner sheet 154 and the separate outer sheet 156.

Laminated Sheet 153 of the Container

231. Considering the laminated sheet 153 that forms such enclosure 87-1 or 87-2, FIG. 30 shows the laminated sheet 153 including a plurality of layers, such as an inside layer 157 and an outside layer 158. The inside layer 157 defines the inside 151 (FIG. 24A) and the outside layer defines the outside 152. The inside layer 157 is made from high density material having a smooth surface 160-1. The inside layer may be made, for example, from semi-rigid high density polyethylene sheet-like material. In a preferred embodiment, the inside layer 157 is forty mils thick, has a high puncture resistance of eighty (measured per ASTM D 4833), and a strength at break of one hundred sixty pounds per square inch. The inside layer 157 may be supplied by Ploy Flex, Inc., of Grand Prairie, Tex. as a smooth HDPE geomembrane. It may be understood, then, that the inner layer 157 serves to provide the smooth surface 160 which allows the bulk cargo 51 to settle, or flow to the lowest point, in the container 63 immediately upon being loaded into the container 63. The inner surface 160 thus serves to reduce friction at the inside of the walls 91 through 94 as the bulk cargo 51 settles, so as to minimize the formation of air pockets which might otherwise form in the container if the bulk cargo 51 adheres to the walls. The smooth surface thus serves to prevent subsidence.

232. The outside layer 158 may be made, for example, from certain heavy woven and coated flexible polyolefin sheet-like materials which have a bursting strength of 865 pounds per square inch (Mullen burst, per ASTM D 3786-87). Such polyolefin materials include polyvinylchloride, polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. The outside layer 158 is supplied by Intertape Polymer, Inc., of Truro, Nova Scotia as a NOVA-THENE IBC fabric. The laminated sheet 153 is formed from the inside layer 157 and the outside layer 158 by joining such layers using heat and adhesive, for example.

233. It may be understood, then, that the inner layer 157 and the outer layer 158 serve the flnctions of the walls 91 through 94, and provide a leak-resistant liner for the vehicle which is used to carry the lift-liner 62, such as the gondola car 53. The inner layer 157 and the outer layer 158 also serve to enable the lift-liner 62 to be economically disposable because the cost thereof, combined with the cost of the straps 108 and the thread 118, is substantially less than that of the used S/L IMCs, for example.

Multi-Sheet Embodiment of the Container

234. Considering the multi-sheet embodiment of the sheet 84 that may be used to form such enclosure 87-1 or 87-2, FIG. 39 shows the inner (or first) sheet 154-2 defining the inside 151 of the container 63 and the outer (or second) sheet 156-2 defining the outside 152 of the container 63. The first sheet 154 is made from high density material having a smooth surface 160-2. As an example, the first sheet 154-2 may also be made from the same semi-rigid high density polyethylene sheet-like material as is used to make the inside layer 157. The second sheet 156 may also be made, for example, from one of the same heavy woven and coated flexible polyolefin sheet-like materials as are used to make the outside layer 158.

235. Other aspects of efficient transport are provided when the lift-liner 62 that forms or defines the unit 52 of the bulk cargo need not be used with a dedicated transport vehicle, such as a dedicated IMC (not shown). After the lift-liner 62 made from either the laminated sheet 153 or the two sheets 154 and 156 is placed in the gondola car 53, for example, the lift-liner 62 is effective to line an inside 161 (FIG. 25A) of the gondola car 53 and provide integrity so as to prevent leakage or seepage of the bulk cargo 51 from the container 63. Also, with the sheet 84 and the straps 108 assembled as described above, the container-lifter 62 is strong enough to keep ten tons of bulk cargo 51 safely together as the unit 51 during lifting to place the container 62 into the gondola car 53. Another aspect of efficient transport is provided by the characteristic of the sheets 153, or the sheets 154 and 156, of the container-lifter 62 to both resist deterioration and to collapse upon being stacked to prevent air pockets from forming in the container 63 during stacking of one lift-liner 62 on another lift-liner 62. In this manner, the container-lifter 62 reduces the likelihood of occurrence of subsidence of the stored bulk cargo 51 and the container-lifters 62 after time in storage because there are no air pockets in the container 63 at the time of stacking.

236. In another aspect of efficient transport, even though the container-lifter 62 has been placed on such surface 116, FIG. 8 shows that within the container-lifter 62 there is a minimum of sag of an upper part 188 of the bulk cargo 51 to a lower part 189 of the container-lifter 63. Thus, when full and at rest, the three dimensional configuration of the container-lifter 62 on the support surface 116 is preserved in that settling of the bulk cargo 51 occurs relatively uniformly. Such uniform settling is facilitated by the smooth inner surface 160 (FIG. 30) of the laminated sheet 153, and of the similar smooth surface 160-2 (FIG. 39) of the inner sheet 154 facing the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63. These smooth surfaces avoid allowing the rough edges of the bulk cargo 51 catch on the inner surface of the inside layer 157 or inner sheet 154, so that the bulk cargo 51 tends to settle vertically. It may be understood, then, that the walls 91 through 94, and the bottom 106, serve to define the shape of the container 63. The walls 91 through 94, and the bottom 106, contain the bulk cargo 51, with the bottom 106 bearing the direct weight of the bulk cargo 51.

Forming the Container-Lifter 62-1

237. A single large sheet of such laminated sheets 153 may be used to form the container 63, or many smaller ones of such laminated sheets 153 may be sewn together to form the one large laminated sheet. Similarly, each of the first (inside) sheet 154 and the second (outside) sheet 156 may be a single large sheet, or many smaller ones of such first sheets 154 may be sewn together to form the one large first sheet, or many smaller ones of such second sheets 156 may be sewn together to form one large second sheet. In either case, such large laminated sheet 153, or such large first sheet 154 and such large second sheet 156, (referred to separately as the respective “large sheet” 153, 154, or 156 ) has large enough dimensions to form either the first or the second embodiments of the container-lifter 62-1 or 62-2, respectively.

238. Referring to FIG. 38, the following description refers to the large sheet 153, and is also applicable to the large sheets 154 and 156. Such large sheet 153 is spread out on a work surface (not shown) and four sections 162 are cut out to define the four walls 91 through 94, the four flaps 107 and the bottom 106. One of the flaps 107 is integral with each wall (91 through 94), and a transition section 163 is provided between each wall 91 through 94 and each respective flap 107. The bottom 106 is also integral with each of the walls 91 through 94. The cut-out sections 162 leave edges 164 (shown by dashed lines). With the large sheet 153 (or 156) still spread out on the work surface, according to the embodiment of the sheet 84 and of the container-lifter 62 that is being fabricated, the straps 108 are sewn to the appropriate walls 91 and 92, or 91 through 94, (i.e., to the sheets 153 or 156 that form those walls) and to the bottom 106. The sewing is done after positioning the straps 108 with the appropriate spacings SS1 or SS2 as shown in FIGS. 14A, 27 and 29 (embodiment 62-1) and as shown in FIGS. 14B, 18, 19, and 23 (embodiment 62-2).

239. In FIG. 38, adjacent portions of the edges 164 are identified by the same letters following the reference number 164. Brackets 164A denote the two adjacent portions of the edges 164 that are joined together to form the corners 101. Brackets 164B denote the two adjacent portions of the edges 164 that are joined together to form the corners 102. Brackets 164C denote the two adjacent portions of the edges 164 that are joined together to form the corners 103. Brackets 164D denote the two adjacent portions of the edges 164 that are joined together to form the corners 104. Each two adjacent portions of the edges (e.g., 164A and 164A) are secured to each other (as by sewing) to form the respective corners 101-1 through 104-1 of the three-dimensional enclosure 87.

240. Further portions of the edges 164 (identified by brackets 165 ) extend beyond the respective secured portions 164A through 164D to an outside perimeter 166 of the large sheet 153 and are not connected to each other The edge portions 165 form sides 167 (FIG. 2) of the flaps 107.

241. With the large sheet 153 so cut, with the straps 108 so sewn, and with the portions 164A through 164D so joined, the three dimensional enclosure 87 is ready for use. For reference purposes, FIG. 38 shows a first of the flaps 107A connected to the transition section 163A adjacent to the first wall 91. A second of the flaps 107B is shown connected to the transition section 163B adjacent to the second wall 92. A third of the flaps 107C is shown connected to the transition section 163C adjacent to the third wall 93. A fourth of the flaps 107D is shown connected to the transition section 163D adjacent to the fourth wall 94. In each case, the flap 107 is connected to the transition section 163 along the flap line 173.

Loading Frame 59

242. The first use of the three dimensional enclosure 87 is in connection with the loading frame 59. As described above, the enclosure 87 may be the outer enclosure 172 alone, or may be the inner enclosure 171 within the outer enclosure 172. The three dimensional enclosure 87 is held in the open, load-receiving position (FIG. 2) by the loading frame 59 shown in FIGS. 2 through 7. The loading frame 59 has the horizontal top frame 120 (FIGS. 6 and 7) which is supported by vertical supports 176 and diagonal braces 177. The top frame 120 is at the height HF from the support surface 116 so that the top of the transition sections 163 hang over the loading perimeter 121 defined by the top frame 120. The flaps 107 and the straps 108 hang down on the outside of the enclosure 87. The loading frame 59 may be made of lumber, such as two by fours, for example. Alternatively, a loading frame 59 may be provided by a roll-off container 168 (FIG. 24B). Such roll-off container 168 has a top surface 169 twice the size of the loading perimeter 121. Therefore, the roll-off container 168 is modified by adding a bridge 170 in the middle to provide the loading perimeter 121. The overall length and width of the horizontal top frame 120, the top surface 169 and the bridge 170, are just larger than the length L and the width W and the height H of the at-rest container 63 so that the loaded and closed container 63 may easily be lifted out of the loading frame 59, or the roll-off container 168.

243. It may be understood, then, that the loading frame 59 serves to support the open container 63 (e.g., the enclosure 87) for loading. Thus, the frame 59 serves to hold the walls 91 through 94, and the transition section 163, vertical with the flaps 107 open to define the open top 88. The top 88 thus serves as a wide and long opening for receiving the bulk cargo from large material handling equipment, such as the front end loader 122.

244. The Transition Section 163 of the Container 63/ Closing the Top 88 Of the Container 63

245. With the loading frame 59 (or the roll-off container 168) on the ground or other support surface 116, the first embodiment of the enclosure 87-1 is placed in the loading frame 59 (or the roll-off container 168) with the bottom 106 on the surface 116 (or on the bottom of the roll-off container 168). The three-dimensional walls 91 through 94 are vertical, and the flaps 107 are open and extend over the top section 121 of the loading frame 59 (or the top 169 and the bridge 170 ). The straps 108 also drape over the top frame 121 and are underneath the flaps 107. The frame 59 (or the top 169 and the frame 170 ) and the flaps 107 assist in holding the walls 91 through 94 vertical, with the bottom 106 being horizontal so that the enclosure 87 is ready to receive the bulk cargo 51.

246. As described above, when the three dimensional enclosure 87 is in the form of the inner three dimensional enclosure 171 (made from the inner large sheet 154) and the outer three dimensional enclosure 172 (made from the outer large sheet 156), the outer enclosure 172 is first placed in the loading frame 59 (or roll-off container 168). FIG. 2 shows the inner three dimensional enclosure 171 nested into the outer three dimensional enclosure 172. To avoid duplication, the following description of the two three dimensional enclosures 171 and 172 is applicable to the one three dimensional enclosure 87 made from the one large laminated sheet 153, it being understood that the large laminated sheet 153 only has the four flaps 107 and the one transition section 163, whereas each of the large sheets 154 and 156 has such flaps 107 and transition section 163. The three dimensional nested configuration of the three dimensional enclosures 171 and 172 shown in FIG. 2 is of the second embodiment of the container-lifter 62-2. Each of the corners 101-2 through 104-2 extends up from the bottom 106-2 for the vertical distance H-2 to the load line 127 (see dash-dash lines in FIG. 2). The load line 127 provides a general indication as to the height to which the bulk cargo 51 should be loaded within the container 63-2. The indication is general because, for example, with a very dense bulk cargo 51 (density above eighty pounds per cubic foot), the container 63 may be considered “loaded” even though the bulk cargo has not reached the load line 127 (see Chart I where the loaded height was forty-two inches, six inches below the load line 127).

CHART I
DIMENSIONS OF CONTAINER-LIFTER 62-2
1. STANDING IN LOADING FRAME 59, NOT LOADED
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 368 INCHES
B. LENGTH  96 INCHES
C. WIDTH  88 INCHES
D. DEPTH (SURFACE 116 TO TOP 120)  60 INCHES
E. DEPTH (SURFACE 116 TO LINE 127)  48 INCHES
2. LOADED WITH GRAVEL 51, AT REST ON SURFACE 116
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 372 INCHES
B. LENGTH 123 INCHES
C. WIDTH 105 INCHES
D. HEIGHT OF LOAD  42 INCHES
3. LOADED WITH GRAVEL 51, LIFTED OFF SURFACE 116
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 348 INCHES
B. LENGTH 113 INCHES
C. WIDTH  94 INCHES
D. HEIGHT OF LOAD  59 INCHES

247. Each of the corners 101-2 through 104-2 extends vertically beyond the load line 127 for a further vertical distance TS to a flap line 173 (see dash-dash lines in FIG. 38). The vertical distance TS between the load line 127 and the flap line 173 defines the height of the transition section 163. Each of the corners 101-2 through 104-2 stops, or terminates, at the flap line 173 at a point 184A in FIG. 12D. As shown in FIG. 4, the transition section 163 provides a four-sided enclosure 174 extending above the top 51A of the loaded bulk cargo 51. The transition section 163 extends vertically from the tops of the walls 91-2 through 94-2 (see wall 91-2, for example) to the flaps 107-2 for increasing the security of the containing of the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63-2. Such transition section 163 may be referred to as a “transition-containment section”, because it extends vertically beyond each of the respective first, second, third, and fourth walls 91-2 through 94-2 and has a respective one of the corners 101-2 through 104-2, and because, as described below, it cooperates with the flaps 107 to securely contain the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63.

248. Considering the two three dimensional enclosures 171 and 172 shown in the loading frame 59 in FIGS. 2 through 7 which define the container 63-2, after such container 63-2 is loaded (FIG. 4) with the bulk cargo 51 (to the load line 127, FIG. 2), the respective first, second, third, and fourth flaps 107A, 107B, 107C and 107D of each of the enclosures 171 and 172 are still draped over the horizontal top frame 120. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 12A, the first flap 107-A is then pulled across the container 63-2 from the first wall 91-2 over the loaded bulk cargo 51 toward (see arrow in FIG. 12A) and to the second, opposite wall 92-2 (FIG. 4).

249. As shown in FIGS. 12A and 12B, this pulling tightens a first side 163A of the transition section 163 that is attached to the first flap 107-A. Referring also to FIGS. 12C and 12D, in response to such tightening, such first side 163A bends (e.g., along the load line 127 for a normal load of bulk cargo 51). The first side 163A extends over the load of the bulk cargo 51. Considering one of the corners 101-2 adjacent to the flap 107-A, the first side 163A folds a part 181 (FIG. 12D) of the third side 163C of the transition section 163 onto itself along a tuck fold line 182 (FIG. 12D). When the first side 163-A is horizontal on the bulk cargo 51 (FIGS. 12B and 12C), the part 181 is completely folded onto a second part 183 (FIG. 12D) of the section 163C. The second part 183 remains vertical when the flap 107C is still draped over the top frame 120 of the loading frame 59. Also, the point 184A at the top of the corner 101-2 moves with the first side 163-A to a location 184B (FIG. 12B). This part 181 folded onto the part 183 forms a tuck 185 adjacent to the corner 101-2. The edge 167 of the flap 107C moves with the point 184A and folds the flap 107C along a flap fold line 186 which becomes the outer edge of the flap 107C. With the opposite sides 167A of the first flap 107-A extending completely across the width W of the container 63-2, and with the first flap 107-A extending all the way to the second (opposite) wall 92-2, the first flap 107-A is tied to the second wall 92-2 by tying ties 187 to loops 188 (FIG. 12E). Upon completion of the tying, the load of bulk cargo 51 is tightly contained along the first wall 91-2. The tuck 185 permits the opposite edges 167A of the flap 107A to touch, or at least extend very close to, the adjacent third and fourth walls 93-2 and 94-2, respectively, along the load line 127 (assuming a normal load of the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63-2).

250. As shown by arrows 184 in FIG. 5, after folding the first flap 107-A (arrow 184A), the folding process is repeated with the second flap 107B (arrow 184B). Thus, the second flap 107B is then pulled across the container 63-2 from the second wall 92-2 over the first flap 107-A toward and to the first, opposite wall 91-2. This pulling bends a second side 163B (FIG. 38) of the transition section 163 that is attached to the second flap 107B. In response, such second side 163B folds over the first flap 107A. The same procedure results in a tuck 185B (not shown) at the corner 103-2.

251. With the opposite sides 167 of the second flap 107B extending completely across the width W of the container 63-1, and with the second flap 107B extending all the way to the first opposite wall 91-2, and with tucks 185C and 185D at each opposite corner 103-2 and 104-2, the second flap 107B is tied to the first wall 91-2 in the same manner as the flap 107A. The bulk cargo 51 is thereby tightly contained along the second wall 92-2 and around the second wall 92-2 to the adjacent third and fourth walls 93-2 and 94-2, respectively.

252. Referring to FIGS. 12A through 12 E, the third flap 107C has been draped over the top frame 120 of the loading frame 59. The third flap 107C is then pulled across the container 63 and extends over the first and second flaps 107A and 107B, respectively. The third flap 107C bends the transition containment section 163C on the load line 127 (FIG. 12D) so that the section 163C also extends over the first and second flaps 107A and 107B, respectively. The bent section 163C bends a portion 189 (FIG. 12C) of the tuck 185 ninety degrees along a second tuck bend line 190 (FIG. 12D) so that the portion 189 is over the now-horizontal transition section 163A, holding the tuck 185 closed The flap 107C now has the folded edge 186 extending over the flaps 107-A and 107B. The flap 107C extends across the length L of the container 63 to further close the top 88. This process is repeated with the fourth flap 107D to hold the tucks 185C and 185D closed at the respective opposite corners 103-2 and 104-2.

253. It may be understood that the four tucks 185, one at each of the corners 101-2, 102-2, 103-2, and 104-2, contribute to such tight containment of the bulk cargo 51 because the tucks 185 and 185 at the respective first and second corners 101-2 and 102-2, for example, allow the first flap 107A to extend for the full extent of its width across the entire width W of the container 63-2 and to thus engage the bulk cargo 51 across the full width W of the container 63-1.

254. With this description in mind, it may be understood that for the three dimensional enclosure 87 made from the laminated sheet 153, the above folding and closing process is performed once, whereas for the multi-sheet embodiment using the inner sheet 154 and the outer sheet 156, the flaps 107 of the inner enclosure 171 are folded and tied, and then the flaps 107 of the outer enclosure 171 are folded and tied. It may be understood, then that the flaps 107 serve to assist in defining the shape of the container 63. The flaps 107, with the ties 187 and the loops 188, also serve to hold the tucks 185 closed. The tucks 185 thus serve to seal closed the top of each of the corners 101 through 104, assisting in retaining the bulk cargo 51 in the container 63. Thus, by tightly closing the open top 88, the flaps 107, with the ties 187, the loops 188, and the tucks 185, serve to contain the bulk cargo 51 and additionally serve to prevent environmental conditions, such as rain and snow, from entering the container 63.

255. The three dimensional configuration of the three dimensional container 63-3 shown in FIG. 40 is the third embodiment of the container-lifter 62-3. Each of the corners 101-3 through 103-3 extends up from the bottom 106-3 for a vertical distance just past the load line 127-3 (see dash-dash line in FIG. 40). As described above for the other embodiments of the container 63, the load line 127-3 provides a general indication as to the height to which the bulk cargo 51 should be loaded within the container 63-3. Chart II identifies exemplary dimensions of the third embodiment of the container-lifter 62-3, for example.

CHART II
DIMENSIONS OF CONTAINER-LIFTER 62-3
1. STANDING IN LOADING FRAME 59, NOT LOADED
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 360 INCHES
B. LENGTH  96 INCHES
C. WIDTH  84 INCHES
D. DEPTH (SURFACE 116 TO TOP 120)  60 INCHES
E. DEPTH (SURFACE 116 TO LINE 127)  54 INCHES
2. LOADED WITH GRAVEL 51, AT REST ON SURFACE 116
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 370 INCHES
B. LENGTH 118 INCHES
C. WIDTH  98 INCHES
D. HEIGHT OF LOAD  54 INCHES
3. LOADED WITH GRAVEL 51, LIFTED OFF SURFACE 116
A. CIRCUMFERENCE AT WAIST 358 INCHES
B. LENGTH 103 INCHES
C. WIDTH  90 INCHES
D. HEIGHT OF LOAD  56 INCHES

256. It is noted that the height of the load 51 is shown as fifty four inches, as compared to the forty two inch height of the second embodiment 50-2. The fifty four inch height offsets the smaller length and width dimensions of the third embodiment, for example, as compared to the second embodiment 50-2.

Embodiments of Lifter 64

257. As noted, the lifter 64 of the container-lifter 62 is secured to the container 63. The first embodiment of the lifter 64-1 (shown in FIGS. 1A, 27, 28, and 29 ), shows the lifter 64-1 including eight straps 108-1 in the first set of straps 111-1, each strap 108-1 having the length LS1 (FIG. 28) greater than twice the height H plus the length L. The second embodiment of the lifter 64-2 may include the first set 111-2 (FIGS. 18 and 19 ) having the five straps 108-2 and the second set 112-2 having the three straps 108-2. The third embodiment of the lifter 64-3 may include the first set 111-3 (FIGS. 18 and 19 ) having the five straps 108-3 and the second set 112-3 including the four straps 108-3.

258. At the free end 115 of each strap 108 the coupling 114 is provided to facilitate connection of each strap end 115 to one of the connectors 73 of the lift grid 58. Such strap couplings 114 are made by forming a loop of the strap 108 and sewing opposite sides of the loop together using filament twisted bonded/polyester thread 118. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, such thread is T135 thread sold under the brand name “ANEFIL” by A and E of Mount Holly, N.C. The thread is sewn with four and one-half stitches per inch per each of two needles. This method of forming the coupling 114 provides the loops with greater strength than the unlooped lengths of the straps 108, such that there is no weakening of the straps 108 due to forming the loops 114.

259. For each embodiment of the container-lifter 62, the straps 108 may be made from single ply, seat belt webbing 132 woven from Nylon threads. Such straps 108 have a width of two inches and a thickness of fifty mils, for example. Such straps 108 have a rated (maximum) tensile strength of 6,500 pounds. Each such strap 108 is sewn to the respective walls 91 through 94 and bottoms 106 along the continuous paths P1 and P2 described above. The sewing may be performed using the T135 thread 118 described above. The sewn connection between the straps 108 and the respective sheets 153 and 156 secures each of the straps 108 in place at the desired spacing SS1 and/or SS2 from the other straps and from the corners 101 through 104. The thread itself adds to the load-lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62.

260. In the first and second embodiments of the container-lifter 62, to provide a rated lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62 of ten tons (twenty-thousand pounds), for example, eight straps 108-2 are used and secured to the walls 91 and 92 (embodiment 62-1); and five straps are secured to the walls 91 and 92, and three straps 108 to the walls 93 and 94 (embodiment 62-2). In the third embodiments of the container-lifter 62, to provide a rated lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62 of twelve tons, for example, eight straps 108-3 are used, with five straps 108-3 secured to the walls 91 and 92; and four straps 108-3 secured to the walls 93 and 94. The straps 108-3 are spaced from the corners 101-3 through 104-3, as described above with respect to the other embodiments, and provide eighteen strap ends 115.

261. For a desired three to one safety factor, the ten ton load results in a sixty-thousand pounds rated load. Thus, the total of the rated vertical lifting forces 74 applied to each of the sixteen strap ends 115 is 3,750 pounds, which represents the required strength of the straps 108 to meet the required three to one safety factor. With each strap 108 having a rated capacity of 6500 pounds, and sixteen strap ends 115 receiving the vertical lifting forces 74, the eight straps 108 are at least 1.7 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

262. For a desired three to one safety factor of the third embodiment of the container-lifter 62-3, the twelve ton load results in a seventy two thousand pound rated load. Thus, the total of the rated vertical lifting forces 74 applied to each of the eighteen strap ends 115 is 4,000 pounds, which represents the required strength of the straps 108 to meet the required three to one safety factor. With each strap 108-3 having a rated capacity of 6500 pounds, and eighteen strap ends 115 receiving the vertical lifting forces 74, the nine straps 108-3 are at least 1.6 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

263.FIGS. 41E and 41F show another aspect of efficient transport, provided by having the lift-liner straps 108 connected to the load-carrying container 63 spaced by the even spacings SS1 and SS2. This assures an even, uniform, distribution of the lifting forces 74 to the bottom 106 of the container 63. It may be understood, then, that the straps 108, via the free ends 115 and the couplings 114, receive the vertical forces 74. Further, the straps 108, via the sewn threads 118, transfer some of the vertical forces 74 to the walls 91 through 94. The straps 108, via the above described continuous paths P1 and P2, also assist the walls 91 through 94 in containing the bulk cargo 51 horizontally (i.e., increase the resistance of the walls 91 through 94 to horizontal bursting). The walls 91 through 94 transfer the vertical forces 74 to the bottom 106 and assist the bottom in bearing the weight of the bulk cargo 51. At the outer bottom perimeter 194 (FIG. 8) of the container 63, the walls 91 through 94 and the outer straps 108-2-OLC and 108-2-ORC (FIG. 18) serve to support the portions of the bottom 106 that are outside of the areas A-3.

264. Also, the straps 108, extending in the continuous paths P1 and P2 from the couplings 114 and along the walls 91 through 94, serve to transfer the vertical forces 94. The straps 108 then extend across the bottom 106, where they serve to define the grid 119. The grid 119 serves to create the areas A-3 which are smaller than the entire area (W times L) of the bottom 106. The straps 108 of the grid 119 apply the vertical forces 74 to the bottom 106. The straps 108 defining the grid 119 thus serve to surround each area A3 of the bottom 106 and serve to apply those forces 74 uniformly to the bottom 106.

Closing the Container 63-3

265.FIG. 40 shows the lifter 64-3, provided with ties 187-3 and loops 188-3 to secure flaps 107-3 tightly closed over any container (not shown) with which the lifter 64-3 may be used. A web 200-3 may be secured to each of the respective second side 93-2 (or side B) and third side 94-3 (or side C) at the edge of the respective flap 107-3. For example, the web 200-3 may be a one inch wide web that is one-hundred forty-four inches long so as to extend completely across the ninety-six inch length of the lifter 64-3 to facilitate tying the web 200-3 to the loop 188-3 that is adjacent to the corner 103-3.

266.FIG. 40 shows four flaps, designated 107-3A, 107-3B, 107-3C, and 107-3D. To tightly tie the flaps 107-3D over the inner container 63, the flaps 107-3 are folded in the sequence A, B, C, and D as shown in FIGS. 41A through 41D. The flap 107-3A is pulled across between the open flaps 107-3B and 107-C (which are shown cut-away for clarity). The flap 107-3A fully covers the container 63-3 within the lifter 64-3. As shown in FIG. 41B, the flap 107-B is pulled to the right to partially cover the container 63-3 within the lifter 64-3. The flap 107-3B is provided with a first web 200-3B that may be twelve feet long and one inch wide. The first web 200-3B is secured to the flap 107-3B at the mid-point of the edge of the flap 107-3B, and is pulled across the lifter 64-3 and secured to a loop 188-3 that is adjacent to the corner 103-3. The corner 103-3 is between the flap 107-3D and 107-3C. One of the tucks 185 described above for the container 63-3 is also formed in the lifter 64-3 as the flaps 107-3A and 107-3B are pulled across, and the first web 200-3B holds the tuck 185 closed.

267. In FIG. 40, the top of the transition section 163-3 is defined by dash-dash lines 199 which are at the corners 102-3 and 104-3 and designate the height to which the corners 102-3 and 104-3 are sewn. The dash-dash lines 199 may, for example, be seventy two inches from the bottom. As shown in FIG. 40, the corners 103-3 and 101-3 are sewn to a height of sixty inches above the bottom. The corners 102-3 and 104-3 at the seventy two inch sewn height provide eighteen inches of material above the load line 127-3 with which to form the tucks 185 at the corners 102-3 and 104-3. The eighteen inch value provides a large tuck 185 at each corner 102-3 and 104-3 so that the tucks 185 remain secure even through the leading edge 107-3AL of the flap 107-3A is not tied to any opposing surface or structure.

268. As shown in FIG. 41C, the flap 107-3C is pulled across in the opposite direction between the flaps 107-3A and 107-3D to partially cover the container 63-3 within the lifter 64-3. The flap 107-3C is provided with a second web 200-3C that may be twelve feet long and one inch wide. The web 200-3C is secured to the flap 107-3C at the mid-point of the edge of the flap 107-3C, and is pulled across the lifter 64-3 and secured to a loop 188-3 adjacent to the corner 101-3. The corner 101-3 is between the flaps 107-3D and 107-3B. One of the above-described tucks 185 is also formed in the lifter 64-3 as the flap 107-3C is pulled across, and the second web 200-3C holds this tuck 185 closed.

269. As shown in FIG. 41D, the flap 107-3D is pulled across in the opposite direction to that of the flap 107-3A, such that two tucks 185 are formed at the corners 101-3 and 103-3. Flap 107-3D is provided with two series of loops 188 D1 that extend parallel to the edge 210 of the flap 107-3D, and one series is spaced from such edge. The wall 91-3A is provided with five webs 187-3, each such web 187-3 being aligned with one of the loops 188 D1 that are attached to the flap 107-3D. The flap 103-3D is held in position across the lifter 64-3 by tying each of the webs 187-3 of the flap 107-3A to one of the loops 188 D1. Depending on the amount of bulk cargo 51 that is in the lifter 64-3, the loops 188 D1 that are used ar 3 either one or the other of the series of loops 188D1.

270. The flap 107-3D is also provided with two series of loops 188D2L and 188D2R that extend perpendicular to the edge 210 of the flap 107-3D. One series 188D2L is near the left edge 202 of the flap 107-3D, and one series 1882 DR is near the right edge 203 of the flap 107-3D. The walls 92-B and 92-C adjacent to the straps 108-3 have webs 187-3B and 187-3C secured thereto. One of the webs 187-3B is tied to one of the loops 188D2L, and one of the webs 187-3C is tied to one of the loops 188D2R.

271. The webs 200-3B and 200-3C, in cooperation with the webs 187-3A, 187-3B and 187-3C, serve to hold the tucks 185 in place as the respective flaps 107-3 are pulled across the lifter 64-3.

Lifting the Container-Lifter 62

272. The container 63 and the lifter 64, constructed as described above with the straps 108 secured to the container 63, have shape characteristics described both at-rest on the support surface 116 and during lifting of the bulk cargo 51. At rest on the surface 116, the container 63 is bowed out at the waist 196, with the load contained by the sheet 153 or the sheets 154 and 156 that form the container 63. As the fully-loaded container-lifter 62 is lifted by the lift grid 68, the connectors 73 (vertically above the loops 114 at the free ends 115 of the straps 108) cause the straps 108 to apply the vertical lifting forces 74 to the walls 91 through 94 of the container 63 and to the bottom 106. The load of the bulk cargo 51 settles in the container 63 as the bulk cargo 51 slides along the smooth inside surface 160. The settling tends to cause the walls 91 through 94, and the straps 108 secured to the walls, to become vertical; and the bottom 106 to assume a bowed shape (FIGS. 10 and 13B). The final shape assumed by the bottom 106 and the walls 91 through 94 (and the straps 108 along the walls) is determined by (i) a balance between resistive forces applied horizontally and inwardly by the walls 91 through 94 and by the straps 108 along the walls, e.g., at a waist 196 of the container 63 (which forces resist the tendency of the bulk cargo 51 to move horizontally), and (ii) the vertical forces 74 which the straps 108 apply across the bottom 106.

273. The placing of the loaded and lifted container-lifter 63 depends on whether further transport is next, or whether the storage cell is the next location for the container-lifter 62. If the container-lifter 62 has just been loaded at a remediation site, for example, and the site is not rail-served, the container-lifter 62 would be placed in a dump truck or a semi-trailer truck depending on the room available. If the site is rail-served, the container-lifter 62 would be placed in the gondola car 53 shown in FIG. 1A. With the lift-liner 62 vertically aligned with the top opening of the car 53 or the truck 136, the crane 66 or fork lift truck 67 lowers the lift grid 58, and hence the loaded lift-liner 62, until the bottom 106 rests on the floor of the vehicle. The loops 114 of the straps 108 are then removed from the connectors 73 of the lift grid 58, and the lift grid 58 is raised.

Fourth Embodiment of System 50

274. Referring now to FIG. 42A, the fourth embodiment of a system 50-4 of the present invention is shown including a reusable, outer container-lifter 62-4. The reusable container-lifter 62-4 includes a flexible, liftable, reusable, outer container 363-4 (also described below in terms of an outer enclosure 172-4) and an outer lifter 64-4. In general, the outer container 363-4 may correspond to the above-described three dimensional enclosure 87 and the outer three dimensional enclosure 172, except for the reusable features described below. When loaded with the bulk cargo 51 described above, for example, the reusable container-lifter 62-4 may be placed on a bed 302 of a standard lift-bed vehicle 304. The vehicle may be the dump truck 136 (having the bed 134, FIGS. 37A, 51B and 51C) or as shown in FIG. 42A, a flat bed truck 135T (having a bed 135B), or the dumpable semi-trailer 138 (having the bed 137, FIG. 37B). Whichever vehicle 304 is used, the vehicle is used for transport from an originating location (e.g., a transload facility) to a destination location (e.g., a disposal or storage site) at which it is desired to unload bulk cargo 51, which may in the form of the unit 52.

275. In the descriptions below, various embodiments of the reusable container-lifter 62-4 are described. The reusable container-lifter 62-4, with the outer container 363-4 and the outer container-lifter 62-4, are suitable for containing and lifting bulk cargo 51. When the bulk cargo 51 is to be kept in the form of the units 52, a non-reusable inner enclosure, or container, may be used. The inner container may be similar to the above-described three dimensional enclosure 87 that is in the form of the above-described inner three dimensional enclosure 171, except for the features described below that facilitate reuse of the container-lifter 62-4. For convenience of description, such non-reusable container is referred to as the inner container 171-4. In FIG. 47 the arrow 171-4 indicates that the inner container 171-4 may be provided in the outer, reusable container-lifter 62-4. In FIGS. 59 through 64, the inner container 171-4 is described in detail. When the additional security of the inner container 171-4 is required, such as in the transport of cargo 51 that is hazardous material waste requiring a strong-tight-container, the system 50-4 includes the inner container 171-4 and the container-lifter 62-4 (with the outer container 363-4, and the lifter 64-4). When the cargo 51 is non-hazardous, loose, bulk cargo that may be discharged loose, the inner container 171-4 need not be used, and the loose cargo 51 may be contained directly in the container-lifter 62-4.

276. Also, such embodiments of the reusable container-lifter 62-4, including the outer container 363-4 and the outer lifter 64-4, are suitable for containing and lifting a variety of weights and sizes (volumes) of bulk cargo 51. For purposes of illustration, the configuration of the reusable container-lifter 62-4 (including the outer container 363-4 and the outer lifter 64-4) first described below is referred to as a “2×3”configuration. FIG. 42A shows that this 2×3 configuration designates the outer lifter 64-4 as including one set 111 (referred to as the set 111-4) and one set 112 (referred to as the set 112-4) of straps 108-4. The set 112-4 includes two straps 108-4 on opposite walls 93-4A and 94-4B of the outer container 363-4, and the other set 111-4 of straps 108-4 includes three straps 108-4 on opposite walls 91-4D and 92-4C (FIG. 42B).

277. As an example, the following description of the reusable container-lifter 62-4 relates to lifting and containing the unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 contained first in the secure inner flexible container 171-4 (FIG. 64). The plan view of FIG. 42B illustrates the flexible, liftable, reusable, outer container-lifter 62-4, which is shown partially cut away for illustrative purposes to expose the inner container 171-4 therein. The outer container-lifter 62-4 is placed on the bed 302 of the exemplary vehicle 304, shown in the form of the flat bed truck 135T having the bed 135B. While a dump truck 136 is preferred, and while a semi-trailer 138 may be used, the flat bed truck 135T is most preferred for use with the lifter 64-4 because the flat bed truck 135T does not have any sides. Without sides, after placing the container-lifter 62-4 on the bed 135B, personnel may easily walk on the bed 135B around the container-lifter 62-4 to unhook the lift straps 108-4 (FIG. 42A) from the lift grid 58-4 (or from the lift device 57-4) that may be used to lift the container-lifter 62-4. The container-lifter 62-4 is placed in position on the bed 302 for connection to a harness 501 to hold the outer container-lifter 62-4 on the bed 302 as the bed 302 is raised to unload the inner container 171-4. An alignment line 502 may be provided on the bed 302 to assist in placing the container-lifter 62-4 on the bed 302 close enough to the harness 501 to allow hooks of the harness (FIGS. 43A and 43B) to be secured to loops or other hooks 504 of the outer container-lifter 62-4. The loops 504 are provided adjacent to the bottom 106-4 (FIG. 43A). The use of the flat bed truck 135T (without side walls) also provides more space on which personnel may to walk to the front 500 of the bed 302 and secure the harness 501 to, and detach the harness 501 from, the loops 504 of the container-lifter 62-4.

Opening the Openable Wall 94-4 of the Container-Lifter 62-4

278.FIGS. 42B, 44A and 44B show the container-lifter 62-4 configured with the four walls 91-4 through 94-4. To facilitate description of the closing and opening sequence of the flaps 107-4 (FIGS. 45A, 45B, 46A, and 46B) attached to the walls 91-4 through 94-4, the letter A designates the wall 93-4 attached to a flap 107 that is closed first in a sequence over the inner container 171-4 (or as the case may be, over loose bulk cargo 51). The letter B designates the wall 94-4 attached to a flap 107 that is closed second in a sequence. The letter C designates the wall 92-4 attached to a flap 107 that is closed third in a sequence. The letter D designates the wall 91-4 attached to a flap 107 that is closed fourth in a sequence.

279.FIGS. 44A and 44B show the container-lifter 62-4 with the wall 94-4B provided with the opposite corners 102-4 and 103-4. The corners 102-4 and 103-4 are provided with releasable, or openable, closures 503, which may be referred to as releasable corner closures. The closures 503 allow the wall 94-4B to be separated from the adjacent walls 91-4D and 92-4C. Thus, the closures 503 allow the wall 94-4B to be opened according to the principles of the fourth embodiment of the system 50-4 of the present invention. The wall 94-4B is therefore referred to as an “openable wall”. It may be understood that the word “normally” is used to describe the closure 503 (or to describe a rope, for example) in a closed (or tied) condition, such that the container-lifter 62-4 may container and lift the inner container 171-4 that contains the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51. That is, the closure 503 is “normally” closed for containing the cargo 51. FIGS. 44A and 52 show that the openable wall 94-4B may be opened throughout the height of the outer container-lifter 62-4. The resulting opening extends throughout the height of the wall 94-4B and throughout the height of the transition section 163-4B (FIGS. 44A and 52) to the flap 107-4B.

280. Related to the openable aspects of the wall 94-4B, FIGS. 45A and 45B show edges 506 of the fourth flap 107-4D having loops 508B, with an edge 506B (FIG. 45A) aligned with the openable wall 94-4B and having a few of the loops 508B normally tied to tie ropes 510B (that are secured at one end to the wall 94-4B, as indicated by dots). To facilitate opening of the openable wall 94-4B, the loops 508B are untied from the tie ropes 510B. The ropes 510B are shown in dashed lines in FIG. 45B to indicate the untied condition. In the untied condition, the ropes 510B facilitate manual access to the area under the fourth flap 107-4D and under the third flap 107-4C. The third flap 107-4C, a second flap 107-4B, and a first flap 107-4A are under the fourth flap 107-4D.

281.FIG. 46A shows a plan view looking down onto the overlapping first flap 107-4A and second flap 107-4B, illustrating the area to which manual access is provided. There, second tie ropes 512 are shown in solid lines secured to the respective second flaps 107-4B (indicated by dots) and extending through respective second loops 514 of the first flap 107-4A. The ropes 512 are normally tied to respective loops 516 that are secured to the second flap 107-4B. To illustrate an operation in opening the openable wall 94-4B, the second tie ropes 512 are shown untied from the loops 516. In a side elevational view, FIG. 46B shows that such area under the fourth flap 107-4D and under the third flap 107-4C provides such access to the second tie ropes 512 to permit another opening operation, i.e., to allow the tie ropes 512 to be untied from the second loops 516 without having to detach the ropes 510 from the other loops 508 that are also secured to the fourth flap 107-4D (FIG. 45A).

282. By various operations, the openable closure 503 at each of the corners 102-4 and 103-4 of the openable wall 94-4B may be released (or untied, or unlaced) from the adjacent respective walls 91-4D and 92-4C. Further, as described, the flap 107-4B that is attached to the wall 94-4B may be untied from the opposite flap 107-4A. In this manner the wall 94-4B with the attached flap 107-4B becomes free to be moved to the preliminary open position shown in FIG. 47. There, the schematic three dimensional view shows the openable wall 94-4B and the flap 107-4B each opened, and the wall 94-4B moved with the flap 107-4B to the preliminary open position on a tailgate 520 of the vehicle 304. This preliminary open position allows the wall 94-4B to rest on the bed 302 and on the tailgate 520 at the rear 522 of the vehicle 304. The flap 107-4B is shown hanging over the tailgate 520. Also, FIG. 47 shows the inside surface of the bottom 106-4, of the wall 94-4B and of the flap 107-4B, each provided with a material 524 having a very low coefficient of friction, such as high density polyethylene material. The material 524 may be referred to as being “slippery” in that it does not provide significant resistance to movement over it, as described below. FIG. 48 shows in side elevation a portion of the bed 302 of the standard, flat lift-bed vehicle 304, and shows the tailgate 520, both covered (at least partly) by the second flap 107-4B. To achieve a next open position, FIG. 48 shows that the second flap 107-4B is folded under the second wall 94-4B, and is retained under the wall 94-4B with lift straps 108-4B of the wall 94-4B and the tie ropes 512, so that the straps 108-4B and the ropes 512 are not above the wall 94-4B.

283.FIG. 49 shows in elevation the bed 302 of the standard lift-bed vehicle 304 tilted, or lifted, at an angle 525. FIG. 49 also shows the inner container 171-4 having moved under the force of gravity and against the low frictional forces applied by the material 524 of the outer container 363-4. Thus the inner container 171-4 has moved onto the material 524 on the opened wall 94-4B and on the opened second flap 107-4B. Such moving occurs as the outer container-lifter 62-4 is held by the harness 501 stationary on the bed 302 against the force of gravity that tends to urge the container-lifter 62-4 off the bed 302. The inner container 171-4 moves in a direction indicated by arrows 526 in FIGS. 49 and 50. As the inner container 171-4 moves, the container-lifter 62-4 is free to collapse from the “fall” position shown in dashed lines in FIGS. 49 and 50, to the partially empty and empty position shown in solid lines in respective FIGS. 49 and 50. In time sequence shown in FIGS. 50 and 51A the container-lifter 62-4 has collapsed, thus the former full configuration is shown in dashed lines and the collapsed configuration is shown in solid lines. Such collapsing illustrates an advantage of the flexible, reusable container-lifter 62-4 over the IMCs described above, in that for transport of the container-lifter 62-4 for reuse, the size and weight of the collapsed container-lifter 62-4 are substantially less than those of an IMC of similar load-carrying volume. The collapsed weights and sizes of the various embodiments of the container-lifters 62-4 are similar to those described above with respect to the other embodiment 50-2 of the system.

284. In more detail, FIG. 50 shows in side elevation the inner container 171-4 having moved under the force of gravity off the bed 302 and almost completely off the tailgate 520. One wall 393-4B of the inner container 171-4 is shown resting on the ground. FIG. 51A shows in side elevation the inner container 171-4 having moved under the force of gravity completely off the tailgate 520 and having rolled to a position on the top of the inner container 171-4, the top being illustrated by the outer flap 107-4DI described below. The bed 302 is shown having been returned to the original horizontal position after having urged the inner container 171-4 to continue to roll on the ground onto the outer flap 107-4DI. The outer container-lifter 62-4 has moved to the more fully-collapsed position (shown in solid lines) awaiting disconnection from the harness 501, removal from the bed 302, and preparation (or conditioning) for reuse.

285. The described container-lifter 62-4 is thus reusable, yet it is not subject to the disadvantages of prior art containers that provide bottom discharge of bulk cargo as loose cargo 51. For example, in the bioremediation of PCB's, upon completion of the bioremediation, the flexible outer container-lifter 62-4 may be used to lift the inner container 171-4 (with the now-non-hazardous waste therein) onto the vehicle 304 for transport to a standard landfill. As described, the one wall 94-4B of the outer container-lifter 62-4 may be opened to facilitate dumping of the now-non-hazardous waste 51. Advantageously such wall 94-4B may be opened and such waste 51 dumped without any added (prior art) step of lifting the container-lifter 62-4 off the transport vehicle 304. If the bioremediation occurs at the original site at which the PCB waste was located, then the strength requirements of the inner container 171-4 may be less than if hazardous waste were to be transported.

286. Another form of such flexible liftable container-lifter 62-4 is one in which hazardous waste is to be transported, and thus a secure non-liftable inner container 171-4 is to be used to maintain the unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 as a unit during and after separation from the outer, secure, flexible, liftable container-lifter 62-4. As described, such outer container-lifter 62-4, with the readily-openable side wall 94-4B, facilitates separation of the inner container 171-4 from the outer container-lifter 62-4, again without lifting either the inner container 171-4 or the outer container-lifter 62-4 from a support surface on which such outer container-lifter 62-4 rests. Moreover, contrary to the bottom discharge of loose flowable material from the prior art containers, the secure inner container 171-4 maintains the unit 52 as a unit during such separation, and is suitable for storage of hazardous waste material. In this example and in the bioremediation example, the savings resulting from use of the container-lifter 62-4 may include the time and expense of avoiding use of lifting equipment at the final dump site, as well as those resulting from reuse of the outer container-lifter 62-4.

287. Another advantage of the flexible, liftable, container-lifter system 50-4 is that the liftable container-lifter 62-4 may not only be reused but may be used with or without the inner container 171-4. For example, in the above two-directional transport situation, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter 62-4 may be used without the inner container 171-4 for rail transport of the non-hazardous fill to the site in a standard gondola car 53. Such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter 62-4 would then be readily prepared for re-use. In conjunction with a secure inner container 171-4, the same outer container-lifter 62-4 would, after preparation for reuse, be used for the return transport from the site to the storage facility. The return transport involves transporting the hazardous waste material in the inner container 171-4. The return transport is again by rail transport in another standard gondola car 53 that has been made available without requiring the lengthy holding time (e.g., at a rail side track) that may be experienced with the above-described special IMC railroad cars. Advantages and benefits of such reusable container-lifter 62-4 include those discussed in the Parent Application, as well as the two-way, use and re-use, of such outer container-lifter 62-4, which avoids the cost of purchase of an outer container-lifter 62-4 for each direction of such transporting, and avoids the lease or purchase, and handling of, IMCs, for example.

288. One further advantage of such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter system 50-4 includes the liftable container-lifter 62-4 that may be reused and that may be used without the inner container 171-4 to achieve more savings while solving the problem in transporting the bulk cargo 51 in the form of loose sand for the above-noted construction project. To avoid the prior art long-distance trucking of the sand 51 and the resulting significant road-traffic congestion, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter 62-4 enables lower-cost use of barges for the primary transport of the sand 51 close to the project, which is at a waterfront location. Such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter 62-4 is suitable for use without the inner container 171-4 for the barge transport of the sand 51. At the site of the project, using a readily-available crane 66 or fork lift truck 67, for example, such flexible, liftable, reusable container-lifter 62-4 may be placed on the standard lift-bed vehicle 304 (e.g., on the dump truck 136 shown in FIGS. 51B and 51C) for the short transport to the particular location at the site at which the fill is needed. As described above, the harness 501 is secured to the loops 504. As shown in FIG. 51B with a portion of the side wall of the truck 136 cut away, upon opening of the openable wall 94-4B, the cargo (sand 51) starts to flow out of the container-lifter 62-4. As shown in FIG. 51C, upon release of the rear hinged door 520F of the dump truck 136 and tilting of the bed 134, and without further use of the crane 66 or the fork lift truck 67, the sand 51 may be discharged directly from the container-lifter 62-4 as the lift-bed 134 is raised. The container-lifter 62-4 will, of course, collapse from the positions shown in FIGS. 51B and 51C as the sand 51 exits.

Releasable Corner Closures 503

289. As described above, the container-lifter 62-4 is provided with the releasable corner closures 503. In more detail, the closures 503 are distinguished from the sewn corners, such as the sewn corner 104, described above with respect to FIG. 38, for example. As shown in FIG. 52, the container-lifter 62-4 is only provided with two sewn corners 101-4 and 104-4. Instead of two additional sewn corners, the container-lifter 62-4 is provided with the releasable closures 503 at the corners 102-4 and 103-4. The releasable closures 503 are formed in conjunction with edges 164-4 of the respective walls 94-4B, 92-4C, and 91-4D. In the same manner as described with respect to FIG. 38, corresponding edges 164-4 that are releasably joined are identified with the same suffix letter, e.g., 164-4F and 164-4 G.

290.FIG. 53 shows the edges 164-4 of a preferred embodiment of the closure 503. The edges 164-4 overlap. Each edge 164-4 is provided with holes 530 spaced along the entire length of the wall 94-4B and extending along the entire transition section 163-4 (from the load line 127-4 to the flap line 173-4). Such entire length is indicated by the brackets 164-4F and 164-4G. The holes 530 may be spaced evenly at intervals of 1.5 inches, for example. The holes 530 may be burned into the laminated sheet 153-4 or into the sheet 156-4, as appropriate. In the overlapped positions of the edges 164-4, the holes 530 are aligned. In the preferred embodiment, a removable closure strand, or lace, 532 is threaded through the aligned holes 530, and may be threaded in any one of the lacing patterns described below. The selected lacing pattern holds the edges 164-4G tightly attached to each other, such edges 164-4G being part of the exemplary walls 94-4B and 91-4D shown in FIG. 53, for example, The other edges 164-4F of the walls 94-4B and 93-4A may also be held tightly attached to each other in a similar manner.

291. A more preferred embodiment of the edges 164-4 of the closure 503 is shown in FIGS. 54A, 54B, 55 A, 55 B, and 56. The closure 503 includes the edges 164-4 overlapping in a so-called “prayer” configuration 503P, in which the edges 164-4 are bent and then positioned face-to-face. In this manner, the holes 530 in each of the edges 164-4 are accessible from one side of the adjacent exemplary walls 91-4D and 94-4B. This is advantageous since the height of the walls 91-4D, etc., may be over five feet high, and time is saved by being able to thread the lace 532 from one side of the walls.

292.FIGS. 54A and 54B show the prayer configuration 503P, with the lace 532 configured in a preferred, first lacing (or threading) pattern through the holes 530. In the three dimensional view of FIG. 54A, the preferred, first embodiment of the lacing pattern is shown in a helical configuration in which the lace 532 is threaded through one set of aligned holes 530 to one side of the edges 164-4, then over the edges 164-4 across and down to the opposite side of the edges 164-4 and to the next set of aligned holes 530, and then through that next set, etc.

293.FIGS. 55A and 55B show the prayer configuration 503P, with the lace 532 configured in a second, more preferred lacing pattern through the holes 530. In the elevational view of FIG. 55B, the second, more preferred embodiment of the threading pattern is shown in a chain configuration in which the lace 532 is threaded through one set of aligned holes 530 to one side of the edges 164-4, then down that side to the next set of aligned holes 530, and then through that next set to the other side, etc.

294. The threading patterns shown in FIGS. 54A through 55B may include forming a knot 534 at a first end of the lace, performing the threading, and then tying the other end of the lace 532 to a pull ring 536. The pull ring 536 holds the lace 532 tight in the holes 530 so that the walls 91-4D and 94-4B, for example, are securely attached. To release the releasable closure 503, the lace 532 is cut near the knot 534, and the pull ring 536 is pulled on to remove the lace 532 from the holes 530 through which the lace 532 was threaded. Depending on the size of the holes 530 and the stiffness of the lace 532, for example, one or more pieces of lace 532 (with suitable knots 534 and pull rings 536 ) may be used to secure one entire edge 164-4 to the opposite edge 164-4. A length of about one foot may be typical for the length of the edges 164-4 tied or secured by one lace 532.

295. The laces 532 described with respect to FIGS. 53-55B may be in the form of one-eighth inch diameter polyolefin strands, such as strands made from polypropylene. Such material has some flexibility, enough to allow the described threading through the holes 530. Also, such material can be stiffened by heating, such as at an end that is introduced into the holes 530. Such heating in effect forms a needle-like configuration to facilitate the threading operation.

296.FIG. 56 shows the prayer configuration 503P, with the lace 532 configured in a third, most preferred lacing pattern through the holes 530. In the cross sectional view of FIG. 56, the third, most preferred embodiment of the threading pattern is shown in which the lace 532 is provided as a plurality of laces. Each lace 532 is in a generally circular configuration defined by an openable loop 538. The openable loop 538 may be defined by a head 540 that may engage a retainer strand 541. The head 540 has a slot with internal teeth 542 that may be engaged with corresponding teeth 544 on the end of the strand 541. With the head 540 on one side of one edge 164-4, the strand 541 is moved past the edges 164-4 to the other side of the edges 164-4, and is then threaded through one set of the aligned holes 530 and to the one side of the edges 164-4, and is then inserted into the head 540 to engage the teeth 542 with the teeth 544 and secure the strand 541 in the head 540. In this manner, the opposed edges 164-4 are held together adjacent to the aligned holes 530. The openable loops 538 described with respect to FIG. 56 may be in the form of polycord or Nylon, which may be one-eighth inch diameter polyolefin strands such as strands made from polypropylene. Such material has some flexibility, enough to allow the described threading through the holes 530, yet enough strength so that the teeth 542 and 544 securely hold the edges 164-4 together when the container-lifter 62-4 is loaded.

297. The number of loops 538 secured to one pair of edges 164-4 depends on the strength desired for the joining of the adjacent walls, such as the walls 91-4D and 94-4B, for example. It has been found that the loops 538 may be used when the aligned holes 530 are spaced along the edges 164-4 by one and one-half inches. The loops 538 also provide a quick, yet secure, yet easily removable, way to join the adjacent walls, both for the initial fabrication of the container-lifter 62-4, and for the preparation of the container-lifter 62-4 for reuse. With the selected number of loops 538 secured to the aligned holes 530, the edges 164-4 are joined to define the respective corners 102-4 and 103-4 (FIG. 52). To release the openable loop 538, the strand 541 may be rotated to detach the teeth 544 from the teeth 542 and then the strand removed from the head 540. To more quickly release the loop 538 from the holes 530, a knife 546 may be used to cut the strand 541.

298. The above exemplary descriptions of the releasable closures 503 and 503P with respect to releasably joining the walls 91-4D and 94-4B are also applicable to releasably joining the walls 93-4A and 94-4B.

299. Depending upon the nature and value of the bulk cargo 51, the releasable closure 503 may be provided in other forms, such as by having the holes 530 provided in only one edge 164-4 and providing a male swivel-member (not shown) on the other edge 164-4. The holes 530 would be shaped to accept the male-member in only one orientation, and to not release the male-member if it is in an orientation such as ninety degrees from the first orientation.

Fabrication of Container-Lifter 62-4

300. With the details of the releasable closures 503 and 503P in mind, the fabrication of the container-lifter 62-2 may be understood as resulting in the structure shown in FIG. 57. There, closures 503 in the prayer configuration 503P are shown closed by the laces 532 in a selected one of the lacing patterns. Also, the preparation for reuse of the “used” container-lifter 62-4 shown in FIG. 52 may also result in the exemplary structure shown in FIG. 57, in that the releasable closures 503 at the corners 103-4 and 102-4 (shown open in FIG. 52) have been re-closed (as shown in FIG. 57).

301. In more detail as to the fabrication of the container-lifter 62-4, FIGS. 58A and 58B show two sheets, each of which may be one of the sheets 153, or the sheets 154 and 156. In either event, and describing the sheets 153 as an example, one sheet 153 is cut to appropriate dimensions to defme the width W-4 and one sheet 153 is cut to define the length L-4 (see FIG. 2 for the corresponding length L-2 and width W-2). L-4 and W-4 are the respective length and width of the resulting container-lifter 62-4. It may be observed that a length LL of the sheet 153 in FIG. 58B is greater than the length LS of the sheet 153 in FIG. 58B. The shorter length LS results from the values of segments of the respective lengths LS and LL. The heights H-2 of the walls 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A, and 94-4B are the same. The added segmental increment resulting from the transition sections 163-4 results in the heights HF, which are the same for each sheet 153 in FIGS. 58A and 58B. The segment differences are seen as being the lengths FL and FLB of the various flaps 107-4, and the lengths LB-1 and LB-2 corresponding to the respective dimensions L-4 and W-4 of the bottom 106-4. The lengths FL and FLB are selected for purposes of opening the releasable closures 503. In particular, as shown in FIG. 46A, the flap 107-4B is short, does not extend across the container-lifter 62-4, and in FIG. 58A is shown having a short value FLB. The flaps 107-4A, 1074C, and 107-4D are longer, do extend all the way across the container-lifter 62-4, and have the longer value FL shown in FIGS. 58A and 58B. The shorter flap 107-4B allows room for the rope 512 to pull the end of the flap 107-4B tightly toward the loops 514 without interfering with the loops 514. Still referring to FIGS. 58A and 58B, the straps 108-4 are sewn onto the sheets 153 from the bottom 106-4 up the respective wall 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A, or 94-4D for a height of about thirty inches.

302.FIG. 58C shows the sheets 153 overlapped (e.g., positioned at right angles) and sewn together along a stitch line 560. Also, the ropes 510 are secured to the respective walls 92-4C and 93-4A. The ropes 510B are secured to the wall 94-4B. The ropes 512 are secured to the flap 107-4B. The loops 504 are secured to the bottom of the wall 93-4A, the loops 508B are secured to the flap 107-4D, the loops 514 are secured to flap 107-4A, and the loops 516 are attached to the flap 107-4B. The loops 518 are secured to the flap 107-4D.

303.FIG. 58D shows that once the sheets 153 have been secured to each other, a measurement is made from the stitch line 560 along each strap 108-4 for a distance S that ends at a point corresponding to the desired end of the coupling 114-4 of the straps 108-4. With that point in mind, FIG. 58E shows that the looped couplings 114-4 are formed so as to end at the point, whereby the heights of the ends of the couplings 114-4 are the same distance from the ground when the container-lifter 62-4 rests on the ground. The loose ends of the straps 108-4 are temporarily secured by plastic tag fasteners to the respective flaps 107-4.

304.FIG. 52 shows that the wall 93-4A has been stitched to each of the walls 91-4D and 92-4C to form the two (fixed or non-releasable) corners 101-4 and 104-4 to partly define the flexible reusable container-lifter 62-4, and thus partly define the three dimensional enclosure 172-4. The slippery material 524 may now be secured to the bottom 106-4, to the wall 94-4B, and to a portion of the flap 107-4B. Referring again to FIG. 48, that portion is any portion of the flap 107-4B that is expected to be out from under the wall 94-4B and covering the tailgate 520 so as to provide the low coefficient of friction all the way to the end of the tailgate 520.

Re-Use/Final Fabrication of Reusable Container-Lifter 62-4

305. The completion of the fabrication of the container-lifter 62-4 (and of the enclosure 172-4) is similar to the preparation of the container-lifter 62-4 for re-use in that both involve closing the releasable closures 503. Having temporarily secured the loose ends of the straps 108-4 and the various ropes 510 and 512 to an appropriate wall 91-4 to 94-4 or to a flap 107-4 (e.g., by using hang tags), the releasable closures 503 are closed. This is performed according to the finction to be performed by the container-lifter 62-4. That is, one of the edge 164-4 embodiments is selected (e.g., prayer 503P), and one of the lacing patterns is selected (e.g., the openable loops 538), and the selected releasable closures 503 are closed (i.e., laced) to define the other two corners 103-4 and 102-4 as shown in FIG. 57. At this juncture, the container-lifter 62-4 has the configuration shown in FIG. 57 defining the three dimensional enclosure 172-4, which is the normal configuration for loading the cargo 51.

306. The container-lifter 62-4 may be folded for shipment to the remediation site, for example, for loading. Such folding may be as described above with respect to the container-lifter 62-2, and a comparable small folded volume may be expected.

Loading the Reusable Container-Lifter 62-4

307. The enclosure 172-4 (i.e., the three-dimensional container-lifter 62-4) may now be placed in the loading frame 59-4 and loaded as described above. The loading frame 59-4 may be similar to the loading frame 59-2, or may be the loading frame 59-4 P of the present invention as described below with respect to FIGS. 73A and 73B.

308. If the container-lifter 62-4 is to be used with the inner container 171-4, then after the container-lifter 62-4 has been placed in the loading frame 59-4, the inner container 171-4 is placed in the loading frame 59-4 within the outer container-lifter 62-4, i.e., is nested with the outer container-lifter 62-4. Each of the container-lifter 62-4 and the inner container 171-4 is provided with a wall 94-4B. Other structure of the respective container-lifter 62-4 and the inner container 171-4 is configured with respect to the wall 94-4B. Therefore, the container-lifter 62-4 and the inner container 171-4 are placed in the loading frame 59-4 with the respective walls 94-4B adjacent to each other. As a result, when the container-lifter 62-4 is later placed on the bed 302 of the vehicle 304, the respective walls 94-4B of the container-lifter 62-4 and of the inner container 171-4 are adjacent to (or face) the rear of the vehicle 304.

309. If the container-lifter 62-4 is not to be used with the inner container 171-4, then after the container-lifter 62-4 has been placed in the loading frame 59-4, the loading of the bulk cargo 51 into the outer container-lifter 62-4 may proceed. In either event, in the loading the bulk cargo 51 is generally loaded up to the load line 127-4.

Inner Container 171-4

310. Considering the fabrication of the inner container 171-4, FIG. 59 shows that material for the fabrication is provided in the form of a roll 600 of strong material. The material may be the sheet 84, for example, in any of the forms described above. The sheet 84 is fabricated to define the inner container 171-4 as the three dimensional enclosure 87-4 having the inside 151-4 (FIG. 64) and the outside 152-4.

311.FIG. 59 shows the roll 600 supplying the sheet 84, which is pulled onto a table 602 past a cutting station 604 and a sewing station 606. Between the stations 604 and 606 and next to the table 602 there may be two piles of flaps 107-4. One pile 610 is of the flaps 107-4 that form the flaps 107-4A and 107-4B. The other pile 612 is of the flaps 107-4 that form the flaps 107-4C and 107-4D. As the sheet 84 is moved a worker may alternately place a flap 107-4 from one pile 610 then from the other pile 612 on the sheet 84 in the manner shown. As a result, the successive flaps 107-4 have edges 614 aligned with each other adjacent to an edge 616 of the sheet 84.

312. As the edges 614 pass the sewing station 606, a line 618 of stitches is sewn to join each flap 107-4 to the sheet 84. Once four of the flaps 107-4 have been placed on the sheet 84 in this manner, the sheet 84 is cut along a line 620 (see dash-dash line at the left) to define a first part 622 of the unassembled inner container 171-4. The part 622 extends between the newly cut (dash-dash) line 620 and a previously cut (shown solid) line 620 at the right.

313.FIG. 60 shows that as the part 622 is moved fuirther along the table 602, for example, the respective flaps 107-4A-D may be provided with the respective connection loops 188-4A-D and respective ropes 187-4A-D to facilitate securely tying the flaps 107-4A over the bulk cargo 51 to close the open top 88-4. FIG. 60 shows how the ropes 187-4A-D and loops 188-4A-D are attached to the respective flaps 107-4A-D. The side of the part 622 that faces up in the plan view shown in FIG. 60 will become the inside of the container 171-4. The ropes 187-4 are shown attached adjacent to edges 624 of the flaps 107-4. Such edges 624 are opposite to the edges 614 along which the sewn lines 618 extend. Thus, the edges 624 will become the free edges of the flaps 107-4 that will extend from one wall (e.g., 91-4D) across the cargo 51 toward the opposite wall (e.g., 92-4C). The part 622, then, has the configuration of a rectangle (the cut sheet 84) on which the four flaps 107-4A-D are sewn, and there is a longitudinal edge 626 opposite to the edge 616, and two cut edges 628.

314. Also, the loops 188-4 are attached to the cut sheet 84 either on the side facing up in FIG. 60, or on the opposite side (that faces down). The opposite side will become the outside of the container 171-4. Loops 188-4B and 188-4D are secured to the inside of the cut sheet 84 adjacent to the edge 616, which generally corresponds to the load line 127. Loops 188-4A and 188-4C are secured to the outside of the cut sheet 84 adjacent to the edge 616. A dimension 622-L is indicated as the length of the part 622. A dimension 622-H is indicated as the height of the part 622.

315.FIG. 61 shows that in the further fabrication of the inner container 171-4, the part 622 is folded onto itself with the cut edges 628 overlapping. The dimension 622-L is also shown in FIG. 61 to indicate how the sheet 622 is folded onto itself. The cut edges 628 are then sewn together. The part 622 now defines a tube. As will be clear from reference later to FIG. 64, portions of the sheet 84 will form the walls 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A, and 94-4B of the inner container 171-4.

316.FIG. 62 shows that the part 622 is then lifted so that the edge 616 of the cut sheet 84 (adjacent to the sewn lines 618 of the flaps 107-4) is up, and the cut sheet 84 hangs down from the edge 616. The dimension 622-H is shown extending vertically as a reference. The portions of the sheet 84 that overlap the flaps 107-4 define the walls 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A, and 94-4B. To illustrate the flaps, in FIG. 62 the near wall 93-4A is shown cut away. The flaps 107-4 also hang down, and the longitudinal edge 626 is at the bottom of the hanging part. A rectangular bottom 106-4 is made from the same material as the sheet 84. The bottom 106-4 is positioned beneath the hanging part 622. FIG. 63 shows that the edge 626 is configured to extend in a rectangular path along an edge 630 of the bottom 106-4. The edge 630 of the bottom 106-4 is turned up to define a sewing lip 632, and the sewing lip 632 is sewn to the part 622 along the edge 630.

317.FIG. 64 shows the configuration of the part 622 and the bottom 106-4 as so sewn together. Such configuration defines the inner container 171-4 as being three dimensional. The three dimensional shape is defined by the walls 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A, and 94-4B, and by the corners 101-4, 102-4, 103-4, and 104-4. Also, FIG. 64 shows flap 107-4A sewn to wall 93-4A, flap 107-4B sewn to wall 94-4B, flap 107-4C sewn to wall 92-4C, and flap 107-4D sewn to wall 91-4D.

Closure of Containers 171-4 and Container-Lifter 62-4

318. Considering the example in which the container-lifter 62-4 is not to be used with the inner container 171-4, the container-lifter 62-4 may be securely closed after loading of the cargo 51 has been completed. Since the secure closing of the container-lifter 62-4 is performed in the same manner whether or not used with the inner container 171-4, the closure of the inner container 171-4 is described first.

319.FIG. 64 shows the flaps 107-4 extending upwardly for purposes of illustration. At the start of the flap closure operation, the flaps 107-4 are positioned in the manner of the flaps 107-2 shown in FIG. 2. Also as described above, each of the corners 101-4 through 104-4 extends vertically beyond the load line 127 for the further vertical distance TS to the flap line 173-4. The vertical distance TS between the load line 127-4 and the flap line 173-4 defines the height of the transition section 163-4.

320. Referring generally to FIGS. 2 through 7, and specifically to FIGS. 64-68, after the inner container 171-4 is loaded (FIG. 4) with the bulk cargo 51 (to the load line 127, FIG. 2), the respective flaps 107-4A, 107B, 10C and 107D are still draped over the horizontal top frame 120. For the reason described below, the sequence of closing the flaps 107-4 of the inner container 107-4 is identified by the sequence C, D, A and B, which is different from the sequence A, B, C, and D (FIGS. 4, 5, 69A, and 70B) of closure of the container-lifter 62-4. Thus, first flap 107-4C, then flap 107-4D, then flap 107-4A, and last flap 107-4B, is closed. In this manner, as shown in FIG. 66, there will be no open flap 107-4 between the wall 94-4B and the flap 107-4B. Rather, because the flap 107-4B is sewn to the wall 94-4B, the flap 107-4B and the tucks 185-4 are continuous at the right and top of the inner container 171-4 and may securely close this upper right portion of the inner container 171-4 across the width W (FIG. 64).

321. To achieve this securely closed configuration, FIGS. 65-68 show that the first flap 107-4C is pulled across the container 171-4 from the wall 92-4C over the loaded bulk cargo 51 toward and to the opposite wall 91-4D. As described above, this pulling forms the tucks 185-4 adjacent to each of the corners 103-4 and 104-4. The first flap 107-4C extends completely across the length L between the opposite sides 167-4. With the first flap 107-4C extending all the way to the opposite wall 91-4D, the first flap 107-4C is tied to the wall 91-4D by tying ropes 187-4C to loops 188-4D. Upon completion of the tying, the load of bulk cargo 51 is tightly contained along the wall 92-4C. The respective tucks 185-4 permit the opposite edges 167-4 of the flap 107-4C to touch, or at least extend very close to, the adjacent walls 93-4A and 94-4B along the load line 127-4.

322. After folding and tying the flap 107-4C, the folding process is repeated with the flap 107-4D. Thus, the flap 107-4D is then pulled across the container 171-4 from the wall 91-4D over the flap 107-4C toward and to the opposite wall 92-4C. This pulling results in tucks 185-4 at each of the corners 101-4 and 102-4. The flap 107-4D is tied to the wall 92-4C in a manner similar to the flap 107-4C. The bulk cargo 51 is thereby tightly contained along the wall 91-4D and around the corners 101-4 and 102-4 at the load line 127-4.

323.FIGS. 66 and 67 show the flap 107-4A pulled across the container 171-4. The flap 107-4A extends over the flaps 107-4C and 107-4D. The flap 107-4A bends the transition containment section 163-4 on the load line 127-4 so that the section 163-4 also extends over the flaps 107-4C and 107-4D. The bent section 163-4 holds the tuck 185-4 closed. The flap 107-4A is tied to the wall 94-4B in a manner similar to the tying of the flap 107-4C. This process is repeated with the flap 107-4B to hold the tucks 185-4 closed at the respective opposite corners 103-4 and 102-4.

324. It may be understood that the four tucks 185-4, one at each of the corners 101-4, 102-4, 103-4, and 104-4, contribute to such tight containment of the bulk cargo 51. In particular, the flaps 107-4 serve to assist in defining the shape of the container 171-4. The flaps 107-4, with the ties 187-4 and the loops 188-4, also serve to hold the tucks 185-4 closed. The tucks 185-4 thus serve to seal closed the top of each of the corners 101-4 through 104-4, assisting in retaining the bulk cargo 51 in the container 171-4. Thus, by tightly closing the open top 88-4, the flaps 107-4, with the ties 187-4, the loops 188-4, and the tucks 185-4, serve to contain the bulk cargo 51 and additionally serve to prevent environmental conditions, such as rain and snow, from entering the container 63. Also, because there is no open flap 107-4 between the wall 94-4B and the flap 107-4B, the flap 107-4B and the tucks 185-4 securely close the upper right portion of the inner enclosure 171-4 across the width W (FIG. 64). Referring again to the description of FIGS. 50 and 51, as the inner container 171-4 slides and rolls off the bed 302 and the tailgate 520, the continuous relationship of the outer flap 107-4B and the wall 94-4B, and the tucks 185-4 adjacent to the corners 103-4 and 102-4, securely keep the inner enclosure 171-4 closed across the width W along the load line 127-4 at the top of the wall 94-4B. Such securely closed structure enables the inner container 171-4 to withstand the substantial force resulting from the movement of the inner container 171-4 off the bed 302 and onto the ground.

325. Having securely closed the inner container 171-4, the container-lifter 62-4 may then be securely closed. Alternatively, when no inner container 171-4 is used, the container-lifter 62-4 is closed after completion of loading the cargo 51 into the container-lifter 62-4. Applicable to either case, reference is made to the plan view of FIG. 69A in which the inner container 171-4 is shown inside the container-lifter 62-4, and the flap 107-4A of the container-lifter 62-4 has been pulled across the top of the inner container 171-4 from the wall 93-4A of the container-lifter 62-4. FIG. 69B shows that the pulled flap 107-4A bends the transition containment section 163-4 onto itself. The bent section 163-4 holds the tuck 185-4 closed at each corner 101-4 and 104-4. The length and width of the flap 107-4A of the container-lifter 62-4 are such as to enable such flap 107-4A to very completely cover the inner container 171-4. In detail, there may be about a few inches of between the periphery of such flap 107-4A and each adjacent wall 91-4D, 94-4B, and 92-4C.

326.FIGS. 70A and 70 Bshow that this process is repeated with the flap 107-4B. Due to the short length of the flap 107-4B, the free end of the flap 107-4B is spaced from the loops 514. The ropes 512 are passed through the loops 514. The rope 512 is pulled tight and then tied to the respective loops 516 to hold the tucks 185-4 closed at the respective opposite corners 102-4 and 103-4.

327.FIG. 71 shows the flap 107-4C of the container-lifter 62-4 folded and pulled across the flaps 107-4B and 107-4A toward and to the opposite wall 91-4D. As described above, this pulling forms the tucks 185-4 adjacent to each of the corners 103-4 and 104-4. Also, this pulling causes the section 163-4 to bend and become parallel to the top of the inner container 171-4 to retain the tucks 185-4 (see the above description of FIGS. 12A through 12C, for example). The opposite sides 167-4 of the flap 107-4C extend completely across the length L, and the flap 107-4C extends all the way to the opposite wall 91-4D. The flap 107-4C is not tied to the wall 91-4D. The tucks 185-4 permit the opposite edges 167-4 of the flap 107-4C to touch, or at least extend very close to, the adjacent walls 93-4A and 94-4B along the load line 127-4.

328.FIG. 72 shows that after folding and pulling the flap 107-4C, the folding process is repeated with the flap 107-4D. Flap 107-4D is pulled across from the wall 91-4D over the flap 107-4C toward and to the opposite wall 92-4C. This pulling results in the tucks 185-4 at each of the corners 101-4 and 102-4 being bent and becoming parallel to the top of the container-lifter 62-4 to retain the tucks 185-4. The flap 107-4D is tied to the walls 92-4C and 93-4A by the exemplary twelve ropes 510 which are tied to the respective exemplary twelve loops 508. The respective exemplary three ropes 510B are tied to the respective exemplary three loops 508B, and are fewer than the exemplary twelve ropes 510 to facilitate quicker untying of the flap 107-4D from the wall 94-4B as an operation preliminary to opening the wall 94-4B. It may thus be understood that even though the four flaps 107-4 are used, by providing an ability to quickly untie the three ropes 510B from the loops 508B quick access is provided to the loops 516 and to the ties 512 that have been tied to the loops 516 as shown in FIG. 70A. Such quick access to the loops 516 is provided without untying any of the ties 510 of the flaps 107-4D, and is provided from a position adjacent to the wall 94-4B which is positioned on the bed 302 adjacent to the rear 522 of the vehicle 304.

329. It may be understood that the four tucks 185-4, one at each of the corners 101-4, 102-4, 103-4, and 104-4, contribute to such tight containment of the bulk cargo 51. In particular, the flaps 107-4 serve to assist in defining the shape of the container 171-4. The flaps 107-4 pulled as described above, with the ties 510B and 510, and the respective loops 508B and 508, also serve to hold the tucks 185-4 closed. The tucks 185-4 thus serve to seal closed the top of each of the corners 101-4 through 104-4, assisting in retaining the inner container 171-4, with the bulk cargo 51, in the container-lifter 62-4. Thus, by tightly closing the open top 88-4, the flaps 107-4, with the ties 510 and 510B, the loops 508-4, and the tucks 185-4, further serve to contain the bulk cargo 51 and further serve to prevent environmental conditions, such as rain and snow, from entering the container 63.

Embodiments of the Reusable Container-Lifter 62-4

330. As described above, the reusable container-lifter 62-4 includes the outer container 363-4 and the outer lifter 64-4, and the embodiments of the reusable container-lifter 62-4 are suitable for containing and lifting a variety of weights and sizes (volumes) of bulk cargo 51. The configuration of the reusable container-lifter 62-4 described above was referred to as a “2 ×3” configuration. The first, or “2”, part of the “2×3” configuration designates the outer lifter 64-4 as including two straps 108-4 on the opposite walls 93-4A and 94-4B of the outer container 363-4. The second, or “3”, part of the “2×3” configuration designates the outer lifter 64-4 as including three straps 108-4 on the opposite walls 91-4D and 92-4C. In all of the embodiments described below this same method is used to designate the various configurations, and reference is made to FIG. 57 for the location of dimensioning symbols L, W, and H-4. Also, for each embodiment, reference is made below to a maximum tensile strength of the webbing 132 from which the straps 108-4 are made. The maximum tensile strength of the webbing 132 is for each strap end 115-4 of a strap 108-4. The lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be obtained by multiplying the maximum tensile strength of the webbing 132 times the number of straps 108-4 in the strap configuration. For example, the “2×3”configuration uses five straps 108-4 having a total of ten strap ends 115-4. Also, there are two aspects to such lifting capacity. A maximum lifting capacity is based on use of such maximum tensile strength. Another lifting capacity, designated the “rated lifting capacity”, is calculated in accordance with government requirements for a three to one safety factor for STCs. Thus, once the maximum lifting capacity is obtained based on the maximum tensile strength, for example, such maximum lifting capacity is divided by three to obtain the rated lifting capacity of a particular configuration the container-lifter 62-4. Also, the weight of the bulk cargo 51 to be contained in the container-lifter 62-4 is identified below for the various embodiments. Such weights are determined by multiplying the density of the bulk cargo 51 by the volume of the load-carrying portion of the container-lifter 62-4. Such volume is based on the respective length, width, and height dimensions L, W and H-4 of the load-carrying portion of the container-lifter 62-4 as shown in FIG. 57, for example.

2×3 Configuration

331. Referring to FIG. 57 with the above background in mind, an exemplary size of the 2×3 configuration may be a W of about four feet, an L of about six feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about four feet, resulting in a 96 cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 5.5 feet. The maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for heavy (very dense) cargo 51 having a density of about 120 pounds per cubic foot, the weight of the cargo 51 in this “2×3” container-lifter 62-4 would be about 11,500 pounds, or 5.8 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of 6,500 pounds. Using such 2×3 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the ten strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of sixty-five thousand pounds, or 32.5 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three (32.5 divided by 3), the rated lifting capacity is about 10.8 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 6,500 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of 10.8 tons, the rated lifting capacity is about 1.8 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor, i.e., 10.8 tons divided by 5.8 tons.

2×4 Configuration (H=four feet)

332. Referring to FIG. 57, an exemplary size of one of two 2×4 configuration may be a W of about four feet, an L of about six feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about four feet, resulting in a 96 cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 5.5 feet. The container-lifter 62-4 with this configuration may, for example, be used as a cost-saving substitute for the B-25 boxes described above. The maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for less dense cargo 51 for which the B-25 boxes are used (having a density of about 75 pounds per cubic foot) the weight of the cargo 51 in this “2×4”container-lifter 62-4 would be about 7,200 pounds, or 3.6 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of 3,000 pounds. Using such 2×4 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the twelve strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of thirty-six thousand pounds, or about 18 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three, the rated lifting capacity is about 6 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 3,000 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of the 6 tons, the rated lifting capacity is about 1.6 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

2×4 Configuration (L=two feet)

333. Referring to FIG. 57, an exemplary size of another 2×4 configuration may be a W of about four feet, an L of about six feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about two feet, resulting in a 48 cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 3.5 feet. Again, the maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 6274 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for moderately dense cargo 51 (more than that of the cargo 51 for which the B-25 boxes are used) having a density of about 100 pounds per cubic foot, the weight of the cargo 51 in this “2×4” container-lifter 62-4 would be about 4,800 pounds, or 2.4 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of 6,000 pounds. Using such 2×4 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the twelve strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of seventy-two thousand pounds, or about 36 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three, the rated lifting capacity is about 12 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 6,000 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of 12 tons, the rated lifting capacity is about 5 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

3×4 Configuration

334. Referring to FIG. 57, an exemplary size of a 3×4 configuration may be a W of about four feet, an L of about six feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about four feet, resulting in a ninety-six cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 5.5 feet. Again, the maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for moderately dense cargo 51 (more than that of the cargo 51 for which the B-25 boxes are used) having a density of about 100 pounds per cubic foot, the weight of the cargo 51 in this “3×4” container-lifter 62-4 would be about 9,600 pounds, or about 4.8 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of about 3,200 pounds. Using such 3×4 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the fourteen strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of about forty-four thousand pounds, or about 22 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three, the rated lifting capacity is about 7.3 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 3,200 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of 7.3 tons, the rated lifting capacity is about 1.5 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

4×5 Configuration

335. Referring to FIG. 57, an exemplary size of a 4×5 configuration may be a W of about six feet, an L of about eight feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about four feet, resulting in a 192 cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 5.5 feet. Again, the maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for very dense cargo 51 (more than that of the cargo 51 for which the B-25 boxes are used) having a density of about 120 pounds per cubic foot, the weight of the cargo 51 in this “4×5”container-lifter 62-4 would be about 23,000 pounds, or 11.5 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of 6,500 pounds. Using such 4×5 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the eighteen strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of one hundred seventeen thousand pounds, or about 58.5 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three, the rated lifting capacity is about 19.5 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 6,500 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of 19.5 tons, the rated lifting capacity is about 1.6 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

3×5 Configuration

336. Referring to FIG. 57, an exemplary size of a 3×5 configuration may be a W of about four feet, an L of about six feet, and a height H-4 to the load line 127-4 of about four feet, resulting in a 96 cubic foot volume. There may also be a height HF to the line 173 of about 5.5 feet. Again, the maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 may be selected according to the weight and volume of the cargo 51 to be transported. For example, for very dense cargo 51 (more than that of the cargo 51 for which the B-25 boxes are used) having a density of about 120 pounds per cubic foot, the weight of the cargo 51 in this “4×5” container-lifter 62-4 would be about 11,500 pounds, or about 5.8 tons. The straps 108-4 may, for example, be made from the webbing 132 having a maximum tensile strength of 6,000 pounds. Using such 4×5 strap configuration, the straps 108-4 with the eighteen strap ends 115-4 provide a maximum lifting capacity of the container-lifter 62-4 of one hundred eight thousand pounds, or about 54 tons, for example. Reducing the maximum lifting capacity by a factor of three, the rated lifting capacity is about 18 tons. Using the exemplary maximum tensile strength of 6,000 pounds, which results in the rated lifting capacity of 18 tons, the rated lifting capacity is over 1.5 times stronger than required to provide the three to one safety factor.

337. It is to be understood that in the above descriptions of the configurations of the container-lifter 62-4, in each case the rated lifting capacity is at least half-again stronger than necessary to provide the required three to one safety factor. As a result, the container-lifter 62-4 in each example has at least a 4.5 to one safety factor. Also, other configurations may be provided within the scope of the present invention to provide container-lifters 62-4 having rated lifting capacities less than the about three tons and more than the about twenty tons described above.

Second Embodiment of Loading Frame 59

338.FIG. 73A shows another embodiment of the loading frame 59, identified as 59-2. The frame 59-2 is similar to the frame 59, except as follows. Hinges 700 are provided at a base 702 to allow sides 704 to pivot outwardly from a loading position shown in FIG. 73A to a lifting position shown in FIG. 73B. The sides 704 are held in the loading position by straps 705 attached to the corners of the sides 704. FIG. 73B shows that the movement of the sides 704 outwardly provides clearance FC. The clearance FC is between a particular one of the walls 91-4 through 94-4 (and the associated straps 108-4) of the loaded container-lifter 62-4 and a particular one of the sides 704 that is adjacent to the particular wall. The clearance FC allows the walls 91-4 through 94-4 and the straps 108-4 attached to such walls, to move upwardly without touching the sides 704 of the frame 59-2. The upward movement may occur, for example, during lifting of the container-lifter 62-4. The lifting occurs after loading of the cargo 51 in the container-lifter 62-4, and closing the container-lifter 62-4 as described above. The straps 705 are then released. The amount of clearance FC may be adjusted by adjusting the length of a clearance limiter, such as a chain 706 secured to both tops 708 of adjacent ones of the sides 704. After the container-lifter 62-4 has been lifted out of the frame 59-2, the sides 704 may be returned to the loading position, waiting insertion of another empty container-lifter 62-4.

Further Embodiments of Methods Fifth Embodiment of Methods

339. The present invention contemplates a fifth method embodiment including operations to dump bulk cargo 51. FIG. 74 shows a flow chart 800 describing the first method as including an operation 802 of providing a flexible three dimensional container (such as outer container 363-4) with at least three sides (such as 91-4D, 92-4C, and 94-4B) and with a bottom (such as 106-4) connected to each of the three sides. One of the three sides (e.g., side 94-4B) is an openable side that is opposite to a connector (such as the harness 501). The openable side 94-4B is movable to an open position (FIG. 52) aligned with the bottom 106-4. The container 363-4 has a lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the container 363-4 and the cargo 51. The method moves to an operation 804 provided for releasably and reusably closing the openable side 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 806 provided for containing the bulk cargo 51 in the container 363-4, as by the loading described with respect to FIG. 3. The method moves to an operation 808 provided for using the lifter 64-4 to place the container 363-4, with the bulk cargo 51 in the container, on the bed 302 of the vehicle 304. The bed 302 is capable of tilting. The vehicle 304 has a dumping end (or rear 522). The lifter 64-4 places the container 363-4 with the openable side 94-4B facing the dumping end 522 of the vehicle 304. The method moves to an operation 810 for connecting the connector 501 to the vehicle 304. The method moves to an operation 812 for opening the openable side 94-4B of the container 363-4. The opened openable side 94-4B is moved to the open position aligned with the bottom 106-4. The method moves to an operation 814 provided for tilting the bed 302 of the vehicle 304 to cause the bulk cargo 51 to move across the bottom 106-4 and across the opened second side 94-4B and off the bed 302. As described above, the container 363-4 may be prepared for reuse by again releasably and re-usably closing the openable side 94-4B to permit reuse of the container 363-4.

Sixth Embodiment of Methods

340. As a preface to the dumping of the cargo 51, FIG. 75 shows a flow chart 820 describing a sixth method embodiment as including an operation 822 of providing the container 363-4 with a plurality of the flaps 107-4 that are foldable to cover the open top of the container 363-4. A first of the flaps 107-4B may be secured adjacent to the openable side 94-4B and is extendable partially across the open top of the container 363-4. A second of the flaps 107-4A may be secured opposite to the first flap. The method moves to an operation 824 provided for providing a first closure loop 516 adjacent to the openable side 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 826 provided for providing a second closure loop 514 on the second flap 107-4A away from the first flap 107-4B. The method moves to an operation 828 provided for providing a tie 512 secured to the first flap 107-4B and extendable through the second closure loop 514 and tieable to the first closure loop 516 to keep the first flap 107-4B securely covering the open top.

Seventh Embodiment of Methods

341. The present invention contemplates a seventh method embodiment including operations to fabricate a reusable container 363-4 for carrying bulk cargo 51 that may, for example, weigh in the range of about three to about twenty tons, and for dumping the bulk cargo 51. FIG. 76 shows a flow chart 830 describing an operation 832 of providing the flexible three dimensional container 363-4. The container 363-4 may have at least three sides (such as 91-4D, 92-4C, and 94-4B) and a corner (such as 103-4) adjacent to each of two edges (such as 164-4F) of an openable one of the sides 94-4B and a bottom 106-4 secured to each of the three sides 91-4D, 92-4C, and 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 833 for providing each of the corners 103-4 and 102-4 with mating overlapping edges 164-4 having a line of apertures 530 therein. The method moves to an operation 834 provided for threading the removable strand 532 through at least some of the apertures 530 of each of the corners 103-4 and 102-4 to releasably and re-usably close the openable side 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 836 for providing the container 363-4 with a lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the container 363-4 and the cargo 51 The fabrication of the reusable container 363-4 may also include the operations of the method shown in FIG. 75 to provide the container 363-4 with the plurality of the flaps 107-4 that are foldable to cover the open top of the container 363-4.

Eighth Embodiment of Methods

342. The present invention contemplates an eighth method embodiment including operations of using the reusable container 363-4 for carrying bulk cargo 51 that may, for example, weigh in the range of about three to about twenty tons. FIG. 77 shows a flow chart 840 describing an operation 842 of placing in the container 363-4 a self-contained unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 having a weight in the range of from about three to about twenty tons. Referring also to FIG. 42A, an operation 844 is provided for using the lifter 64-4 to lift the container 363-4 with the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 therein and to place the container 363-4 and the unit 52 onto a load section 846 of the bed 302 of the vehicle 304. The bed 302 is tiltable and has a dump section 848 aft (toward the rear 522) of the load section 846. The method moves to an operation 850 provided for removing the strand 532 from the apertures 530 of the mating edges 164-4 of each of the corners 102-4 and 103-4 to releasably and reusably open the openable side 94-4B and release each of such corners of the container 363-4 to separate the openable side 94-4B from each of the adjacent sides 92-4C and 91-4D.

343. Other aspects of the eighth method embodiment are shown in the flow chart 860 depicted in FIG. 78, wherein an operation 862 is provided for moving the separated openable side 94-4B onto the dump section 848 of the bed 302 with the opened side 94-4B connected to the bottom 106-4 of the containerl 72-4. The method moves to an operation 864 provided for securing the bottom 106-4 of the container 363-4 to the vehicle, as by connecting the harness 501 to the loops 504. The method moves to an operation 866 provided for tilting the bed 302 to tilt the container 363-4 and the self-contained unit 52 and cause the self-contained unit 52 to slide over the separated wall 94-4B and over the dump section 848 while the self-contained unit 52 remains contained. The tilting of the bed 302 causes the unit 52 to slide off the vehicle 304 as by the force of gravity.

Ninth Embodiment of Methods

344. The present invention contemplates a ninth method embodiment including operations to dump bulk cargo 51 weighing in the range of about three tons to about twenty tons. FIG. 79 shows a flow chart 870 describing the ninth method as including an operation 872 of providing the flexible re-usable three dimensional container 363-4. The container 363-4 may have at least one side 94-4B defined by spaced edges 164-4F and 164-4G, and may have a corner 102-4 and 103-4 at the respective edges 164-4F and 164-4G. The container 363-4 also has the normally closed and openable and re-closable closure 503 at each of the corners 102-4 and 103-4. The bottom 106-4 is also connected to the side 94-4B. The side 94-4B is openable and is opposite to the connector (the loops 504). The openable side 94-4B is movable to the open position shown in FIG. 52 aligned with the bottom, 106-4. The container 363-4 also has the lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the container 363-4 and the cargo 51. The method moves to an operation 874 provided for containing the bulk cargo 51 in the container, as by loading the cargo 51 into the container 363-4 or into the inner container 171-4 that is received in the container 363-4. The method moves to an operation 876 provided for using the lifter 64-4 to place the container 363-4, with the bulk cargo 51 in the container 363-4, on the bed 302 of the vehicle 304. The bed 302 may be capable of tilting. The vehicle 304 has the dumping end 848, and the lifter 64-4 places the container 363-4 with the openable side 94-4B facing the dumping end 848 of the vehicle 304. The method moves to an operation 878 provided for connecting the connector 504 to the vehicle 304. The method moves to an operation 880 provided for opening the openable closure 503 at each of the corners 102-4 and 103-4 of the container 363-4 and moving the opened openable side 94-4B to the open position (FIG. 52) aligned with the bottom 106-4. The method moves to an operation 882 provided for tilting the bed 302 of the vehicle 304 to cause the bulk cargo 51 to move across the bottom 106-4, across the opened second side 94-4B (and off the flap 107-4B) and off the bed 302. Other aspects of the ninth method may include closing the openable closure 503 at each of the corners 102-4 and 103-4 of the container 363-4 to permit reuse of the container 363-4.

Tenth Embodiment of Methods

345. The present invention contemplates a tenth method embodiment including operations to dump the integral unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 weighing in the range of about three tons to about twenty tons. FIG. 80 shows a flow chart 890 describing the tenth method embodiment as including an operation 892 of containing the integral unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 in the first container, such as the first enclosure 171-4. The method moves to an operation 894 provided for containing the first container 171-4 with the integral unit 52 therein in the second flexible container 363-4. The container 363-4 may have the lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the container 363-4 with the first container 171-4 and the integral unit 52 therein. The second container 363-4 is provided with the openable side 94-4B opposite to the second side 93-4A. The method moves to an operation 896 provided for using the lifter 64-4 to place the second container 363-4, with the first container 171-4 therein and with the integral unit 52 in the first container 171-4, on the bed 302 of the vehicle 304. The bed 302 may be capable of tilting. The vehicle 304 may have the dumping (or rear) end 522 with the dumping section 848 over which dumping may occur. The lifter 64-4 places the second container 363-4 with the openable side 94-4B facing the dumping end 522 of the vehicle 304 The method moves to an operation 898 provided for connecting the second side 93-4A to the vehicle 304, as by connecting the harness 501 to the connectors 504. The method moves to an operation 900 provided for opening the openable side 94-4B of the second container 363-4. The method moves to an operation 902 provided for tilting the bed 302 of the vehicle 304 to cause the force of gravity to move first container 363-4 and the integral unit 52 within the first container 171-4 across the opened second side 94-4B and off the bed 302. The provision of the unit 52 in the inner container 171-4 is especially important to avoid contamination of the outer (second) container 363-4 when the cargo 51 is hazardous material waste bulk cargo. Contamination is avoided by keeping the cargo 51 separated from the second container 363-4. Re-use of the second container 363-4 with another first container 171-4 and another integral unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 (without use of decontamination processes) may be achieved by disconnecting the second side 94-4B from the vehicle 304 and closing the openable side 94-4B of the second container 363-4.

Eleventh Embodiment of Methods

346. The present invention contemplates an eleventh method embodiment including operations to dump the bulk cargo 51 weighing in the range of about three tons to about twenty tons. FIG. 81 shows a flow chart 910 describing the seventh method as including an operation 912 of loading the bulk cargo 51 into a three dimensional container 363-4. The container 363-4 may be provided with at least a first wall (e.g., 94-4B) having spaced respective first and second edges 164-4F and G. The container 363-4 may have the second wall 92-4C adjacent to the first wall 94-4B, and the wall 92-4C may also have the second edge 164-4F. The container 363-4 may also have the third wall 91-4D adjacent to the first wall 94-4B, and the wall 91-4D may have the third edge 164-4G. The container 363-4 has the apertures 530 along each of the edges 164-4F, and has the removable strands 532 in the apertures 530 along the edges 164-4F to releasably hold the walls 92-4C and 94-4B together. The container 363-4 has the removable strands 532 in the apertures 530 along the second edges 164-4G to releasably hold the walls 91-4D and 94-4B together. The container 363-4 has the lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the container 363-4 and the cargo 51. The container also has the connectors 504 opposite to the first wall 94-4B.

347. The method moves to an operation 914 provided for using the lifter 64-4 to place the container 363-4, with the bulk cargo 51 therein, on the bed 302. The bed 302 has the dumping (rear) end 522 and the bed 302 is tiltable. The lifter 64-4 places the container 363-4 with the first wall 94-4B facing the dumping end 522. The method moves to an operation 916 provided for connecting the connector 504 to the vehicle 304 (via the harness 501), with the connector 504 spaced from the dumping end 522. The method moves to an operation 918 provided for separating the removable strands 532 from the respective edges 164-4F and 164-4G of the walls 92-4C, 91-4D, and 94-4B to open the first wall 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 920 for tilting the bed 302 to cause the bulk cargo 51 to move through the open first wall 94-4B and off the bed 302. The eleventh method embodiment also contemplates removing the container 363-4 from the bed 302 and again releasably holding the edges 164-4F together and the edges 164-4G together by threading the removable strands 532 in the apertures 530 along the respective edges 164-4F and 164-4G to enable reuse of the container 363-4.

Twelfth Embodiment of Methods

348. The present invention contemplates a twelfth method embodiment for assembling a used container for reuse. The container may, for example, be the container 363-4 having an openable wall 94-4B. Such wall 94-4B has spaced first and second edges 164-4F and G. The container 363-4 has another wall 92-4C adjacent to the wall 94-4B, the wall 92-4C having a third edge 164-4F. The container has another wall 91-4D adjacent to the wall 94-4B, the wall 91-4D having a fourth edge 164-4G. Each of the edges 164-4F and G has a series of apertures 530 formed therein and extending along the respective edge. FIG. 82 shows a flow chart 1000 describing the twelfth method as including an operation 1002 of threading at least a first removable strand 532 in the apertures 530 that extend along the respective edges 164-4F of the respective walls 94-4B and 92-4C to releasably hold those edges 164-4F together. The method moves to an operation 1004 for threading at least a second removable strand 532 in the apertures 530 that extend along the respective second and fourth edges 164-4G of the respective walls 91-4D and 94-4B to releasably hold the edges 164-4G together.

349. Another aspect of the twelfth method embodiment may include a threading operation 1006 when the used container 363-4 has respective first, second, and third transition sections 163-4B, 163-4D, and 163-4C attached to respective first, second, and third walls 94-4B, 91-4D and 92-4C. The first transition section 163-4B has spaced fifth and sixth edges 164-4F and G, and the second transition section 163-4D has a seventh edge 164-4D, and the third transition section 163-4C has an eighth edge 164-4F. Each of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth edges 164-4F and G have a series of the apertures 530 formed therein and extending along the respective edge. With such transition sections 163-4, the method moves to an operation 1006 of threading that may include threading at least a third removable strand 532 in the apertures 530 that extend along the respective fifth and seventh edges 164-4F and G of the respective first and third transition sections 163-4B and D to releasably hold the fifth and seventh edges 164-4G together. The method moves to an operation 1008 for threading at least a fourth removable strand 532 in the apertures 530 that extend along the respective sixth and eighth edges 164-4F of the respective first and fourth transition sections 163-4B and 163-4C to releasably hold the sixth and eighth edges 164-4F together. The strands 532 may also include one of the pull rings 536.

350. Another aspect of the twelfth method embodiment is shown in FIG. 83 in which the container 363-4 is reused. FIG. 83 shows a flow chart 1010 describing an operation 1012 of containing an additional amount of the bulk cargo 51 in the container 363-4 prepared according to the flow chart 1000 (FIG. 82). The containing may be as shown in FIG. 49 (with the cargo 51 in the inner container 171-4) or as shown in FIG. 51C (with the cargo directly in the container 363-4). The method moves to an operation 1014 for again using the lifter 64-4 to place the container 363-4, with the bulk cargo 51 in the container 363-4, on the bed 302. The lifter 64-4 places the container 363-4 with the openable side 94-4B facing the dumping (rear) end 522. The method moves to an operation 1016 provided for connecting the connector 504 to the vehicle 304. The method moves to an operation 1018 provided for cutting each of the strands 532 of the first and second closures adjacent to the respective knots 534. The method moves to an operation 1020 for pulling on the respective pull rings 536 to remove the strands 532 from the respective apertures 530 and open the openable side 94-4B. The method moves to an operation 1022 for moving the opened openable side 94-4B to the open position (FIG. 52). The method moves to an operation 1024 for tilting the bed 302 to cause the bulk cargo 51 to move across the bottom 106-4 and across the opened second side 94-4B and off the bed 302.

Thirteenth Embodiment of Methods

351. The present invention contemplates a thirteenth method embodiment for containing an integral unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 for dumping. The cargo 51 is hazardous material waste weighing in the range of about three to about twenty tons. FIG. 84 shows a flow chart 1030 including an operation 1032 of receiving the integral unit 52 of bulk cargo 51 in the first flexible container 171-4. Referring also to FIG. 64, the container 171-4 has a first open top defined by first transition sections 163-4 extending above the fill line 127-4 that indicates the intended height of the cargo 51. The transition sections 163-4 are joined at the respective corners 102-4 and 103-4 and the flaps 107-4 are secured to each respective transition section 163-4. The method moves to an operation 1034 for pulling the flaps 107-4 in succession across the cargo 51 to cause the transition sections 163-4 to form the tucks 185-4 (FIG. 69B, for example) at the respective corners 101-4, 102-4, 103-4, and 104-4. The method moves to an operation 1036 for tying the flaps 107-4 in respective positions (FIGS. 65 through 67) pulled across the cargo 51 such that the pulled and tied flaps 107-4 hold each respective tuck 185-4 at each such corner folded onto the respective tuck 185-4 to securely close the open top of the inner container 171-4.

352. The method moves to an operation 1038 for receiving the first container 171-4 with the integral unit 52 therein in the second flexible container 363-4 (FIG. 69A). The second container 363-4 is provided with the lifter 64-4 capable of lifting the respective first and second containers 171-4 and 363-4 and the integral unit 52 therein. The second container 363-4 has an open top defined by second transition sections 163-4 (FIG. 69B) extending above a level of the closed top of the first container 171-4. Each second transition section 163-4 is secured to a respective one of the walls 91-4D, 92-4C, 93-4A or 94-4B. FIG. 57 shows the second transition sections 163-4 joined at the respective corners 101-4, 102-4, 103-4, and 104-4 that include the corners of the second transition sections 163-4. Each wall corner (e.g., 103-4 and 102-4) adjacent to the openable wall 94-4B and each of the corresponding corners of the transition sections 163-4 are releasable to permit the openable wall 94-4B to separate from the respective walls 91-4D and 92-4C and to permit the second transition section 163-4B corresponding to the openable wall 94-4B to separate from the second transition section 163-4D and 163-3C corresponding to the walls 91-4D and 92-4C. The second container 363-4 has a flap 107-4 secured to each second transition section 163-4 (FIG. 57). One of the second transition sections 163-4B that corresponds to the openable wall 94-4B and one of the second flaps 107-4B that corresponds to the openable wall 94-4B are each openable with the corresponding openable wall 94-4B.

353. The method moves to an operation 1040 for pulling the second flaps 107-4 of the second container 363-4 in succession across the first container 171-4 (FIGS. 69A through 72) to cause the second transition sections 163-4 (FIG. 69B) to form the second transition section corners into second tucks 185-4.

354. The method moves to an operation 1042 for tying at least the last three pulled second flaps 107-4 (e.g., the flaps 107-4B, 107-4C, and 107-4D) in position after being pulled across the closed top of the first container 171-4 such that the tied flaps 107-4 hold each second tuck 185-4 folded onto itself to securely close the second open top of the outer container 363-4. The tying of the openable second flap 107-4B is such that the tie 510B secured to the openable flap 107-4B is accessible from a position outside of the second container 363-4.

355. The thirteenth method embodiment may also use the second container 363-4 as shown in flow chart 1050 in FIG. 85. An operation 1052 is provided for using the lifter 64-4 to place the second container 363-4, with the first container 171-4 therein and with the integral unit 52 in the first container 171-4, on the bed 302. The lifter 64-4 places the second container 363-4 with the openable side 94-4B facing the dumping (rear) end 522. The method moves to an operation 1054 for accessing the openable flap tie 51 OB from the outside of the second container 363-4. The thirteenth method moves to an operation 1056 for untying the openable flap tie 510B. The thirteenth method moves to an operation 1058 for accessing the releasable wall corners 103-4 and 102-4, and the corresponding corners of the transition sections 163-4 from the outside of the second container 363-4. The thirteenth method moves to an operation 1060 for releasing each of the accessed releasable wall corners 102-4 and 103-4 and the accessed corresponding corners of the transition sections 163-4. Such releasing may be by using the knife 546 to cut the lacing 532, and pulling the pull rings 536, for example. The thirteenth method moves to an operation 1062 for connecting the wall 93-4A (at the bottom 106-4) to the vehicle 304. The thirteenth method embodiment moves to an operation 1064 for tilting the bed 302 to cause the force of gravity to move the first container 171-4 and the integral unit 52 across the opened second side 94-4B and off the bed 302 to dump the first container 171-4 from the vehicle 304. During such dumping the first container 171-4 maintains the hazardous material waste bulk cargo 51 separated from the second container 363-4 and in the form of the integral unit 52.

Efficient Transport Using Reusable Container-Lifter 62-4

356. As described above, efficient transport is provided when the bulk cargo 51 is transported using a gondola car 53 during the mode of transport that covers the longest distance from the point of origin to the destination point. As described above, in being able to be dimensioned in a manner similar to the container-lifter 62-2 and thus used in a gondola car 53, the reusable container-lifter 62-4 meets this aspect of efficient transport.

357. Because the reusable container-lifter 62-4 may be used with the inner container 171-4, decontamination of the gondola car 53 may be avoided when the bulk cargo 51 is hazardous material waste. Thus, the inner container 171-4 and the outer container 363-4, (which together keep the gondola car 53 uncontaminated) avoid the above-described need to cover an otherwise contaminated gondola car 53 and avoid return of such gondola car 53 empty to the point of origin for reloading, rather than releasing the gondola car to the railroad for further use without such return. Also, since the inner container 171-4 is designed to stay intact upon transport and upon being dumped from the vehicle 304, the outer container-lifter 62-4 should not become contaminated by the hazardous material waste 51 in the inner container 171-4.

358. As described above, efficient transport is also provided when there is “ease of filling”. For the hazardous material waste 51, for example, the conformity of the sizes of the top openings of the inner container 171-4 and the reusable container-lifter 62-4 with at least the size of a bucket of a front loader 122, are important factor in achieving efficient transport operations because such conformity facilitates ease of filling.

359. The above reference to using seventy percent of the capacity of a gondola car 53 (as part of efficient transport) is also provided by the reusable container lifters 62-4, which may have the same high weight-carrying capacities as the container lifters 62-2, for example. It was also noted above that efficient transport is further provided when there is efficient transfer of the bulk cargo 51 into the gondola car 53. The reusable container lifter 62-4 has the same advantages as the container lifter 62-2, for example, in that the container-lifter 62-4 also divides the bulk cargo 51 at the point of origin into the units 52 for transport.

360. The container-lifter 62-4 also meets another aspect of efficient transport, namely, allowing bulk cargo 51 to be is divided into units 52 for transport and having the units 52 be capable of being stacked at the destination point in a stable condition. In the context of the reusable container-lifter 62-4, the capability of being stacked is achieved by dumping the units 52, one-by-one, to form one layer of the units 52. Fill material (not shown) may be provided over the one layer, for example. The one layer of units 52 is stable, such that vehicles 304 may drive on the first layer and dump a second (and other) layers of the units 52. The process may be repeated to form up to six stable layers of lift-liners. Such process of stacking avoids the need to lift the container-lifter 62-4 at the storage or disposal site, and may be used when local regulations (at the site) permit. Such local regulations will not normally interfere with widespread use of the reusable container-lifters 62-4 because there are substantial numbers of municipal landfills, for example, at which non-hazardous bulk material waste 51 may be dumped from the reusable container-lifters 62-4 and stacked in layers as described above.

361. As described above, the inner container 171-4 and the outer container-lifter 62-4 may be made from materials similar to those used to make the container-lifter 62-2. Therefore, efficient transport is further provided since the container-lifter 62-4 has a minimum empty volume and weight prior to being loaded with the bulk cargo. Thus, once the container-lifter 62-4 is prepared for re-use as described above, the container-lifter 62-4 easily collapses (or folds) for transport to the point of origin, is readily openable for loading, and itself is relatively light-weight

362. Efficient transport was also described as being further provided when a lift-liner system 50 both defines the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 and efficiently couples the vertical lifting force provided by a crane 57, for example, to the structure of the lifter 64. In being provided with the lifter 64-4, the reusable container-lifter 62-4 may be part of the system 50-4 that distributes portions of such vertical lifting forces to the lifter 64-4 as secondary vertical forces applied vertically and uniformly to the bulk cargo within the container-lifter 62-4.

363. Efficient transport may be further provided by the reusable container-lifter 62-4 with the inner container 171-4, since these two structures that define the unit 52 of the bulk cargo 51 need not be used with a dedicated transport vehicle, such as a dedicated IMC. Rather, the inner container 171-4 and the outer container-lifter 62-4 themselves may line the inside of a roll-off container or gondola car 53 and have integrity so as to prevent leakage of the bulk cargo 51 from the container-lifter 62-4. The inner container 171-4 is designed to be strong enough to be able to keep at least twenty tons of bulk cargo 51 safely together as a unit 52 despite dropping from heights such as two feet above the ground from the vehicle 304 during the above-described dumping.

364. The foregoing description of the present invention illustrates and describes the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the form disclosed herein. The embodiments disclosed are intended to describe the best modes known of practicing the invention and to enable those skilled in the art to use such invention in such or other embodiments. It is intended that the appended claims define the invention and be interpreted so as to include alternative embodiments to the extent permitted by the prior art.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification414/607, 383/99, 294/74, 414/592, 383/24, 294/68.1, 294/68.3, 383/117, 383/18, 383/98
International ClassificationB66C1/22, B65D90/04, B65D90/20, B65D88/16
Cooperative ClassificationB66C1/226, B65D88/1612, B65D90/205, B65D90/046
European ClassificationB65D88/16F, B65D90/04D, B66C1/22F, B65D90/20C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 9, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: TRANSPORT PLASTICS, INC., A COLORADO CORPORATION,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BEALE, ALDON EVANS;REEL/FRAME:011688/0916
Effective date: 20010330