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Publication numberUS20050252826 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/846,766
Publication dateNov 17, 2005
Filing dateMay 14, 2004
Priority dateMay 14, 2004
Publication number10846766, 846766, US 2005/0252826 A1, US 2005/252826 A1, US 20050252826 A1, US 20050252826A1, US 2005252826 A1, US 2005252826A1, US-A1-20050252826, US-A1-2005252826, US2005/0252826A1, US2005/252826A1, US20050252826 A1, US20050252826A1, US2005252826 A1, US2005252826A1
InventorsRandall Boeller, Quamruz Zaman
Original AssigneeBoeller Randall L, Quamruz Zaman
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Containment apparatus for shipping multiple computing devices
US 20050252826 A1
Abstract
In one embodiment, a containment apparatus includes a container that is adapted to receive multiple computing devices and inserts that are adapted to support the computing devices within the container so as to protect the computing devices during shipment.
Images(7)
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Claims(38)
1. A containment apparatus, comprising:
a container that is adapted to receive multiple computing devices; and
inserts that are adapted to support the computing devices within the container so as to protect the computing devices during shipment.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container has a height dimension that is greater than width and depth dimensions of the container.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container is sized and configured to pass through a standard office doorway.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container includes an access panel that opens to provide access to an interior of the container.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the access panel extends approximately half of the length of the container.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the container is made of corrugated cardboard.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the inserts are made of shock-absorbing material.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the inserts are made of at least one of polymeric foam material, thermoformed polymeric sheeting, molded polymeric foam, laminated corrugated paper board, and molded pulp.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an accessory box that fits within the container, the accessory box being adapted to receive and support accessories for use with the computing devices.
10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the accessory box is adapted to receive and support keyboards, mice, and power cords for use with the computing devices.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a closure that fits over the container to enclose the computing devices within the container.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, further comprising locking elements that lock the closure to the container.
13. Containment apparatus for shipping multiple personal computers, the apparatus comprising:
a vertically-oriented container that is sized and configured to pass through a standard office doorway, the container having an access panel formed in a front wall of the container that provides access to an interior of the container;
a plurality of inserts that are adapted to be placed inside of the container, the inserts including notches that are adapted to receive personal computers to be shipped in the containment apparatus;
an accessory box that is adapted to be placed inside of the container above the personal computers, the accessory box being sized and configured to receive accessories associated with the personal computers;
a closure that is adapted to fit over and surround the container so as to enclose the contents of the container; and
locking elements that are adapted to lock the closure in place over the container.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the container, the accessory box, and the closure are made of corrugated cardboard.
15. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the inserts are made of at least one of polymeric foam material, thermoformed polymeric sheeting, molded polymeric foam, laminated corrugated paper board, and molded pulp.
16. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the notches of the inserts are adapted to receive corners of the personal computers.
17. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the inserts comprise bottom inserts, middle inserts, and top inserts, the bottom inserts and the middle inserts together protecting a first set of personal computers, and the middle inserts and the top inserts together protecting a second set of personal computers.
18. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the access panel is sized and configured such that a bottom of the accessory box can be viewed and accessed when the accessory box is packed in the container and the access panel is open.
19. The apparatus of claim 13, further comprising panel retainers that are adapted to secure the access panel in a closed position.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, wherein the panel retainers are adapted to slide along cut lines that define the access panel.
21. A package, comprising:
a vertically-oriented container that is sized and configured to pass through a standard office doorway, the container having an access panel formed in a front wall of the container that provides access to an interior of the container;
a plurality of personal computers contained within the container;
a plurality of foam inserts contained within the container, the inserts supporting the personal computers such that the personal computers only contact the inserts within the container;
an accessory box contained within the container on top of foam inserts above the personal computers, the accessory box containing keyboards, mice, and power cords associated with the personal computers;
a closure that surrounds the container so as to enclose the personal computers within the container; and
locking elements that lock the closure in place over the container.
22. The package of claim 21, wherein the container, the accessory box, and the closure are made of corrugated cardboard.
23. The package of claim 21, wherein the inserts comprise bottom inserts, middle inserts, and top inserts, the bottom inserts and the middle inserts together protecting a first set of the personal computers, and the middle inserts and the top inserts together protecting a second set of the personal computers.
24. The package of claim 21, wherein the access panel is sized and configured such that a bottom of the accessory box can be viewed and accessed when the access panel is open to facilitate removal of the accessory box.
25. The package of claim 21, further comprising panel retainers that secure the access panel in a closed position.
26. The package of claim 25, wherein the panel retainers are positioned along cut lines that define the access panel.
27. A panel retainer, comprising:
a central member that is adapted to fit within a space formed by a cut line provided in a package wall;
a front member that is connected to one end of the central member;
a rear member that is connected to an other end of the central member such that the front and rear members oppose each other and the panel retainer has a generally I-shaped cross-section;
wherein when the panel retainer is inserted along a cut line of a package wall that defines an access panel, the front member abuts a front side of the package wall and the rear member abuts a back side of the package wall such that the access panel is retained in a closed position.
28. The retainer of claim 27, wherein the front and rear members comprise wings that extend outward from the central member.
29. The retainer of claim 27, wherein the retainer is unitarily formed from a polymeric material.
30. A method for shipping multiple computing devices, the method comprising:
packing multiple computing devices in a corrugated cardboard container having a height dimension that is larger than width and depth dimensions of the container;
supporting the computing devices within the container using shock-absorbing inserts;
packing accessories associated with the computing devices in an accessory box that fits within the container;
enclosing the container with a closure that at least partially surrounds the container; and
shipping the enclosed container.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein the computing devices comprise personal computers.
32. The method of claim 30, wherein packing multiple computing devices comprises packing at least four computing devices in the container.
33. The method of claim 30, wherein packing multiple computing devices comprises packing at least eight computing devices in the container.
34. A system for shipping multiple computers, the system comprising:
means for containing multiple computers, the means for containing having a height dimension that is larger than its width and depth dimensions;
means for supporting the computers within the means for containing;
means for containing accessories associated with the computers within the means for containing multiple computers; and
means for enclosing the means for containing.
35. The system of claim 34, wherein the means for containing multiple computers comprise a corrugated cardboard box.
36. The system of claim 34, wherein the means for supporting the computers comprise shock-absorbing, foam inserts.
37. The system of claim 34, wherein the means for containing accessories comprise an accessory box that fits within the means for containing multiple computers.
38. The system of claim 34, wherein the means for enclosing comprises a corrugated cardboard closure.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    Computing devices, such as personal computers (PCs), are normally shipped in separate packages. Specifically, a computing device and its associated keyboard, mouse, power cables, software, and documentation are typically packed in a cardboard box along with various foam inserts that protect the computing device against impact and vibration forces that could damage the computing device.
  • [0002]
    Although such packaging is effective, that packaging is undesirable when shipping a large number of computing devices to a given customer. For instance, if a customer purchases several thousand PCs, it is undesirable to provide the customer with several thousand separate boxes. For one matter, such packaging is wasteful in that it requires separate cardboard boxes and foam inserts for each PC. In addition, such packaging results in a large amount of non-biodegradable material being produced. Furthermore, the customer, once having received the PCs, must dispose of and/or recycle the packaging materials. That task can be daunting when several thousand PCs (or other computing devices) have been received.
  • [0003]
    Although it is generally known to pack multiple items in large containers to facilitate shipping in bulk, such a solution has not been appropriate for shipping computing devices. For instance, although it may be possible to ship multiple computing devices in a single container, for instance a container that is placed on a wooden pallet, such a container may be too large to be delivered into an office environment in which the computing devices are most likely to be used. Instead, the container may only be delivered to an external location, such as a warehouse, and the computing devices removed from the container at that location. In such a case, the computers must be delivered to their final destinations without any packaging and the protection such packaging provides.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0004]
    In one embodiment, a containment apparatus includes a container that is adapted to receive multiple computing devices and inserts that are adapted to support the computing devices within the container so as to protect the computing devices during shipment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0005]
    The disclosed apparatus can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of containment apparatus for shipping multiple computing devices.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 2 is a first partially-assembled perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 3 is a second partially-assembled perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 4 is a third partially-assembled perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 5A is a partial side view of an,embodiment of a panel retainer that can be used with the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 5B is an end view of the panel retainer of FIG. 5A.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 6 is a fourth partially-assembled perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 7 is a fully-assembled perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0014]
    Disclosed is containment apparatus for shipping multiple computing devices. In some embodiments, the apparatus includes a vertically-oriented container that is configured to receive and protect multiple computing devices of the personal computer (PC), server, and/or desktop computer variety (i.e., large computing devices) as well as various components associated with those computing devices. The container is sized and configured such that it can be manually transported by one person (e.g., using a hand truck) through standard office doorways such that the computing devices can be delivered within an office environment without first removing them from the container outside of the office environment (e.g., in a warehouse).
  • [0015]
    Referring now in more detail to the drawings, in which like numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 illustrates containment apparatus 100 in an exploded view. As is shown in FIG. 1, the apparatus 100 includes a vertically-oriented container 102 that is adapted to receive multiple computing devices and their associated components. The container 102 has a height dimension that is greater than its width and depth dimensions. By way of example, the container 102 has a height of approximately 46 inches, a width of approximately 24 inches, and a depth of approximately 20 inches. Although those dimensions are provided as mere examples, the container 102 preferably has dimensions that permit the container to pass through a standard office doorway (e.g., a 36 inch wide doorway). Accordingly, the container 102 can be delivered to a location within an office environment, if desired.
  • [0016]
    The vertically-oriented container 102 is constructed of a lightweight but relatively durable material that is suitable for holding and protecting the computing devices that it contains. By way of example, the container 102 is constructed of corrugated cardboard and/or plastic. As is known in the packing arts, both such materials are relatively inexpensive and recyclable. Irrespective of the material of which it is formed, the container 102 typically is assembled from a single piece of material that is folded and secured to form the shape illustrated in FIG. 1. In such a case, the bottom (not visible in FIG. 1) of the container 102 is formed by two or more flaps that are secured together (e.g., using tape or spot welding depending upon the material used).
  • [0017]
    As is indicated in FIG. 1, the container 102 comprises a front wall 104, a rear wall 106, and opposed side walls 108 and 110. Provided in the front wall 104 is an access panel 112 that provides a packer with access to the interior of the container 102. By way of example, the access panel 112 opens outward and downward from the top of the container 102 toward the bottom of the container. The access panel 112 can be formed, for instance, by cutting the front panel 104 from the top of the container 102 along two cut lines to approximately the middle of the container, and scoring the front panel from the bottom of one cut line to the bottom of the other cut line.
  • [0018]
    In addition to the features described above, the container 102 may further comprise openings 114 (only one opening shown in FIG. 1) formed in the side walls 108 and 110 (and/or other walls) that are adapted to receive locking elements. As is described below, provision of the openings 114 facilitates locking of a closure to the container 102 to completely enclose the contained computing devices.
  • [0019]
    As is further indicated in FIG. 1, the containment apparatus 100 also includes various inserts. In particular, the apparatus 100 includes first and second (or front and back) bottom inserts 116 and 118, first and second (or front and back) middle inserts 120 and 122, and first and second (or front and back) top inserts 124 and 126. The bottom inserts 116, 118 and the middle inserts 120, 122 together protect a first set of computing devices 128, while the middle inserts 120, 122 and the top inserts 124, 126 together protect a second set of computing devices 130. Each insert is shaped to receive a portion of each computing device that it protects. As is apparent from FIG. 1, each insert may comprise a plurality of notches 132 that are adapted to receive corners of the computing devices 128, 130.
  • [0020]
    In the example of FIG. 1, each of the top and bottom inserts 116, 118 and 124, 126 includes four notches 132 while the middle inserts 120, 122 include eight notches. With such an arrangement, eight computing devices can be supported within the container 102 in a spaced configuration so that the computing devices only contact the inserts. Although the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 is adapted to contain eight computing devices, a fewer or greater number of computing devices could be contained depending upon the particular configuration that is used. To provide the required cushioning to the computing devices, each of the inserts is constructed of a shock-absorbing material such as a polymeric foam material, thermoformed polymeric sheeting, laminated corrugated paper, or molded pulp. By way of example, the inserts are fabricated from extruded, low-density polyethylene foam material.
  • [0021]
    The containment apparatus 100 further includes an accessory box 134 that is sized and configured to fit within the vertically-oriented container 102 and to hold various accessories (i.e., components) that accompany the computing devices 128, 130. By way of example, those accessories include keyboards packed in independent boxes 136, mice packed in one or more independent boxes 138, and cables (e.g., power cables) 140. By way of example, the accessory box 134 is constructed of the same material used to form the container 102. For instance, the accessory box 134 may be made of corrugated cardboard, molded pulp, and/or plastic and may be formed of a single piece of material that has been folded or molded to create the shape shown in FIG. 1. In such a case, a bottom (not visible in FIG. 1) of the accessory box 134 may be formed by two or more flaps that have been secured together (e.g., by taping or spot welding).
  • [0022]
    The containment apparatus 100 further comprises a closure 142 that is sized and configured to surround the vertically-oriented container 102 so as to completely enclose the computing devices 128, 130 and their various accompanying accessories. The closure 142 includes a front wall 144, a rear wall (not visible in FIG. 1), opposed side walls 146 (only one side wall visible in FIG. 1), and a top 148. By way of example, the enclosure 142 is also constructed of corrugated cardboard and/or plastic. As is shown in FIG. 1, the top 148 of the closure 142 comprises flaps 150 that are secured together (e.g., by taping or spot welding). In some embodiments, the closure 142 has height, width, and depth dimensions that are slightly larger than the height, width, and depth dimensions of the container 102 such that the closure can completely enclose or surround all but the bottom of the container when placed over the container. Optionally, the closure 142 includes openings 152 that are positioned to align with the openings 114 of the container 102 when the closure 142 is placed over the container to facilitate locking of the enclosure about the container (see discussion below).
  • [0023]
    Assembly of the containment apparatus 100 will now be described. As mentioned above, the vertically-oriented container 102 is adapted to receive the computing devices 128, 130 and the inserts that are provided to protect those computing devices. To pack the computing devices 128, 130 within the container 102, the bottom inserts 116 and 118 are first placed in the container. This can be accomplished by the packer due to the access to the container interior provided by the access panel 112. Specifically, with the panel 112 in the open position illustrated in FIG. 1, the packer can place the bottom inserts 116 and 118 on opposite sides of the bottom of the container interior. For instance, the bottom inserts 116 and 118 can be placed at the bottom of the interior adjacent the front and back walls 104 and 106, respectively. Notably, the inserts 116, 118 are positioned within the container 102 such that their notches 132 face inward and upward.
  • [0024]
    Once the bottom inserts 116, 118 have been placed within the container 102, the first set of computing devices 128 can be placed within the container. Specifically, the computing devices 128 are placed inside the container interior such that corners of the devices are received by opposed notches 132 of the bottom inserts 116, 118. With such an arrangement, the computing devices 128 are elevated off of the bottom of the container interior by the inserts and are therefore protected against impact with the container bottom.
  • [0025]
    After each computing device 128 has been placed in the container 102, the middle inserts 120, 122 may be placed within the container. In particular, the middle inserts 120, 122 are positioned on the computing devices 128 such that the corners of the computing devices are received by opposed notches 132 of the middle inserts. With such an orientation, each of the four corners of each computing device 128 is received by a notch 132 of an insert (i.e., two corners received by the bottom inserts 116, 118 and two corners received by the middle inserts 120, 122).
  • [0026]
    Next, the second set of computing devices 130 can be placed inside the container 102. This is accomplished by inserting the corners of the computing devices 130 in opposed notches 132 of the middle inserts 120, 122 in similar manner to inserting the corners of the computing devices 128 in the notches of the bottom inserts 116, 118 described above. The top inserts 124, 126 can then be placed on top of the computing devices such that corners of the computing devices are received by opposed notches 132 of the top inserts. This stage of the assembly is illustrated in FIG. 2. As is shown in that figure, each of the computing devices 128, 130 to be shipped is now secured within the container and the computing devices are separated from each other so as to not collide with each other during shipping.
  • [0027]
    At this point the keyboard boxes 136 (FIG. 1), mouse boxes 138, and cables 140 may be packed within the accessory box 134. As is apparent from FIG. 2, each of the accessory boxes 136, 138 and cables 140 fit completely within the accessory box 134. Therefore, as is described below, the accessory box 134 may be removed from the container 102 and used to carry the accessories separate from the remainder of the containment apparatus 100, thereby facilitating convenient delivery of the computing device accessories.
  • [0028]
    Referring next to FIG. 3, the accessory box 134 is placed in the vertically-oriented container 102. As is depicted in FIG. 3, the accessory box 134 is placed on top of the top inserts 124, 126. Due to the size and configuration of the access panel 112, the bottom of the accessory box 134 is visible and accessible when the panel is open. This facilitates removal of the accessory box 134 by the customer who receives the containment apparatus 100.
  • [0029]
    With reference next to FIG. 4, the access panel 112 is then closed to enclose the contents of the container 102 except for the top end of the container. As is shown in FIG. 4, panel retainers 400 can be used to secure the access panel 112 in the closed position, if desired. In such a case, the retainers 400 can be slid into place along the cut lines 400 that define the access panel 112 (e.g., along the direction indicated by arrow 404). FIGS. 5A and 5B illustrate an example configuration for the panel retainers 400. As is indicated in those figures, each retainer 400 includes a central member 500 that is adapted to fit within the space formed by the cut lines 402 (FIG. 4), and front and back members 502 and 504 that are adapted to be positioned on opposite sides of the front wall 104 (FIG. 4) of the container 102 when the retainer is installed so as to maintain the access panel 112 in position. Each of the front and back members 502 and 504 comprises wings 506 that extend out from the central member 500. As is apparent from FIG. 5B, that configuration results in the panel retainer 400 having a generally I-shaped cross-section (similar to an I-beam). By way of example, the retainer can be unitarily formed from a polymeric material.
  • [0030]
    Once the panel retainers 400 have been installed (if desired), the closure 142 may be positioned over the vertically-oriented container 102. Specifically, as is indicated by arrow 600 in FIG. 6, the closure 142 can be slid down onto the container 102 to enclose the contents of the container. In embodiments in which the closure 142 is tall enough so as to cover the access panel 112 of the container 102, the panel retainers 400 may not be necessary to hold the access panel in the closed position.
  • [0031]
    The closure 142 is slid down on top of the container 102 until the top of the closure abuts the top of the container. In cases in which the closure 142 has a height dimension that is slightly larger than that of the container 102, the closure will extend all the way down to the bottom of the container so as to completely surround the entire container except for the container bottom, as indicated in FIG. 7. When the closure 142 and the container 102 comprise openings 152 and 114 that align when the closure is placed on top of the container, a locking element 700 can be inserted into the openings (as indicated by arrow 702) to lock the closure in place relative to the container. At this point, the containment apparatus 100 and its contained cargo are prepared for shipping.
  • [0032]
    Due to the manner in which the computing devices and their accessories are packed within the containment apparatus 100, in-transit damage to those devices and accessories can be avoided. Testing has been performed on the containment apparatus 100 in the fully-loaded condition and has indicated that the apparatus can withstand vertical drops, incline impacts on all surfaces, and tipping that may be experienced during shipping without damage to the contents of the containment apparatus. Accordingly, the apparatus 100 can be used to effectively ship multiple computing devices without the need for separate boxes for each computing device. Because fewer boxes are provided to the customer, less disposal and/or recycling must be performed by the customer. In fact, various components of the containment apparatus 100, including the inserts, can be retained by or returned to the computing device shipper for reuse, if desired.
  • [0033]
    Due to the size and configuration of the containment apparatus 100, the computing devices can be delivered into an office environment while still contained by the apparatus. Specifically, the containment apparatus 100 can be passed through standard office doorways, for instance using a hand truck. Furthermore, the accessory box 134 can be removed from the containment apparatus 100 as a separate unit and used to independently distribute computing device accessories, if desired.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7690508 *Sep 14, 2007Apr 6, 2010Funai Electric Co., Ltd.Plasma television packing structure and panel display device packing structure
US8434622 *Mar 19, 2010May 7, 2013Yamato Packing Technology Institute Co., Ltd.Article packaging unit
US20080067096 *Sep 14, 2007Mar 20, 2008Funai Electric Co., Ltd.Plasma television packing structure and panel display device packing structure
US20120006714 *Mar 19, 2010Jan 12, 2012Yamato Packing Technology Institute Co., Ltd.Article packaging unit
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/593, 206/521
International ClassificationB65D81/107, B65D85/30, B65D5/32, B65D81/113
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2585/689, B65D5/328, B65D81/107, B65D81/113, B65D2585/6835
European ClassificationB65D81/107, B65D5/32C1A, B65D81/113
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 14, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BOELLER, RANDALL L.;ZAMAN, QUAMRUZ;REEL/FRAME:015339/0856
Effective date: 20040331