US 20090218304 A1
The present invention refers to a collapsible supporting device used for shipment and storage of materials with or without a supporting mandrel, using links (4), tongues (8) and sleeves (14) in a system to engage and secure the assembly. The supporting device includes a horizontal supporting strut (11) with a double supporting system (12) and (13) which is used to provide support to materials such as rolls having rolling axes (for example, tubes made of iron, wood, etc) or directly supported tubular mandrels. When disassembled, the supporting device may be compacted up to a ratio of about 7.5 times compared to its assembled volume.
1. A collapsible and stackable supporting device comprising
a rectangular base frame (A), two longitudinal struts (1) joined at the ends thereof to two traverse bars (2) and two intermediate traverse bars (3),
two structures forming the side panel (B) comprised by two risers (5) joined to two parallel longitudinal bars (6), joined at the central portion thereof by a vertical bar (7),
two traverse struts (C) formed by a horizontal bar (11), characterized by comprising a locking system comprised by links (4) at the rectangular base frame (A), tongues (8) on the structures that form the side panel (B), an engagement system comprised by sleeves (14) intended to be fitted over and slide along the risers (5) of the supporting device, and monolithic risers.
2. A collapsible and stackable supporting device, according to
3. A collapsible and stackable supporting device, according to
4. A collapsible and stackable supporting device, according to
5. A collapsible and stackable supporting device, according to
6. A collapsible and stackable supporting device, according to
The present invention relates to a collapsible and returnable rack.
There are countless packaging solutions for the shipment of materials in the form of rolls. Certain types of materials, due to their characteristics, need to be transported suspended from the roll core mandrel and do not allow any contact with the surface or the edges of the roll.
In order to transport and handle such type of mechanically sensitive materials there have been gradually developed packaging solutions that provide an adequate protection. Some packages use the disposable concept and materials are discarded at the end of the cycle of transportation from the production to the final use thereof. In this connection we might cite as examples of disposable packages: plastic, wooden, or cardboard inserts that support the roll inside cardboard boxes. One other example consists in the use of wood laminate or agglomerate boards, with a round hole, attached to both ends of the tube whereon the material is rolled, by means of metallic or plastic plugs, keeping the reel suspended. Such boards are supported on a wooden platform and the entire arrangement is tied with metallic or plastic banding material. We may also note the use of wooden crates designed to keep the reel suspended, directly supported on the tubular mandrel whereon the material is wound or by using a shaft passed through the tubular mandrel and supported on the crate. We may also cite the use of recycled plastic injection-formed plates that are fitted to the ends of the reels and keep the rolls supported on a platform. These are also tied with bands of metallic or synthetic material.
In addition to the previously described configurations, we also have the use of supporting structures commonly named “racks” that serve to support and protect articles wound in rolls. Some of these supporting devices (racks) are built to be reused, and therefore must be returned to their point of origin, however the great majority is intended for single use; that is, they are disposable and are not recovered or returned, thus generating waste and degrading the environment.
With the purpose of reducing the amount of space taken on return and storage when empty, some racks were designed with features allowing the same to be folded, stacked, and disassembled. Upon a detailed search of the existing supports and patents, we have found some examples, which are described below, but that still evidence some shortcomings.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,255 describes a supporting device comprised of a rectangular base frame that incorporates the supporting elements, joined by hinges to the two front panels that rise forming a 90° angle to receive the roll, which is supported on the supporting elements located at the center of the transverse struts. This feature of collapsing over its own base gives the supporting device a characteristic of lesser space requirement when it is being shipped back empty, however such reduction is not altogether substantial and implies a high cost of return and storage. The use of hinge features renders this supporting device more fragile and compromises the safety and the integrity of the cargo while it is being handled and transported, in addition to not providing a very safe stacking of the device when in its assembled state.
The same occurs with the supporting device described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,228,821, which is comprised by a rectangular base frame wherein are incorporated the supporting elements. The front panels that form the supporting device are fitted to the base frame and include hinge features allowing the same to fold in half on disassembly and lay parallel to the base frame, thus reducing the height of the assembly. This design with foldable panels that fit into the base frame renders the structure fragile, susceptible to eventual failure and unsafe for handling and in terms of maintenance of the integrity of the cargo. This type of supporting device does not allow the stacking of two or more layers thereof.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,625 uses the same concept of a structure with a rectangular base frame wherein are incorporated the supporting elements and having the front panels structure joined to the base by means of a pivot joint. These panels rise until at most 90° and are locked, using pins, by two traverse struts that keep the front panels in the upright position. The front panels provide a “seat” to receive a roll in the longitudinal direction of the supporting device. The longitudinal struts have a seat to receive two rolls in the transverse direction. This supporting device, when it is disassembled, folds the front panels over the base frame and allows space reduction and stacking both when assembled and when disassembled. In this case also, the use of pivots and locking pins renders the structure fragile, susceptible to failure and unsafe for handling and for ensuring the integrity of the cargo, in addition to not being efficient in terms of saving space when it is disassembled and stacked.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,279,763 describes a rectangular base frame structure that incorporates the supporting elements joined to the front panels by a pair of foldable posts that act as hinges. The vertical posts of the front panels that complement the supporting elements are engaged and locked with one another by means of pins. This supporting device also folds its front panels over the base frame and allows the stacking thereof, both when assembled and when disassembled. In this case also, the use of hinges and pins renders the structure fragile and unsafe for transportation and handling.
The present invention provides a supporting device (rack) solution that may be disassembled and returned for shipment and storage of materials such as rolls with or without a mandrel, which does not make use of pins, locks, hinges, bolts and tools for assembly and disassembly, is stackable both when assembled and when disassembled, and is comprised of five easily assembled parts that interlock with one another. These parts are: a rectangular base frame with engagement links, two side panels wherein are incorporated the supporting elements, with engagement devices that connect to the base frame and two double support traverse struts that fit, by means of sleeves, to the side panels and lock the entire assembly.
The advantages and characteristics of the present invention may be better understood by reference to the drawings, wherein:
The present invention is comprised by five elements that use a self-locking engagement system on assembly, and do not require any fastening element such as bolts or screws, pins, nails or locks.
The supporting frame 1 is comprised by five elements as shown and depicted in detail in
i) A rectangular base frame A, comprised of two longitudinal struts 1 joined at the ends thereof to two traverse struts 2 and two intermediate traverse struts 3. Four engagement links 4 are attached to the inner face of the ends of the longitudinal struts 1.
ii) Two frames forming the side panels B, comprised by two risers 5 joined by two parallel longitudinal bars 6, joined at the central portion by a vertical bar 7. Two tongues 8 are attached to the inner side of the end portions of the lower longitudinal bar 6, these tongues being intended to fit into links 4 of the base frame. Engagement sleeves for stacking the units are attached to the base of the risers 5. On the upper part of each riser 5 there is attached an engagement tip 10, which fits perfectly into the sleeves 9, allowing the supporting frames to be stacked after assembly.
iii) Two traverse struts C, formed by a horizontal bar 11, and having a double supporting system consisting of double supporting alternatives such that the horizontal bar 11 may be used in any of two modes, depending on the side whereon it is mounted, on one side supporting alternative 12 serving to support iron tubes and on the other side supporting alternative 13 providing direct support to the tubular mandrel. At the ends of the traverse struts C there are provided sleeves 14 that will engage and slide along the risers of the supporting frame 5 to a position near the base frame thereof, locking the entire assembly. The plate 15 will operate as a detent to the tubular mandrels and tubes, avoiding that the same may fall outside the supporting region of the support bearing.
The supporting device allows the use of rolls of various diameters and widths, using a tube (
When in the assembled state (
The most unique characteristics of this supporting device consist in the easy assembly and disassembly thereof, which is performed without the use of any parts, fixtures or tools, and the small space taken thereby when disassembled. For example, the compaction ratio; that is, the ratio of the space/volume taken in the assembled and the disassembled states, can be as high as 7.5:1, allowing the same to be stored and carried at a low cost and justifying the return thereof both in small and long distances to the point of origin.
The design of its base frame allows the safe access of cargo handling equipment to the four sides thereof (four accesses) using for such purpose, for example, any type of electric or fuel-powered forklift trucks, pallet trucks and electrical or hydraulic loading trolleys and the like, providing ample flexibility of operation to the user.
Preferably the supporting device is designed to be carried both in containers and in trucks and to optimize the vehicle's load carrying capacity.
Preferably the weights of the parts that comprise the supporting device do not exceed the recommended weight limit of 20 kg for handling by one person (individually), thus allowing the assembly and disassembly thereof to be performed by only 1 operator, safely and without ergonomic overload.