US 3042221 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 3, 1962 Filed Aug. 19, 1960 G. E. RAsMussEN 3,042,221
PALLET RACK 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 July 3, 1962 G. E. RAsMussr-:N
PALLET RACK 5 Sheets-Sheet I5 Filed Aug. 19. 1960 n? Stats fni e This invention relates to the art of support structures, particularly to a collapsible sheli:` structure adapted for supporting palletized loads, of a type commonly referred to as a pallet rack.
The use of pallets or skids secured as supports for loads of all varieties of materials has been on the increase in recent years. The skid or pallet not only supports the load, but it permits the forks of a lift truck to be inserted below it in order to allow the palletized load to be conveniently transported from place to place as required. Due to the increased use of palletized loads, a deiinite need arose for a supporting structure which can support a maximum number of palletized loads in a minimum space at a minimum cost.
Structures for this purpose have been developed. They are generally in the form of vertical upright members joined together by horizontal side to side and front to back members which form an open type skeletal structure. The vertical members are made long enough to support the horizontal members at vertically spaced intervals to provide a multi-tiered structure for supporting palletized loads at different stacked levels. Also, the vertical members are spaced horizontally from each other by calculated amounts to establish bays of given length to accommodate a given number of palletized loads in a row without waste of space on the pallet rack structure. Within reason, the structures can be -rnade of any length and any height depending upon the particular storage space available.
It seems that one of the most desirable requirements for a pallet rack structure is that it should be capable of being assembled and disassembled conveniently with a minimum of time and effort. It must also be rigid when assembled and not subject to accidental disassembly.
Another desirable feature is to have a minimum of parts and, if possible, no extra detachable parts which can be misplaced, such as connector pins. Another desirable objective is to have maximum load bearing support between the structural members in diterent contact planes with means to resist beam rotation, if possible.
ln a copending `'application of Thomas I. Fullerton and William Schroeder entitled Pallet Rack, Serial No. 40,060, tiled June 30, 1960, there is shown a pallet rack structure embodying the above mentioned advantages. That application shows and describes a pallet rack structure having only two basic separable components, the vertical supports or uprights and horizontal beams. There are no other separate parts which can be detached and misplaced. The connections between the uprights and the beams are by flanged lugs projecting from flanged ends of the beams where they can be easily engaged in slanted key hole slots in the uprights and wedged into tight engagement therewith. The flanges on the beam ends are bent at right angles so that they make contact with the uprights along two diierent planes. A very significant feature is a releasable bolt or latch at each end of the beams which is engaged with the uprights to provide a safety means for preventing accidental removal of the beams once in place and which provides additional bearing support in a plane different than the principal plane of bearing support by the flanged lugs on the beams. The bolt, by providing a bearing support in this additional plane, also provides means for resistingrotation of the beams in place.
An improvement shown but not claimed in said co- A aanzet Patented `luly 3, 1962 pending application is the structure for mounting the releasable bolt or latch which structure is the subject of this invention. It is the principal object of this invention to provide an improved mounting structure for said releasable bolt or latch which facilitates assembly of the beams to which it is attached and assures accurate alignment of the latch bolt.
It is still another object of the invention to provide such a latch mounting structure which is mounted on the end tlange welded to the end of the tubular portion of the beam so that the tubular portion is independent of the latch mounting. The advantage of this is that tubular beam portions of diierent cross section can be used without aiecting the alignment of the releasable bolt or latch, and inaccuracies in the manufacture of the tubular beam portions regardless of cross section also will not affect the bolt alignment.
It is still another object of the invention to provide such a latch mounting structure which minimizes labor involved and the use of special fixtures when manufacturing a wide range of beam lengths. If the latch mounting is mounted on the tubular portions of the beams, special fixtures and handling are required for each length of beam manufactured and this reduces the economy of manufacturing more than a few standard length beams.
Experieince has determined that the trade wants almost any length of beam. By mounting the latch on the end flange, rather than on the tubular beam portion, the tubular members need only be cut to length and welded to the end flanges, and no special iixtures and handling are required; thereby, economically providing beams of any length to the trade.
Other objects and advantages of the invention should be apparent upon reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FiG. l shows a perspective view of a partially cutaway pallet rack structure embodying the features of this invention;
FIG. 2 shows a partially cutaway and enlarged sectional View of a portion of the pallet rack structure of FIG. 1 showing the region of connection between the end of a beam and an upright member;
HG. 3 shows an enlarged partially cutaway and sectional elevation View of a beam connected to an upright;
FIG. 4 shows a sectional View along the line 4 4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 shows a view along the line 5-5 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 6 shows a sectional view along the line 6 6 of PIG. 3 and particularly shows the shape of one of the flanged connector lugs;
FIG. 7 shows a sectional view along the line 7--7 of FIG. 6; and
FIG. 8 shows an exploded view, partially in dotted lines, of a beam ange and the connector for supporting the releasable bolt in their relationship to an upright and the tubular beam portion.
As viewed in FIG. 1, a typical support structure or pallet rack 1 consists of a pair of ladder-shaped upright frames 2 and 3 spaced apart from each other and joined together Iby means of horizontal beams 4, 5, 6 and 7. These Ibeams are joined at their ends to the upright frames 2 and 3 in a manner hereinafter described. The upright frame 2 is also joined to the ends of other horizontal lbeams 8, 9, 10 and 11 which, although not shown, extend to an additional spaced upright frame similar to lframes 2 and 3. In this manner the entire pallet rack 1 can be made any length required. Just as the beams V8, 9, 10 and 11 extend from the frame 2, other beams can extend in the opposite direction from the frame 3 so that the pallet rack can be extended in length in either direction.
Each of the upright frames 2 and 3 consist of a front upright 12 and a rear upright 13 joined together by horizontal front to back members 14 and 15 and diagonal braces 16 and 17. Naturally the lengths of the members 14, 15, 16 and 17 can be appropriately cut to space the uprights 12 and 13 as far apart as necessary to provide the proper span between the front beams `4 and 5 and the rear beams 6 and 7. Also, the uprights 12 and 13 can be made as tall as necessary in order to accommodate the required vertical spacing of the horizontal beams, as well as to permit positioning of as many vertically spaced beams as desired. Also, additional members similar to 14, 15, 16 and 17 can be added to provide suiiicient rigidity and strength.
With the structure as shown in FIG. 1, the beams and 6 provide a span across which pallets or other articles can span so that the beams act as their support at an upper level. Similarly, the beams 4 and 7 provide a spanned support for pallets or other objects at a lower level. A pallet 18 is shown supported by the beams 4 and 7 and also a board 19. llf continuous shelving is required so that objects will not fall through the spanned opening between the beams, a plurality of boards 19 can be positioned side by side along the beams to provide a continuous uninterrupted support for various shapes and sizes of objects.
The front to back members 14 and 15 and diagonal braces 16 and 17 are preferably welded at their ends to the uprights 12 and 13 in order to provide the completed ladder-shaped upright frames 2 `and 3. This enables the frames 2 and 3 to be shipped as integral units, thus saving erection time and also insuring a rigid structure which Imight not be obtained if nuts and bolts or other yfastening means are used to secure these members together.
Each of the uprights 12 and 13 are provided with two rows of iirst openings 21B extending along the entire length of the front walls 21 of the uprights. The openings 20 are equally spaced from each other by a xed increment. Each of the uprights 12 and 13 is also provided with a row of equally spaced openings 22 along opposite side walls 23 and 24 of the uprights. These side walls 23 and 24 are positioned parallel to each other and are connected therebetween by the `front wall 21 which forms the upright into a channel shape. The side walls 23 and 24 are provided `with ilanges 25 and 26 which extend toward eac-h other in a plane parallel to the front wall 21 of the upright. The flanges 2S and 26, the side walls 23 and 24 and the front wall 21 together provide a iianged channel-shaped upright with four corners 27, 2S, 29 and 31B which impart column strength and rigidity to the 'uprights Even though different number designations have been given to the horizontal beams, they are all identical in structure and can be used interchangeably as front or back beams by merely rotating them 180 end to end in a horizontal plane.
As shown in IFIGS. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, a horizontal beam 6 consists of an L-shaped tube 31 composed of two channels 32 Iand 33 facing each other with their flanges 32a, 32h and 33a, 33h, respectively, overlapping each other to form a closed tube (FIG. 4). The overlapping anges 32a, 3217, 33a and 33b are preferably welded together to maintain the channels 32 and 33 joined together and to impart strength to the assembled tube.
This tube 31 is welded `at each of its ends to one wall 34 of an L-shaped end flange 35. The other wall 36 of the end ilange 35 is provided with two inwardly extending anged lugs 37 which are in xed positions on the end tlange 35. ln FIGS. 6 and 7 it is shown that each of these flanged lugs 37 is provided with a cylindrical body portion having two ilats 37b. A hole 38 is provided i n the wall 36 of the end flange which is of the same shape as the body portion of the flanged lug in the region of the Ihats 37b. The reason for this particular shape of the body portion of each of the lugs 37 is to prevent rotation of the lug after it is once in place. When in place, the lug bottoms in the opening 38 `against shoulders 37e produced by the cutout of the flats 37b. With the lugs 37 properly bottomed, their ends 39 are peened over as if riveted.
The reason for not allowing rotation of the lugs 37 in the openings 38 is because the ilange 4d on the free end of each of the lugs is eccentric of the lug so that the flange does not extend above the lug, but only below it. The reason for this is to prevent the flange 40 from being caught on the upper end of an opening 20 when the apparatus is being disassembled.
In order to assemble a horizontal beam to an upright 12 or 13, the beam is extended horizontally and its L-shaped end ilange 35 is brought to bear against the front Wall 21 and a side wall 23 or 24 of an upright. In order to do this the lugs 37 on the ange are aligned to pass through the openings 20 in the upright. These openings 20 are somewhat key-shaped, having an enlarged circular portion 2da intersecting a narrow elongated portion Ztlb which is slightly canted toward the center of the upright. Having two rows of these holes `20, the effect is that these elongated portions Zibb are canted or sloped toward each other. Also, a hole 20 in one row is positioned immediately opposite a hole 21B in the adjacent row. Since there is equal spacing between all of the holes, each is positioned with another immediately adjacent to it laterally. The enlarged circular portion 20a is of a diameter larger than the diameter of the anges 40 of the lug 37 so that the lug 37 can freely tit through it. The body portion 37a of the lug is slightly smaller than the Width of the elongated hole portion 20h so that the lug can be dropped down into the elongated portion 20b after it has been passed through the circular portion 20a. Because of the particular dimensions of the end flange 35 and the positions of the lugs 37 thereon, as the lugs of the flange slide down the incline of the elongated portions Ztlb of the holes 2i), the wall 34 of the end flange is brought to bear tightly against a side wall 23 or 24 of the upright 12 or 13. These lugs 37, therefore, provide bearing support for the horizontal beam 6 along the plane of the front wall 21 of the upright 13. By drawing the wall 34 of the end flange 35 snugly against lche side wall 23, this provides a fairly rigid connection between the horizontal beam 6 and the upright 13.
ln order to further enhance the rigidity of the structure, the horizontal beams 4, 5, 6 and 7 are all provided with sliding bolts 41. Each sliding bolt 41 is of L-shape having a handle length 42 connected at right angles to a body portion 43. The body portion 43 is mounted through a circular opening 44 of slightly larger diameter than the circular shape of the bolt 41 so that the bolt is freely slidable therethrough. The hole 44 is in the outer end 45C of a Z-shaped support 45 which is welded at an inner end 45a to the wall 34 of the end flange 35. The support 45 has a web 45h connecting the inner end 45a and the outer end 45C together. The end iiange 35 is also provided with a hole 46 of the same diameter as the hole 44 so that the bolt 41 is ordinarily suspended through these two holes 44 and 46. The handle 42 of the bolt projects out of an L-shaped opening 47 in the side =wall of the tube 31. This L-shaped hole 47 has a horizontal length 47a into which the bolt can be shifted in order to retract it to its inner position as indicated in bold outline in FiGS. 2 and 5 where its end 41a is recessed completely within the beam. The 'hole 47 is provided with a downwardly extending portion 47 b into which the handle 42 can be moved or dropped by gravity in order to maintain the bolt 41 in its extended position as indicated in phantom lines in FIG. 2 and in bold outline at the left hand side of FG. 3.
When the beam 6 is in position as shown'in FIGS. 2 and 3, and the wall 34 of the end ilange 35 is drawn upI tightly against the wall 23 of the upright, the bolt 41 is extended to that its end 41a projects out through the hole 46 of the end flange 35'. With the parts positioned as indicated, one of the second holes 22 is aligned with the end 41a of the bolt 41. This positioning of the holes 22 is predetermined. With one of these holes 22 lined up with the end 41a of the bolt 4l, extension of the `bolt 41 through the hole 46 also extends it through the hole 22 in the upright. After this occurs, the bolt 41 then acts as a bearing support in the plane of the wall 23 of the upright which wall 23 is at right `angles to the front wall 21 where the lugs 37 are positioned for bearing support. In addition, by having support in this plane of the wall 23, there is provided a resistance to rotation of the beam on its axis which is highly beneficial. Another very important feature of this latch or bolt arrangement is that, in its extended position, the bolt 41 prevents disassembly of the beam 6 from the upright 23. This eliminates the possibility of accidental disassembly of a beam from an upright which might otherwise occur as a worker manipulates his fork lift truck when arranging pallet loads on the pallet rack structure. It is conceivable that the operator can accidentally position the forks of the lift truck beneath one of the beams whereby sudden operation of the forks of the truck in an upward direction might easily disassemble a beam if not secured to the upright in the manner sho-Wn.
The invention of this application is centered around the use of the Z-shaped support 4S welded or otherwise secured to the wall 34 of the end flange 35. It it conceivable that the support 45 might be supported on a side wall of the L-shaped tube 3l with the same advantages incident thereto. However, this is not true and such an arrangement has four basic disadvantages. The lirst is that the latch or bolt 41 would have to be mounted accurately on every tubular member 31 so that it would always align with the opening 46 in the flange 35. Experience has shown that the manufacturing variations in the formation of the flanges 3S and the locating of the supports 45 almost prevent this on a high production setup. The second is that ditferent cross section tubular portions 3l would require special and different fixtures for alignment of the bolt 41 on them. The third is `that during the forming of the tubular portions 31 by conventional roll forming means, their ends flair, and varying `amounts depending upon gauge variations of the strip material used. This adds to the difficulty of mating the end flanges 35 to the tubular portions 31 in perfect alignment. The fourth disadvantage is that it does not lend itself to the economical manufacture of beams of more than only a few standard lengths. By securing the latch to the tubes 31, different handling and fixtures are required for each beam length. By mounting the latch on the end flange, rather than on the tubular beam portions, the tubular portions need only be cut to length and welded to the end llanges without requiring special lixtures and handling. The advantage is that custom beam lengths can be supplied to the trade at standard beam length prices. Therefore, it is extremely advantageous to secure the support 45 to the end flange 35 as shown in FIGS. 2 to 5 and 8 in order to preclude the shortcomings mentioned by securing it otherwise. By securing the latch 41 to a connector secured to the wall of the tubular member 31 presents almost an insurmountable assembly problem while to secure it as shown eliminates the difficulty. As shown, the support 45 is secured to the end dange so that its opening 44 is aligned with the opening 46 in the end flange 35 and the job is done. This is very simple to do and the resultant flange and support assembly shown in bold outline in FIG. 8 can be used with almost any tubular member 3l having very wide manufacturing variations and irregularities and still function without diiculty.
Although it has been thought desirable to provide bearing support in two different planes as herein shown and described, there has always been a difficulty of 1assembling a beam between two uprights positioned a fixed distance apart and obtain this advantage. With the uprights positioned a fixed distance apart, as they are during the assembly of a pallet rack, the walls 34 of lthe end flanges 35 are located approximately adjacent to the walls 23 and 24 of these spaced upright members. If the bolts 41 were permanently extended as if they were lixed lugs like lugs 37, it would be impossible to assemble the beams onto the uprights because the bolts would interfere with the positioning of the beams onto the uprights. With what has been shown and described in this invention, by having the bolts 41 retractable, it is possible to provide convenient assembly between fixed spaced uprights and still obtain bearing support in the additional plane.
Another import-ant feature of the bolt 41 is that it is entirely contained within its beam in such a way that it cannot be separated from it. In this manner, there is no chance of losing it and it is always available when needed. On devices where there are separate connectors which are not integral with the beams or the uprights, there is always a chance of losing the connectors and, through inadvertency or laziness, leaving them off the connection so that an inferior connection results. In this device, the bolt 41 is always there and always positioned properly so that there is no doubt as to how to connect it and it always insures a well connected joint between the beam and its upright.
Although only a single embodiment of the invention has `been shown and described, it should be clearly understood that the invention can be made in 4many different ways without departing from the true scope of the invention as delined by the appended claims.
l. A beam for use in a supporting structure comprising, a hollow body portion secured at one end -to an end ange, a bolt support secured at its inner end to lthe end flange and at its outer end projecting into the hollow body portion away from the end flanges, the end flange having an opening through it, the outer end of said bolt support having an opening through it positioned to align with the opening through the end ilange, and a bolt supported in both openings for movement therethrough, said hollow body portion having a passage `for external access to said bolt.
2. A beam for use in a supporting structure comprising, a hollow body portion secured at one end to an end flange, a bolt support having an inner end and an outer end connected together by an intermediate connecting portion, said bolt support being secured at its inner end to the end ange and at its outer end projecting into the hollow body portion away from the end flange, the end flange having an opening through it, the outer end of the bolt support having an opening through it positioned to align with the opening through the end flange, and a bolt supported in both openings and guided thereby for movement therethrough, said hollow body portion having a passage for external access to said bolt.
3. A beam for use in a supporting structure comprising, an elongated hollow body portion secured at one end to a wall of an end flange positioned transversely against said end, a bolt support having an inner end and an outer end extending parallel to each other and connected t0- gether by means of a web between them, the inner end of the bolt support being secured to said -wall of the end liange with the web of the bolt support extending in a direction away from said wall to project said outer end of the bolt support into the hollow of the hollow body portion, the outer end of said bolt support having an opening through it and the end flange having an opening through it, the bolt support being positioned with respect to .the end llange so that the two openings are in alignment with each other longitudinally of the beam, `and a bolt supported in said openings guided thereby for movement therethrough longitudinally of the beam, said hollow body portion having a passage for external access to said bolt.
4. A beam for use in a supporting structure comprising, an elongated hollow body portion secured at one end to a wall of an end flange positioned transversely against said end, a Z-shaped bolt support having an inner end and an outer end extending parallel to each other and connected together by means of a web between them to impart said Z-shape to the bolt support, said wall of the end flange having an opening through it, the inner end of the bolt support being secured to said Wall of the end ange to one side of said hole in the end flange with the web of the bolt support extending in a direction away from said Wall to project said outer end of the bolt support into the hollow of the hollow body portion, the outer end of said bolt support having an opening through it, the bolt support being oriented with respect to the end flange so that the opening through the bolt support aligns with the opening through the end llange longitudinally of the beam, and an elongated bolt supported in said openings guided thereby for movement therethrough longitudinally of the beam, said hollow body portion having a passage for external access to said bolt.
References Cited in the iile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,318,275 White May 4, 1943 2,374,550 McIntosh Apr. 24, 1945 2,571,512 Youngberg Oct. 16, 1951 2,932,368 Schell Apr. 12, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS 516,708 Canada Sept. 20, 1955