US 3135382 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 2, 1964 T. H. CRICKARD ETAL 3,
SHIPPING CONTAINER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 14, 1961 INVENTORS mamas fl- CAP/(14409 H/wow L. Sue-57's June 2, 1964 T. H. CRICKARD ETAL 3,135,332
SHIPPING CONTAINER Filed Aug. 14, 1961 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 June 2, 1964 T. H. CRICKARD ETAL 3, 3 ,38
SHIPPING CONTAINER 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Aug. 14, 1961 INVENTORS BY C /E 5 ML 8 United States Patent 3,135,382 SHWPIN G CQNTAINER Thomas H. Crickard, Huntington, W. Va., and Harold L.
Sheets, Chesapeake, ()hio, assignors to The International Nickel Company, Inc, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Deiaware Filed Aug. 14, 1961, Ser, No. 131,306
3 Claims. (Cl. 206-65) The present invention relates to shipping containers and, more particularly, to shipping containers for U-shaped objects.
Attempts have been made to provide a satisfactory shipping container for U-shaped objects, for example, U- shaped tubes. Metal U-tubes of long length, for example, ones having'leg lengths of the order of 30 feet, such as are used in heat exchangers, are bulky and are particularly subject to being damaged in transit. If such tubes are shipped in a haphazard manner, the assembler of the heat exchanger can easily become confused with regard to the bend radius of a given U-tube since the long length of the legs makes the tubes very flexible. Thus, it is important to package such tubes so as to segregate tubes of the vari ous bend radii. It follows therefore that in order to provide a satisfactory shipping container for U-shaped tubes, one must provide a container which will segregate tubes of a given size (i.e., bend radius), protect the tubes from damage and make maximum use of valuable shipping space. Furthermore, the container must be designed and constructed so that it permits the packaging of tubes having bend radii which diifer only slightly, it facilitates individual removal of the contents by the consignee and it is sufficiently inexpensive that it can be destroyed after the removal of the contents. Although attempts were made to provide a satisfactory shipping container for U- shaped objects, none, as far as we are aware, was entirely successful when carried into practice commercially on an industrial scale.
It has now been discovered that by means of a special combination of structural elements, a novel, highly useful shipping container for U-shaped objects can be provided.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a novel container for U-shaped objects.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel shipping container for U-shaped tubes.
The invention also contemplates providing a novel shipping container for elongated U-shaped tubes.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a novel process for packing elongated U-shaped tubes in nesting relationship.
Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:
FIGURE 1 is a fragmentary top plan view of the novel container of the present invention when the container is partially filled with nested U-tubes;
' FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional view of said partially filled container taken on the line IIII of FIGURE 1 FIG. 3 shows an enlarged sectional view taken on the line III--III of FIGURE 1 showing the container when it contains a full complement of sets of nested U-tubes in an arrangement differing from the arrangement shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 illustrates a temporary holding member which can be employed when packing the container of the present invention; and
FIG. 5 shows a sectional view of a full container adapted to contain six sets of U-shaped tubes.
Generally speaking, the present invention contemplates a novel container for U-shaped objects, e.g., tubes, which comprises an enclosure having a bottom and vertical end 3,135,382 Patented June 2, 1964 and side walls, wherein positioning and aligning means positioned at at least one spacing station is provided to segregate U-shaped objects of various bend radii into sets (each member of the set having the same bend radius) and to prevent lateral shifting of the objects during handling or transport. The means positioned at the spacing station or stations comprises a central packing member and spacing elements equal in number to between N 1 and N +1, inclusive (where N is a whole number greater than 1 and is the number of nested sets of U-shaped objects to be packed in one layer and is equal to one half the maximum number of legs of the U-shaped objects for which provision is to be made in any one layer in the container). The central packing member of the positioning and aligning means is positioned substantially midway between the side walls of the container, is supported in a vertical position advantageously from the bottom of the container and has an interlateral dimension (or width, i.e.,'
a dimension in a direction normal to the side walls) about equal to the inside bend diameter of the smallest U-shaped article to be packed. The spacing elements associated with said central packing member are positioned when N is an even number so that at least N/2 spacing elements are positioned on a first side of said central packing member and at least N 2-1 spacing elements are positioned on the other or opposite side of said central packing member. The spacing elements or members positioned on said first side of said packing member are individually positioned to define an inner space or packing slot which is substantially equal in width to the width of a leg portion of the U-shaped object to be packed between the central packing member and the nearest (in interlateral direction) spacing element, to define N/21 intermediate outwardly progressing spaces between each other equal in interlateral dimension to about twice the dimension of said inner space and to' define an outer space about equal in interlateral dimension to said inner space. The spacing elements on the opposite side of said central packing member are positioned so that they define N 2 spaces between the central packing member and the wall of the container, each space or leg receptacle having an interlateral dimension substantially equal to twice the width of a leg portion of the U- shaped objects to be packed. When N is an odd number at least N 1/ 2 spacing elements are positioned on the first side of said packing member to define an inner singlewidth space and N 1/ 2 double-width spaces between said single-width space and the container wall. On the opposite side of said central packing member at least N l/ 2 spacing elements are positioned to define an outer singlewidth space and N- 1/2 double-width spaces between the outer space and the central packing member. It is to be noted that while containers in accordance with the present invention merely require positioning and aligning means comprising a central packing member and N -l spacing elements or spacers in association therewith, two additional spacing elements separating the legs of the U-shaped object having the largest bend radius from the walls of the container can be employed with advantage. It is to be observed that when various numbers of spacers are employed between N +1 and N l, the central packing member can be slightly to one side or the other of the central plane of the container. In addition, it is advantageous that the novel container of the present invention include a plurality of positioning and aligning means separated from each other along the length of. the container. Thus, it is advantageous to have positioning and aligning means at uniform intervals along the length of the container at a maximum of about five feet apart.
In carrying the invention into practice, it is advantageous to provide a container which is substantially rectangular in plan view and which contains a plurality of positioning and aligning means along the length thereof. Of course, each of said means is positioned so that the aforementioned first side of each central packing member is toward the same side of the box. Advantageously, each positioning and aligning means occupies only a small portion of the length of the container as shown in the drawings. Referring now thereto, it is to be observed from FIGURE 1 that an advantageous container in accordance with the present invention comprises a wooden enclosure 11 having a bottom 12, side walls 13 and 13a and end walls 14. At spacing stations 15 and 16, the side walls and bottom are reinforced by external reinforcing members or ribs 1'7 which are advantageously nailed or otherwise fastened to side walls 13, 13a, bottom 12 and to each other. Internally with respect to container 11 and, advantageously, longitudinally coextensive with reinforcing members 17, are positioned means 18 for positioning and aligning. Means 1% includes packing member 19 substantially centrally located between side walls 13, 13a which is supported from bottom 12 on bottom board 20. In addition, means 18 includes spacing elements 21 (a to j). As illustrated, the first side of packing member 19 is designated 1%. Packing member 19 has an interlateral dimension substantially equal to the inside bend diameter of the smallest U-shaped tube 22 to be packed. Spacing elements 21a to 21 are positioned on the first side of packing member 19 and are supported in slots 23 in bottom board as depicted in FIG. 3. As pointed out hereinbefore, the positions of the spacers are proportioned so that the interlateral space between packing member 19 and spacing element 21a is substantially equal in interlateral dimension to the width (or outside diameter [O.D.]) of U- shaped tube 22. The interlateral spaces between spacing elements 21a and 21b, 21b and 210, 21c and 21d and 21d and 21a are substantially equal in dimension to twice the CD. of a leg of the tube 22. Finally, adjacent outer side wall 13a, the interlateral distance between spacers 21e and 21f is substantially equal to the CD. of a leg of tube 22. On the opposite side of central packing member 19, spacing elements 21g to 21k define a plurality of spaces each having an interlateral dimension substantially equal to twice the CD. of a leg of tube 22. In the container as illustrated, which is contemplated to contain in a single layer 10 sets of nested U-shaped tubes of the same O.D. but different bend radii, the number of spacing elements on the first side of packing member 19 is equal to 6 and on the other side of said packing member 19 is equal to 5. Of course, one or both of spacing elements 21 and 21k can be eliminated and the sides brought closer together to define the outer space. In the event tubes 24, 25 or 26 (or other U-shaped objects to be packed) do not have uniform leg thickness and/or diameter, then the spaces defined by packing member 19 and spacing elements 21a and defined by the elements defining the outermost space on the first side of packing member 19 have single-leg width interlateral dimensions. All the other spaces defined by spacing elements and/or a spacing element and side wall 13 and/ or packing member 19 have double-leg width interlateral dimensions. As shown in cross section in FIGS. 2 and 3, the U-bend portions and the legs of the tubes can be supported from the bottom on pillows 27 and fillers 29, respectively.
The tube packing process of the present invention is described with particular reference to FIG. 3. FIG. 3 shows a cross section of the novel container of the present invention having a full complement of sets (as illustrated, numbering 10 sets) of U-shaped tubes inserted therein. Spacing elements 21a to 21 inclusive, on side 19a of packing member 19 are positioned to define an inner single-width space and an outer single-width space and N/ 2-1 double-width spaces intermediate said single-width spaces. On the opposite side of packing member 19, spacing elements 21g to 21k, inclusive, are positioned to define N/2 double-width spaces between packing member 19 and side wall 13. In packing the container, enclosure 11 is provided with central packing means or member 19 and spacing elements 21 (a to k) advantageously positioned by notched bottom board 20. The set of tubes 22 having the smallest bend radius is positioned with the legs thereof on opposite sides of packing member 19. On the first side 19a of packing member 19, the set of tubes is held in position by spacing element 21a. On the opposite side of packing member 19, the legs of tubes 22 are held in place by a removable holding member 28 such as depicted in FIG. 4, which holding member is advantageously spaced longitudinally apart from spacing station 16. When the members of each set of tubes are not equal in number, for example, as illustrated, filler blocks 29 having substantially the same width as a tube leg, are advantageously employed to equalize the tube levels in the box when filled. Thus, after the smallest tube set is packed, each of the additional tube sets is thereafter packed taking care that the free (or semi supported) legs of each set are temporarily supported by removable holding member 28 or the like until the next larger tube set is packed. Of course, once the next larger tube set is packed, temporary holding member 28 is removed. When all the tubes are packed, top board 30 is set in position above positioning and aligning means 18, top 31 can be nailed or otherwise fastened in place and top reinforcing member 32 can likewise be nailed or otherwise fastened in place across the spacing station.
To assist in the unpacking of the U-shaped tubes from the containers of the present invention, the containers are provided with a plurality of holding strips 33 as shown in FIG. 5. Referring now thereto, it is to be noted that holding strips 33 are fastened to bottom 12 near sides 13, 13a advantageously by holder 34. Each of the holding strips from each side is positioned between one pair of commonly slotted tubes 35, pass through sides 13, 13a by slots 36 and are fastened on the outside of sides 13, 13a advantageously by tacking. Holding strips 33 are advantageously made of jute webbing and serve to hold the larger tubes in place in a slot in the positioning and aligning means 18 while the smaller tubes are being removed. Thereafter, the holding strip is cut to permit removal of the larger tube in said slot. Advantageously a plurality of sets of holding strips are employed along the length of the container.
The present invention is particularly applicable to the shipment of U-shaped tubes for use in heat exchangers whereby the assembly of the exchanger is facilitated by virtue of the fact that sets of uniform bend radius tubes are readily available in the shipping container. The shipping container which is advantageously made of wood can be destroyed after use because of its low cost and is most economical in use of valuable shipping space. Because of its unique construction, the shipping containers of the present invention give satisfactory protection to the tubes during normal handling and shipping and can be employed to ship tubes having smaller differences in bend radii than can be shipped in containers known heretofore. In particular, the minimum difference in bend radii among U-tubes shippable in the present container is approximately 50% less than the minimum difference in bend radii among U-tubes shippable in containers known heretofore.
Although the present invention has been described in conjunction with preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that modifications and variations may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, as those skilled in the art will readily understand. Such modifications and variations are considered to be within the purview and scope of the invention and appended claims.
1. A shipping container for nestable sets of singlebend, uniform caliper, U-shaped tubes of the type used in fabricating heat exchange units, said container comprising:
(A) a bottom, a pair of end walls and a pair of side walls fixedly joined to define an elongated rectangular enclosure;
(B) a plurality of sets of U-shaped tubes of uniform external caliper nested in saidienclosure, each of said tubes having only a singlebend and having a pair of elongated legs and each tube in any particular set having the same bend radius as all other tubes in that particular set; and
(C) a plurality of spacing and aligning means positioned atsubstantially uniform intervals along the length of the container, each of said spacing and aligning means comprising (1) a plurality of laterally spaced, vertically extending spacers arranged in a row transverse the length of said rectangular enclosure and substantially equally divided in number by (2) a central packing member having a width substantially equal to the inner bend radius of the U-shaped tube having the smallest bend radius and positioned astride a central vertical plane extending longitudinally through said enclosure, 7
(3) said spacers being positioned non-symmetrically to said central vertical plane (a) to define on a first side of said central packing member an innermost single caliper-width space and a plurality of double caliper-width spaces positioned in sequence directly from said innermost space toward one side Wall and (b) to define on the second side of said central packing member an innermost double caliper-width space and a plurality of additional double caliper-width spaces positioned in sequence directly from said innermost double caliper'width space toward the other side wall, the total number of double caliper-width spaces on said second side being at least equaliu number to the number of double caliper-width spaces on said first side of said central packing member;
(D) said nested sets of U-shaped tubes being positioned and aligned by said positioning and aligning means so that all tubes of the same bend radius in said nested sets are in a single vertical stack, so that the legs of each tube are on opposite sides of said central packing member from one another and are positioned substantially parallel to said central vertical plane, and so that legs of adjacently-sized tubes are in contact along their length on one side of said central packing member and are spaced apart from each other by a spacer on the other side of said central packing member.
2. A shipping container as in claim 1 having a plurality of holding strips spaced longitudinally apart from said positioning and aligning means, each of said holding strips being fixedly attached to said bottom and extending upwardly therefrom tautly between contacting legs of adjacently-sized tubes andbeing fixedly attached to the upper portion of a side wall.
3. A shipping container as in claim 2 wherein the spacers of each positioning and aligning means are supported from said bottom by a bottom board.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Canada May 1,1956