US 3251460 A
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1 C. R. EDMONDS CUSHIONED PACKAGE May 17, 1966 Filed March 15, 1965 FIE- INVENTCR. CALVIN R. EDMONDS United States Patent Office 3,251,460 Patented May 17, 19.66
3,251,460 7 CUSHIONED PACKAGE Calvin R. Edmonds, Santa Ana, Calif., assignor to W. D.
Adam Company, Inc, Costa Mesa, Ca!if., a corporation of California Filed Mar. 15, 1965, Ser. No. 439,805 Claims. (Cl. 20646) The present invention relates to a shipp ng container and a mold therefor, and more particularly to a shipping container made of crushable foam-material for use in transporting delicate equipment such as electronic apparatus and the like.
' An object of the present invention is to provide a shipping container made of lightweight crushable foam material which is sufliciently inexpensive that it may be discarded after use. A related object is to provide a sh pping container of the aforementioned character incorporating a plurality of crush ribs spaced about the container interior for engagement with the upper and lower surfaces of the article being shipped. In addition, side and end portions of the article are engaged by the ends of the crush ribs so that the article is protected against shock and high impact forces by progressive crushing of the ribs during lateral movement of the article.
Another object of the invention is to provide a shipping container made of expanded polystyrene material and including a mind identical container halves having end walls and side walls adapted to fit together in complemental relation to define an interior space for receiving a substantially rectangular article. A single mold can be used for the identical container halves so that fabricationcos-ts of the complete container are greatly reduced.
I A further object of the invention is to provide a shipping container having identical container halves of the aforementioned character and including a substantially rectangular spacer sleeve adapted to fit between and complementally mate with the container halves. This provides a means for altering the depth of the shipping space in the container interior without the use of more than one mold. The height of the conta ner interior is fixed but the increments of height increase provided by one or more spacer sleeves enables the shipping container assembly to handle a number of different heights of articles.
A related object of the invention is the provision of a shipping container mold in which the size of the cavities for the crush ribs can be quickly altered to adapt the container to different lengths and widths of articles. More particularly, the mold includes a plurality of elements, one of which is removably attached within each cavity defining a crush rib. If the crush rib is to be lengthened to thereby provide a smaller shipping space for a smaller article, the element is removed and replaced'by a similar but shorter element. Conversely, longer elements are inserted to provide shorter crush ribs for the larger articles.
Other objects and features of the invention will become apparent from consideration of the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a shipping container according to the present invent on and including a spacer sleeve;
FIG. 2 is a perspective, exploded view of the container of FIG.1 on a reduced scale;
7 FIG. 3 is a partial horizontal cross-sectional view of a two-part container mold for fabricating one of the con tainer halves of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the container halves of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is a partial top plan view of a container half which is identical to the container half of FIG. 4 except for longer crush ribs.
Referring now to the drawings, and particularly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, there is illustrated a shipping container 10 according to the present invention. Although the shipping container 10 may comprise only a pair of identical container halves 12 and 14, it preferably also includes at least one substantially rectangular spacer sleeve 16 adapted for interposition between the halves 12 and-14.
The sleeve 16 effectively increases the depth of the internal shipping space for different sizes of articles, as will.-
be described more completely hereinafter.
The shipping container is made of a foam material which is progressively crushable under shock or high impact so that the article being shipped is gradually decelerated and thereby protected from damage. Expanded polystyrene is a preferred material for this' purpose since it is lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and easily and quickly formed within molds. -It also has excellent shock absorption qualities by reason of its capacity [for progressive crushing under load and the cost of the material is so low, relatively speaking, that in most cases the container may be discarded once it has reached its dest nation. I
Although the container 10 is described in connection with article or equipment shipment, it will be understood that it is also adapted to provide a means for protectively storing orstocking equipment both before and after shipment as well. The container 10 illustrated is particularly designed for protectively enclosing a so-called drawer of electronic apparatus. A great deal of current electronic equipment is made in the form of rack-mounted drawers which carry the various electronic components. When the drawers are pushed or moved into the rack, connections at the back of the drawer mate with connections in the rack to complete the various equipment circuits. In reverse fashion, the drawers can be completely pulled out to disconnect'the electrical circuits and enable the drawers to be individually serviced and transported. The rack-drawer concept is gradually becoming standardized and the present container 10 is readily adapted to meet the developing need for a standard shipping container for the drawers of such equipment, as will be seen.
Since the container halves 12 and 14 are identical, only the container half 14'will be described in detail. The container half 14 is substantially rectangular in configuration and includes a pair of parallel and opposed end walls 18 and a pairof parallel and opposed side walls 20. As best viewed in FIG. 2, the exterior of the container half 14 includes a plurality of integrally molded exterior ribs 22. These reinforce the container structure, particularly in bending. The container exterior also includes a pair of hand holds or indentations 24 to facilitate grasping of the halves 12 and 14 for separation and handling thereof. I
The walls 18 and 20 of one container half are adapted to complementally engage the walls 18 and 20 of the other container half. For this purpose each half is pro vided with a peripheral slot or channel 26 which extends over approximately half of the periphery, the remain ng portion of the periphery being provided with a complemental projecting portion or flange 28.
Since the halves 12 and 14 are identical, one half can be turned relative to the other half so that the flanges 28 of each half fit or nest within the channels 26 of the other half, affording a continuous peripheral interengagementl The substantially rectangular spacer sleeve 16 is also provided with channels 26 and flanges 28 so that the sleeve 16 is interengageable with the halves 12 and 14, one channel and one flange on the upper edge of the sleeve mating with one container half, and one channel and one flange on the bottom edge of the sleeve-mating with the other container half. A number of spacer sleeves 16 may be stacked upon one another to increase the height 7 f the interior space of the container to the extent desired.
The container shipping cavity or space for the article to be shipped is designated generally by the numeral 30 and is defined by one of the side walls 20 and an oppositely located plurality of end crush ribs 32 integral with and spaced apart along the opposite end wall 18. The shipping space 30 is further defined by a plurality of side crush ribs 34 spaced apart along the side walls 20 in confronting relation and extending inwardly for engagement of the ends 36 thereof with the sides of the article (not shown) located in the space 30, as best seen in FIG. 4.
The ends 38 of the end crush ribs 32 also extend inwardly for engagement with an end of the article in the space 30, the opposite end of the article resting against the inner surface of the opposite end Wall 18. If desired, opposite or confronting rows of crush ribs 32 could be provided instead of only the single row of ribs 32, as will be apparent.
As best viewed in FIGS. 2 and 4, each crush rib 32 and 34 is stepped to provide a horizontally disposed supporting surface 49 spaced or raised above the horizontal main body portion of the associated container half. This provides for support of the shipped article in spaced relation to the horizontal walls of the container halves and affords better cushioning against shock. That is, the smaller area of the stepped supporting surfaces 40 compared to the horizontal container walls permits the surfaces 40 to progressively crush under load and thereby reduce shock loads on the article being shipped.
The open space located beneath the article and defined by the ends of the steppedsupporting surfaces, as seen in FIG. 4, provides a substantially rectangular place for an instruction booklet or the like. The container also includes a pair of hollow corner sections 42 adapted to receive small items such as bags of fasteners or the like for the article being shipped.
As previously indicated, the ends 36 and 38 of the crush ribs 34 and 32 bear against the side walls and one end of the article, and by reason of their relatively small surface area, tend to be progressively crushed under shock loads so as to thereby protect the article against damage during shipment. As will next be described, the lengths of the crush ribs 32 and 34 can be easily changed by slight alteration of the container mold so that the same basic mold can be used to provide different sizes of container interiors.
More particularly, and as best viewed in FIG. 3, a two-part container mold 44 is provided which is of conventional construction except for the structure defining the crush rib cavities. That is, the length of the rib cavities 46 in one of the mold parts can be changed by inserting a corresponding plurality of cavity elements 48 in the cavities 46 and securing them in position by suitable fastening means 50. Thus, if a short crush rib 32 or 34 is needed to accommodate a smaller article in the shipping space 30, comparatively long cavity elements 48 are secured within the rib cavities 46. The inserted cavity elements 48 illustrated in FIG. 3 thereby close off or shorten the associated rib cavities 46 to provide ribs 32 and 34 of the sizes illustrated in FIG. 4.
In contrast, to provide larger or longer crush ribs 32a and 34a, as illustrated in FIG. 5, the cavity elements 48 are removed or replaced by shorter ones. The longer crush ribs 32a and 34a define a smaller shipping space 30 for transporting an article of reduced length and width. In this manner, the single two-part mold 44 can be quickly converted or altered to produce container halves 12 and 14 having different sizes of interior spaces, as will be apparent.
From the foregoing, it will be apparent that the invention provides a shipping container which is relatively inexpensive because it is constituted of a pair of identical container halves. The mold used in fabricating the container is quickly convertible to provide different sizes of container interiors and the spacer sleeves 16 provide further variation in this regard whereby the fabrication costs for a variety of different container sizes is greatly reduced compared to the costs of known molding methods and containers.
Various modifications and changes may be made with regard to the foregoing detailed description without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the following claims.
1. A shipping container made of crushable expanded foam plastic material and comprising:
a substantially rectangular spacer sleeve having peripheral walls;
and upper and lower container halves having end walls and side walls fitting against the upper and lower edges, respectively, of said peripheral walls of said sleeve to define an interior space receiving a substantially rectangular article, each of said container halves including a first plurality of integral crush ribs spaced apart all along at least one of the side walls thereof and extending inwardly and engaging at the ends thereof with side portions of said article in said interior space, and further including a second plurality of integral crush ribs spaced apart all along the end walls thereof and extending inwardly and engaging at the ends thereof with end portions of said article in said interior space whereby said article is cushioned against shock by progressive crushing of certain of said crush ribs.
2. A shipping container according to claim 1 and made of expanded polystyrene.
3. A shipping container according to claim 1 wherein said crush ribs include raised step portions engaging the upper and lower surfaces of said article in said interior space.
4. A shipping container made of crushable expanded foam plastic material and comprising:
upper and lower container halves having end walls and side walls fitting together in complemental relation to define an interior space that receives a substantially rectangular article, one of said end walls and one of said side walls being formed with a peripheral slot and the other of said end walls and the other of said side walls being formed with a flange complemental to said slot whereby said flanges nest within said slots when said halves are fitted together, each of said container halves also including a first plurality of crush ribs spaced apart all along at least one of said side walls and extending inwardly for engagement at the ends thereof with side portions of said article in said interior space, and each of said container halves further including a second plurality of integral crush ribs spaced apart all along said end walls and extending inwardly and engaging with end portions of said article in said interior space, said crush ribs also including step portions engaging with the upper and lower surfaces of said article in said interior space, whereby said article is cushioned against shock by progressive crushing of certain of said crush ribs.
5. A shipping container according to claim 4 made of expanded polystyrene.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,306,732 12/1942 Huxham 1844 2,463,269 3/1949 Haskins 18-44 2,994,425 8/1961 Honeycutt 206-46 3,064,801 11/1962 Linnell 20646 3,176,838 4/1965 Duval 20665 3,181,766 5/1965 Kane etal. 206-46X (Other references on following page) 5 6 1 OTHER REFERENCES 7 3,103,278 9/ 1963 Kuzma et a1. Richard Kuhlman: Molded Expanded Polystyrene- 3,156,191 1/1965 Chaplin- Modern PackagingFeb. 1957, pages 121-123. 3,166,227 1/ 1965 Ragnow.
K-oppers Plastics; Modern PackagingSept. 1964. 5
References Cited by the Applicant THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENTS GEORGE E. LOWRANCE, MARTHA L. RICE, 2,838,173 6/1958 Emery.
3,003,656 10/1961 Hardigg.