US 3255906 A
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June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL 32 9 TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS Original Filed June 21, 1961 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 I I I a 30 230 $24 /a M 22 J2 J0 J2 1 22 /f j /0 j (c) o 0 0 o Jam Pro/ex Her/9700 Pro INVENTORS ATTO/P/Vfl June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL 3,255,906
TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS 7 Sheets-Sheet 2 Original Filed June 21, 1961 "WI mm Jam Pro/er Her/7700 4/ Pro/er INVENTORS v" *3 ATTORNEY June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL 3,255,906
TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS Original Filed June 21, 1961 7 Sheets-Sheet 3 Jam Pro/er Her/77 0/7 4/. Pro/er HVVENTURS June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL 3,255,906
TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS Original Filed June 21, 1961 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 Jam Pro/er Her/77 0/7 4/. Pro/er INVENTORJ kw/g June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 Original Filed June 21, 1961 INVENTORJ' ATTORNEY June 14, 1966 s. PROLER ETAL TRANSPORTABLE CONTAINERS Original Filed June 21, 1961 J0? Pro/er Her/77a Pro/er INVENTORS BY wa 441 ATTORNEY United States Patent Continuation of application Ser. No. 119,900, June 21,
1961. This application Oct. 21, 1964, Ser. No. 423,617 4 Claims. (Cl. 214390) This application is a continuation of our copending application Serial No. 119,900, filed June 21, 1961, and now abandoned, which was a continuation-in-part of Serial No. 106,936, filed May 1, 1961, which was a continuation-inpart of Serial No. 101,224, filed April 6, 1961, all now abandoned.
This invention relates to transportable containers and more particularly it relates to containers which are readily moved from place to place by means of a truck or tractor trailer combination especially adapted for use with such a container. The invention also relates to the combination of such specially adapted trucks or tractor trailer combination with the container. The invention further relates to a method for handling transportable containers.
In the transporting of goods to various locations and the loading and unloading of these goods it is often necessary in many industries to use large trucks or tractor trailer combinations which are often tied up for many hours or even for days at the location at which the truck is to be loaded or unloaded. It will readily be seen that this means that a complete truck is inactivated for long periods of time so that it cannot be used for other hauling operations. In many cases the driver is also idled by the necessity for leaving his truck at one location while it is being loaded and/or unloaded. Thus the owners or operators of the truck are required to have on hand a much larger number of trucks than are necessary for hauling operations, although many of these are idle a great part of the time. Each of these trucks must be licensed, insured, and maintained. The cost of such licensing, insuring and maintenance is substantially the same on a truck whether it is active one hundred percent of the time or only ten percent of the time.
It is an object of this invention to provide apparatus for transporting goods, the use of which apparatus wi'il avoid the idling of the truck and its driver while the container is being loaded and unloaded.
It is another object of this invention to provide transportable containers for goods the use of which greatly reduces the operating expense of the owner or operator of the transporting equipment.
These and otherobjects of this invention are attained by the provision of a container which is readily loaded and unloaded and unloaded from a truck or a specially designed trailer so that a single truck or trailer can be used for the handling ofmany containers.
For a better understanding of this invention reference is now made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of a tractor trailer combination preparing to load one of the containers of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is an elevational view of a tractor trailer combination in the process of loading one of the con tainers of this invention;
FIGURE 3 is an elevational view of a tractor trailer combination with one of the containers of this invention loaded thereon;
FIGURE 4 is a plan view of an embodiment of the trailer used in the combination of this invention;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged elevational View of an embodiment of the container of this invention, portions being removed therefrom for clarity;
FIGURE 6 is a vertical sectional view of the embodiment of FIGURE 5 taken at line 66 of FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is an elevational view of another embodiment of this invention depicting a bobtail truck carrying one of the containers of this invention;
FIGURE 8 is an elevational view of the embodiment of FIGURE 7 showing the container in a dumping position;
FIGURE 9 is a side elevational view of the container of FIGURE 7 and 8 shown in a position at rest;
FIGURE 10 is a rear elevational view of the container shown in FIGURE 9;
FIGURE 11 is a side elevational view of still another embodiment of this invention depicting a novel bobtail truck carrying one of the containers of this invention;
FIGURE 12 is a plan view of the novel bobtail truck shown in FIGURE 11;
FIGURE 13 depicts another embodiment ofa tractortrailer combination;
FIGURE 14 is a plan view of another embodiment of the invention adapted to a bobtail truck;
FIGURE 15 is an elevational view of one embodiment of one of the containers of this invention;
FIGURE 16 is an elevational view of a modification of the bobtail construction shown in FIGURES 7-10;
FIGURE 17 is an isometric view of a portion of the underside of the container shown in FIGURE 16;
Referring first to FIGURE 1 of the drawing it willbe seen that in the embodiment shown a tractor 10 has attached thereto by means of the conventional fifth wheel 12 a tandem trailer 14. As shown in FIGURE 1 the tractor trailer is just preparing to load or has just unloaded a container 16, which is shown as a gondola. As
is apparent in FIGURES 1 through 4, trailer 14 is provided with rear wheels 18 which together with fifth wheel 12 provide support for the trailer. Referring more particularly to FIGURE 4 it will be noted that in the embodiment shown the trailer is bifurcated for a purpose which will hereinafter become apparent. The trailer is provided with a plurality of fluid cylinders 20 atiixed thereto.
Container 16 is provided with extensible support means comprising front leg 22 and rear legs 24.. The legs 22 and 24 are extensible to a length sufficient to support the container at a height wherein the bottom of the container is above the top of the trailer. The body of the container is formed with external frame members 26 so that the walls 28 will have a smooth interior surface.
It will be apparent that the tractor is used to back the trailer 14 under the container which is supported on its legs 22 and 24. When the trailer is properly positioned under the container the fluid cylinders 20 are actuated by means of a fluid pressuring system aboard the tractor so as to cause the piston rods 30 of the fluid cylinders to move upwardly and engage the container, preferably at the centering caps 32 which are aflixed to the bottom of the container. The fluid pressure of the cylinders forces the container upward so that the weight of the container no longer rests on legs 22 and 24. These legs are then elevated in the manner shown in FIGURE 2. Fluid pressure is then relieved from the fluid cylinders 20 so that the container is lowered onto the trailer 14 as is shown in FIGURE 3.
FIGURES 5 and 6 depict in somewhat greater detail the elements of one embodiment of the container of this invention. As shown in FIGURE 5 the rear leg 24 is a telescoping leg wherein the outer sleeve 34 is affixed to a frame member 26 of the container and an inner member 36 is slidably disposed therein. Member 36 is provided with a flat plate 38 on the lower end thereof in order to provide a larger bearing surface of the leg against the ground. Means are provided for releasably retaining the legs in a ground-engaging position or, alternatively, in a retracted position. In the embodiment shown, outer sleeve 34 is provided with upper and lower transverse apertures 40 and 42 respectively and inner member 36 is provided with a corresponding transverse aperture 44 near its upper end. A pin 46 is, as shown in FIGURE 5, engaged in aligned apertures 40 and 44 whereby the inner member 36 is supported at a retracted position in the outer sleeve 34. Many modifications of these means will be apparent to those skilled in the art.
As shown in the embodiments of FIGURES and 6, front leg 22 is also adapted to be retracted. Front leg 22 comprises an outer tubular sleeve 48 rigidly attached to the body of the container. An inner member 52 is telescopically received within the outer tubular sleeve 48 and is retained in the position shown in FIGURES 5 and 6 by means of a pin 54 which is inserted into aligned transverse apertures 53 and 55 in the inner member and the outer tubular sleeve, respectively. A lower transverse aperture 56 is also provided in the outer sleeve for positioning the leg in its extended or supporting position. Leg 22 is shown to be centrally positioned on the container, so that it is somewhat inaccessible. Means are therefore provided for retracting and extending this leg. This means comprises a crank 58 which rotates a shaft 60 which extends transversely of and is rotatably mounted in the upper ends of sleeve 48. A chain is attached to this shaft and to the inner member, so that rotation of the crank causes the inner member to be raised or lowered. Similarly as in the case of the rear leg the front leg is provided with a flat plate 64 on its lower end to provide increased bearing area of the leg on the ground. The bifurcated structure of the trailer allows the trailer to I move to and from its position under the container while 7 the front leg is in a ground-engaging position.
The centering caps 32 are shown more clearly in FIG- URES 5 and 6. As shown, the caps comprise downwardly facing conical concavities attached to the bottom of the container. Preferably the upper ends of the piston rods 30 have corresponding conical shape for engagement with the conical concavity of the centering caps. Thus when the trailer is backed in under the container it is not necessary that it be positioned at an exact place under the container since the corresponding conical structures of the piston rods and the centering caps will cause the container to be moved laterally to the proper position upon engagement of the piston rods with the centering caps.
The structure and method of this invention are also readily adaptable for use with a bobtail truck, as is shown in FIGURES 7 through 10. A bobtail truck 66 has mounted thereon a container 68 which is provided with front legs 70 and rear legs 72. The truck bed 74 has attached thereto a plurality of fluid cylinders '76 each of which is provided witha piston rod 78. The container 68 has provided on its lower surface a plurality of centering caps 80 positioned to be engaged by the piston rods of the fluid cylinders. In the embodiment shown the container has a hinged tail gate 82 and the container is attached to the bed of the truck by means of a hinge 84 at the rear and the bottom of the container by means of a removable hinge pin 86. This feature allows dumping of the container by elevation of the piston rods in the front fluid cylinders while leaving the rear fluid cylinders inactive in the manner shown in FIGURE 8.
FIGURE 9 depicts container 68 with its legs extended so that it is supported upon the ground. As is shown, the telescopic legs 70 and 72 are maintained in their extended position by means of pins 88 which fit into corresponding holes in the outer and inner members of the legs. As'in the embodiment of FIGURES 1 through 6 4 the legs are provided with flat plates 90 on their lower extremities to provide a greater bearing :area on the ground.
The operation of this embodiment of the invention is similar to that of the previous embodiment. When the container is in the position shown in FIGURE 9 the truck may be backed under it and the fluid cylinders 76 actuated to cause the piston rods 78 to move upwardly into engagement with the centering caps 80. The container is thereby lifted off its legs and the pins 88 may then be withdrawn and the inner member of each leg be moved upwardly until the transverse apertures in each inner member is aligned with the upper transverse aperture in the corresponding outer member, at which point the pins 88 are replaced so that the legs are retained in their collapsed position. The pressure is then released from the fluid cylinders so that the container is lowered onto the bed of the truck.
Although the embodiment illustrated by FIGURES 7-10 has a wide range of utility, its usefulness is somewhat limited by the fact that the front legs 70 must be spaced widely enough apart for the rear wheels of the truck to pass between them when the truck is being moved to a position to pick up the container, or when the truck is being moved out from under a container. This means that the overall width of the unit is sometimes greater than is desirable. The embodiment illustrated by FIGURES l1 and 12, however, does not have this disadvantage. Because of the novel structure of the truck used in this embodiment, the container may use a single, centrally positioned front leg instead of two front legs, one at each side.
Thus, according to this embodiment of the invention, a truck is provided with a bifurcated bed 102 comprising a longitudinally extending beam 104 forming each side of the bed and attached to each other only by crossmembers, one of which is shown at 106, at the forward end of the bed. Each side of the bed is supported by an outboard pair of dual wheels 108, each of which is mounted on a stub axle assembly mounted on one of the beams 104. It will be apparent that by virtue of the use of the stub axles and the bifurcated bed, an unobstructed longitudinal passageway 112 extends from the rear of the truck bed to the cross-member 106.
A container 114, shown as. of the van type, although any other known type of container may be used, is shown in FIGURE 11 positioned on the truck bed 102. This container is provided with a pair of extensible rear legs 116 at either side of the rear of the container, and a single extensible front leg 118 positioned substantially centrally of the width of the container at the front of the container. Each leg is provided with a base plate 120 for increased ground-bearing area. The positions of these base plates, and their corresponding legs, are indicated by broken lines in FIGURE 12. As in the other embodiments of the invention, hydraulic cylinders 122 are provided for lifting and lowering the container.
The operation of this embodiment of the invention is similar to that of the other embodiments previously described. It should be noted that the novel truck of this embodiment has no central drive shaft to the rear wheels. Power to these wheels may be supplied by separate drive shafts down each side of the bed, or by hydraulic lines leading to hydraulic motors operably' attached to the wheels. Alternatively, a front wheel drive may be employed, so that no power need be transmitted to the rear wheels.
FIGURE 13 shows a preferred means for mounting trailer wheels on the bifurcated construction of this invention. A trailer is provided with a pair of rearwardly extending spaced apart side frame members 132, 134 which form a longitudinally extending well 136 thercbetween. The frame members are positioned so as to be beneath and provide support for a container, as in the embodiments previously described, and are provided with a plurality of hydraulic cylinders 138 for elevating and lowering the container. 132, 134 is provided with tandem dual wheels for support of the rear end of the trailer. The dual wheels are not positioned outwardly of the frame members however, but instead the frame members are each supported between the wheels forming each dual pair. Thus member 132 is positioned between wheels 140 and 141, and between Wheels 142 and 143. Similarly, member 134 is positioned between wheels 144 and 145, and between wheels 146 and 147. The wheels are otherwise mounted in a conventional manner, either sprung or not, as may be desired.
It will be appreciated that mounting of the wheels in this manner eliminates twisting forces on the side frame members, as would be present with outboard wheels as, for example, in the embodiment shown in FIGURE 12. Furthermore, stresses in other elements of the wheel mounting are also greatly reduced so that design of these elements is substantially simplified.
FIGURE 14 depicts an adaptation of this concept to a bobtail truck. Side frame members 150 extend rearwardly, and have mounted thereon fluid cylinders 152. Dual wheels 154 and 156 each carry a frame member 150 between the wheels of each dual pair. In the embodiment shown, the wheels are driven by hydraulic motors 158 positioned between the wheels. Hydraulic motors 158 are provided with hydraulic fluidunder pressure through fluid lines 160, which are fed by a hydraulic pump 162, which is driven by the truck engine 164. With suitable valving, as is well known in the art, fluid cylinders 152 may be supplied with hydraulic fluid from the same source. It will be appreciated also that braking may be supplied by variation of the hydraulic fluid flow to the wheels, so that no brake drums are needed on the wheels, so that no brake drums are needed on the wheels. This allows the wheels to be placed more closely together, and therefore provides a wider well, and more room so that the truck bed may be backed under a container.
FIGURES16, 17, and 18 depict a modification of the bobtail construction shown in FIGURES 710. The bobtail truck 170 shown in FIGURE 16 does not have a bifurcated bed, therefore the container 172 mounted thereon is provided with two front legs 1'74 and two rear legs 176. Front legs 174 are laterally extensible, as well as being vertically extensible and retractable. The vertical telescoping leg portion 178 of each leg 174 has affixed to its upper end a horizontally extending arm 180. The horizontally extending arm is slidably disposed in a trans-' versely extending recess 182. While being carried on the truck, the legs 174 are as shown on the right side of FIG- URE 17. Upon arriving at the point where the container is to be unloaded, the container is elevated by means of the fluid cylinders, and the arms 180 are then pulled 1aterally out of recess 182 far enough so that the space between legs 174 is greater than the overall width of the rear wheels of the truck. Vertically extensible portions 178 are then extended downwardly into contact with the ground and locked into place, as has been previously described and as is shown in FIGURE 18. The pistons of the fluid cylinders may then be lowered and the truck moved from under the container.
It Will be appreciated that this laterally extensible leg construction may also be applied to other embodiments of the invention set forth herein. This structure is valuable because it allows use of a container of the maximum width to be mounted on a conventional chassis, modified only by the addition of the fluid cylinders for elevating the container. The legs are normally carried beneath the container so that they do not add to the width of the container While it is being transported, yet may be moved, upon demounting the container, to a position allowing ample room for movement of the rear truck wheels therebetween.
In the embodiment shown, vertical and horizontal portions 178 and 180 are shown to be triangular in crosssection, but it will be'apparent that other cross-sectional configurations may also be used.
Each of frame members.
FIGURES 19 and 20 illustrate an adaptation of this invention to a flat bed trailer. In this embodiment, the trailer 220 is provided with only three fluid cylinders, including a single centrally positioned front cylinder 222 and two rear cylinders 224 mounted on rearwardly extending side frame members 226. A conventional fifth wheel 228 is provided for attachment to a tractor. This embodiment of the invention illustrates the adaptability of the construction of the invention to many different modifications. The use of three fluid cylinders instead 'of four is advantageous because it reduces the loads on the side frame members and therefore permits the use of smaller frame members, resulting in lower weight and lower cost.
FIGURE 15 illustrates one of the advantageous results obtainable with the structure of this invention. Where a tank-type container 230 is transported to a location in which liquids are to be unloaded from the container, either immediately or periodically, the container may be unloaded from the truck or trailer in the manner previously described herein, except that the legs 232 at one end of the container are lowered farther than the legs 234 at the other end of the container. Then when the container is lowered to the ground, it will slope toward one end. At this end a metering valve 236 and a discharge hose 238 provide means through which liquid is discharged from the container 230. Thus the container is positioned so that it may be completely unloaded by gravity.
It will be apparent that the structure of this invention has many advantages over the standard truck or the tractor-trailer combination. A single truck may be used to handle a large number of containers since the truck is required only for transporting the containers and need not be kept idle while the container is being loaded or unloaded. Since the truck may be devoted entirely to trans porting service and need not be used merely to support a container during the loading and unloading, an owner or operator of trucks may obtain far greater service. from his trucks and therefore can operate with far fewer trucks than has previously been possible. This will greatly de crease his investment in trucks and therefore decrease his cost of licensing, insuring and maintaining his trucks since the containers themselves have no moving parts and would not require any licensing.
It will be apparent that the terms truck bed and trailer are used interchangeably herein to define any wheel-supported bed movable by a powered vehicle.
The invention has been described herein in terms of the use of fluid cylinders mounted on the truck bed for raising and lowering containers, however the invention also contemplates the use of other means for this purpose. For example, screw jacks may be used to elevate the container. Such screw jacks may be positioned as are the fluid cylinders previously described, and may be operated by a hand crank, or by a power take-off from the truck engine. Power may be transmitted to the screw jacks through a standard differential and through standard gear and rack or worm and worm wheel components.
Although various embodiments of this invention have been shown and described herein the invention is not limited to such embodiments. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many other types of containers may be used in the structure of this invention. For example, the container may be of the Van type, or may be a flat bed float. The container may be refrigerated, as for use to store and transport frozen foods. A tank type container may be used for handling liquids. Furthermore, many modifications of the extensible support means will be apparent. The invention is therefore limited only as defined by the following claims.
1. Apparatus comprising, in combination, a bifurcated truck bed having an unobstructed passageway extending longitudinally thereof from the rear of the truck bed to near the forward end of the truck bed, a container resting on said truck bed, a pair of retractable ground-engageable supports on the rear of said container, a retractable ground-engageable support on the front of said container and positioned centrally laterally thereof, means for retaining said supports in a retracted position, means for retaining said supports in a ground-engaging position, a plurality of fluid cylinders mounted on said truck bed positioned beneath said container, an upwardly movable piston rod in each of said cylinders adapted to engage said container, and a plurality of downwardly facing conical concavities on said container, each of which is positioned to be engaged by one of said piston rods.
2. Apparatus comprising (a) a bifurcated truck bed having an unobstructed passageway extending longitudinally thereof from the rear of the truck bed to near the forward end of the truck bed,
(b) a container having a usable width substantially equal to the width of said truck bed removably supported on top of said truck bed over said passageway,
(c) retractable ground-engageable. supports afiixed to the rear of the container and adapted to be moved downwardly to engage the ground behind the truck bed while the container is supported on the truck bed,
(d) a retractable ground-engageable support aifixed to the container beneath and near the front of the truck bed adapted to be moved downwardly through the passageway to engage the ground below the passageway while the container is supported on the truck bed,
(e) means for retaining said supports in a retracted position,
(if) means for retaining said supports in a groundengaging position, and
(g) means on said truck bed adapted to engage said container to elevate it to a position above said truck bed.
3. Apparatus comprising (a) a bifurcated truck bed having an unobstructed passageway extending longitudinally thereof from the rear of the truck bed to near the forward end of the truck bed,
(b) a container having a usable Width substantially equal to the width of said truck bed removably supported on top of said truck bed over said passageway,
(c) retractable ground-engageable supports afiixed to the container near the rear and within the width of the container and adapted to be moved downwardly to engage the ground behind the truck bed while the container is supported on the truck bed,
(d) a retractable ground-engageable support aflixed to the container near the front of the truck bed adapted to be moved downwardly through the passageway to engage the ground below the passageway while the container is supported on the truck bed,
(e) means for retaining said supports in a retracted position,
(f) means for retaining said supports in a ground-engaging position, and
(g) means on said truck bed within the Width of said container adapted to engage said container to elevate it to a position above said truck bed.
4-. Apparatus as defined by claim 2, wherein a single front support is positioned substantially centrally laterally of said unobstructed passageway.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,048,580 7/1936 Webber 214-515 2,517,304 8/1950 Greening 214--515 2,547,269 4/1951 Kinsey 214390 2,693,288 11/1954 Black 214-515 X 2,772,008 11/1956 Martin 214-152 2,788,983 4/1957 Barenyi 280106 2,855,213 10/1958 Gerhardt 280106 2,868,401 1/1959 Le Lois 2l4-152 2,956,699 10/1960 Payne 214515 X 2,985,482 5/1961 Lion 214-515 3,001,662 9/1961 Herpich 2201.5 3,140,005 7/1964 Hand 220-1.5
GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner.
A. I. MAKAY, Assistant Examiner.