US 3361293 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 2, 1968 T. BOX
STACKABLE PLASTIC CONTAINER 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 5, 1966 INVENTOR BY Ira/n BATH ATTORNEY T. BOX
Jan; 2, 1968 STACKABLE PLASTIC CONTAINER 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Jan. 5, 1966 INVENTOR 75 503015 BOX ATTORNEY Jan. 2, 1968 T. BOX 3,361,293
STACKABLE PLASTIC CONTAINER Filed Jan. 1966 5 h heet 5 INVENTOR UAEL IQATH ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,361,293 STACKABLE PLASTIC CONTAINER Theodor Box, Manhasset, N.Y. (5702 251st St, Little Neck, NDY. 11362) Filed Ian. 5, 1966, Ser. No. 518,836 6 Claims. (Cl. 220--97) The present invention relates to open-topped stackable plastic containers or cases, such as trays, bins, etc., as used for the display and/or storage of various kinds of objects or materials, the main purpose of the invention being the provision of an improved container structure of this type adapted for the ready and expeditious assembly of a plurality of container units into a highly stable stack, on the one hand, as well as to enable ready and expeditious disassembly of the stack, on the other hand.
A more specific object of the invention is the provision of an improved container of the referred to type adapted to become firmly interlocked with the container below in a stack upon being loaded with the objects or material to be stored or displayed, substantially without jamming or impeding the ready and instant disassembly of the stack or removal of the individual units thereof.
Another object of the invention is the provision in conjunction with a stackable container of the referred to type of spacing means, whereby the stacked containers of an assembly may be mutually spaced substantially without affecting the stability of a stack, to reveal the contents in the case of a display assembly, or to enable ready access to the stacked units for the placing and removal of the objects or materials to be stored and/ or displayed.
The invention, both as to the foregoing and ancillary objects, as well as novel aspects thereof, will be better understood from the following detailed description of a preferred practical embodiment, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing forming part of this specification and in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a simple stackable container, such for instance as a display bin, tray, or the like, being constructed in accordance with the principles of the in vention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged partial view taken on line 2--2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a partial plan view taken on line 33 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a partial view similar to FIG. 2 and showing two stacked containers with the interposition of a spacing member constructed in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on line 5--5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on line 66 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is an elevation of a stack of containers according to the invention;
FIG. 8 is a view similar to FIG. 4, showing an alternative spacer construction for separating two containers of a stack in accordance to the invention;
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken on line 99 of FIG. 8; and
FIGS. 10 and 11 are sectional views similar to FIG. 9 and showing alternative constructions of a spacing member according to the invention.
Like reference numbers denote like parts in the different views of the drawings.
With the foregoing objects in view, the invention involves generally the provision of a stackable open-topped rectangular container or tray adapted for mounting upon and in locked relation with a similar container in a single or multiple stack assembly, each of said containers comprising pairs of integrally molded side walls, end walls and a bottom wall. For this purpose, the container according to the invention is formed with integral corner walls 3,361,293 Patented Jan. 2, 1968 enclosing angles of 45 with and connecting the adjacent side and end walls of the container, to provide vertical locating or positioning channels of substantially rectangular triangular cross-section at the corners of the container, said corner walls including relatively short end sections forming shoulders at right angles to the adjoining side and end Walls of the container.
There are furthermore provided, in accordance with the invention, integral angular supporting feet extending outwardly from points adjoiningthe corners of the bottom wall of the container, each of said feet being composed of a pair of side walls at right angles to one another and registering with the adjoining positioning channels of the side and end walls of the container, in such manner as to enable the stacking and nesting of a first container upon a second container with the side walls of the feet of the first container engaging the inside walls of the positioning channels of the second container.
In order, furthermore, to firmly lock two stacked containers, to improve the stability of the stack, yet Without the danger of jamming as a result of the load or weight of the container or containers above in. a stack, the free edges of the side walls of said feet are shaped to slant at a suitable angle towards the edges or corners of the container, and the width of said feet is related to the Width of said channels such as to cause the slanting edges of said side walls of one container to engage the upper shoulder edges of said corner walls of the container below in the stack. There is achieved in this manner a wedging effect along a linear contact line, whereby to enable the attainment of a firm interlock of two adjacent containers of a stack, on the one hand, while substantially precluding any large-surface frictional contact between the containers liable to produce jamming or freezing of two containers upon loading the containers with the objects or material to be stored.
The same principle of interlocking or stabilizing of two stacked containers may be applied to assemblies including spacing or separating means between the adjacent containers of a stack, said spacing means designed to interlock with the containers in the same manner as pointed out hereinbefore and becoming more apparent as the following description proceeds in reference to the drawings.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a tray-like rectangular and open-topped container 10 having a pair of side walls Ila, a pair of end Walls 11b, and a bottom wall He. The upper and lower edges of the side and end walls may be suitably reinforced in a known manner, such as by the provision of a pair of upper outward flanges 12, FIG. 2, and a lower flange 13, FIG. 4, in the example illustrated, to enable an easy and expeditious stacking of two or more containers, as described in further detail in the following. Additional reinforcing or stiffening ribs or the like may be provided, to improve the mechanical rigidity of the container and to allow the same to be molded with a minimum wall thickness in the interest of decreasing weight and cost of the containers in accordance with conventional practice.
In order to afford both stacking and nesting of one container with the container below of a stack assembly, while at the same time ensuring adequate mechanical stability of the stack, the corners of the containers are fitted, in accordance with the improvement of the present invention, with vertical positioning channels 14' of substantially rectangular triangular cross-section by the provision of integral vertical corner walls 14 connecting equispaced points of the side and end walls 11a and 11b in respect to the corners of the container, said corner walls including relatively short end sections or shoulders 14a and 14b at right angles to and adjoining the side and end walls of the container, as more clearly shown by FIG. 3.
Besides, projecting outwardly from the bottom wall He and in registry With the channels 14 there are provided integral supporting and. nesting feet or projections 15, FIG. 2 and 3 of angular cross-section, being composed of a pair of side walls 15a and id?) at right angle to one another, said side walls adapted to closely engage the inside surfaces of the walls 11a and illb of a container below in a stack, that is, with the feet 15 of the upper container nesting with the channels Tod of the lower container, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The free edges 16 of the side Walls 15a and 15b of the feet 35 slant outwardly in the direction of the corners of the container and the width of the feet 15 is related to the width of the channels 14' such as to cause the slanting edges 16 of the upper container b to engage the upper edges of the shoulders Ma and 14b of the lower container lfia along a contact line in the stacked and nested position of two containers, as shown more clearly in FIG. 2. In other words, the thickness of the walls 15a and 15b equals the width of the shoulders 14a and 14b and the maximum width of the side walls 15a and 15b of the feet 15 is such in relation to the width of the channels lid as to leave a slight and practically negligible clearance d between the stacked containers 10a and ltlb, FIG. 2. As a consequence, the weight or thrust of the upper container 'ldo is concentrated upon the line of contact between the edges 16 of the feet 15 and the upper edges of the shoulders 14a and 1411, respectively, whereby to ensure an adequate stability of the stack through a wedge action between said edges by the load or weight carried by the upper container, on the one hand, while avoiding any large surface frictional contact areas subject to load pressure and resultant jamming or freezing of two containers. As a consequence, the containers may be readily separated or disassembled with a minimum of effort.
By utilizing the same principle as described, the stacked containers lltia and lldb may be spaced by the interposition of spacing members 1'7 constructed to firmly engage or interlock with the containers, in the manner shown by FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. Referring to the latter, the spacing memer 17 of rectangular triangular cross-section, being composed of side walls 18 and 2t and a cross-wall 19 conforming with the cross-walls 14 of the channels l4 respectively, of the containers, are provided with depending angular feet or members having side walls 21 and 22 and conforming with the feet 15 of the containers, said side walls being, in turn, fitted with slanting edges 21in, whereby the members 17 may be firmly mounted upon a first container 10a and a second container llfib may be supported by the member 17, in substantially the same manner as described hereinbefore and being apparent from FIG. 4. The stability of the assembly and ready disassembly of the stack is thus ensured in the same manner and for the same reasons as pointed out and understood from the foregoing.
In order to provide a certain normal spacing between two stacked containers, that is, without the use of any special spacing means or members 17, the intermediate portions of the side and end walls 11a and Ill]; may be of lesser height than the corner portions of said walls, or the corners of the containers may be fitted with extensions or elevations 26, as shown in FIG. 7. In the latter, the containers 10a and lltlb of the multiple stack shown are stacked directly in the manner according to FIG. 1, while the containers 10a and lllic are separated by the interposition of single spacing members 17a of the type described hereinbefore. If a greater spacing between any two containers is desired, two members 172) and 170 may be interconnected telescope-fashion, in the manner shown for containers 19c and 16d and understood from the foregoing.
In an effort to further increase the stability of a stack embodying spacing members between the containers, the height of the feet 21, 22 of the spacing members may be i in excess of the height of the feet 15 of the containers, as shown in FIG. 4.
According to a modified construction of the spacing members 17, as shown by FIGS. 8 and 9, the cross-walls 1d of the containers are fitted with vertical conical ribs of triangular cross-section, said ribs increasing in height from the top towards the bottom of the containers, and the depending sections of the members, also being of triangular cross-section and composed of side walls 23 and 24 and a corner wall 25, are constructed with the wall 25 slanting downwardly in conformity with the ribs 140, in such a manner as to again ensure a firm interlock of the members 17 with the channels 14 along a pair of linear contact or pressure areas. There is thus provided both the necessary stability of the stack, While enabling an easy disassembly, in the manner readily understood from the foregoing.
According to further modification of the latter construction, the depending sections of the members 17 are of solid cross-section and conical on all the sides, as shown in 27 in FIGS. 10 and 11, with conical ribs 140 and 14d being provided in this case on all three surfaces of the channels 14, FIG. 10, or with interfitting multiple coni cal ribs on the sections 27 and the surfaces of the channels 14', respectively, FIG. 11.
In the foregoing the invention has been described in reference to a specific illustrative device. It will be evident, however, that variations and modifications, as well as the substitution of equivalent parts or elements for those shown for illustration, may be made in accordance With the broader scope and spirit of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are accordingly to be regarded in an illustrative rather than in a restrictive sense.
1. An open-topped rectangular container adapted for mounting upon and in locked relation with a similar container, each of said containers comprising in combination:
(1) pairs of integral side and end walls, and a bottom Wall,
(2) integral corner Walls enclosing angles of 45 with and connecting the adjoining side and end walls, to provide channels of substantially rectangular triangular cross-section at the corners of the container,
(3) said corner walls including relatively short end sections forming shoulders at right angles to the adjoining side and end Walls of the container, and
(4) integral angular supporting feet extending outwardly from points adjoining the corners of said bottom Wall and each comprising a pair of side Walls at right angle to one another and registering with the respective channels of the container,
(5) the free edges of the side Walls of said feet slanting outwardly towards the corners of the container and the width of said feet being related to the width of said channels, whereby to cause the side walls of said feet of a first container, mounted upon a second container, to engage the adjoining lateral channel surfaces and to cause the slanting edges of said feet to engage in line-to-line contact the upper shoulder edges of the corner walls of said second container.
2. In a container as claimed in claim 1, said shoulders having a width substantially equal to the thickness of the side walls of said feet,
3. In a container as claimed in claim 1, at least one of the side and end walls of said container having an intermediate section of lesser height compared with the corners of the container, to provide an access opening to the interior of the intermediate containers within a stack.
In a stack of containers as claimed in claim 1, spacing members interposed between at least two containers of said stack, each of said members being composed of a first triangular portion having a cross-wall and side Walls conforming, respectively, to the corner wall and adjoining corner portions of the side and end walls of the containers, and a second angular portion extending from and in line with said first portion and conforming to the side Walls of said feet, whereby to enable a first container to be mounted upon and in spaced relation to a second container by said members arranged with their second portions engaging the channels of said second container and with their first portions being engaged by the feet of said first container.
5. In a stack of containers as claimed in claim 4, the height of the second portions of said members being in excess of the height of said feet.
6. In a stack of containers as claimed in claim 1, said corner walls fitted with a plurality of integral conical ribs projecting inwardly into said channels with the height of said ribs increasing gradually from zero at the top towards the bottom of the channels, and spacing members interposed between at least two containers of said stack, each of said members being composed of a first triangular portion having a cross-wal1 and side walls conforming, respectively, to the corner wall and adjoining corner portions of the side and end walls of the containers, and a second conical portion extending from and in line with said first portion and conforming to the conical channels defined by said ribs, whereby to enable a first container to be mounted upon and in spaced relation to a second container by said members arranged with their second portions engaging in line-to-line contact the ribs of the channels of the second container and with their first portions being engaged by the feet of the first container.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,728,638 9/1929 Straubel 220-97 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,240,706 8/ 1960 France.
1,358,471 3/ 1964 France.
JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner. G. E. LOWRANCE, Examiner.