US 3393827 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 23, 1968 o. J. ASENBAUER 3,393,827
NESTABLE AND CROSS-STACKABLE CONTAINER Filed April 21, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG. 2 INVENTORZ DONALD J. ASENBAUER HIS ATTORNEY July 23, 1968 D. J. ASENBAUER 3,393,327
NESTABLE AND CROSS-STACKABLE CONTAINER Filed April 21, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 20 FIG. 6
DONALD J. ASENBAUER WM 6 HIS ATTORNEY y 23, 968 D. J. ASENBAUER 3,393,827
NESTABLE AND CROSS STACKABLE CONTAINER Filed April 21, 1967 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 E 20 250 25 250 M AA! AL I V] f V Fl Aamm g INVENTOR:
DONALD .J; ASENBAUER BWM' HIS ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,393,827 NESTABLE AND CROSS-STACKABLE CONTAINER Donald J. Asenbauer, Whittier, Calif., assignor to Shell Oil Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 21, 1967, Ser. No. 632,596 4 Claims. (Cl. 220-97) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An open-top, plastic, rectangular, nestable shipping container having slightly divergent side and end walls which are provided Wit-h shelves and notches so that identical containers can be cross-stacked to provide strength, stability and ventilation to stacked containers during shipment.
This invention relates to nesting and cross-stacking containers. More particularly, the invention relates to a nestable, cross-stackable container of substantially uniform thickness throughout which can be integrally formed from a single piece of sheet material as well as being fabricated by injection molding techniques and the like. While the present invention specifically contemplates the use of plastic material such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers, its application is nevertheless not to be thus limited.
Specifically, the present invention is directed to a rectangular, nestable and cross-stackable container having a length approximately equal to twice its width and having upwardly and outwardly sloping (upwardly diverging) side and end walls integrally connected at their lower extremity to a bottom wall, said side, end and bottom walls having a unique configuration to be described more fully hereinafter so that identical containers may not only be nested in a conventional manner but also may be cross-stacked, i.e., interlocked in a novel stackingconfi'guration to form a very stable unit.
It has become necessary to transport fruits and vegetables distances quite removed from whence they are grown and harvested. In order to reduce the amount of physical damage suffei ed by such produce, particularly the more fragile produce such as tomatoes, it is generally necessary to transport the produce in containers having a capacity of about a bushel or two more or less.
The shipping boxes generally employed, however, suffer from one or more serious shortcomings. Those made of insubstantial material such as cardboard cannot be stacked to a sufficient height and are difiicult to clean. Wood and metal construction materials do permit stacking but they not only add to the weight of such containers but also increase their cost.
In the interest of space economy, substantially full containers are stacked one upon another during transportation and nested together when empty for their return to the harvesting area. Such containers which are capable of stacking and nesting are currently available. These containers, however, are stacked one upon another with each stack being a separate entity within itself. When such containers are stacked to a height of, say three or more containers, the stacks are quite unstable and during transportation rock and weave and frequently topple, or at least subject the contents thereof to a constant rocking motion which has an adverse effect on the contents, particularly if the contents are so-called soft fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes. The present shipping container is particularly suitable for construction from lightweight, low-cost materials, i.e., heat formable plastics.
The instant container has a unitary integral construction not possible with wood materials and very costly with metallic materials.
Most importantly, however, the present container not only can be conveniently nested with identical containers but also can be cross-stacked, i.e., interlocked in a square configuration thereby producing a very stable unitary stack of containers. This cross-stacking feature, not obtainable with conventional containers, is particularly suitable for containers used for shipping soft fruits and vegetables since stacks of the present containers are significantly more stable, i.e., the respective containers and stacks do not weave and rock to the motion of the truck, boxcar or the like. In other words, produce shipped in the instant containers do not suffer from the undesirable road shock produced by the constant rocking of conventional containers. It will be appreciated that there is likewise no lateral or forward shifting of superimposed containers of the present invention since each container, in effect, is interlocked via cross-stacking with other containers. It will also be appreciated that when the present containers are in stacked arrangement, maximum air circulation is provided for the contents thereof.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a nestable and stackable container having a unitary construction. It is another object of the present invention to provide a nestable and cross-stackable container which is especially suitable for shipping produce. It is still another object to provide a nestable and cross-stackable container which is capable of facile manufacture and economical production by mass production methods of plastic materials and which is particnlarly useful in palletized operations.
These and other objects will become apparent to one skilled in the art from the following disclosure and drawings.
The invention is described in greater detail and the best mode presently contemplated of carrying out the present invention is illustrated in the attached drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the container;
FIGURE 2 is a plan view of the container;
FIGURE 3 is a side view in partial cross-section of two containers in normal nesting position;
FIGURE 4 is a crosssectional view of the two nesting containers of FIGURE 3 taken on line 44 thereof;
FIGURE 5 is a side view in partial cross-section of several containers in stacked arrangement; and
FIGURE 6 is a reduced side view in partial crosssection taken on line 66 thereof.
Referring now to FIGURES 1-6 of the drawings, the nestable and cross-stackable container A of FIGURES l and 2, containers A and B of FIGURES 3 and 4, and containers A, B, C and D of FIGURES 5 and 6 are all identical. Since all containers are identical, like parts are identified throughout by like reference numerals, therefore, in the following description reference will be made to one of the containers A, B, C, etc., only whenever a cooperative relationship of two or more containers are involved in the description.
Referring more particularly to FIGURES 1 and 2 of the drawing, an integrally formed open top rectangular container A having an over-all length approximately twice the over-all width measured at the widest portions thereof including the bead, and formed from a single sheet of plastic, metal or the like comprises a bottom or bottom wall 20 integrally connected to upwardly diverging side walls 21 and 22, and upwardly diverging end walls 23 and 24.
Midway between ends walls 23 and 24 and transversely to the longitudinal axis of the container, bottom wall 20 is upwardly indented or deformed to form an inverted U-shaped trough 25 having substantially vertical side walls 25a and 25b. Trough 25 has a transverse width approximately twice the width of bead 40.
It is of interest at this time to point out that the instant container is bilaterally symmetrical about both the longitudinal and transverse axes.
Side wall 21 at its upper extremity is outwardly and upwardly indented or deformed on either side of the transverse axis of the container to form notches, shoulders or supporting inner shelves 26 and 27 in bead 40, each having a longitudinal width approximately equal to the outside width of bottom wall 20-. Side wall 22 is likewise indented at its upper extremity to form corresponding notches, shoulders or shelves 28 and 29. Side Walls 21 and 22 and end walls 23 and 24 at their upper extremity project outwardly and downwardly a short distance to form bead 40 for strength and ease of handling.
Two or more containers may be nested together to form a very compact stack as illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 4. In such a nesting configuration, container B is inserted into container A. This can be accomplished simply by aligning the longitudinal axis of container B with the longitudinal axis of container A with container B above container A and then container B is lowered until the containers engage with each other. Any reasonable number of containers can be nested in this manner. As shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, when containers A and B are thus nested, the side and end walls of container A will be in close contact with the corresponding side and end walls of container B. While side wall 22 of container A is shown in contact with side wall 22 of container B in FIGURES 3 and 4, because the instant containers are bilaterally symmetrical about both the transverse and the longitudinal axis, either container could be turned end-for-end, i.e., rotated 180, and the same nesting relationship would be obtained. This feature offers a distinct advantage over containers which when rotated 180 will nest, but when rotated another 180 will stack, since nesting can obviously be facilitated with the instant container.
Stacking of the instant containers can be easily and effectively accomplished as shown in FIGURES and 6. It is readily apparent that a very stable, substantially square interlocking stack is obtained which can be conveniently palletized for ease of transportation.
Referring more particularly to FIGURES 5 and 6, containers C and D cross-stack and interlock with and upon containers A and B. In a like manner containers E and F (not shown) cross-stack and interlock with and upon containers C and D. Containers A and B are placed in side-by-side arrangement with their side wall beads 40 in contact with their longitudinal axes parallel to each other. Then containers C and D are stacked upon containers A and B with their respective axes parallel to each other with their axes at right angles to the axes of containers A and B. In such a stacked arrangement it will be seen that the portion of bottom wall next adjacent end wall 23 of container C sets upon and engages notch or shelf 28 of container A and that portion of bottom wall 20 next adjacent end wall 24 of container C sets upon and engages notch or shelf 26 of container B. In a like manner, that portion of bottom wall 20 next adjacent end wall 24 of container D sets upon and engages notch or shelf 29 of container A and that portion of bottom wall 20 next adjacent end wall 23 of container D sets upon and engages notch or shelf 21 of container B.
Referring more particularly to FIGURE 6, it will be seen that container D is not only supported by shelves 27 and 29 of containers A and B, but also interlocks therewith wherein slot or trough 25 of container D engages bead 40 of side wall 21 of container A and bead 40 of side wall 22 of container B. In a like manner container E interlocks with containers C and D, as shown in FIGURE 5 wherein slot 25 of container E fits over and engages bead 40 of side wall 28 of container C and bead 40 of side wall 22 of container D.
The side walls 21 and 22 and end walls 23 and 24 may preferably be stepped slightly outwardly and upwardly to form one or more continuous reinforcing rings 30 parallel to bottom wall 20 around the periphery of the container.
I claim as my invention:
1. An integrally formed open-top rectangular crossstacking and nesting container having a length approximately equal to twice the width thereof at the widest portions of said container, comprising a bottom wall, upwardly and outwardly diverging side and end walls connecting with said bottom wall, said side and end walls terminating at their upper extremity in a continuous circumferential bead, midway between the end walls and transversely to the longitudinal axis of the container, said bottom wall is upwardly deformed to form an inverted U-shaped trough having a width approximately equal to twice the width of said circumferential bead, said side walls at their upper extremity being outwardly deformed on either side of the transverse axis of the container to form a pair of supporting inner shelves in each of said side walls having a longitudinal width approximately equal to the outside width of the bottom wall and adapted to support a superimposed stacked container.
2. A container as in claim 1 wherein the side and end walls are stepped slightly outwardly and upward to form at least one continuous circumferential reinforcing ring.
3. A container as defined in claim 1 which is integrally formed from a single sheet of plastic material.
4. A container as defined in claim 1 which is integrally formed of plastic material and having a substantially uniform thickness throughout.
FOREIGN PATENTS 4/1959 France. 8/1964 Germany.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
G. E. LOWRANCE, Assistant Examiner.