US 3471116 A
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1969 I T. H. DE CHERRIE 3,471,116v I PALLETS 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 H X H z.
Inventor Theodore H. De Cherrie Atfornev 1969 -r. H. DE CHERRIE 7 5 6 PALLETS Filed April 7, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Has Io F114, 176.5
Attorney United States Patent 3,471,116 PALLETS Theodore H. De Cherrie, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Zenith Radio Corporation, Chicago, 111., a corporation of Delaware Filed Apr. 7, 1967, Ser. No. 629,137 Int. Cl. B65d 67/00, 85/30 Us. (:1. 24s-,-119 1 Claim ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This invention relates to the manufacture, packaging and shipment of console television receivers, stereophonic high fidelity instruments and the like and more particu- =larly to pallets employed in conjunction with such prodnets to facilitate their factory movement and handling in accordance with mass production assembly techniques and to provide protection and stabilization for such products in their subsequent packaging and shipment.
Modern console electronic home entertainment prodnets are supplied in a variety of fine furniture cabinetry. In an elfort to reduce the amount of damage to such cabinets in the course of factory handling and subsequent shipment,it has been a customary practice in the radio and television industry to provide such cabinets with wooden pallets which serve as skids to facilitate factory handling and remain affixed to-the cabinet to serve as carton fillers and spacers during shipment. While the use of such pallets has reduced the amount of cabinet damage significantly, it has failed to provide a complete solution to the problem. In designing such pallets, it has been necessary to compromise their ruggedness in favor of maintaining a sufficiently light weight to avoid excessive material costs and shipping expense. This consideration has limited the size and sturdiness of the wood stock employed and has also dictated the use of an open framework type of construction which provides only partial protection for the cabinet legs. Moreover, it has been necessary to use bolts or other fasteners in securing the pallets to the cabinets; this is not only time-consuming and therefore expensive, but also results in a rigid connection between the pallet and the cabinet, so that shocks to which the pallet may be subjected in the course of factory handling are transmitted to the cabinet and sometimes result in costly cabinet damage.
It is a principal object of the present invention to provide a new and improved pallet for use in the factory handling and shipment of console electronic home entertainment'products.
It is a further and more specific object of the invention to provide such a new and improved pallet which affords a greater measure of protection to the associated product during manufacture and shipment than pallets of conventional construction. I
' Still another object of the invention is to provide such a new and improved pallet which is adapted to be retained on its associated product without the useof bolts or other external fasteners.
A further objectof the invention is to achieve the ice aforementioned objectives with a new and improved pallet construction which is of lighter weight and lower cost, and which is less susceptible to breakage in factory handling or shipment, than the pallets conventionally employed in the manufacture of such products.
In accordance with the invention, there is provided a pallet adapted for dual utility (a) in the commercial manufacture of an article, such as a console television receiver, having a furniture cabinet with a chassis-supporting shelf and other parts such as legs, braces and side panels disposed below said shelf, and, (b) in the packaging of such article in a shipping carton. A new and improved pallet embodying the invention comprises a continuous body of expanded cellular plastic materials such as polystyrene foam having an extended upper supporting surface adapted to engage the chassis-supporting shelf and provide support for the cabinet from below. The expanded cellular plastic body is provided with an upwardly opened grooved portion adjacent the supporting surface for receiving the parts of the cabinet which extend below the shelf, this grooved portion being proportioned to provide vertical clearance relative to such other parts received therein when the cabinet is resting on the supporting surface but to be in gripping engagement with opposed lateral surfaces of at least some of such other parts to insure frictional retention of the pallet on the cabinet without the use of fasteners of any kind. A
reinforcing member of wood or the like is secured to the bottom of the expanded cellular plastic body to permit its use as a skid in moving the cabinet between successive stations of a mass production assembly line. The pallet has an outer configuration adapted to conform with the shipping carton when the article is inserted therein, whereby the pallet also serves as a readily removable spacer and filler to stabilize the article in the carton during shipment.
The features of the present invention which are believed to be novel are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in the several figures of which like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a pallet construction in accordance with the invention as employed in conjunction with a console television receiver, a shipping carton being shown in dotted outline;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the several pallets of FIGURE 1, with the television receiver removed;
FIGURE 3 is a sectional view taken along the lines 33 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view taken along the line 55 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 of FIGURE 1; and
FIGURE 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIGURE 6.
In FIGURE 1, there is shown a console television receiver housed in a fine furniture cabinet 10. The receiver as shown is supported by left and right pallets 11 and 12, respectively, each of a width much less than half the overall cabinet width, and an auxiliary intermediate pallet 13. Auxiliary pallet 13 is provided in conjunction with wider instruments such as stereophonic high fidelity instruments and TV-stereo combinations of the type shown in FIG- URE 1; when the unit is of a narrower constIuction, such as a simple console television receiver, the intermediate or auxiliary pallet 13 may be omitted.
Pallets 11 and 12 are constructed in accordance with the invention, and their construction may best be visual ized by consideration of FIGURE 2. Since pallets 11 and 12 are of identical construction except that the configuration of each is a mirror image of the other, consideration of pallet 12 will suffice to convey an understanding of the construction.
Pallet 12 is composed of a one-piece continuous body 14 of expanded cellular plastic material, preferably polystyrene foam, to the bottom surface of which is glued or otherwise secured a reinforcing member 15 of wood or the like. Body 14 is provided with an extended upper supporting surface 16 and an upwardly opening channel or grooved portion 17 adjacent supporting surface 16 for receiving those parts of cabinet which extend below the chassis-supporting shelf 30. For the particular illustrated embodiment of the invention, channel 17 is of a C-shaped configuration and is of a Width determined by the specific dimensions of cabinet 10 with which the pallet 12 is to be employed; more particularly, channel 17 is proportioned so that its opposite surfaces are in gripping engagement with opposed lateral surfaces of at least some of the cabinet parts which are disposed below chassissupporting shelf 30, to insure frictional retention of pallet 12 on cabinet 10 without the use of auxiliary fasteners. Moreover, the depth of channel 17 is greater than the height of the cabinet parts extending below chassis-supporting shelf 30, to provide vertical clearance relative to legs 19 and other depending parts 20 received therein when cabinet 10 is resting on supporting surface 16-, so that no weight-bearing stresses are imparted to legs 19 and other depending parts 20. It is preferred that channel 17 be of variable depth as shown, to provide only sufficient vertical clearance to preclude the imposition of such weight-bearing stresses, because this gives plastic body 14 its greatest strength and rigidity consistent with attainment of the objectives of the invention. The outer surface of pallet 12 is provided with a plurality of grooves or indentations 18, which may be in any convenient pattern, for a purpose to be described. For maximum economy and optimum protection for the depending cabinet parts, expanded cellular plastic body 14 is formed in a single molding process, the mold being proportioned to insure that channel 17 is properly dimensioned as described above to cooperate with the particular cabinet configuration under consideration. This of course will necessitate the use of different molds for specifically different cabinet constructions, but the economies and other advantages of the invention are such that universal adaptability of the pallets to cabinets of all configurations is not required to achieve the benefits of the invention.
In use, the cabinet legs 19 and other depending parts 20 are inserted into channel 17, the natural resilience of expanded cellular material permitting slight lateral expansion of channel 17 upon the insertion of the cabinet parts to provide the gripping engagement and frictional retention described previously. Since the pallet 12 is of lightweight construction, it has been found that specified objectives can be readily achieved so that even if cabinet 10 is lifted, the weight of pallet 12 is insuificient to overcome the frictional forces retaining pallet 12 in place. On the other hand, pallet 12 can be removed easily at will simply by lifting one end of cabinet 10 and applying moderate downward pressure.
FIGURES 3 through 7 illustrate the manner in which cabinet 10 is supported by pallets 11, 12 and 13, and the manner in which the cabinet legs 19 and other downwardly depending cabinet parts 20 are received Within channels 17 provided in the outermost pallets 11 and 12. The cabinet legs 19 are fully enclosed within the molded bodies 14 and therefore receive a much greater measure of protection than that afforded by the conventional Wooden pallets. Auxiliary pallet 13, which may simply be a block of the same expanded cellular plastic material with its glued wood reinforcing member 22, may be frictionally retained between a pair of braces 23 provided on 4 the under surface of the central portion of chassis-supporting shelf 30, as shown in FIGURE 4.
After completion of the manufacturing and testing operation, to prepare the television receiver for shipment, a conventional cardboard shipping carton 25 indicated in dashed outline in FIGURE 1 is simply slipped over the top of cabinet 10, with the pallets 11, 12 and 13 remaining in place, and bottom sealed. Accordingly, each of the pallets 11 and 12 is provided with an outer configuration adapted to conform with the shipping carton upon insertion of the completed receiver, so that pallets 11 and 12 serve as readily removable spacer and filler elements to stabilize the product in the carton during shipment.
Grooves or indentations 18 are provided so that the total area of external surface of pallets 11 and 12 maintained in contact with the inner surface of the shipping carton 25 is materially reduced, thus providing a substantial cushioning effect which reduces the transmission to the furniture cabinet of impact forces encountered during shipment.
Thus the invention provides a new and improved pallet construction which is compact, lightweight and inexpensive while providing improved protection for the cabinet during manufacture and shipment. The pallet of the invention is frictionally retained in place without the use of bolts or other external fasteners, and has been found to withstand ordinary factory handling and shipment with less pallet breakage and materially less cabinet damage than have been encountered with use of the previously employed bolted wooden pallets.
While a particular embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications may be made without departing from the invention in its broader aspects.
1. A pallet adapted for dual utility (a) in the commercial manufacture of an article, such as a console television receiver, having a furniture cabinet with a chassissupporting shelf and other parts such as legs, braces and side panels disposed below said shelf, and (b) in the packaging of said article in a shipping carton, said pallet comprising:
a continuous body of expanded cellular plastic material having an extended upper supporting surface adapted to engage said chassis-supporting shelf and provide support for said cabinet from below, and an upwardly opening grooved portion adjacent said supporting surface for receiving said other parts of said cabinet below said shelf, said grooved portion comprising a C-shaped channel and being proportioned to provide vertical clearance relative to said other parts received therein when said cabinet is resting on said supporting surface but to be in gripping engagement with opposed lateral surfaces of at least some of such other parts to insure frictional retention of said pallet on said cabinet without the use of fasteners of any kind, said vertical clearance being only sufficient to avoid the imposition of weight-bearing stress on said other cabinet parts;
and a reinforcing member of wood or the like secured to the bottom of said body to permit its use as a skid in moving said cabinet between successive stations of a mass production assembly line;
said pallet having an outer configuration adapted to conform with said shipping carton when said article is inserted therein, whereby said pallet also serves as "a readily removable spacer and filler to stabilize said article in said carton during shipment, the overall Width of said pallet being less than half the width of said cabinet, and said pallet being adapted to engage and support one side of said cabinet while another pallet of similar construction engages and supports the other side.
(References on following page) References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Addison 10851 Kaye 248346 Solomon 248119 5 Martin.
Pezely et a1.
6 3,356,209 12/ 1967 Pezely. 3,380,403 4/1968 Sullivan 10851 FRANCIS K. ZUGEL, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.