US 3514157 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
E. M. GEISER 3,514,157
APPARATUS FOR PACKING AND HANDLING SHIPMENTS May 26, 1970 Filed Dec. 26, 1967 Figure Figure 2 5 6 4 J e 9 H 3 2 r 2 U a n g 6 we f 9 F z m 4 e 3 M IN VE N TOR: Edward M. (Se/ser A TTORNEYS United States Patent Oifice 3,514,157 Patented May 26, 1970 3,514,157 APPARATUS FOR PACKING AND HANDLING SHIPMENTS Edward M. Geiser, Downers Grove, Ill., assignor to Universal Oil Products Company, Des Plaines, Ill., a corporation of Delaware Filed Dec. 26, 1967, Ser. No. 693,407 Int. Cl. B60p 1/04; B65d 7/24, 71/00 US. Cl. 298-22 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A shipping compartment provided with inlets and outlets through which bulk goods may be loaded or unloaded, collapsible into a single plane and equipped with an inflatable bag within a shipping compartment to displace free air and fill the balance of the volume not occupied by the goods to be shipped. The shipping compartment rests on a bottom through which air is expelled forcing the compartment upward.
The present invention relates to an improved method, and the apparatus necessary to perform said method, of handling containerized' shipments, and more particularly to the use of an inflatable means within a shipping compartment to displace air from the balance of the volume not occupied by goods to be shipped, or to ship a liquid in this said inflatable means, or a combination of the both of these aforesaid uses.
In shipping goods, materials, or equipment, packing is used to accomplish several purposes. One purpose is to prevent breakage or bruising of the goods to be shipped. Packing is also used to prevent goods from contacting outside elements, when such contact results in soilage, surface blemishes, rust, corrosion, or other physical or chemical changes of the goods to be shipped.
Problems which are encountered in all current forms of packing are the expense of the packing material and the cost of the labor required for packing. Also, no single method of packing material to be shipped provides an ideal means of accomplishing all the purposes of packing while still remaining commercially feasible. For example, packing steel in grease acts as a rust preventative, but does little to prevent scratching or breakage, and in addition makes the goods undesirable to handle. My invention provides a solution to these problems in that it accomplishes all the aforesaid purposes at a minimal cost.
In a broad aspect, my invention can best be described as being a method of packing goods for shipment which comprises enclosing the goods to be shipped in a rigid wall air pervious shipping compartment, and inflating With air or other fluid, within said shipping compartment, at least one air tight, flexible, collapsible container, whereby to substantially fill the unoccupied space within said compartment and exert pressure on the goods and on the walls of said compartment.
In another aspect, my invention is a rigid walled air pervious shipping compartment containing at least one air tight collapsible and flexible container, said container having at least one valve means through which fluid enters and leaves said container, said compartment having openings. through which said valve means are accessible.
In addition to protecting goods from breakage, bruising and damage from contact with outside elements, my invention provides a means for the prevention of product shifting resulting in damage to partial loads, as well as the absorption of shocks and vibrations during shipment. The apparatus of my invention provides a means for unloading bulk solids as well as a built-in means for the movement and easy handling of loaded shipping compartments. Furthermore, the space saving construction of said shipping compartment facilitates storage and return shipment of empty containers. My invention provides a versatile method and means of packing bulk solids, liquids, or pre-packaged material in a single shipping compartment so that different packing for diiierent goods is unnecessary. The single step process in packing, that is, inflation or filling of said collapsible container, minimizes time spent in packing. Likewise, single step unpacking, that is, deflation or unfilling of the collapsible container minimizes time spent in unpacking. The apparatus comprising my invention can be either disposable or reuseable, depending on the goods and conditions of shipment.
My invention is applicable on any scale. For example, one application utilizes the bulkheads and decks surrounding the hold of a ship to act as a shipping compartment, with no other enclosing means required. In this application, a suitable collapsible container need merely be inflated in the hold of a ship through a hatch, said container expanding around the goods to fill the balance of space in said hold. This same principal is also applicable to an airplane, truck, railroad car or other vehicle.
One embodiment of my invention comprises a shipping compartment substantially in the form of a rectangular prism with rigid walls and a collapsible air-tight container within said shipping compartment. While said shipping compartment is substantially box-like, it can be designed in various shapes and sizes to more readily fit the hull of an airplane, truck, rail freight car, or other vehicle. In this embodiment, when the collapsible container is filled with air, the shipping compartment :and its contents tend to float upon entering water, therefore, this embodiment is especially appropriate for goods shipped on an exposed deck of a nautical vessel as the insurance costs are thereby reduced. Construction of the compartment walls may be of metal, wood, plastic, or any other rigid material. The shipping compartment must be air pervious, having outlets through which air can escape after being displaced by inflation or filling of said collapsible container. The construction of the shipping compartment may be that of a single rigid container, or such that the walls can be readily disassembled by removable pins or hinged by any conventional hinging means so as to fold out into a single plane for easy re turn shipment or storage. In either case, one side of the shipping compartment may be Opened to allow the insertion of the goods to be shipped. The shipping compartment walls may also be equipped with a chute in the upper portion of the compartment and an inverted chute in the lower portion of said compartment for use in loading and unloading bulk solids.
In a modified form of said shipping compartment, the bottom of said compartment comprises a perforated plate positioned below a floor of said compartment, the interstitial space being enclosed by the extension of the Walls of said compartment. Said interstitial space is accessible to a supply of air pressure through an opening in one wall extension, said opening comprising a valve means integrated into said Wall extension and accomodating the attachment of an air hose. Supplying compressed air to this interstitial space forces air out through the aforesaid perforations and creates an upward force on said shipping compartment thus providing air cushioned movement and easy handling of the loaded shipping compartment. The perforated plate on the bottom of said shipping compartment is further provided with a sliding slab which will prevent air flow from one side of the bottom thereby forcing all air from the other side only,
thus providing a means for tilting the container and making the removal of bulk solids through the lower chute fast and convenient.
The aforesaid sliding slab is impervious and substantially rectangular in shape. Further, such slab shall be substantially narrower than said perforated plate and positioned to rest on the top thereof. Said slab is held in place by air pressure in the aforesaid interstitial space when such pressure is applied to the interstitial space through said valve means. When there is no air pressure, the slab can be moved in a direction perpendicular to its length by tipping said shipping compartment. When the tilt-effect during the application of air pressure to said interstitial space is not desired, said slab is centered evenly between the two sides of the perforated place which are parallel to said slab.
The air-tight collapsible container can be constructed in the form of a flexible bag and made of plastic, rubber, or other air-tight fabric. It is constructed of walls enclosing a space which, when filled with fluid, extends the size of said container to the degree that the walls of said container exert pressure on the walls and contents of the shipping compartment within which the container is enclosed. Since the container exerts some pressure on its confines, it varies in shape with the otherwise unoccupied space accessible to it. The container shall necessarily have a fluid flow stoppage means, or valve means, which may be merely a tube extending from said container. In other words, fluid shall be free to pass through said valve means in either direction, as the pressure conditions on each side of said valve means permit. Inflation of the container is maintained by merely closing the valve or tying it or otherwise restricting the passage of fluid through it. Inflation, as used herein shall be considered to be the filling of the aforesaid container with any fluid. Other embodiments of the valve means can be of a more sophisticated nature, for example, they may provide for automatic blockage or release of pressure through the use of electrical or mechanically operated activating means. Another use of my invention is to fill the collapsible and flexible container with a liquid to be shipped. This can be done for the sole purpose of shipping the liquid, or it may be done in conjunction with the shipment of solid goods as has been described. That is, the collapsible and flexible container can be filled with the liquid to be shipped, thus extending the size of the container to the degree that the walls of said container exert pressure on the walls and other contents of the shipping compartment within which the container is enclosed. These other contents may be merely filler or they may be goods for which shipment is desired.
The shipping compartment and the collapsible container may be independent units or they may be bonded together. One embodiment is a plastic bag firmly anchored to a wall of the shipping compartment. By supplying fluid through an opening in this wall and to a valve means, the plastic bag wall is inflated to fill the void within the shipping compartment, and exert pressure on the goods in said compartment. The inflation may be relatively permanent or temporary. Where desirable or necessary, several collapsible plastic bags may be used, one permanently inflated to provide a cushion in the bottom of the shipping compartment, with other permanently or temporarily inflated plastic bags cushioning other portions of the shipping compartment, while a temporarily inflated plastic bag cushions the goods from the portions of said shipping compartment from which the materials to be shipped are to be removed.
When other than fluids are to be shipped, the inflation of the collapsible container normally requires an air pressure supply, the air being automatically introduced through the valve means, although it is possible for pressure to be introduced manually or by a gas producing chemical reaction. Although air pressure will normally be used for economic reasons, air is not necessary to the operation and nitrogen or any other gas or other fluid which will not corrode the collapsible container will suffice. Any fluid may be shipped within the collapsible container as long as it is not corrosive to the aforesaid container.
The various features of my invention are illustrated by the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a vertical section of one embodiment of a shipping compartment with a collapsible container and illustrates diagrammatically the operation of my invention.
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of another apparatus embodiment.
FIG. 3 is a partial isometric view showing a portion of the unit of FIG. 2., as indicated by line 33.
FIG. 4 shows apartial isometric view of still another modification of my invention.
Description of the drawing Referring now to FIG. 1, the improved apparatus for packing material for shipment, comprises an air pervious shipping compartment 1 and a collapsible, flexible, airtight container 2 equipped with at least one valve means 3. Said shipping compartment is further comprised of rigid Walls 5 and one rigid wall 6, which is differentiated from the other walls in that it has at least one opening 10 through which a valve means 3 extends and is accessible from outside shipping compartment 1. The term walls as used herein shall be understood to include sides, a floor, and a top. Fluid, under pressure, is introduced through valve means 3 into collapsible container 2 Which, preferably, is bonded to shipping compartment 1 along the inside of wall 6 of shipping compartment 1. As fluid is introduced, container 2 expands to a point where it exerts pressure on the material to be shipped 4, on the wall 6, and Where said collapsible container is bonded to shipping compartment 1, and on all other walls 5 accessible to it. When inflation of container 2 is complete, passage of air through valve means 3 is restricted by blocking or tying valve means 3. This inflation completes the process of packing. To unpack, the restriction need merely be removed from valve means 3 to allow the fluid to escape. The shipping compartment is then opened.
Referring to FIG. 2, the Walls 5 and 6 of shipping compartment 1 are each hinged to at least one adjacent Wall by conventional hinging means 7, whereby the walls of the shipping compartment 1 may fold out into a single plane. Suitable bolts, pins or other clamping means may be used to hold the upper edges of the walls into a rigid structure.
Illustrated in FIG. 3 is an inlet chute 8, provided in one of the walls 5, which slopes down and into the upper portion of shipping compartment 1 and through which bulk solids are introduced into shipping compartment 1. An inverted chute 9 through which bulk solids are discharged, may also be present in one of the walls 5 and slopes out from the lower portion of shipping compartment 1.
In FIG. 4, the interstitial space formed by one wall 5 forming the floor of shipping compartment 1, a bottom panel 12 having perforations 13, and extensions of walls 5 and 6, comprises a plenum chamber into which air is introduced through valve means 14 in an extension of one of walls 5 or 6, said walls forming the sides of shipping compartment 1. Air escaping through perforations 13, tends to force shipping compartment 1 upward thus providing an air cushion which facilitates the horizontal movement of said shipping compartment. Air flow through perforations 13 is regulated by sliding plate or slab 11 which can be moved to one side of perforated plate 12 to effect the blocking of some of the perforations 13 thus tilting shipping compartment 1 when suflicient air is present in the aforesaid plenum chamber. This tilt is in the direction of the perforations 13 which are blocked by slab 11, thus tipping out bulk solids through an inverted chute 9, when said inverted chute 9 is located on the wall towards which shipping compartment 1 is tilted.
In all cases, the present diagrammatic drawings shall not be considered limiting as to the type of construction and arrangement of equipment, including shipping compartments, collapsible containers valve means, chutes, inverted chutes, hinging means, perforated panels, sliding slabs, methods of inflation, fluids used in inflation, devices used to effect inflation, and material used in the construction of any of the aforesaid equipment. The essentials of this invention are the method and apparatus used in the displacement of free air within a compartment by an inflatable means for the purpose of packing materials to be shipped within that compartment. Any methods or materials used in effecting this should be considered as an outgrowth of the teachings herein.
What I claim is:
1. An apparatus comprising a rigid walled air pervious shipping compartment provided with means for loading and unloading material, said shipping compartment being configured substantially in the shape of a rectangular prism, all of the walls of said compartment having removable hinge means interconnecting with at least one adjacent wall whereby said walls may be folded into a single plane, an air-tight, collapsible and extensible container within said compartment, said container being provided with valve means for admission of compressible fluid to and discharge of compressible fluid from said container, said container being bonded to and collapsible against but one wall of said compartment, said container when extended being adapted to exert pressure on the walls and contents of said compartment when inflated to thereby maintain said contents in relatively fixed position during shipment thereof. 7
2. The appartus of claim 1 further characterized in that said container has an extendable size and is large enough, when inflated, to substantially fill the space unoccupied by other contents of said compartment and large enough to exert pressure on the walls and contents of said compartment when inflated.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said air-tight container is further comprised of a plastic bag.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that at least one other wall of said shipping compartment means contains a chute sloping down and into the upper portion of said shipping compartment, and at least one other wall of said shipping compartment contains an inverted chute sloping out from the lower portion of said shipping compartment.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said shipping compartment further comprises a bottom, which is further comprised of a floor of said compartment and a horizontal perforated plate positioned below said floor of said compartment, said perforations being substantially uniformly located across the area of said plate, and an interstitial space between said plate and said floor enclosed and sealed by the extension of the side walls of said compartment, thus forming a plenum chamber, one of said walls having an opening into said plenum chamber, the outside of said opening accommodating the attachment of an air hose whereby air enters said plenum chamber and escapes through the perforations of said perforated plate exerting an up ward force on the shipping compartment and facilitating the horizontal movement of said shipping compartment.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 further characterized in that said bottom of said shipping compartment is further provided with an impervious sliding slab substantially rectangular in shape and extending across, substantially narrower than, and resting on top of said perforated plate and covering at least some perforations, whereby air escapes said plenum chamber through only the perforations uncovered by said slab, thereby exerting an upward force on said shipping compartment at the perforations where the air escapes.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,764,950 10/ 1956 Finnell. 2,774,503 12/1956 Moore. 2,907,580 10/ 1959 Tietig. 3,330,437 7/1967 Bellamy 220-6 X 2,918,183 12/1959 Petersen 214-1 3,272,359 9/1966 Thomas.
FOREIGN PATENTS 26,505 1905 Great Britain. 848,248 9/ 1960 Great Britain. 1,081,804 9/1967 Great Britain.
MARTHA L. RIOE, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R.