US 3599823 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent  Inventors El Cajon;
Calif.  Appl. No. 787,114  Filed Dec. 26, 1968  Patented Aug. 17, 1971  Assignee Rohr Corporation Chula Vista, Calif.
3 Claims, 10 Drawing Figs.
 US. Cl
 Int. Cl
 Field oi Search Robert T. Morris 7 Jack M. Palmer, El Cajon; George F. Riley,
Chula Vista; Derek F. Smith, Bonita, all oi,
COMBINATION PALLET AND BOX ASSEMBLY 13,599  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,755,725 4/1930 Clark 220/4 2,640,669 6/1953 Ashford.. 108/56 3,029,052 4/1962 Early 108/57 2,692,107 10/1954 Riddcr 108/51 3,172,374 3/1965 Allen 108/53 X Primary ExaminerC|eorge E. Lowrance Attorney-George E. Pearson ABSTRACT: A pallet is formed of runners having a generally 220/4 R, U-shaped cross section and a plurality offloor members which 108/56 are interlocked to one another and connected to said runners. B65121 7/32, The runners and floor members are arranged so that side 365d 19/12 panels and panel corner locking members can conveniently be 220/4, 4 R; attached thereto as accessories to form a storage box of varia- 108/51, 53, 55, 56, 57 ble height.
l 1 i 1 L90 74 I 11 l l l l 90 I 1 76B I l *1 l w 1 l 1 g 74 1 i l I 76 l F A PATENTED AUG] 1 I97! 3, 599,823 SHEET 2 OF 5 INVENTORS ROBERT T. MORRIS JACK M. PALMER GEORGE F. RILEY DEREK |!H ATTORNEY F. SM
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PATENTED m I 71911 3,699,823 sum 3 or 5 FIG. 4.
INVENTORS ROBERT T. MORRIS BY JACK M. PALMER GEORGE F. RILEY DEREK E SW H ATTO'RNEY COMBDIATION PALLET AND BOX ASSEMBLY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a pallet for transporting materials and more particularly to an arrangement of interlocking components by means of which pallets and storage boxes of any desired size can readily be constructed.
To provide for the conveyance and storage of product components, many companies require large numbers of pallets and containers. Such equipment is generally designed on an individual basis and thus comprises components unadaptable for use in constructing pallets and containers of different size and service. Furthermore, conventional pallets and storage boxes are often constructed so that they have a low strength-toweight ratio and quickly lose their rigidity when subjected to hard use. Some pallets and storage boxes are also difficult to clean and hence are unacceptable for use in the conveyance and storage of certain materials.
Among the advantages of the invention disclosed herein is that it provides a durable, lightweight pallet which can be used for many different purposes. The invention also provides a pallet which can quickly be converted to a container by the attachment of side panels and panel-locking members to the sides thereof. In addition, pallets and storage boxes constructed in accordance with this invention are readily cleaned and have an open construction which makes them particularly well suited for use in degreasing operations.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Briefly stated, a pallet constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention comprises at least two and preferably three runners which have a generally U-shaped cross section, a starting floor member extending across said runners at one end thereof, a closing floor member extending across said runners at the other end thereof, and a plurality of middle floor members also extending across said runners and disposed in abutting, parallel relation between said starting and closing floor members. The sides of the pallet are preferably arranged so that the lower edges of side panels can conveniently be attached thereto, and panel corner locking members are provided to secure adjacent corners of said side panels together. The preferred embodiment of the invention incorporates lips which extend above the floor of the pallet and around the periphery thereof, which lips are integral parts of the aforesaid runners and starting and closing floor members. Brace clips are preferably fixedly connected to at least some of the floor members and respectively interlocked with the lips on the runners and floor members. Each floor member also preferably includes a brace which depends from the floor panel thereof and abuts the upper edges of the runners. Both the side panels and the panel corner locking members are constructed so that additional panels can be attached to those interlocked with the pallet, without the use of fasteners such as bolts and nuts.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a broad object of this invention to provide an improved pallet.
Another object of the invention is to provide a combination pallet and storage box assembly.
An additional object of the invention is to provide a pallet the components of which are interlocked in such manner that the pallet can withstand rough handling without losing its rigidity.
Still another object is to provide a combination pallet and box assembly which can easily be cleaned and which is particularly advantageous for use in degreasing objects without removing them from the box. 7
A further object is to provide a pallet having a high strengthto-weight ratio.
Another object is to provide a pallet box assembly which can move on a roller conveyor with the runners thereof either perpendicular or parallel to the rollers of said conveyor.
Yet another object is to provide a container with removable sides and ends so as to facilitate the loading of objects in, or the removal of objects from, the container.
Another object is to provide components which can quickly be assembled to form pallets and containers of many different sizes and shapes.
Another object is to provide a pallet with a lip extending around its perimeter to retain objects thereon, without restricting entry of fork lift tines on the top of the pallet.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings:
FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a pallet which constitutes a preferred embodiment of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary longitudinal section of the same pallet, taken along the plane represented by the line designated 2-2 in FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated on said drawing;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary longitudinal section of the same pallet, taken along the plane represented by the line designated 3-3 in FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated on said drawing;
FIG. 4 is a pictorial, fragmentary view of the lower left-hand comer of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 1, the drawing showing the lower portions of two of four side panels which can be attached to sides of said pallet but which are not shown in FIG. 1 for the sake of clarity;
FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the aforesaid pallet, taken along the plane represented by the line designated 5-5 in FIG. 1 and in the direction indicated on said drawing;
FIG. 6 is a pictorial, fragmentary view of the upper portion of two of the aforesaid four side panels which can be attached to the sides of the pallet, the view illustrating the inner surfaces of the two side panels which would be respectively attached to the uppermost and left-hand sides of the pallet as it is viewed in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional, fragmentary view of the side panels illustrated in FIG. 6, taken along the plane represented by the line designated 7-7 in the latter drawing and in the direction indicated therein;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional, fragmentary view illustrating typical auxiliary panel sections which can be locked to any of the aforesaid side panels;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of a component which is employed to lock the corners of the aforesaid side panels and auxiliary panel sections together; and
FIG. 10 is a sectional, fragmentary view of the locking component shown in FIG. 9, taken along the plane represented by the line designated 10-10 in the latter drawing and in the direction indicated therein.
Throughout the drawings and the following specification like numbers designate like parts.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION As illustrated in FIG. 1, a pallet constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention comprises a plurality of elongate floor members 48, 10A, 10B disposed in abutting, parallel relation so that they provide a continuous support surface for materials. All floor members extend across three runners 12A, 12B, 14 which are disposed in spaced, parallel relation to one another and which are illustrated in phantom in FIG. 1. Illustrated in cross section in FIG. 2 is a typical one of the pair of runners 12A, 128 which are respectively disposed at the ends of the pallet, and illustrated in cross section in FIG. 3 is the support 14 which is disposed at the center of the pallet. More particularly, each runner 12A, 128 comprises a channel 16 the base of which rests on a supporting surface when the pallet carries a load and the sidewalls 18A, 18B of which project upwardly therefrom. Support flanges 20A, 208 project laterally from sidewalls 18A, 188 respectively and extend longitudinally thereof, and the outer sidewall 18A of each channel 16 of the two runners 12A, 12B comprises an upper portion 22 which projects upwardly from the support flange 20A of said outer sidewall. For a purpose which will become apparent hereinafter, the inner surface of each of the aforesaid upper portions 22 is formed with projections which define a pair of slots 23A, 2313 in said inner surface, and the outer surface of each of said upper portions is also formed with a projection which defines a slot 23C therein. The outer surface of the inner sidewall 18B of each channel 16 defines a slot 24 which extends longitudinally of said wall and which has a constricted throat, and each support 12A, 123 comprises an auxiliary base member 25 which includes a base panel one longitudinal edge of which is formed with a locking lug 26 slidably disposed in said slot 24, a vertically disposed sidewall 28 joined at the lower edge thereof to the other longitudinal edge of said base panel, and a flange 30 joined at one longitudinal edge thereof to the upper longitudinal edge of said sidewall 28, said flange 30 and support flanges 20A, 203 being connected by means of rivets 32 to structural members which will be described hereinafter. Runner 14 likewise comprises a channel 34 (See FIG. 3) the base of which is coplanar with the bases of runners 12A, 12B and the sidewalls 36A, 36B of which are connected by means of flanges 38A, 38B and rivets 32 to the same structural members to which said flanges 20A, 20B and 30 are connected, as well as an auxiliary base member 40 which is joined to said structural members and channel 34 respectively by a flange 38C and locking lug 42 arranged in the same manner as the flange 30 and locking lug 26 described in the foregoing discussion of the structure of runners 12A, 128. The sidewalls and base panels of the two channels 16, channel 34, and auxiliary base members 25, 40 are formed with series of evenly spaced apertures 44, 46 respectively (See FIGS. 2, 3 and 4).
Illustrated in cross section in FIG. and shown in plan view in FIG. 1 is a starting floor member 48 which extends across runners 12A, 12B, 14 at one end thereof. More particularly, starting floor member 48 is supported on support flanges 20, 30 and 38 fixedly connected thereto by rivets 32. For a purpose which will become apparent hereinafter, the outer surface of starting floor member 48 defines a slot 49 and the inner surface thereof defines a slot 50, both of said slots extending longitudinally of said starting floor member and having constricted throats. FIG. 5 shows in cross section two floor members A which members are typical of a plurality of identical middle floor members employed in the construction of the pallet. The same drawing also shows in cross section a closing floor member 10B one side of which extends transversely across the ends of runners 12A, 12B, 14. It will be noted that each of the floor members 10A, 108 comprises a connecting flange 52 supported on and fixedly connected to support flanges 20, 30 and 38 by means of rivets 32, a support wall 54 joined at its lower longitudinal edge to a longitudinal edge of said connecting flange and projecting upwardly therefrom, and a perforated and corrugated floor panel 56 which is disposed substantially parallel to the bases of supports 12 and 14 and joined at one longitudinal edge thereof to the upper longitudinal edge of said support wall 54. A brace 58 depends from said floor panel 56 and abuts said support flanges 20,30 and 38, and a locking lug 60 is joined to and extending lengthwise of the other longitudinal edge of said floor panel. The locking lug 60 of the middle floor member 10A which is disposed adjacent starting floor member 48 conformably fits within the slot 50 on the inner side of the latter, and the locking lug of each of the other floor members 10A, 10B conformably fits with a slot 62 formed in the support wall 54 of the floor member adjacent thereto. Thus starting floor member 48 and floor members 10A, 10B are interlocked to one another and fixedly connected to runners 12A, 12B, 14. It will also be observed that closing floor member 108 differs from the middle floor members 10A with respect to the arrangement of its support wall 54, the outer surface of support wall 54 defining a longitudinally extending slot 64 and said support wall comprising an upper portion 66 which has the same shape as the upper portion of starting floor member 48.
The preferred form of the disclosed pallet assembly comprises a plurality of brace clips which are generally designated by the number 68 in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4. Each brace clip 68 is generally Y-shaped in cross-sectional configuration, with two arms 69, 70 thereof being respectively disposed in slots 23A, 238 in the upper portion 22 of the outer sidewall of a respective one of the channels 16, and with the third arm 72 thereof being fixedly connected by means of a rivet 32 to a floor panel 56 ofa respective one ofthe floor members 10A, 10B. Arm 69 of each brace clip 63 interlocks with slot 23A so that the brace clips cannot be moved laterally of the upper portion 22 of runners 12A, 12B.
Illustrated in cross section in FIG. 7 is a side panel 74 which is attached to starting floor member 48, a portion of another side panel 74 of identical design also being shown in side elevation in the same drawing and the upper portions of the same panels being illustrated in perspective in FIG. 6. The lower portions of two other side panels 74 are also shown in FIG. 4. Each of the four side panels 74 which can be attached to respective sides of the above-described pallet of formed of two sections 76A, 76B which are locked together along longitudinal edges by means of a locking lug 78 formed on one of said sections and adapted to conformably fit within a slot 80 formed in the other of said sections. Both sections 76A, 76B are provided with longitudinally extending corrugations which contain perforations 82. Extending longitudinally of each side panel adjacent the lower edge thereof is a hook-shaped projection 84 which, in the case of the side panel shown in cross section in FIG. 7, is disposed within slot 49 of starting floor member 48. The projection 84 of another of the side panels 74 is disposed within slot 64 in closing floor member 10B and the projection 84 of each of the two side panels is disposed within slot 23C in the outer sidewall of a respective one of runners 12A, 123. As illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 9, a series of linearly aligned slots 86 are formed in the inwardly facing ridges of the corrugations of each side panel 74, one series of said slots being disposed adjacent each end of the panel in parallel relation therewith. FIG. 9 also shows the cross-sectional configuration of a typical one of four panel corner locking members 88 which are provided to lock the corners of the four side panels 74 together. More particularly, each locking member 88 comprises four longitudinally extending arms 90A-90D which project from a tubular central portion 92, each of said arms being formed with an integral flange which projects laterally from the outer longitudinal edge thereof. The flanges of arms 90C, 90D of each locking member are positioned in the slots 86 of adjacent ends ofa respective pair of side panels 74, and the flanges of arms 90A, 90B abut the outer surfaces of the same panels. Furthermore, each ofthe arms 90C, 90D is formed with a dimple 94 which tightly fits within one of the slots 86 and thus tends to maintain the locking member in the illustrated position thereof.
Illustrated in cross section in FIGS. 7 and 8 and shown in fragmentary view in FIG. 6 is a locking lug 96 which extends lengthwise of the upper surface of each side panel 74 and is integrally joined thereto. FIG. 8 also illustrates in cross section an auxiliary panel section 98 which is formed of two interlocked sections 100A, 100B, the lower section 100A having at its lower edge a projection 102 which defines a slot in which locking lug 96 of side panel 74 is engaged. The end portion of another auxiliary panel section 98 is shown in side elevation in the same drawing, as well as an auxiliary panel corner locking member 104 which has a cross-sectional configuration identical to that of locking members 88 and which locks together the adjacent ends of panel sections 98 in the same manner as previously described in connection with said locking members 88. Each of the four pairs of locking members 88 and 104 is interlocked by means of a locking pin 106 the ends of which slidably fit within the tubular portions 92 and 107 of said members (FIG. 10 shows details of a typical one of said pins). It will be understood that in order to increase the height of the sides of the container four auxiliary panel sections 98 are respectively attached as described to four side panels 74, and four locking members 104 are connected to four locking members 88.
The upper portion of starting floor member 48 and the upper portion 66 of the outer sidewall of the closing floor member 108 have two slots 110 therein (only one of these slots being shown in each of FIGS. 2 and 4), these slots being spaced apart so that the tines of a forklift can be inserted through said slots and moved across floor members (which operation can of course be carried out only when there are no side panels attached to the pallet).
In the preferred embodiment of the invention which has been described, runners 12A, 12B, 14 are formed of a relatively hard aluminum alloy, such as 6061T6, and the other components of the pallet and box assembly are formed of a softer aluminum alloy.
It will be readily understood that runners 12A, 12B, 14 can conveniently by assembled by cutting sections of channels 16, 34 and auxiliary base members and to a desired length and then sliding the lugs 24, 42 of the respective base members into the slots formed in the lower edge of the sidewalls 18, 36 of said channels. Similarly, floor members 10B and 48 and a required number of middle floor members 10A are cut in sections of a desired length, the number of middle floor members being selected so that the combined width of the latter and floor members 10B and 48, when disposed in side-by-side relation, is substantially equal to the length of runners 12A,
12B, 14. A selected number of brace clips 68 are next positioned on each of the runners 12A, 128 by snapping the ends of the arms 69 and 70 of the brace clips into slots 23A, 23B of the upper portion 22 of said runners, the brace clips being spaced along the supports as points where they will be located when subsequently attached to selected ones of the floor members 10, After runners 12A, 12B, 14 have been disposed in spaced, parallel relation as illustrated in FIG. 1, starting floor member 48 is positioned across the ends of the runners and fastened to the flanges 20, 30, 38 thereof by means of rivets 32. The locking lug 60 ofa middle floor member 10A is then engaged within the slot 50 of floor member 48 by positioning said lug in said slot, and the opposite side of the middle floor member is then fastened by rivets 32 to the aforesaid flanges 20, 30, 38 in coextensive relation with said floor member 48. The locking lug of a second middle floor member 10A is next inserted in the slot 62 in the support wall 54 of the middle floor member first attached to runners 12A, 12B, 14 and the other side of the second floor member is secured to said flanges 20, 30, 38 by rivets. The other middle floor members and closing floor member 108 are attached to the runners in the same manner. However, it should be noted here that apertures 112 (one of which is shown in FIG. 5) are spaced along the floor panel 56 of closing floor member 108 adjacent the upper wall portion 66 thereof, thereby permitting access through said floor panel to the points where rivets 32 are positioned to fasten this floor member to runners 12A, 12B, 14. To complete the pallet, the arms 72 of the brace clips 68 engaged with the upper wall portion 22 of the runners 12A, 12B are riveted to the floor panels 56 of selected ones of the floor members 10.
From the foregoing description of side panels 74, it will be recognized that four of the side panels 74 can be respectively locked on the four sides of the disclosed pallet by engaging the lug 84 of each panel with one of the slots 49, 64, or 23C of floor members 108 and 48 and channels 12, respectively, and by locking the corners of said side panels together by sliding the flanges 90C, 90D of four locking members 88 into slots 86 in respective panels. Auxiliary side panels 98 may of course be attached to side panels 74 in similar manner.
One of the advantages of the invention disclosed herein is that it provides a lightweight pallet which, through an unique arrangement of interlocking components, is able to withstand intense vibration and shock without loss of rigidity. Furthermore, a pallet constructed in accordance with the concepts of the invention requires a relatively small number of components of different structure, which components can conveniently be cut to different lengths to form pallets of any desired length and width. Assembly of the described components is also rapid and does not require welding or other skilled work. The construction of the disclosed pallet is such that forklifts can be used to lift the pallet by placing the tines thereof between the runners 12A, 12B, 14. Also the runners of one of the pallets can be nested within the upper portion of the sidewalls of another pallet, thereby enabling a number of the pallets to be stored in a stable vertical stack. The invention also provides a pallet which can quickly be converted to a storage box, which box can in turn readily be disassembled, an advantage of considerable importance in factories which are short of storage space. The open structure of the disclosed pallet and box assembly also makes the latter particularly advantageous for use in degreasing operations, wherein unrestricted drainage of solvent from parts and the containers in which they are held is important to avoid waste of solvent. Since runners 12A, 12B, 14 are very wide, the pallet or box assembly can be moved along a conventional roller conveyor with said runners disposed parallel to the rollers of the conveyor.
It will be obvious that within the scope of the invention certain modifications can be made in the preferred embodiment of the invention described and illustrated herein. For example, in some cases there will be no necessity for attaching auxiliary base members 25, 40 to channels 16 and 34. Also brace 58 can be eliminated in other embodiments of the invention. Hence the scope of the invention should be considered as being limited only by the terms of the claims appended hereto.
What I desire to be protected by Letters Patent is:
l. A pallet assembly comprising:
at least two channels disposed in spaced parallel relation,
the ends of said channels being substantially coextensive and the bases of said channels resting on a supporting surface when said pallet carries a load, each upwardly projecting sidewall of said channels having a support flange joined thereto, said support flanges extending longitudinally of said sidewalls and being disposed substantially parallel to the bases of said channels;
an elongate starting floor member extending across said channels at one end thereof, said starting floor member being supported on and fixedly connected to said support flanges and projecting upwardly therefrom, the inner surface of said starting floor member having formed therein a longitudinally extending slot with a constricted throat; and
a plurality of elongate floor members supported on and extending across the sidewalls of said channels in abutting, parallel relation, each of said floor members comprising a connecting flange supported on and fixedly connected to said support flanges, a support wall joined at its lower longitudinal edge to a longitudinal edge of said connecting flange and projecting upwardly therefrom, a floor panel disposed substantially parallel to the bases of said channels and joined at one longitudinal edge thereof to the upper longitudinal edge of said support wall, and a locking lug joined to and extending lengthwise of the other longitudinal edge of said floor panel, the surface of said support wall remote from said locking lug having formed therein a longitudinally extending slot with a constricted throat, the locking lug of the floor member disposed adjacent said starting floor member fitting within the slot formed in the latter and the locking lug of each of the other floor members conformably fitting within the slot formed in the floor member adjacent thereto;
wherein a longitudinally extending slot is formed in the outer surface of each of said channels, in the outer surface of said starting floor member, and in the outer surface of the floor member most remote from said starting floor member, and including four vertically disposed side panels each substantially coextensive with a respective one of the sides of the pallet formed by said channels and floor members and abutting at its lower edge a respective one of the outer surfaces of said channels, starting floor member and remote floor member, and each having joined thereto a longitudinally extending locking lug disposed within the slot in the aforesaid abutting outer surface, and including locking means for locking together adjacent ends of said side panels.
2. The pallet assembly defined in claim 1 wherein each of said side panels is formed with longitudinally extending corrugations and a plurality of linearly aligned slots are formed in the inwardly facing ridges of said corrugations, one series of said slots being disposed adjacent each end of each of said panels in parallel relation therewith, and wherein each of said locking means is an elongate member comprising four longitudinally extending arms which are generally X-shaped in crosssectional configuration and each of which is formed with an integral flange which projects laterally from the outer longitudinal edge thereof, one of said elongate members being disposed at each corner of the box formed by said side panels with two of its flanges respectively disposed in the two series of slots in the ends of adjacent panels and with the other two of its flanges abuttingly disposed against the outwardly facing surfaces of the corrugations of the ends of the same adjacent panels.
3. The pallet assembly defined in claim 1 wherein each of said side panels has a locking lug extending longitudinally of the upper edge thereof, and including four vertically disposed auxiliary side panels each of which is disposed above and substantially coextensive with a respective one of said side panels and each having at the lower edge thereof a slot in which the locking lug of the associated side panel is engaged, and auxiliary locking means for locking together adjacent ends of said auxiliary side panels, said auxiliary locking means being respectively connected to said locking means which lock together the corners of said side panels.