US 3616957 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 13,616,957
 Inventor Lawrence Alfred Patton 2,811,275 1957 Draper 220/7 1020 San Antonio Ave., Alameda, Calif. 3,040,914 6/1962 Johnson et al. 220/7 X 94501 3,061,134 10/1962 Fesmire et al. 220/1.5  Appl. No. 825,007 3,107,023 10/1963 Jacobson 217/  Filed May 15, 1969 3,419,164 12/1968 ONeill 220/1.5 X Patented Nov. 2, 1971 3,443,524 5/1969 Schneider... 104/23 FS 3,502,205 3/1970 Milton... 220/6 X 1,717,733 6/1929 Prati.... 217/42 UX CONTAINER STPFFIPIG SLEEVE 2,956,763 10/ 1960 DArca 220/97 X l Clam l2 Drawmg Figs. Primary Examiner- Raphael l-l. Schwartz  US. Cl Attorney pryer, Tjensvold, Feix, Phillips & Lempio  Int. Cl Bj l/02,
, 865d 7/42 ABSTRACT: A cargo container combines an outer box and an  Field of Search 104/23 FS; inner f sleeve The Sleeve is of such a Size as to fully 206/46; 220/15, 6; 105/366; 214/33 A; 312/329 ize the inner volume of the container when it is loaded with 330 cargo. The sleeve may be provided with means on the bottom to allow relatively easy motion along the floor of the container  Reerences cued or any other surface. The sleeve may also include apparatus UNITED STATES PATENTS for allowing the lateral expansion of the floor when it is to be 2,638,354 5/1953 Larson et a1. 280/43.14 used in a dry container as opposed to a. refrigerated container 2,679,321 5/1954 Koefcrl 2l7/47X or in any other device wherein a slightly wider space is 2,726,095 12/1955 Emery, 105/366X required.
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INVENTOR. LAWRENCE A. PATTON AT TORN EYS PATENTIEDNHV 2 ISYI 3.616.857
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49 5 LAWRENCE A. ,PATTON FIG- ATTORNEYS CONTAINER STUFFING SLEEVE BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In the freight shipping industry, shipping vans or boxes, commonly known as containers, are widely used for transporting materials from one location to another. Such shipping vans generally consist of a boxlike structure with a reinforced floor or platform. Thestructure is usually provided with fittings of one or more types which allow the container to be handled by various types of container-handling vehicles.
The handling and transportation of the containerized cargo requires considerable care and time for packing, stowing, unloading, handling, etc., of the cargo. This requires that each container be withheld from transport service for a considerable period of time. The period of time which it is not in transit is an inefficient use of the container and is costly.
When a container is loaded, it is usually brought by a truck tractor to a container yard to be placed aboard a ship, by which it is to be transported, and several vans are generally stacked one upon the other for delivery to their destinations. Upon arrival, the containers must be taken to the warehouse or other area, opened, and the contents unloaded. After the unloading, the container must be transported, usually empty, to another place for reloading or returned to the container yard to await the arrival of another ship for empty return to the point of origin. This also adds to the inefficient and uneconomical period of time during which the container cannot be transporting cargo.
The present invention relates to an improvement in the field of the containerized shipping and more particularly to a sleeve which may be "stuffed into a container after it has been loaded. thereby leaving the container free to be utilized to a far greater extent in the actual transportation of goods.
Further, the sleeve which is utilized with the container in this invention is provided with open end areas and hinged sidewalls. The open ends facilitate end loading of the sleeve. The sidewalls can be folded flat for storage. One sidewall may be folded down for side loading of the sleeve.
Tine holes may be situated in the ends of the sleeve so as to facilitate its movement by a lift truck. Also, the sleeve may have rollers or other structure on the bottom to facilitate movement of the sleeve into and out of the container. Additionally, the sleeve may include structure allowing it to be laterally expanded to accommodate different width containers, or truck beds (in the event the sleeve is used along).
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a cargohandling device which is more economically utilized and transported than those devices previously known.
It is also an object hereof to provide a device which may be utilized with a cargo container and which allows more efficient use of the container. Utilization of this invention will allow a shipping company to maintain fewer containers without reduction of the amount of cargo shipped.
It is also an object hereof to provide a cargo handling system wherein a plurality of sleeves, each having a smaller length than the container, may be utilized to handle a plurality of less than carload lots in a single container.
It is also an object hereof to provide a cargo handling system wherein utilization of less than carload lot shipments of cargo is facilitated and encouraged.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a container stuffing member wherein the sidewalls thereof may be utilized as the guides for full utilization of the volume of a container.
It is a still further object hereof to provide such stuffing members which may be stacked upon one another without cargo damage by placing dunnage on the cargo, when permissible, so that the cargo on each sleeve will support another sleeve on top of the dunnage.
This invention, together with its further objects, advantages, modes, and embodiments, will become obvious to those skilled in the art by reference to the detailed description and accompanying drawings which illustrate what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiment of the best mode contemplated for utilizing the novel principles set forth in the claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention, showing a sleeve being loaded into a shipping container;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a sleeve according to the present invention, showing the details of the sleeve;
FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a plurality of sleeves in end-for-end positions relative to one another;
FIGS. 4-6 illustrate, in varying views, structure which can be used to hold the walls of the sleeve in place;
FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate bottom views; of embodiments of the invention utilizing structure to aid in movement of the sleeve on a floor or other surface; and
FIGS. 9-12 illustrate structure for extending and retracting rollers or other means in the floor of the sleeve for aiding in its movement across a horizontal surface.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring now to the drawings in greater detail, there is illustrated, in FIG. I, a rigid, box-shaped container 21. The container may include an overhead member 23, sidewalls 25, a floor 27, and doors 29 on each end. As also shown in FIG. I, a loaded stufiing sleeve 33 is inserted into the container, as by a lift truck 35.
As shown in FIG. 3, a plurality of sleeves 37-4], of varying lengths, may be placed in end-for-end relationship within the container to handle shipments of less than carload lots.
As shown in FIG. 2, the sleeve may preferably have fork lift openings 45 in the ends of the floor 43 and structural T-members 47 on the upper face of the floor for the circulation of air beneath the goods placed within the sleeve. The T-members also facilitate movement of the goods relative to the floor when cargo is being loaded or unloaded in the sleeve.
Sidewalls 49 are connected to the floor 43, as by hinges 51, so that each sidewall may be pivoted about its hinge in the manner illustrated in FIG. 2. Suitable placement of the hinges relative to the vertical dimension of each wall 49 will allow the sidewalls to be folded flat against the floor of the sleeve so that a maximum number of sleeves may be stored or transported in a minimum ofspace.
FIGS. 2 and 4-6 show how a pair of wall supports 53 and 55 can be used to fix the sidewalls in a vertical relationship relative to the floor 43. A bent end 57 on each support removably extends into an aperture 59in one of the walls, and a bent end 61, having a head portion 63, is mounted for limited vertical movement, in the other of the walls. When the support is raised, head portion 63 will abut a tube 65 mounted within an aperture 67.
When it is desired to fold down the sidewalls of the sleeve for storage or shipment without goods, the supports 53 are raised vertically, relative to the walls, until the ends 57 are withdrawn from the apertures 59 and the heads 63 on ends 61 abut the bottom ends of the sleeves 65. Each support is then rotated degrees until it is parallel with the longitudinal dimension of the wall in which it is fixed and end 57 is placed within an aperture 71 adjacent to the aperture 59 in that wall. The bar is then lowered into a slot 73 in the upper edge of the wall so that the support will not interfere with the folding of the sidewalls.
If desired, each support 53 may also include a tubular threaded member 75 for adjusting the length of the support, for a purpose to be discussed later.
The sidewalls 49 may also be held in position by folding braces similar to the braces used on the legs of a card table.
In FIGS. 7 and 8, the bottoms of the floor sections 43 of two embodiments of sleeves manufactured according to the present invention have been illustrated. In FIG. 7, a plurality of rollers 77 are positioned in the floor and extend below the bottom surface so that the sleeve can easily be moved across a horizontal surface, such as the floor 27 of the container.
The embodiment shown in FIG. 8 illustrates the floor section 43 provided with a plurality of ball bearings 79 for a similar purpose, the ball bearings, of course, allowing movement of the sleeve in an infinite number of horizontal directions.
A further alternate structure which may be utilized to aid in moving a sleeve is shown in FIGS. 9-12. The sleeve floor 43 is shown as having a skirt portion 81 having a plurality of vertically elongated apertures 83 spaced along the length of the skirt. A plurality of rollers 85 are fixed between the sides of the skirt with coaxial shafts 87 slidably mounted within the slots 83. A set of cam bars 89, actuated by at least one piston rod 91, are mounted over the ends of the rods 87, inside the skirts 81. When the piston rod is extended from cylinder 93, the cam bars move longitudinally along the skirt, causing each shaft 87 to move from within indented portions 95 on the cam bars to camming sections 97 on the bars. This causes the rods 87 and rollers 85 to move from the retracted position shown in H08. 9 and 11 to the extended position, wherein the skirt 81 is lifted from the floor, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 12.
Although three embodiments for aiding in the movement of the sleeve have been shown, many other structural possibilities will be obvious to those skilled in the art. An air cushion formed by releasing air under high pressure beneath the floor 43 of the sleeve can be used, for example.
ln many cases, it will be found that the sleeve may be utilized for the transportation of goods for at least some short distances without the use of a container. Due to a lack of industry-widely adhered to standards, it will often be found that the most economical use of the transporter space provided will require that the sleeve be wider than it is when used in a container. This will allow for domestic or export use of the sleeve as requirements demand.
As shown in FIGS. 11 and 12, this capability for widening the sleeve can be gained by providing the floor 43 with a movable side section 143 on at least one side. A rod 145, having a head portion 147 within a bore 149 in the portion 143, is fastened to the floor section 143. When it is desired to widen the sleeve, locking members 151 and pins 152 may be withdrawn from suitable apertures in the portions 43 and 143 and rods 145. Then, by gripping the skirts 81, the sections 143 may be pulled away from section 43 and the pins 152 reinserted through the apertures in the sections 143 into other selected holes 146 in rods 145. When portions 143 are fully extended, each portion 147 of the rods 145 will abut a shoulder 153 within the bores 149.
When rollers are used with this embodiment, they may be provided with end sections having slidable rods 187 interconnecting the sections 85 and 185 so that they may be separated in the manner illustrated in FIG. 12.
When this separation is completed, the sidewall support members 53 may be adjusted for the change in sleeve width by suitably turning the threaded cylinders 75 so that the ends 57 of the supports are extended a suitable distance.
The sidewalls 25 may be similarly expandable to compensate for varying interior heights of transporting equipment.
If desired, the sleeve can be constructed of relatively inexpensive materials so that the sleeve can be used one time and discarded after a single use in some cases. There are some applications where it might be inconvenient to reuse the sleeve and this throw away" form of the sleeve is particularly well suited for those applications.
Thus, the applicant has provided several embodiments of a new and improved concept in the cargo handling art which yields a true advance in the art. Many further modifications and alterations will be obvious to those skilled in the art.
What is claimed as the invention is:
l. A material handling apparatus comprising:
a container member having cooperating closure members about all the boundaries thereof, at least one of the closure members being openable for access to the interior of the container member, and
a stuffing member having sidewalls thereon, said stuffing member and sidewalls being of such size as to closely fit a cross-sectional volume of the interior of the container member, which volume is equal in length to the length of the sleeve member, while being removable from within the container member through the at least one openable closure member thereof, said stuffing member including a horizontal floor portion, rollers mounted within a skirt about the lower face of the floor portion, cam means cooperating with the rollers for extending the rollers to a position in which the rollers extend below the lower edge of the skirt, means to actuate the cam means, and means for expanding the width of the floor portion and the rollers mounted thereon to accommodate container members of different widths.