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Publication numberUS3618803 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 9, 1971
Filing dateAug 14, 1969
Priority dateNov 19, 1968
Also published asDE1809634A1
Publication numberUS 3618803 A, US 3618803A, US-A-3618803, US3618803 A, US3618803A
InventorsDobberkau Manfred, Luckhoff Kurt, Lukas Helmut
Original AssigneeBurger Eisenwerke Ag
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Airfreight container
US 3618803 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Manfred Dobberlrau 217/15, 16, 47,48; ISO/49,43, 14; 206/46 [56] References Cled UNITED STATES PATENTS 688,578 12/1901 Barnes.... 217/14 1,110,726 9/1914 Szuth.... 217/14 1,567,388 12/1925 Rohne 217/14 UX 1,642,381 9/1927 Moyer et a|. 220/6 2,332,999 10/1943 Garvey 150/49 Primary Examiner-Raphael H. Schwartz Anorney- Karl F. Ross ABSTRACT: A collapsible airfreight container of generally prismatic configuration having a rectangular parallelopipedal main portion including a base, sidewalls and a top, and a trapezohedral cantilevered portion extending laterally of the main portion and projecting beyond the base, the container being collapsible by virtue of hinged junctions between the rectangular sidewalls, base and top. The main section is provided with openings over its entire sidewalls which are closed by flexible covers adapted to be rolled up, while trapezoidal stiffening inserts from the sidewalls of the cantilevered compartment.

E'AIENTED 3,618,803

BNVENTORSI Manfred Dobberkau Helmw Lukas Hun Lickhofi" ttomey AIRFREIGHT CONTAINER FIELD OF THE INVENTION Our present invention relates to transport containers and, more particularly, to airfreight containers designed to be packed, introduced into an aircraft, transported thereby, removed from the aircraft, emptied and returned to the sender. More particularly, the invention relates to collapsible airfreight containers of this character.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The shipment of so-called containerized cargo has become increasingly significant in recent years since this technique eliminates the need for handling individual articles at the carrier. The technique has been employed for motor vehicles, railroad trains, oceangoing vessels and aircraft. In all cases, the principle is that a container of predetermined dimensions selected to most economically fill the cargo space of the carrier, is filled at a site remote from the carrier, transported to the carrier by any convenient means, e.g., tractortrailer vehicles, railroad flatcars, etc., and placed in the carrier with a minimum of handling by the loading and unloading crew. In two-way freight operations, the container is used on the return trip to carry goods from the original destination to the original shipping source. In most cases, however, shipment of goods does not occur in both directions with the same volume and it is frequently necessary to return empty containers to an original shipping point. Since the containers occupy considerable volume, the load-carrying capacity of the carrier is sharply limited when deadheading of the container is required.

The problem is particularly acute in the containerized transport of airfreight, since the cost per unit volume of deadheading containers is much higher in airfreight operations than with other shipping techniques.

While it has already been proposed to provide collapsible shipping containers for airfreight and similar transport operations, the techniques have not been fully satisfactory especially when the containers are to be used in an erected condition in aircraft. More specifically, the collapsible containers heretofore provided for the shipment of airfreight have been of insufficient stability to withstand the rigors of air shipment in an erected condition, have been insufficiently collapsible in the return condition, or have been incapable of fitting closely into the cargo space of an aircraft so as to obtain maximum utilization thereof.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide an airfreight container which will obviate the aforementioned disadvantages and enable improved utilization of aircraft space both in the transport and in the return shipments.

A more specific object of this invention is to provide an improved collapsible airfreight container of greater structural strength, rigidity and resistance to stress than has been possible heretofore.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION These objects and others which will become apparent hereinafter are obtained in accordance with the present invention with a collapsible container formfitting to the cargo compartment of a cargo-carrying aircraft and comprising generally a main compartment of rectangular parallelopipedal configuration forming a rectangular base from which at least one sidewall extends hingedly upwardly and a cantilevered compartment of generally trapezohedral configuration projecting laterally of the main portion of the container and lying behind the base thereof, the roof or top member of the two portions being constituted by a single rigid wall structure. According to a principal feature of this invention, the rectangular container walls are hingedly interconnected and the loading opening of the cantilevered portion is closable by a trapezoidal removable stiffening wall insert which rigidities the cantilevered portion and permits it to withstand the stresses of air transportation. The inserted wall element imparts to the erected container the necessary stability and functions, in effect, as a truss structure. The remaining loading openings of the main container portion can then be closed with a flexible cover or door adapted to be rolled up for ease of handling and reduced container weight.

According to a more specific feature of this invention, the container comprises the rectangular base mentioned earlier, an end wall along one side of the base and hingedly connected to the latter so as to fold parallel to the base and generally parallel to the roof member which spans both the main portion and the cantilevered portion of the container in a rigid structure. A further hinge is provided between the sidewall and this top member while the junction between the two compartments is formed with a further hinge thereby enabling the upwardly inclined bottom wall of the cantilevered portion to be swung inwardly so as to overlie the base.

At the other end of the container, opposite the first-mew tioned sidewall, there is provided a further sidewall to close the cantilevered portion and with a hinged connection with the top member such that, when the container is folded, this end wall of the cantilevered portion overlies the base. Preferably, means is provided for interlocking the upwardly inclined rectangular bottom wall of the trapezohedral portion and the vertically extending rectangular end wall thereof in the erected condition of the container.

Fltting within the frame formed by the cantilever part of the top wall projecting beyond the base, the end wall of the cantilevered portion and the upwardly inclined bottom wall thereof, along opposite flanks of the container, are a pair of trapezoidal-shaped insert members which form closures for the loading openings defined by these frames. As indicated, the frames form sockets into which the wall member can be set to form a load-carrying shear-resistant reinforcing member imparting structural strength to the cantilevered portion. In this connection, reference is made to the commonly assigned copending application Ser. No. 832,089, filed June I l, I969, entitled SHEET-METAL AIR-FREIGHT CONTAINER, in which various forms of insertion of a load-supporting wall in a frame structure are disclosed.

Between the cantilevered portion and the main portion, according to the present invention, we provide vertical (in the erected condition of the container) support members which are hinged to the base and the top member and which complete the structure framing the lateral openings of the cantilevered portion of the container. Between these supports (which may be walls if the container is to be internally partitioned, or posts if the cargo space of the container is to be continuous) and the sidewall rising from the base, there are defined openings or windows through which the main compartments may be charged with the goods to be transported, these openings being rectangular windows and being closed by the flexible doors or covers mentioned earlier.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following description, reference being made to the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a transport container for aircargo, in accordance with the present invention, the maincompartment doors having been rolled up and one of the insert plates removed to illustrate various details of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the container, partly in diagrammatic form, illustrating the position of the various members in an erected condition of the container;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the articulated portions of the container in the collapsible condition thereof;

the direction of arrow VI of FIG. I; and

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line VII VII of FIG. 6.

SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION The airfreight container 1 shown in the drawing comprises a base 11 which rests upon a rectangular surface 2 and carries, laterally therebeyond a trapezohedral cantilevered portion 3 of the container, the main rectangular parallelopipedal rectohedral) portion being indicated at 4.

As is best seen from FIG. 2, the base 11 is rectangular and is formed at its left-hand end with a sidewall articulated to the base by a hinge 10 along an external bottom edge of the container.

The wall 10 is formed with a hinge 10 at its inner upper edge which articulates the upper wall 7 to the sidewall 10. The rigid upper wall 7 which has a length L equal to the length I of the base 11 plus the width w of the cantilevered compartment 3, thus has a portion 7a cantilevered from the main portion 4 of the container and projecting beyond the base 11 in the erected condition of the container (FIG. 2).

At its end opposite the sidewall 10, and parallel thereto in the erected condition of the container, there is provided an end wall 6 which is hinged at 6 to the upper wall 7 so that the end wall 6 lies generally transverse to the upper wall. The hinging arrangements are so designed that the sidewall 10 can only swing outwardly of the base 11 (i.e., counterclockwise as shown by arrow A in FIG. 2) about the hinge 10 and, when swung in the opposite sense for erection of the container, has its end 10a abutting the inner surface of the wall 11 to maintain a right-angle corner between the walls 10 and 11. Similarly, the hinge 10" is so arranged and constructed that the inner face 10b of wall 10 abuts-the end 7b of the upper wall 7 at a right angle, thereby enabling the upper wall 7 to fold down upon wall 10 only in the clockwise sense (arrow B).

At the other end of the upper wall 7, the end wall 6 has its edge 6a engageable with the inner face 70 of upper member 7, thereby allowing end wall 6 to swing as a flap (arrow C) in the counterclockwise sense about hinge 6' into a position in which it is substantially coplanar with the upper member 7 (see FIG. 3). The edge 6a, of course, prevents inward swinging movement of the end wall 6 in the clockwise sense and thereby maintains a right angle between walls 6 and 7 upon erection of the container.

In accordance with an important feature of the present invention, the upwardly inclined bottom wall 5 of the compartment 3, which is hinged at 5' to the base 11, is swingable inwardly (arrow D) in a counterclockwise sense to overlie the base 11 and thereby pennit the collapse of the cantilevered compartment 3. The edge 5a of this wall 5 engages the corresponding edge 11 at a bevel to prevent clockwise pivotal motion of the inclined wall 5 beyond its position illustrated in the drawing. Thus, only when the upper part of the assembly swings downwardly (arrows E and F), can the bottom edge of member 6 disengage from member 7 and permit the collapse of the unit. To fix the system against collapse in the erected condition, we provide suitable locking means at the junction 58 between the wall members 5 and 6. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, such means may include a dovetail construction 5c, 6b which enables wall 6 to swing outwardly and wall 5 to swing inwardly but which engages as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 to lock these walls in place at an obtuse angle of, say, 135 (see FIG. 2).

The container also comprises a pair of stiffening members 12 or a partition wall separating the rectangular parallelepipedal portion 3 of the container from the trapezohedral cantilevered portion 4. The member or members 12 are hinged at 12 to the base 11 slightly inwardly of the hinge 5' and is also hinged at 12" to the upper member 7, an edge 12a abutting the interface 7c of wall 7 to maintain a right-angle junction between these members in the erected condition of the body. The bottom edge 12b of member 12, similarly engaged the inner face 11a of the base 11 to prevent deflection of the container in the direction of the cantilevered portion 3, i.e., in the sense opposite arrows E and F.

An important feature of the present invention resides in the use of a trapezoidal wall element 8 of rigid construction which is fitted into the window defined by members 5, 6 and 7, i.e., the structure framed by the members 5, 6, 7 and 12 as shown in FIG. 2.

Members 8 (only one of which can be seen in FIG. 1 as removed from the receptacle, the other being on the opposite side and in place) serve as stiffening members and also as closures for the trapezoidal access openings through which the compartment 3 is loaded and unloaded.

The rectangular windows of the main compartment 4 may be closed by nonIoad-supporting door members 9 which are shown to be flexible and of the rollable type, these doors being removable from the basic container structure together with members 8 when the latter is collapsed (FIG. 3) for the return trip. It may be noted that structural members are not required in the windows affording access to the main compartment 4 since the uprights 10, 12 thereof are load-supporting elements capable of receiving compressible stress and the parallelogrammatic structure 10, 11, 12, and 7 is held rigid by any load within the cantilevered portion since the center of mass of this load tends to swing members 10 and 12 in the sense opposite arrows E and F and thus tends to retain the erected shape of the container. Furthermore, the cantilevered portion conforms in configuration to the cargo-carrying compartment of the aircraft.

While member 8 may be simply inserted in a socket formed by the framing members 5, 6, 7 and 12, so as to be coplanar with the frame formed thereby or may have an outer surface flush with the outer surface of this frame in a common vertical plane, we may also provide locking means to hold this wall in place, preferably of the type described in the commonly assigned copending application mentioned earlier. An example of a suitable lock is shown in FIG. 4. Here, the upper member 7 is shown to have a framing portion 7d of angular construction, in part defining the socket 7e into which the wall member 8 is fitted, the frame portion 17 being spanned by an aluminum-sheet-metal skin 7b. Within the framing member 7d there are provided openings 7}" adapted to receive the dogs 8a spaced about the periphery of the wall member 8 and rotatable by a key 20 shown in dot-dash lines in FIG. 4. When the wall member 8 is inserted into the socket 7e, the key 20 is used to twist the dogs 8a so that they lie beyond the opening 7f and engage abutment 7q to lock the wall member 8 in place. An elastomeric seal 7h can engage the wall member and serve as a cushioning element or fluidtight sealing arrangement.

The flexible doors 9 may also be releasably retained against the members framing the opening of the main compartment 4 and can, to this end, he provided with elongated grommets 9a which receive butterfly latches 9b correspondingly spaced along the member 11 and receivable in the grommet 9a and twistable to lie at right angles to the slot thereof, thereby retaining the flexible doors 9 in place during handling of the container.

The improvement defined and illustrated is believed to admit of many modifications within the ability of persons skilled in the art, all such modifications being considered within the spirit and scope of the invention except as limited by the appended claims.

We claim:

1. A transport container of boxlike configuration comprismg:

a rigid generally rectangular base;

wall means forming a main compartment generally of the configuration of a rectangular parallelopiped above said base, and a cantilevered compartment extending laterally beyond said base and generally of trapezohedral configuration, said wall means including:

a rectangular rigid upper wall overlying said base and parallel thereto in an erected condition of the container while extending beyond said base in said erected condition to define the top of said cantilevered compartment;

a rectangular rigid sidewall hinged to said base and to said top wall along edges thereof opposite said cantilevered compartment;

an end wall hinged to said top wall along an edge thereof opposite said sidewall and adapted to lie parallel to said sidewall in said erected condition of said container; and

a bottom wall hinged to said base along an edge thereof opposite said sidewall, said bottom wall being upwardly inclined from said base toward said end wall in said erected condition of said container whereby said bottom and end walls have adjoining ends in said erected condition, said bottom wall, sidewall and top wall defining an opening affording access to said cantilevered compartment;

a rigid wall member removably covering said opening and connectable to the walls defining same for stiffening the container in said erected condition; and

dovetailing formations on said adjoining ends for holding said end wall and bottom wall together in said erected condition.

2. The transport container defined in claim 1 wherein said main compartment is formed with a pair of lateral openings adjacent said cantilevered compartment, said container further comprising a pair of flexible doors for closing the openings of said main compartment.

3. The transport container defined in claim 2 wherein said doors are rollable to expose the openings of said main compartment.

4. The transport container defined in claim 1 wherein said bottom wall, said end wall and the portion of said top wall projecting beyond said base define a frame surrounding the opening of said cantilevered compartment and receiving said wall member.

5. The transport container defined in claim 4 wherein the hinges between said walls are so constructed and arranged that a load in said cantilevered compartment provides a force component upon said wall means resisting collapse of said container.

6. The transport container defined in claim 5, further comprising support means between said main compartment and said cantilevered compartment and articulated to said base and to said top wall and parallel to said sidewall to form a parallelegrammatic structure therewith.

7. The transport container defined in claim 6 wherein said support means and said sidewall define with said base and said top wall rectangular openings above said erected base in said condition of said container, said container further comprising a pair of removable, rollable flexible doors adapted to cover said openings of said main compartment.

8. A transport container of boxlike configuration comprismg:

a rigid generally rectangular base;

wall means forming a main compartment generally of the configuration of a rectangular parallelopiped above said base, and a cantilevered compartment extending laterally beyond said base and generally of trapezohedral configuration, said wall means including:

a rectangular rigid upper wall overlying said base and parallel thereto in an erected condition of the container while extending beyond said base in said erected condition to define the top of said cantilevered compartment;

a rectangular rigid sidewall hinged to said base and to said top wall along edges thereof opposite said cantilevered compartment; an end wall hinged to said top wall along an edge thereof opposite said sidewall and adapted to lie parallel to said sidewall in said erected condition of said container; and

a bottom wall hinged to said base along an edge thereof opposite said sidewall, said bottom wall being upwardly inclined from said base toward said end wall in said erected condition of said container whereby said bottom and end walls have adjoining ends in said erected condition, said bottom wall, sidewall and top wall defining an opening affording access to said cantilevered compartment;

a rigid wall member removably covering said opening and connectable to the walls defining same for stiffening the container in said erected condition; and

means for releasably securing said rigid wall member in force-receiving relationship with said bottom wall, said top wall and said end wall for securing said container in said erected condition.

* l i t

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US688578 *Sep 11, 1901Dec 10, 1901Frank BarnesFolding piano-box.
US1110726 *Jul 11, 1913Sep 15, 1914Geza KocsisFolding crate.
US1567388 *Jun 4, 1923Dec 29, 1925Rohne Robert EExpansible auto trunk
US1642381 *Oct 27, 1925Sep 13, 1927Aucker Robert FFolding piano-shipping case
US2332999 *Aug 29, 1941Oct 26, 1943Garvey Gerald XCollapsible shipping container
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3853239 *Mar 29, 1973Dec 10, 1974Goodyear Aerospace CorpCargo container having adjustable shelves
US3854544 *Aug 10, 1973Dec 17, 1974Kolchev CSystem for moving furniture
US3907148 *Dec 26, 1973Sep 23, 1975Goodyear Aerospace CorpCargo container
US4151928 *Jun 22, 1978May 1, 1979E-Z Lift CorporationTrash bin cover
US4601405 *Sep 26, 1985Jul 22, 1986The Boeing CompanyClosure system for a containerized cargo handling sleeve
US4646928 *Jan 10, 1985Mar 3, 1987Nisso Sangyo Co., Ltd.Folding container
US4726486 *Nov 14, 1986Feb 23, 1988Nisso Sangyo Co. Ltd.Collapsible container
US5207343 *Jul 22, 1991May 4, 1993Cesar BogadiPresent invention refers to a new system of modular knock-down packaging
US5242070 *Sep 10, 1992Sep 7, 1993Alusuisse-Lonza Services, Ltd.Freight container, in particular air freight container
US5601201 *Jun 6, 1995Feb 11, 1997Satco Inc.Air cargo container
US5941405 *Dec 3, 1996Aug 24, 1999Scales; Peter BruceCollapsible airline cargo container
US6082570 *Mar 16, 1999Jul 4, 2000Tai; DanielFoldable box assembly
US6299009 *Jun 13, 2000Oct 9, 2001Alusuisse Technology & Management Ltd.Collapsible freight container for air transport
US8261924Mar 16, 2010Sep 11, 2012Technosearch Pty LtdFolding containers
WO2009036484A1 *Jun 13, 2008Mar 26, 2009Technosearch PtyImprovements in folding containers
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/1.5, 220/6
International ClassificationB65D6/18, B65D6/16, B65D88/00, B65D88/12, B65D88/52, B65D90/02, B65D88/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65D88/127, B65D88/14, B65D88/522, B65D90/021
European ClassificationB65D90/02A, B65D88/14, B65D88/52A, B65D88/12C