US 3638827 A
A nestable tray is provided having tapered side and end walls which slope upwardly and outwardly to nest together. Supporting posts are provided adjoining opposite ends of each tray or container, the walls of which slopes to permit nesting. The supporting posts terminate on a common plane below the level of the side and end walls. The supporting posts at one end of the tray are located differently from those at the other end. When turned end for end, the supporting posts of the lower tray support the bottom of the upper tray.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent 1151 3,638,827 Lau, Jr. et al. 1 Feb. 1, 1972  NESTABLE TRAY 3,416,704 l2/l968 Frater ..220/97 D Inventors: John F. Minneapolis; Glen E 3,498,494 3/1970 Voorhees ..220/97 D Pa B g both of Wm FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS Assignee: Plastics. p Minn- 1,5 l6,l76 1/1968 France ..220/97 D  Flled: June 1969 Primary ExaminerGeorge E. Lowrance ] Appl. No.: 832,657 Attorney-Robert M. Dunning 57 ABSTRACT  US. Cl. ..220/97 D 1  [m C] 365d 21/04 A nestable tray is provided having tapered side and end walls 58 1 Field of Search ..220/23.6, 97 D which Slope p y and outwardly to nest together pporting posts are provided adjoining opposite ends of each [56 1 References Cited tray or container, the walls of which slopes to permit nesting. The supporting posts terminate on a common plane below the UNITED STATES PATENTS level of the side and end walls. The supporting posts at one end of the tray are located differently from those at the other 3,191,796 Schwartz D X nd. w turned end for end, the pp i g posts f the 1191058 7/1965 Hale lower tray support the bottom of the upper tray. 3,203,573 8/1965 Rowe... 3,331,529 7/ 1967 Slapnik ..220/97 7 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PAEEWEB m 31%?2 306389827 SHE'S? 10$ 3 5 INVENTOR GL'A/ E PAMLSEN u QH/V F1420, JR,
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BY 0 QQWT [I /./A' TTORNEY PATENTEU FEB 1 1372 SHEEY 3 G? 3 INVENTOR GLEN 5 1 ,4 ULSEN m m u dm F, WMW 05%; J w
NESTABLE TRAY This invention relates to an improvement in container, and deals particularly with a structure such as a container for shipping baby chicks and the like in which the containers may be supported one upon the other during the shipment of the baby chicks to provide room for containing the chicks, and yet which may be nested in a compact position for return when the baby chicks have been delivered.
For many years, baby chicks have been delivered in corrugated paperboard containers of one type or another, which are perforated to provide the necessary air, and yet which are stacked one upon the other for transportation from one area to another. One of the problems with chick boxes of the usual type lies in the fact that normally, means must be provided for holding them in superimposed relation during transportation. This means may comprise means in the truck, railroad car, or other vehicle, or may comprise means for interlocking the various other containers to hold one above the other during shipment.
While paperboard containers are capable of accomplishing the desired result have been produced, certain objections to such containers have been raised. In the first place, while corrugated containers are relatively inexpensive and are capable of containing the baby chicks during their transportation, the cost of such containers must normally be considered a loss to the shippers. While many paperboard chick boxes are capable of being collapsed and returned, there is a tendency on the part of the receiver of the chicks to maintain these containers, and they are quite often not returned. Furthermore, paperboard containers are oftentimes contaminated by the litter from the baby chicks, and as a result are not acceptable for further shipments even if returned. It is an object of the present invention to provide a chick box which eliminates these previous difficulties.
A feature of the present invention relates to the provision of a tray-shaped member having built-in posts or similar supporting means which are capable of nesting together when the trays are positioned in superposed relation, but which form supports for holding the bottoms of the trays in spaced relation when the position of the trays is reversed. In other words, when the similar ends of the trays are aligned, the trays, as well as the supporting posts therein, will nest together. When alternate trays are turned in the opposite direction, or end for end, the posts of one tray engage the bottom of the next higher tray, and limit the extent to which the trays may nest together.
A feature of the present invention resides in the provision of a container of generally rectangular outline which includes a pair of hollow tapered posts adjacent one end of the container, and a hollow center post at the opposite end of the container. The arrangement is such that when the hollow rectangular posts at one end of the container are aligned with the tapered hollow posts of a similar container, the containers may nest together and fit one upon another so that they can be shipped in a relatively small space, and can be conveniently stored. However, when the ends of the container are reversed, the corners of one container rest upon the corner posts of a similar container, and the center post at the opposite end of the container acts to support the bottom of a similar container. As a result, the two containers are held in superimposed relation to hold the chicks or other contents therebetween.
The arrangement is such that when the similar ends of the similar containers are oriented one above the other, the containers will nest one upon another for shipment or storage in a relatively small space. However, when the similar ends of the containers are alternated, the similar containers are held in spaced relation to contain chicks or other objects therebetween.
A further feature of the present invention resides in the fact that the containers, if desired, may contain longitudinally extending and transversely extending partition walls which are designed to interfit one above the other when the containers are in nesting position. Auxiliary posts are provided on one side of the lateral partitions which also nest together when the containers are stacked with similarily designed ends one above the other. However, these posts are designed to engage the bottom of a similar tray when alternate containers are reversed relative to one another to provide an additional support for holding the similar containers in spaced relation when contents are stored therein.
These and other objects and novel features of the present invention will be more clearly and fully set forth in the following specification and claims.
In the drawings forming a part of the specification:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a plastic tray showing the general arrangement of parts therein.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a series of three trays showing the trays in nested position for storage or for return shipment.
FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the trays shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is an elongated sectional view showing the trays or similar containers supported one upon the other in position for containing baby chicks or products or one type or another therein.
FIG. 5 is a transverse sectional view transversely through a pair of superimposed trays, the position of the section being indicated by the line 5-5 of FIG. 4 of the drawings.
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of one ofthe trays.
FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a cover which may overlie the uppermost tray of a series.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view of a wall section, the position of the section being indicated by the line 8-8 of FIG. 6 of the drawings,
FIG. 9 is a sectional view of a wall section, the position of the section being indicated by the line 99 of FIG. 6 of the drawings.
Each tray is indicated in general by the letter A. The trays are all of identical form. In the arrangement illustrated, Iongitudinally extending partitions are provided for dividing the trays or containers into two laterally spaced compartments. In a similar manner, centrally located transversely extending partitions are provided for dividing the longitudinal compartments of the tray into two longitudinally spaced compartments. While this structure illustrated is preferred, it should be understood that the longitudinally extending partitions as well as the laterally extending partitions may be eliminated if desired so as to provide undivided tray units.
It should also be understood that all of the walls of each container A is tapered so as to fit over the corresponding parts ofa similar tray. With this in mind, it will be obvious that when two containers A, as shown in FIG. I are positioned so that the similar ends of the tray are in superimposed position, the trays will nest together and fit into a relatively small space (See FIGS. 2 and 3). On the other hand, when the position of alternate trays is turned end to end, the trays will stack one upon the other to provide a storage space therebetween between the bottom of one tray and the bottom of the next tray, to accommodate material to be shipped therebetween. While the particular trays or containers illustrated have been designed for the shipping of baby chicks, it is quite obvious that produce or items of one type or another may be similarly shipped in the stacked trays.
In the particular arrangement illustrated, the trays are provided with end walls 10 and II, and longitudinally extending sidewalls which are indicated in general by the numerals l2 and 13. As indicated in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the end walls 10 and 11 as well as the sidewalls I2 and 13 are slightly tapered in form so that one tray is capable of nesting within another within certain limits, as is indicated in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings. Each tray or container A is shown as including a pair of bottom panels 14 adjoining the end wall 10, and a pair of bottom walls 15 adjoining the end wall 11. The panels 14 and 15 are coplanar and in the event the central longitudinal and transverse partitions are omitted, the panels 14 and 15 may be combined to form a single bottom panel.
Each tray A is formed with a right angular corner portion, the corner portions 16 being at the junctures of the end walls I and the sidewalls l2 and I3, and the corners 17 being located at the junctures between the end wall and the sidewalls l2 and 13. These corner portions are shown as extending somewhat above the level of the remaining portions of the side and end walls. However, the only purpose of this arrangement is to provide notches in the upper edges of the side and end walls to permit the flow of air through the various containers. If air circulation is unimportant, the entire length of the side and end walls may be of the same height. The shape of the walls of the trays may perhaps be best illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings. The end wall as well as the other side and end walls are provided with outwardly turned flanges and their upper ends, the outwardly turned flanges terminating in downwardly extending terminal flanges. FIGS. 8 and 9 of the drawings are typical wall sections, FIG. 8 indicating a section through the full depth of the wall, or through portions of the wall which are of greatest depth, and FIG. 9 indicating the section of the wall where the walls are of somewhat lesser depth. The walls are of one section or another throughout the entire periphery, the supporting post areas excluded of the tray.
As is indicated in FIG. 8 of the drawings, the full depth portions of the trays include an upwardly sloping wall such as 12 having at its upper extremity an outwardly extending flange 19. The out-turned flanges l9 terminate in downwardly and outwardly inclined terminal flanges 20. This arrangement not only provides a generally channel-shaped reinforcement about the entire upper edge of each tray, but also provides an effective means of handling the trays, it being possible to grasp the peripheral flanges 19 to lift one tray from another.
The intermediate or notched portions of the walls are of somewhat lesser height, but still include an out-turned flange 21 which terminates in an outwardly turned flange 22. The lower edges of the flanges and 22 terminate in a common plane as is evident from the drawings.
A longitudinally extending central partition 23 extends substantially the full length of the tray, but terminates short of the end wall 11. A tapered post 24 of generally rectangular section is provided adjoining the end wall lll, the post 24 being hollow on its outer side so as to nest with similar posts. Each post 24 is provided with an upstanding rib 25 which is also hollow and open to the outer side of the case. The rib 25 is designed to extend into the central partition of a similar tray A when two trays are in superimposed relation. In other words, the bottom panels 14 of one tray may rest upon the upper surfaces 26 of the post 24 while the rim 25 extends into the partition wall to prevent any shifting of one tray relative to another.
Hollow rectangular corner posts 27 are also provided at the junctures between the end walls 10 and the sidewalls l2 and 13. The upper surfaces 29 of the outwardly hollow corner posts 27 are on the same plane as the upper surfaces 26 of the post 24, and these upper surfaces 29 are designed to engage the corners of the bottom panels I5 of a similar tray which has been turned end to end and rests upon the lower tray.
Outwardly hollow corner posts 30 are also provided on one side of the transverse partition member 31 which is also inverted U-shaped cross section. As in indicated in FIG. 4, of the drawings, the transverse partition 31 includes upwardly converging sides 32 and 33 which are connected by a rounded top portion 34. The comer posts 30 are provided with upper ends 35 which are on a level somewhat above the level of the intermediate portions of the transverse partition 3i and which are coplanar with the upper surfaces 26 of the post 24, and with the upper surfaces 29 of the comer posts 27. Ribs 36 extend upwardly from the upper ends of the corner posts 30 in alignment with the transverse partition 31. These ribs 36 are designed to extend into the hollow transverse partition of a superimposed tray to hold the two trays from shifting relative to one another.
It will also be noted that the center portion 39 of the iongitudinal partition 23 as well as the center portion 40 of the transverse partition 31 extend to the upper level of the ribs 25 and 36, forming a cross-shaped upwardly extending center portion partition structure which also extends into the hollow interiors of the superimposed partitions, as is indicated in FIGS. 4 and 5. When the superimposed containers are in article carrying condition, the raised center portions 39 and 40 of the partition structure is of additional help in preventing any shifting between the superimposed containers. In view of the fact that all of the walls, the partitions, and the posts of each tray are tapered, one tray will nest into another when the center post 24 of one tray is aligned with a similar post of a similar tray, and where the corner posts 27 and 30 of the two trays are in alignment. The degree to which the two trays may nest together is dependent upon the taper of the tray walls. FIGS. 2 and 3 show atypical construction in which the bottom on one tray nests to about one-half of the depth of a similar tray when the trays are aligned.
When one tray is reversed in position relative to the other, the bottom panels 15 of one tray rest upon the upper surfaces 29 and 35 of the corner posts 27 and 30 of a similar tray. At the same time, portions of the bottom panels 14 on opposite sides of the longitudinal partition 23 rests upon the upper surfaces 26 of the post 24. When so supported, the trays appear as indicated in FIGS. 4 and 5 of the drawings, and the space between the bottom on one tray and the bottom of the next is sufficient to permit items such as baby chicks to be carried in the trays. When in this position, the ribs 25 and 36, as well as the raised portions 39 and 40 of the partition members engage in a hollow partition structure of the superimposed tray to permit any shifting thereof. In addition, the raised corner portions 16 and 17 as well as the raised intermediate portions 41 of the sidewalls l2 and 13 are positioned outwardly of the walls of the superimposed tray to hold the trays in alignment. When a series of similar trays are arranged in superimposed relation the bottom of one tray will form the top of the tray next below. However, in order to close the top of the uppermost tray of the series, a generally rectangular panel 43 is provided which rests upon the ribs 25 and 36, the raised central portion of the partitions, and in angular shoulders 43 which are arranged above an outwardly of the corner posts 27. As indicated, the panel 43 may be provided with a series of apertures 45 extending therethrough to provide circulation of air.
It should also be noted that the end walls 10 and 11 may be slotted as indicated in 46, and the sidewalls may be slotted as indicated at 47 so as to provide for a free circulation of air. These slots may obviously be omitted in the event no circulation of air through the trays is required.
I have described the principles of construction and operation of my improvement in chick tote, and while I have endeavored to set forth the best embodiment thereof, I desire to have it understood that changes may be made within the scope of the following claims without departing from the spirit of my invention.
1. A nestable container including:
bottom panel means,
sidewalls and end walls sloping upwardly and outwardly from said bottom panel so that two similar containers may nest together,
inverted U-shaped partitions extending longitudinally and transversely from said bottom panel dividing said bottom panel into four sections, and connecting said side and end walls,
the walls of said partitions sloping upwardly and inwardly so that the partitions may nest into the partitions of similar partitions of a similar container,
supporting post means adjoining opposite ends of said container,
said supporting post means including post forming walls which terminate in a common plane below the level of the upper edges of said side and end walls and tapering so that the walls of each post may nest into the walls of a similar post of a similar container,
the supporting post means at one end of said container being located at the outer corners of the container,
the supporting post means at the other end of said container being located on opposite sides of said longitudinal partition at the juncture between said longitudinal partition and the adjoining end wall, whereby when one container is turned end for end and placed upon a similar container, the supporting post means of the lower container will engage and support the bottom panel means of the upper container.
2. The structure of claim 1 and including additional supporting post means at the junctures between said transverse partition and said sidewalls on one side only of said transverse partition.
3. The structure of claim 2 and in which said additional comer post means are on the side of the transverse partition most closely adjacent to said one end of said container.
4. The structure of claim I wherein said end walls and sidewalls include portions of greater height at the corners where the side and end wallsjoin.
5. The structure of claim 4 and wherein said end walls also include portions of greater height at the juncture between the longitudinal partition and said end walls.
6. The structure of claim 4 and in which said sidewalls also include portions of greater height at the juncture between said transverse partition and said sidewall.
7. The structure of claim 4 and in which said portions of greater height always overlap the walls of a similar container irregardless of whether the similar container is in nesting relation or in position to be supported by said supporting post means.