US 3664271 A
Formed pallet apparatus including first deck means formed with a first deck wall and a plurality of integral female sockets. Second deck means is formed with a second deck wall and a plurality of integral male plugs which are formed to be telescopically received in the respective sockets to support the deck walls in spaced apart relationship. Coupling means is provided for coupling the plugs in the sockets whereby the first and second deck means may be formed separately and then coupled together to form a pallet apparatus which incorporates deck walls that are spaced apart for receipt of lift-fork tines and the like.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Wolder et a1.
 PLASTIC MOLDED PALLET  Inventors: Ernest Harold Wolder, 12011 Laurel Avenue, Whittier, Calif. 90605; James Harold Jarrett, 13012 Goller Avenue, Norwalk, Calif. 90650 22 Filed: Dec. 15,1969
21 Appl.No.: 870,669
 US. Cl ..108/5l, 108/53, 108/58  ..B65d 19/18  Field ofSearch ..108/5158, 144; 214/79 l56| References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,229,138 6/1917 Reischmann .,108/144 2,602,619 7/ l 952 McIntyre ..108/57 2,832,130 4/1958 Harvey ..108/52 UX 3,327,654 6/1967 Duncan et a1 108/53 3,251,322 5/1966 Downs et. a] 108/58 3,316,861 5/1967 Dailey ..108/51 2,479,728 8/1949 Darlin 108/55 UX 2,621,006 12/1952 Norrefeldt 108/57 UX [451 May 23, 1972 2,699,912 l/ 1955 Cushman ..108/56 2,779,487 1/1957 Harris 214/79 2,973,931 3/ 1961 Brown 108/53 Primary Examiner-Bobby R. Gay Assistant Examiner-Glenn O. Finch Att0meyFulWider, Patton, Rieber, Lee & Utecht  ABSTRACT Formed pallet apparatus including first deck means formed with a first deck wall and a plurality of integral female sockets. Second deck means is formed with a second deck wall and a plurality of integral male plugs which are formed to be telescopically received in the respective sockets to support the deck walls in spaced apart relationship. Coupling means is provided for coupling the plugs in the sockets whereby the first and second deck means may be formed separately and then coupled together to form a pallet apparatus which incorporates deck walls that are spaced apart for receipt of lift-fork tines and the like.
12 Claims, 4 Drawing figures PLASTIC MOLDED PALLET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1 Field of the Invention The present invention relates to pallets for use in transfer of cargo.
2. Description of the Prior Art Formed pallet devices have been proposed which include decks which are formed to next together for storage thereby failing to provide for such decks to be spaced apart for receipt of forklift tines. Additionally, formed pallet devices have been proposed which include decks having projections extending therefrom so such decks may be disposed on one another to cause the projections to maintain the decks spaced apart, but such pallet devices suffer the shortcoming that there is no provision for automatically locking the decks together.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is characterized by a pallet apparatus including spaced apart deck walls having interlocking female sockets and male plugs projecting therefrom for locking the deck walls together to maintain them in spaced apart relationship.
An object of the present invention is to provide a pallet apparatus of the type described which may be injection molded.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a formed pallet apparatus of the type described which may be formed in two separate pieces and then conveniently assembled and coupled together.
These and other objects and the advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is an exploded view, partially broken away, of a formed pallet apparatus embodying the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a transverse vertical sectional view in enlarged scale, of the pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 1 and depicting its assembled configuration;
FIG. 3 is a transverse vertical sectional view similar to FIG. 2 of a second embodiment of the pallet apparatus of present invention; and
FIG. 4 is a bottom perspective view of a third embodiment of the pallet apparatus of present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The formed pallet apparatus of present invention includes, generally, upper and lower decks 11 and 13 which are formed with horizontal sheets defining respective walls 15 and 17. The upper deck 11 includes a plurality of integral female sockets 21 (FIG. 2) projecting downwardly from the left hand side thereof and a plurality of integral male plugs 25 projecting downwardly from the right hand side thereof. The lower deck 13 is similarly shaped and includes a plurality of integral female sockets 31 projecting upwardly from the right hand side thereof and a plurality of integral male plugs 35 projecting upwardly from the left hand side thereof; The respective sockets 21 and 31 are formed with respective peripheral coupling grooves 37 and 39 for receipt of complementary coupling rings 41 and 43 formed in the peripheries of the respective plugs 25 and 35. Consequently, the decks 11 and 13 may be formed separately, as by injection molding or merely pouring palletized plastic in a mold and curing in an oven and such decks then coupled together.
The decks 11 and 13 may be made of any type of fonnable material such as polyethylene, polypropylene or any of the ABS. resins known to the trade.
It has been found that pallets formed in accordance with the present invention which have a deck wall thickness of approximately one-eighth of an inch provide highly desirable characteristics in that the pallets are relatively light for convenient handling yet will withstand substantial abuse and support highly concentrated heavy loads without breaking or cracking.
The deck walls 15 and 17 are formed integrally with the respective sockets 21 and 31 and plugs 25 and 35. The sockets 21 and 31 are conveniently 3 inches in diameter and are formed on their interiors with continuous circumferential grooves 37 and 43 respectively for receipt of the respective coupling ribs 41 and 43 formed on the exterior of the respective plugs 25 and 35. The plug walls are preferably slightly flexible so they will collapse slightly during coupling together of the decks 11 and 13 to enable the plugs 25 and 35 to be easily inserted in the respective sockets 21 and 31.
The deck walls 15 and 17 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 are formed with respective peripheral reinforcing ribs 45 and 47 for resisting excessive flexing of the marginal areas of the respective walls.
The decks 11 and 13 are preferably mirror images of one another so both decks can be formed in a single mold and the deck 13 merely rotated l80 with respect to the deck 11 to align the sockets 31 and plugs 35 with the respective plugs 25 and sockets 21 in the upper deck 1 1.
In operation, the decks 1 land 13 are formed separately and after curing thereof is completed such decks may be rapidly coupled by merely moving the decks 11 into position on the decks 13 to insert the respective plugs 25 in the respective sockets 31 and to telescope the respective sockets 21 over the respective plugs 35. As such decks 11 and 13 are pressed together the walls of the plugs 25 and 35 will flex slightly to buckle radially inwardly and enable the respective ribs 41 and 43 to slide axially into the respective sockets 31 and 21 until they register with the respective grooves 37 and 39, at which point the walls of the respective plugs 25 and 35 will flex radially outwardly to lock such ribs securely in position to lock the decks 11 and 13 together.
The pallet apparatus is then ready for use and the cargo to be carried thereby may be loaded thereon. A forklift may then be brought into position and the tines thereof inserted in the passageways 51 and 53 (FIG. 2) formed between the interlocking sockets and plugs and the fork raised to lift upwardly on the top deck wall 15. The decks 11 and 13 will remain locked together to enable such pallet apparatus to be handled in a manner very similar to that for conventional wood pallets. It should be noted, however, that either of the decks 11 or 13 may be used independently of the other deck since the respective decks may be arranged with the tubes and sockets projecting downwardly to serve as support posts.
The formed pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 3 is similar to the pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 1 except that it includes an upper deck 65 formed with a row of sockets 67 disposed on one side thereof and a row of plugs 69 disposed on the opposite side thereof, a row of stub tubes 71 being formed centrally in the deck 65. A lower deck, generally designated 75, is formed on one side with a row of upwardly projecting plugs 77 for receipt in the sockets 67 and on its opposite side with upwardly projecting sockets 79 for telescopical receipt over the respective plugs 69. A row of centrally located stubs 81 are formed centrally in the lower pallet 75 and abut the stubs 71 on their projecting ends.
Consequently, the upper and lower decks 65 and 75 may be formed from the same mold and the upper deck 65 merely rotated degrees with respect to the lower deck 75 for assembly thereof. With the decks assembled together as shown in FIG. 3, the stubs 71 and 81 merely act as compressive support members.
The pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 4 is inverted and similar to that shown in FIG. 1 except that it includes a deck, generally designated 91, which is formed with three rows of projecting plugs which are telescopically received in sockets 93 formed integrally with respective individual deck runners 97. Consequently, rather than having two continuous decks the pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 4 includes the individual runners which cooperate to form passageways 101 therebetween for receipt of a fork tine or hydraulic jack.
In operation, the pallet apparatus shown in FIG. 4 will actually be inverted from the position shown so the deck 91 serves as the top or load-carrying wall, and such apparatus is supported on the respective runners 97. A low hydraulic jack may conveniently be rolled into position in the passageways 101 and such jack actuated to engage the top deck 91 and raise the pallet apparatus off the ground for convenient movement thereof.
From the foregoing it will be apparent that the pallet apparatus of present invention may be made entirely of formed plastic and may conveniently be assembled without the use of fasteners such as screws, bolts or nails. Such pallet apparatus is relatively light in weight in that a conventionally sized pallet weighs less than pounds while a conventional wood pallet of comparable size and load-carrying ability weighs between 40 and 70 pounds. The great advantage of such pallet apparatus becomes very important in air freight charges where the pallet detracts from the payload. Additionally, the light weight of the pallet apparatus of present invention enables female workers to move such pallets thereby alleviating the problem encountered in many shops where the empty pallets must be left in the position where they were unloaded by female workers until male workers have an opportunity to remove same. Further, the sheet-like construction enables the pallet apparatus to be thoroughly steam cleaned and all residue to be removed therefrom thereby making such pallet highly desirable for use in the food industry.
Various modifications and changes may be made with regard to the foregoing detailed description without departing from the spirit of the invention.
We claim: 1. Formed pallet apparatus comprising: first deck means including a first deck wall and a plurality of female sockets formed integrally therewith and spaced apart to form tine-receiving passageways therebetween;
second deck means including a second deck wall and male plugs formed integrally therewith and disposed for telescopical receipt in said respective sockets to support said first deck spaced a selected distance from said second deck wall; and
coupling means for coupling said plugs in said sockets and including interlocking rib and groove means to secure said socket and plugs together whereby said first and second deck means may be formed separately and then assembled together by telescoping said plugs into said sockets and said first and second deck walls will be spaced apart said selected distance for receipt therebetween of tines extended into said passages.
2. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said female sockets are in the form of projecting tubular members.
3. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said coupling means is in the form of peripheral grooves formed in said sockets and peripheral coupling ribs formed on said plugs for complemental receipt in said grooves.
4. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said sockets are disposed on one end of said first pallet means and said first pallet means includes a plurality of sockets disposed in a complemental pattern on the end opposite said one end and said second pallet means includes sockets arranged in a pattern to receive said plugs in said first mentioned pallet, the pattern for the plugs and sockets in said second pallet means being a mirror image of the pattern for said plugs and sockets in said first pallet means.
5. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first and second deck means are made from plastic.
6. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first and second deck means are made from polyethylene.
7. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said male plugs are in the form of projecting tubular members.
8. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first deck means is formed with a peripheral reinforcing 9. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first and second deck walls are in the form of continuous sheets.
10. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein said second deck wall is in the form of a plurality of longitudinally extending transversely spaced apart runners.
l 1. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said first and second deck means are each formed with a central row of confronting stubs which abut together on their confronting ends when said deck means are assembled together.
12. Formed pallet apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein:
said first deck wall is planer and said female sockets are in the form of projecting tubes formed with internal peripheral grooves defining said groove means; and
said second deck wall is planar and said male plugs are in the form of flexible wall tubes formed with external peripheral ribs defining said rib means.