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Publication numberUS3700137 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 24, 1972
Filing dateJan 20, 1971
Priority dateJan 20, 1971
Publication numberUS 3700137 A, US 3700137A, US-A-3700137, US3700137 A, US3700137A
InventorsSouza Augustine A
Original AssigneePolygon Concepts
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Produce shipping container
US 3700137 A
Abstract
A container and its cover particularly suitable for use in the packing and shipping of produce is described. The container comprises a plurality of relatively thin sidewalls which are joined by moveable corner members adapted to assume an inwardly directed draft when in a nesting configuration and an outwardly directed draft when in a stacking configuration. The outwardly directed draft assumed by the corner members during stacking permits the loads encountered in stacking to be removed from the side walls and carried by the corner members. The cover corners and corner members of the container are further provided with mating grooves and beads which interlock in a male-female relationship during stacking. In addition, both the cover and bottom members of the container are domed to reduce slipping and twisting of one container relative to another stacked thereon during shipping.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Souza 51 Oct. 24, 1972 [54] PRODUCE SHIPPING CONTAINER Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney-Warren M. Becker and Jerald E. Rosen- [72] Inventor: Augustine A. Souza, San Jose, Calif. blum [73] Assignee: Polygon Concepts, Los Altos, Calif. [57] ABSTRACT [22] Fil Jam 20 1 7 vA container and its cover particularly suitable for use in the packing and shipping of produce is described. Appl- N04 108,056 The container comprises a plurality of relatively thin sidewalls which are joined by moveable corner mem- 52 u.s.c|. ..220/97|: adapted assume an inwardly directed draft 51 1nt.Cl. ..B65d 21/06 t a nesting Ptward1y [58] new of Search E 97 R 97 C 97 D directed draft when m a stacking configuration. The

1 outwardly directed draft assumed by the corner members during stacking permits the loads encountered in stacking to be removed from the side walls and carried by the corner members. The cover corners and corner 5 References Cited members of the container are further provided with mating grooves and beads which interlock in a male- UNITED STATES PATENTS female relationship during stacking. In addition, both the cover and bottom members of the container are 32 23? domed to reduce slipping and twisting of one con- 335l229 11/1967 i g 220/97 E tarner relative to another stacked thereon during 3,403,808 10/1968 Armstrong et al ..220/23.6 3,581,932 6/1971 Kreeger ..21 1/126 12 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures Pmmm 00124 I972 SHEET 1 OF 4 FIG.2

AUGUST! N E A. SOUZA INVENTOR.

BY X/ww 7 ATTORNEYS PATENTED 24 I97? 3 700. 1 37 SHEET u 0F 4 flllllllllllillfl llllflll FIGJO 53 53 s2 X5 FIG.

FIGQIZ INVENTOR. AUGUSTINE A- SOUZA BY flwaq WM ATTORNEYS PRODUCE SHIPPING CONTAINER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates in general to packing and shipping containers, and in particular, to those containers having expandable sides and corner members for facilitating nesting of the containers prior to packing. When such containers are packed, the sides and corners expand outwardly and assume a generally normal orientation relative to a bottom member. Known containers of this type conventionally comprise relatively thick side walls and corner members of sufficient strength and rigidity to support and resist twisting when a number of similar type containers are vertically stacked one upon another.

Due to the great number of such containers required in commercial operations, it is imperative that the weight and material costs be reduced to a minimum while maintaining and, if possible, improving the ability of an individual container to support its own load, as well as the weight of other loaded containers stacked vertically thereon.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A principal object of the present invention is a container for use in packing and shipping which is adapted for compact nesting and is less expensive, lighter, stronger and more stable when stacked with other containers of like size and shape than containers heretofore available.

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a container comprising a plurality of sidewalls having an inwardly directed draft of a few degrees from top to bottom. Each of the sidewalls is joined at its respective adjacent edge to a corner member by means of a pair of accordian-type hinging members. A dome shaped ribbed bottom member is attached at its edges directly to the lower edges of the sidewalls and to each corner member by a similar accordian-type hinging member. The accordian-type hinging members along the sides and bottom edges of the corner members permit the corner member to assume an inwardly directed draft of a few degrees from top to bottom to facilitate nesting prior to packing. During packing, the accordian-type hinging members permit the corner members to extend outwardly beyond the sidewalls to a position whereat the walls of the corner members assume an outwardly directed draft of 1 from top to bottom. The draft assumed by the walls of the corner members during packing, called the stacking configuration, is found to permit the load of stacked containers to be removed from the sidewalls and carried by the corner members. A cover member comprising a domed portion corresponding to the domed portion of the bottom member is provided for engaging bifurcated cover locking slots provided in the upper edges of two opposing sidewalls. The comers of the cover member and the moveable corner members are further provided with grooves and corresponding beads which are adapted to mate and engage in an interlocking male-female relationship when one container is stacked on another. The domed portions of the cover and bottom member together with the interlocking grooves and beads facilitate stacking and reduce slipping and twisting during shipping and together with the draft assumed by the corner members in a stacking configuration results in a reduction in material and attending costs from that required for known containers complying with equivalent accepted standards for structural integrity.

These and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the detailed description and accompanying drawings hereinafter described:

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a container embodying the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a bottom plan view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is an end elevation view of the container of FIG. 1.

7 FIG. 6 is; a partial elevation view of the container of FIG. 1 in a storage or nesting configuration. v

FIG.,7 is a partial elevation view of the container of FIG. 1 in a stacking configuration.

FIG. 8 is a side elevation view of two of the containers of FIG. 1 vertically stacked.

FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the cover of the container of FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of the cover of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is an end elevation view of the cover of FIG.

FIG. 12 is a partial cross-sectional view of the corner stacking members of the containers taken along lines 12-12 of FIG. 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to FIG. 1, there is provided in accordance with the present invention, as indicated generally, a container 1. Container 1 comprises a plurality of sidewalls or curtains 2-5 joined along their respectiveadjacent edges to form an integral unit by a plurality of moveable members 12-15. Each of sidewalls 12-15 is provided to have an inwardly directed draft from topto bottom of a few degrees, typically 4. In the illustrated preferred embodiment, moveable members 12-15 each comprise a pair of mutually perpendicularly orientated plane walls 8 which serve as corner members for container 1. A domed bottom member 16 is provided attached to the lower edges of sidewalls 2-5 and to corner members 12-15. Sidewalls 2,4 comprise, as indicated generally, an M-shaped frame 22, 23 respectively, for additional strength as each of sidewalls 2,4 as well as sidewalls 3,5 are permitted to be made of relatively thin material as of 0.06 inches thick as a result of the construction of corner members 12-15. A central portion 6,7 of the upper edges of sidewalls 2,4 is reduced in height relative to sidewalls 3,5 to form in conjunction with a pair of horizontal members 20,21 of M-shaped frames 22, 23 a bifurcated cover lock slot 24,25, respectively. As is conventional for containers used in carrying produce, there is provided in the lower portions of sidewalls 2-4 a plurality of air vents 26. Referring to the upper edges of each of sidewalls 2 and 4, 3 and 5, and corner members 12-15, there is provided a plurality of horizontally extending outwardly directed lips 27-29 respectively. A collar 31 extends vertically from the outer edge of each of lips 27-29. A corner groove 32 is provided in lip 28 of each of comer members 12-15 along the adjacent edges of lip 28 and collar 31. Each of corner members 12-15 is further provided at its lower edge with an extension or corner bead 33. As will be apparent, when stacked vertically, a corner bead 33 of one container will engage a corresponding corner groove 32 of .a like container. Each of comer members 12-15 is joined to its respective adjacent sidewalls 2-5 by a pair of accordian-type side hinges, 35, 36, shown in more detail in FIGS. 4-7, and to bottom member 16 by a similar accordian-type bottom hinge 37. A v-shaped clearance slot 38 and a hinge 39 is provided in collar 31 in the vicinity of the upper ends of side hinges 35-36 to provide a pivot point and clearance to facilitate the extension of movable corner members 12-15.

As shown in more detail with reference to corner member 13 in FIG. 2, corner member 15 in FIG. 3, and FIG. 12, each of corner members 12-15 is further provided with a corner groove 40. Cover groove 40 is provided to extend about the upper interior edge of corner bead 33 in the undersurface of a base 44 of each of comer members 12-15. Base 44 extends horizontally from each of corner walls 8 inwardly and is joined with bottom member 16 through hinge 37. As will be apparent, cover groove 40 is adapted to receive a corresponding bead on a cover to be described. hereinafter. Bottom member 16 is provided with a plurality of interlocking rib members 45 for providing mechanical strength. As previously described, bottom member 16 is domed, typically 1 inch in the center, so as. to provide an upwardly directed convex surface for increased mechanical strength and for resisting twisting of container 1 in use. A plurality of brace members 46 are further provided in the under-surface of lip 28 at the opposite endsof corner groove 32 for additional mechanical strength.

With reference to FIGS. 4,5 it will be noted that when corner members 12 -15 are in a fully contracted or nesting configuration, as shown, the vertically rising walls 8 forming comer members 12-15 assume an inwardly directed draft of typically 4 degrees from top to bottom. When corner members 12-15 are in a fully extended r stacking configuration, the vertically rising walls 8 forming corner members 12-'-assume an outwardly directed draft of typically lfrom top to bottom. The draft of corner member 12-15 assumed in the stacking configuration is such that the corner bead 33 in the lower edge of comer members 12-15 assumes a position and is able to mate with a corresponding corner groove 32 in lip 28 at the upper edge of comer members 12-15 of a like container. By so constructing corner members 12-15 such that the lower edges of wall 8 extend outwardly beyond the upper edges of the wall 8 forming corner members 12-15, the forces on corner members 1215 during stacking, as shown in FIG. 8 are directed inwardly resulting in increased stability.

Referring to FIGS. 8-11, container 1 is further provided with a domed cover 50. Cover 50 comprises a pair of downwardly extending flanged arms 51, 52 adapted to mate and lock within cover lock slots 24, 25 in sidewalls 2,4. A plurality of cover beads 53 are provided about the corners of cover 50. As shown in detail in FIG. 12, cover beads 53 are adapted to engage cover grooves 40in the bottom of comer members 12-15 when one container is stacked on top of another. The dome of cover 50 extends inwardly and upwardly from a horizontally extending margin about the edges of dome 50. The margin 54 is made larger in the vicinity of the comers of cover 50 to correspond with the base members 44 in cover members 12-15 for providing a platform on which a like container may rest. The height, size and shape of the dome of cover 50 is identical to the height, size and shape of the dome of bottom member 16 such that when two or more containers together with their respective covers 50 are stacked one on top of the other, the cover 50 of one container will mate with the bottom member 16 of the above container in a male-female relationship. This construction has been found to reduce slipping and twisting of one container relative to another during shipping. Cover member 50 is also provided "with a plurality of air vents 53 located in arms 51, 52.

The containers of the invention can be readily fabricated from any suitable moldable material including the various plastics, metals, etc., employing conventionaltechniques such as blow molding, vacuum molding, and injection molding. High density polyethylenes are especially desirable materials from which to fabricate the containers of the invention.

The containers of the invention can be fabricated in various sizes depending upon how the container is to be employed. The containers are particularly adapted for fabrication in the larger sizes useful in the field in the mechanized harvesting of fruits and vegetables. For such use containers having a depth of about 24 inches, a width of about 42 inches, and a length of about 48 inches have been found particularly useful. In such containers the dimensions of the various elements would be generally in proportion to the above-given dimensions. The invention is not to be limited to containers of any particular dimensions or particular dimensions of particular elements comprising the containers.

While an embodiment of the invention has been described for illustrative purposes, the invention obviously is not limited thereto. Various modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of this disclosure. Such modifications are within the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A container adapted to be nested and stacked vertically with a like container of identical shape comprising: a first and a second vertically extending sidewall; a vertically extending movable member disposed adjacent said first and said second vertically extending sidewalls; a horizontally extending bottom member disposed adjacent a lower horizontally extending edge of said first and said second sidewall and said movable member; a first hinging means attached to adjacent edges of said first sidewall and said movable member; a second hinging means attached to adjacent edges of said second sidewall and said movable member; and a third hinging means attached to adjacent edges of said bottom member and said movable member for permitting said movable member to be extended out wardly from said first and said second sidewalls and said bottom member.

2. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first and said second sidewalls and said movable member have an upper horizontally extending edge, further comprising: a first, second and third lip forming a part of and extending horizontally outwardly from said upper edge of said first sidewall, said second sidewall and said movable member, respectively; a first, second and third collar forming a part of and extending vertically from the outer edge of each of said first, second and third lips, respectively; a fourth hinging means forming a part of and disposed between adjacent ends of said lips and said collars of said first sidewall and said movable member; a fifth hinging means forming a part of and disposed between adjacent ends of said lips and said collars of said second sidewall and said movable member; and means provided between adjacent ends of said collars on each of said sidewalls and said movable member in the vicinity of the upper end of said first and said second hinging means for providing clearance permitting said movable member to be moved outwardly from said sidewalls.

3. A container according to claim 2 herein said first, second and third hinging means comprise coupled first and second members which pivot relative to each other and relative to the sidewall, bottom member and movable member to which they are respectively attached when said movable member is moved relative to said sidewalls and bottom member;

4. A container according to claim 3 wherein said first, second, third, fourth and fifth hinging means comprise a living hinge integrally formed in the formation of said sidewalls, movable and bottom members.

5. A container according to claim 4 wherein said movable member is a comer member comprising a pair of vertically extending mutually perpendicular walls joined along opposite edges to said first and said second hinging means; and a horizontally extending base member extending between the lower edges of said pair of vertically extending walls inwardly to join said third hinging means.

6. A container according to claim 5 wherein said walls of said comer member are planar and said bottom member is domed for providing an inwardly directed convex surface.

7. A container according to claim 6 wherein said bottom member comprises a plurality of interconnected ribs for providing mechanical strength.

8. A container according to claim 2 wherein said movable member is a corner member and said third lip forming a part of and extending from the upper edge of said corner member comprises a comer grove extending along the lower interior edge of said third collar.

len h to be engaged by a cover bead corresponding to sat cover bea on a cover correspondmg in size and shape to said cover.

11. A container according to claim 2 wherein said bottom member is domed providing an inwardly directed convex surface and at least one of said first and said second sidewalls is provided with an elongated cover lock slot disposed along the upper horizontally extending edge thereof for engaging and retaining a cover member and further comprising a cover member, and wherein said cover member is domed for providing an outwardly directed convex surface corresponding to and adapted to mate with in male-female relationship said bottom member, said cover member further comprising a downwardly extending arm with an outwardly extending flange portion extending along a portion of at least one edge thereof, for engaging in a locking fashion said elongated cover lock slot.

12. A container according to claim 1 wherein said first sidewall, said second sidewall and said movable member are, in a nesting configuration, provided with an inwardly sloping draft from top to bottom and further comprising along the upper edge of said first sidewall, said second sidewall and said movable member, an outwardly extending first, second and third lip, respectively; a first, second and third collar extending vertically from the outer edge of said first, second and third lip, respectively; and a corner groove in said third lip extending along the adjacent edges of said third lip and said third collar for providing a recess adapted to receive a bead provided in the lower edge of a movable member in a like container with a movable member corresponding to said movable member and wherein said draft of said movable member is changed from said inwardly sloping draft to an outwardly sloping draft when said movable member is extended outwardly from said first and said second sidewalls for directing the forces on said movable member inwardly for providing increased stability.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2462693 *Sep 19, 1947Feb 22, 1949Wabshaw Benjamin AShipping box
US2513693 *Jun 30, 1947Jul 4, 1950Turbyfill Charles WAdjustable container
US3351229 *Nov 18, 1965Nov 7, 1967Phillips Petroleum CoNesting and stacking container
US3403808 *Apr 18, 1966Oct 1, 1968Bernard O. JohannContainer and container system
US3581932 *Apr 29, 1969Jun 1, 1971Pinckney Molded PlasticsNest and stack containers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4457432 *Nov 22, 1983Jul 3, 1984Solheim Allan DInterlocking stackable tray
US4580681 *Apr 30, 1984Apr 8, 1986Bernard BraunNestable case
US4694950 *Sep 25, 1984Sep 22, 1987Shape Inc.Tape cassette assembly tray
US5207329 *Mar 30, 1992May 4, 1993Hwang Shih MingQuick stacking filing trays
US5415293 *Aug 30, 1993May 16, 1995Rehrig-Pacific Company, Inc.Grape lug
US5452803 *Dec 22, 1993Sep 26, 1995Stromberg; Per S.Stackable shipping containers
US5531352 *Jul 9, 1993Jul 2, 1996Kradon, Inc.Agricultural container
US5553549 *Mar 31, 1994Sep 10, 1996Spacemaker LimitedFramework for shelving unit
US5564805 *Jan 3, 1994Oct 15, 1996Contico International, Inc.Storage container with wheels
US5752602 *Feb 13, 1996May 19, 1998Rehrig-Pacific Company Inc.Stackable and nestable one part container
US9079707Mar 8, 2013Jul 14, 2015William WinterbergReinforced foot for agricultural commodity bin
US20060237341 *Apr 21, 2006Oct 26, 2006Schaefer Systems International, Inc.Stacking container
EP0610870A1 *Feb 8, 1994Aug 17, 1994BEROLINA KUNSTSTOFF GESELLSCHAFT m.b.H. & Co. VERPACKUNGSSYSTEME KGTransport container having at least two swinging walls
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/511, 206/506, 206/505
International ClassificationB65D21/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/068
European ClassificationB65D21/06F