US 3722714 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Enited States Patent 1 1 Morris et al.
1 51 Mar. 27, 1973  CONTAINER INTERCONNECTION ARRANGEMENT  lnventors: Joseph R. Morris, East lslip; Walter A. Last, Jr., lslip, L.l., both of NY.
 Assignee: Peck & Hale, Inc., West Sayville,
 Filed: Sept. 14, 1971  Appl. No.: 180,432
52 US. Cl. ..214/1o.s R, 105/366 B, 105/367 51 Int. Cl ..B6Sg 1/14 58 Field 61 Search...2l4/l0.5 R; 105/366 A, 366 B,
105/366 0, 366 D, 366 E, 369 s, 367
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,083,670 4/1963 'Harlander et al. ..214/l0.5 R
12/1964 Willison et al. ..l05/366 E 12/1970 Marvin ..2l4/l0.5 R
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 6,809,021 12/1969 Netherlands ..2l4/l0.5 R
Primary Examiner-Drayton E. Hoffman Assistant ExaminerFrank E. Werner Attorney-Dean S. Edmonds et a1.
 ABSTRACT lnterconnecting rectangular freight containers in a container stowage system having one or several tiers of containers in order to prevent relative movement horizontally and provide for variation in container spacing. This is accomplished by the use of interlock stacker units, and spacer plates or bridge fittings and, for the top tier, locking pins to secure or capture the spacer plates.
8 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATEIHEUHARZYIUYS SHEET 10F 3 FIG. 1
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PATETHFUWZYISYS 8,722,714 SHEET 2 OF 3 INVENTORS J'OSEPH R. MORRIS WALTER A. LAST,JR
ATTO RN EYS PATEHTEUmznm SHEET 3 OF 3 434% WW zfwau ATTORNEYS CONTAINER INTERCONNECTION ARRANGEMENT BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention is part of a system for stowing an assemblage of rectangular shipping or freight containers on the deck of a ship or other carrier. The assemblage may be three tiers in height and have a width and length corresponding to the stowage area. Suitable lashings are provided to hold the containers in stacked condition. One feature of the present invention provides for preventing relative horizontal movement of the containers of adjacent tiers. This is accomplished by stacker keying, that is, by means of the stacker key of an interlock stacker, the lower portion of which includes a semi-twist lock formation for engaging the top opening in a top corner fitting of one container, the stacker key projecting into the bottom opening of a lower corner fitting of the container next above.
According to another feature of the invention the containers of the same tier can be spaced apart by different distances as required by the particular shipper or ship owner. This is accomplished by the use of bridge fittings or spacer plates arranged to cooperate with the interlock stackers that have been applied to adjacent containers. That is to say, the spacing plates may interconnect two containers end-to-end or side-by-side, or four containers end-to-end and side-by-side.
The spacer plates are each provided with two spaced openings or apertures, each aperture having uniformly spaced internal teeth somewhat similar to gear teeth and extending lengthwise of the plate. These teeth interfit with similar teeth provided on the stacker key of the interlock stacker. These teeth are arranged on all sides of a square body member. The apertures in the spacer plates are rectangular so that a predetermined amount of spacing adjustment may be provided. Should different spacing of the containers be desired bridge fittings either longer or shorter may be supplied.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING FIG. 1 is a vertical section of an assemblage of containers stowed on a ships deck, the section being taken between the ends of the containers;
FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing the interconnection of the top corners of any four adjacent containers of the top tier;
FIG. 3 is an isometric view of a typical arrangement where eight container corners meet, one of which has been removed for clarity;
FIG. 4 is an isometric view showing the corner fittings at an upper and a lower corner of a container, the container being shown in phantom;
FIG. 5 is an exploded isometric view ofa spacer plate and two stacker keys;
FIG. 6 is an isometric view of an interlock stacker from beneath showing its semi-twist lock formation:
FIG. 7 is a front view of the interlock stacker of FIG. 6, and
FIG. 8 is a horizontal section taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 7.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION An assemblage of nine containers is shown in FIG. 1 which is a vertical section taken between the ends of the containers shown and the adjacent ends of nine other containers assumed to be located in front of the plane of the paper in FIG. 1. Additional containers can be added endwise both at the rear and front of this assemblage. Suitable lashings are used to hold the containers in position including end lashings if necessary. In FIG. 1 the assemblage of containers rests upon a ship's deck 10. Lashings 11 extending from the top corners of the top containers at each side of the assemblage to the deck surface where they are secured in a convention manner constitute the side lashings.
In FIG. 4 a conventional bottom corner fitting 12 is shown together with a top corner fitting 13, the container 14 being shown in phantom. Bottom corner fitting 12 has an elongated opening 15 in its bottom surface, and elongated openings 16 and 17 in its side and end surfaces respectively. Similarly top corner fitting 13 has an elongated opening 18 in its top, and openings 19 and 20 in its side and end respectively. Each 'of the containers of the FIG. 1 assemblage has fittings on all corners corresponding to fittings l2 and 13 just described.
The FIG. 1 assemblage is supported on a series of conventional deck sockets 21 each having a vertical projection which extends into the bottom opening 15 of the respective corner fittings 12 of the bottom tier of containers. These deck sockets firmly secure the lowest tier of containers to the surface of deck 10 against any horizontal movement, and lashings 11 together with the weight of the assemblage insures that the connections with deck sockets 21 will be maintained.
Referring now to FIG. 2 which shows the interconnection of any four adjacent containers of the top tier, the four containers illustrated are designated by reference numerals 22, 23, 24 and 25. These containers are spaced apart sidewise by two spacer plates 26 and 27 and lengthwise by spacer plates 28 and 29, together with cooperating interlock stackers 30, 31, 32 and 33.
Spacer plate 26 and interlock stackers 30 and 32 are shown separately in FIG. 5. The spacer plates are each provided with two lengthwise apertures 34 and 35. These are rectangular in shape and their longer lengthwise sides have uniformly spaced teeth 36 and 37. The ends of these apertures have no teeth.
Each of the interlock stackers 30-33 has a square body member 38 with four equal sides having teeth corresponding to teeth 36 and 37 of the spacer plates so that they can intermesh. On the upper side of body member 38 of each of the interlock stackers is a stacker key 39 which is an upstanding projection or nose of more or less conventional shape, while below each of the body members 38 there is a semi-twist lock member 40. Twist lock member 40 projects downwardly a distance corresponding to the thickness of the corner fittings 13 and extending from the bottom of member 40 there are two oppositely and angularly projecting lugs 41.
Referring again to FIG. 2 locking pins 42 are shown in position in horizontal openings in the four stacker keys 39. In order to assemble the parts shown in FIG. 2 it will be assumed that these pins were previously removed. The first step which the ship loader takes in assembling the interconnection of FIG. 2 is to insert the four interlock stackers 30, 31, 32 and 33 in position. To do this he places the lugs 41 of each interlock stacker in one of the top openings 18 of the top corner fittings 13 of containers 22-25. As lugs 41 have a special angular position as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8 the body 38 of each of the interlock stackers must be shifted to an angular position in order for the lugs to be inserted. After the lugs have entered below the inner surface of the corner fittings 13 body member 38 is turned slightly to the normal position shown in FIG. 2 and this turning movement causes lugs 41 to engage the interior surface of their corresponding corner fittings 13.
The next operation by the ship loader is to place spacer plate 28 in position and following this spacer plate 29. In doing this the teeth 36 of spacer plate 28 engage the lower portions of the teeth of body member 38 of interlock stacker 30 as shown in FIG. 2, and the teeth 37 of spacer plate 28 engage the lower portions of the teeth of body member 38 of interlock stacker 31. The thickness of body members 38 of the interlock stackers is in excess of twice the thickness of the spacer plates so that the surfaces of body members 38 project somewhat above the surfaces of spacing plates 26 and 27 after they are in position as shown in FIG. 2. The difference in thickness just referred to is indicated by reference numeral 43. The reason for this difference in thickness is that when the interlock stackers and spacing plates are assembled at any part of the assemblage below the top, the weight of the upper tiers of containers is carried by the body members 38 instead of having the containers rest upon the spacer plates.
Continuing with reference to FIG. 2, after the four spacer plates 26-29 have been assembled as shown the locking pins 42 are slid into the crosswise openings of the four stacker keys 39. In order to lock these pins in place each pin 42 has a lateral projection 44 one of each is shown in FIG. 2. To insert a pin 42 its handle 45 is placed in upright position which causes projection 44 to be aligned with a small slot 46 in the stacker key opening. Pin 42 is pushed inwardly until projection 44 is within the hollow stacker key. Handle 45 is then rotated to a downward position where the weight of this handle maintains the angular position of its locking pin 42 so that it cannot be removed by the motion of the ship. As indicated previously the purpose of locking pins 42 is to capture the spacer plates 26-29 and hold them in position.
The spacing of the containers which is brought about by the particular spacer plates 26-29 is shown by the arrows 47 and 48. Should the ship owner or operator desire some other container spacing it is a simple matter to provide spacer plates of different dimensions, either longer or shorter than the plates shown in the drawings. Furthermore, should only a slight change in spacing be desired this may be accomplished by shifting the engagement of the teeth of the spacer plates and the teeth of body members 38. There is sufficient play in the fit of the stacker keys in the openings in the corner fittings 12 at the bottoms of the containers to insure that the teeth in the spacer plate apertures can find engagement with the teeth of the interlock stacker body members.
Finally, in FIG. 3 the situation within the interior of the FIG. 1 assemblage is illustrated. This figure shows the situation at the adjacent corners of any eight containers below the top of the top tier. As drawn FIG. 3 shows the lower portions of the corners of containers 23, 24 and 25 of FIG. 2, the lower corner portion of container 22 being omitted. FIG. 3 includes the corner portions of the containers of the next tier below. Thus the corner portion of container 49 is immediately below the corner portion of container 23. Container 50 of FIG. 1 which is immediately below container 24 is not visible in FIG. 3 except for its top corner fitting 13. The corner portion of container 51 is immediately below that of container 25 and the corner portion of container 52 is immediately below the corner portion of container 22 which has been omitted.
An interlock stacker 53 is shown in position in the top corner fitting (not visible) of container 52. The stacker key of this interlock stacker is shown at 54, and the body member 54 with teeth on all sides similar to body member 38 is also shown. The side teeth of body member 55 are in engagement with the teeth in an aperture of a spacer plate 56 which corresponds to spacer plate 26 of FIG. 24. It will be understood that spacer plate 57 corresponds with spacer plate 27 of FIG. 2, spacer plate 58 with spacer plate 28, and spacer plate 59 with spacer plate 29.
It is to be further understood that an interlock stacker similar to number 53 is in position in the top corner fitting 13 of each of the containers 49, 50 and 51. The teeth of the body members of each of these interlock stackers are in engagement with the teeth in the apertures of the corresponding spacer plates. Hence the spacing of the eight containers in the group of FIG. 3 is maintained by the cooperation of the four spacer plates and the four interlock stackers in the same manner as described in connection with FIG. 2.
However each of the containers in the upper tier such as containers 23, 24, 25 and 22 are held in position horizontally by the engagement of the stacker key of the interlock stacker in the container immediately below with the bottom opening in the lower corner fitting 12 of each of containers 23, 24, 25 and 22. The containers are maintained in this position by their own weight and by means of the lashing at the sides of the assemblage such as indicated by lashings 11 and by additional lashing (not shown) at the opposite ends of the FIG. 1 assemblage.
At certain portions of the FIG. 1 assemblage it is necessary to use only one spacer plate. This is true along the sides and ends of the assemblage and here only a single spacer plate between the adjacent endwise positioned containers is required.
With the system of stowing freight containers in the present invention only three items or units are required, namely, the spacer plates which may be furnished in different lengths, the interlock stacker and the locking pins. These parts will withstand considerable stress without suffering much damage. If the spacer plates should become bent they are easily straightened. These units are comparatively light in weight and easy to handle. Their use will render the work of the ship loaders easier and faster which is an advantage to the shipper and the ship owner.
1. A system for stowing as cargo an assemblage of rectangular freight containers side by side and tier on tier including suitable lashings to hold the container assemblage in position, and means for securing together horizontally adjacent containers of said assemblage comprising:
a. at least one spacer plate having two apertures therein spaced lengthwise of said plate, each aperture having uniformly spaced internal teeth on its lengthwise opposite sides,
. devices for stacker keying the adjacent corners of said containers in adjacent tiers, each device including a horizontal square body member provided with uniformly spaced teeth on its sides, and
c. said body members being received respectively within the apertures of said spacer plate with the teeth of said body members interfitting with the internal teeth of said apertures, thereby serving to space said containers apart horizontally.
2. A system for stowing as cargo an assemblage of rectangular shipping containers side by side, end to end and tier on tier including means for securing together adjacent superposed containers horizontally comprising:
a. devices for stacker keying the adjacent corners of said containers in adjacent tiers, each device including a horizontal square body member provided with uniformly spaced teeth on all four sides, spacer plates interconnecting said stacker keying devices in two horizontal directions each plate having two spaced rectangular apertures therein spaced lengthwise of the plate, each aperture having uniformly spaced internal teeth on its opposite longer sides, and
c. said body members being received respectively within said rectangular apertures of said spacer plates with the teeth of said body members interfitting with the internal teeth of said apertures thereby serving to space said containers apart in two horizontal directions.
3. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 2 in which the body members of said stacker keying devices are in contact with the respective corner fittings of the lower containers, and said body members are thicker than said spacer plates whose teeth interfit with the body members teeth thus causing said superposed containers to rest on said body members.
4. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 2 in which said superposed containers form the top containers of said assemblage, and the stacker keying devices have horizontal apertures above said body members, locking pins being inserted in said apertures to maintain the spacer plates in position.
5. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 1 wherein said body member is square.
6. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 5 wherein said square body member is horizontal.
7. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 2 wherein said body member is square.
8. A system for stowing freight containers according to claim 7 wherein said square body member is horizontal.
2325-3 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTEFICATE or commotion Patent NO. 3 722714- Dated M81611 27, 1973.
' Joseph- R. Morris and Wal'te'nAZ- Last, Jr. InventorCs) 'it is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent: are hereby corrected as shown below:
1. Column 2, line 15, change "convention" to read conventional 2. Column 2, line 60, change "oppositely" to read opposite 3. Column S, line 11, delete the expression "horizontal square".-
4. Column 5 line 25, delete the expression "horizontal square".
Signed and sealed this 25th day of December 1973 SEAL) Attest:
EDWARD M.FLETGHER,JR. RENE D. TEGTMEYER Attesting Officer Acting Commissioner of Patents