US 3753407 A
Improved reuseable and convertible shipping pallet of cradle-like design having truss-like reinforcing elements and special attachments whereby the pallet can be used to ship either flat or annular shaped products with equal facility and can be handled equally well by various types of pallet handling equipment such as lift trucks, cranes, etc.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Tilseth 51 Aug. 21, 1973 CONVERTIBLE SHIPPING PALLET  Inventor: Arne B. Tilseth, Oakland, Calif.
 Assignee: Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation, Oakland, Calif.
 Filed: Apr. 5, 1972  Appl. No.: 241,255
 US. Cl 108/53, 108/58, 108/51  Int. Cl 865d 19/38  Field of Search ..108/51-58; 248/119, 361; 206/46; 214/621  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,285,204 9/1966 Schweitzer, Jr 108/55 3,590,752 2/1969 Pew 108/55 2,662,710 12/1953 Lapham 108/52 2,431,589 11/1947 Shuler, Jr 108/55 X 2,046,095 6/1936 Shaw 108/53 X 2,803,363 8/1957 Hutchinson... 214/621 2,958,492 11/1960 Maynard 248/119 R 3,472,363 10/1969 Rustin, Jr. et al. 206/46 3,476,260 11/1969 Jay 211/71 3,563,184 2/1971 Angelbeck, Jr 108/51 Primary Examiner-Francis K. Zugel Assistant Examiner-Glenn O. Finch AttorneyPaul E. Calrow et a1.
[ 5 7 ABSTRACT Improved reuseable and convertible shipping pallet of cradle-like design having truss-like reinforcing elements and special attachments whereby the pallet can be used to ship either flat or annular shaped products with equal facility and can be handled equally well by various types of pallet handling equipment such as lift trucks, cranes, etc.
20 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures Patented Aug; 21, 1973 3,753,407
2 Sheets-Sheet l Patented Aug. 21, 1973 3,753,407
2 Sheets-Sheet 2 CONVERTIBLE SHIPPING PALLET BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a reuseable shipping pallet or skid. More particularly, it relates to an improved cradle-like shipping pallet for handling a wide variety of differently shaped products and which can be readily adapted for use with various numerous product shapes by means of simplified attachments.
In the past, numerous reuseable shipping pallets have been designed to handle specialized cargo some of which are shown in U.S. Pats. Nos. 2,445,152; 3,315,800; 3,430,586; 3,472,363; and 3,507,415. These prior shipping pallets were equipped with various types of load engaging support pad(s) and tie downs for securing the load to the support pad(s) and in turn to the pallets. The shipping pallets of the prior art, however, were usually designed to handle but one type of load and even these pallets failed to provide for ready handling by a fork lift truck, a crane or grappling books, etc. In addition, many types of pallets had only one use and when returnable had to be returned in an empty condition that took up valuable cargo space and without carrying a useful load.
The improved cradle-like shipping pallet of the instant invention because of its unique design is exceptionally rugged and flexible both as to the type of loads it can carry as well as with respect to the different types of handling equipment that can be used to handle the loaded pallet. For example, the pallet is accessible by different types of handling equipment endwise or crosswise of the same and can be handled equally well by grappling hooks, cranes, fork lift trucks, and cargo booms. This means that the pallet has in effect exceptional versatility in its uses and because of its rugged design is capable of withstanding substantial abuse. At the same time the reuseable and returnable pallet because of certain attachments can be used to ship one type of article in one direction and a different type of product in its return trip to its point of origin whereby it can carry a useful load at all times.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is a primary purpose of the instant invention to provide an improved rugged recyclable or reuseable cradle-like shipping pallet that with a few ad'- justments to its load supporting surfaces can be made to handle a wide variety of products and be handled by numerous types of cargo hoisting devices.
The pallet is generally comprised of a plurality of spaced runners and a pair of spaced hollow support pads offset inwardly from and disposed crosswise of the outer ends of the spaced runners and forming a cradlelike load support. Each pad is preferably of inverted V- shaped configuration in transverse cross section and comes equipped with an internal fitting that gives the pad truss-like structural characteristics. A support pad may have a resilient pad-like means or cushion attached thereto for resiliently engaging and supporting a load thereon.
The pallet can further include reinforced guide and gusset elements disposed outwardly of a support pad at either end of the pallet. As adjustable belt device or other suitable strapping arrangement can extend between and be interconnected to opposed reinforcing guide and gusset elements at opposite ends of the pallet for anchoring a load intermediate the support pads and the belt device or between the belt device and an auxiliary floor element, etc.
In an advantageous embodiment of the invention an auxiliary pallet attachment or floor element preferably of inverted channel shaped configuration and corrugated construction can be interposed between the opposed reinforcing guide and gusset elements so as to provide a flat cargo support surface above the plane of the support pads and in effect convert the pallet from one of cradle-like configuration to one of flat-bed configuration. The floor element includes opposed multipurpose lugs such as for stacking and storage purposes, etc. Various beveled and/or slotted portions at opposite ends of the pallet fixture or floor element are operatively associated with the opposed reinforcing guide and gusset elements of the main pallet for assisting interlocking and positioning of a floor element between the ends of the main pallet.
Certain portions of the support pads and reinforcing guide and gusset elements of a given pallet may be removed to enable easy stacking of one pallet upon another.
The pallet is so proportioned that when a load is prepacked by plastic bagged materials or other readily flangible materials the load does not noticeably protrude from the pallet whereby the packaging materials can be readily damaged or torn by contact with foreign objects.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of a shipping pallet incorporating a preferred embodiment of the shipping pallet of the instant invention;
FIG. 2 is a reduced schematic perspective view of a prepackaged or enclosed load that can be carried by the pallet of the instant invention;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of a section of the auxiliary floor element that can be used with the pallet of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a reduced and partial side elevational and diagrammatic view illustrating in dotted lines pallets solid linespallets of the instant invention when they are stacked one upon the other;
FIG. 5 is a top plan view taken along line 5-5 at FIG. 4, rotated clockwise and with certain parts removed;
FIG. 6 is a side elevation with certain parts removed and other parts added as taken along line 6-6 of FIG. I and indicates how the pallet can be converted to handle differently shaped articles;
FIG. 7 is an end view taken along line 7-7 of FIG. 6 and with portions removed;
FIG. 8 is a partial diagrammatic side view along line 8-8 of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is an enlarged plan view with parts removed and other parts broken away taken within the bounds of encompassing line 9 of FIG. I and illustrates a typical turn buckle device that can be used with the pallet of the instant invention;
FIG. 10 is a longitudinal sectional view with parts added when taken along line 10-10 of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a side elevational view when taken along line 11-41 of FIG. 9; and
FIG. 12 is a reduced diagrammatic elevational view of a pair of auxiliary floor elements in stacked relation to each other.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION With further reference to the drawings and in particular FIG. 1, this Figure illustrates a preferred use for the improved convertible shipping pallet of the instant invention such as a shipping pallet for coiled aluminum sheet stock 12. The pallet is generally comprised of a plurality of parallel spaced runners or skids 14 and at least one pair of hollow reinforced load support pads 16. Pads 16 are disposed crosswise upon and at the same time are offset inwardly of the ends of spaced runners 14. A reinforcing and pad protecting guide and gusset fitting 18 extends outward of a support pad at either end of the pallet and is suitably anchored to the skids 14. A belt device 20 extends between and is interconnected to the opposed reinforcing guide and gusset fittings 18 in order to anchor a load to the pads 16. The hollow pads 16 not only provide improved support and anchoring of a load to the pallet but in addition convenient and readily accessible side pocket openings for receiving the fork of a fork lift truck (not shown) or other grappling device elements. The aligned ends of pads 16 and guide and gusset fittings 18 are selectively cut away on either side of pallet so as to facilitate stacking of one pallet upon another in a unique manner that is further described hereinafter.
An auxiliary attachment or load carrying floor element 22 of inverted and approximately channel shaped configuration can be mounted in unique fashion on a pallet 10 in order to convert the pallet from a metal coil handling pallet to a different load handler such as a carrier of vertically stacked balled and compressed cubicles of scrap metal 24 all as depicted in FIGS. 6 and 8. As will become more fully apparent hereinafter pallet floor attachment 22 and opposed reinforcing guide and gusset fittings 18 are provided with cooperating means for expediting, positioning and interlocking of a floor element between the ends of a pallet. If desired and as indicated in FIG. 2 the metal coil 12 may be enclosed and hermatically sealed within a plastic bag 26 and since the covered coil does not protrude from the pallet the protective covering 26 is not readily exposed to damage.
Since pallet 10 is generally symmetrical about its longitudinal and transverse axes a description of one end and side of the pallet will suffice for each end and side.
A runner or skid rail 14 can be comprised of an elongated l-beam 28. The lower outer end of the central web of a beam 28 is cut away to define an upward and outward beveled edge. The lower outer flange end of the bottom flange of a beam 28 is bent upwardly and outwardly and connected to its associated beveled edge to provide a beam 28 with a lower outer bevelled outer end or heel portion 30, all as illustrated in FIGS. 1, 4 and 6-8. This rail heel portion 30 aids in handling and manoeuvering a pallet, for instance, and effectively prevents digging-in of a pallet end into a floor support (not shown) during handling of the pallet.
The inverted V-shaped pads 16 with their opposed downwardly and outwardly inclined walls 29 and 31 are disposed crosswise of and are advantageously offset inwardly of the outer extremities of two I-beam runners 28. The lower ends of pad walls 29 and 31 are affixed directly to the top surfaces of pallet side runners 28 all as viewed in FIGS. 1 and 4. Opposed inner walls 31 of a spaced pair of pads 16 act to define the bottom of a cradle-like pocket or well 32 within which a coil of metal 12 can be deposited and rigidly lodged. Cushion elements 34 of resilient material, for example, neoprene, may be suitably affixed to the outer surface portions of a pad wall 31 to cushion the coil load deposited on pallet 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4. If desired, a reinforcing web 36 can extend between and be interconnected to the lower edges of opposed inner walls 31 as well as extending between and being interconnected to opposed top surface portions of the two side skid rails 14.
An inverted fitting 38 of approximately channelshaped configuration is inserted in the bottom opening of a pad 16 and extends fully between the opposite ends of the pad. Opposed lower outer ends of dependent channel legs 40 to 42 of the fitting 38 disposed on either side of pallet 10'are affixed to their associated top surface portions of a given pallet side beam 28 as shown in FIG. 1. Outer surface portions of leg 40 of a given fitting 38 and the upper side edge of opposite leg 42 of a given fitting are also connected to their associated opposed inner surface portions of the opposite walls 29 and 31 of its respective pad 16 and within the opening thereof as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 6. By virtue of the opposed dependent channel legs 40 and 42 of a fitting 38 being affixed to opposed side skid rails 14 as well as to opposed inner wall surfaces of a pad 16 and within the pad opening each pad will in effect be given a reinforced truss-like structure of rugged design and substantial strength.
A fitting 38 within the opening of a pad 16 helps to define an open ended side pocket 43 for freely receiving the fork 44 of a fork-lift truck and each reinforcing guide and gusset fitting 18 that extends outwardly of a pad 16 at either end of pallet 10 is provided with an outward extension 46 that extends outwardly from the lower outer edge of the outer wall 29 of a pad 16. The outer extremity of extension 46 includes an upstanding flange 48 and a folded back flange 50 connected thereto. A trapezoidally-shaped end plate 49 is interposed between and interconnected to the outer web end of a rail 28 and the associated lower outer corner end of the respective flange 48 in order to provide a relatively smooth reinforced end bumper assembly for pallet 10 at either end thereof.
Each overall fitting 18 can include upstanding laterally spaced guide and reinforcing gusset plates 52. Each plate fits within and bridges the gap or upwardly opening pocket 53 located between the outer wall 29 of a pad 16 and end wall 48 of a fitting 18. Plates 52 stiffen the fitting l8 and reinforce the same against damage and abuse during normal use of the pallet and at the same time act as guide plates in a manner to be described.
Each fitting flange 50 is partially cut away in the area of its connection to a plate 52 to define a channelshaped slot 54 for receiving an anchor bolt 56.
A belt device 20 that extends between and is interconnected to anchor bolts 56 is comprised of an elongated belt or strap 59 of flexible stretch resistant weblike fabric or the like, the ends of which are fixed to separate anchor bolts 56 mounted in opposed pallet slots 54. The outer free ends of an anchor bolt 56 are bent inwardly and affixed to the outer surface portions of pallet extension 46 all as indicated in FIGS. 6-7.
The bolt 56 is of sufficient size whereby the web portion 58 thereof is disposed above or clears the top surface of its associated upper flange 50 and the top edge of its respective inner guide plate 52. One end of a belt 59 is looped about the associated web 58 of its respective anchor bolt 56 thereby pivotally connecting the loop 60 of strap 59 to its associated anchor bolt 56 at an outer corner of pallet all as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 6.
As indicated particularly in FIGS. 1, 6 and 9-11, a belt device advantageously includes a turn buckle 62 for adjustably and pivotally connecting the opposite end 64 of a given strap 59 to its associated anchor bolt at the opposite end of a pallet 10. The turn buckle can be comprised of opposed Z-shaped side plates interconnected by a base plate 68 having opposed side corner lugs 69 at one end thereof. A bolt-nut assembly 70 fits within aligned apertures in plates 66 and serves to connect plates 66 together. Lugs 69 of base plate 68 also become inserted through the aligned slots 67 in plates 66 when base plate 68 is inserted between and connected to side plates 66. A reel 72 extends between and is rotatably connected to opposed side plates 66 at their outwardly offset ends. Reel 72 is made up of a pair of parallel spaced bar elements 74 and a sprocket gear 76 connected to adjacent and aligned opposed ends of the pair of bar elements 74 at either side of turn buckle 62. The opposed outer reduced and threaded ends 78 of reel 72 are inserted through aligned openings at the outwardly offset ends of plate 66 upon both base plate 68 and bolt assembly 70 being assembled between side plates 66 as aforedescribed. A suitable nut washer assembly 80 is appropriately connected to the outer reduced end 78 of reel 72 at either end thereof to complete the mounting of reel 72 between side plates 66 of a turn buckle 62.
A side plate 66 has an enlarged slot 82 laterally offset from smaller slot 67 as viewed in FIG. 11. A C-shaped latch plate 84 extends between opposed side plates 66 and slidably connects to the opposed plates within the enlarged slots thereof as shown in FIGS. 9-11. A coil spring 86 extends between and is interconnected to an intermediate lug 88 of latch plate 84 and the opposed and aligned hooked end 90 of base plate 68. Because of coil spring 86 being connected between plates 68 and 84, outer surface portions of the projecting or toothed end 92 of plate 84 on either side of a given turn buckle is biased into overlapped latching engagement with the leading edge 93 of an associated sprocket tooth 94 of its respective reel sprocket 76 as indicated in FIGS. 9-10.
A chain-type link 96 is pivotally connected to web 58 of an anchor bolt 56 at the turn buckle end of pallet 10 prior to the free ends of the anchor bolt being secured in place on extension 46. As a bolt 70 is connected to the necked-in end of turn buckle 62 it is inserted through the opening of link 96 thereby pivotally connecting a turn buckle 62 to its associated anchor bolt 56. If desired, a sleeve 98 can be disposed about the shank of bolt 70 for minimizing frictional engagement between the shank of bolt 70 and the bolt end of link 96.
As indicated in FIG. 10 leading portions of a strap 59 at its turn buckle end 64 are initially threaded from right to left through a slot 100 between the pair of reel bars 74. After initially threading the leading portions of the belt strap and 64 through bar opening 100 the trailing portions of the belt strap end 64 are wrapped in counter clockwise fashion as viewed in FIG. 10 about outer peripheral surface portions of opposed bars 74 in order to effect connection of belt end 64 to its associated reel. When a suitable wrench (not shown) engages the nut assembly end of a reel 72, the reel can be rotated in a counter clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 10 for winding an drawing-up a turn buckle end 64 of strap 59 about its respective reel bars 74 so as to effect selective tightening and loosening of a belt 59 between its respective anchor bolts 56. If, however, an operator rotates nut assembly end of reel 72 in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 8 and at the same time forces latching plate 84 of a turn buckle 62 against the action of spring 86 in a direction towards its necked-in end, reel 72 can be freely rotated in a clockwise direction as viewed in FIG. 10. As reel 72 rotates the coiled end of strap 59 in clockwise fashion in FIG. 10 to cause unwinding of the coiled end of the strap from about the pair of reel bars 74 a loosening and a relaxation of a belt 59 about the pallet load will occur. Although other types of belt tensioning devices can be used turn buckle 62 provides a device for effecting loosening and/or tensioning of a belt between its ends relative to the pair of pallet support pads with or without a load disposed on the pair thereof.
In still another advantageous embodiment of the invention and as indicated particularly in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5, a pallet 10 is provided with special portions for vertically stacking the pallet upon another. Each one of the intersecting walls 29 and 31 of a support pad 16 at either end thereof is cut away in a downwardly and outwardly inclined fashion inwardly of the associated outer end of its respective fitting 38 in order to provide both a beveled end of a given support pad 16 and a ledge 102' on top of the adjacent web end of the fitting associated therewith. A triangularly shaped plate 104' may be appropriately inserted at the beveled end of a pad 16 for reinforcing the beveled end thereof as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 6. The inwardly facing edge of a top flange 50 at an outer comer end thereof is cut away and defined by an L-shaped notch 108', as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5.
By virtue of the ends of a support pad of a pallet 10 being beveled and the spacing that exists between opposed notched edges 108' on either side of the pallet the pallets can be stacked one upon the other when the lower edges of the opposed beveled ends of an upper pallet are loosely interposed between the opposed notched edges 108' on either side of the stacked pallets. At the same time intermediate bottom portions of the bottom flange or shoe of a runner 14 of an upper pallet are fitted or nested about ledge 102' of a lower pallet 10. It is to be understood that the top edge of an outer plate 52 of a gusset fitting 18 may be cutaway as indicated at 110 in FIG. 4 so that the top edge of cut away plate 52 is horizontally aligned with the ledge 102' of its respective pad 16 at a given comer of the pallet. The legs of a pallet are of suficient height so that there is ample clearance between pallets when they are stacked together.
Besides the accessible side pocket openings 43 of a pallet 10 for handling the same as aforedescribed the pallet is also accessible endwise thereof by different types of handling equipment upon e.g., a pair of forks 110 of a fork lift truck (not shown) being disposed in engagement with underneath surface portions of fitting extension 46, web 32, etc. within the inverted channel shaped recess between the spaced runners of a-given pallet 10 at either end thereof as illustrated in FIG. 1.
This accessibility of pallet facilitates handling and manoeuvering of the pallet with or without a load thereon.
In a further advantageous embodiment of the invention pallet 10 includes an inverted channel-shaped floor attachment or fixture 22 provided with a series of longitudinally extending reinforcing corrugations 102. Each dependent leg 104 is equipped with an inwardly bent reinforcing foot flange 106 and the lower outer corner of a leg 104 can be cut away to define a beveled edge while the outer corner edges 108 of the foot flange 106 are beveled. A lower portion of a floor leg 104 at either end thereof and its contiguous foot flange portion are both cut away so as to provide intersecting leg side edges 109 of inverted V-shaped configuration that define and bound a slot 1 10. When the fixture 102 is placed in suitable fashion on top of pallet 10, the various gusset plates 52 fit within the slots 1 10 as the parts of legs 104 adjacent the slots 1 10 straddle the plates 52. The maximum width at the bottom of each slot 110 is greater than the width at the top of each bolt 56 so that the bolts 56 will clear legs 104.
Opposed and aligned pairs of inverted U-shaped lugs or handle grips 114 are preferably afiixed to the upper portions of opposed legs 104 as indicated in FllGS. 3-6. A floor attachment 22 because of its relatively flat surface converts the pallet from a cradle-like pallet to a flat surfaced or flat bed type pallet. It can carry a wide variety of loads such as baled scrap metalcubicles 24 neatly arranged in compacted and vertically stacked layers all as shown in FIGS. 6 and 8. If desired, the vertically stacked layers of metal cubicles 24 may be anchored to the top of a given floor 22 by way of auxiliary belts 118 extending between opposed and aligned lugs 114 at opposite ends of the floor and they can be covered by a canvas 120 draped over the stacked cubicles prior to final tightening of belt 118 anchored between handles 114.
By virtue of opposed lugs 114, fixtures 22 may be stacked one upon another for example for storage purposes prior to a fixture being used as an attachment for pallet 10 as illustrated in FIG. 12.
The pallet converting floor attachment has an overall length and width such that itcan be freely and readily fitted within opening pockets 53 of the opposed guide fittings 18 at the opposite endsof a pallet and interlocked with plates 52 as aforedescribed. The fixture 102 can be assembled with a pallet by hand or by means of the usual hoisting equipment. Because of certain features the removably mounted fixture 22 is selflocating relative to the pallet, for example, the beveled ends 108 and V-shaped side edges 109 adjacent slots 110 of the fixture legs 104 readily straddle and fit over plates 52 of the pallet 10 so that the plates 52 can be said to guide the fixture into its proper interlocking and nesting relationship relative to pallet 10. The legs 104 of fixture 22 are of sufficient length whereby the surface 102 of fixture 22 readily clears the top of floor pads 16.
As illustrated in H6. 6 a pallet attachment 22 can be lowered and interlocked to a pallet 10 without disturbing the load 24 on the attachment. After interlocking the attachment 22 with or without a load to a pallet 10 opposed belt devices 20 can be drawn about the interlocked attachment and pallet and the load thereby securely anchoring all of the various elements together. When attachment or fixture 22 is removably inter- 8 locked to the main pallet 10 the upper apex edge of a support pad 16 is preferably disposed in supporting engagement with opposed underneath web portions of floor 22 as indicated at 122 in FIG. 4.
Because of the support pads being offset inwardly from the outer ends of a pallet and because a load 12 or 24 on pallet 10 usually has a length or width normally less than the overall length or width of pallet 10 the likelihood of a load being injured or damaged iS for all practical purposes effectively prevented during normal use and handling of pallet 10 with or without the attachment 22 being in place. The pallet 10 with or without attachment 22 is of such a design whereby it can be handled by all types of cargo handling equipment presently in use and ranging from lift trucks, to cargo slings and booms on vessels. A pallet load itself or the entire top of the load and pallet can be fully covered with other types of packaging or wrapping materials, fOr instance, a heat shrink fitted plastic wrapping (not shown) disposed about the top of pallet 10 and load thereon besides the loosely fitting bag 26.
The simple convertibility of the returnable type pallet of the invention from a cradle loader to a flat surfaced loader means that all types of cargo can be handled regardless of whether the returnable pallet is moving from the original shipper to a buyer or vice versa.
Finally, pallet 10 with or without attachment 22 and- /or load thereon is capable of being handled from one transportation mode to another, e.g., from truck trailer to rail car, etc. as the pallet is shipped between shipping points. The instant fixture could be used as an airborne pallet and in this instance may be made of lightweight metal such as aluminum alloy.
Advantageous embodiments of the invention have been shown and described and it is obvious that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the appended claims, wherein:
What is claimed is:
1. A convertible shipping pallet of the type described comprising a plurality of spaced runners, hollow spaced support pads mounted crosswise upon said runners and defining therebetween an upwardly opening pocket for receiving a coil of metal and the like, said pads being offset inwardly of the outer ends of said runners and being provided with hollow interior interconnected fittings which function both to rigidify and reinforce said pads against collapse under a load and to provide receptacles for a lift means such as the forks of a fork lift truck and said pallet being further provided with upwardly opening and reinforced pocket means at opposing ends of said pallet, said upwardly opening pocket means being adapted to removably receive the legs of an auxiliary pallet converting floor element and said pocket means being provided with combination guide and reinforcing plate means which are adapted to slidingly and interlockingly engage such a pallet converting floor element when the legs of the said pallet converting floor element are disposed in said pocket means.
2. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 wherein said pads comprise inverted vrshaped members.
3. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 including resilient cushion-like elements affixed to said pads for directly supporting and contacting the pallet load.
4. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 in which a support pad and the interior fitting connected thereto define an integrated load supporting structure of truss-like configuration.
5. A pallet as set froth in claim 1 in which the interior fitting of a support pad is of approximately inverted channel-shaped configuration in transverse cross section.
6. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 in which the outer lower extremities of the runners are beveled.
7. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 including an adjustable belt means affixed to said pallet for securing a load to said support pads.
8. A pallet as set forth in claim 1 in which the opposed ends of a given pad are provided with opposed ledge means, said opposed ledge means of one pallet being adapted to engage and support certain portions of the spaced runners of another pallet upon the certain portions of the spaced runners of the other pallet being disposed upon and between the opposed ledge means of the one pallet.
9. A convertible shipping pallet of the type described comprising a plurality of spaced runners, hollow spaced support pads mounted upon and crosswise of said runners and defining therebetween an upwardly opening pocket for receiving a coil of metal and the like, said pads being offset inwardly of the outer ends of said runners and being provided with interconnected hollow interior fittings which function both to rigidify and reinforce said pads against collapse under a load and to provide receptacles for a pallet lift means such as the forks of a fork lift truck, a separate pallet fitting provided with upwardly opening and reinforced pocket means interposed between a support pad and the adjacent outer extremities of said runners at each end of the pallet and an auxiliary pallet attachment removably mounted within the upwardly opening pocket means and converting said pallet to a flat bed-type pallet.
10. A pallet as set forth in claim 9 wherein said upwardly opening and reinforced pocket means are reinforced with gusset-like elements which interengage and interlock with selected portions of said pallet attachment.
11. A pallet as set forth in claim 9 in which the opposed ends of a given pad are provided with opposed ledge means, said opposed ledge means of one pallet supporting and engaging certain portions of spaced runners of another pallet when the spaced runners of the other pallet are disposed upon and between the opposed ledge means of the one pallet.
12. A pallet as set forth in claim 11 in which said pallet fitting includes opposed notch means disposed in alignment with the opposed ledge means of a given support pad, said opposed notch means of one pallet being disposed in spaced relation to the associated outer extremities of the respective spaced runners of the other pallet as certain portions of the spaced runners of the other pallet are disposed upon and in engagement with the opposed ledge means of a given support pad of the one pallet.
13. A pallet as set forth in claim 9 in which said pallet attachment is of inverted channel-shaped configuration and is provided with a plurality of reinforcing corrugations.
14. A pallet as set forth in claim 9 in which said pallet attachment is provided with lug means for securing a load thereon.
15. A pallet as set forth in claim 9 including adjustable belt means for securing a load to said pallet attachment.
16. A pallet as set forth in claim 10 wherein the selected portions of the pallet attachment which interengage and interlock with the gusset-like elements comprise legs on the attachment which have slotted sections.
17. A pallet as set forth in claim 10 including a belt means extending between and interconnected to the reinforcing gusset-like elements for securing a load between said belt means and said pallet attachment.
18. A pallet as set forth in claim 17 in which said belt means includes a turn buckle device for adjusting and selectively tensioning said belt means.
19. A pallet as set forth in claim 10 in which said pallet attachment comprises an inverted and approximately channel-shaped floor element having dependent legs provided with slots for receiving the gusset-like elements when the attachment is removably mounted on the pallet and said gusset-like elements acting to center and position the attachment on said pallet.
20. A pallet as set forth in claim 19 in which a dependent channel leg of said pallet attachment is beveled at an outer end thereof.
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