US 3762343 A
A container is adapted to stack and nest with other like containers. Each container is of a size to act as a storage rack for one or more smaller packages so that a plurality of the containers of this invention may be stacked one on top of the other, along an aisle, or otherwise, to build a series of storage racks up to a height adapted to be serviced by a standard fork lift truck. When not in use, these containers may be nested so as to take up minimum floor area. In a knock-down form of the container there is provided a rigid top assembly, a rigid bottom assembly and four separate corner posts.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 1 Thacker 1 1 Oct. 2, 1973 [541 END-NESTING CONTAINERS ADAPTED TO 2,950,825 8/1960 Averill 211/126 STACK 3,091,195 5/1963 Kenyon et a1 108/53 3,100,582 8/1963 Lockwood 220/97 D  Inventor: Fred B. Thacker, Hudson, Ohio 350 .13 4 1970 Travis 103 56 x Assigneez Bliss & Laughlin lndusries, 3,565,018 21/1971 Jay 108/53 Incorporated, Oakbrook,-lll. FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 22 Filed; Man 3 1972 535,389 l/l957 Canada 108/53 832,434 4/1960 Great Britain 108/53  Appl. No.: 231,472
Related Appncafion m Primary ExaminerPaul R. Gilliam  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 195,175, Nov. 3, Almmey Georgc Baldwm et 1971.
v  ABSTRACT [52} U.S. Cl 108/53, 108/51, 108/55 A container is adapted to Stack and nest with other Hke  Int. Cl 865d 19/38, B65d 19/44 c0mainers Each container is of a Size to act as a stop  Field of Search 108/51, 58, 211/126, age rack for one or more smaller packages so that a 220/97 97 97 R plurality of the containers of this invention may be i 1 stacked one on top of the other, along an aisle, or oth-  Reerences C'ted erwise, to build a series of storage racks up to a height I UN TE ST PATENTS adapted to be serviced by a standard fork lift truck. 3,431,870 3/1969 Naylor et a1. 108/55 When not in use, these containers may be nested so as 3,003,647 10/1961 Lockwood 21 1/126 to take up minimum floor area. In a knock-down form 2,700,520 H1955 5 0 108/53 of the container there is provided a rigid top assembly, 3,400,671 9/1968 Ertsmann, 1 a rigid bottom assembly and four separate corner posts. 2,565,032 8/195'1 Rue..; 108/34 2,728,544 12/1955 Ayre et a1 108/53 4 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures 19% A Y Inv 1,1 1 ul "11'' m il /AC r 9 2 l Iv-i N N '7 f- -T #1 nwl 1| l6 l2 l6 1 2 t I l 1 v i 'i' 15 ---l- *I 1,15
i l I l3 l3 1 r I I l I ll I I5 PATENTED OCT 2191a SHEET l 0F 4 FIGIO 1 END-NESTING CONTAINERS ADAP'IED T STACK This application is a continuation-in-part of my co- I pending application Ser. No. 195,175, filed Nov. 3,
An object of thepresent invention is to provide modular units so that the user may build his own storage rack system using a plurality of the containers of this invention stacked one upon the other so that the user may build such a storage rack system at any place at any time and disassemble it or'move it to another location at will. I
Another object of the present invention is to provide a container which is generally rectangular in the top plan view having four parallel vertical corner posts of which two posts at the rear of the container are spaced closer than the two posts at the front of the container 7 so that the rear posts may pass through between the front posts of a like container so that the second container may be end-nested into another like container. To this end, the frame structure of the container is Thecontainer of this invention is preferably of rigid metal members, such as steel. It comprises four parallel vertical columnar corner posts located at the four cor.-
- ners generally of a rectangle as seen in F103. Twocorcompletely open at the top on the front side thereof but I the side walls do not spread because the corner posts are rigidly and firmly attached to the bottom structure. At thesame time, the support-points for stacking an upper container upon a like lower container are so constructed and arranged that they prevent the side walls from spreading when so assembled.
Another object of the invention is to provide a knock-down structure so that'the container maybe more easilylshipped.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparentfrom the accompanying drawings and description and the essential features thereof will be set forth in the appended claims.
IN THE DRAWINGS,
FIG. 1 is a front elevational viewof one of the con- 1 tainers' of this invention; I
FIG. 2 is aside levation of the same-taken'from the I right-hand side ofFIG. 1.;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of oneof the containers shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG-,4 is a front elevational view upon a smaller scale showing twoof the containers of this invention stacked one vertically above the other;
FIG. 5 is a front elevational view at the same scale as FIG. 4 showing two of the containers of this invention nested one within the other; t FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 show a knock-down form of the container wherein;
FIG. 6 is an elevational view taken from the front of a rigid top assembly of a container with the corner posts cut off to short lengths;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view from the front of a rigid bottom assembly of a container cut off with short portions of the corner'posts assembled; I
FIG. 8 is a perspectiveview of the four corner posts adapted to be assembled with the top assembly of FIG. 6 and the bottomv assembly of FIG. 7 to make a complete container;
FIG. 9 shows a stack of a plurality of the top assemblies of FIG. 6 piled for shipment with linear rods passed through each of the comer posts to hold the stack in position;
FIG. 10 is a stack of a plurality of bottom assemblies in a vertical pile for shipment showing in dot-dash lines ner posts .10 at the rear of the container are spaced closer than the two posts 11 at the front of the container so that the rear posts may pass through between the front posts of a like container when nesting two sirnilar'containers as shown in FIG. 5. Four rigid bottom frame members are rigidly connected to thecorner posts and to each other in a horizontally extending planar relation. The front bottom frame member 12 is rigidly connected between the two corner posts 1 1 as by welding and this connection is furtherstrengthened by .a gusset plate 13 at each corner,-each ofwhich is welded to the frame member l2and to its adjacent corner post 11. Bottom frame-member 14 is rigidly secured to the two rear posts l0, as by welding, and each of these corners is further strengthened by a gusset .plate 15 welded to its associated post 10 Twoparallel bottom side frame members 16 are provided in the same plane as the bottom members 12 and 14 and are rigidly welded thereto. Notexin FIG. 1 that these bottom side frame members 16 are laterally inside of the front posts 11 and laterally outside of the rear posts 10. The bottom frame members are spaceda'bove'the floor upon which the posts 10 and 11 rest sufficiently to permit the forks of a lift truck to enter between' the frame members-and the floor to handle' the containers from place to place or to stack'them as shownin FIG. 4 or 'to nest them as shown in FIG. 5. The bottom is further strengthened by cross beam 'members", of which two welding tothe sideframe members 16. Another man'- ner of strengthening the bottom frame, not shown, would be to -run a beam from each of the front posts 11 diagonally across to the opposite rear post 10, these strengthening members being welded to the bottom frame members and lying in the same plane'as the members 12,14 and 1 6. g
'Three rigid top frame members extend along the sides and the rear of the container at the top and are rigidly connected to the corner posts. The rear top frame member is shown at 18 as being a structural angle which is welded to the tops of the rear posts 10. Two parallel top side frame members are here shown as inverted V-shape members 19 which also .serve as top tiering support points or members as will presently appear. However, it should be understood ias used herein in the specification and claims that instead of the members 19 serving a double. purpose as top frame members and asrtiering support points, vitlmi ght be a more complex structure where a second member associated with the member 19 might be calleda top frame memberand not at'the same timeser-ve as an upper .tiering support point. Each of the members 19 is secured by welding at the rear end to the rear frame member 18 and at the front end is supported by a short metallic support 20 welded to its associated front post 11 and extending inwardly therefrom sufficiently to underlie the front of its associated member 19.
Lower support points or members are provided at the level of the bottoms of the corner posts comprising two parallel inverted V-shape members 21 rigidly connected to the corner posts both front and rear through the medium of the gusset plates 13 and 15 to which they are welded. These members 21 lie directly vertically below the upper tiering support points 19 and are complementary to each other so that one will fit in the other when two like containers are stacked one upon the other as shown in FIG. 4. The members 21 are shown extending to the front face of the gusset plates 13 in FIG. 1, although they would carry out most of their purpose if they terminated flat against the rear face of the associated gusset plate 13 and were welded there. By having the members 21 visible from the front of the container, it aids the operator of a lift truck in stacking one container upon the other as shown in FIG. 4. Note in FIG. I that the support points 19 and 21 are laterally inside of the front posts 11 and laterally outside of the rear posts 10.
As clearly seen in FIG. 2, the bottom structure is strengthened by one or more short struts 22 welded between the underside of each bottom side frame member 16 and the upper surface of the associated bottom tiering support member, the inverted V-shape member 21.'One of these is shown provided at each side near the center of the bottom structure.
In a preferred form of this invention, a number of the structural members as described herein are hollow tubular members generally square in section and between one and a half to two inches on each side. This is true of the members 10, ll, l2, 14, 16, 17, and 22. Other metal forms could be used for some of these members, nevertheless, the hollow tubular form is preferred for the vertical comer posts 10 and 11 so that these are better able to act as columns when a plurality of the containers are stacked one upon the other as shown in FIG. 4.
In using the structure thus described, the bottom might be utilized with the cross members 17 as shown if it were going to support skids or pallets. 0n the other hand, if the container is to support a plurality of smaller packages, then the members 12, 14, 16 and 17 might be covered by wood, cardboard or sheet metal to provide a deck.
In use as a storage structure, a plurality of the containers of this invention may be vertically stacked one upon the other as shown in FIG. 4. To do this, the operator would push the forks of the lift truck from the front beneath the bottom frame members 12, 16 and 17, lift up the upper container and place it on top of the lower container with the lower tiering support members 21 of the upper container resting upon the upper tiering support members 19 of the lower container. It may be desirable at times to tilt the upper container slightly backward and downward and then slide the members 21 of the upper container rearwardly along the members 19 of the lower container to the stacked position. To this end, the members 21 are at the lowermost position in the container and the members 19 are at the upper-most position of the container. Note that in the stacked position of two containers, the interfitting member 19 and 21 prevent any spreading of the posts of one container relative to the posts of the other container.
When the containers are not in use, they may be nested together as shown in FIG. 5 illustrating this nesting action with respect to two containers but which may be continued for as many containers as desired. There is no top frame member across the front of the container and when a second container is nested upon a first like container, the members 21 of the upper container slide across the bottom frame members of the lower container until the rear posts 10 of the upper container engage the similar posts of the lower container in fully nested position.
The end nesting feature of the present containers is similar in principle to that shown in US. Pat. No. 3,003,647, granted Oct. 10, I961 to Warren H. Lockwood. However, the present containers are of a size and structure adapted to be built into a storage system as herein described. Also, the present containers should have a dimension of at least approximately 24 inches each way so as to be able to hold in each container a plurality of smaller packages when assembled as a storage system. In one form of this invention, bottom rectangular dimensions of the order of 30 to 48 inches have been provided and with heights running from about 42 to 72 inches and with each container capable of holding either 1,000 pounds or 2,000 pounds load. Note that the containers of this invention have all four sides open so that they may be entered by the forks of a lift truck at any one of the sides thereof to deposit a load on the bottom of the container.
A knock-down form of the invention is shown in FIGS. 6 through 11 so as to enable a container to be more easily shipped. In this embodiment, all of the parts having the same functions as those originally described are given the same reference characters with the prime suffix.
A rigid top assembly is shown in FIG. 6 and comprises three top frame members, namely 18' at the rear side and two members 19' at opposite lateral sides, these being the same as previously described serving not only as frame members but also as upper support inverted V-shape members. As part of the rigid top assembly, there are two short lengths of each of the corner posts 10' in the rear and also short lengths of the corner posts 11' at the front. These short lengths are in the same position as the tops of the corner posts 10 and 11 shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 but are rigidly secured as by welding to the rest of the top assembly. By short lengths in the specification and claims, I mean to describe a minor portion of the full length of the post as shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 but along enough length that it will give a firm connection when assembled with the new corner posts shown in connection with FIGS. 8 and 11. In one form of the invention, this short length is approximately 5 1% inches where the total length of the assembled posts is about 79 inches.
' In FIG. 7, there is shown a rigid bottom assembly which comprises four frame members 12 across the front, 14 across the rear, and two members 16' along the sides, all lying in the same horizontal plane. The cross bracing member 17' performs the same function as the braces 17 previously mentioned, in the first embodiment. Also rigid with the bottom assembly are the two lower support inverted V-shape members 21'. At the four corners of the bottom assembly are short lengths of corner posts 10." at the rear and two other short lengths of corner post 11" at the front corners. These are strengthened by gusset plates 13' at the two front corners, these braces being like those described at 13 in FIGS. 1 through 3.
In FIGS. 8 and 10, there are shown four separate corner post mid-portions to be assembled with the top assembly of FIG. 6 and the bottom assembly of FIG. 7 to form a complete container. These are all of the same length and of the same construction so one only will be described.
The main portion of each of the posts a or 11a comprises a tubular member of the same configuration and cross section as the short corner post lengths 10',
ll, 10" and 11" as just described. Each corner post has two linearly projecting portions 10b and 11b rigidly connected at opposite ends of each post 100 or Ila and of a length to be totally received in the short corner post lengths previously describedand so arranged as to fit snugly in the short corner post through openings shown in the drawings. In a preferred form of the invention, these linearly projecting portions are rigidly connected to their associated corner posts by integral inwardly projecting portions 10c and lie which, preferably, extend into the posts 10a and 11a about the same distance as the length of the projecting portions 10b and 11b. Preferably also, these inwardly projecting portions fit snugly into the associated corner post and are fastened by drilling about a one-half inch diameter opening 23 through one wall of the tubular post 10a or 11a and there using a plug weld to secure the parts rigidly together.
It is obvious that the parts shown in FIGS. 6, 7 and 8 may be quickly and easily assembled together at the point of use by inserting the projecting portions 10b and 11b into the short corner post lengths 10', 11, 10" and 11'' so as to provide a container in every respect like that shown in FIGS. 1 to 3 and adapted to function in the same manner as described in connection with the first embodiment. Preferably the projecting portions 10b and 11b are a very snug or tight fit in the short corner post portions in the top and bottom assemblies so that the container remains in a useful position without any other fastening means holding the corner posts in such position. However, if necessary, or desirable, other fastening means may be provided at the upper and lower ends of the four corner posts.
In shipping the knock-down form of this container, a plurality of rigid top assemblies like that shown in FIG. 6 may be stacked in vertical alignment as shown in FIG. 9 with the openings in the short corner post portions 10' and 11 in direct alignment. Then suitable linear rods 24 may be passed down through the corner post openings at the four corners of the top assemblies so as to hold the pile firmly assembled during transportation.
In a like manner, a plurality of the bottom assemblies like that shown in FIG. 7 may be stacked in a vertical pile as shown in FIG. 10 with the through openings in the short corner post portions 10 and 11" in direct vertical alignment so that linear securing rods 25 may be passed downwardly, four of them through the entire stack at the four corners to hold the pile firmly while it is being shipped.
Obviously, the four separate corner posts 10a and 11a are very easy to ship.
I have referred to the upper and lower support members 19, 21, I9 and 21' as "V-shape members". I in- 6 tend this term in both the specification and claims to describe also the form of support members shown in FIGS. 12 and 13 which are the mechanical equivalent of the same. FIG. 12 shows a truncated V-shape section and FIG. 13 shows an arcuate section.
What is claimed is:
1. A metal container pallet for stacking and endnesting with a second like container, comprising four parallel vertical hollow tubular columnar posts respectively generally at the four corners of a rectangle, with two posts at the rear of said container spaced closer than the two posts at the front of said container so that the rear posts may pass through between the front posts of a like container, four rigid bottom frame members rigidly connected to said corner posts in a horizontally extending planar relation, each of said frame members connecting two of said corner posts, said bottom frame members being spaced above the lower ends of said corner posts sufficiently to permit the forks of a lift truck to enter between said frame members and a floor upon which said corner posts rest, three rigid top frame members extending along the sides and the rear of said container at the top and rigidly connected to said posts and leaving the top open between said top frame mem= bers, the front of said container being open between said front corner posts, lower support members at the level of the bottom of the corner posts comprising invetted V-shape members linearly extending continuously one along each side of the container from front to rear and rigidly connected to said corner posts and to said bottom frame members laterally inside of the inner edges of said front corner posts and closely adjacent thereto and laterally outside of the outer edges of said rear corner posts and closely adjacent thereto, and upper support members comprising two of said top frame members which are inverted V-shape members linearly extending uninterrupted along each side of the container from front to rear and each presenting said V-shape open at the front end and rigidly connected to said corner posts and vertically directly above the corresponding lower support inverted V-shape members and complementary thereto, said top V-shape members being rigidly secured to said third top frame member laterally outside said rear corner posts and closely adjacent thereto and being rigidly secured laterally inside of said front corner posts and closely adjacent thereto, said upper inverted V-shape members being the uppermost parts of the sides of said container, whereby an upper second container may be stacked upon afirst container by engaging the self-centering lower support members of the second container with the upper support members of the first container, which coacting support members slidingly guide said second container rearwardly on said first container, and a second container may be nested in a first container by entering the second container into the open end and open top of a first container with the lower support inverted V-shape members of said second container sliding over the bottom members of the first container.
2. A container as defined in claim 1, including strengthening beams extending crosswise betweensaid bottom frame members in the same plane therewith, said strengthening beams welded to said bottom frame members.
3. A container as defined in claim 1, wherein said container is at least 24 inches in width and length and height, and there being unobstructed openings on the sides and rear of said container between said corner posts from said top frame members substantially down to said bottom frame members so that the forks of a lift truck can deposit loads in said container through all four sides thereof.
4. A container pallet as defined in claim 1 wherein said container pallet is adapted to be shipped in knockdown condition, wherein a rigid bottom assembly includes said four bottom frame members and said lower support inverted V-shape members and short lengths of the lower portion of each of said corner posts forming a first unitary structure, a rigid top assembly comprises said three top frame and upper support inverted V- shape members and short lengths of the upper portions of each of said corner posts forming a second unitary structure, all of said short lengths of said corner posts being tubular members with through openings, and
four separate mid-portions of said corner posts each having linearly projecting portions received in the tubular openings of the opposite ends of said mid-portion of each corner post of a length to be totally received in said short corner post lengths and having dimensions which fit snugly in said short corner post through openings, whereby a plurality of said first and of said second unitary structures may be piled in vertical registration for shipment with all of said through openings of said short corner post lengths in vertical alignment in a set at each corner enabling a separate linear rod to be passed through each set of aligned openings, and said separate corner post mid-portions may be shipped separately and assembled with said first and second unitary structures at the point of use.