US 3804032 A
A manually insertable leg for cooperating with a load platform and a pallet formed by assembling the load platform and a plurality of legs, wherein the platform is gripped between flanges on the leg in such a manner as to facilitate ready assembly of the pallet at a location of use and as to preclude undesirable disassembly of the pallet during use.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1451 Apr. 16, 1974 nited States Patent 1191 108/51 108/53 Wharton............................... 108/51 PALLET AND PALLET LEG 3,590,751 7/1971 Freid et a1. v 3,598,065 8/1971 Youn  Inventor: Larry Baucom, Lawyer s Rd., 3,610,172 [0/1971 g Mmt H111, NC. 28212 Oct, 2, 1972 Primary ExaminerPaul R. Gilliam  Filed:
Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Parrott, Bell, Seltzer, Park & Gibson Appl. No.: 293,933
ddm i 6 nh t e mm m mm t mew in O W TOW, Cc w A rde R m ma eO B fw Aetvu .Hkm m m a 83 n mm umm nrr m m mm [APP 1 8 fin u 1 1 5 .6 B. mmm 0 NH 8 mu uh mmm C 4"" S un e H C u. n e H" w m,mh 6 In R 1 C .CM s rw UHF ll] 2 8 6 555 5 UNITED STATES PATENTS 1s gr1pped between flanges on the leg 1n such a manner as to facilitate ready assembly of the pallet at a loca- 1 b m e S s a .5 d k m b a m 1n 2. s i e F d g n n u i e w d m m D m we o m tme an 0 u d 8 at mm ,a MD. M nt f .HD 3003 //1 8 8 00 000/ 111.1 unn mmfl ut. Mk Sn m w LMS 3,664,272 Sanders......................... 3,691,964 9/1972 lP-ALLET AND PALLET LEG As packaging and shipment of goods of various types has increasingly been handled through the use of pallets, dissatisfaction with conventional wooden pallets as heretofore employed has increased. Wooden pallets, as developed and brought into use, are relatively heavy, require significant storage area adjacent the location where goods are packed or otherwise loaded for storage or shipment and have become increasingly expensive. While the expense of conventional wooden pallets can often be absorbed in circumstances where custody and control of the pallet can be maintained and the pallet can be used repeatedly, such control typically requires shipment of unloaded pallets from on location to another, with accompanying freight expense. Additionally, conventional wooden pallets impose a significant shipping charge where such charges are based on gross weights including the pallets. I
For these and other reasons, it has become desirable to develop pallet structures which are adapted for economical single use, if desired, and which are of lighter weight than conventional wooden pallets. Other desired characteristics of such pallets include a reduction in the space required for storage of the pallets, and manufacture of the pallets by procedures which are more readily adapted to modern mass production techniques.
Various efforts have heretofore been made at developing pallets having these desired characteristics. A number of such attempts have relied upon legs which maybe assembled with load platforms to provide pallets. The more successful of such attempts have proposed that the legs be formed of plastic material by such techniques as injection molding or vacuum forming. While certain of such proposed pallet structures have achieved some acceptance, they have failed to overcome entirely the prior shortcomings and deficiencies of wooden pallets and have introduced new difficulties and deficiencies of their own. In particular, the imposition of load forces and impact forces on such pallets often causes th pallets to come-apart or become disassembled. This is particularly true with pallets which employ multipart legs. Such multipart legs introduce additional deficiencies by requiring that a number of various components be retained and stored in the area where these pallets are to be assembled and that careful attention be given to the assembly of the pallets. With these difficulties and deficiencies of prior pallets particularly in mind, it is an object of this invention to provide legs which may be readily manually assembled with load platforms so as to form pallets, which legs and pallets have the desired characteristics mentioned above. In realizing this objective of the present invention, a unitary leg is provided with spaced upper and lower flanges extending about the periphery thereof and configured to assure proper assumption of load forces placed on a pallet using the legs while avoiding inadvertent disassembly of the pallet which might otherwise result from such forces.
A further object of the present invention is to accomplish the assembly of a load platform and a plurality of legs into a pallet by providing for ready manual inser-.
tion of each leg into a corresponding one of a plurality of openings in the load platform and for locking of the leg in such assembled relation. In accomplishing this object of the present invention, each of the openings in ment of theleg relative to the platform, the remainder of the upper flange may be passed through the enlarged dimension segment of the opening.
Some ofthe objects and advantages of the invention having been stated, others will appear as the description proceeds, when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first form of pallet in accordance with this invention, showing a load platform and a plurality of legs;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a leg as assembled ino the pallet of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view, partially in phantom, illustratingthe assembly of a leg and a load platform as in FIG. I;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged elevation view, in section, through the pallet of FIG. 1, taken generally along the line 4-4 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 1, showing a second form of pallet in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 2, showing a leg as assembled into the pallet of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 3, showing the assembly of a leg and a load platform as in FIG. 5;
FIG. 8 is a plan view of an assembled leg and load platform as in FIG. 5; and
FIG. 9 is an elevation view, similar to FIG. 4, taken generally along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8.
In the disclosure which follows, reference will be had to the accompanying drawings which illustrate two 'embodiments of this invention as presently contemplated. At the outset, it is to be understood that the disclosure and drawings are to be considered as illustrative only and not as limiting on this invention, as it is contemplated that this invention may be modified as to specific details while embodying the characteristic features disclosed hereinbelow. Thus, the disclosure is to be considered broadly rather than restrictively.
Inasmuch as two distinctive embodiments of thisinvention are disclosed herein, the description which follows will proceed first with reference to the embodiment of FIGS. 1 though 4 wherein a load platform 10 and a plurality of legs each generally indicated at l I are assembled into a pallet in accordance with this invention. The load platform 10 is illustrated as being formed by two sheets of corrugated paperboard, laminated together. It is contemplated by the present invention that the platform means may be one or more sheets of such corrugated paperboard or may be hardboard or other suitable materials. In any event, the load platform 10 has predetermined dimensions for defining a load bearential extent of the opening minor segment 14 is such as to include a central angle A, measured as between radial lines extending from the center C of opening 12, of at least about l. The arcuate extent of the segment 14 preferably is in the range of from about 10 to about 5 25, and should not exceed 90. The openings 12 are formed in the platform by die cutting, such as upon the initial formation or lamination of the corrugated sheet.
As assembled, each of the legs 11 penetrates a corresponding one of the openings 12 in the platform 10 and cooperates with the platform and the other legs for supporting the platform and for accommodating the introduction of a lifting apparatus such as a fork lift under the platform. Each of the legs 11 has a foot portion 15 (FIG. 4 for engaging an underlying support surface such as a floor; a main body portion 16 rising from the foot portion and being, in cross sectional configuration, of the same regular geometric shape as the openings 12, and a lock portion 17 adjacent the upper terminal end of the body portion 16. The lock portion 17 of each leg 11 has a lower flange 20 extending outwardly from the body portion 16 for a predetermined distance and extending about the entire periphery of the body portion. Additionally, an upper flange 21 is spaced from the lower flange 20 by a distance correlated to the thickness of the platform 10 and extends about less than the entire periphery of the body portion. The upper flange has a minor segment 22 of reduced dimensions, for facilitating assembly of the legs and platform as disclosed hereinafter.
In the form illustrated in the FIGS. 1-4, the body portion 16 of each of the legs is of truncated, right conical configuration. The flange minor segment 22 (FIG. 2) includes a central angle B (FIG. 1) which may be described in a manner generally similar to the included' central angle A of the opening minor segment 14. In particular, the central angle B of the flange minor segment 22 is defined between two radii extending from the central axis of the leg body portion 16, and preferably defines a central angle of at least about 10. As an upper limit, it is preferred that the leg minor segment have a circumferential extent including a central angle of no more than 90. The preferred range for circumferential extent of the flange minor segment is from about 10 to about 25.
Two features of the leg 11 particularly contribute to strength and adaptability of the assembled pallet. In particular, the conic configuration of the main body portion 16 continues for the portion thereof lying between the lower and upper flanges 20, 21. Such continuation of the conic configuration avoids stress concentration otherwise possibly occurring due to variation between a cylindrical and conic configuration. Further, at least one of the lower and upper flanges 20, 21 coverges toward the other of the flanges for accommodating variations in thickness of the platform 10. By such convergence, the flanges tightly grip the material of the platform when the pallet is assembled, contributing to sturdiness of the assembly.
Itis to be noted that the legs 11, due to their configuration, are readily adaptable to manufacture by means of injection molding of suitable thermoplastic materials. Desirable materials include high density polyethylene, high impact styrene, ABS, and polyvinyl chloride. As so molded, the legs 11 may be readily stacked into relatively high density packages. Thus, a large number of the legs 11 may be stored in a relatively small space adjacent a manufacturing or packaging line. Similarly, the platfonns 10 may be stacked prior to insertion of legs thereinto, in a very high density arrangement. A large number of platforms and a large number of legs may be stored adjacent a location of use, and assembled as needed.
In assemblying the legs 11 and platform 10 in accordance with this invention, the material of the platform 10 is introduced between the flanges 20, 21 of a leg 11 by hooking a portion of the upper flange 21, immediately adjacent minor segment 22 thereof, over a portion of platform 10 immediately adjacent the enlarged minor segment 14 of the opening 12 therein. The leg is then moved relative to the platform so as to pass the remainder of the upper flange 21 through the enlarged segment 14 of the opening 12. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the circular leg 11 of FIGS. 1-4 is rotated to achieve this result. On being so assembled, the loads imposed on the platform 10 by materials packaged or piled thereon are transmitted directly to the lower flange 20 and to the body 16 of the leg 11 substantially throughout the entire periphery of the lower flange 20. Further, removal of the leg 11 from the platform 10 is rendered exceedingly difficult by the necessity of unthreading or unscrewing the leg in a reverse of the procedure described above with reference to FIG. 3. Thus, the as- 'sembled pallet readily accepts loads imposed thereon and is not readily disassembled. I
Turning now to the second embodiment as illustrated in FIGS. 5-8, components which are substantially similar to components described above in reference to FIGS. 1-4 are identified by like reference characters, with the addition of prime notation. For purposes of shortening and simplifying the present disclosure, the description of the embodiment in FIGS. 5-8 will be particularly directed to the distinctions between the first and second embodiments, rather than repeating in full disclosure given hereinabove.
The distinction between the form of FIGS. 5-8 and the form of FIGS. l-4 lies in the use of a truncated pyramidal configuration for the legs 11', as distinct from the truncated conical configuration of the legs 11. The openings 12 in the platform 10' are of generally square configuration, and the enlarged portion thereof is provided by enlarged wing portions 14a, 14b. The reduced dimension portion of the upper flange 21 is defined by the omission of the upper flange 21 across one of the four sides of the upper terminal end of the inverted, truncated pyramidal form.
In the drawings and specification, there has been set forth a preferred embodiment of the invention, and although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.
That which is claimed is: l. A pallet adapted for economical single use if desired and comprising:
load platform means of predetermined dimension for defining a load bearing area of predetermined width and length and having a predetermined thickness dimension substantially less than the width and length dimensions thereof, said platform means defining a plurality of openings therethrough for the reception of leg means, each of said openings being generally of a regular geometric shape and having a single minor segment of enlarged dimensions,
a plurality of leg means each penetrating a corresponding one of said openings in said platform means and cooperating therewith for supporting said platform means and for accommodating introduction of lifting apparatus such as a fork lift under said platform means,
each of said leg means comprising a foot portion for engaging an underlying support surface such as a floor, a main body portion rising from said foot portion and being in cross-sectional configuration of the same regular geometric shape as said openings, and a lock portion integral with and adjacent to the upper terminal end of said body portion,
said lock portion of each of said leg means having a continuous lower flange extending outwardly from said body portion for a predetermined distance and an upper flange spaced from said lower flange by a distance correlated to the thickness of said platform means, said lower flange extending extirely' about the periphery of said body portion and being of the same regular geometric shape as said body portion, and said upper flange extending outwardly from said body portion for substantially the same distance as said lower flange and extending about substantially the entire periphery of said body portion while having a single minor segment of reduced dimensions, I
whereby each of said leg means is readily manually inserted into a corresponding one of said openings by introduction of the material of said platform means between said flanges and by movement of the leg means relative to the platform means so as to pass the upper flange through the enlarged dimension segment of the opening.
2. A pallet in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of said openings is generally of circular shape and has an opening minor segment of enlarged radius, the circumferential extent of the opening minor segment including a central angle of at least about 3. A pallet according to claim 1 wherein said main body portion of each of said leg means is of truncated conical configuration.
4. A pallet in accordance with claim 1 wherein each of said openings is generally of square shape and wherein said minor segment of each opening includes at least aligned, opposing corner portions of opposite sides of the opening which are spaced one from the other at a greater distance than the predominant width a lock portion integral with and adjacent to the upper terminal end of said body portion, said lock portion having a continuous lower flange extending outwardly from said body portion for a predetermined distance and encircling the entire periphery of said body portion and an upper flange spaced above said lower flange by a predetermined distance and extending outwardly from said body portion for substantially the same distance as said lower flange and encircling substantially the entire periphery of said body portion,
said lower flange being of the same regular geometric shape as said body portion,
said upper flange being generally of the same regular geometric shape as said body portion and having a single minor segment of reduced dimension for receiving the material of the load platform means during assembly of a pallet.
7. A leg in accordance with claim 6 wherein said body portion is of truncated, right conical configuration, said lower flange projects radially outwardly from said body portion for a predetermined radial distance, said upper flange projects radially outwardly of said body portion for a predetermined radial distance throughout most of the circumference thereof, and said flange minor segment is of reduced radial dimensions.
8. A leg in accordance with claim 6 wherein said main body portion is of truncated pyramidal configuration, said lower flange is of generally square outline and projects outwardly of the main body for a predetermined distance, and said upper flange is 'of generally square configuration and projects outwardly of the main body portion about substantially the entire upper terminal end thereof.