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Publication numberUS3855756 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 24, 1974
Filing dateJan 12, 1971
Priority dateMay 10, 1967
Publication numberUS 3855756 A, US 3855756A, US-A-3855756, US3855756 A, US3855756A
InventorsShull R, Sweeney R
Original AssigneeOwens Illinois Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Load stabilization
US 3855756 A
A storable and transportable load of multitudinous containers, comprising: a pallet of the type adapted for use with a forklift truck, a stacked array of sub-unitized containers positioned on the pallet and a heat-shrunk enveloping material grippingly holding the stacked array in a substantially rigid position as an integral unit load.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[4 1 Dec. 24, 1974 llnited States Patent [191 Sweeney et al.

McDougal 53/26 X a. H wm m 3W a ot 6016 PFBP 906770 566667 999999 HHHHHH 5457009 799367 900703 ,33 1 523 79 0035332 ,3 33 223333 nf efi .w a .w h R O a, o Mm d r m am Lw m VJ I e N nfla .w 0 ee 0 I S n T W 9. S H .u s a n e u m w mRW 0 t n D n g n w S L .m A ll. 1 4 5 3 5 7 7 [l l [22] Filed: Jan. 12, 1971 Appl. No.: 105,947

Primary Examiner-Roy Lake Assistant Examiner-E. F. Desmond Related US Application Data Attorney, Agent, or Firm-D. T. Innis; E. J. Holler [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 637,522, May 10, I967,

[57] ABSTRACT A storable and transportable load of multitudinous abandoned.

containers, comprising: a pallet of the type adapted for use with a forklift truck, a stacked array of subunitized containers positioned on the pallet and a heat-shrunk enveloping material grippingly holding the stacked array in a substantially rigid position as an integral unit load.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,609,923 Simonton......................... 206/60 A 5 C aims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEH M82419 SHEET 1 0F 2 INVENTOR5 Eoesar \ALSHULL BY Row P. Sm

PATENTEnnc24|s74 SHEET 2 BF 2 INVENTORS Reese? W. EWLL BY Rev P. Swemsv IAQPQKMEQQ LOAD STABILIZATION This application is a continuation of Ser. No. 637,522 filed May 10, 1967, now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates to the art of materials handling; more particularly, it relates to an improvement in means for unitizing and stabilizing pallet loads of a plurality of containers, thereby facilitating the shipping and storage of these loads.

Glass or similar type containers, because of their relatively small size and the high rates at which they are manufactured, must be handled in units of larger size if one is to minimize the inherent difficulty and expense resulting from the laborious task of individual container handling. For this purpose, numerous containers are generally packed into larger sub-assemblies such as, for example, open-topped cases, cartons and trays. In turn, a plurality of these larger, but still relatively small sub-assemblies are stacked upon a pallet and, by means of a forklift-truck, are lifted and moved to either storage areas or depots for subsequent transportation by truck or rail-car to the packer or bottler, and then to further distribution channels. As currently practiced, these pallet loads may contain up to 13 tiers of subassembled containers; each sub-assembly typically being comprised of a carton holding as many as two dozen containers and each tier including approximately 12 such sub-assemblies. Thus, it can be readily seen that each pallet load may consist of several thousand containers. Because of this multitude of similar individual containers arranged in stacked relation, these loads are inherently characterized by a lack of stability and rigidity.

Consequently, in order to permit conventional forklift handling, storage to normal heights and shipping in trucks or railroad cars, supplemental stabilization of unit loads is generally required. Currently, these stabilizing elements have included the use of twine, straps, corrugated sheets and cornerposts, the various elements either being used singularly or in various combinations.

In addition to not completely resolving the stability problem, these current practices generally render additional collateral desirabilities ineffective. Since the containers are typically sub-assembled in labeled cartons, it is preferable that the stabilizing elements also allow these labels to be readily discernible for purposes of easy load identification; furthermore, it is desirable that the stabilizing elements also protect the pallet load from dust, dirt and the like. It is readily apparent to those skilled in the art that, heretofore, no pallet load stabilizer has entirely resolved the prior considerations.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION In accordance with this invention an improved unitizing, pallet load stabilizer is provided; said stabilizer allowing easy load identification and being capable of protecting the load from dust, dirt and other deleterious conditions.

More particularly, in accordance with this invention a multitude of sub-unitized containers are stacked in a suitable array upon a pallet, and a heat-shrinkable material is applied to such load to form a unitized pallet load sufficiently stable to permit conventional fork truck handling, shipment and storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS The foregoing and other advantageous features of this invention will become apparent by reference to the drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view generally showing a method of producing a stabilized pallet load embodying the features of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pallet load embodying the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view showing the upper, comer margin of a pallet load embodying the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S) As used herein, the term heat-shrinkable refers to a property of a material which is characterized by its contraction in length and/or width upon being exposed to sufficient thermal energy. The contraction of these materials is thought to be attributable to a thermally stimulated, molecular reorientation, the molecules having been previously oriented by either a uniaxial or biaxial stretching. Similarly, heat-shrunk shall be used to designate the condition of a heat-shrinkable material subsequent to its contraction by thermal exposure.

Generally, the heat-shrinkable materials which may be used in the invention are thermoplastic films comprised of one or more synthetic organic polymers. Preferably, the films suitable for these purposes are polymers, or copolymers, of compounds having olefinic unsaturation such as, for example, ethylene, propylene, vinyl chloride, vinylidene chloride, styrene, vinyl acetate and vinyl alcohol. Additionally, it is preferred that these materials be of the transparent, non-pigmented type in order to allow easy load identification; however, when load identification is not desired, the materials may be colored by methods well known in the art.

While this invention generally relates to glass or metal containers, it has been found to be particularly effective with regard to glass containers having upper neck and mouth portions whose transverse sections are substantially smaller than the container body portion. Heretofore, these containers, especially when packed or sub-unitized in open-topped trays or cartons, which are subsequently stacked in tiers upon a pallet, have been extremely difficult to stabilize into a durable rigid unit-load because of the extensive sway inherent in such load where only the upper, smaller cross-sectional surface areas of the respective containers provide the support for the successively stacked tiers.

Referring to the drawings, FIG. I shows a transportable rigid base member, or pallet 10, having an upper article supporting surface 12 and including passageways 14 formed beneath the supporting surface, whereby the pallet is adapted for handling by means of a forklift-truck. Positioned upon the pallet supporting surface 12 is a base sheet 16 of heat-shrinkable material, for example polyethylene, polypropylene or polyvinyl chloride film, the sheet 16 having sufficient longitudinal and transverse dimensions to extend coextensively and beyond the dimensions of the supporting surface 12.

For purposes of simplification, the container load 18 to be unitized and stabilized is shown schematically in a prestacked array displaced from the pallet 10. It will, however, be apparent that the multitude of containers comprising the load are first sub-unitized, and then stacked upon the pallet support surface 12. As will be readily apparent upon reference to the drawings, load 18 is disposed in a horizontal and vertical array; that is, the load comprises a plurality of vertical tiers wherein each tier includes a plurality of horizontally juxtaposed sub-unitized container assemblies 24. While any type container may be employed, the containers 20 illustrated are of the type having a neck portion 22 terminating in an upper annular lip or mouth portion 32. Additionally, the containers are shown as having been subunitized by being packed in open-topped cartons 24, it being understood that conventional cartons and trays are equally applicable, such cartons or trays normally being fabricated of corrugated paper and linerboard. The inherent strength of the individual containers 20 is used to form the stacked array, the cartons or trays serving to avoid surface-to-surface contact of the containers.

After the container load 18 is stacked on the pallet, a film of heat-shrinkable material 26 is circumferentially wrapped sidewise about the stacked load 18 with its longitudinal extremities being brought into overlapping relation. Sheet 26 is preferably imperforate and annularly surrounds the side surfaces of the unit-load. In passing, it should be mentioned that the magnitude of shrinkability of sheet material 26 is not critical, the only requirement being that the material, when applied, be sufficiently tight to enable it to snugly engage the load upon its being subsequently heat-shrunk. Following the sidewise load wrapping, a top sheet 28 of heat-shrinkable material is draped over the upper horizontal surface of the load 18 and the draped portion is brought into contact with the upper vertically-disposed side surfaces of sheet 26. The overlapping portion of the base sheet 16 then also being brought into contact with the lower vertically-disposed side surfaces of sheet 26.

Finally, in order to complete the stabilization, the enclosed load undergoes a heating cycle to effect the contraction of the heat-shrinkable sheet material. While the exact heating cycle is somewhat dependent upon the nature and thickness of film employed, successful shrinking has been accomplished by using a 15-60 second cycle at 300400F or alternately a cycle of several minutes at 200-300F, time-temperature being complemental. Although the heating may generally be accomplished by positioning the load within any suitable heating chamber or adjacent to a heating source, because of the desirability of substantial uniformity of heating, a preferred source comprises an indirect-fired heat tunnel having recirculating air flowing therethrough. As a result of being subjected to such thermally-stimulated contraction, the film snugly engages the externally-disposed surfaces of the load contour to a considerable degree, thereby continuously exerting permanent and continuing compressive gripping forces which greatly stabilize and impart rigidity to the pallet load. Also, the load is protected against contaminants such as dirt, dust, water and other objectionable materials.

While the foregoing generally describes the encapsulation of a unitized container load within a heat-shrunk film, it will be obvious that certain modifications may be employed. For example, when exposure to dust or dirt is of no concern, such as in the case of capped containers, the base sheet 16 and top sheet 28 may be completely eliminated and only the circumferential side wrapping sheet 26 employed. Moreover, a plurality of side wrappings, such as a band type arrangement, may be desirable in certain instances. Another modification comprises the simple elimination of the base sheet 16 with the result that, the side wrapping sheet and top sheet, 26 and 28 respectively, upon contraction will produce a heat-shrunk hood or cover in contrast to a completely encapsulated load as described in FIG. 1.

FIG. 2 discloses yet another embodiment in which, instead of using several sheets of material, a prefabricated, heat-shrinkable, unitary cover or hood is employed. Referring to this figure it will be apparent that the general method of producing the stabilized load is similar to that previously described. Generally, the subunitized container assemblies, comprised of opentopped cartons 24 each containing a plurality of containers 20, are stacked on the supporting surface 12 of a pallet member 10 to form the container load 18. Subsequently, a heat-shrinkable cover 30 is positioned over the load 18 and heat-shrunk, whereby the entire bag contracts and substantially conforms to the exterior surface contours of the load 18.

The sheet contraction and its tendency to mate with the load contour is, as noted supra, particularly advantageous in the case of containers 20 having an upper annular lip 32. When packed in open-topped cartons 24, these containers lips define the upper surface of the load. Consequently, when using either the cover embodiment of FIG. 2, or an embodiment which utilizes a top sheet as described in conjunction with FIG. 1, the portion of the heat-shrinkable material disposed adjacent upwardly of the lips will, during heating shrink back under the lip of container (32 in FIG. 3) at least at the load periphery. Thus, the containers comprising the upper tier will be rigidly locked in position, thereby being substantially restrained from swaying and contacting each other while in transit.

While various and alternate embodiments of this invention have been described in detail above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that these embodiments may be modified. Accordingly, the foregoing is to be considered exemplary rather than limiting and the true scope of the invention is as described in the following claims.

We claim:

1. A method of providing a stable, unitized pallet load of multitudinous containers such as glass bottles, jars and the like, comprising the steps of:

positioning a pallet having a load supporting surface in a container loading location; positioning a base sheet of heat shrinkable plastic material on said pallet, load supporting surface;

stacking a substantial plurality of container subassemblies in a suitable array upon said base sheet leaving a peripheral portion of said base sheet exposed;

wrapping a heat shrinkable plastic material about the sides of said stacked array;

draping a top-sheet of a heat shrinkable plastic material upon the upper surface of said stacked array, and bringing the draped portion of said top sheet and the peripheral portion of said base sheet into contact with said side wrapping sheet;

4. The method of claim 3, wherein said step of shrinking said material comprises the step of heating said heat-shrinkable film to a temperature of about 200 to 400 F.

5. The method set forth in claim 1 including the step of orienting at least each peripheral container subassembly in each layer above the lowermost layer on said pallet such that it is in a different orientation than the subassembly below it.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2609923 *Oct 27, 1949Sep 9, 1952St Regis Paper CoBag package with fork-lift handling means
US2885097 *Dec 17, 1954May 5, 1959Barry Wehmiller Mach CoAutomatic pallet loader
US2932389 *Sep 16, 1957Apr 12, 1960Warren S D CoPackage for transporting paper sheets
US3253379 *May 16, 1962May 31, 1966Foradora Paul JMethod of banding a group of articles
US3331503 *Aug 2, 1966Jul 18, 1967Reynolds Metals CoPlastic film encased package constructions
US3337036 *Apr 15, 1965Aug 22, 1967Peterson Thomas GDisposable and collapsible storage and shipping container
US3529717 *Jun 12, 1969Sep 22, 1970Anchor Hocking CorpPalletized load of film-enclosed articles
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4535587 *Aug 23, 1983Aug 20, 1985Isover Saint-GobainMulti-roll package of compressible materials
US5636496 *Jul 27, 1995Jun 10, 1997Oy M. Haloila AbProcedure and apparatus for winding a wrapper around a piece of goods, and package
US5675960 *Dec 27, 1995Oct 14, 1997Illinois Tool Works Inc.Embossed trays for multipack pallet stock stackability
US5678389 *Dec 4, 1995Oct 21, 1997Henry; William A.Method and apparatus for stabilizing palletized stacks of discrete items
US8065857 *Apr 19, 2010Nov 29, 2011Consolidated Container Company LpStackable containers and methods of manufacturing, stacking, and shipping the same
US8544649Sep 14, 2010Oct 1, 2013Consolidated Container Company LpStackable containers and methods of manufacturing, stacking, and shipping the same
US9205964 *Sep 23, 2011Dec 8, 2015Felix Waldner GmbhMethod for packaging a pack commodity, and package for a pack commodity
US20060243172 *May 2, 2005Nov 2, 2006Simon Vaughn NUnique cardboard box container for replacing wood pallets
US20060243173 *Feb 13, 2006Nov 2, 2006Simon Vaughn NLightweight, boxed stringer useful in forming pallets for transporting products
US20100326872 *Sep 14, 2010Dec 30, 2010Rivera Benedict RStackable containers and methods of manufacturing, stacking, and shipping the same
US20120241343 *Sep 23, 2011Sep 27, 2012Felix Waldner GmbhMethod for packaging a pack commodity, and package for a pack commodity
US20130263841 *Apr 10, 2013Oct 10, 2013Mortarless Technologies LlcFire Pit Shipping and Packaging Systems and Methods
DE102008020300A1 *Apr 22, 2008Oct 29, 2009Krones AgZwischenlage beim Verpacken von Getränke-Großgebinden und Großgebinde-Palette
U.S. Classification53/442, 53/447
International ClassificationB65D71/00, B65B11/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2571/00055, B65B11/00, B65D2571/00018, B65D71/0096
European ClassificationB65B11/00, B65D71/00P1A
Legal Events
Jul 14, 1987ASAssignment
Effective date: 19870323