US 3907147 A
A large rigid open-top demountable cargo container has a hatch frame fitted in and secured to its base cross members and bottom side rails. A hatch cover, preferably of the fold-up type, is fitted in the hatch frame, flush with the floor covering the cross members. The container thus normally has a substantially continuous floor, but when the hatch cover is folded up, it has a hatch opening providing access to the cargo stowed in another container placed beneath it. The container's dimensions preferably are multiples of conventional cargo container dimensions so that several of the containers may be stacked in the hold of a conventional container ship. In a prime port where a large lift crane is available, the loaded containers may be transferred directly from the ship's hold to barges, feeder vessels, or a shoreside facility. In a back port, the containers may be left in the hold and the cargo transferred with conventional break-bulk gear. The container may also have a roof hatch frame and cover and side or end doors.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Goobeck [451 Sept. 23, 1975  Inventor: Andrew R. Goobeck, 12512 Keynote Ln., Bowie, Md. 20715  Filed: Mar. 22, 1973  Appl. No.: 343,752
 U.S. C1 220/15; 214/15 R; 220/236  Int. Cl. B65D 21/00  Field of Search 220/15, 23.4, 23.6, 29; 217/36; 206/503, 509; 214/10.5 R, 10.5 S, 14, 15 R, 15 D [5 6] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,379,231 6/1945 Harrison 214/15 R 2,761,581 9/1956 Cohee 220/1.5 3,004,682 [0/1961 Bertolini et al 220/15 3,291,324 12/1966 Fulcher et al 214/15 R 3,386,600 6/1968 Betjemann 214/15 R 3,498,477 3/1970 Sommer 214/15 R Primary ExaminerJohn Petrakes Attorney, Agent, or Firm-David Robbins; Alvin Englert  ABSTRACT A large rigid open-top demountable cargo container has a hatch frame fitted in and secured to its base cross members and bottom side rails. A hatch cover, preferably of the fold-up type, is fitted in the hatch frame, flush with the floor covering the cross members. The container thus normally has a substantially continuous floor, but when the hatch cover is folded up, it has a hatch opening providing access to the cargo stowed in another container placed beneath it. The containers dimensions preferably are multiples of conventional cargo container dimensions so that several of the containers may be stacked in the hold of a conventional container ship. In a prime port where a large lift crane is available, the loaded containers may be transferred directly from the ships hold to barges, feeder vessels, or a shoreside facility. In a back port, the containers may be left in the hold and the cargo transferred with conventional break-bulk gear. The container may also have a roof hatch frame and cover and side or end doors.
9 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 1 of4 3,907,147
US Patant Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 2 of4 3,907,147
a A" I "P IIIIIIIIIIiII -I!"'I'II IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII: I
'IIIIIIIWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIA US Pat6nt Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 3 of4 3,907,147
US Patent Sept. 23,1975 Sheet 4 Of4 3,907,147
LARGE RIGID DEMOUNTABLE CARGO CONTAINER WITl-I OPEN TOP AND FOLD-UP FLOOR The invention described herein may be used by or for the Government of the United States for governmental purposes Without the payment to me of any royalty thereon.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Demountable cargo containers are reusable weather proof containers for shipping and storing smaller containers, packages, pieces, or bulk material. They confine and protect the contents, can be handled as units in transit, and are mountable on marine, rail, or highway carricrs. At present the largest standardized containers (International Standards Organization Group I) are rigid. have end doors, and nominally measure 8 feet wide, 8 or 8V2 feet high, and 10, 20, 30, or 40 feet long. These cargo containers are widely used on container ships, which have vertical cell guides for guiding the containers into six-high stacks and for restraining them from horizontal movement.
To speed the transfer of cargo between a container ship and shore, it has been proposed to use containers which are larger than the standard group. These larger containers would be positioned and restrained in the ships hold by heavy-duty guide angles similar to the types presently used, or by means of the present cell guides, the end walls of the larger containers being provided with special fittings for dovetailing with the guides. The use of these king-sized containers would, however, require large lift cranes such as floating derricks or shoresidc gantries. Large cranes are often available or could be provided at prime ports, but it would be uneconomical to provide them at all back ports.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a larger-thanstandard cargo container and obviates the requirement for large lift cranes in back ports, by providing the container with an open top and a fold-up floor. In a back port, the cargo stowed in the top container of a stack of such containers is discharged with conventional break-bulk gear. The floor of the container is then folded up to provide access to the cargo in the container beneath. The process is repeated as necessary. To take on cargo, the lowermost container in the stack is filled and then the floor of the container above is folded down, to permit it to be filled.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially broken away, of a demountable cargo container constructed in accordance with the principles of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the container;
FIG. 3 is a sectional elevation view of the container;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view, partially broken away, taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIGS. 5 and 6 are enlarged sectional views taken on lines 55 and 66 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view of four containers stacked in the hold of a container ship;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative hatch cover for the container floor;
FIG. 9 is a top plan view of the container showing another aternative floor hatch cover;
FIG. I0 is a sectional view of a roof hatch frame and cover for the container; and
FIG. 11 is a side clevational view of the container showing the provision of side doors.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the cargo container 10 of this invention preferably is rectangular, with a base 12, top 14, ends 16 and I8, and sides 20 and 22. The base 12 includes a rectangular hatch frame 24 which desirably occupies most of the inside area of the base. A hatch cover, comprising for example two bifolding units 26, is fitted into the hatch frame 24. The top 14 also has a rectangular hatch frame 28, which is aligned over the base hatch frame 24 so that the container has superposed base and roof openings through which cargo may be vertically transferred.
FIGS. 4-6 illustrate the construction of the cargo container 10. Four comer posts 31, 32, 33, and 34 are located at the corners of the container, though they could be located longitudinally inwardly from the corners, for example, to better accomodate the spreader (not shown) employed to lift the container. The bottoms of the corner posts 31-34 are connected together longitudinally by a pair of bottom side rails 35 and 36 and transversely by a pair of end cross members 37 and 38. The connections are made by welding, bolting, or the like, not shown. The hatch frame 24 includes a pair of outwardly opening C-shaped end rails 41 and 42 which are aligned parallel to the end cross members 37 and 38 and connected to the bottom side rails 35 and 36. The hatch frame 24 further includes a pair of outwardly opening C-shaped hatch side rails 43 and 44 which are placed parallel to the container bottom side rails 35 and 36 and connected to the hatch end rails 41 and 42. Four angles 45 are secured to the inner faces of the hatch rails'4l-44 to form a ledge for supporting the folding hatch covers 26.
The base 12 is completed as shown in FIGS. 4-6 by connecting a number of full-size cross members 46 between the container bottom side rails 35 and 36 and a number of short cross members 47 between the hatch side rails 43 and 44 and the container bottom side rails 35 and 36. A floor 48 is secured to the cross members. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the hatch covers 26 are dimensioned so that their top surfaces 27 are flush with the floor 48 when the covers are supported on the hatch frame angles 45. The container 10 thus normally has a substantially continuous floor.
As shown in FIG. 3, the hatch covers 26 are connccted to the container base 12 by hinges 49 which desirably align the covers in the folded-up position over the ends of the hatch frame 24. The hatch covers 26 may be provided with wheels 51 which ride in tracks (not shown) on the hatch side rails and then on ramps 52 provided on the hatch frame angles 45 to lift the covers into the folded-up position. The covers are held in the open position by means of conventional holdback devices (not shown).
To complete the container, the top ends of the corner posts are connected longitudinally by top side rails and transversely by end roof bows, both of which have been omitted from the drawings for clarity. The ends 16 and 18 and sides 20 and 22 of FIG. 1 comprise sheets connected to the upper and lower longitudinal and transverse frame members and stiffened by conventional end and side posts, also not shown for clarity. The roof hatch frame 28 is fitted in and secured to the roof bows in substantially the same manner as the base hatch frame 24 is fitted into the base cross members. The top 14 further comprises a roof sheet secured to the roof bows. Finally, each of the corner posts 31-34 is provided with complementary upper and lower corner fittings 54 and 56, respectively, which enable the container to be lifted, secured to a deck, or to be stacked upon another container, as is conventional in the demountable container art. The comer fittings 54, 56 are shown as truncated pyramids, though they may have any other suitable shape, such as box or truncated cone.
As shown in FIG. 1, the bifolding hatch covers 26 may be folded up by means of a cable 57 connected to an eye 58 fastened to the outer hatch cover panel and passed through a pulley 59 secured to the roof hatch frame 28. The upper end of the cable 57 may be attached to an overhead cargo winch or crane, not shown. Alternatively, the covers could be operated by portable electric or pneumatic motors, not shown.
FIG. 7 shows four containers of this invention stacked in the hold of a container ship 60 and being loaded with cargo through the roof and base hatches 28 and 24 by means of conventional break-bulk gear 61 and 62. The right half of the bottom container has been filled and the right hatch cover 26 of the container above has been folded down to permit its right half to be filled. When the left half of the bottom container is filled, the left hatch cover above it will be folded down. This process is continued until all of the containers are filled as desired. To unload the containers with breakbulk gear, the process is reversed: the top container is unloaded and then its covers are lifted to gain access to the cargo stowed in the container beneath.
The break-bulk gear 61 and 62 is used in a back port where large (heavy) lift cranes capable of lifting a loaded container are unavailable. In a prime port, the containers 10 are individually loaded (with the hatch covers 26 folded down) at shoreside and then lifted as units (not shown) into the hold of the container ship 60.
As mentioned above, the container 10 of this invention is much larger than the standard demountable cargo containers nominally measuring 8 feet wide, 8 or 8 feet high, and I0, 20, 30, or 40 feet long. Preferably, its dimensions are multiples of the standard dimensions so that it can be stowed interchangeably with the standard containers. The dimensions preferably are also selected so that the containers can be directly transferred onto conventional U.S. inland waterway barges and European waterway barges. In the case of hopper barges, a limiting dimension is the width of the cargo well. U.S. cargo well widths have been standardized at 27 feet and 42 feet (for the so-calledjumbo and large designs, respectively) and the European cargo well widths have been standardized at about 26 feet. Thus the preferred dimensions of the present container 10 are: a nominal length of 40 feet, width of 25 feet, and height of 12 feet. This is about three times as wide and one-and-a-half times as high as the largest standard (40X 8 8-foot) container. It can hold about four-anda-half times as much cargo by volume. It will stack four-high in three 40 8-foot cells of a container ship, and it can be placed longitudinally in the smaller U.S. and the European hopper barges, or transversely in the larger U.S. barge. The container can also be placed one or more high on conventional deck barges if desired.
Since the container 10 is large and will be stacked up to four high, its components, such as the corner posts and fittings, cross members, hatch covers, and ends, should be dimensioned to have appropriate strengths. These components should be capable of withstanding without permanent deformation the static and dynamic forces imposed on them when the loaded containers are lifted and when they are stacked in the vertical cells of a containership.
FIG. 8 depicts an alternative hatch cover for the base hatch frame 24. In this embodiment, the hatch is divided transversely in two by a beam 62 which may be connected as by welding to the hatch frame side rails 43 and 44, or which may be pivotally connected to one of the rails so that it can be lifted up to leave the hatch unobstructed. The hatch cover in this case comprises four folding panels 63.
Another alternative hatch cover is shown in FIG. 9. This cover includes two end folding panels 64 and two side folding panels 65. Two beams 66 and 67 extend across the hatch frame 24 to support the edges of the panels. While the panels preferably fold up, they could if desired by constructed as lift-off units.
FIG. 10 shows a hatch cover 70 for the roof hatch 28. The hatch cover 70 is shown as a one-piece lift-off pontoon, but it could if desired consist of several lift-off or end-rolling or folding sections. The hatch cover is used only on a container exposed to the weather, such as the top container of a stack of containers, or individual containers temporarily stored at shoreside.
FIG. 11 shows a modification of the side 22 of the container 10. The side is provided with a suitable door frame (not shown) and with a pair of doors 72 and 74 which are attached to the door frame by recessed hinges 73 and 75. If desired, sliding doors could be used instead of the outwardly swinging type shown. These doors enable the container 10 to be loaded and unloaded at shoreside or on deck barges, using conventional forklift trucks as an alternative to overhead cargo handling through the roof hatch 28. If desired, the container 10 could be provided with an end door instead of, or in addition to, the side doors. The construction of the door frames and doors are well known in the container art.
From the foregoing it will be seen that the present invention provides a king-sized container, preferably 40 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 12 feet high, which can easily be loaded at shoreside and then directly transferred into the cells of a container ship. If desired the container can be provided with a roof hatch cover 70 as shown in FIG. 10 and used as a temporary storage shed at shoreside. Direct transfer of the loaded container requires a heavy lift crane, which may be available or readily provided at prime ports. The containers may be discharged from the container ship to shore or to an ocean feeder vessel or onto US. or European waterway barges. In back ports, the cargo in the stack of containers is discharged with conventional break-bulk gear, using the fold-up floors of the containers. This arrangement permits the container ship to compete with conventional break-bulk ships on trade routes to the back ports.
Many modifications and variations of the exemplary embodiments described above will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the precise details of construction shown and described, but is intended to cover all modifications coming within the scope of the following claims.
1. In a super-size demountable cargo container for rapidly transferring cargo to or from a container ship with the aid of a heavy lift crane, said container having overall dimensions which are substantially greater than those of the largest standard demountable containers and having stackable end frames, the improvement comprising:
said super-size container having an open top, a base,
and a fold-up floor in said base, whereby a stack of such containers in the hold of said ship automatically converts the hold to a multi-tween deck hold which can optionally be loaded or unloaded with conventional break-bulk overhead gear in the event heavy lift cranes are unavailable, said multitween deck hold being provided substantially without any alteration to the ships hold;
said fold-up floor in said base comprising a pair of bottom side rails, at least two cross members, a first posed on said first hatch cover by said cargo are transmitted via said ledge, hatch frame and cross members to said bottom side rails and to said end frames of said container.
2. The improvement set forth in claim 1, wherein the area of said first hatch frame is at least one-half the inside area of said base.
3. The improvement set forth in claim 2, wherein said first hatch cover comprises a plurality of sections.
4. The improvement set forth in claim 3, wherein at least one of said sections folds with respect to said first hatch frame.
5. The improvement set forth in claim 1, wherein a second hatch frame is fitted in the top of said container and aligned over said first hatch frame.
6. The improvement set forth in claim 5, wherein a second, watertight hatch cover is fitted on said second hatch frame.
7. The improvement set forth in claim 1, wherein a door frame is fitted in one side of said container and a door is fitted to said door frame.
8. The improvement set forth in claim 1, wherein said container is mounted on a container ship, barge, or other vessel.
9. The improvement set forth in claim 1, wherein a stack of said super-size containers are mounted in the hold of said ship to provide a removable multi-tween deck hold.