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Title:
Shipping container with mechanical jack
United States Patent 2002455
Abstract:
This invention relates to improvements in means for raising bodies, which ordinarily rest immobile on their bases, and for then supporting them on wheels so that they can be readily moved. More especially the invention relates to shipping containers and to means associated therewith for transferring...


Inventors:
Schwerin, Frank H.
Publication Date:
05/21/1935
Assignee:
DUFF NORTON MFG COMPANY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
16/19, 16/33, 16/99, 220/1.5, 280/3, 280/43.2
International Classes:
B65D90/18
View Patent Images:
Description:

This invention relates to improvements in means for raising bodies, which ordinarily rest immobile on their bases, and for then supporting them on wheels so that they can be readily moved. More especially the invention relates to shipping containers and to means associated therewith for transferring the support of the containers from their own bases to wheels and viceversa. Greater economy and effciency in railroad shipment are obtained by using shipping containers for certain classes of freight. When a flat car or gondola is filled with these containers, the capacity of the car is almost as great as a box car of the same length, and their use affords the important advantage that the individual shipping containers are small enough to be carried on automobile trucks. It is possible to load one of these shipping containers at the source of supply, convey the container to the freight station by truck; ship the container with others on a freight car, and then haul the container from the receiving freight yard to its destination by truck. The handling of the goods is thus reduced to a minimum.

On the other hand, the use of these shipping containers has presented a serious problem because of the difficulties in placing the heavy, loaded containers on and removing them from the motor trucks, transferring them from the trucks to the railroad cars and vice-versa, and in moving them about wherever necessary. Cranes have been employed, but such equipment is expensive, is available only in certain places, and serves a limited purpose.

For greater and'more general convenience, retractable jacking wheel supports have heretofore been devised for such shipping containers.i According to one plan, which makes it possible to roll the container in one line. of direction, a single wheeled jack is built into each corner of the container. Another plan, involving duplication of expense and weight, required two jacks in each corner, so that, the wheels, of the jacks being set at right angles, it would be possible to roll the container in either of two lines of direction as desired, Caster-wheel jacks have also been: proposed, but casterwheels, are unsatisfactory at the best and are ill-adapted for use with heavy loads.

40 A special object of this invention is; to provide a far more satisfactory solution of the problem, and in particular to provide simple, strong and conveniently operated mechanism incorporated, or adapted to be incorporated, in a shipping container which rests on its own bottom while on a car or truck, which mechanism is certain in its action and makes itpossible to roll the container, without difficulty, in at least two lines of directions, or in a greater number of directions if that should be desired, with only one jack per corner. A more, general object of the invention is to provide mechanism for raising and movably supporting a heavy body which at other times rests immovable on its own base, the mechanism having advantages such as have been indicated in connection with bodies or articles of various kinds.

Other objects, features and advantages of the invention and the manner in which the objects vad advantages are realized will clearly appear as the specification proceeds.

In the accompanying drawings, forming a part hereof: Fig. I is a side elevation of a shipping container equipped with lifting devices in accordance with this invention, the container being shown in raised position supported on the wheels; SFig, 2 is a bottom plan view of the shipping container shown in Fig. 1; Fig. 3 is an enlarged sectional view of one of the lifting devices when not supporting the container; ig. 4 is a section on the line 4-4 of Fig. 3; Fig.5 is a reduced, fragmentary, sectional view of a part of the mechanism shown in Fig. 3 in a different position; Fig, 6 is a side elevation, partly in section, of the lifting device shown in Fig. 3.

A shipping container 10 has a lifting device 12 at each bottom corner, the lifting device cornprising a housing 14, recessed in the container so that it does not increase the over-all dimensions of the container.

Each lifting device has a wheel 16, which can be thrust downwardly from the housing 14, as shown in Fig. 1, so that the bottom supporting surface 14 of the container is raised from the floor 20, and the container supported entirely by the wheels I. During shipment of the container, the wheels 16 are withdrawn into the housings 14, and the bottom supporting surface 10 of the container rests on the floor 20. With certain types of containers the lower side of the container bottom contacts with the floor, but the container shown in the drawings has a bottom 22 slightly higher than the lower edges of the container sides, and these lower edges of the sides are the bottom supporting surface 18. The invention is equally applicable to either type of shipping container. When the container is resting on the floor and is to be raised to the position shown in Fig. 1, a handle is applied to a projecting end of a shaft 24, and the shaft is rotated to operate raising mechanism, which moves the wheels 16 downwardly against the floor 20 and then raises the container so that it is supported by the wheels.

The shaft 24 extends entirely across the container and projects from both ends, so that it can be operated from either end to work the raising mechanism of two lifting devices simultaneously. A similar shaft operates the lifting devices on the other side of the container.

Bumpers 25 on the side of the housings 14 protect the ends of the shaft 24 against damage if the container is moved against an obstruction.

Fig. 3 shows the jack or raising mechanism.

A worm gear 28 is secured on the shaft 24, and meshes with a worm wheel 30, which is threaded on a jack screw 32. The upper side of the worm wheel contacts with an auti-friction thrust washer 34, and the lower side of the worm wheel rests on a flange 35 of the housing. The worm wheel has a hub journaled in the thrust washer 34 and in the flange 35. This construction permits the worm wheel to rotate, but prevents it from moving vertically in the housing.

A bracket 36 fits within the lower portion of the housing 14 and carries a shaft 38 which serves as an axle for the wheel 16. The bracket 36 is rigidly secured to the lower end of the jack screw 32.

Referring to Fig. 4, the lower portion of the housing 14 is of circular cross-section, and the bracket 36 is shaped to fit the housing as a bearing. A pawl 40 engages vertical grooves 42 in the bearing surface of the bracket 36 and prevents rotation of the bracket in a clockwise direction in this view. The bracket can rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, however, because the pawl ratchets pass the grooves 42 when the bracket rotates in this direction.

A lock 44 (Fig. 3) is secured to the inside wall of the housing 14 below the pawl 40, and in vertical alinement with the pawl. When the bracket is in raised position, as shown in Fig. 3, it is above the lock 44, but when the bracket is moved downwardly with respect to the housing, to raise the shipping container, the lock 44 engages with the groove 42 and prevents rotation of the bracket in either direction. Thus, the direction in which the wheel is facing can not be changed after the shipping container is raised and supported on the wheels, and it is impossible for an irregular floor surface to turn the wheels out of line. The lower edge of each housing 14 is cut out at 45, so that the operator can see which way each wheel is facing.

A pin 46 is rigidly secured in the upper end of the bracket 36 and projects above the top of the bracket. A vertical face 48 extends upwardly from the lower side of the worm wheel hub. This construction is clearly shown in Fig. 5. When the bracket 36 is in fully raised position, and the worm wheel is rotated toward the left, the pin 46 abuts against the face 48 and causes the bracket 36 to turn in the same direction as the worm wheel.

The frame of the lifting device includes the housing 14 and flanges 49 (Fig. 6), which are integral with the housing and connected with the sides of the shipping container. These flanges contact with the inside of the container walls (as shown in Fig. 3), and are connected to the walls by fastening means, such as rivets:50.

The operation of the invention is as follows: When the shipping container is transported on a freight car or truck, the wheels are withdrawn into the housings 14 and the container rests on the bottom edges of the side walls. Before unloading the shipping container, the operator looks at the wheels 16, which are easily visible through the cut-out portion 45 of the housing. If the wheels are not facing in the right direction for rolling the shipping container from the car or truck, a handle is placed on one end of the shaft 24 and the shaft turned to rotate the worm wheel 30 toward the left. This rotation of the worm wheel causes the face 48 to abut against the pin 46 and turn the bracket 36. The bracket is thus turned until the wheel 16 faces in the right direction. Since the shaft 24 operates two of the lifting devices, both wheels on one side of the shipping container are moved simultaneously. The handle is then applied to the shaft on the other side of the container and operated to face the other wheels in the right direction.

The shipping container is then raised by turning the shaft 24 in the direction which will cause the worm wheel 30 to rotate toward the right. The jack screw 32 has a left-hand thread, and this rotation of the worm wheel forces the jack screw 32 downwardly with respect to the worm wheel, and causes the wheel 16 to move into contact with the floor 20. Further downward movement of the jack screw raises the shipping container. Turning of the shaft 24 raises one side of the container, and turning of the other shaft raises the other side of the container. While the container is supported on the wheels 16, it is rolled as far as necessary in the direction in which the wheels face.

If it becomes necessary to change the direction in which the shipping container rolls, the shaft 24 is turned to rotate the worm wheel 30 I4( toward the left. This rotation of the worm wheel moves the screw jack upwardly with respect to the worm wheel and thus lowers the container.

When the jack screw has moved upwardly until the pin 46 contacts with the face 48 on the worm 45: wheel hub, further rotation of the shaft 24 will turn the bracket 36 so that the wheel 16 faces in a different direction.

The raising mechanism will operate only when a groove 42 is in line with the lock 44. The bracket shown in the drawing has four grooves located at 900 intervals around the bracket. The shinping container can, therefore, be rolled in two lines of direction. The wheels are located with respect to the grooves so that the directions in 55; which the container rolls are parallel to its sides and parallel to its ends. If it is desirable to roll the container in other directions, more grooves can be provided, but two directions of movement are sufficient to roll the container to any desired 60g location if the direction of movement is changed when necessary to avoid an obstruction.

The preferred embodiment of the invention has been described, but changes in the gearing' and other modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

I claim: 1. In combination with a shipping container; lifting devices connected with the container above 7ci the base of the container, each lifting device including a wheel and means for thrusting the wheel downwardly below the bottom supporting surface, and thus lifting the container so that it is supported by the wheels, mechanism operable to turn each wheel through a definite angle so that the shipping container can be rolled in different lines of direction, and means for holding each wheel in various planes of rotation.

2. In combination, a shipping container; a plurality of lifting devices recessed in the bottom of the container; each lifting device including a wheel, means for moving the wheel downwardly with respect to the shipping container so that the container is lifted and supported on the wheels, and means operable to turn the wheels so that the shipping container can be rolled in different directions; and motion-transmitting means for operating two of the lifting devices simultaneously and for operating two of the wheel-turning means simultaneously.

S3. In combination, a rectangular box-like shipping container; a jack housing recessed in each of the bottom corners of the container; a wheel, and lifting jack mechanism in each housing for thrusting the wheel downwardly from the housing to lift the container so that it is supported on the wheel; each housing having an opening in one wall for observing the direction in which the wheel is facing, means operable from outside the container to turn the wheel to face in any one of different directions, and means for' keeping the wheel facing in a given direction.

4. In combination, a rectangular box-like ship3u ping container; a lifting device recessed in each bottom corner of the shipping container, each lifting device including a wheel, a bracket in which the wheel is carried, manual.y operated mechanism for turning the bracket to change the direction in which the wheel rolls, locking means for preventing rotation of the bracket, and jack mechanism for moving the wheel downwardly with respect to the container so that the shipping container is lifted and supported on the wheels. 5. In combination, a rectangular box-like shipping container; a lifting device recessed in each bottom corner of the shipping container, each lifting device including a wheel, a bracket in which the wheel is carried, and operating mechanism movable in one direction to raise the container with respect to the wheels so that the container is supported on the wheels and movable in the opposite direction to turn the brackets so that the wheels will face in one direction or another as desired.

6. In combination, a rectangular box-like shipping container; a lifting device recessed in each bottom corner of the shipping container, each lifting device including a wheel, a bracket in which the wheel is carried, operating mechanism movable in one direction to raise the container with respect to the wheels so that the container is supported on the wheels and movable in the opposite direction to turn the brackets so that the wheels will face in one direction or another as desired and a motion-transmitting connection between the operating mechanisms at adjacent corners of the shipping container so that said mechanisms operate simultaneously.

7. In a shipping container; a jack recessed in the bottom of the container; a bracket connected with the lower end of the jack; a wheel carried in the bracket; common mechanism for operating the jack to raise the container from a supporting surface so that it is supported by the wheel and for turning the wheel bracket so that the wheel may be disposed in different lines of direction; and means for locking the bracket against turning.

15 8. The combination of a shipping container; a jack connected with each corner of the container, each jack including a wheel, a bracket in which the wheel is carried, raising mechanism for moving the wheel from a position above the bottom edge of the shipping container to a position below said bottom edge so that the container is supported by the wheel, a bearing in which the bracket turns to change the direction in which the wheel may roll, manually operated mechanism for turning the bracket in said bearing, and means for locking the bracket against turning.

9. A shipping container jack comprising a frame for connecting with the container; a wheel; a bracket in which the wheel is carried; a bearing in which the bracket is rotatable to change the direction in which the wheel faces; jack mechanism for raising the frame with respect to the wheel, manually operated mechanism for turning the bracket in said bearing; and means for locking the bracket against turning. 10. A jack comprising a housing for connecting with a shipping container; a wheel; a bracket in which the wheel is carried; raising mechanism for moving the bracket and wheel vertically downward to lift the container; said mechanism being operable, when the bracket is retracted, to turn the bracket to change the direction in which the wheel faces; and automatic lock means for holding the bracket against turning after 1the raising mechanism has moved the wheel downwardly and lifted the container.

11. A shipping container jack comprising a aousing; a wheel within the housing; a bracket holding said wheel and rotatable in the housing 35: to change the direction in which the wheel faces; a jack screw connected with the bracket; a worm wheel threaded on the jack screw; a:shaft and worm gear for rotating the worm wheel to thrust the bracket downwardly and raise the housing; and ratchet means for holding the bracket against rotation in the direction in which the worm wheel turns when raising the housing, said ratchet means permitting the bracket to be turned by the worm wheel in the opposite direction when the bracket is retracted.

12. A shipping container jack comprising a housing; a wheel within the housing; a bracket holding said wheel and rotatable in the housing to change the direction in which the wheel faces; a jack screw connected with the bracket; a gear threaded on the jack screw; means for turning the gear to thrust the jack screw downwardly and raise the housing; a lock for holding the bracket against rotation in the direction in which the gear turns to raise the housing; and another lock for holding the bracket against rotation in either direction after the bracket and wheel have been moved to raise the housing.

13. A jack comprising a housing adapted to be connected at a bottom corner of a shipping container and recessed in the sides and bottom of the container; a wheel; a bracket movable vertically in the housing and rotatable in a horizontal plane; an axle for the wheel carried by the bracket; a jack screw at the upper end of the bracket; a gear threaded on the screw; manually operated means for operating the gear to move the jack screw vertically and move the wheel out through the lower end of the housing so that the wheel will contact with a supporting surface and raise the housing; and a pawl and ratchet mechanism to prevent rotation of the bracket and jack screw with the gear when turned to lower the screw. 14. A jack as set forth in claim 13 and further provided with a lock on the housing for engaging the bracket as it moves downwardly in the housing to hold the bracket against rotation in either direction.

15. A shipping container jack including a frame; a vertical jack screw; a bracket carried by the frame and rotatable in a horizontal plane; a wheel carried by the bracket; a gear threaded on the screw; mechanism for turning the gear alternately in opposite directions; a pawl and ratchet for holding the bracket against rotation in one direction so that rotation of the gear in that direction will move the bracket downwardly and cause the wheel to contact with a supporting surface and raise the container; and abutments on the bracket and gear in position to contact when the gear is turned in the other direction and the jack screw has moved upwardly in the frame, said abutments causing the bracket to rotate with the gear in a horizontal plane so that the wheel is turned to face in a different direction.

16. The combination of a shipping container; a jack connected with each corner of the container, each jack including a wheel, a bracket in which the wheel is carried, raising mechanism for moving the wheel from a position above the bottom edge of the shipping container to a posi0o tion below said bottom edge so that the container is supported by the wheel, a bearing in which the bracket turns to change the direction in which the wheel rolls, and mechanism for operating the jacks and for turning the bracket in said bearing including motion transmitting connections for turning two of the brackets simultaneously.

17. A jack for use in raising and movably supporting a body which at other times rests immobile on its own base, said jack comprising a frame' or housing for connection with the body, a bracket movable vertically and also rotatably in said housing, a wheel carried by said bracket, a jack screw the lower end of which is connected to said brack- P. et, a rotatable element having threaded engagement with said screw, common means for rotating said element in one direction to turn the wheel bracket when the latter is retracted, and for rotating said element in the other direction to depress the wheel bracket, and means to prevent rotation of the bracket while being depressed and after it has been depressed.

18. In combination with a shipping container, four lifting devices housed within the lower portion of the container, each lifting device comprising a frame secured to the container, a bracket which is movable vertically and also rotatably in relation to said frame, and a wheel carried by said bracket, and actuating means operable from the outside of the container for turning said brackets so that the wheels will face in one direction or another, and for depressing the brackets and wheels to raise the container.

19. In combination with a shipping container, four lifting devices housed within the lower portion of the container, each lifting device comprising a frame secured to the container, a bracket which is movable vertically and also rotatably in relation to said frame, a wheel carried by said bracket, and screw mechanism for depressing and raising said bracket and wheel, and actuating means operable from the outside of the container and coacting with said screw mechanisms, for turning said brackets so that the wheels will face in one direction or another, and for depressing the brackets and wheels to raise the container.

FRANK H. SCHWERIN.