Title:
PALLET RACK
United States Patent 3625372


Abstract:
A pallet rack made from uprights, beams and end frames, easily assembled and disassembled by virtue of the uprights having two series of elongated slots to receive T-shaped projections on the beam ends and on connecting members on the end frames, the beams and uprights being reversible and the beam ends being removable.



Inventors:
MACKENZIE JAMES A
Application Number:
05/052583
Publication Date:
12/07/1971
Filing Date:
07/06/1970
Assignee:
JAMES A. MACKENZIE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B57/40; A47B57/48; (IPC1-7): A47F5/10
Field of Search:
211/176,177,148 248
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3414224Interlock structural members1968-12-03Robilliard et al.
3072262Storage racks1963-01-08Cassel
2937767Shelving structure1960-05-24Butler et al.
1424284Bed-rail fastening1922-08-01Dyke



Foreign References:
GB904596A
CH348524A
Primary Examiner:
Britts, Ramon S.
Parent Case Data:


The present application is a continuation-in-part of my previous application Ser. No. 661,247, filed Aug. 17, 1967, now abandoned.
Claims:
What I claim is

1. In or for use with a rack, upright members and beams having detachable beam ends with mounting projections thereon, each said upright member being reversible end for end and having a channel cross section including a base wall and two sidewalls perpendicular to the base wall, said base wall having two parallel series of elongated slots, each of said slots having sloped ends, the slots in each said series of slots running lengthwise of the upright member in spaced end-to-end relationship, each said beam end having an end surface adapted to overlie a said sidewall of a selected upright member, and a flange perpendicular to said end surface, said flange being adapted to overlie the base wall of the selected upright member and having at least one mounting projection perpendicular thereto and receivable within a slot selected from the series adjacent to said sidewall, said mounting projection having a pair of opposed faces being parallel to said end surface with the face thereof nearer said end surface being spaced therefrom a distance which is greater than the distance from said sidewall to the adjacent edge of said selected slot and with the face thereof remote from said end surface being spaced therefrom a distance which is less than the distance from said sidewall to the longitudinal axis of said selected slot, said mounting projection having a bevelled surface adjacent said flange which is adapted to cooperate with the bottom end of said selected slot so that when a downward force is applied to the beam end it will tend to slide over the sloped end at the bottom of the selected slot drawing said end surface into wedged abutment with the sidewall of the selected upright member, said mounting projections having a T-shaped configuration whereby a said beam may be removed from a first mounted position on the rack and turned end over end and remounted on the rack, said elongated slots being wide enough to additionally receive means for securing an end frame connector for securing an end frame assembly to an upright member, each said end frame connector having a mounting plate adapted to overlie the base wall of an upright member intermediate said parallel series of elongated slots and at least one pair of parallel lugs extending perpendicularly from said mounting plate and receivable within a selected pair of said slots, said parallel lugs being spaced from one another a distance which is greater than the distance between said slots but which is less than the distance between the longitudinal axes of said slots, said parallel lugs having surfaces which are adapted to cooperate with the bases of said selected pair of slots so that when a downward force is applied to the end frame assembly, the lugs will tend to slide over the sloped ends of the selected pair of elongated slots and be separated and the mounting plate drawn into wedged engagement with said upright member.

2. In or for use with a rack, the combination as claimed in claim 1 wherein said slots have semicircular ends.

3. In or for use with a rack, the combination as claimed in claim 2 wherein each upright member is additionally provided with a series of holes running lengthwise of the upright member and intermediate said two parallel series of elongated slots, said holes being adapted to receive means for retaining said mounting plate in wedged engagement with said upright member.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to racks, and more particularly to pallet racks.

Pallet racks may be constructed in the form of a unitary, welded structure. Such racks, although strong, rigid, and stable, have several obvious disadvantages. They cannot readily be dismantled, they take up valuable warehouse space when not in use, and they are not easily portable from one location to another because of their size and weight. Also, damaged beams and upright members cannot be replaced without breaking welded connections and reconstructing the rack. Similarly, the location of the beams within the assembled rack is not practicably variable in order to accommodate loaded pallets of varying dimensions.

In view of these and other difficulties, it has been proposed to provide racks which may be erected and disassembled on the job in accordance with the loading and space requirements of the user with a minimum of tools and without the necessity of skilled labor. In particular, many of these prior proposals attempt to avoid the use of bolted connections and the like between beams and upright members, to provide a plurality of locations on each upright member to which a beam might be fastened, and to minimize storage space of the dismantled structure. However, in order to provide these and other advantages, such racks often were a good deal less stable than the all-welded structures. This problem was partially overcome in some cases by providing welded end frame assemblies, but this solution of course resulted in decreased portability and increased storage space of the dismantled parts. It also meant that it was difficult or impossible to replace a single damaged upright member. In other cases, complicated and expensive connecting means were provided in order to join particularly the beams to the upright members. Virtually all of these connections were such that there was a "right way up" and/or a "right way around" for each of the various components making up the rack. Thus, assembly could be complicated, especially if the rack was to be assembled adjacent an objection such as a wall, and the versatility of the various parts making up the rack was not as great as might be desirable. Also most of the prior proposals utilized beam ends and connecting devices which were integral with the beams. Thus if a beam end were damaged by, say, inadvertently dropping it on the floor, the whole beam including the beam ends had to be replaced. A similar procedure was necessary if a stronger or a weaker beam was required. Furthermore, a beam, although it might be occasionally permanently deflected by extreme or shock load to an extent where continued use was not feasible, might often be deflected to a lesser degree. In these cases, it would be desirable to be able to rotate the beam end for end and reinstall it on the rack so as to reverse the loading on the beam. However, since the beams of the prior art could only be installed one way up, this solution was not possible without removing the connecting devices from each end of the beam (if possible) and reinstalling them in an inverted position. The above-mentioned disadvantages all of course resulted in increased cost for the user and tended to decrease the versatility of the racks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one or more embodiments of my invention, I have overcome the above and other disadvantages. According to my invention I provide a rack which has maximum versatility and stability which at the same time is relatively inexpensive to produce and is extremely simple to erect and/or disassemble.

The rack according to my invention has a minimum number of basic components and comprises simply upright members, beams, beam ends, and end frame assemblies. Each upright member has a channel cross section including a base wall and two sidewalls which are perpendicular to the base wall. The base wall has two parallel series of elongated slots, the slots in each of the series running lengthwise of the upright member in spaced end-to-end relationship. In each case, the beam ends each have an end surface which is adapted to overlie one of the sidewalls of a selected upright member, and a flange perpendicular to the end surface which is adapted to overlie the base wall of the selected upright member. At least one mounting projection which is perpendicular to the flange and receivable within a slot selected from the series adjacent to the sidewall is provided. The mounting projection is parallel to the end surface and spaced therefrom a distance which is greater than the distance from the sidewall to the edge of an adjacent slot and which is less than the distance from the sidewall to the longitudinal axis of such slot. The slots have sloped ends, e.g. they may be rounded, so that the mounting projection cooperates with the bottom end of the selected slot so that when a downward force is applied to the beam end it tends to slide over the sloped end at the bottom of the selected slot and cause the end surface of the beam end to be drawn into wedged abutment with the sidewall of the selected upright member. Each of the mounting projections has a T-shaped configuration whereby a beam may be removed from a first mounted position on the rack, turned end over end, and remounted on the rack. Furthermore, in accordance with one of the embodiments of the invention, the beam ends are detachably mounted on the beams so that they may be easily replaced.

Each of the elongated slots in the upright members is also wide enough to additionally receive means for securing an end frame connector which is designed to secure an end frame assembly to an upright member. Each end frame connector has a mounting plate of which is adapted to overlie the base wall of an upright member intermediate the parallel series of elongated slots. The mounting plate has extending perpendicularly therefrom at least one pair of parallel lugs which is receivable within a selected pair of slots. The parallel lugs are spaced from one another at a distance which is greater than the distance between the slots but which is less than the distance between the longitudinal axes of the slots. The parallel lugs also have surfaces which are adapted to cooperate with the basis of a selected pair of slots so that when a downward force is applied to the end frame assembly the legs will tend to be separated and the mounting plate drawn into wedged engagement with the upright member. In a particular embodiment holes are provided running lengthwise of the upright member intermediate the two parallel series of elongated slots. These holes are adapted to receive means to retain the mounting plate when it is in wedged engagement with the upright members set forth above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate embodiments of my invention, and in which like numerals refer to like parts,

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an assembled rack,

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a beam end,

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a beam end according to another embodiment,

FIG. 4 is a side elevation showing part of an upright member and illustrating the relationship between the mounting projection and the sloped end of a slot which provides the required wedged abutment between the beam end and the sidewall of the upright member,

FIG. 5 is an enlarged perspective view of a mounting projection,

FIG. 6 shows in perspective part of an upright member and a preferred device for securing an end frame assembly,

FIG. 7 shows another form of a device for securing an end frame assembly to an upright member, and

FIG. 8 shows in perspective an upright member according to another embodiment,

FIG. 9 is a perspective view, partly in section, of portions of a beam, a beam end, and an end frame connector illustrating how it is possible to mount a beam end and an end frame connector using, in part, the same slots in the upright member,

FIG. 10 is a side elevation illustrating a single slot within an upright member and showing relationship between a mounting projection on a beam end, and a lug on an end frame connector and how they may both be receivable within a single slot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows an assembled rack 10 having upright member 11, beams 12, and end frame assemblies 13. The beams have beam ends generally designated 14 and the end frame assemblies have connectors generally designated as 15. The rack is shown having footplates 16 upon which it may conveniently stand. It is to be noted that each upright member 11 has a channel-shaped cross section with a base wall 17 and sidewalls 18 which are perpendicular to the base wall 17. Each base wall 17 is also provided with two series of elongated slots 19, the slots in each of said series running lengthwise of the upright member in spaced end-to-end relation. Also illustrated are holes 20 midway between the two parallel series of elongated slots.

FIG. 2 shows one embodiment of a beam end 14 which may be used with a beam 12 having in cross section a box configuration. Beam end 14 here comprises a male member 21 which has an L-shaped cross section and which is receivable within the beam 12. Male member 21 is secured to beam 12 by bolts or other fastening means through holes 22 in the beam and 23 in the male member. The male member thus may be secured within the beam 12 so that a face 24 (representing the base of the "L") of male member 21 closes the open end of beam 12. Welded to face 24 is another member 25 which comprises an end surface 26 which overlies and is welded to face 24 of male member 21. End surface 26 is also adapted to overlie a selected sidewall 18 of an upright 11, in a manner to be described later. Perpendicular to end surface 26 is a flange 27 which is adapted to overlie the back wall 17 of an upright member 11. Perpendicular to the flange 27 there are two T-shaped mounting projections 28 which are receivable within selected slots 19 in the upright member. These T-shaped projections will be further described with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5.

FIG. 3 shows a different embodiment of beam end 14. Here again a male member 21 is employed to fit within and be secured to the beam 12. However, in face 24 of male member 21 two holes 29 are provided which line up with corresponding holes 30 in member 25. Thus member 25 may be bolted rather than welded to member 21 by means of bolts 31 and nuts 32. In order to protect the heads of bolts 31 from damage, a channel-shaped member 33 is provided intermediate of the heads of bolts 31 and member 25. Thus, in this embodiment, it is the edge surfaces 52 of channel-shaped member 33 which become the end surface of the beam end and which are adapted to overlie a side wall 18 of an upright 11.

In FIG. 4 there is shown a portion of back wall 17 and a sidewall 18 of an upright member 11 together with one elongated slot 19. Within the slot there is received a T-shaped mounting projection 28 which is secured to the beam end 14. Flanges 26 and 27 of beam end 14 are also illustrated (the beam end used here corresponds to that illustrated in FIG. 2) and it will be seen that the T-shaped mounting projection is spaced from the flange 26 a distance such that when a downward force is applied to the beam end 14 it tends to slide over the sloped end 34 of elongated slot 19. This tends to pull flange 26 into wedged abutment with sidewall 18 of upright member 11 and accordingly provides a very stable connection. If the beam end illustrated in FIG. 3 were used, then channel-shaped member 33 would appear intermediate of flange 26 and sidewall 18. Although sloped ends 34 of elongated slots 19 are illustrated as having a semicircular configuration, any configuration; (for example, V-shaped), which served the above-mentioned purpose is intended to be embraced by the expression "sloped ends".

It is important to note that mounting projection 28 is spaced from flange 26 a distance which is greater than the distance between the sidewall 18 and the adjacent edge of slot 19 and which is less than the distance between sidewall 18 and the longitudinal axis A--A of slot 19. It is by so spacing mounting projection 28 from flange 26 that the wedging action referred to above is allowed to take place.

In order to prevent jamming and to allow T-shaped projection 28 to slide more easily against sloped end 34 of slot 19, that part of the projection which slides against the sloped end 34 may be formed with a bevelled surface 35 as shown in ghost in FIG. 4 and in detail in FIG. 5. The surface 35 may be formed by die punching the connecting portion 51 (see FIG. 5) between mounting projection 28 and flange 27 before mounting projection 28 is bent perpendicular to the flange 27. Of course, if desired, the surface could be formed by filing or any other suitable means.

FIGS. 6 and 7 show two alternative forms of the end frame connector 15. In FIG. 6 the connector comprises a substantially U-shaped member having side flanges 37 and 38 with a base 39 to which a mounting plate 40 is connected. Mounting plate 40 has four T-shaped mounting lugs 41 which are receivable within four selected slots 19 in an upright member 11. It should be noted that slots 19 are large enough so that, if desired, they will also receive mounting projection 28 on a beam end 14. It should also be noted that the distance between a parallel pair of mounting lugs 41 is greater than the distance between slots 19 but is less than the distance between the longitudinal axes of the slot 19. Thus, when the lugs 41 are received within a selected pair of slots 19 and a downward force applied, the lugs 41 will tend to slide over the sloped ends of slots 19 and to thereby be separated, thus drawing mounting plate 40 into wedged engagement with the upright member. The connector in FIG. 6 is shown about to be connected within the channel cross section of upright 11 that is between sidewalls 18. However, it may equally well be mounted on the other side of upright member 11.

Also provided in base 39 are two holes 42, one of which will line up with a hole 20 in upright member 11 (depending on which way up the connector is inserted). Means such as a spring fastener or a bolt (not shown) may then be inserted through the hole 42 which lines up with hole 20 in order to maintain the wedging action referred to above and prevent inadvertent removal of the connector 15 from upright 11. This will also add stability to the erected structure.

The end frame assembly 13 is preferably connected to connector 15 through pinned joints 36 so that it may be folded up when not in use.

The embodiment shown in FIG. 7 differs from that in FIG. 6 in that mounting lugs 41 are omitted. Here the connector 15 is fastened to the upright 11 simply by means of bolt 43 which are arranged to pass through holes 20 in upright member 11. As illustrated in FIG. 7, it should be noted that the connector 15 is on the other side of upright member 11 from that illustrated in FIG. 6. However, it may be equally conveniently mounted on either side.

In FIG. 8, there is shown an alternative form for the upright member 11. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, upright member 11 is formed from two pieces of angle iron 44 and 45 which are bolted together through holes 20 to provide the preferred channel shaped configuration.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate in detail the manner in which mounting projections 28 of beam end 12 may be received within the same slots 19 as mounting lugs 41 of an end frame connector 15. As has been previously explained in the discussion relating to FIG. 4, a mounting lug 28 will, when a beam end 12 is secured to upright 11, be disposed between the longitudinal axis A--A of the elongated slot 19 and the wall of the slot which is adjacent the beam end 12. Parallel mounting lugs 41 are also arranged in such a manner that they are separated one from the other a distance which is greater than the distance between a parallel pair of elongated slots 19 but which is less than the distance between the longitudinal axes of such slots. Thus, any individual slot 19 is capable of receiving both a mounting projection 28 and a mounting lug 41.

It will be seen that by using components as above described, I have invented a very versatile and rigid structure which is, however, relatively inexpensive to produce. The beam ends 14 are readily interchangable should they become damaged or should a stronger beam or beam end be required. The beams 12 may be removed and replaced if necessary without replacing the beam ends. If a beam 12 should become deflected due to overloading, it may be removed from its position on the rack, turned end over end, and reinstalled on the rack so that it may be redeflected back to its normal position by future loads. This feature is attributable to the T-shaped mounting projections 28. The special arrangement of the T-shaped mounting projections with their sloped surfaces 35 is such that the wedging action of flange 26 (or U-shaped member 33 if the beam end of FIG. 3 is used) against sidewall 18 provides great stability. If the rack is constructed as shown in FIG. 1, the beams must be inserted from the outside of the rack toward the inside. However, by rotating uprights 11 through 180° , and by installing end frame connectors 15 on the outside of the channel (as shown in FIG. 7 as opposed to as shown in FIG. 6) the beams may be installed from the inside of the rack. This has the advantage that if the rack is being erected adjacent a wall, the whole rack need not be moved out from the wall in order to change or remove a beam from the rack. Also, there is no "right way up" or "right way around" for the beams or the upright members. Finally, a damaged upright member may be replaced without disassembling of the entire rack.

From the above, it should be clear that I have provided a rack which overcomes many defects in the prior art.