Title:
Pallet construction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paperboard pallet including a plurality of runners supporting a deck of corrugated material, each of the runners including a fiber wound core wrapped with corrugated material.



Inventors:
Edell, John (Woodbury, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/697445
Publication Date:
05/05/2005
Filing Date:
10/29/2003
Assignee:
Menasha Packaging Company, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D19/00; (IPC1-7): B65D19/00
View Patent Images:
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20090308289SHIPPING PALLETDecember, 2009Ferguson
20090038516Table coveringFebruary, 2009Gerow
20060207481Paper Honeycomb and Tube PalletSeptember, 2006Mccarthy
20100011998CORRUGATED PALLET, SUPER CORE, AND PALLET LOCKING METHODJanuary, 2010Kindellan



Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD PC (P.O. BOX 2903, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55402-0903, US)
Claims:
1. A pallet comprising: a load supporting deck having a top surface and a bottom surface; a plurality of runners adjacent to the bottom surface of the deck to provide support therefore; and each of the runners including a core.

2. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein cores are wrapped with corrugated material.

3. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cores are solid fiber cores.

4. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said solid fiber core is wrapped with C flutes single wall corrugated material.

5. A pallet as claimed in claim 1 wherein said solid fiber core is wrapped in ETC 44C flute corrugated material.

6. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said top deck is constructed of a plurality of sheets of corrugated material fastened together.

7. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said runners are connected to said deck by gluing.

8. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said top deck is constructed of 1100-pound triple wall corrugated material.

9. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said top deck is constructed of a three sheets of corrugated material fastened together.

10. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein each runner is comprised of a plurality of fiber wound cores each wrapped with corrugated material.

11. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein the load supporting deck has side edges and end edges and wherein a runner is connected adjacent each side edge of the load supporting deck and a runner is connected substantially intermediate the side edges of the load supporting deck.

12. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein each runner contains cutouts to permit the entry of the tines of a transporting vehicle.

13. A pallet as claimed in claim 1, wherein said cores are plastic cores.

14. A pallet comprising: a load supporting upper deck, having a top surface and a bottom surface; a bottom deck having a top surface and a bottom surface; a plurality of runners each including a solid fiber core wrapped with a corrugated material and connected in spaced apart relationship to the bottom surface of said upper deck and to the upper surface of said bottom deck; said runners including cutouts in the sides thereof to accommodate tines from a transporting vehicle; and said bottom surface having a plurality of apertures to accommodate wheels from a transporting device.

15. A pallet as claimed in claim 14, wherein said corrugated material is ETC 44C flute corrugated material.

16. A pallet comprising: a load supporting upper deck formed from corrugated material and having a top surface and a bottom surface; a bottom deck formed from at least one sheet of corrugated material and having a top surface and a bottom surface; a plurality of runners each including a solid fiber core wrapped with C flute corrugated material and bonded in spaced apart relationship to the bottom surface of said upper deck and to the upper surface of said bottom deck; said runners including cutouts in the sides thereof to accommodate tines from a transporting vehicle; and said bottom surface having a plurality of apertures to accommodate wheels from a transporting vehicle.

17. A pallet as claimed in claim 16, wherein said deck is formed from 1100-pound triple wall corrugated material.

18. A method of constructing a pallet, the method comprising: wrapping solid fiber core runners with corrugated material; and attaching a load supporting deck to the runners.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention pertains to the construction of pallets for the transporting and storage of loads and more particularly to pallets constructed, at least in part, from paperboard.

Virtually every business one can think of, from manufacturing to grocery stores to merchandizing, use pallets in some way or another.

Typically, pallets have been constructed from wood, plastic, metal or some combination thereof. The loaded pallets are usually moved from place to place by various transporting vehicles, such as forklifts or pallet-jacks, as is well known in the industry. These pallets are not only relatively expensive but create problems in disposal of used or worn-out pallets. Additionally, bug infestation creates a serious problem for the users of wood pallets. International regulations require that softwood and hardwood pallets must be made of heat-treated, or chemical pressure impregnated, lumber in order to prevent the spread of wood-borne insects. Obviously, this adds to the cost of the pallets.

Corrugated, or paperboard, pallets have an advantage over wood pallets in that corrugated pallets do not provide a nesting area or food source for the insects that eat or burrow into wood.

Corrugated, or paperboard, pallets are not new. Indeed an entire sub-class in the United States Patent and Trademark Office classification is directed to paperboard or cardboard pallets. Class 108 subclass 51.3 is entitled “Horizontally Supported Planer Surfaces, Formed from folded semi-rigid material (e.g., cardboard, etc.). A search of the prior art has uncovered the following patents: Des. 395,534; Des. 419,275; Des. 419,744; Des. 433,782; 4,850,284; 5,067,418; 5,272,990; 5,357,875; 5,427,019; 5,487,345; 5,520,120; 5,603,258; 5,672,412; 5,816,172; 5,881,652; 6,012,399; 6,135,030; and 6,354,229 B1.

Fiber wound cores are extensively used in many industries as the base upon which paper, cloth, carpet, paperboard and other materials are wound. Proper disposal of these cores also creates a problem. Indeed, Menasha Corporation, the assignee of the instant patent application, uses material which results in thousands of fiber wound cores each year that must be destroyed. Stripping residual paper or paperboard from these cores and feeding the cores through a shredder is a time consuming and costly operation. A better use for these used fiber cores is desirable.

One solution is to use the cores in the construction of pallets. For example, Carter U.S. Pat. No. 5,067,418 shows one type of pallet construction made from used fiber cores. However, this construction requires considerable cutting and modification of the used cores in the construction of a pallet. What is needed is a simpler construction that would nonetheless provide a pallet that was sturdy and could withstand the rigors of use. The present invention provides such a pallet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a rigid load-carrying pallet that is constructed, at least in part, from used fiber wound, or solid fiber, cores.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a pallet with a load supporting deck having top and bottom surfaces and with a plurality of runners connected to the bottom surface of the deck, each of the runners comprising a fiber wound core wrapped with corrugated paperboard.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a pallet wherein the solid fiber cores have cutouts to permit the entry of wheels of the pallet-jack.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other objects will be apparent from the accompanying description and from the drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a four-way entry pallet according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a pallet according to the present invention showing a two-way entry pallet;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an end elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of a pallet according to the present invention showing a four-way entry pallet having cut-out runners;

FIG. 10 is a side elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 9; and

FIG. 11 is an end elevational view of the pallet illustrated in FIG. 9; and.

FIG. 12 is a partial perspective view of a portion of a runner of the present invention with parts broken away.

While the invention described in this application is susceptible to various modifications and constructions, specific embodiments have been shown in the drawings and described in the specification by way of example and not by way of limitation. For example, the solid fiber cores could be replaced with cores of other materials, such as plastic. Also, while the cores are shown as hollow, this is not necessary and the cores could be solid. The present invention is intended to be limited solely by the scope of the appended claims.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings, wherein like numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, there is shown a pallet generally designated by the numeral 10. As shown in FIG. 1, taken in conjunction with FIG. 12, pallet 10 comprises a plurality of runners 12 constructed from solid fiber cores 14, each core being wrapped by corrugated material 16 which is glued to the outside of the fiber cores. While, as shown, the wrapped material has a generally rectangular cross section this is not the only cross sectional configuration that can be used in wrapping the solid cores. Indeed, it is not necessary to wrap all sides of the solid core. In one embodiment, the solid fiber cores 14 are wrapped with ECT 44C flute corrugated material. The use of ETC 44C corrugated material is not essential to the practice of the present invention and other C flute corrugated material may be utilized.

The pallet further comprises a bottom wall 18 made from at least one sheet of corrugated material and having an upper surface 20. The pallet also has a top wall, or deck, 22 which, as shown, is constructed from at least three sheets of corrugated material bonded together and which has a lower surface designated by 24. It should be understood that while, in the specific embodiment shown, the top wall is constructed of three sheets of corrugated material bonded together, that this is for the purpose of illustration only and that any number of corrugated sheets can be used depending upon the use intended for the pallet. The same is true with respect to the bottom wall, or deck. One, two or more sheets of corrugated material may be utilized in the construction of the bottom wall.

In one preferred embodiment shown in the drawings, the top deck is constructed from 1100-pound triple wall corrugated material, while the bottom surface is a single wall sheet of corrugated material.

As is best seen in FIG. 12, each of the runners 12 has a solid fiber core 14, which is wrapped by corrugated material and glued to the core. The runners each have a top surface 26 and a bottom surface 28.

The top surface 26 of each of the runners 12 is attached, by gluing or some other suitable means to the bottom surface 24 of the upper deck. As shown in the drawings, the runners 12 are mounted in a spaced apart relationship to provide support for the deck.

As mentioned, the pallet may also include a bottom wall having a top and bottom surface. In the event that a bottom wall is used in the construction of the pallet, the upper surface 20 of the bottom wall 18 is also attached, again by gluing or other suitable means, to the bottom surface 28 of the corrugated wrapped runners 12. As is best seen from FIG. 4, when the bottom wall 18 is used, it is necessary to provide a plurality of apertures 30 there through to provide access for the front wheels of the pallet jack (not shown) during transport of the pallet 10.

Since the pallet shown in FIGS. 1 through 4 is a four-way pallet, cutouts 32 are provided along the sides thereof to provide access for the tines of the forklift or pallet-jack.

FIGS. 5 through 8 depict what is known in the industry as a “two-way” pallet, or in other words a pallet that can be loaded unto a forklift or pallet-jack from only two directions. This pallet is identical to the pallet shown and described in FIGS. 1 through 4 with the exception that this two-way pallet does not include the cutouts 32 through the sides of the runners 12.

FIGS. 9 through 11 show another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment the runners 12 are cut in the form of blocks 34. The blocks are axially spaced along the same lines as the runners of the previous embodiments. While there are no apertures shown in FIG. 9 for the wheels of a pallet-jack, it is to be understood that such apertures can be included if desired.