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Title:
Parts container with in and out conveyors
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A container (10, 200) includes a body defining an open front (22, 222) of the container (10, 200). The container (10, 200) further includes a plurality of conveyors (24, 302, 306, 98, 100, 110, 280, 112) within the container (10, 200) for supporting parts (28) and for sequentially loading and unloading the parts (28) on and off the conveyors (24, 302, 306, 98, 100, 110, 280, 112). The container (10, 200) includes a pair of fork-lift sleeves (124, 126, 227) for receiving tongs (128, 130) of a fork-lift truck to provide for an effective way for loading and unloading the container (10, 200) with variety of parts (28) of different shapes and dimensions and for engaging the parts (28) from different angles and for supporting and sequentially moving the parts (28) into and out of the container (10, 200).


Inventors:
Weeden, Todd Michael (Strongsville, OH, US)
Sandor, David Andrew (Magadore, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/036671
Publication Date:
06/09/2005
Filing Date:
01/14/2005
Assignee:
WEEDEN TODD M.
SANDOR DAVID A.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
221/77, 414/306, 414/327, 414/528
International Classes:
B65G1/04; B65G1/14; (IPC1-7): B65G1/00
View Patent Images:
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20090129909FOOTWEAR-MOVING DEVICE MOVABLE ALONG WITH A DOOR PANELMay, 2009Tsai
20080187425COMPACT FOLDING SLIDE-OUT RAMP ASSEMBLYAugust, 2008Morris et al.
20070190898STORAGE SYSTEM FOR GLASS OFFCUTAugust, 2007Mercure
20060228203Method for the takeover and/or handover and for the transport of goodsOctober, 2006Baumle et al.
20070138817Offset hookJune, 2007Calliari et al.
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOWARD & HOWARD ATTORNEYS, P.C. (THE PINEHURST OFFICE CENTER, SUITE #101, 39400 WOODWARD AVENUE, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI, 48304-5151, US)
Claims:
1. A container for storing parts comprising: a body having a bottom, a top, a back and first and second sides extending from said back to an open front; a pair of conveyors spaced one from the other and extending between said back and said open front within said container for supporting and sequentially moving the parts into and out of said container; and said container characterized by defining at least one opening adjacent said bottom for receiving tongs of a fork-lift truck.

2. A container as set forth in claim 1 wherein said container includes a pair of vertically spaced bottom beams extending horizontally across said bottom to define said at least one opening.

3. A container as set forth in claim 2 including a pair of spaced sleeves supported between said bottom beams for receiving tongs of a fork-lift truck.

4. A container as set forth in claim 1 wherein said container includes a plurality of interconnected beams including at least one bottom beam defining said opening.

5. A container as set forth in claim 4 including a pair of special sleeves extending through said bottom beam to define said opening.

6. A container as set forth in claim 3 further defined by at least one front bottom and at least one back bottom beam, said sleeves extending between said front and back bottom beams.

7. A container as set forth in claim 6 including a first side bottom beam and a second side bottom beam, said bottom beams interconnected at corners, a pair of front vertical posts and a pair of back vertical posts with one of said posts at each of said corners extending upwardly from the intersections of said front bottom beam and said back bottom beam and said first side bottom beam and said second side bottom beam to respective tops.

8. A container as set forth in claim 3 wherein said sleeves extend from said open front toward said back.

9. A container as set forth in claim 3 wherein said sleeves extend transversely to said open front between said open front and said back.

10. A container as set forth in claim 3 wherein said container characterized by said first conveyor extending from said back to said open front along one of said bottom and top and sides and said second conveyor extending from said back to said open front along a different one of said bottom and top and sides for engaging the parts from different angles.

11. A container for storing parts comprising: a body having a bottom, a top, a back and first and second sides extending from said back to an open front; a pair of conveyors spaced one from the other and extending between said back and said open front within said container for supporting and sequentially moving the parts into and out of said container; and said container characterized by a pair of fork-lift sleeves spaced in parallel relationship to one another for receiving the tongs of the fork-lift truck.

12. A container as set forth in claim 11 wherein said bottom includes four corners and a plurality of bottom beams extending between said corners said sleeves supported by a pair of said bottom beams.

13. A container as set forth in claim 12 wherein said sleeves extend from said open front toward said back.

14. A container as set forth in claim 12 wherein said sleeves extend traversely to said open front between said open front and said back.

15. A container as set forth in claim 11 wherein each of said sleeves presents rectangular configuration as viewed in cross section.

16. A container as set forth in claim 12 wherein said bottom beams are further defined by a front bottom beam and a back bottom beam and a first side bottom beam and a second side bottom beam interconnected at said corners.

17. A container as set forth in claim 16 including a pair of front vertical posts and a pair of back vertical posts with one of said posts at each of said corners extending upwardly from the intersections of said front bottom beam and said back bottom beam and said first side bottom beam and said second side bottom beam to respective tops, a back top beam and a front top beam and a first side top beam and a second side top beam interconnecting said front and back vertical posts.

18. A container for storing parts comprising: a body having a bottom, a top, a back, and first and second sides extending to an open front; a first conveyor extending between said back and said open front; a second conveyor spaced from said first conveyor and extending between said back and said open front within said container for sequentially moving the parts into and out of said container; and said container characterized by said first conveyor extending from said back to said open front along one of said bottom and top and sides for engaging the parts from different angle.

19. A container as set forth in claim 18 wherein said first conveyor extends along one of said sides and said second conveyor extends along said bottom.

20. A container as set forth in claim 18 wherein said first conveyor extends along said top and extends along said bottom.

21. A container as set forth in claim 18 wherein each conveyor includes a belt having an inner and an outer surface and a plurality of projections extending outwardly and spaced from one another along said outer surface for cradling the parts therebetween.

22. A container as set forth in claim 18 wherein said container includes a front bottom beam and a back bottom beam and first and second side bottom beams interconnected at corners.

23. A container as set forth in claim 22 including a pair of front vertical posts and a pair of back vertical posts with one of said posts at each of said corners extending upwardly from the intersections of said front bottom beam and said back bottom beam and said first side bottom beam and said second side bottom beam to respective tops, and a back top beam and a front top beam and a first end top beam and a second end top beam interconnecting said front and back vertical posts.

24. A container as set forth in claim 25 wherein said conveyors are supported by said beams.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional and a continuation-in-part of co-pending application Ser. No. 10/309,984 filed Dec. 04, 2002.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The subject invention relates to a container for storing parts.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Numerous containers for storing parts, storage systems, and mechanisms for storing and retrieving articles within the storage area are known in the prior art and are widely used today. U.S. Pat. No. 5,964,562 to Bernard, II et al and U.S. Pat. No. 5,024,318 to Schwarze et al. disclose a variety of conveyors used in warehouses.

The U.S. Pat. No. 5,964,562 patent to Bernard, II et al. shows an apparatus for exchanging articles that includes an article holder, a vertical mast having a vertical mast axis and a shuttle ring assembly to hold the articles. The apparatus is designed for a warehouse usage. The U.S. Pat. No. 5,024,318 patent to Schwarze et al shows a conveyor track including carriers supported in the track for holding individual parts wherein each of the parts is supported by the carrier on top or bottom of the part. In addition to the prior art patents cited above, different conventional shipping containers for storing parts are known to be used in the industry today.

However, one of areas of continuous development and research is the area of a more advanced design of a convenient and compact storage container with an extra storage space that may provide for storing a wide variety of differently shaped parts that include solid and hollow portions and that can be moved between various locations.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

A container includes a body that has a bottom, a top, a back, and first and second ends defining an open front of the container. A pair of conveyor of the container extends are spaced one from the other and extend in between the back and the open front within the container for supporting parts and sequentially loading and unloading the parts on and off the conveyor. The container is characterized by defining at least one opening adjacent the bottom for receiving tongs of a fork-lift truck.

An advantage of the present invention is to provide for a convenient and compact storage container with an extra storage space that can be movable between various locations.

Another advantage of the present invention is to provide for a container adaptable for storing a wide variety of parts that comprise solid and hollow portions in the container, and ability of an operator to load and unload the parts wherein the operator is positioned outside the container.

Accordingly, the container shown in the present invention is new, efficient, and may provide for an effective way of loading and unloading the container with a variety of parts including different shapes and dimensions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a conveyor supported on a supplemental post;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the container including a crank extending from the conveyor;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a first alternative embodiment of the container that shows first, top, side, and diagonal conveyors;

FIG. 5 is a partial and perspective view of a second alternative embodiment of the container;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the conveyor that shows a belt entrained around a gear, a plurality of hooks extending from an outer surface of the belt, and a plurality of tabs extending from an inner surface of the belt to engage with the gear for sequentially moving the belt backward and forward during loading and unloading operations;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a third alternative embodiment of the container;

FIG. 8 is a side view of the third alternative embodiment of the container shown in FIG. 7; and

FIG. 9 is a front view of the third alternative embodiment of the container shown in FIGS. 7 and 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the FIGS. 1 through 6, wherein like numerals indicate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a container is generally shown at 10. As shown in FIG. 1, the container 10 may include a body that with a bottom wall 12, a back wall 14, and first and second sides or side walls 16, 18, extending outwardly from the bottom wall 12 and interconnected by a top wall 20 to define an open front 22. The container 10 is characterized by a first conveyor, generally indicated at 24, extending in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 to a distal end 26 adjacent the open front 22 within the container 10 for supporting parts, generally indicated at 28, and sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the conveyor 24.

The bottom wall 12 of the container 10 includes four corners 30, 32, 34, 36 and includes front 38, back 40, and end 42, 44 beams interconnected at the corners 30, 32, 34, 36 wherein the bottom wall 12 is supported on the front 38, back 40 and end 42, 44 beams, respectively. Referring specifically to the structure of the beams, the front 38, back 40, and end beams 42, 44 comprise channels with a C-shaped cross-section.

The container 10 includes a pair of front 48, 50 and back 52, 54 vertical posts, respectively, at each of the corners 30, 32, 34, 36 of the bottom wall 12 extending upwardly from the intersection of the front 38, back 40, and end 42, 44 beams to respective tops. The front 48, 50 and back 52, 54 vertical posts are interconnected with front 56, back 58 and end 60, 62 top beams at their respective tops to support the top wall 20 positioned on the top beams 56, 58, 60, 62.

Shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the container 10 may include at least one supplemental beam 64 that extends between the back vertical posts 52, 54 wherein the supplemental beam 64 extends between the top 58 and bottom 40 beams. The container 10 includes at least one supplemental post 66 disposed between the back vertical posts 52, 54 and extending between the back top 56 and bottom 40 beams.

The container 10 may include at least one diagonal beam 68, as shown in FIG. 4, that extends between the back vertical post 54 and the supplemental beam 64 at the respective tops. In addition, the container may include at least one diagonal beam 70 that extends between the back vertical post 52 and the bottom beam 40 at the respective tops. The diagonal beam 68 comprises a hollow tube structure. The bottom 38, 40, 42, 44, the top 56, 58, 60, 62, the diagonal 68 beams and the vertical posts 48, 50, 52, 54 comprise a channel with a C-shaped cross-section.

The first conveyor 24 extends in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 and supported on the supplemental post 66. The first conveyor 24 includes a belt 72 that is disposed in an endless loop. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 6, the belt 72 presents an inner 74 and an outer 76 surface and includes a plurality of projections 78 extending outwardly and spaced from one another along the outer surface 76 for cradling the parts 28 between the projections 78. The projections 78 of the belt 72 extend outwardly to a hook 80 for retaining the parts 28 between and within the projections 78. The inner surface 74 of the belt 72 may include a plurality of tabs 82 spaced from one another and outwardly extending from said inner surface 74 of the belt 72. The belt 72 is entrained about a plurality of pulleys 84. The belt 72 may consist of a flexible material such as rubber, plastic, leather, and the like.

The conveyor 24 may include a pair of spaced booms, generally indicated at 86, to engage the pulleys 84 positioned between the booms 86. Each of the booms 86 includes a plate 88 having top 90 and bottom 92 edges spaced a distance less than the diameter of the pulleys 84 and an enlarged portion 94 adjacent the back wall 14 and extending a greater distance than the diameter of the pulleys 84. The booms 86 may include a plurality of axles 96 extending therebetween wherein each axle 96 supports one of the pulleys 84.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the container 10 may include at least one additional top conveyor 98 supported by and extending in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 to the open front 22 within the container 10 and spaced from the first conveyor 24. The container 10 may include at least one additional bottom conveyor 100 supported on and extending in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 to the open front 22 within the container 10 and positioned below the first conveyor 24. The top 98 and bottom 100 conveyors are supported on the supplemental post 66 that is disposed between the back vertical posts 52, 54 and extend between the back top 58 and bottom 40 beams of the container 10. The outer surface 76 of each of the first 24, top 98, and bottom 100 conveyor belts 72 face the top 20 and bottom 12 walls, respectively.

In another embodiment, the container 10 may include at least one additional side conveyor 110 supported on the vertical beam 64 and extending in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 to said open front 22 within the container 10 wherein the side conveyor 110 is spaced from the first conveyor 24. The outer surface 76 of the belt 72 of the side conveyor 110 faces the first 16 and second 18 end walls, respectively.

In still another embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4, the container 10 may include at least one diagonal conveyor 112 supported on the diagonal beam 68 and extending in a cantilevered fashion from the back wall 14 to the open front 22 within the container 10 with the outer surface 76 of the belt 72 thereof facing diagonally.

The container 10 may take the form of anyone of several embodiments for sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the conveyor 24. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 6, the container 10 may include a gear 114 positioned between the booms 86 to engage with the tabs 82 spaced from one another and outwardly extending from the inner surface 74 of the belt 72 and a crank 116 extending from the gear 114 for rotating the gear 114 manually around an axis. The crank 116 may be used by an operator 118 for rotating the conveyor belt 72 through the loop for moving the conveyor belt 72 for sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the conveyor 24. In the alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, the container 10 may include an electric motor 120 mounted to the conveyor 24 to move the belt 72 for sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the conveyor 24.

Referring back to FIG. 3, the front 38, back 40, and end 42, 44 beams interconnected at the corners 30, 32, 34, 36 to support the bottom wall 12 may include at least two of the front 38, back 40, and end 42, 44 beams vertically spaced one from the other and extending horizontally across the bottom wall 12 to define at least one opening 122. A pair of fork-lift sleeves 124 and 126 are disposed in the opening 122 between the front 38, back 40, and end 42, 44 beams connected thereto. The fork-lift sleeves 124 and 126 extend from the open front 22 toward the back 14. Alternatively, the fork-lift sleeves 124 and 126 may extend transversely to the open front 22 between the open front 22 and the back 14. The fork-lift sleeves 124 and 126 are designed to receive forks 128 and 130 of a fork-lift truck (not shown) for moving the container 10 between various locations. At least one supplemental side beam 132 extends parallel the end beams 42 and 44 and the end top beams 60 and 62 interconnecting the front 48 and 50 and the back 52 and 54 vertical posts.

FIGS. 7 through 9 illustrates a third alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein like reference numerals are offset by 200. The container 200 presents a shape different from the shape of the aforementioned first and second embodiments of the container 10. In particular, the container 200 presents an elongated shape adaptable for receiving and storing greater number of the parts 28. As shown in FIG. 7, the container 200 includes a body having a bottom wall, generally indicated at 212, a back wall 214, and first and second sides or side walls, generally indicated at 216, 218, respectively, extending outwardly from the bottom wall 212 and interconnected by the top wall 220 to define an open front, generally indicated at 222.

The bottom wall 212 of the container 200 includes four corners 230, 232, 234, 236 and includes front 238, back 240, and end 242, 244 bottom beams spaced from one another and interconnected at the corners 230, 232, 234, 236. Referring specifically to the structure of the beams, the front 238, back 240, and end beams 242, 244 comprise channels with a C-shaped cross-section. The container 200 further includes front 248, 250 and back 252, 254 vertical posts, respectively, at each of the corners 230, 232, 234, 236 of the bottom wall 212 extending upwardly from the intersection of the front 238, back 240, and end 242, 244 beams to respective tops. The front 248, 250 and back 252, 254 vertical posts are interconnected with the back 258 and end 260, 262 top beams at their respective tops.

The container 200 may include at least one supplemental beam, i.e. wall 264 that extends between the back vertical posts 252, 254 and the front vertical posts 248, 250, respectively. At least one side supplemental beam 265 extends between the back vertical posts 252, 254 and the front vertical posts 248, 250. The container 200 presents at least one additional top beam 267 extending between and interconnecting the top beams 256, 260 for reinforcing the container 200. The container 200 further includes two rails 270 extending parallel to the top end beams 256, 260 and interconnecting the additional top beam 267 and the back top beam 258 for holding the parts 28 within the container 200.

As best shown in FIG. 7, the container 200 includes two additional bottom beams 272 interconnected with and extending between the front 238 and back 240 bottom beams, with the beams 272 spaced from the end bottom beams 242, 244. A pair of fork-lift sleeves 227, spaced in parallel relationship to one another for receiving the tongs 128 and 130 of the fork-lift truck. Each fork-lift sleeve 227 extends through the end bottom beams 242, 244 and the additional bottom beams 272 transversely to the open front 222 between the open front 222 and the back wall 214. Alternatively, the fork-lift sleeves 227 may extend from the open front 222 toward the back wall 214. A pair of supplemental side beam 276 and 278 extends parallel the end bottom beams 242 and 244 and the end top beams 260 and 262 interconnecting the front 248 and 250 and the back 252 and 254 vertical posts.

The container 200 includes two side conveyors 280 each connected to the side supplemental beams 265 for supporting the parts 28 and sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the side conveyor 280. The side conveyor 280 may include a pair of spaced booms, generally indicated at 286, to engage pulleys 284 positioned between the booms 286. A work surface defined by a belt 292 is entrained about the pulleys 284, and presents an outer surface 294 of the belt 292 having plurality of tabs 296 spaced from one another and outwardly extending from the outer surface 294 of the belt 292. The belt 292 may be formed from a flexible material such as rubber, plastic, leather, and the like. The gear 300 is positioned between the booms 286 for moving the conveyor belt 292 for sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the conveyor 280.

Two bottom conveyors 302, 306 are supported on the respective bottom beams 272 and extend from the back wall 214 to the open front 222 within the container 200 and positioned below the side conveyor 280. The bottom conveyors 302 have the same mechanical structure as the above described side conveyors 280. However, each bottom conveyor 302 and 306 may include an electric motor 304 mounted to thereto for moving the belt 292 to sequentially load and unload the parts 28 on and off the bottom conveyors 302 and 306. At least one link 308 operably interconnects each of the bottom 302 and 306 and the side 280 conveyors for facilitating sequential motion of each side 280 and bottom 302 and 306 conveyors for sequentially loading and unloading the parts 28 on and off the side 280 and the bottom 302 and 306 conveyors.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described within the scope of the appended claims, wherein that which is prior art is antecedent to the novelty set forth in the “characterized by” clause. The novelty is meant to be particularly and distinctly recited in the “characterized by” clause whereas the antecedent recitations merely set forth the old and well-known combination in which the invention resides. These antecedent recitations should be interpreted to cover any combination in which the incentive novelty exercises its utility. In addition, the reference numerals in the claims are merely for convenience and are not to be read in any way as limiting.