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1. Field of the invention
This invention relates to a pallet for supporting goods for transport and storage and more particularly relates to a pallet which is adjustable in size.
2. Background Art
Pallets are used for supporting goods in a warehouse and in transportation in order to facilitate the handling of the goods. A pallet is traditionally made of wood consisting a plurality of spaced parallel wooden slats mounted on an wooden flame. Goods are placed on the pallet such that they may be handled or carried by a transport trolley having a powered lifting fork which may be inserted under the pallet to raise and move the goods to selected locations in a warehouse or onto shelves or into or out of a transport truck. While wood pallets are simple to make, they are subject to nonuniform weight, breakage and particularly warpage when wet.
The above disadvantages of wooden pallets have been overcome by making them with plastic material and/or metal. However, all known pallets are fixed in size. Therefore, they contribute to the inefficient use of the warehouse and transport truck space, since a large amount of the good support top surface of the pallet may not be used when a piece of goods smaller in size than the pallet is placed thereon. In order to resolve this problem, pallets of various sizes are provided. However, the numerous pallets of various sizes would themselves require a large storage space in the warehouse and/or transport truck which could be occupied by goods.
It is an object according to the present invention to provide a pallet which is adjustable in size to enhance the efficient use of storage and transport space.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a pallet having weight sensor for assisting the placement of goods thereon to provide an even distribution of weight.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a pallet having border fencing for preventing goods from accidentally falling therefrom.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a pallet having protective device for retraining the goods placed thereon.
It is still another object of the present invention to provide a pallet having attachment to facilitate its moving of goods from one location to another.
FIG. 1 is a partial cut away front elevation view of the pallet according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional top elevation view of the pallet along section line II of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged isolated top elevation view of the latching device of the pallet.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged isolated side view of the wedge member and the pivotal arm of the latching device for locking the associated tubular rod at a selected engagement within the tubular rod of the pallet.
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of the pallet provided with belts for tying the load placed thereon.
With reference to the drawings wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding parts in the various views, the pallet 10 of the present invention has a fixed deck portion 11 and a movable deck portion 12. Plastic or metal are preferably used for making the components of the pallet of the present invention. The fixed deck portion 11 has a plurality of parallel tubular rods 1 mounted crosswise on a plurality of parallel support bars evenly spaced below the tubular rods. For simplicity of illustration, the exemplary embodiment of the pallet 10 shown in the drawings has four hollow tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 mounted on three support bars 17, 18 and 19. The movable deck portion 12 has the same number of parallel associated tubular rods 20, 21, 22 and 23 as the tubular rods 13 of the fixed deck 11 and are mounted at one end portion on a support bar 24. The cross sectional dimension of the associated tubular rods 20, 21, 22 and 23 is equal to the inside dimension of the tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 such that the free end of the associated tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 may be telescopically engaged within the tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 as best shown in FIG. 1. Thus, the size of the pallet 10 may be adjusted by varying the amount of mating engagement between the tubular rods and the associated tubular rods to provide a supporting surface closely similar to that of the goods to be placed thereon.
Elongated rods having various cross sectional shapes may be used for forming the decks 11 and 12. These rods may be formed by extrusion or alternatively formed by joining together two beams having a similar cross sectional shape side by side along their longitudinal length. For example, elongated rods having a rectangular or square cross sectional shape as shown in the exemplary embodiment may be made by joining together two beams having a cross sectional shape. The beams also may be formed by either extrusion or molding.
The outer end of the tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 is closed by a side bar 25 mounted to these tubular rods. Similarly, the outer end of the associated tubular rods 20, 21, 22 and 23 is closed by a second side bar 26 mounted to these associated tubular rods. Legs or Casters 27 are mounted underneath the two ends of the support bar 17 and 24 so that the pallet 10 may easily be moved about the floor of the warehouse and the transport vehicle.
An adjustable latching device 28 is provided at the end portion of each of the tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16. The latching device 28 consists of an abutment block 29 mounted on the support bar 19 and spaced from the outer side wall of the end portion of each tubular rod respectively. The abutment block 29 has a angled surface 30 facing the tubular rod and it divergent towards the outer end of the tubular rod. An opening 31 is formed in the side wall of the tubular rod facing the abutment block 29. A compression element 32 is slidably mounted within the opening 31. A pivotal arm 33 is pivotally mounted at its lower end to the tubular rod and a wedge member 34 is mounted to the pivotal arm 33 through a connecting rod 35 which is slidably mounted to the middle of the pivotal arm 33. The wedge member 34 may be selectively inserted between the abutment block 29 and the outer side wall of the compression element 32 by forcefully turning the pivotal arm 33 such that the wedge member 34 is inserted into the space between the abutment block 29 and the compression element 32 to exert a pressing force the compression element 32 to slide inside the tubular rod to press tightly against the side wall of the associated tubular rod so as to secure the associated tubular rod at the selected amount of engagement. Thus, the size of the pallet may be selectively adjusted, and it alleviate the problem of having to provide pallets of different fixed sizes.
Attachment brackets 36 and 37 are provided at the outer side wall of the tubular rods 13 and 16. These attachment brackets 36 and 37 are operative for attaching belts to the pallet for either raising and moving the pallet or for restraining the pallet within a transport vehicle.
A plurality of weight sensors 38 are mounted at the underside of the tubular rods 13, 14, 15 and 16 and associated tubular rods 20, 21,22 and 23 and adapted to sense the weight distribution of the load placed on the pallet so as to determine the center of gravity of the load. The load may thus be evenly distributed on the pallet to facilitate the pallet and the load to be lifted without the tipping.
Protective fences 39 may also be mounted on all four sides of the pallet to prevent the load from falling off the pallet by accident. The fences 39 may be removably attached to the pallet with brackets or fixedly mounting thereto with hinges. When they are mounted with hinges they may be folded down conveniently over the decks 11 and 12 when they are not required as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 1.
Furthermore, elongated belts 40 and 41 may be attached to the attachment brackets 36 and 37 such that they may operated by a rolling receiver 42 to tie around the load placed on the pallet so that the load may be safely secured on the pallet.
A plurality of spaced slats 43 may also be provided on top of the fixed deck 11 in a as well as the movable deck 12 in a transverse manner to provide reinforcement and for additional support of the load placed on the pallet 10.
While the preferred embodiments of the invention have been described above. It will be recognized and understood that various modifications may be made therein and the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications which may fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.