Title:
Modular pallet device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular pallet device includes a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal first bars having a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart mounting grooves extending inwardly from top faces thereof, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal second bars connected to the first bars, and a plurality of interlocking units provided on and interlocking the first and second bars and including slots and projections. Each second bar has opposite first and second end portions. The first end portions of the second bars are respectively received in the mounting grooves of one of the first bars. The second end portions of the second bars are respectively received in the mounting grooves of the other one of the first bars.



Inventors:
Kuo, Tien-szu (Tainan City, TW)
Application Number:
11/898975
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
09/18/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/56.3
International Classes:
B65D19/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARNESS, DICKEY & PIERCE, P.L.C. (P.O. BOX 8910, RESTON, VA, 20195, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A modular pallet device comprising: a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal first bars, said first bars having a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart mounting grooves extending inwardly from top faces of said first bars; a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal second bars connected to said first bars, each of said second bars having opposite first and second end portions, said first end portions of said second bars being respectively received in said mounting grooves of one of said first bars, said second end portions of said second bars being respectively received in said mounting grooves of the other one of said first bars; and a plurality of interlocking units provided on and interlocking said first and second bars, said interlocking units including slots and projections.

2. The modular pallet device of claim 1, wherein each of said mounting grooves of said first bars is bounded by two groove sidewalls and a groove bottom wall extending between said groove sidewalls, said slots being provided in said groove bottom walls of said first bars, said projections extending downwardly from said second bars to engage said slots.

3. The modular pallet device of claim 2, wherein each of said first bars further has opposite longitudinal first and second faces that extend downwardly from said top face of a corresponding one of said first bars, said first faces of said first bars facing each other and extending between said second faces, each of said groove bottom walls having at least two of said slots, one of said two slots being proximate to said first face, the other one of said two slots being proximate to said second face and being spaced apart from said one of said two slots, at least one of said first and second end portions of said second bars having at least one of said projections selectively engaged to one of said two slots.

4. The modular pallet device of claim 2, wherein each of said first and second end portions of said second bars includes a pair of said projections having downward legs that are respectively adjacent to said groove sidewalls and that have barbed ends projecting oppositely and respectively from said downward legs, each of said groove bottom walls of said first bars having a top surface, and at least one pair of said slots, each of said slots having a first slot portion extending downwardly from said top surface of a respective one of said groove bottom walls to receive a corresponding one of said downward legs, and a second slot portion extending sideward from said first slot portion and into one of said groove sidewalls to receive a corresponding one of said barbed ends.

5. The modular pallet device of claim 2, further comprising a plurality of fastening units to fasten said first and second end portions of said second bars to said first bars, each of said groove bottom walls of said first bars having at least one of said slots, and at least one nut-receiving hole spaced apart from said one of said slots, said fastening units including a plurality of nuts embedded respectively in said nut-receiving holes of said groove bottom walls, and a plurality of screws respectively engaging said nuts and extending through said second bars.

6. The modular pallet device of claim 2, wherein said first and second end portions of said second bars respectively include said projections, each of said projections having a rib that extends transversely of a corresponding one of said second bars, and two barbs that project oppositely and respectively from two sides of said rib, said two sides of said rib being opposite to each other in a longitudinal direction of a corresponding one of said second bars, each of said groove bottom walls of said first bars having a top surface and one of said slots, each of said slots having a rib-receiving portion that extends downwardly from said top surface of a respective one of said groove bottom walls to receive said rib and that is defined by two opposite slot sidewalls, said slot sidewalls being provided with barb-receiving portions to receive respectively said barbs.

7. The modular pallet device of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of spaced-apart upright bars having bottom end portions mounted on said first bars, said first bars further having a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart indentations that extend downwardly from said top faces of said first bars, that receive respectively said bottom end portions of said upright bars, and that are spaced apart from said mounting grooves.

8. The modular pallet device of claim 7, wherein said bottom end portions of said upright bars respectively have pairs of first barbed elements that project oppositely and respectively from said bottom end portions, each of said indentations being defined by two opposite indentation sidewalls respectively having apertures to receive respectively said first barbed elements of a corresponding one of said upright bars.

9. The modular pallet device of claim 7, wherein each of said upright bars further has a plurality of vertically spaced-apart recesses, said modular pallet device further comprising a plurality of lateral transverse bars extending transversely of said upright bars and fitted respectively in said recesses.

10. The modular pallet device of claim 9, wherein each of said lateral transverse bars has pairs of second barbed elements engaging said upright bars within said recesses.

11. The modular pallet device of claim 9, further comprising a plurality of spaced-apart top bars mounted on top of said upright bars, and a plurality of upper transverse bars connected transversely to said top bars.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Taiwanese Application No. 095216693, filed on Sep. 19, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a modular pallet, more particularly to a modular pallet device for protecting goods from damage during transport.

2. Description of the Related Art

A conventional pallet device is generally used to protect goods from damage during transport. The goods are first placed on a top deck of a pallet, after which a plurality of strips of wood are connected to the pallet so as to surround four sides and a top side of the goods, thereby protecting the goods. Aside from protecting the goods, transporting of the goods using a lifting device can also be facilitated.

Although the aforementioned conventional pallet device can achieve its intended purpose, with the ever-increasing cost of wood materials used for the wood strips and possibly also for the pallet itself, the overall cost of the conventional pallet device is, likewise, gradually increasing. Further, since such wood materials are heavy, the transport cost of the conventional pallet device is high.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a modular pallet device that can be easily assembled and that can lower costs to a minimum.

According to this invention, a modular pallet device comprises a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal first bars, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal second bars connected to the first bars, and a plurality of interlocking units provided on and interlocking the first and second bars. The first bars have a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart mounting grooves extending inwardly from top faces of the first bars. Each of the second bars has opposite first and second end portions. The first end portions of the second bars are respectively received in the mounting grooves of one of the first bars. The second end portions of the second bars are respectively received in the mounting grooves of the other one of the first bars. The interlocking units include slots and projections.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a partly exploded perspective view of a modular pallet device according to the first preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an assembled schematic top view of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged exploded perspective view of first and second bars of the first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the first preferred embodiment taken along line IV-IV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the first preferred embodiment taken along line V-V of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 2, but illustrating an adjusted arrangement by which a distance between each two adjacent first bars is enlarged;

FIG. 7 is a partly exploded perspective view of a modular pallet device according to the second preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view, illustrating interconnection between first and second bars of the second preferred embodiment, but with two of the second bars removed for clarity's sake;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary exploded perspective view of the first and second bars, upright bars, and lateral transverse bars of the second preferred embodiment;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view of the second preferred embodiment, illustrating how the second bar is connected to the first bar;

FIG. 11 is an assembled perspective view of the second preferred embodiment; and

FIG. 12 is an assembled perspective view of the first and second bars of the second preferred embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Before the present invention is described in greater detail, it should be noted that the same reference numerals have been used to denote like elements throughout the specification.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 6, the first preferred embodiment of a modular pallet device according to the present invention is shown to comprise a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal first bars 11, a plurality of spaced-apart longitudinal second bars 12, a plurality of interlocking units 2, and a plurality of fastening units 3. For purposes of illustration, it is to be assumed that the modular pellet device of the first preferred embodiment is formed from only the rightmost pair of the first bars 11 appearing in FIGS. 1, 2, and 6 (and all associated elements).

Each of the first bars 11 has opposite longitudinal first and second faces 115, 116 that extend downwardly from a top face 110 of the corresponding first bar 11. The first faces 115 of the first bars 11 face each other and extend between the second faces 116. Each first bar 11 has five longitudinally spaced-apart mounting grooves 111 extending downwardly from the top face 110 thereof. Each of the mounting grooves 111 is bounded by two groove sidewalls 210, and a groove bottom wall 113 extending between the groove sidewalls 210. Each first bar 11 further has two longitudinally spaced-apart insert holes 112 adjacent to a bottom face of the corresponding first bar 11 for insertion thereinto of tines of a lifting device, such as a forklift (not shown).

The second bars 12 are connected transversely to the first bars 11. Each of the second bars 12 has opposite first and second end portions 121. The first end portions 121 of the second bars 12 are respectively received in the mounting grooves 111 of one of the first bars 11. The second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 are respectively received in the mounting grooves 111 of the other one of the first bars 11. The second bars 12 have top faces 120 flush with the top faces 110 of the first bars 11 after assembly.

The first and second bars 11, 12 are made of plastic. Each of the first and second bars 11, 12 further has a plurality of hollows 19 formed in the top face 110, 120 thereof to economize the use of material and to reduce the weight of each of the first and second bars 11, 12.

The interlocking units 2 are provided on the first and second bars 11, 12, and include slots 21 and projections 22. The slots 21 are provided in the groove bottom walls 113 of the first bars 11, whereas the projections 22 are provided on and extend downwardly from the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 to engage the slots 21 so as to interlock the first and second bars 11, 12. In this embodiment, each of the groove bottom walls 113 has a top surface 1131, and two pairs of the slots 21 (only one of each pair of the slots 21 is visible in FIGS. 1 and 3). One pair of the slots 21 is proximate to the first face 115 of the corresponding first bar 11. The other pair of the slots 21 is proximate to the second face 116 of the corresponding first bar 11.

As best shown in FIG. 4, each of the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 includes a pair of the projections 22 having downward legs 221 that are respectively adjacent to the groove sidewalls 210 of each mounting groove 111 when inserted into the respective mounting groove 111. The downward legs 221 have barbed ends 222 projecting oppositely and respectively from the downward legs 221. Each of the barbed ends 222 of the downward legs 221 has a horizontal abutment face 223 perpendicular to the respective downward leg 221, and a slant guide face 224 extending downwardly and inwardly from the horizontal abutment face 223. Each pair of the projections 22 is selectively engaged to one of the pairs of the slots 21.

Each slot 21 in each groove bottom wall 113 of the first bars 11 has a first slot portion 211 extending downwardly from the top surface 1131 to receive a corresponding one of the downward legs 221, and a second slot portion 212 extending sideward from the first slot portion 211 and into one of the groove sidewalls 210 to receive a corresponding one of the barbed ends 222.

In this embodiment, each of the groove bottom walls 113 of the first bars 11 further has two pairs of nut-receiving holes 117 (see FIG. 6). The nut-receiving holes 117 are respectively spaced apart from the pairs of the slots 21 (see FIG. 3).

The fastening units 3 are provided to fasten the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 to the first bars 11. Each fastening unit 3 includes a nut 31 (see FIG. 5) embedded in a respective one of the nut-receiving holes 117, and a screw 32 extending through one of the first and second end portions 121 of the respective second bar 12 to engage threadedly the nut 31.

With reference to FIGS. 1, 3, 4, and 5, assembly of the modular pallet device of the present invention will now be described. For this example, it is assumed that the modular pallet device is formed from three first bars 11 and ten second bars 12. As best shown in FIG. 1, the three first bars 11 are first disposed parallel to each other, and each second bar 12 is connected transversely between two adjacent ones of the first bars 11 so that the modular pallet device has the second bars 12 arranged in a plurality of rows. The first and second end portions 121 of each second bar 12 are inserted into the respective mounting grooves 111 of the corresponding two adjacent first bars 11, and are pressed downward by an external force so as to engage the projections 22 with the respective slots 21. Through the slant guide faces 224 of the projections 22, the downward legs 221 of the projections 22 are pressed downward into the respective first slot portions 211 of the slots 21 until the horizontal abutment faces 223 of the barbed ends 222 engage the respective second slot portions 212 in the corresponding groove sidewalls 210.

Finally, two screws 32 are passed through each of the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 to respectively engage the nuts 31 in the nut-receiving holes 117 in the first bars 11, thereby tightly fixing each second bar 12 to the corresponding two adjacent ones of the first bars 11. Alternatively, two aligned second bars 12 in any of the rows of the same may be replaced with one second bar that is lengthened and that is mounted transversely on the three parallel first bars 11. Hence, the structure of the second bars 12 is not limited to the disclosed embodiment. Further, the location of the slots 21 and the projections 22 may be interchanged, i.e., the slots 21 may be formed in the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 11, while the projections 22 may be provided in each mounting groove 111 of the first bars 11. The first and second bars 11, 12 may be similarly interconnected.

Referring back to FIG. 1, to transport the modular pallet device of the present invention, the tines of the forklift (not shown) may be inserted respectively into channels formed by the rows of the second bars and/or the first bars 11, or may be inserted respectively into the insert holes 112 so as to lift the modular pallet device.

During assembly, the pair of the projections 22 on at least one of the first and second end portions 121 of the second bars 12 may engage selectively and respectively the pair of the slots 21 that are proximate to the first face 115 or the second face 116 of the first bars 11. For example, when three of the first bars 11 are used, and when the projections 22 are engaged respectively to the pair of the slots 21 that are proximate to the first face 115 of the two outermost first bars 11, a distance between each two adjacent ones of the first bars 11 is increased (see FIG. 6). When the projections 22 are engaged respectively to the pair of the slots 21 that are proximate to the second face 116 of the two outermost first bars 11, the distance between each two adjacent ones of the first bars 11 is reduced (see FIG. 2). Hence, the distance between the first bars 11 may be varied by engaging selectively the pairs of the projections 22 of the second bars 12 with the two pairs of the slots 21 in the outermost first bars 11 (in this example) to alter the area of the modular pallet device of the present invention.

Referring once again to FIG. 1, in this embodiment, each of the first bars 11 further has a plurality of L-shaped angled indentations 114 that are longitudinally spaced apart from each other and that are indented downwardly from parts of the top faces 110 of the first bars 11 free of the mounting grooves 111 and hollows 19, preferably at the corners of the first bars 11. A plurality of spaced-apart upright angled bars 17 (only one is shown in FIG. 1) may be respectively fitted in the angled indentations 114 of the first bars 11, so that after the goods are placed on the modular pallet device of the present invention, a tying member (not shown), such as a rope or a steel wire, may be tied around the upright bars 17 so as to more securely position the goods on the modular pallet device. Alternatively, top ends of the upright bars 17 may be fixed with a top frame (not shown).

Referring to FIGS. 7 to 11, the second preferred embodiment of a modular pallet device according to the present invention is shown to be similar to the first preferred embodiment. However, in this embodiment, each of the first and second end portions 121′ of the second bars 12′ includes one of the projections 22′. Each of the projections 22′ has a rib 221′ extending transversely of the corresponding second bar 12′, and two barbs 222′ projecting oppositely and respectively from two sides of the rib 221′. The two sides of the rib 221′ are opposite to each other in a longitudinal direction of the corresponding second bar 12′. Each of the groove bottom walls 113′ of the first bars 11′ is formed with one of the slots 21′. Each of the slots 21′ in the groove bottom walls 113′ has a rib-receiving portion 211′ that extends downwardly from the top surface 1131′ of the respective groove bottom wall 113′ to receive the rib 221′ and that is defined by two opposite longitudinal slot sidewalls 216 (see FIG. 10), two opposite transverse slot sidewalls 217 (only one is visible in FIGS. 8 and 9), and a bottom slot wall 218 (see FIG. 10) interconnecting the longitudinal and transverse slot sidewalls 216, 217. The longitudinal slot sidewalls 216 are provided with barb-receiving portions 212′ to receive respectively the barbs 222′.

Each of the first bars 11′ further has a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart indentations 114′ that extend downwardly from the top faces 110′ of the first bars 11′ and that are spaced apart from the mounting grooves 111′. Each of the indentations 114′ is defined by two opposite longitudinal indentation sidewalls 1141 (see FIG. 10), two opposite transverse indentation sidewalls 1142 (only one is visible in FIG. 9), and a bottom indentation wall 1143 interconnecting the longitudinal and transverse indentation sidewalls 1141, 1142. The transverse indentation sidewalls 1142 of the first bars 11′ are provided with pairs of apertures 1144 (see FIG. 9).

The modular pallet device of the present invention further comprises a plurality of spaced-apart upright bars 13, a plurality of lateral transverse bars 15, a plurality of spaced-apart top bars 14, and a plurality of upper transverse bars 15′. The upright bars 13 are mounted on the first bars 11′, and have bottom end portions 131 inserted respectively into the indentations 114′ of the first bars 11′. The bottom end portions 131 of the upright bars 13 respectively have pairs of first barbed elements 132 that project oppositely and respectively from lateral sides thereof and that engage respectively the pairs of the apertures 1144 in the transverse indentation sidewalls 1142 of the first bars 11′. Each of the upright bars 13 further has a plurality of vertically spaced-apart recesses 133 extending inwardly from an outer face thereof. Each of the recesses 133 is bounded by two recess sidewalls 134 and a recess bottom wall 135 interconnecting the recess sidewalls 134. The recess sidewalls 134 are provided respectively with barb-receiving holes 136.

The lateral transverse bars 15 extend transversely of the upright bars 13. Each lateral transverse bar 15 has a plurality of longitudinally spaced-apart pairs of second barbed elements 151 projecting oppositely on lateral sides thereof to engage respectively the barb-receiving holes 136 within the recesses 133 of the upright bars 13.

The top bars 14 are mounted on top of the upright bars 13. Each of the top bars 14 has five longitudinally spaced-apart recesses 141. Since the construction of the recesses 141 is similar to that of the recesses 133 in the upright bars 13, a detailed description of the same is dispensed herewith for the sake of brevity.

The upper transverse bars 15′ are connected transversely to the top bars 14, and have a plurality of pairs of barbed-elements (not visible) with a construction similar to that of the second barbed elements 151 of the lateral transverse bars 15.

The upright bars 13, the lateral transverse bars 15, the top bars 14, and the upper transverse bars 15′ are made of plastic.

The fastening units 3′, in this embodiment, are configured as screws for connecting the top bars 14 to the top of the upright bars 13.

With reference to FIG. 7, in this embodiment, sixteen upright bars 13, twenty lateral transverse bars 15, and five upper transverse bars 15′ are employed to assemble the modular pallet device of the present invention. As illustrated, the bottom end portions 131 of the upright bars 13 are inserted into the indentations 114′ of the first bars 11′ so as to form a surrounding wall on the first bars 11′. Afterwards, five of the lateral transverse bars 15 are connected transversely to the upright bars 13 at each side of the surrounding wall, the top bars 14 are mounted on top of the upright bars 13 and are fixed thereto by using the fastening units 3′, and the upper transverse bars 15′ are connected to the top bars 14, thereby forming a rectangular box pallet, as shown in FIG. 11.

Referring to FIG. 12, the modular pallet device of the second preferred embodiment further includes a plurality of plugs 16 inserted optionally into the indentations 114′ in the first bars 11′ when the upright bars 13, the lateral transverse bars 15, the top bars 14, and the upper transverse bars 15′ are not required. The plugs 16 are provided with pairs of barbed elements 161 to engage the pairs of the apertures 1144 in the transverse indentation sidewalls 1142 of the first bars 11, and are flush with the top faces 110′, 120′ of the first and second bars 11, 12 after assembly.

The advantages of the present invention can be summarized as follows:

1. Through the configuration of the slots 21, 21′ and projections 22, 22′ of the interlocking units 2, the first and second bars 11, 12 can be quickly interconnected and assembled, so that assembly of the modular pallet device of the present invention is relatively simple and easy. This results in minimizing labor costs.

2. The first and second bars 11, 12 and the interlocking units 2 are all made of plastic materials, so that material costs can be minimized, and the strength of the modular pallet device of the present invention can be enhanced.

3. Since the weight of plastic is light, transport costs can also be reduced.

4. The modular pallet device of the present invention may be further provided with the upright bars 13, the lateral and upper transverse bars 15, 15′, and the top bars 14 that can cooperate with the first and second bars 11, 12 to form the box pallet shown in FIG. 11.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what are considered the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretations and equivalent arrangements.