Title:
SHIPPING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved shipping system includes a base pallet section. The system further includes an upper tier section, that moves between a position atop the base pallet section through a variety of positions, including positions that put the upper section out of the way of loading and unloading any load on the base section. Cartons may be atop both the base pallet section and the upper tier section, for shipments, with the upper tier section in the raised position. When emptied, the shipping system may be returned with its upper tier section moved down to a position atop the base pallet section, and the shipping system stacked upon a similar improved shipping system. Shipping efficiency is increased as much as twenty percent and perhaps more. All components are steel, and may also be plastic, wood and the like.



Inventors:
Kiolbasa, Charles G. (Burr Ridge, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/037655
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
02/26/2008
Assignee:
S H Partners, LLC (Burr Ridge, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/56.1, 108/55.5
International Classes:
B65D19/00; B65D19/12; B65D21/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (TEN SOUTH WACKER DRIVE, SUITE 3000, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An improved shipping system comprising: a base pallet section forming a load supporting deck; an upper tier section having providing a second load supporting deck; legs; and pivot rods; the pivot rods connected to the legs and pallet sections, and the pivot rods providing for pivoting the legs and upper tier section about the base pallet section, in a range of positions; whereby through pivoting of the legs and upper tier section, the shipping system may be moved through configurations including a collapsed configuration and an upper-tier raised configuration, the collapsed configuration for stowing and the upper-tier raised configuration for outgoing shipping with one or more loads in place.

2. The shipping system of claim 1, the pivot rods, legs and upper tier section providing movement of the upper tier section through the configurations including a collapsed configuration and an upper-tier raised configuration, the collapsed configuration for stowing and the upper-tier raised configuration for outgoing shipping with one or more loads in place.

3. The shipping system of claim 1, the pivot rods, legs and upper tier section providing movement of the upper tier section through a folded back and load-ready position, for receiving a load on the base pallet section.

4. The shipping system of claim 3, the pivot rods, legs and upper tier section providing movement of the upper tier section from the folded back and load-ready position to the upper tier raised position by movement around a load received on the base pallet section.

5. The shipping system of claim 1 where the upper tier section is capable of being moved into a range of positions including directly atop the base pallet section through a position out of the way of loading and unloading of the base pallet section.

6. A shipping system as in claim 1 in which the base pallet section is formed to allow a second improved shipping system to be nested on top of the first for ease of shipping when the first is in a collapsed position, and a third shipping system to be nested atop the second, and so forth.

7. The shipping system of claim 1 where the base pallet section is formed to allow a forklift to move the loaded pallet.

8. The shipping system of claim 7 where the base pallet section is formed to allow forklift access on all sides.

9. The shipping system of claim 1 where the shipping system is adapted to be moved while the pallet is loaded or unloaded.

10. The shipping system of claim 1 where two of the legs are detachable from the base pallet and two of the legs are permanently affixed to both pallets.

11. The shipping system of claim 10 where an overcenter latch, hinged midway, attaches one detachable leg to the upper tier, the connectors inhibiting twisting of the shipping system and forming a barrier to motion by the contents of the base pallet section.

12. The shipping system of claim 10 where the permanently affixed legs are attached to the upper tier inset off the corner to inhibit twisting of the shipping system and to form a barrier to motion by the contents of the base pallet section.

13. The shipping system of claim 10 where one of the permanently affixed legs is attached to the base pallet section by a pivotal stop, the pivotal stop at one end set in a slide surface in the base pallet section, a bumper set at the end of the slide surface, the pivotal stop, slide surface and bumper configured so as to limit the motion of the permanently affixed legs, limit twisting of the improved shipping system, and to form a barrier to motion by the contents of the base pallet section.

14. The shipping system of claim 1 where both faces of the upper tier section are arranged to be load bearing without damaging a load or the shipping system.

15. The shipping system of claim 1 having a cross beam in the plane of the upper tier section and supporting the upper tier section.

16. The shipping system of claim 1 where the base pallet section is gusseted to allow the upper tier section to be collapsed below the surface of the base pallet section.

17. The shipping system of claim 1 where the upper tier is detachable from the bottom tier.

18. The shipping system of claim 1 where horizontal rod supports are incorporated into the base pallet section to increase the strength of the base pallet section.

19. An improved shipping unit comprising: a base pallet section formed so that one face of the base pallet section, the top face, is a load bearing surface and so that the other face of the base pallet section, the bottom face, is formed to have feet, to provide support for the load bearing face and to allow a forklift to move the pallet from any of its sides, and to allow a second improved shipping system to be nested directly atop the first for ease of shipping, a third atop the second, and so forth; horizontal steel rod supports incorporated into the base pallet section; a first pivot rod located on the base pallet section a first pair of legs, each substantially the same length as one side of the base pallet section, one end of each leg set onto opposite ends of the first pivot rod; a second pivot rod, attached to the opposite ends of the first pair of legs, above the first pivot rod, attached to the bottom of, and inset from an edge of: an upper tier section, substantially equal in size to the base pallet section, formed by rails and plates forming a load bearing surface, and corner and side gussets, the gussets lipped along the sides for contacting and holding the load, attached at the corners formed by the rails and plates, the upper tier section capable of being moved around the second pivot rod; a third pivot rod set substantially parallel to the second pivot rod and along the opposite side of the upper tier section; a second pair of legs, one end of each leg set onto opposite ends of the third pivot rod; two stop pads, each at the end of one of the second pair of legs, the stop pads attached to form an el-shape at the end of the legs and a surface capable of taking a share of the weight of a pallet load; an overcenter latch, attached at one end to one of the second pair of legs, hinged in the middle and attached at the other end to the upper tier; a pivot stop, attached at one end to a pivot point set in one of the first pair of legs, at the other end placed in a slide surface set in the base pallet section; a bumper set to block the pivotal stop and stop rotation of the first set of legs; and an extended lower load retention lip; whereby through pivoting of the legs and upper tier section, the shipping unit may be moved through configurations including a collapsed configuration for stacking and transport, a folded back and load ready position for receiving a load, and an upper-tier raised configuration for carrying two loads, the first pair of legs remaining attached to the base pallet and upper tier sections, the second pair of legs attached only to the upper tier section and restable against the base pallet section supporting the upper tier section, the overcenter latch and pivotal stop prohibiting the shipping unit from twisting and forming a barrier to motion by the contents of the base pallet section, and the formation of the base pallet allowing a second improved shipping unit to be nested on top of the first for ease of shipping when the first is in a collapsed position, and a third shipping unit to be nested atop the second and so forth.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE

This application claims priority to Provisional Application No. 60/946,435.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of shipping packages and objects, to an improved shipping system for shipping such packages and objects, and to the methods of use of such systems and also pallets.

BACKGROUND

In the past, pallets have been used for shipping packages and objects, which have been typically constructed of rough wood. Some have been used that have been presswood, plastic, and aluminum. Wood pallets typically allow for forklift movement of the pallets and their loads. Some allow forklift access from two opposed sides, and are said to provide 2-way forklift access. Others provide 4-way forklift access. Some have been made “nestable,” or able to be nested one on top another for ease of stacking. Some have integrated sidewalls to become containers, and have been collapsible and stackable. Some are made specifically for 55 gallon drums, others specifically for sheetfed press runs, rolls of film, paper and the like, and still others for television display panels. Some are less sturdy, for limited use, and others more sturdy, for extended use. Numerous remain wood pallets of conventional construction.

With wood pallets, and even the ones more “high tech,” some shipments suffer greatly with shipment damage. This is especially true with many goods packaged in paperboard and small flute corrugated boxes and cartons, often called folding and folded cartons. The goods in such cartons include many consumer products, from medicines and pharmaceuticals, to foods such as breakfast cereals, pasta and chocolates, through toys, consumer electronics and automotive parts. In these boxes, many products have been damaged and their boxes crushed from forklift damage and their own weight when overstacked. As a result, needs have existed over years and decades for shipping systems that provide improved transportation for more fragile loads such as paperboard loads. The needs include ease of loading and unloading, as well as greater heights of loads without self imposed crushing, and the like.

The improved shipping system of this invention was specifically developed to minimize or potentially eliminate crushing, bowing and other damage issues. Increasing the volume of the trailer occupied without fear of having damaged or crushed products is an added benefit that can result in significant freight cost reductions.

SUMMARY

An improved shipping system includes a base pallet section. The system further includes an upper tier section, that moves between a position atop the base pallet section through a variety of positions, including positions that put the upper section out of the way of loading and unloading any load on the base section. Cartons may be atop both the base pallet section and the upper tier section, for shipments, with the upper tier section in the raised position. When emptied, the unit may be returned with its upper tier section moved down to a position atop the base pallet section, and the unit stacked upon a similar improved unit. Shipping efficiency is increased as much as twenty percent and perhaps more. All components are steel, and may also be plastic, wood and the like.

To provide the movement of the upper tier section, and support it in the position shown, several legs are provided on each end, extending between the base pallet section and the upper tier section. The legs are detachable from the upper tier section and/or the base pallet section, and may hook into catches. The legs may lie against the base pallet sections. The legs may be hinged at their ends.

As described, the upper tier sections provide space between the base pallet sections and the upper tier sections for a group of cartons supported by and stacked on the base pallet sections. The upper tier sections also provide for groups of cartons supported by and stacked on the upper tier sections. Shipping costs may be reduced as trucks may be better filled with the units filled with cartons. The shipping system disclosed may be rented and used multiple times, further improving economy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings that accompany this description include several figures, each described as follows:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view from above a corner of the upper tier section of a preferred embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view from the same location, with the shipping system of FIG. I collapsed and several shipping systems, aka shipping units, similarly collapsed and placed on the shipping unit of FIG. 1, for shipment of the group of shipping units, as for example during the return of empty shipping units to the place of the originating shipment.

FIGS. 3, 4, 5, and 6 are, respectively, end, side, top and bottom plan views of the shipping unit of FIG. 1, in the condition of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 7 through 12 are views in a series of the erection and then, in reverse, collapse, of the shipping unit of FIG. 1 from collapsed position, to a first loading position for loading and/or unloading the base pallet section through the raising of the upper tier for its loading. The demonstrated movements are accompanied by persons loading and unloading the shipping system, as may be desired.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a preferred embodiment of the invention is a shipping unit 10.

Scanning across the figures, the shipping unit may be in an upper-tier raised position as in FIGS. 1, 3-6, and 12, an upper-tier lowered, “stowed” or collapsed position as in FIGS. 2 and 7, and a variety of positions between these positions, as in FIGS. 8-11. In the raised position, the shipping unit 10 is typically in outgoing shipping condition, with a load X on the base or lower pallet section, and a load (not shown) on the upper tier section 2. In the stowed position, the shipping unit 10 is typically in inbound or return shipping condition, stacked with other similar shipping units 10, and with no load on the pallet sections. The shipping unit 10, consistently, may be loaded, lifted by forklift (not shown), placed on a vehicle (not shown), transported, stored as needed, unloaded, collapsed, and returned for further shipment. Of course, the shipping unit may be shipped loaded or unloaded without necessity of immediate return to place of origin after first shipment.

In addition to the base pallet section 1 and the upper pallet section 2, the shipping unit 10 comprises three pivot rods 12, 14, 16 and legs 5, 6 in pairs, at each end of pivot rods 12, 14, 16. The rods 12, 14, 16 are generally parallel to each other, and spaced about the pallet 10, at one edge of the base pallet section 1 (rod 12), just below the plane of the upper tier section 2 and generally above the rod 12 (rod 14), and just below the plane of the upper tier section 2 and opposite the rod 12 (rod 16). The pivot rods 12, 14, 16 provide for pivoting of the legs 5, upper tier section 2, and legs 6, as will be explained.

In the raised or erected position of FIG. 1, the shipping unit 10 generally defines a cube, unlike conventional pallets which generally always define a plane. The cube of the shipping unit 10 wraps a load X, as in FIG. 12, whereas a conventional pallet simply underlies a load. Referring to FIG. 1 for elements 1, 2, 5 and 6, and to FIG. 12 for load X, the shipping unit 10 wraps a load X in that the base pallet section 1 underlies the load X, legs 5 lie along one side of the load X, upper tier section 2 overlies the load X, and legs 6 lie along another side of the load X opposite the legs 5. Legs 5 and pivot rods 12, 14 define one end face 18 of the pallet cube. Legs 6 and pivot 16, along with the upper outer edge of the base pallet section 1 define a second, opposite end face 20. Similar side faces 22, 24, are formed by the structures of the shipping unit 10, as are upper and lower faces formed by the structures 1 and 2.

The base pallet section 1 is substantially square, and formed in the third dimension, top and bottom, to form a sectioned load supporting deck 30. On the top face the pallet is sectioned by indentations. On the bottom face the base pallet section is additionally formed to have several feet such as foot 32 for supporting the whole of the pallet 10 and providing four sided forklift access. The base pallet section 1 is plastic, with horizontal steel rod supports incorporated.

The upper tier section 2 defines a second load supporting deck 34 for another load Y, seen in phantom in FIG. 12. The second deck 34 is formed by crossrails and plates such as rail 36 and plate 38, as well as corner and side gussets such as corner gusset 40. The gussets include lips along the outside edges for the second deck 34, for contacting and holding a load Y against side to side and end to end slippage.

Referring to FIGS. 7-12, shipping units 10 may be manipulated by hand from the stowed position and condition of FIG. 7 through the loaded position and condition of FIG. 12. First, the collapsed shipping unit 10 may have the upper tier moved and pivoted in the direction of arrow 42 from the position of FIG. 7, around the pivot 12, to the position of FIG. 8. The position and condition is one of being folded back and load-ready, for receiving the load X. The load X may be assembled of cartons by hand on the shipping unit 10, or moved in by forklift in the direction of arrow 44. With the load in place, the upper tier section 2 may be swung in the directions of the arrows 46, 48 in FIG. 9, to move toward the position of FIG. 10. Pivoting continues in the direction of arrows 50, 52, to begin to rotate the upper tier section 2 over the load X. The legs 6, previously tucked alongside the upper tier section 2, are then pivoted away from the upper tier section 2, in the direction of arrow 54. The legs 5 are also pivoted, in the direction of arrow 55. As the legs 6 extend away from the upper tier section 2, an over center latch 56 at one side 22 opens and is latched, to keep the legs 6 fixed in relation to the upper tier section 2. A pivotal stop 58, at the base of one leg 5, slides forward along a slide surface, to a bumper, and blocked against the bumper, stops rotation of the legs 5 at a desired location, as in FIGS. 1 and 12. Rotation of the upper tier section 2 and legs 6 continues around the load X.

At the completion of erection of the shipping unit 10, and as shown in FIGS. 1 and 12, the legs 5,6 and upper tier section 2 encircle the load X over the base pallet section 1. The legs 5, 6 and upper tier section 2 protect the load X, as well. The legs 5 angle inward over the load X, in an off-vertical position. The legs 6 are essentially upright, i.e., vertical.

Two stops pads 60, 62 as seen in FIG. 1 at the far ends of legs 6 from the upper tier section 2, rest on the base pallet section 1. They extend adjacent an extended lower load retention lip 64 of the base pallet section 1.

A load X and if desired a load Y may then be transported and offloaded from the shipping unit 10.

As will be noticed in FIG. 2, when the loads are removed, numerous shipping units 10 may be stacked. The lowest-most shipping unit 10 constitutes a pallet for all the above-stacked shipping units 10, such that the stack may be lifted and transported as a load itself. For stacking, the shipping unit 10 has pivot stop 58 lifted and the legs 5 dropped on the base pallet section 1, rotating about the pivot rod 14. The upper tier section 2 is folded over the legs 5 about the same pivot rod, and brought to rest upside down, i.e., inverted, over the base pallet section 1. Suitable recesses on the surface of the base pallet section 1 match the side edges of the gussets of the upper tier section. The overcenter latch is 56 released, and the legs 6 dropped atop the stack. The position of FIGS. 7 and 2 is achieved.

When chosen, the cycle of shipping unit erection, transport of loads, stowage, and transport of shipping units alone may begin again.