Title:
Method for securely transporting value documents and objects and a box for carrying out said method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for securely transporting value documents and objects from a departure site to a destination site, such as, banknotes, checks or bankcards locked in a container which causes the degradation thereof by appropriate elements in case of breaking or attempted of breaking. The method makes it possible to send the value documents or objects from a sender to a consignee via at least one security guard. The value documents and objects before being taken over by the security guard are disposed by the sender inside of one or several boxes including first security elements for disclosing any breaking or attempt of breaking by a person other than the sender or the consignee by self-destruction or self-deterioration of the boxes, afterwards the boxes are positioned in the container for transferring it to the consignee by the security guard.



Inventors:
Vohnout-marle, Laurence (Saint-Apollinaire, FR)
Sikora, Thierry (Dijon, FR)
Application Number:
11/631072
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
06/28/2005
Assignee:
AXYTRANS (SA) (DIJON, FR)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/315, 220/666, 220/265
International Classes:
B65B43/26; B65D6/16; B65D41/02; B65D45/00; E05G1/14; G07D11/00
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Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BARRETT, SUZANNE LALE DINO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
YOUNG & THOMPSON (209 Madison Street, Suite 500, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
1. A method for the secure transportation, from a departure site to a destination site, of documents or objects of value (2), in particular of payment resources, banknotes, cheques or bankcards, enclosed in a container (4) which, in the event of break-in or attempted break-in, causes them to be damaged by appropriate resources, the said method being capable of carrying the said documents or objects of value (2) between a sender (10) and a recipient (30) by means of at least one carrier company (20), characterised in that, before their acceptance by the carrier company (20), the documents or objects of value (2) are placed, by the sender (10), into one or more chests (3) that include first securing resources (9, 9′, 9″) that are capable, by destroying or damaging themselves, of revealing any break-in or attempted break-in to the said chests (3) by a person other than the sender (10) or the recipient (30), with the said chests (3) then being placed into the container (4) which is thereafter transferred to the premises of the recipient by the carrier company (20).

2. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the first securing resources (9, 9′, 9″) constitute closure resources for the chest or chests (3).

3. A method according to claim 2, characterised in that the first securing resources (9, 9′, 9″) include frangible pins that lock a lid (7) to the remainder of a chest (6).

4. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that, in order to allow opening of the said chests (3) without destroying or damaging the first securing resources (9, 9′, 9″), use is made of a special opening device that is held only by the recipient (30) and/or only by the sender (10).

5. A method according to claim 4, characterised in that the opening device is a key to fit a lock placed on the periphery of the chests or chests (3).

6. A method according to claim 4, characterised in that the opening device is a numerical or alphanumerical code that is entered by means of a keypad included on or connected to the chest or chests (3).

7. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that, in the event of a break-in or of an attempted break-in, second securing resources incorporated into the container (4) cause the destruction and/or the marking of the documents or objects of value (2) contained in the chest or chests (3), in order to render the said documents or objects of value (2) unusable or legally unidentifiable.

8. A method according to claim 1, characterised in that the second securing resources are composed of a pyrotechnic chain incorporated into the lid of the container (4), the said chain being composed of a detonator, triggered by a detection resource during the break-in or the attempted break-in to the said container (4), and a charge and ignition device.

9. A method according to claim 8, characterised in that, during the break-in or attempted break-in to the container (4), a reservoir built into the lid of the container (4) and containing a chemical substance in the form of a non-inflammable and non-explosive liquid, is capable of being pierced under the action of the second securing resources, with the liquid contained in the said reservoir then running into the chests (3), thus rendering unusable the documents or objects of value (2) contained in the said chests (3).

10. A chest (3) that is designed to contain documents or objects of value (2), in particular payment resources, banknotes, cheques or bankcards, usable in particular in a method for the secure transportation of documents or objects of value (2) according to any of the preceding claims, characterised in that it includes: a body (6), preferably of parallelepiped form, with an opening that allows the insertion of the documents or objects of value (2) into the chest (3), a lid (7) that is hinged on one of the edges forming the opening of the body (6), and capable of closing off the said opening, the said lid (7) being formed at least partially from a panel (8) that is burnable, tearable, permeable and/or vanishing, additional closure resources (9, 9′, 9″) placed respectively on the lid (7) and on one of the edges forming the opening in the body (6), the said closure resources (9, 9′, 9″) being capable of destroying or damaging themselves in the event of a break-in or of an attempted break-in to the chest (3).

11. A chest (3) according to claim 10, characterised in that the closure resources (9″) are formed of frangible pins.

12. A chest (3) according to claim 11, characterised in that each frangible pin (9″) bears a marking that allows it to be distinguished from others.

Description:

This present invention concerns a method for the secure transportation, from a departure site to a destination site, of documents or objects of value, such as payment resources, banknotes, cheques or bankcards, enclosed in a container which, in the event of break-in or an attempted break-in, causes them to be damaged or destroyed by appropriate resources.

The conventional methods for the transportation of documents or objects of value are generally based on the use of containers which are heavy and therefore difficult to transport, and to which access is restricted to the holders of a key only, in tangible form or intangible form (such as a code), where the container is in a controlled and secure environment, using various types of armouring for example.

These conventional methods have proven to be inadequate however, in the face of cleverly organised and heavily armed attacks. In fact, the protection resources installed on the container or containers are liable to be forced or negated by the said attackers without rendering unusable the documents or objects of value contained inside the said containers.

One solution of previous design consisted of using secure containers whose opening or attempted opening by an unauthorised person or someone lacking a suitable opening resource, of the key or code type for example, triggers a complex mechanism installed inside the said containers, leading to destroying or damaging the documents or objects of value contained inside the said containers. Various solutions of this type have in particular been the subject of protection by patent on the part of the Applicant, and patent EP 188 155 in particular.

In this patent, the documents or objects of value are contained in a secure protective enclosure, whose opening triggers a pyrotechnic charge located in the lid of the enclosure. The setting-off of the said charge then causes the opening of reservoirs contained in the protective enclosure, where the said reservoirs contain a destructive or staining liquid. The liquid is then distributed over the documents or objects of value contained within the enclosure, thereby rendering them unusable or legally unidentifiable.

Although this new method solves the problem described above, it does not provide a guarantee that no difference will be observable between what was actually placed in the container and what is observed and counted on opening the container at the central receiving point. It therefore frequently happens that, in the event of loss or theft, suspicions fall principally on the carrier company itself. In fact, during a transfer of funds between a supermarket and a central receiving point, the money is usually placed in a secure container by the staff of the supermarket for example, who take responsibility for closing it and handing it over to the carrier company. The role of the latter is then to transfer the said container from the point of departure, which is generally the supermarket, to the point of arrival, which is generally the central receiving point. The recipient, namely the staff of the central receiving point, is then responsible for opening and emptying the container, and then checking in the money removed from the container. In the event of a disparity between the amount transferred by the sender and the amount observed during the counting process, it is not possible to determine the responsibility of the carrier company. Moreover, the case can arise where this disparity is the result of a counting error by the sender or the recipient, and not of any malevolent action by the transporter of the funds.

The sender is responsible for placing the documents or objects of value in the container, and for closing the said container before its transfer, effected by the carrier company, and where necessary, it executes this work in several stages. In fact, the sender can be constrained to place the funds in the container in several operations, and therefore to leave the container open for a certain time, and without any particular surveillance, within the secure and controlled environment, in order to collect together the totality of the funds to be transported. During this period of time, in which the sender is centralising the funds, a third party, capable of accessing the secure and controlled location, can possibly remove part of the funds so that the sender is unable to detect the disappearance of the said funds unless a full check is carried out at the last moment, just before the closure of the container.

Following the transfer of the container, the recipient is generally unable to hand over the said container immediately to the carrier company. In fact, the recipient is the only entity authorised to open the container, in order then to remove the funds and to count them before consigning them to a safe. The times involved would require unnecessary immobilisation of the carrier company in order to return the container to it immediately. It is therefore necessary to use several sets of containers in order to cope with this drawback, and in order to release the carrier company as soon as the hand-over is completed, with the latter recovering the current container during the next transfer of funds.

The purpose of the invention is therefore to propose a method for the secure transportation of documents or objects of value, that does not have the drawbacks of previous designs and, in particular, can guarantee the inviolability of the documents or objects of value during all the stages of transfer from the departure site to the arrival site, with any attempted theft of the said documents or of the said objects of value being detectable on the said documents or objects of value and/or on a resource that is designed to contain the said documents or objects of value during their transportation in a container, where the said resource can be handled only by the sender or the recipient.

Another aim of this present invention is to allow the sender to prepare the documents or objects of value in advance and to leave them in a secure location without risk of theft, while awaiting the arrival of the carrier company, which is equipped with the container that is designed to receive the said documents or objects of value or the resource in which they are contained, and then to allow the recipient to return the container to the carrier company immediately after it has been opened and after the extraction of the documents or objects of value or of the resource in which they are contained, which can remain stored temporarily at the premises of the recipient without risk of being raided.

Another objective of the invention is also to propose a container that is usable in the context of a method for the secure transportation of documents or objects of value, where the said container guarantees the inviolability of the documents or objects of value, in particular by rendering detectable or visible any break-in or attempted break-in that occurs between a departure site and an arrival site.

To this end, and according to the invention, a method is proposed for the secure transportation, from a departure site to a destination site, of documents or objects of value, in particular of payment resources, banknotes, cheques or bankcards, enclosed in a container which, in the event of a break-in or of an attempted break-in, causes them to be damaged by appropriate resources, the said method being capable of transferring the said documents or objects of value between a sender and a recipient by means of at least one carrier company, the said method being notable in that before their acceptance by the carrier company, the documents or objects of value are placed, by the sender, within one or more chests, which include first securing resources that are capable, by destroying or damaging themselves, of revealing any break-in or attempted break-in to the said chests by a person other than the sender or the recipient, the said chests then being placed into the container which is transferred to the premises of the recipient by the carrier company.

The invention also aims to protect a chest that is designed to contain documents or objects of value, in particular payment resources, banknotes, cheques or bankcards, that is usable in particular in the aforementioned method for secure transportation, the said chest being notable in that it includes

    • a body, preferably of parallelepiped form, with an opening that allows insertion of the documents or objects of value into the chest,
    • a lid that is hinged on one of the edges forming the opening in the body and capable of closing off the said opening, where the said lid is formed at least partially of a panel that can be burnt, torn, penetrated and/or vanishing,
    • additional closure resources located respectively on the lid and on one of the edges forming the opening in the body, where the said closure respource is capable of destroying or damaging itself in the event of a break-in or an attempted break-in to the chest.

Other advantages and characteristics will emerge more clearly from the description that follows of the method for the secure transportation of documents or objects of value according to the invention, and of one possible example of a transportation chest, with reference to the appended drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of the method for secure transportation according to the invention,

FIG. 2 is a view in perspective of a transportation chest according to the invention.

FIG. 1 diagrammatically represents all the stages of the method that allows the secure transfer of funds from a place of departure, corresponding to the premises of the sender 10, to a point of arrival, corresponding to the premises of the recipient 30, the transfer being executed by a carrier company 20.

In the example shown, the sender 10 and the recipient 30 may both be users of monetary materials. In particular, the sender 10 will be a supermarket and the recipient 30 a bank.

In order to ensure reinforced inviolability of the funds circulating between the sender 10 and the recipient 30, and to limit as far as possible the responsibility of the carrier company 20, the stages of the method must follow each other in a precise order, and can be executed only by a single user of these funds, whether it be the sender 10 or the recipient 30.

In a first stage 11, the monetary materials 2 are firstly taken by the sender 10 from a safe 1 located at the place of departure and containing the money reserve of the sender 10, and then placed into one or more chests 3. These chests 3 will have dimensions that are compatible with the funds to be transferred and with the internal storage space of a secure container 4 capable of accommodating one or more chests 3. It is also advantageous to provide as many chests 1 as there are different monetary materials 2, in order to allow sorting of the monetary materials 2 by the sender 10 prior to stage 11, and thus to facilitate counting of the monetary materials 2 at the point of arrival by the recipient 30.

Once the chest or chests 3 have been filled, the sender 10, during a second stage 12, closes the chest or chests 3 by means of closure devices incorporated into the chest or chests 3, with the said closure devices that have the particular feature of being unopenable without breaking them. This characteristic in particular allows the detection of any break-in or attempted break-in to a chest 3 before the sender has placed it in the container supplied by the carrier company, or indeed after the recipient has extracted it from the container, which is returned to the carrier company by the recipient, where this action results in partial or total destruction of the closure devices of the chest 3. It is also possible to envisage, in a variant of the method, the provision of special opening resources that allow opening of these closure devices without breakage, when the said special opening resources are then assigned only to senders 10 and/or the recipients 30.

In the next stage 13 of the method, the correctly closed chest or chests 3 are then placed and enclosed in the container by the sender, which activates the container, whereupon the said container is then taken over by the carrier company 20 which transfers it to the recipient. In this stage 13, the sender 20 places the chest or chests 3 in one or more secure containers 4, the said containers 4, these being designed to cause their contents to be damaged in the event of a break-in or an attempted break-in. During the closure of the container by the sender, the latter activates the damaging resources, which can then be de-activated only by the recipient on reception of the containers. It will also be advantageous to choose containers 4 that have characteristics that are identical to or close to those described and claimed in aforementioned patent EP 188.155. In principle, only the recipient will be capable of opening the said containers 4 without causing damage to their contents. This can be achieved in particular by the use of suitable opening resources, such as a key or an access code, held only by the recipient.

In a first stage 21, the carrier company 20 places the said containers 4 in a transportation vehicle 5. In a second stage 22, the carrier company 20 will then transfer the containers 4, by means of this transportation vehicle 5, from the place of departure of the sender 10 to the point of arrival of the recipient 30, where the places of departure and arrival are considered to be safe places in the method for secure transportation according to the invention.

In the next stage 23, the carrier company 20 unloads the transportation vehicle 5 and hands the container or containers 4 over to the recipient who, in a first stage 31, performs the deactivation and the opening of the said containers 4 in order to remove the chests 3 and to check them, in case a third party, and in particular the carrier company, may have fraudulently obtained the access codes to the container.

The chests 3 are under the responsibility of the recipient 30, which is then able to determine easily if any break-in or attempted break-in has occurred to the chests 3, by checking the state of closure of each chest 3.

In the event of break-in or of attempted break-in to one of the chests 3, the closure devices of the chest 3 concerned must necessarily have been subjected to a sufficient mechanical or thermal stress to cause them to be partially or totally broken. This partial or total breakage therefore cannot indicate correct closure of the said chest 3.

When this check has been completed, the recipient 30 can immediately return the containers 4 to the carrier company and then, in a second stage 32, is responsible for opening the chests 3, either by breaking the closure devices as provided in this regard on the chests 3, or by using a suitable opening resource, of the key or chip-card type for example, that fits into a lock or a slot located at the periphery of the chest or chests 3, or indeed a numerical or alphanumerical identification code, to be introduced by means of a keypad included on or connected to the chests 3.

Finally, in a last stage 33, the recipient counts the monetary materials 2 contained in the chests 3 and places these monetary materials 2 into a storage location 1, of the safe or strong room type, protected by an armoured door for example.

Because of these two additional securing resources, one installed on the containers 4 and the other on the chests 3, the method of transport as described above therefore allows a certain inviolability to be afforded to the documents or objects of value to be transported, in particular regarding any person other than the sender 10 or the recipient 30.

FIG. 2 represents a possible variant of a chest 3 that could be used in a method for the secure transportation of documents or objects of value according to the invention.

This chest 3 essentially includes a parallelepiped-shaped body 6, with an opening that allows the insertion of valuables into the chest 3, a lid 7 that is hinged onto one of the edges forming the opening of the body 6 and capable of closing off the said opening 7, the said lid 7 being formed at least partially from a burnable, tearable, permeable and/or vanishing panel 8, and additional closure resources placed respectively on the lid 7 and on one of the edges forming the opening in the body 6, where the said closure resources are capable of destroying or damaging themselves in the event of a break-in or of an attempted break-in to the chest 3.

In the example shown in FIG. 2, these closure resources are composed of a first element 9 surface mounted at the top edge of the body 6, and a second element 9′ surface mounted at the lower edge of the lid 7 and mating with the first tubular element 9 when the chest 3 is closed, where elements 9 and 9′ respectively have a hollow inner aperture of square or round section, with the inner space of the said first and second elements 9 and 9′ finally forming an aperture that is capable of receiving an assembly pin 9″. In particular, the assembly pin 9″, will have the particular feature of being breakable or frangible in the event of attempted forced opening of the lid 7 in relation to the body 6 in the closed position of the chest 3. The retention in position of the assembly pin 9″ within the aperture formed by the first and second tubular elements 9 and 9′ can in particular be the result of forced insertion of the pin 9″ into the aperture, with the diameter of the pin 9″ in this case being greater than the diameter of the aperture, or the use of any mechanical blocking device placed within the aperture. It will also be advantageous to assign a unique serial number to each assembly pin 9″ and to punch this number onto the said pins 9″, in order to prevent the replacement of a pin 9″ by another when the chest 3 has been opened fraudulently.

Other additional assembly resources can obviously be envisaged in this regard, in particular a mechanical or electronic lock placed between the lid 7 and the body 6, surface-mounted lugs on the top edge of the body 6 or on the lower edge of the lid 7 and designed click-fit into apertures to form mortise locks placed on the edge of the lid 7 or the body 6, as described in patent EP 557.662 for example, or indeed any additional assembly resource that will guarantee that the chest cannot be opened without breakage.

The burnable, tearable, permeable and/or vanishing panel 8 of the lid 7 will also be capable of being burnt, torn or penetrated by a pyrotechnic charge, a cutting charge and/or a destructive or staining liquid contained within the containers 4 in the event of a break-in or an attempted break-in to the said containers 4, as mentioned in patent EP 188.155, where this operation is accompanied by destruction, or partial or total marking of the monetary materials contained in the chest 3.

Finally, it goes without saying that the implementation examples presented above are not limiting in any way, and other changes or additions can be envisaged without moving outside the scope of the invention.