Title:
DISPOSABLE INFLATABLE DUNNAGE
United States Patent 3808981


Abstract:
A device for use with a dunnage bag, the device including a valve mounted in the bag adapted to be connected to a source of high pressure air and an air regulator associated with the valve and positioned inside the bag to control the direction and the pressure of the air entering the bag from the source of high pressure air.



Inventors:
SHAW R
Application Number:
05/337545
Publication Date:
05/07/1974
Filing Date:
03/02/1973
Assignee:
INTERLAKE INC,US
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
137/224, 206/522
International Classes:
B60P7/06; B61D45/00; (IPC1-7): B61D45/00
Field of Search:
105/369BA,369D 214
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3556318DUNNAGE BAG1971-01-19Hollis
3414140Dunnage1968-12-03Feldkamp
3160118Apparatus for controlling pressurization of inflatable dunnage members on freight cars1964-12-08Newell



Primary Examiner:
Wood Jr., Henson M.
Assistant Examiner:
Church, Gene A.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Prangley, Dithmar, Vogel, Sandler & Stotland
Claims:
1. A device for use with an inflatable, air-tight dunnage bag, said device comprising a valve sealably mounted in the bag and constructed and arranged to provide communication between the inside of the bag and a source of high pressure air used to inflate the bag, and an air regulator positioned inside the bag to control the direction and pressure of the air from the source of high pressure air entering the bag through said valve

2. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein said valve is spring loaded to

3. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein said valve is a synthetic

4. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein said air regulator is sealingly

5. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein said air regulator is a

6. The device set forth in claim 1, wherein said air regulator is metal.

7. A device for use with an inflatable, air-tight dunnage bag, said device comprising a valve sealably mounted in the bag and constructed and arranged to provide communication between the inside of the bag and a source of high pressure air used to inflate the bag, and an air regulator having a conical shell with a plurality of apertures therein to control the direction and pressure of the air from the source of high pressure air

8. The device set forth in claim 8, wherein said air regulator is

9. The device set forth in claim 8, wherein said air regulator is frusto-conical in shape and has a plurality of apertures in the portion

10. A device for use with an inflatable, air-tight dunnage bag, said device comprising a valve sealably mounted in the bag and constructed and arranged to provide communication between the inside of the bag and a source of high pressure air used to inflate the bag, and an air regulator having a perforated baffle spaced from said valve and having flow passages therethrough to control the direction and pressure of air from the source of high pressure air entering the bag through said valve to prevent damage

11. The device set forth in claim 11, wherein said air regulator includes a plurality of spaced apart struts connected to said valve to define said

12. A device for use with an inflatable, air-tight dunnage bag, said device comprising a valve sealably mounted in the bag and constructed and arranged to provide communication between the inside of the bag and a source of high pressure air used to inflate the bag, and an air regulator positioned inside the bag to control the direction and pressure of the air from the source of high pressure air entering the bag through said valve to prevent damage to the bag, said valve is spring loaded to the sealed position thereof, said valve being movable between a seated position thereof wherein the bag is air-tight and sealed from the wherein the inside of the bag is in communication with the source of high pressure air and an unseated position thereof wherein the inside of the bag is in communication with the source of high pressure air, said valve having passages therethrough to form an air regulator for air from the source of high pressure air, said valve in the unseated position thereof acting as a baffle and cooperating with said flow passages to control the direction and pressure of air from the source of high pressure air entering the bag

13. The device set forth in claim 13, wherein said air regulator is formed in said valve.

Description:
This invention relates to a dunnage for use in shipment of freight by rail, ship, truck, aircraft and the like, and more particularly to a device useful during inflation of the dunnage to prevent injury thereto.

It is an important object of the present invention to provide a device for use with an inflatable, air-tight dunnage bag, the device comprising a valve sealably mounted in the bag and constructed and arranged to provide communication between the inside of the bag and a source of high pressure air used to inflate the bag, and an air regulator associated with the valve inside the bag to control the direction and pressure of the air entering the bag from the source of high pressure air to prevent damage to the bag.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a device of the type set forth wherein the air regulator has a conically shaped shell with a plurality of apertures therein to control the direction and pressure of the air entering the bag from the source of high pressure air to prevent damage to the bag.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a device of the type set forth wherein the air regulator has a perforated baffle spaced from the valve and has flow passages therethrough to control the direction and pressure of air from the source of high pressure air entering the bag through the valve to prevent damage to the bag.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a device of the type set forth wherein the valve has flow passages therethrough to form an air regulator.

The invention, both as to its organization and method of operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following specification taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a dunnage bag incorporating the inflator device of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the dunnage bag illustrated in FIG. 1 taken along lines 2--2 thereof;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of a portion of the inflator device illustrated in FIG. 4;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view partly in elevation of the inflator device illustrated in FIG. 3 taken along lines 4--4 thereof;

FIG. 5 is a bottom elevational view of the inflator device illustrated in FIG. 4 as viewed along lines 5--5 thereof;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of another embodiment of the invention shown in combination with a dunnage bag;

FIG. 7 is a bottom elevational view of the inflator device illustrated in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a sectional view partly in elevation of another embodiment of the present invention showing the device in combination with a dunnage bag;

FIG. 9 is a bottom elevational view of the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 8 as viewed along lines 9--9 thereof;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of a portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, particularly showing the valve in the unseated position thereof and the direction of air flow therethrough;

FIG. 11 is a view like FIG. 10 showing the seated position of the valve in phantom and the unseated position of the valve in solid line.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, there is disclosed a dunnage 50 having a bladder 52 cut to the desired length from a tube of air impervious material, such as polyethylene, and heat sealed, or glued at its opposite ends along lines 54 at either end thereof and also along a seam 53. The bladder 52 is encased or enveloped in a multi-ply container made up of a plurality of sheets 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60 superimposed one over the other, and flat so that the longitudinal edges of each sheet overlap and the overlapped edges of each sheet are adhesively secured to form a longitudinal seam. Preferably, the sheets are flat and the longitudinal edges are overlapped and secured on a tubing machine with the overlapped edges of the sheets staggered longitudinally of the tube with the seam of one tube offset relative to the seams of the adjacent tubes. In fitting, lapping and securing the edges on a tubing machine, the multi-ply tube, formed in the preferred embodiment with 6 paper sheets or plies, is a continuous folded tube from which the containers are cut in suitable lengths.

The width of the outer edge of the bladder 52 and each of the plies 55, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60 is the same as, or slightly wider than, the width of the inner diameter of the next outer ply member. This is of substantial importance because, when inflated, the bladder does not stretch, is not weakened and is fully supported by the plies of the container.

Finally, the dunnage 50 is provided with a hole 69 extending through all of the plies 55 to 60 and the bladder 52 to accommodate therein an inflator device 80 which is used in cooperation with a source of high pressure air to inflate the dunnage.

Dunnage bags 50 of the type hereindescribed, are most often inflated just prior to use in large quantities when used with shipments by rail, and punctured to release the air when the dunnage is to be removed from the shipping container and thereafter the punctured dunnage is thrown away. It is important, however, that the dunnage 50 retain its integrity during its use and particularly it is important that the dunnage remain air-tight subsequent to the inflation thereof by the use of air from a high pressure source. A particular problem in this art is damaging the bladder 52 during inflation of the dunnage by the impingement of high pressure air onto the bladder 52, thereby resulting in air leakage from the dunnage.

As seen particularly in FIG. 4, a rubber grommet 70 is positioned in the hole 69 to surround each of the plies 55 to 60 and to have one leg 71 thereof sealingly positioned on the outermost ply 60 and the other leg 72 thereof sealingly positioned intermediate the innermost ply 55 and the bladder 52. The grommet 70 may be in the form of a rubber tube which is bent into configuration shown wherein the two legs 71 and 72 thereof are connected by a bight portion 73 which lines the edge of the aperture or hole 69 thereby to protect the dunnage 50. A retaining clip 75 is provided and includes an attachment flange 76 fixedly secured to the outer surface of the grommet leg 71 and a holding flange 77 which is flexible, all for a purpose hereinafter set forth.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 5 of the drawings, there is disclosed one embodiment of the inflator device 80, including a valve 90 having a generally right circular cylindrical housing 91 which is hollow and has an inner peripheral surface 92 and an outer peripheral surface 93. Two spaced apart bosses 94 and 95 are provided on the outer surface 93 of the housing 91, the valve 90 further including a circular flange 96 extending outwardly of the cylindrical housing 91. The flange 96 is provided with a sealing surface 97, an abutment surface 99 and has an opening 98 extending therethrough. The flange 90 is also provided with a valve seat 100 in the form of an annulus extending from the inner surface 92 of the housing 91. The annular valve seat 100 is provided on abutment surface 101 and a sealing surface 102.

A valve stem 105 extends longitudinally of the cylindrical housing 91 and is positioned therewithin. The valve stem 105 is provided with a dome shaped top 106 and a shank 107 extending therefrom, the shank 107 being provided with a circular disk 110 at the end of the shank away from the dome shaped top 106. Two fastening members 111 serve to maintain the disk 110 in fixed position with respect to the shank 107. The diameter of the disk 110 is greater than the iner diameter of the valve seat 100 thereby to permit the disk 110 to seat against the sealing surface 102 of the valve seat 100. Finally, a spring 115 is positioned against the abutment surface 101 of the valve seat 100 and against the underside of the dome 106 of the stem 105, thereby continually to urge the valve 90 into the closed position thereof wherein the disk 110 is in sealing relation with the valve seat 100.

Associated with the valve 90 is a gas distributor 120 including a frusto-conical shell 121 having an annular flange 122 extending therefrom and an end piece 123 spaced from the flange 122. The annular flange 122 is heat sealed or otherwise sealed in an air-tight manner to the abutment surface 99 of the valve flange 96, the flange 96 and more particularly the sealing surface 97 thereof being heat sealed to the bladder 52, thereby to provide an air-tight flow path from the valve 90 to the gas distributor 120. The frustoconical shell 121 and the end piece 123 are provided with a plurality of apertures 125, the apertures 125 being arranged in columns as seen best in FIG. 5.

In use, a source of high pressure air is connected to the valve 90 and more particularly to the housing 91. The valve stem 105 is moved from its seated position shown in FIG. 4 to a position wherein the disk 110 is spaced from the valve seat 100 thereby to provide communication between the source of high pressure air and the gas distributor 120 and thereafter the inside of the dunnage 50 and more particularly the bladder 52 thereof. Movement of the valve stem 105 to its unseated position may be effected by mechanical means such as physically depressing the valve stem or by the action of the high pressure air against the dome 106, provided that the strength of the spring 115 permits such movement. Air flowing from the source of high pressure air flows through the valve 90 and into the gas distributor 120 and through the apertures 125 in the conical shell 121 and the end piece 123, all as shown by the directional arrows 130 and 135. Prior to inflation, the dunnage 50 is positioned with the two sides of the bladder 52 either in abutting relationship or closely spaced together. Introduction of high pressure air through the valve 90 without the benefit of the gas distributor 120 often results in damage to the bladder 52, particularly in the area opposite to the opening 98 in the housing 91. Since the apertures 125 in the gas distributor 120 are relatively small compared to the opening 98, the air flowing through the apertures 125 has a reduced velocity and is directed as is shown by the arrows 130 along a longer flow path than would be the case if the gas distributor 120 were not present. Both the gas directing function and the velocity reducing function of the gas distributor 120 serves to protect the bladder 52, thereby to preserve the integrity of the dunnage during its use.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 7, there is shown a second embodiment of the present invention. An inflator device 180 includes a valve 190 having a right circular cylindrical housing 191 which is hollow and has an inner peripheral surface and an outer peripheral surface 193. Two spaced apart bosses 194 and 195 are provided on the outer surface 193 of the housing 191, the valve 190 further including a circular flange 196 extending outwardly of the cylindrical housing 191. The flange 196 is provided with a sealing surface 197 and an opposed abutment surface 199, the flange also having an opening 198 extending therethrough. The valve 190 is maintained in place by the appropriate retaining clip 75 mounted on a rubber grommet 70 shown in phantom being sealed to the dunnage 50 in the same manner as hereinbefore set forth.

A gas distributor 220 is associated with the valve 190, the gas distributor 220 having four support members 221 extending angularly away from the flange 196. Each of the support members 221 is connected at one end thereof to an end piece 223 which is circular in shape and at the other end thereof each of the support members 221 is connected to a flange member 222 extending outwardly thereof and fixedly connected to the flange 196 and more particularly to the abutment surface 199 thereof. The end piece 223 is provided with a plurality of apertures 225 therethrough. It is seen, therefore, that the combination of the support members 221, the flange members 222 and the end piece 223 has replaced the frusto-conical shell 121 and the flange 122 of the gas distributor 120.

In use, the valve 190 is connected to a source of high pressure air. The valve disk (not shown) is caused to move from the valve seat to permit air from the source of high pressure air to flow into and through the gas distributor 220. The air passes through the openings in the gas distributor between each of the support members 221 as shown by the directional arrows 230 and also passes through the apertures 225 in the end piece 223 as shown by the directional arrows 235. It is seen, therefore, that the gas distributor 220 serves to direct the air away from the portion of the bladder 52 directly opposite the valve 190 and also serves to reduce the velocity of the air flowing through the end piece 223. In this manner, the gas distributor 220 achieves all the functions and results that were achieved by the gas distributor 120.

Referring now to FIGS. 8 to 11, there is shown another embodiment of the present invention. An inflator device 380 includes a valve 390 and an air flow regulator 420. The valve 390 includes a right cylindrical housing 391 which is hollow and has an inner surface 392 and an outer surface 393. Spaced apart bosses 394 and 395 are provided extending outwardly from the outer surface 393 of the housing 391. The bosses 394 and 395 cooperate with the retaining clip 75 fixedly to secure the inflator device 380 in the associated dunnage 50.

The valve 390 further includes a flange 396 extending perpendicularly outwardly of the housing 391, the flange being provided with a sealing surface 397 on one side thereof and having an aperture 398 extending therethrough. The valve 390 further includes a valve seat 400 in the form of an annulus extending from the inner surface 392 of the housing 391. The valve seat is provided with an abutment surface 301 and a sealing surface 402. A valve stem 405 is located centrally of the housing 391 and has a shaft 407 extending longitudinally therethrough. A disk 410 is fixedly mounted on the shaft 407 by two fastening members 411, the diameter of the disk 410 being greater than the opening in the valve seat 400 and in the usual manner is constructed and arranged to seat with the sealing surface 402 of the valve seat 400.

An air flow regulator 420 is provided and includes a plurality of apertures cut into the housing 391 and the flange 396. The air flow regulator is comprised of 8 such apertures, each being formed of opposite side walls 421, a top wall 422 which at one end thereof forms a juncture 423 with the inner surface 392 of the housing 391, and at the other end thereof forms a juncture 424 with the surface of the flange 396 thereby to define an air flow space 425.

As seen in FIGS. 10 and 11, air from a source of high pressure air (not shown) flows downwardly through the valve 390 and outwardly through the air flow spaces 425 provided in the air flow regulator 420 as seen by the arrows 430. The disk 410 on the valve stem 405 is movable from the seated or sealed position thereof shown in Phantom in FIG. 11, to the unseated or open position thereof shown in FIGS. 10 and 11 in solid line. As seen, the spring 415 continually urges the valve 390 into the closed position thereof wherein the disk 410 is firmly sealed against the valve seat 400, thereby to prevent air from flowing into or out of the dunnage 50. High pressure air may be introduced through the valve 390 and into the dunnage 50 thereby to inflate the same without damaging the bladder 52 of the dunnage due to the presence of the air regulator 420. The air regulator 420 directs high pressure air along the air flow path 430 which prevents impingement of high pressure air onto that portion of the bladder 52 directly opposite the inflator device 380. Since it is the direct impingement of high pressure air onto the bladder 52 which causes damage thereto, the direction of the high pressure air by the air regulator 420 serves to maintain the integrity of the bladder 52.

The inflator device of the present invention including both the valves and the air regulators hereinbefore described may be made from various synthetic organic resins such as polyethylene, polypropylene and the like or from a metal such as various grades of steel or aluminum. It is intended that the dunnage 50 along with the inflator device 80 is to be thrown away after use and, therefore, it is clear that the inflator device should be made of low cost but durable materials.

While there has been described what is at present considered to be the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood that various modifications and alterations may be made herein without departing from the true spirit and scope of the present invention, and it is intended to cover in the appended claims all such modifications and alterations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the present invention.