Title:
Storage rack post protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage rack post protector for use in absorbing and dissipating direct impact loads and deflecting indirect or off-center loads to the column frame on which it is attached or located adjacent to, consisting of a material with greater flexibility and compressibility that the rack itself and formed into such a shape as to deflect impact loads.



Inventors:
Lazas, Daniel Philip (Downingtown, PA, US)
Vanselous, Mark Todd (Freehold, NJ, US)
Application Number:
09/738301
Publication Date:
12/06/2001
Filing Date:
12/18/2000
Assignee:
LAZAS DANIEL PHILIP
VANSELOUS MARK TODD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/191, 248/345.1, 211/189
International Classes:
B65G1/02; E01F15/14; E04C3/30; E04F19/02; (IPC1-7): A47F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel P. Lazas (Downingtown, PA, US)
Claims:
1. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a material more flexible and compressible than that of the racking frame material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

2. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a material more flexible and compressible than that of the racking frame material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration with consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

3. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polymer or polymer composite material more flexible and compressible than that of the racking frame material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

4. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polyolephin polymer material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

5. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polyethylene material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

6. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polypropylene material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

7. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a natural or synthetic rubber material; in a configuration such that impact loads can be absorbed, dissipated or deflected, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

8. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polymer or polymer composite material more flexible and compressible than that of the racking frame material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

9. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polyolephin polymer material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

10. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polyethylene material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

11. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a polypropylene material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

12. A post protector for frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the device comprising of: a natural or synthetic rubber material; formed into a linear object with an external profile configuration consisting of an arc on one side and a flat portion on the opposing side, and of sufficient length for a given application, wherein the post protector is positioned adjacent to the frame column or fastened directly said column and serves to minimize damage and destruction to the storage rack from impact loads.

13. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a more flexible and compressible material than the frame column material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect or off-center impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

14. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a more flexible and compressible material than the frame column material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; said material has a sufficiently low coefficient of friction such that indirect or off-center loads are more easily deflected away from the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect or off-center impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

15. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a polymer or polymer composite material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

16. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a polyolephin polymer material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column, and facilitates deflection of indirect or off-center impact loads; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

17. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a polyethylene material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

18. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a polypropylene material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

19. A method for absorbing, dissipating and deflecting impact loads directed towards frame columns of material handling and storage racks, the method comprising the steps of: providing a post protector comprised of a natural or synthetic rubber material, such that the material absorbs and dissipates impact loads otherwise directed toward the frame column; configuring the front of the protector in such a way that indirect impact loads are deflected; Locating the post protector adjacent to the frame column or attaching it to said column.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] Many material handling and storage facilities utilize storage racks as an integral part of the layout. Such racks are typically manufactured from structural or cold rolled steel frames and built in multiple levels. These racks serve to store and retrieve materials and inventory.

[0002] A number of these facilities utilize fork trucks and other handling equipment in order to store or retrieve materials or for other purposes. The legs of the rack frames, or frame columns, are often susceptible to abuse and damage from such equipment.

[0003] Steel or other metal post protectors are sometimes used in an attempt to protect rack frame legs from damage caused by handling equipment. These metal post protectors are either secured to the floor or the rack leg and rely predominantly on structural strength of the protector, rather than load dissipation, to protect the leg.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The storage rack post protector according to the present invention is located immediately adjacent to or attached directly to the column frame of a storage rack. The post protector reduces damage to the column frame from direct impact loads by absorbing and dissipating the load over a larger surface area since its material of construction is more flexible and compressible than that of the column frame. Further, the forward surface of post protector is designed in such a way as to deflect indirect or off-center impact loads and thus reducing damage to the column frame. Some materials of construction offer low frictional properties that further facilitate deflection of indirect or off-center impact loads.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0005] FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a frame column 14 and an embodiment of the post protector 10 according to the present invention attached to the frame column 14.

[0006] FIG. 2 shows a front view of an embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention.

[0007] FIG. 3 shows a side view of an embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention.

[0008] FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention.

[0009] FIG. 5 shows an alternative cross-sectional view of an embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0010] An embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention 10 is shown in FIG. 1. In the illustrated embodiment, the post protector is most preferably of a non-metallic material, such as plastic or rubber. The post protector can vary in height (H), width (W) as shown in FIG. 2, and depth (D) as shown in FIG. 3. The cross-sectional configuration can also vary. Some, although not all, examples of these cross-sectional variations are shown if FIGS. 4 and 5.

[0011] The embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention may be positioned adjacent to the frame column or attached directly to the frame column for the intended purpose of protecting the frame column. When positioned adjacent to the frame column the post protector may or may not use supplemental devices to provide support. Further, the post protector may be attached directly to the floor, indirectly to the floor by way of a supplemental device, or by some other means as to maintain its position for the purpose of protecting the frame column. The embodiment of the post protector according to the present invention may also be attached to the frame column and such method of attachment of the post protector 10 to the frame column 14 can vary. Methods of attachment include but are not limited to bolts, screws, adhesives, tapes, ties and clamps. Bolts may be inserted from the backside of the frame column, through pre-formed holes in the frame column 12, and into pre-formed holes in the post protector. Screws that create their own holes and threads can also be used to attach the post protector in a similar fashion. The types of bolts or screws used to attach the post protector in this way can vary. Additionally, holes can be formed through the entirety of the post protector to allow for insertion of the bolt from the front side, with a securing device included in, or in back of, the frame column. U-bolts, wire ties and other devices can be used to secure the post protector to the frame column 14. Adhesives or tapes can also be used to attach the protector directly to the frame column 14.

[0012] A presently preferred embodiment 10 includes but is not limited to a rounded, cross-sectional configuration that maintains an arc not greater than that of a half circle as shown in FIG. 4. This configuration reduces damage to the frame column by deflecting indirect or off-center impact loads. Other cross-sectional configurations that serve this same function may be utilized. The width of the post protector may vary relative to the width of the frame column 14. This variation includes but may not be limited to widths equal to, less than or greater than that of the frame column width. The height varies depending on the application.

[0013] In a method according to the present invention, the post protector 10 is preferably constructed of a material that is substantially more flexible and compressible than that of the metal frame column. Such materials include, but are not limited to, polyethylene, rubber, flexible PVC, elastomer, polyurethane or similar polymers. Such materials include the family of polymeric materials as well as non-polymeric materials that have similar properties. These materials absorb and dissipate impact loads over a greater area than metals. This absorption and dissipation minimizes concentration of impact loads that can permanently damage the frame column. Some materials, including polyethylene, are inherently lubricious and also facilitate deflection of indirect or off-center impact loads. Successful prototypes were constructed using polyethylene material that performed in this manner.

[0014] The post protector can be formed using manufacturing method such as, but not limited to, injection molding, rotational molding, compression molding, resin transfer molding, extrusion or other methods for processing polymeric and non-polymeric materials. These methods may be used to form solid, semi-solid (i.e. foamed plastic), hollow protectors, or combinations thereof, of the protector according to the present invention.

[0015] Either during the manufacturing process or by way of a post-processing method, such as cutting or machining, the post protector according to the present invention is formed into its functional shape. A prototype was constructed using extruded polyethylene solid rod cut in half length-wise. Sections were cut into lengths to suit application requirements, although generally not exceeding more than several feet in length. Holes were drilled in the flat side to receive attachment bolts upon assembly, resulting in exposure of the rounded section when attached.

[0016] In a presently preferred embodiment 10, a prototype of the post protector according to the present invention was solid in construction. It is possible that reduction in the amount of material utilized in each part through coring, foaming, blowing, or other manufacturing methods may enhance part economics, performance or manufacturing. A prototype was constructed with a width (W) of 3 inches, although widths between 1 and 12 inches may be more practical and effective for some applications. The depth of the post protector can vary to a minimum depth such that is remains able to dissipate loads, and a maximum depth that it does not cause substantial obstruction to material handling equipment. The height can vary, although it is typically not less than 4 inches or greater than 36 inches.