Title:
Collapsible containerized shelter transportable by self-loading vehicles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable collapsible shelter is provided which collapses into a standard ISO shipping container which can be handled by self-loading vehicles and which can be expanded to form a shelter by providing fold-down side walls which extend the floor space of the container and a cover to enclose the extended space.



Inventors:
Johnson, Brian D. (Vancouver, CA)
Thorne, Glen V. (Vancouver, CA)
Application Number:
10/285586
Publication Date:
05/06/2004
Filing Date:
11/01/2002
Assignee:
Weatherhaven Resources Ltd
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60P1/64; B60P3/34; B65D88/12; B65D90/00; B65D90/18; E04B1/343; E04B1/344; E04H15/00; (IPC1-7): E04B1/38; E04C1/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
AMIRI, NAHID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OYEN, WIGGS, GREEN & MUTALA LLP (VANCOUVER, BC, CA)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A portable, collapsible shelter comprising: a) a rigid, hollow container having opposed vertical sides, and a horizontal top and bottom, said container having the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers; b) at least one of said vertical sides comprising a pivoting wall portion hinged along the lower edge thereof to pivot between a closed vertical position and an open horizontal position; c) means for releasably securing said pivoting wall portion in said vertical position; d) means for releasably maintaining said pivoting wall portion in said horizontal position; and e) a cover adapted to be extended above said pivoting wall portion while said pivoting wall portion is in said lowered horizontal position; and wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle.

2. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle having a hook by comprising a hook bar for engaging said hook.

3. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising parallel longitudinal rails extending downwardly from a lower surface thereof.

4. The shelter of claim 3 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising a locking plate located on one of said parallel longitudinal rails.

5. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising a pair of wheels extending downwardly from the lower rear area thereof.

6. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said cover comprises a flexible fabric.

7. The shelter of claim 6 further comprising means for supporting said fabric cover above said hinged vertical side while said pivoting wall portion is in said lowered horizontal position.

8. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said means for releasably aintaining said pivoting wall portion in said horizontal position comprises levelling means.

9. The shelter of claim 8 wherein said levelling means comprises a jack.

10. The shelter of claim 1 further comprising means for raising and lowering said pivoting wall portion.

11. The shelter of claim 10 wherein said means for raising and lowering said pivoting wall portion comprises a cable connected to said pivoting wall portion and winching means.

12. The shelter of claim 6 wherein said fabric cover is secured to the outer lengthwise edge of said pivoting wall portion when said pivoting wall portion is in said horizontal position.

13. The shelter of claim 12 wherein said fabric cover is secured to the transverse edges of said pivoting wall portion which are perpendicular to said outer lengthwise edge of said pivoting wall portion when said pivoting wall portion is in said horizontal position.

14. The shelter of claim 7 wherein said means for supporting said fabric cover above said pivoting wall portion while said pivoting wall portion is in said lowered horizontal position comprise rigid or semi-rigid beams attached to said container at either end of said beams.

15. The shelter of claim 1 wherein said means for releasably securing said pivoting wall portion in said vertical position comprise racking locks.

16. A portable, collapsible shelter comprising a rigid, hollow container having opposed vertical sides, and a horizontal top and bottom, said container having the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers wherein said container is adapted to expanded from a first transport configuration to an expanded configuration, and is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle.

17. The shelter of claim 16 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle having a hook by comprising a hook bar for engaging said hook.

18. The shelter of claim 16 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising parallel longitudinal rails extending downwardly from a lower surface thereof.

19. The shelter of claim 18 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising a locking plate located on one of said parallel longitudinal rails.

20. The shelter of claim 16 wherein said container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle by comprising a pair of wheels extending downwardly from the lower rear area thereof.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The invention relates to the field of portable shelters and more particularly portable shelters which form a rigid ISO shipping container for transporting through container channels.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] Portable shelters which can be transported through ISO container shipping channels are useful for military or civilian projects of short duration or projects which are sufficiently remote that on-site construction is uneconomical. The present applicant has developed a collapsible portable containerized shelter sold commercially under the trade-mark MECC (“Mobile Expandable Container Configuration”) which is the subject of prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,761,854 issued Jun. 9, 1998. That patent discloses a portable, collapsible shelter comprising a) a rigid, hollow container having opposed vertical sides, and a horizontal top and bottom, the container having the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers; b) at least one of the vertical sides comprising a pivoting wall portion hinged along the lower edge thereof to pivot between a closed vertical position and an open horizontal position;c) means for releasably securing the pivoting wall portion in the vertical position; d) means for releasably maintaining the pivoting wall portion in the horizontal position; e) a flexible fabric cover adapted to be extended above said pivoting wall portion while the pivoting wall portion is in the lowered horizontal position; and f) means for supporting the fabric cover above the hinged vertical side while the pivoting wall portion is in the lowered horizontal position.

[0003] The MECC container can be transported through the usual ISO shipping channels, whether ship, rail or truck. It is stacked or loaded using forklift or crane. More recently, however, wider civilian and military use is being made of self-loading trucks which can self-load “flatrack” cargo-carrying structures which can accommodate a container. Trucks which are equipped to self-load and unload these structures are variously referred to as hook-lift hoists, roll-off trucks, palletized load systems (“PLS”), Demountable Rack Off-loading and Pick-up System (DROPS) in the United Kingdom, or MULTI in Germany. Such self-loading trucks are also used in refuse pick-up and removal. An example is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,819,075 Derain. Typically such a truck uses an L-shaped arm driven by a hydraulic cylinder and which engages a hook on the flatrack to first lift the flatrack onto the truck and then slide or roll it along a track or rail to a point where it can be locked in place on the truck bed.

[0004] The self-loading advantages of such systems make them desirable particularly for military applications. Consequently the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has established standards for the Flatrack to ensure interoperability between national systems. The standards referred to as Demountable Load Carrying Platforms (DLCP) Technical Requirements are incorporated herein by reference. The standards set out dimensions for size, configuration and location of the hook bar and Flatrack and are based on DIN (Deutsches Institut fur Normung) Standard no. 30722.

[0005] There is therefore a need for a containerized portable shelter which can be loaded and unloaded by self-loading trucks and which are compatible with military standards for Flatracks and have the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

[0006] The present invention therefore provides a portable, collapsible shelter comprising a rigid, hollow container having opposed vertical sides, and a horizontal top and bottom, said container having the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers wherein said container is adapted to expanded from a first transport configuration to an expanded configuration, and is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a selfloading vehicle.

[0007] The invention further provides a portable collapsible shelter which collapses into a standard ISO shipping container which can be handled by selfloading vehicles and which can be expanded to form a shelter by providing fold-down side walls which extend the floor space of the container and a cover to enclose the extended space. The invention provides a portable, collapsible shelter comprising a) a rigid, hollow container having opposed vertical sides, and a horizontal top and bottom, the container having the dimensions and characteristics which satisfy the standards for ISO shipping containers; b) at least one of the vertical sides comprising a pivoting wall portion hinged along the lower edge thereof to pivot between a closed vertical position and an open horizontal position; c) means for releasably securing the pivoting wall portion in the vertical position; d) means for releasably maintaining the pivoting wall portion in the horizontal position; and e) a cover adapted to be extended above the pivoting wall portion while the pivoting wall portion is in the lowered horizontal position; and wherein the container is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle. The container may be adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading vehicle having a hook by comprising a hook bar for engaging the hook, and may comprise parallel longitudinal rails extending downwardly from a lower surface thereof, a locking plate located on one of the parallel longitudinal rails, and a pair of wheels extending downwardly from the lower rear area thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0008] In drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention in collapsed state ready for shipping being loaded or unloaded from a self-loading truck;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective of the invention in collapsed state;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the invention shown in FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIG. 3 with one side folded down; and

[0013] FIG. 5 is an end view of the invention a shown in FIG. 4.

BEST MODE(S) FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0014] Throughout the following description, specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the invention. However, the invention may be practiced without these particulars. In other instances, well known elements have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the invention. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative, rather than a restrictive, sense.

[0015] With reference to FIG. 1, in its collapsed state the present invention forms a shipping container 10 conforming to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards, including characteristics and dimensions. The ISO and related standards applicable to the construction of the invention may be found in the following publications:

[0016] ISO 668 Series 1 freight containers—dimensions p1 ISO 1161 Series 1 freight containers—corner fittings specification

[0017] ISO 1496-1 Series 1 freight containers—Specification and testing—Part 1: General cargo containers for general purposes

[0018] ISO standards 9000 through 9004—quality standards

[0019] International Union of Railways (U.I.C.)

[0020] Transport International des Routiers (T.I.R.)

[0021] Convention for Safe Containers (C.S.C.)

[0022] The container 10 has rigid pivotting side walls 12, roof 14 and ends 16, all of which walls may be insulated. While both sides 12 are pivotting in the preferred form of the invention, only one of the sides could be so cut out. The pivotting sides 12 are held in closed configuration by anti-racking locks 18. Metal bottom side rail 20, front bottom end rail 21, top side rail 22, rear bottom end rail 23, metal vertical rails 24, top end rails 25 and ISO corner fittings 26 provide reinforcement of the structure during shipping. Pockets 28 are provided in rails 60 (described below) to receive the forks of a fork lift vehicle. A floor 19 is provided on the bottom of the container (FIG. 4). Plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems can be pre-installed in the floor or walls or elsewhere in the container 10. The manner in which the container 10 is constructed to form a portable, collapsible shelter is disclosed in prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,761,854 issued Jun. 9, 1998, which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0023] Preferably roof 14 is a standard container roof of mild steel or Corten. Corner fittings 26 are manufactured of cast steel, and other frame members are of mild steel. End walls 16 and side walls 12 are formed of sections of steel panels surrounding rigid insulation foam. FIG. 4 illustrates floor construction with lengthwise rails 60 and cross-beams 34 shown in phantom outline. Floor 19 is preferably plywood with a vinyl top layer, while the inner surface 36 of side walls 12 is plywood with a linoleum upper layer. Floor and wall insulation is rigid polyurethane or polystyrene foam while fibreglass batt insulation is used for the roof 14.

[0024] The two side walls 12 are hinged along the base thereof at 42 to allow them to pivot from a vertical position as shown in FIG. 1, where they are retained by the anti-racking locks 18, to the horizontal position shown in FIG. 4. To facilitate the raising and lowering of sides 12, wire cable or ropes (not shown) are attached to the upper corners of sides 12 and run over pulleys 48 on each side and down to winches (not shown) which are attached to the container. A fabric cover 52 (FIG. 5), made of a waterproof PVC-coated polyester or the like, which may be insulated, is attached along edges of side wall 12 and along edge 56 of the opening formed in container 10 by side 12. The shape and area of the fabric cover 52 is such that when sides 12 are lowered to the horizontal position, fabric cover 52 provides a waterproof seal over the area of the container which is thereby opened, and rigid or semi-rigid arc-shaped metal frames or beams (as disclosed in prior U.S. Pat. No. 5,761,854) can be installed by pushing out the fabric cover to provide a supporting frame to support the fabric cover 52, thus forming a tight outer cover for a sheltered space, or the fabric cover 52 can be pneumatically supported either by forced air within the sheltered space, or pneumatically inflated walls. While a flexible fabric cover is preferred, other expandable arrangements can also be used in which the expanded area has solid walls and/or roof.

[0025] As shown in FIG. 1, container 10 is adapted to be loaded and unloaded by a self-loading truck 50. Such truck has a cab 55, and a grappling arm 54 with a hook end 56 which is moved by a hydraulic cylinder 58. Hook end 56 engages hook bar 57 on container 10 (FIG. 2). Preferably the dimensions and location of the hook bar 58 conform to the NATO standards for Demountable Load Carrying Platforms, including radius, height above the base of the container, diameter, angle of the hook bar to the vertical and horizontal planes, width of the bar access and free space behind the hook bar. The container is further preferably provided with rails 60 according to NATO standard widths and tunnel height (vertical clearance between and outside the runners). A locking plate 62, preferably shaped and positioned as described in the NATO DLCP standards, enables the container 10 to be secured to the vehicle once loaded. It has a projection 64 which is engaged by a spring-loaded latch (not shown) or similar mechanism on the self-loading truck frame 66. The distance from the hook bar 57 to the locking plate 62 is a critical standard distance, specified as 3765 mm in DIN standard no. 30722.

[0026] To facilitate the loading and unloading of the container, a pair of wheels 70 or 72 may be provided adjacent the rear frame member 23. The wheels 70 may be removably affixed to corner fittings 26, and removed once the container has been loaded on the vehicle, or may be fixed by plates 74 to rear frame member 23. The device will however work effectively without wheels.

[0027] In operation, the folded container 10, as shown in FIG. 1 is loaded or unloaded from vehicle 50 and can be transported by the usual ISO container ships, by rail or by air. Once delivered to its destination, the container is expanded to its shelter configuration by unlatching racks 18 to release side walls 12 to a horizontal position using winches or the like. Side 12 is maintained in a horizontal position by jacks, other levelling means, cables, blocks or other support. The fabric cover 52 is then raised and supported by metal frames, pneumatically or otherwise. To collapse the structure to its shipping configuration, the metal frames are removed and side walls 12 are raised by winches. Fabric cover 52 is folded into container 10 and side walls 12 are latched in the vertical position. The container can then again be loaded by the self-loading vehicle for shipping by truck, rail, ship, helicopter or airplane as a standard shipping container.

[0028] While the invention has been described having a flexible cover, the invention is useful for any expandable container, including cartridge types in which the expandable section has rigid sides and roof.

[0029] As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.