Title:
Storage box
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a housing box by which means for efficiently transporting clothes with hangers at a low cost by using a general-purpose container such as a dry container. Connecting members for respectively connecting front ends of a pair of side structures to each other and rear ends to each other are provided. A bending device for bending the connecting members inward is provided. The box can be changed between an unfolded attitude in which the respective connecting members are kept extended and the hanger pipes are mounted to bridge the pair of side structures to form a housing space and a folded attitude in which the respective connecting members are bent inward to thereby bring the side structures close to each other.



Inventors:
Okumura, Masashi (Itami-shi, JP)
Application Number:
10/348330
Publication Date:
07/22/2004
Filing Date:
01/22/2003
Assignee:
OKUMURA MASASHI
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/12; B65D6/18; B65D88/12; B65D88/52; B65D85/18; B65D90/18; (IPC1-7): B65D6/12; B65D6/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20060266757Reinforced silicone elastomer cookwareNovember, 2006Camacho et al.
20090314784Bowl HolderDecember, 2009Kim
20050224509No-spill beverage-storage system for vehicle consoleOctober, 2005Dry et al.
20080035644CONTAINER HAVING SURROUNDING HANDLE AND GIMBALFebruary, 2008Dahlquist et al.
20090302041Bag dispenser for trash receptacleDecember, 2009Wolfson et al.
20060037872Measuring and dispensing apparatus with mixing containerFebruary, 2006Steiner
20090200311Recycling dividerAugust, 2009Glucoft
20070289980BEVERAGE PACKAGE WITH CONCEALED STRAWDecember, 2007Yeh
20070181573Protective containerAugust, 2007Dawson et al.
20070090118Preform of a plastic container particularly designed for packaging foodstuffsApril, 2007Milkowski et al.
20020050480Hermetically closed disposable containerMay, 2002Rolle



Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KRATZ, QUINTOS & HANSON, LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A housing box for transporting clothes, the box comprising casters for movement at a bottom portion and one or more hanger pipes mounted to bridge a pair of left and right side structures such that the clothes with hangers are housed in the box while being hung from the hanger pipes, wherein connecting members for respectively connecting front ends of the pair of side structures to each other and rear ends to each other are provided, bending means for bending the connecting members inward is provided, the box can be changed between an unfolded attitude in which the respective connecting members are kept extended and the hanger pipes are mounted to bridge the pair of side structures to form a housing space, and a folded attitude in which the respective connecting members are bent inward to thereby bring the side structures close to each other.

2. A housing box according to claim 1, wherein opposite end portions of the respective connecting members are pivoted on the front and rear ends of the pair of side structures to be rotatable inward and the respective connecting members can be bent at substantially central portions thereof such that the respective connecting members can be folded inward in two.

3. A housing box according to claim 1 or 2, wherein bending guide members are provided to corner portions of the front and rear ends of the side structures on which the opposite end portions of the respective members are supported with one end of each the bending guide member supported on the connecting member and the other end supported on the side structure and each the bending guide member is provided with a lock mechanism for restricting a guiding operation to maintain an extended state of each the connecting member.

4. A housing box according to any of claims 1 to 3, wherein each the connecting member is formed by forming a pair of angular-U-shaped members by vertical rods pivoted on the front or rear ends of the pair of side structures to be rotatable inward through hinge portions and horizontal rods respectively extending horizontally from upper and lower ends of the vertical rods and connecting end portions of the corresponding horizontal rods of the angular-U-shaped members to each other through hinge portions such that each the connecting member can be bent inward in two by the hinge portions.

5. A housing box according to any of claims 1 to 4, wherein each the side structure is formed by forming a lattice-shaped frame by a pair of upper and lower horizontal rods and a plurality of vertical rods connecting the horizontal rods and mounting a plurality of plate-shaped brackets at predetermined intervals in a vertical direction on an inner face side of the frame, the bracket being formed with a plurality of support holes for supporting end portions of the hanger pipes.

6. A housing box according to any of claims 1 to 5, wherein an inserted pin to be fitted in the support hole provided to an inner face side of the side structure is mounted in one end portion of the hanger pipe to be able to project and recede such that the hanger pipe is detachable.

7. A housing box according to claim 6, wherein a spring for biasing the inserted pin outward is mounted in the hanger pipe and an outer peripheral face of the hanger pipe is provided with a substantially L-shaped guide groove for guiding an operating lever projecting from the inserted pin and capable of maintaining a state in which the spring contracts and the inserted pin recedes.

8. A housing box according to any of claims 1 to 7, wherein a jack device for lifting the caster to prevent movement of the box is provided to a bottom portion of the side structure to which the caster is provided.

9. A housing box according to any of claim 1 to 8, wherein a single or divided floor plate(s) is/are pivoted on (a) lower end portion(s) of one or both of the side structures to be rotatable upward and the floor plate(s) form(s) a floor of the housing box in the unfolded attitude and can be folded inside the side structures in the folded attitude.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a housing box for transporting clothes with hangers by housing the clothes in a hung state.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] Conventionally, in order to transport clothes with hangers for a long distance from an overseas plant or the like, a hanger container designed specifically for clothes is used. In the hanger container, a hanger pipe from which the hangers are hung is mounted.

[0005] Since such a hanger container is transported while hanging clothes one by one from the hanger pipe, the whole container is normally used by one company and a consolidated container is not formed by also loading products of other companies.

[0006] In a case of such a special-purpose container, because the clothes are hung one by one from the hanger pipe as described above, loading and unloading of the clothes take much time. For example, when the container reaches an import center, it takes about two to three hours to unload one container, which seriously obstructs traffic in an ordinary road, adversely affects receiving operations of other goods, and contributes to difficulty in smooth handling of the goods.

[0007] Because the goods are controlled by the container, it is impossible to form a consolidated container with other companies even if the goods are for half a container or less and a physical distribution cost for shuttling including a cost for returning the container is extremely high.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention has been accomplished with such circumstances in view and it is an object of the present invention to provide means for efficiently transporting clothes with hangers at low cost by using a general-purpose container such as a dry container.

[0009] According to the present invention, there is provided a housing box for transporting clothes, the box comprising casters for movement at a bottom portion and one or more hanger pipes mounted to bridge a pair of left and right side structures such that the clothes with hangers are housed in the box while being hung from the hanger pipes, wherein connecting members for respectively connecting front ends of the pair of side structures to each other and rear ends to each other are provided, bending means for bending the connecting members inward is provided, the box can be changed between an unfolded attitude in which the respective connecting members are kept extended and the hanger pipes are mounted to bridge the pair of side structures to form a housing space and a folded attitude in which the respective connecting members are bent inward to thereby bring the side structures close to each other.

[0010] According to such a housing box, it is possible to load the clothes with the hangers in a general-purpose container and to transport them for a long distance. After use, by changing the attitude of the box into the compact folded attitude, it is possible to downsize a storage space for the boxes or to return many housing boxes to an overseas production plant at a time by similarly using the general-purpose container. As compared with conventional art in which the special-purpose hanger container is used, a physical distribution cost for shuttling can be considerably reduced and it is possible to swiftly and easily load and unload the general-purpose container.

[0011] More specifically, opposite end portions of the respective connecting members are pivoted on the front and rear ends of the pair of side structures to be rotatable inward and the respective connecting members can be bent at substantially central portions thereof such that the respective connecting members can be folded inward in two.

[0012] Preferably, bending guide members are provided to corner portions of the front and rear ends of the side structures on which the opposite end portions of the respective members are supported with one end of each the bending guide member supported on the connecting member and the other end supported on the side structure and each the bending guide member is provided with a lock mechanism for restricting a guiding operation to maintain an extended state of each the connecting member.

[0013] Each the connecting member may be formed by forming a pair of angular-U-shaped members by vertical rods pivoted on the front or rear ends of the pair of side structures to be rotatable inward through hinge portions and horizontal rods respectively extending horizontally from upper and lower ends of the vertical rods and connecting end portions of the corresponding horizontal rods of the angular-U-shaped members to each other through hinge portions such that each the connecting member can be bent inward in two by the hinge portions. In this case, a worker can go in and out through frame-shaped opening portions of the connecting members.

[0014] Each the side structure may be formed by forming a lattice-shaped frame by a pair of upper and lower horizontal rods and a plurality of vertical rods connecting the horizontal rods and mounting a plurality of plate-shaped brackets at predetermined intervals in a vertical direction on an inner face side of the frame, the bracket being formed with a plurality of support holes for supporting end portions of the hanger pipes. In this case, it is possible to hang the hanger pipe on the bracket at a proper height according to lengths of the clothes.

[0015] Preferably, an inserted pin to be fitted in the support hole provided to an inner face side of the side structure is mounted in one end portion of the hanger pipe to be able to project and recede such that the hanger pipe is detachable.

[0016] In a preferred embodiment, a spring for biasing the inserted pin outward is mounted in the hanger pipe and an outer peripheral face of the hanger pipe is provided with a substantially L-shaped guide groove for guiding an operating lever projecting from the inserted pin and capable of maintaining a state in which the spring contracts and the inserted pin recedes.

[0017] A jack device for lifting the caster to prevent movement of the box may be provided to a bottom portion of the side structure to which the caster is provided. In this case, especially movement of the housing box in the container in the transportation can be restricted and the box can be stabilized.

[0018] Moreover, in a preferred embodiment, a single or divided floor plate(s) is/are pivoted on (a) lower end portion(s) of one or both of the side structures to be rotatable upward and the floor plate(s) form(s) a floor of the housing box in the unfolded attitude and can be folded inside the side structures in the folded attitude.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a housing box according to a representative embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a plan view of the housing box;

[0021] FIG. 3 is a side view of the housing box;

[0022] FIGS. 4A to 4C are explanatory views showing a manner that an attitude of the housing box is changed from an unfolded attitude into a folded attitude;

[0023] FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view showing main components of a hanger pipe; and

[0024] FIG. 6 is an explanatory view of a bending guide member.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0025] Next, an embodiment of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0026] FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the whole structure of a housing box according to the present invention. FIGS. 1 to 6 show a representative embodiment. In the figures, a reference symbol A designates a housing box, 1 (2) designates a side structure, 3 (4) designates a connecting member, 5 designates a bending guide member, 6 designates a caster, 7 designates a jack device, and 8 designates a hanger pipe.

[0027] As shown in FIG. 1, the housing box A according to the present invention includes the casters 6, . . . for movement and one or more hanger pipes 8 mounted to bridge a pair of left and right side structures 1 and 2 so as to transport clothes while preventing the clothes from losing their shapes even for many hours by housing and hanging the clothes with hangers from the hanger pipes 8.

[0028] The connecting members 3 and 4 for respectively connecting front ends 1a and 2a of the side structure to each other and rear ends 1b and 2b to each other are provided and a bending device 9 for bending the connecting members 3 and 4 inward are provided. As shown in FIGS. 4A to 4C, the box can be changed between an unfolded attitude A1 in which the respective connecting members 3 and 4 are kept extended and the hanger pipes are mounted to bridge the pair of side structures 1 and 2 to form a housing space S and a folded attitude A2 in which the respective connecting members 3 and 4 are folded inward to thereby bring the side structures 1 and 2 close to each other. The box is characterized in that the whole box can be folded and made compact when it is not used.

[0029] The side structures 1 and 2 and the front and rear connecting members 3 and 4 are formed in frame shapes by using expanded members made of aluminum or an aluminum alloy and dimensions of the whole housing box A are 2,850 mm (depth) by 2,300 mm (width) by 2,100 mm (height) and are set such that two boxes can be loaded in the front and back into a twenty-foot dry container.

[0030] The housing box A according to the present embodiment and formed of the frames by using lightweight metal raw material as described above is covered from above with a protecting cover (not shown) having an entrance (a zippered slit) for a worker and corresponding to a front opening portion surrounded by the connecting member 3 in actual use. Products other than a textile can be loaded in the container together if the products do not smell and are not dirty.

[0031] As a raw material for the side structures and the connecting members, nonferrous metal materials other than aluminum and steel materials can also be used and nonmetal materials such as woody materials, organic high polymer materials such as synthetic resin, and inorganic materials can also be used.

[0032] The housing box according to the present invention is not limited to one formed of the frames described above and a part of or the whole box may be formed in a plate shape.

[0033] Furthermore, the protecting cover may be omitted or only a top face may be covered. The protecting cover may be fixed to the side structures and the connecting members all the time to be collapsible instead of being detached in folding.

[0034] As shown in FIG. 3, the side structure 1 is formed of a lattice-shaped frame 10 including a pair of horizontal rods 12, 12 provided to an upper end and a lower end and a plurality of vertical rods 11, 13, . . . provided to vertically bridge the horizontal rods. H-shaped members are used respectively for the upper and lower horizontal rods 12 and 12 and the front-end and rear-end vertical rods 11 and 11 forming the frame 10 and channel members are used for the other vertical rods 13, . . . .

[0035] On an inner face side of the frame 10, a plurality of plate-shaped brackets 14 made of stainless steel and formed with a plurality of support holes 15, . . . for supporting end portions 8a and 8b of the hanger pipe are arranged at intervals in a vertical direction.

[0036] These brackets 14 are provided to bridge the vertical rods 11, 13 . . . between the front and back of the frame 10 and each the bracket 14 is formed with the plurality of support holes 15 at constant intervals along a front-to-back direction. A plurality of rows of support holes 15 are provided in a vertical direction to the lower four brackets 14 excluding the upper-end bracket such that the support holes 15 at a proper height can be chosen according to a size of clothes to be hung.

[0037] The other side structure 2 provided to face the above side structure 1 is similarly formed of a lattice-shaped frame 20 including horizontal rods 22, 22 and a plurality of vertical rods 21, 23. On an inner face side of the frame 20, plate-shaped brackets 24, . . . . formed with a plurality of support holes 25, . . . are similarly attached. Both the brackets 14 and 24 and their support holes 15, . . . and 25, . . . are provided to such positions as to face each other and the hanger pipe 8 made of stainless steel is horizontally hung on a chosen pair of support holes 15 and 25 in the housing space S.

[0038] The connecting member 3 is formed by forming a pair of angular-U-shaped members 30, 30 formed of vertical rods 31, 31 pivoted on the front ends 1a and 2a of both the side structures so as to be rotatable inward through hinge portions 33 formed of hinges and horizontal rods 32, 32 extending horizontally from an upper end and a lower end of the vertical rods 31. Horizontal rod end portions 32a and 32a corresponding to each other of the angular-U-shaped member 30 are connected to each other through hinge portions 34 and the frame-shaped connecting member 3 can be folded inward in two by using the hinge portions 33 and 34 formed of the hinges as the bending device 9. Channel members are used respectively for the vertical rods 31 and the horizontal rods 32 forming the angular-U-shaped members and are assembled with their channels oriented inward.

[0039] On the other hand, the connecting member 4 provided to the rear ends 1b and 2b of both the side structures is similarly formed of a pair of angular-U-shaped members 40 and 40 including vertical rods 41 and horizontal rods 42. Because the connecting member 4 has similar structures to the above-described connecting member 3 such as hinge portions 43 and 44 as the bending device 9, descriptions thereof will not be repeated.

[0040] Although opening portions through which the worker goes in and out of the box are formed on the front and rear of the box by forming both the connecting members 3 and 4 into the frames which can be folded in two in the embodiment as described above, the rear connecting member 4 is not necessarily formed with the entrance and may be formed of a plate-shaped member.

[0041] The bending guide members 5 for respectively guiding bending of the connecting members 3 (4) in two are provided in corner portions of the front ends 1a and 2a and the rear ends 1b and 2b of the side structures on which the opposite end portions of the respective connecting members 3 and 4 are supported. The respective bending guide members 5 are provided with lock mechanisms for restricting guiding operations and keeping the respective connecting members 3 and 4 extended.

[0042] More specifically, in the eight corners in total formed by the upper and lower horizontal rods 32 (42), . . . of the connecting members and the upper and lower horizontal rods 12 (22), . . . of the side structures and adjacent to the horizontal rods 32 (42), . . . , the bending guide members 5 are attached respectively. As shown in FIG. 6, each the bending guide member 5 includes a linkage formed by connecting an arm portion 51 pivoted on a channel inner face 22c of the horizontal rod 22 and an arm portion 52 pivoted on a channel inner face 32c of the horizontal rod 32 to each other through a connecting portion. The lock mechanism is formed by which the respective arm portions 51 and 52 are prevented from rotating by engaging a slide key 53 provided in a slit 52b in an end portion of the arm portion 52 with a recessed groove 51a provided to the corresponding arm portion 51. As a result, the connecting member 3 and the side structure 2 are kept unfolded.

[0043] Although the unfolded attitude is maintained to some extent by an action of the hanger pipe hung in the housing space S, the extended state of the connecting members is maintained firmly and reliably by providing the bending guide members irrespective of the presence or absence of the hanger pipe.

[0044] In order to fold the whole housing box A, the hanger pipe is detached, the keys are released to enable the respective arm portions 51 and 52 to rotate, the respective connecting members are bent inward in two as shown by arrows in FIGS. 4A to 4C and, at the same time, the respective arm portions 51 and 52 are bent. In the folded attitude in FIG. 4C, the bent arm portions 51 and 52 are completely housed between channels of the horizontal rods 22 and 32 adjacent to each other and the connecting members and the side structures are brought into the compact folded attitude A2 without being obstructed by the respective bending guide members. If the respective arm portions and the connecting members are housed in the respective channels as described above, a desirable appearance in the folded attitude A2 is maintained, breakage of the bending guide members 5 is prevented, and an unexpected accident such as pinching of a finger in the connecting portion in folding can be prevented.

[0045] The hanger pipe 8 hung in the housing space S has a dual-pipe structure formed by fitting a pipe member 83 made of stainless steel over an outer face of a pipe main body 80 formed of a structural steel pipe having such a dimension as to span between the left and right brackets to achieve an outside diameter of 34 mm which is suitable for hanging a hanger without increasing weight.

[0046] To end portions 80a and 80b of the pipe main body 80, inserted pins 81 and 82 projecting from the end portions to be fitted into the support holes 15 and 25 of the brackets are provided. Especially in the one end portion 80a, the inserted pin 81 is mounted for sliding and a spring 85 is mounted for biasing the inserted pin 81 outward with one end of the spring 85 supported on an inside stopper plate 86.

[0047] On an outer peripheral face of the end portion 80a, a substantially L-shaped guide groove 80c is formed. An operating lever 84 is screwed down into a screw hole 81a formed on an outer face of the inserted pin 81 through the guide groove 80c. By moving the operating lever 84 projecting from the outer peripheral face along the guide groove 80c, the inserted pin 81 projecting from the end portion 80a due to biasing by the spring can be locked in a recessed state against the spring 85, which makes the hanger pipe 8 detachable.

[0048] The front ends 1a and 2a of the respective side structures are provided with adjuster members 16 and 26 respectively projecting forward. The adjuster member 16 (26) is screwed down into a bottom face of a channel opening on a front face of the vertical rod 11 formed of the H-shaped member. As shown in FIG. 3, by bringing the adjuster member into contact with a wall face W inside a container in which the housing box A is loaded, movement of the housing box A in clearances is restricted to prevent damage or the like to the box and the container. If the box is disposed to be adjacent to another housing box A in the container, the adjuster members 16 and 26 enter the corresponding channels of the vertical rods 11 positioned at the rear ends 1b and 2b of the housing box A to thereby restrict movement of the boxes with respect to each other.

[0049] To a bottom face of each of the horizontal rods 12 and 22 positioned at lower ends of both the left and right side structures 1 and 2, free casters of a pair as the casters 6 are mounted to end portions and the jack devices 7 for lifting the casters 6 from a floor F to prevent the housing box A from moving are mounted to correspond to the respective casters.

[0050] More specifically, bracket members 17 and 27 having L shapes in section and made of aluminum or an aluminum alloy are provided in projecting manners to inner faces of the horizontal rods 12 and 22 mounted with the casters and screw jack devices 7, 7 are fixed to a bottom portion of each the bracket member 17 (27). The jack devices 7, 7 of a pair mounted to each the bracket member 17 (27) are connected to each other by a single operating shaft 70 such that the jack devices 7, 7 can be operated simultaneously to be lifted and lowered with a jack handle from a rear side of the housing box A without hindrance by the casters 6.

[0051] The housing box A according to the present invention is not necessarily provided with a floor plate of the housing space, but it is also desirable to provide the floor plate to use it as a shelf on which goods without hangers can be placed. In this case, in a preferable embodiment, a single or divided floor plate(s) is/are pivoted on (a) lower end portion(s) of one or both of the side structure(s) to be rotatable upward to form a floor of the housing box A in the unfolded attitude A1 and to be folded inside the side structures to achieve the above-described folded attitude A2.

[0052] As described above, according to the housing box of the present invention, it is possible to load the clothes with the hangers in a general-purpose container and to transport them for a long distance. After use, by changing the attitude of the box into the compact folded attitude, it is possible to downsize a storage space for the boxes or to return many housing boxes to an overseas production plant at a time by similarly using the general-purpose container. As compared with conventional art in which a special-purpose hanger container is used, a physical distribution cost for shuttling can be substantially reduced and it is possible to swiftly and easily load and unload the general-purpose container.

[0053] Since the clothes can be transported by the housing box as described above, apparel producers can separately form setting packages and products produced in the production plant can be loaded in a few minutes after shipping containers have reached. In receiving of the goods when the goods reach an import center, it is possible to unload the goods in about ten minutes. If there are rush goods for other operations, it is possible to give a high priority to them for smooth handling of the goods in the goods receiving operation while preventing other delivery traders from waiting and preventing serious obstruction of the traffic in an ordinary road.

[0054] Since the goods can be controlled by the housing box, it is possible to form a consolidated container by a plurality of companies. For example, it is possible to transport goods for half a twenty-foot container at freight rates for half a twenty-foot container by forming a consolidated container with a production plant of another company or it is possible to form a consolidated forty-foot consolidated container by production plants of four companies. Therefore, the physical distribution cost can be considerably reduced.