Title:
Transport unit and method for manufacturing the same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A transport unit comprises a package (3) enclosed by a casing (2), said package (3) comprising a stack (5) of insulation panels (6) which is carried by supporting elements (4). The supporting elements (4) and the insulation panels (6) are made of a material usable for insulation purposes. The transport unit is characterised in that the casing (2) enclosing the package (3) comprises a first hood (7) and a second hood (8). The hoods (7, 8) are arranged on the package (3) respectively from a first side (9) and an opposite second side (10) thereof and are joined together in a portion (11) along which the hoods (7, 8) overlap. The present invention further relates to a method of manufacturing such a transport unit.



Inventors:
Dybro, Hanne (Bjuv, SE)
Wahlkvist, Anders (Vejbystrand, SE)
Application Number:
10/478497
Publication Date:
08/05/2004
Filing Date:
11/21/2003
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
53/449, 53/442
International Classes:
B65D71/08; B65D19/04; B65D71/00; B65D85/00; B65D19/00; B65D85/46; (IPC1-7): B65B11/58; B65D79/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GEHMAN, BRYON P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Finnegan Henderson Farabow (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A transport unit comprising a package (3) enclosed by a casing (2), said package (3) comprising at least one stack (5) of insulation panels (6) which is carried by supporting elements (4), said supporting elements (4) and said insulation panels (6) being made of a material usable for insulation purposes, characterised in that the casing (2) enclosing the package (3) comprises a first hood (7) and a second hood (8), said hoods (7, 8) being arranged on the package (3) respectively from a first side (9) and an opposite second side (10) thereof, and said hoods (7, 8) being joined together in a portion (11) along which the hoods (7, 8) overlap.

2. A transport unit according to claim 1, in particular for mineral wool products such as mineral wool insulation panels (6), wherein the stack (5) has on at least one of its principal surfaces (9) receptacles (16) for handling by mechanical means of transport, such as fork-lift trucks, lifting equipment and the like.

3. A transport unit according to claim 2, wherein the receptacles (16) are formed by recesses of a lamellar panel which forms said supporting elements (4), said recesses being arranged below the stack (5).

4. A transport unit according to claim 3, wherein the lamellar panel is designed in the manner of a pallet and has a width and length which essentially correspond to the width and length of the stack (5), and wherein the receptacles (16) are designed as recesses in the lamellar panel which extend continuously over said length.

5. A transport unit according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the lamellar panel is formed from three projecting longitudinal members, between which the recesses are arranged, said recesses being formed by longitudinal members of the lamellar panel with lower height than the height of the projecting longitudinal members.

6. A transport unit according to claim 2, wherein the receptacles (16) are realised by means of supporting elements (4) in the form of a support body, which in terms of material is identical to the insulation panels (6) forming the stack (5) and which forms a section of an insulation panel of the stack (5) or an insulation panel of a smaller width dimension, such that the support body arranged centrally below the stack (5) delimits, at both sides, receptacles (15) for mechanical engagement by the means of transport.

7. A transport unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said supporting elements (4) as well as said insulation panels (6) are made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes.

8. A transport unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said supporting elements (4) are arranged on said first side (9) of the package (3).

9. A transport unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said hoods (7, 8) are arranged in such manner that, in said overlap portion (11), the second hood (8) is arranged outside the first hood (7).

10. A transport unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first (7) and the second (8) hood have been shrunk so as to fit tightly on the package (3).

11. A transport unit according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first (7) and the second (8) hood are made of a plastic film material.

12. A transport unit according to claim 11, wherein said plastic film material is shrinkable by heating.

13. A transport unit according to claim 11 or 12, wherein the first (7) and the second (8) hood are joined together in the overlap portion (11) by melting.

14. A method of manufacturing a transport unit (1), comprising the steps of arranging supporting elements (4) on an upper side of a stack (5) of insulation panels (6), said insulation panels (6) and said supporting elements (4) being made of a material usable for insulation purposes, and enclosing a package (3) formed of said supporting elements (4) and insulation panels (6) by a casing (2) to form said transport unit (1), characterised in that the package (3) is enclosed by a casing (2) in the form of a first hood (7) and a second hood (8), said first hood (7) being slipped over the package (3) from a first side (9) thereof, at which first side (9) said supporting elements (4) are arranged, and said second hood (8) being slipped over the package (3) from a second side (10) thereof located opposite the first side (9), the first hood (7) and the second hood (8) being joined together in a portion (11) along which the hoods (7, 8) overlap.

15. A method according to claim 14, wherein the step of slipping said second hood (8) over the package (3) is preceded by the step of turning the package (3) so that its second side (10) faces upward.

16. A method according to claim 14 or 15, wherein each hood (7; 8) slipped over the package (3) is made of a plastic film material and is shrunk by heating so as to fit tightly on the package (3), the second hood (8) being joined with the first hood (7) in said overlap portion (11) by melting in connection with the shrinking of the second hood (8).

17. A method according to any one of claims 14-16, wherein said supporting elements (4) as well as said insulation panels (6) are made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a transport unit for insulation panels and a method of manufacturing such a unit. More specifically, the present invention concerns such a transport unit comprising a package enclosed by a casing, said package comprising a stack of insulation panels which is carried by supporting elements, said supporting elements and said insulation panels being made of a material usable for insulation purposes, as well as a method of manufacturing such a transport unit.

BACKGROUND ART

[0002] It is common to design transport units for insulation panels in such manner that they, besides an enclosing casing, only comprise materials intended for insulation purposes. Consequently, even the supporting elements used to carry the insulation panels are made of a material usable for insulation purposes. Thus, there is no need for traditional loading pallets, which allows the heavy handling of such pallets to be eliminated.

[0003] A transport unit of the type described by way of introduction is disclosed, for example, in DE 4,218,354. The transport unit described consists of a stack of insulating panels arranged on two supporting elements. The supporting elements are made of a material usable for insulating purposes and are, together with the insulation panels, wrapped in a single packaging film to form a transport unit.

[0004] Accordingly, a transport unit produced in this way presents major advantages compared with conventional transport units consisting of insulation panels arranged on loading pallets. Once the transport unit has been emptied, only the packaging film remains. Thus, the complicated, costly and environmentally disadvantageous handling of the loading pallets has been eliminated.

[0005] However, the transport unit according to DE 4,218,354 is not without drawbacks. One major drawback is that relatively expensive equipment is required to produce transport units of this kind. In this context, large investments have to be made, in particular, in the equipment used to wrap the supporting elements and the stack in a packaging film to form said transport unit.

[0006] A further problem is associated with the case where the insulation panels forming part of the transport unit are made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes. Such insulation panels can be used, for example, for the purpose of insulating roofs. A transport unit comprising insulation panels of this type is relatively heavy and the transport unit will therefore have to be wrapped in several layers of packaging film in order to hold together and remain stable, which is an elaborate and time-consuming process.

[0007] Another problem observed is that the prior-art transport unit has an imperfect weatherproofing. The reason for this is that the step of wrapping the supporting elements and the insulation panels in a packaging film has turned out to be relatively complicated, which means that it is not possible to get the packaging film wrapped round the insulation panels and supporting elements to cover, in a reliable manner, all the sides of the transport unit facing the surrounding environment. Thus, water may penetrate the transport unit when stored outdoors. It should be noted that, in many cases, transport units of this kind are delivered to building sites, where they are stored outdoors before being used.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In view of that stated above, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved transport unit of the kind described above and a method for manufacturing such a transport unit.

[0009] Another object is to provide a transport unit which, while presenting the required manageability, can be given a reliable weatherproofing and which can be manufactured without the need for expensive equipment.

[0010] A further object is to provide a transport unit which can comprise insulation panels made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes.

[0011] To achieve these objects and also other objects which will be apparent from the following description, there are provided a transport unit, according to the present invention, having the features stated in claim 1 as well as a method for manufacturing a transport unit having the features stated in claim 14. Preferred embodiments of the inventive transport unit are apparent from claims 2-13 and preferred embodiments of the inventive method are apparent from claims 15-17.

[0012] More specifically, a transport unit is provided comprising a package enclosed by a casing, said package comprising at least one stack of insulation panels which is carried by supporting elements, said supporting elements and said insulation panels being made of a material usable for insulation purposes, said transport unit being characterised in that the casing enclosing the package comprises a first hood and a second hood, said hoods being arranged on the package respectively from a first side and an opposite second side thereof, and said hoods being joined together in a portion along which the hoods overlap.

[0013] Thus, an environmentally acceptable transport unit is provided, which may be produced in a simple and fast manner without the need for any complicated and expensive equipment. The transport unit is completely enclosed by the casing consisting of the two hoods and, thus, presents a satisfactory weatherproofing. Furthermore, the connection between the two hoods in the overlap portion can be made strong enough to afford the transport unit the required manageability, i.e. that it holds together when handled. It is particularly preferred to use insulation panels and supporting elements made of a high-density material, such as a pressed fibre material, for example glass or rock wool, in which case the transport unit, owing to the strength of the connection between the two hoods, will hold together during handling without the risk of it falling apart.

[0014] According to a preferred embodiment, the stack of the transport unit has, on at least one of its principal surfaces, receptacles for handling by mechanical means of transport, such as fork-lift trucks, lifting equipment and the like. Preferably, these receptacles are formed by recesses of a lamellar panel, which is arranged below the stack and forms said supporting elements. Advantageously, the lamellar panel is designed in the manner of a pallet and has a width and length which essentially correspond to the width and length of the stack, the receptacles being designed as recesses in the lamellar panel which extend continuously over said length. In particular, the lamellar panel may be formed from three projecting longitudinal members, between which the recesses are arranged, said recesses being formed by longitudinal members of the lamellar panel with lower height than the height of the projecting longitudinal members.

[0015] According to another preferred embodiment of the inventive transport unit, the receptacles are realised by means of supporting elements in the form of a support body which in terms of material is identical to the insulation panels forming the stack and which forms a section of an insulation panel of the stack or an insulation panel of a smaller width dimension, such that the support body arranged centrally below the stack delimits, at both sides, receptacles for mechanical engagement by means of transport.

[0016] According to yet another embodiment, said supporting elements are arranged at said first side of the package and said hoods are arranged in such manner that, in said overlap portion, the second hood is arranged outside the first hood. This ensures that a joint formed between the hoods in the overlap portion will be oriented downwards, which means that the risk of water penetrating the package via said joint is eliminated.

[0017] According to a further embodiment, the first and the second hood have been shrunk so as to fit tightly on the package. This tight fit, in combination with the relative friction between the insulation panels, ensures that the transport unit obtains the required stability.

[0018] Preferably, the first and the second hood are made of a plastic film material which, advantageously, is shrinkable by heating.

[0019] Preferably, the first and the second hood are joined together in the overlap portion by melting.

[0020] Furthermore, according to the present invention, a method of manufacturing a transport unit is provided, comprising the steps of arranging supporting elements on an upper side of a stack of insulation panels, said insulation panels and said supporting elements being made of a material usable for insulation purposes, and enclosing a package formed of said supporting elements and insulation panels by a casing to form said transport unit, said method being characterised in that the package is enclosed by a casing in the form of a first hood and a second hood, said first hood being slipped over the package from a first side thereof, at which first side said supporting elements are arranged, and said second hood being slipped over the package from a second side thereof located opposite the first side, the first hood and the second hood being joined together in a portion along which the hoods overlap.

[0021] According to a preferred embodiment, the step of slipping said second hood over the package is preceded by the step of turning the package so that its second side faces upward. According to a further preferred embodiment, the hoods are made of a plastic film material and each hood slipped over the package is shrunk by heating so as to fit tightly on the package, the second hood being joined with the first hood in said overlap portion by melting in connection with the shrinking of the second hood.

[0022] Preferably, said supporting elements as well as said insulation panels are made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes.

[0023] Preferred embodiments of the inventive transport unit will be described below, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a first embodiment of an inventive transport unit.

[0025] FIGS. 2-8 are schematic cross-sectional views illustrating the method of manufacturing the transport unit shown in FIG. 1.

[0026] FIG. 9 is a schematic cross-sectional view of a second embodiment of an inventive transport unit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

[0027] A couple of embodiments of the present invention will be described below with reference to the accompanying drawings, throughout which the same reference numerals designate similar parts.

[0028] With reference to FIG. 1, a first preferred embodiment of an inventive transport unit 1 is shown.

[0029] The transport unit 1 comprises a package 3 enclosed by a casing 2. The package 3 comprises a stack 5 of insulation panels 6 which is carried by two supporting elements 4, as indicated by dashed lines in FIG. 1. Both the supporting elements 4 and the insulating panels 6 are made of a material usable for insulation purposes, such as pressed glass or rock wool.

[0030] The casing 2 comprises a first hood 7 and a second hood 8, which have been arranged on the package 3 from opposite sides 9, 10 thereof. Said hoods 7, 8 are made of a plastic film material and fit tightly on the package 3.

[0031] The hoods 7, 8 are adapted to form a circumferential portion 11, along which they overlap. The hoods 7, 8 are joined together by means of a connection 15 in this overlap portion 11, said connection 15 being shown as a grey-shaded area. Advantageously, the connection 15 extends across the entire overlap portion 11. The package 3 is completely enclosed by the two hoods 7, 8 constituting the casing 2.

[0032] Thus, a transport unit 1 is provided which can be produced without the need for any complicated equipment used for conventional wrapping of the package 3. Only equipment for applying the two hoods 7, 8 from opposite sides 9, 10 of the package 3 as well as equipment for joining together the hoods 7, 8 in the overlap portion 11 are needed.

[0033] Owing to the fact that the package 3 is completely enclosed by the two hoods 7, 8 constituting the casing 2, a satisfactory weatherproofing is ensured.

[0034] The tight fit of the casing 2 on the package 3, in combination with the relative friction between the insulation panels 6, affords the transport unit 1 the required stability.

[0035] The connection 15 in the overlap portion 11 can be made sufficiently strong to ensure that the transport unit 1 will hold together during handling without the risk of it falling apart.

[0036] Conveniently, the hoods 7, 8 are arranged in such manner that, in the circumferential overlap portion 11, the second hood 8 is arranged outside the first hood 7. This ensures that a joint 12 in the overlap portion 11 will be oriented downwards, as illustrated in the Figure. Thus, when the transport unit 1 is exposed to moisture, accumulation of water in the overlap portion 11 can be avoided, which means that the risk of water penetrating the transport unit 1 via the overlap portion 11 is eliminated.

[0037] A preferred method for manufacturing the transport unit 1 shown in FIG. 1 will be described below with reference to FIGS. 2-8.

[0038] FIG. 2 illustrates a stack 5 of insulation panels 6, which are made of a material usable for insulation purposes.

[0039] In FIG. 3, two supporting elements 4, which are separated from each other, have been arranged on the upper side of the stack 5. These supporting elements 4 are made of the same material as the insulation panels 6 and may thus be used together with the latter for insulation purposes. The supporting elements 4 form a package 3 together with said stack 5 of insulation panels 6, said supporting elements 4 being arranged at a first side 9 of the package 3.

[0040] FIG. 4 illustrates how a first hood 7 is arranged on the package 3. More specifically, said first hood 7 is slipped over the package 3 from the first side 9 thereof. According to the preferred embodiment, the hood 7 is preferably made of a plastic film material that can be shrunk by heating.

[0041] The first hood 7 is then shrunk so as to fit tightly on the package 3, said hood 7 being represented in FIG. 5, for the sake of clarity, as slightly separated from the package 3. In connection with said shrinking, it is ensured that the supporting element 4 is fixed in relation to the stack 5. Advantageously, the shrinking is achieved by heating.

[0042] The package 3 is then turned so that its first side 9 faces downwards and an opposite side 10 thereof faces upwards, as shown in FIG. 6.

[0043] FIG. 7 illustrates how a second hood 8 is arranged on the package 3. More specifically, the second hood 8 is slipped over the package 3 from the second side 10 thereof. According to the embodiment shown, the second hood 8 is preferably also made of a plastic film material that can be shrunk by heating.

[0044] The hoods 7, 8 are adapted to form a portion 11, along which they overlap.

[0045] Finally, FIG. 8 illustrates how the second hood 8 is shrunk so as to fit tightly on the package 3, the second hood 8 also being represented, for the sake of clarity, as slightly separated from the package 3. Again, the shrinking may be achieved by heating. According to the embodiment shown, said heating is adjusted so that the hoods 7, 8 fuse together and adhere to each other in the whole overlap portion 11, thus providing a connection 15 between the hoods 7, 8.

[0046] By arranging the second hood 8 outside the first hood 7 in the overlap portion 11, it is ensured that a joint 12 formed in the overlap portion will be oriented downwards, which means that the risk of water penetrating the package 3 via the overlap portion 11 is eliminated.

[0047] Thus, a transport unit 1 is obtained, which is completely enclosed by a casing 2 and which, in addition, presents the required stability and manageability. In this respect, it is the strength of the connection 15 between the hoods 7, 8, in combination with the inherent strength of the hoods 7, 8 themselves and their tight fit on the package 3, that ensures the required stability and manageability of the finished transport unit 1.

[0048] The inventive transport unit 1 has been found to be particularly advantageous for packages 3 which only comprise one stack 5 of insulation panels 6. It will be appreciated, however, that the package may also comprise multiple stacks and that the supporting elements, in the case where the package comprises two stacks, can be arranged in such manner that each stack is supported by an associated supporting element and a further supporting element which is shared by the two stacks.

[0049] The inventive transport unit 1 has turned out to be particularly advantageous for a package 3 comprising a stack of insulation panels 6 made of a high-density material. In prior art, it has proven complicated to enclose transport units comprising such insulation panels. Due to the weight of the transport unit, it has been necessary to wrap the package in multiple layers of packaging film to get the transport unit thus formed to hold together and remain stable, which is a complicated and time-consuming process.

[0050] According to the present invention, the transport unit 1 is instead enclosed by a casing 2 consisting of two hoods 7, 8, which are arranged, preferably tightly, on the package 3 from opposite sides 9, 10 thereof. This is a relatively simple operation which can be carried out quickly using only uncomplicated equipment. The hoods 7, 8 are connected in the overlap portion 11. Surprisingly, the connection 15 thus formed has proven sufficiently strong to allow the two hoods 7, 8 constituting the casing 2 to hold the transport unit together during the subsequent handling thereof, said transport unit thus remaining stable and manageable. The strength of the connection 15 can be adjusted by modifying the extension X of the overlap portion 11.

[0051] Tests have shown that the extension X of the overlap portion 11 should be in the range 200-500 mm, preferably in the range 300-400 mm, for a transport unit having the dimensions 2.4 m×1.2 m×1.3 m and a weight of about 400 kg. Such a transport unit 1 may comprise a package 3 of insulation panels 6 made of a high-density material, each insulation panel 6 having a maximum thickness of 50 mm. Insulation panels 6 of said type are particularly usable for insulating roofs.

[0052] The strength of the connection 15 in the overlap portion 11 and the inherent strength of the two hoods 7, 8 ensures that the transport unit 1 holds together during handling thereof without falling apart. Moreover, the tight fit of the casing 2 on the package 3, in combination with the relative friction between the insulation panels 6, ensures that the transport unit 1 presents the required stability.

[0053] FIG. 9 illustrates a second embodiment of the inventive transport unit 1. This embodiment is intended for particularly heavy transport units 1. What distinguishes this embodiment from the one described with reference to FIGS. 1-8 is that the supporting elements 4 have been slightly displaced from the edges on the first side 9 of the package 3 and that the extension X of the overlap portion 11 has been increased so that it now also grips edges 13 formed between the first side 9 of the package 3 and the sides 14 connecting thereto. Like before, the hoods 7, 8 are joined together along the whole overlap portion 11, which may be achieved, for example, by shrinking the second hood 8 by heating in such manner that it adheres to and fuses with the first hood 7 in said overlap portion 11. The increased extension X of the overlap portion 11, and the fact that said portion 11 now grips the edges 13 formed between the first side 9 of the package 3 and the sides 14 of the package 3 connecting thereto, makes the connection 15 between the hoods 7, 8 extremely strong, and therefore the transport unit is particularly suitable for insulation panels 6 made of a high-density material.

[0054] Thus, according to the present invention, it is provided a transport unit 1 comprising a package 3 which is completely enclosed by a casing 2 consisting of two hoods 7, 8. The two hoods 7, 8 are applied to a tight fit on the package 3 from opposite sides 9, 10 thereof and overlap along a portion 11 in which the two hoods 7, 8 are joined together. The transport unit 1 thus obtained can be easily and rapidly produced without the need for complicated and expensive equipment while the casing 2, and particularly the connection formed between the hoods 7, 8, has sufficient strength to allow the transport unit 1 to be handled without the risk of it falling apart. In reality, the casing 2 can be made sufficiently strong to allow the transport unit 1 to contain a package 3 comprising insulation panels made of a high-density material usable for insulation purposes. Examples of advantageous high-density materials are pressed fibre materials, such as pressed glass wool, which may have a density in the range 80-170 kg/m3, or pressed rock wool, which may have a density in the range 100-200 kg/m3. High-density materials of this type may be used, for example, to insulate roofs.

[0055] Because the supporting elements 4 forming part of the package 3 advantageously are made of a high-density material of the type described above, their bearing capacity will be satisfactory, which means that they are less likely to be deformed when supporting the insulation panels 6 arranged thereon.

[0056] It will be appreciated that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments shown.

[0057] It is conceivable, for example, to obtain said connection in other ways, for example by heating using heating elements.

[0058] Furthermore, the supporting elements 4 may be arranged in various ways. Moreover, it is preferred for the stack 5 to form receptacles 16 on at least one of its principal surfaces, such as the underside 9, for handling by mechanical means of transport, such as fork-lift trucks, lifting equipment or the like. Advantageously, it is the supporting elements 4 that define said receptacles 16, for example in the manner illustrated in FIG. 1.

[0059] According to a preferred embodiment (not shown), said receptacles are formed by recesses of a lamellar panel, which is arranged below the stack, thus forming said supporting elements.

[0060] A lamellar panel means a panel composed of a plurality of layers of pressed mineral wool which, for example, have been glued together, said layers being arranged next to one another and oriented essentially perpendicularly to the plane of extension of the panel.

[0061] The lamellar panel may be designed in the manner of a pallet and have a width and length which essentially correspond to the width and length of the stack. Furthermore, the lamellar panel is advantageously formed from three projecting longitudinal members between which the recesses are arranged. The recesses are advantageously formed by longitudinal members with a lower height than said projecting longitudinal members.

[0062] According to a further preferred embodiment (not shown), an inventive transport unit presents supporting elements in the form of a support body, which is centrally arranged below the stack. The support body is in terms of material identical to the insulation panels of the stack and has a width dimension that is smaller than the length of the stack, such that the support body delimits, at both sides, receptacles for mechanical engagement by means of transport.

[0063] Accordingly, several modifications or variations are conceivable, and the present invention is therefore defined exclusively by the appended claims.





 
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