Title:
Packaging assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A reusable packaging assembly is disclosed for the transport of furniture or the like, which assembly includes a durable and flexible tube-like member 11 adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture; the packaging assembly being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture. The tube-like member is open at each end and has a pocket 18 at one end of the tube-like member adapted to receive the assembly when stuffed therein to thereby constitute a carry bag or the like for the assembly when not in use.



Inventors:
Hurst, Andrew (Fyshwick, AU)
Maxwell, Gail (Fyshwick, AU)
Application Number:
10/794340
Publication Date:
11/25/2004
Filing Date:
03/05/2004
Assignee:
HURST ANDREW
MAXWELL GAIL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/15
International Classes:
A47C7/62; B65D33/06; B65D85/64; (IPC1-7): B65D33/06; A47C7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PICKETT, JOHN G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Winston & Strawn LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A reusable packaging assembly for the transport of furniture or the like, the assembly including:— a durable and flexible tube-like member adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture; the packaging assembly being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture.

2. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tube-like member is open at each end.

3. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, and including a pocket at one end of the tube-like member adapted to receive the assembly when stuffed therein to thereby constitute a carry bag or the like for the assembly when not in use.

4. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, and including tie means proximate each open end of the tube-like member for tying together or closing the open ends when in use.

5. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tube-like member has an upper and a lower portion, the upper portion being made from light weight material and the lower portion being made from more durable material than the upper portion.

6. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, and including reinforcing means on the tube-like member for supporting the furniture.

7. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 6, wherein the reinforcing means includes a plurality of strap-like members extending longitudinally therealong.

8. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein the strap like members extend longitudinally along the lower portion.

9. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 8, wherein the strap-like members extend beyond the ends of the tube-like member to constitute lifting means.

10. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 7, wherein the strap-like members extending beyond the ends of the tube-like member are adapted to constitute a lifting sling.

11. A reusable packaging assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the tube-like member is open at one end, and closed at the other end.

12. A method of transporting furniture or the like, the method including:— providing a reusable packaging assembly including a durable and flexible tube-like member adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture, the packaging assembly being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture; positioning the furniture within the packaging assembly; transporting the packaged furniture; removing the furniture from the packaging assembly, and reusing the packaging assembly to transport other furniture.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a continuation-in-part of International Application PCT/AU02/01229, with an international filing date of Sep. 4, 2002 and published in English under PCT Article 21(2), which claims priority under Article 4 of the Paris Convention to Australian Patent Application No. PR 7492, filed Sep. 5, 2001.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] This invention relates to a packaging assembly and to a method of packaging.

[0003] The invention relates in particular to packaging assemblies which are reusable.

[0004] The invention has particular but not exclusive application to packaging assemblies and methods for the transport of furniture and the like. The packaging assemblies and methods are particularly suitable for the transport of lounges, sofas, sofa-beds and the like and illustrative examples will be given in relation to such items of furniture. However it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to such applications, and is not limited to the transport of furniture per se.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0005] It is known for furniture and the like to be wrapped for transportation in clear plastic sheeting which is usually damaged during removal from the furniture after being transported, and is then discarded.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0006] The present invention aims to provide an alternative to known packaging assemblies and methods.

[0007] This invention in one aspect resides broadly in a reusable packaging assembly for the transport of furniture or the like, the assembly including:—

[0008] a durable and flexible tube-like member adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture;

[0009] the packaging assembly being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture.

[0010] In another aspect this invention resides broadly in a method of transporting furniture or the like, the method including:—

[0011] providing a reusable packaging assembly including a durable and flexible tube-like member adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture, the packaging assembly being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture;

[0012] positioning the furniture within the packaging assembly;

[0013] transporting the packaged furniture;

[0014] removing the furniture from the packaging assembly, and reusing the packaging assembly to transport other furniture.

[0015] It is preferred that the tube-like member is open at each end. In an alternative embodiment, the tube like member can be closed at one of the ends.

[0016] It is preferred that the packaging assembly includes a pocket at one end of the tube-like member adapted to receive the assembly when stuffed therein to thereby constitute a carry bag or the like for the assembly when not in use.

[0017] It is also preferred that the packaging assembly includes tie means proximate each open end of the tube-like member for tying together or closing the open ends when in use.

[0018] It is also preferred that the tube-like member has an upper and a lower portion, the upper portion being made from light weight material and the lower portion being made from more durable material than the upper portion.

[0019] It is also preferred that the packaging assembly includes reinforcing means on the tube-like member for supporting the furniture. The reinforcing means may include a plurality of strap-like members extending longitudinally therealong. The strap like members preferably extend longitudinally along the lower portion.

[0020] In one embodiment the strap-like members extend beyond the ends of the tube-like member to constitute lifting means. The strap-like members extending beyond the ends of the tube-like member can be adapted to constitute a lifting sling.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0021] In order that this invention may be more easily understood and put into practical effect, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein:—

[0022] FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective drawing illustrating the invention shown for convenience as if it were a relatively stiff material—it will be realised however that the material of the tube is completely flexible and is not dissimilar to tenting material having a fly material and a more durable flooring material.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0023] As can be seen in FIG. 1, a reusable packaging assembly 10 in accordance with the present invention is suitable for the transport of furniture or the like and includes a durable and flexible tube-like member 11 which is adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture. As shown if FIG. 1, it is preferred that the tube 11 is open at each end. Alternatively, in an embodiment not illustrated, one end of the tube can be closed either by stitching across the ends or by incorporating an end panel.

[0024] It should be noted as mentioned above that the particular configuration of the tube 11 shown in FIG. 1 is merely for clarity in illustrating the invention and is drawn there as if the material was stiff. It is in fact quite loose flexible material and falls, folds and crumples like fabric.

[0025] Being made from completely flexible fabric-like material, tube 11 can be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture. Tube 11 has an upper portion 13 and a lower portion 12, the upper portion 13 being made from light weight material and the lower portion 12 being made from more durable material than the upper portion in the manner of a tent with sown-in floor.

[0026] Reinforcing means in the form of a pair of straps 14 are sewn into the base 12 and extend longitudinally therealong. The straps may finish at the end of the tube 11, or as seen in FIG. 1, extend as straps 15 beyond the ends of the tube to constitute lifting means. Straps 15 can be linked by a further strap 16 which is bifurcated at each end and has a Velcro-like material on the inner side of each end pair which meshes with a complementing Velcro-like material on each side of the end of straps 15 to constitute an adjustable length sling for use in lifting. (The other end of tube 11 which is not seen in FIG. 1 has a similar arrangement).

[0027] Tube 11 has tie means in the form of tie cords 19 proximate each open end of the tube-like member for tying together or closing the open ends when in use.

[0028] Tube 11 has a pocket 17 at one end which is adapted to receive the tube when stuffed therein to thereby constitute a carry bag or the like for the assembly when not in use. In practice, tube 17 is turned inside out and the sheeting constituting the tube is stuffed into the bag in the manner of a stuff-sack and a cord 18 pulled and tied-off in known manner.

[0029] The tube 11 is made from nylon or polyester fabric and is large enough to fit a sofa or the like within. The tube can be made in different sizes for different uses—one suitable size for a sofa-bed for example is approximately 3 meters long and has a circumferential length of 3.1 meters. The fabric of the packaging could be dipped in an insect repellent to prevent insect damage to furniture stored within the packaging assembly.

[0030] In use, pocket tie 18 is released and tube 11 pulled from within pocket 18. Tube 11 is then arranged on the arms of a person wrapping the sofa so that the tube is in the nature of a large fabric ring. One end of the sofa is then lifted and the fabric “ring” of tube 11 positioned over the lifted end to surround the sofa. The tubing is then arranged so that the sofa is covered and any excess material is bunched up at the ends. Each end of the sofa is then lifted and the excess tube material pulled over the lifted end and fastened by means of ties 19.

[0031] Thus it will be appreciated that in the method according to the invention, a reusable packaging assembly 10 is provided which includes a durable and flexible tube-like member 11 adapted to receive the furniture therein and support the weight of the furniture, the packaging assembly 10 being adapted to be grasped by a lifter at each end thereof for lifting the furniture. The furniture is positioned within the packaging assembly 10, the packaged furniture transported to a destination where the furniture is removed from the packaging assembly, and the packaging assembly then re-used to transport other furniture.

[0032] The packaging assembly and method of the present invention has a number of advantages and benefits over known systems.

[0033] These include financial benefits, occupational health and safety benefits, workplace benefits, protection benefits and company image and presentation benefits.

[0034] Financial benefits include not only direct financial savings, but a saving on disposal costs of used plastic, a saving in capital outlay by avoiding the necessity of purchasing sealing machines and packing machines, and a saving on consumable costs.

[0035] The occupational health and safety benefits derive from the furniture being easier to lift as a result of the durable nature of the packaging assembly, with the packaging of the wrapped furniture being able to be grasped 50 cm from the ground which significantly increases the ability of the lifters to keep their backs straight. The packaging of the present invention enables the heavies items of furniture such as sofas to be lifted without the lifters having to bend down and place their hands under the sofas.

[0036] Improvements in the workplace result by the removal of messy adhesive tape or dangerous packaging machines. The packaging assemblies of the present invention are colour coded for ease of use, can be easily stored when not in use and are easier to organise.

[0037] Furniture thus packaged is less likely to sweat when packaged than if wrapped in plastic, is less likely to be damaged which easily occurs if plastic wrapping is ripped or torn. Moreover the furniture is more easily slidable through tight doorways, further reducing the potential for damage.

[0038] “Green” and “eco-sensitive” advertising on the packaging associated with the Company name presents a positive recycling image. For retailers, delivery people are able to unwrap furniture in front of the customer and return the packaging for reuse—thus avoiding the need of the customer having to unwrap the furniture and dispose of the wrapping. The delivery system can thus become an overall part of customer service.

[0039] It will of course be realised that whilst the above has been given by way of an illustrative example of this invention, all such and other modifications and variations hereto, as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art, are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of this invention as is herein set forth.