Title:
Sidewall protector for a steel coil
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sidewall protector for a steel coil having a generally sheet-shaped and easily foldable structure, configured to accommodate and generally conform to the surfaces of the steel coils. The sidewall protector includes a top surface guard, a sidewall surface guard, and an integrally-formed hinge. The top surface guard and sidewall surface guard are positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of the integral hinge. The integral hinge extends longitudinally at least partially through the protective sheet. The top surface guard is configured for engaging the top surface of the steel coil and the sidewall surface guard is configured for engaging the sidewall surface of the steel coil. The integral hinge is configured so that said top and sidewall guards can be oriented angularly to each other and engage, respectively, both the top surface and the sidewall surface of the steel coil.



Inventors:
Bergnach, Mark (Burr Ridge, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/839363
Publication Date:
11/10/2005
Filing Date:
05/05/2004
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
248/682
International Classes:
B65D81/05; B65D85/66; B65D85/67; (IPC1-7): B65D85/66
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL J. BERGNACH (Kenosha, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A device for protecting a steel coil comprising: a generally sheet-shaped structure having a top surface guard, a sidewall surface guard, and a means for folding said structure; said top surface guard and said sidewall surface guard positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of said means for folding; said top surface guard configured for engaging the top surface of the steel coil; said sidewall surface guard configured for engaging the sidewall surface of the steel coil; and said means for folding configured so that said top and sidewall guards can be oriented angularly to each other and engage, respectively, both the top surface and the sidewall surface of the steel coil.

2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said top surface guard includes a middle portion that integrally connects to said means for folding and two outer flanges that protrude in opposite lateral directions from said middle portion.

3. The device as defined in claim 2, wherein said outer flanges are configured to generally conform to the generally radial top surface of the steel coil.

4. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein said outer flanges each include at least one means for bending on the front surfaces of the outer flanges, whereby said outer flanges can bend to generally conform and accommodate the generally radial shape of the top surface of the steel coil.

5. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said sidewall surface guard is flat and rigid to generally conform to the generally flat sidewall surface of the steel coil.

6. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said sidewall surface guard includes curved upper edges on opposite sides of said means for folding, whereby said curved upper edges are configured to generally conform to the generally radial front edge of the top surface of the steel coil.

7. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said means for folding has relief fillets on opposite lateral sides.

8. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said sidewall protector is made from a cardboard, fiberboard, or plastic material.

9. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said sidewall protector is made out of a single piece of material.

10. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said sidewall protector is made out of multiple pieces of material.

11. A device for protecting a steel coil in combination with a steel coil comprising: a generally sheet-shaped structure having a top surface guard, a sidewall surface guard, and a means for folding said structure; said top surface guard and said sidewall surface guard positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of said means for folding; said top surface guard configured for engaging the top surface of the steel coil; said sidewall surface guard configured for engaging the sidewall surface of the steel coil; and said means for folding configured so that said top and sidewall guards can be oriented angularly to each other and engage, respectively, both the top surface and the sidewall surface of the steel coil.

12. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein said top surface guard includes a middle portion that integrally connects to said means for folding and two outer flanges that protrude in opposite lateral directions from said middle portion.

13. The device as defined in claim 12, wherein said outer flanges are configured to generally conform to the generally radial top surface of the steel coil.

14. The device as defined in claim 13, wherein said outer flanges each include at least one means for bending on the front surfaces of the outer flanges, whereby said outer flanges can bend to generally conform and accommodate the generally radial shape of the top surface of the steel coil.

15. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein said sidewall surface guard is flat and rigid to generally conform to the generally flat sidewall surface of the steel coil.

16. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein said sidewall surface guard includes curved upper edges on opposite sides of said means for folding, whereby said curved upper edges are configured to generally conform to the generally radial front edge of the top surface of the steel coil.

17. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein said means for folding has relief fillets on opposite lateral sides.

18. The device as defined in claim 11, wherein said sidewall protector is made from a cardboard, fiberboard, or plastic material.

19. A device for protecting a steel coil comprising: a generally sheet-shaped structure having a top surface guard, a sidewall surface guard, and a means for folding said structure; said top surface guard and said sidewall surface guard positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of said means for folding; said top surface guard configured for engaging the top surface of the steel coil; said sidewall surface guard configured for engaging the sidewall surface of the steel coil; said means for folding configured so that said top and sidewall guards can be oriented angularly to each other and engage, respectively, both the top surface and the sidewall surface of the steel coil; said top surface guard including a middle portion that integrally connects to said means for folding and two outer flanges that protrude in opposite lateral directions from said middle portion; said outer flanges configured to generally conform to the generally radial top surface of the steel coil; said outer flanges each including at least one means for bending on the front surfaces of the outer flanges, whereby said outer flanges can bend to generally conform and accommodate the generally radial shape of the top surface of the steel coil; said sidewall surface guard that is flat and rigid to generally conform to the generally flat sidewall surface of the steel coil; said sidewall surface guard including curved upper edges on opposite sides of said means for folding, whereby said curved upper edges are configured to generally conform to the generally radial front edge of the top surface of the steel coil; said means for folding having relief fillets on opposite lateral sides; and said sidewall protector being made from a cardboard, fiberboard, or plastic material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to devices for protecting the surfaces and edges of steel coils especially during handling, lifting, and transporting and, more specifically, to a sidewall protector for a steel coil.

Known devices for protecting steels coil have focused on packaging, that is, properly packaging a steel coil to contain it during handling and transporting. Similarly, more dedicated protection devices for steel coils have specifically concentrated on protecting the steel coil in the packaging process, i.e., protecting the steel coil from packaging materials. These known devices include corner packaging guards, which are used in conjunction with steel banding to securely wrap a steel coil and contain it during handling and transporting. The corner packaging guards protect the corner edges of a steel coil from deforming upon pressure from the banding and upon any impacts with the bands by supporting the corner edges and separating the steel coil from contact with the bands. These devices are relatively small and only cover the portion of the steel coil that would come into contact with the banding material at the corners of the steel coil. They do not cover or protect the surfaces of the steel coil, which can come into contact with machinery during lifting, moving, and positioning. Thus, despite the protection that the corner packaging guards offer from banding, they leave other substantial surfaces of the steel coil susceptible to damage.

U.S. Pat. D461,394, issued to Bergnach and incorporated by reference, shows an ornamental design for a steel coil sidewall guard. FIGS. 1-6 in Bergnach '394 are relevant to the present invention.

Steel coils are extremely heavy objects that are awkward and very difficult to lift, handle, and transport. Heavy, powerful equipment like over-head cranes with large hooks, large fork lifts, and other strong lifting/moving equipment is required to lift, move, and position a steel coil. Handlers must give much attention and take great care in the use of this equipment to try to avoid damaging the surfaces of the steel coil, because the equipment is more powerful, heavier, and harder than the surfaces of a steel coil. Nevertheless, due to the harsh and busy environments in which steel coils are used, mistakes are likely, and can result in dings, dents, impressions, and abrasions to surfaces of the steel coil. This damage can make the steel coil material wholly or partially unusable, creating excessive and expensive waste and scrap. It may reduce the value of a steel coil, which ultimately leads to lost income.

Even taking the best precautions may not prevent damage to a steel coil during engagement and handling due to the difficulty in locating the inner diameter or other secure location from which the steel coil can be hoisted for movement. Poor sight lines for an equipment operator or a relatively distant steel coil may make a secure lifting surface on the inner diameter of the steel coil or a safe engagement trajectory difficult for a crane or fork lift operator to visually ascertain. The crane or fork lift operator may accidentally bump into the steel coil or scrape against the sidewall or top surface of the steel coil with the equipment while attempting to position the hook or forks against a secure lifting surface. The surfaces that are especially susceptible to damage are the top and sidewall surfaces of a steel coil, because of their close proximity to the lifting or engagement surface at the top of the inner diameter. Moreover, a lifting crane hook may swing out of control around the top surface and the sidewall surface during engagement with the steel coil before being secured within the inner diameter of the steel coil. Also, the forks from a fork lift may inadvertently contact the top and sidewall surfaces of a steel coil causing damage during engagement.

Thus, a need exists for a device for protecting the surfaces of a steel coil, specifically the top surface and sidewall surface, during engagement with cranes, fork lifts, and other handling equipment and during lifting, moving, and positioning of a steel coil. There is also a need for a device to help equipment operators more easily visually locate an engagement position on a steel coil. Lastly, there is a need for a sidewall protector for steel coils that is more easily fitted to a steel coil and better conforms to the shape of a steel coil.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The above-listed needs are met or exceeded by the present sidewall protector for a steel coil. The sidewall protector has both a top surface guard and a sidewall surface guard that cover and protect a greater amount of surface area of a steel coil than material configured just for packaging and containing. The top and sidewall guards have been configured to cover a large enough area of the top and sidewall surfaces of the steel coil to protect the coil during engagement with heavy lifting equipment. Moreover, the sidewall protector has been configured to be positioned on the top of the coil, an area especially susceptible to damage during handling and engagement with heavy moving equipment. It follows then that since this area is the area of engagement with heavy equipment, the current sidewall protector more clearly designates this area, which enables operators of heavy equipment to more easily see, guide, and position their equipment for engagement with a steel coil.

More specifically, the present invention provides a device for protecting a steel coil including a generally sheet-shaped structure having a top surface guard, a sidewall surface guard, and an integrally-formed hinge. The top and sidewall guards are positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of the integral hinge. The top surface guard is configured for engaging the top surface of the steel coil. The sidewall surface guard is configured for engaging the sidewall surface of the steel coil. The integral hinge enables the structure to fold, so that the top and sidewall guards can be oriented angularly to each other and generally conform, respectively, to both the top surface and the sidewall surface of the steel coil.

Further, the sidewall protector has been configured to better accommodate and more fully conform to the surfaces of a steel coil with which it engages. The top surface guard has outer flanges that generally conform and embrace the radial top surface of a steel coil. Also, in the preferred embodiment, the outer flanges include at least one bending impression or score, which allows the outer flange to more easily bend or form a radial surface, and keep this form. Therefore, the sidewall protector can be easily fitted and installed, staying in position during banding. The sidewall surface guard, on the other hand, has a flat, rigid structure configured to generally match the generally flat sidewall surface of a steel coil. Therefore, the present sidewall protector can more easily be installed on a steel coil and more completely support the top and sidewall surfaces of a steel coil.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil showing a steel coil as part of the environment in which the present sidewall protector is used;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil in an open or unfolded configuration;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil in a folded configuration;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil in a folded configuration; and

FIG. 5 is a front view of the preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil in a folded configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to FIGS. 1-5, a preferred embodiment of the present sidewall protector for a steel coil is generally designated 10. As best shown in FIG. 2, the sidewall protector 10 has a generally sheet-shaped structure and includes a top surface guard 12, a sidewall surface guard 14, and an integral hinge 16. Preferably, the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14 will be large and broad enough to cover as much of the top and sidewall surfaces of the steel coil as possible, while remaining practically and easily handled by packaging equipment and packaging operators. Also, as best shown in FIG. 2, the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14 are positioned adjacent to each other on opposite sides of the integral hinge 16. The integral hinge 16 extends longitudinally at least partially through the protective sheet. Therefore, the integral hinge 16 enables the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14 to rotate in relation to each other. When rotated, the top guard 12 can be configured at a 90 degree angle relative to the sidewall guard 14, as best shown in FIG. 4. FIGS. 1,3,4, and 5 all show, that as the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14 are configured angularly to each other, they maintain integral connections with each other and with the overall structure of the sidewall protector 10. Another embodiment of the present sidewall protector may use another structural device, which is apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art, in the place of the integral hinge to enable the sidewall protector to fold.

FIG. 1 shows how the present sidewall protector 10 is configured to engage the surfaces of a steel coil to protect those surfaces from heavyweight hooks, fork lifts, or other heavy equipment during engagement and disengagement with the steel coil and during lifting, moving, and positioning of the steel coil. The integral hinge 16 allows the top surface guard 12 and the sidewall surface guard 14 to be oriented angularly to each other to engage and generally conform with the top surface and the sidewall surface, respectively, of a steel coil, as shown in FIG. 1. Further, in FIG. 1, the top guard 12 is shown to engage the top surface of the steel coil, while, at the same time, the sidewall guard 14 is shown to engage the sidewall surface of the steel coil. FIG. 2 best shows that the top guard 12 has a middle portion 19, which integrally connects to the integral hinge, and also has two outer flanges 18 that protrude in opposite lateral directions from the middle portion 19. As depicted in FIGS. 2, 3, and 5, the outer flanges 18 have neither a direct connection to the sidewall guard 14 nor the integral hinge 16. Therefore, the outer flanges 18 are free to bend and curve without structural restriction from the sidewall surface guard 14, which is rigid and flat. Hence, the outer flanges 18 are able to generally conform to the generally radial top surface of the steel coil. In the preferred embodiment, as especially depicted in FIGS. 1,2, and 3, the outer flanges 18 include bending impressions or scores 24 on the front surfaces of the outer flanges 18, which enable the outer flanges 18 to bend more easily and remain in a prone bent or curved configuration. These bending impressions or scores 24 enable the sidewall protector 10 to more readily conform to the radial top surface of a steel coil and remain in an engaged position with that surface during packaging or banding of a steel coil. Another embodiment of the present sidewall protector does not include bending impressions or scores in the outer flanges.

Further, as depicted in FIGS. 1,2,4, and 5, the sidewall surface guard is flat and rigid to better conform to the generally flat sidewall surface of the steel coil. Also, as best shown in FIG. 2, the sidewall surface guard has curved upper edges 20 on opposites side of the integral hinge 16. The curved upper edges 20 are configured to generally conform to the generally radial profile edge of the top surface of the steel coil.

Therefore, the present sidewall protector is configured to protect surfaces of a steel coil, which may be most susceptible to destructive contact with heavy equipment during handling. The present sidewall protector is configured to generally conform to the steel coil to support its features and be more easily fitted onto a steel coil.

FIG. 2 most clearly shows that at opposite lateral sides of the integral hinge 16, there resides two relief fillets 22. The relief fillets 22 enable the sidewall protector to better accommodate and fit a steel coil and make it easier for an operator or machine to package a steel coil into the sidewall protector 10. A better fit means that the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14 more fully engage the surfaces of the steel coil with most or all of their surface area. This situation provides the most protection for the steel coil. Further, the relief fillets 22 create a separation space at the hinging or folding point between the top guard 12 and the sidewall guard 14, lowering the sidewall guard 14, moving it more toward the center of the sidewall of a steel coil where side to side cord lengths are longer, which can accommodate coils with smaller diameters. The relief fillets 22 also prevent interference between the top guard 12 and sidewall guard 14 while accommodating steel coils with varying diameters and shapes. Therefore, the relief fillets 22 allow more room for error during packaging to maintain a good fit on a steel coil. Further, the relief fillets 22 make it easier to install the sidewall protector 10 on a steel coil by locating the top guard 12 on a steel coil and bending the outer flanges inward against the diameter of the steel coil before sliding the sidewall guard 14 against the sidewall of the steel coil.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it should be understood that other modifications, substitutions, and alternatives are apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. Such modifications, substitutions, and alternatives can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which should be determined from the appended claims. The general shape of sidewall protector 10 may vary in size and proportions to achieve the best surface protection for steel coils of varying dimensions. Also, the shapes of the sidewall protector, the integral hinge, the bending impressions or scores, and all other elements of this invention are configured to be mass produced by processes well-known and apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art. Lastly, it should be understood that the present sidewall protector may be made out of a single piece or multiple pieces of cardboard, fiberboard, plastic, or other capable material.