Title:
Stack and Pack Totes
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The subject invention comprises a tote with a handle profiled with a void to allow other totes to nest and latch when stacked on like configured totes. The grip in the handle of the top tote becomes the lifting device for the tote(s) under it. The units may be used either together or separately for storage and transport of material or stored as a column of totes when stacked.



Inventors:
Griffith, Jay (Round Rock, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/905724
Publication Date:
07/20/2006
Filing Date:
01/18/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D21/00
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Primary Examiner:
MCKINLEY, CHRISTOPHER BRIAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jay O Griffith (Round Rock, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cooperating set of totes consisting of two trays between a handle extending above the trays and with a complementary gap under the handle and along the trays which permits one tote to be stacked upon another.

2. A tote set in accordance with claim 1 that has a handle with a matching set of latching mechanisms that engage when one unit is placed atop the other which causes the upper handle barbs or hooks to engage and lock or latch the bottom handle niches or eyelets forming a secured combination.

3. A tote set in accordance with claim 2 that form a stacked storage unit of multiple totes lifted and ported using the top tray handle.

4. A tote set in accordance with claim 3 that can be separately unlatched, lifted and rearranged to access individual totes.

Description:

REFERENCES CITED

2552929May, 1957Bodkin220/766
4038719August, 1977Bennet 16/430
5046636September, 1991Coshery220/571
5117979June, 1992Brightbill206/372
5145082September, 1992Craft, Jr., et al220/755
6145662November, 2000Newton206/373
6693537February, 2004Frank340/568.1
6811068November, 2004Johnson224/404

The subject invention comprises a tote with a handle profiled with a void to allow other totes to nest and latch when stacked on like configured totes. The grip in the handle of the top tote becomes the lifting device for the tote(s) under it. The units may be used either together or separately for storage and transport of materials or stored as a column of totes when stacked.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to totes with a handle in the center having two four-sided bottom sealed trays on either side of the handle and constructed of any material which is suitable to carry parts, supplies, samples, or tools at a work site.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Totes with tool tray(s) are well known in the industry. The totes are rectangular containers with a handle located in the center above the trays and usually attached to the tray ends. Samples, parts, materials, or tools can be placed in the trays and be moved about the work site using the handgrip incorporated in the handle. Some plastic totes are configured to stack together when empty for easy storage, the units nesting one in the other.

The above configuration is well known and accepted in industry and works well, but presents certain limitations and shortcomings. One obvious shortcoming is a maximum of only two totes can be carried by at a time using both hands. A second shortcoming lies in the fact that if the totes must be empty before they are stacked.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the subject invention a tote is provided with two trays and raised central handle with a handgrip having a space beneath the handle and between the trays, which allows multiple totes to stack one atop the other. The handle features ends configured with latches consisting of barbs (hooks) and niches (eyelets). The barbs extend downward so as to engage and latch the niches located on the upper portion of a tote handle beneath (provide with the same configuration as the handle above) and placed beneath in the profiled passageway of the upper tote. Both totes are latched and can now be lifted as a unit using the uppermost tote handle, thus allowing two totes to be carried with one hand. Furthermore, multiple totes that have the same handle configuration can be stacked and latched. The upper tote trays cover the tote below, which prevents loss of items or spills. The covering tote can be unlatched by opening the barbs and lifted allowing access the lower tote. Limiting factors include the height and weight limitations for safe lifting and handling.

The objective of the invention is to provide a system of totes that allows multiple totes to be lifted and carried with one hand thus allowing for more tools and/or parts to be conveniently toted throughout the work site.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a latch system of downward pointing hooks with tapered barbs that latch securely into niches configured to accept them and effectively latch the units together by simply stacking the totes.

An additional objective of the present invention is to allow the totes to be stored neatly and securely in a stacked configuration without loss of utility or storage capacity.

Yet another objective of the present invention is to provide a covered condition in the lower trays that allows for transport and storage of small components to be carried throughout the work site without spillage.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a tote system and assembly that can be manufactured out of inexpensive plastics and readily employed by users.

These objectives and others, which will become apparent to one skilled in the art, are achieved by the preferred embodiment that is described in detail below and illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective of a wooden handled metal tray prototype tote set with attached metal latches and eyelets of the subject invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of two prototypical tote units of the subject invention stacked and latched together.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the stacked units of the subject invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a preferred plastic tote with exposed latch barb of the subject invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of two preferred plastic units latched together with barbs and niches exposed of the subject invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFFERED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, a tote is shown in a perspective showing a central handle 1 with a grip 6 located between two four sided trays 4. The void created by the trays and handle 5 is shown as well as the latch set mechanism of barbs 2 and eyelets 3. The flat tray bottoms 7 are shown in FIG. 3. While the trays are shown as flat bottom rectangular bins, other configurations may be designed and used.

The void 5 is as deep as the handle 1 extends above the trays 4 in order to admit a like configured tote handle to nest and latch when two or more totes are utilized as in FIG. 2. As is shown the totes stack and latch using the hook 2 and eyelet 3 which are spaced accordingly. The top tote handle now can be gripped and both totes lifted, the top tote covering the bottom tote.

Referring to FIG. 3, a cross sectional view of two stacked totes shows the handles 1, grips 6, trays 4, tray walls and bottoms 7, and the occupied and unoccupied handle voids 5 as seen from the tote ends. It will be appreciated that the upper and lower totes nest to form a stable combined unit when latched together. While the prototype drawn was constructed with a wooden handle and metal trays, hooks, and eyelets, other materials may be used.

Referring to FIG. 4, a perspective view with the outer tray juxtaposed to show a molded plastic unit is shown to expose the barb and niche latching mechanism. The handle 1 with grip 6 extends above the trays 4 that form the tote. As configured the slot 5 is formed between the trays and beneath the handle.

In FIG. 5, a perspective view of two latched totes is shown. It will be appreciated that the freestanding latched totes can be carried as a unit throughout the work site using one hand. Also, since the top tote covers the one(s) underneath, the contents of lower totes are enclosed and cannot spill out in transit.

It is apparent from FIG. 5 that the totes are unlatched by manually drawing out the barbs from the niches and lifting thus separating the units and accessing the contents of the lower unit.

While the preferred embodiment of the present invention is described above, other embodiments of the present invention obvious to those skilled in the art, and which utilize the methods set forth herein are intended to be within the scope of the subject disclosed.