Title:
Chassis shipping unit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A chassis shipping unit for over-the-road trailer chassis. The shipping unit includes a base platform for supporting first and second trailer chassis; first tandem leg structure mounted to the base platform for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the first trailer chassis; and second tandem leg structure mounted to the base platform for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of a second trailer chassis with the second trailer chassis supported above the first trailer chassis.



Inventors:
Orr, Bobby Joe (Greenfield, TN, US)
King, Robert H. (Martin, TN, US)
Walker, Carl Randall (Dresden, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/141696
Publication Date:
11/30/2006
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Assignee:
Greenfield Engineering, Inc. (Dresden, TN, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D3/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090226275Metal conduit inserted monomer cast nylon support block producing method and monomer cast nylon support block producing thereofSeptember, 2009Park
20100074709LOAD RESTRAINT INSTALLATION APPARATUSMarch, 2010Komarnisky
20070189873RETRACTABLE SELF-CONTAINED TIE-DOWNAugust, 2007Breeden
20080118324LOAD SECURING DEVICEMay, 2008Fritel
20090003956FURTHER IMPROVED VEHICLE TIRE TIE-DOWN SYSTEM AND METHODJanuary, 2009Tatina
20080112771Shipping decks for transporting cargoMay, 2008Barney et al.
20080219830CHANNEL SLIDE CARGO HANDLING SYSTEM AND METHODSeptember, 2008Wells et al.
20070269283Chassis rackNovember, 2007Klestoff et al.
20060153658Multi-positional flat hook bracketJuly, 2006Watson et al.
20090129884RAILROAD CAR COIL RESTRAINT SYSTEMMay, 2009Anderson
20080232921METHOD AND DEVICE FOR RESTRAINING A CARGO PALLETSeptember, 2008Kanczuzewski et al.



Primary Examiner:
GUTMAN, HILARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSSELL H. WALKER (MEMPHIS, TN, US)
Claims:
1. A chassis shipping unit for accommodating over-the-road first and second trailer chassis, each of the trailer chassis including a tandem support wheel assembly having a leading wheel and a trailing wheel spaced from the leading wheel; said chassis shipping unit comprising: (a) base platform means for supporting the first and second trailer chassis with the second trailer chassis supported above the first trailer chassis; (b) first tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the first trailer chassis when the first trailer chassis is supported on said base platform means; and (c) second tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the second trailer chassis when the second trailer chassis is supported on said base platform means.

2. The chassis shipping unit of claim 1 in which said chassis shipping unit is for use with a lift device, and in which included spaced apart first and second lift leg means mounted to said base platform means for allowing said chassis shipping unit to be lifted by the lift device.

3. The chassis shipping unit of claim 1 in which said base platform includes a bottom surface having a front end, a rear end, and a midportion between said front and rear ends; and in which said midportion of said bottom surface of said base platform is bowed upward.

4. The chassis shipping unit of claim 1 in which in which said first and second tandem leg means are pivotally mounted to said base platform means for movement between an in-use position and a stored position.

5. The chassis shipping unit of claim 2 in which said first and second lift leg means are pivotally mounted to said base platform means for movement between an in-use position and a stored position

6. The chassis shipping unit of claim 1 in which is included strap means for strapping the trailer chassis to said base platform means.

7. A chassis shipping unit for use with a lift device and for accommodating over-the-road first, second, third and fourth trailer chassis, each of the trailer chassis including a tandem support wheel assembly having a right side leading wheel and a right side trailing wheel spaced from the right side leading wheel, and having a left side leading wheel and a left side trailing wheel spaced from the left side leading wheel; said chassis shipping unit comprising: (a) base platform means for supporting the first, second, third and fourth trailer chassis with the second trailer chassis supported above the first trailer chassis, with the third trailer chassis supported above the second trailer chassis, and with the fourth trailer chassis supported above the third trailer chassis; said base platform means having a front, a rear, a right side, and a left side; (b) first tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said front thereof for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis when the first and third trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; said first tandem leg means including a right side first tandem leg for extending upward between the right side leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis when the first and third trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; said first tandem leg means including a left side first tandem leg for extending upward between the left side leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis when the first and third trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; (c) second tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said rear thereof for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis when the second and fourth trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; said second tandem leg means including a right side second tandem leg for extending upward between the right side leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis when the second and fourth trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; said second tandem leg means including a left side second tandem leg for extending upward between the left side leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis when the second and fourth trailer chassis are supported on said base platform means; (d) first lift leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said front thereof; said first lift leg means including a right side first lift leg mounted adjacent said right side of said base platform and a left side first lift leg mounted adjacent said left side of said base platform; and (e) second lift leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said rear thereof and spaced from said first lift leg means for coacting with said first lift leg means to allow said chassis shipping unit to be lifted by the lift device; said second lift leg means including a right side second lift leg mounted adjacent said right side of said base platform and a left side second lift leg mounted adjacent said left side of said base platform.

8. The chassis shipping unit of claim 7 in which said base platform includes a bottom surface having a front end, a rear end, and a midportion between said front and rear ends; and in which said midportion of said bottom surface of said base platform is bowed upward.

9. The chassis shipping unit of claim 7 in which said first and second tandem legs are pivotally mounted to said base platform means for movement between an in-use position and a stored position; and in which said first and second lift legs are pivotally mounted to said base platform means for movement between an in-use position and a stored position.

10. The chassis shipping unit of claim 7 in which is included strap means for strapping the trailer chassis to said base platform means.

11. In combination, a chassis shipping unit, an over-the-road first trailer chassis, an over-the-road second trailer chassis, an over-the-road third trailer chassis, and an over-the-road fourth trailer chassis; said chassis shipping unit comprising: (a) base platform means supporting the first, second, third and fourth trailer chassis with the second trailer chassis supported above the first trailer chassis, with the third trailer chassis supported above the second trailer chassis, and with the fourth trailer chassis supported above the third trailer chassis; said base platform means having a front, a rear, a right side, and a left side; (b) first tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said front thereof and extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis; said first tandem leg means including a right side first tandem leg extending upward between the right side leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis; said first tandem leg means including a left side first tandem leg extending upward between the left side leading and trailing wheels of the first and third trailer chassis; (c) second tandem leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said rear thereof and extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis; said second tandem leg means including a right side second tandem leg extending upward between the right side leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis; said second tandem leg means including a left side second tandem leg extending upward between the left side leading and trailing wheels of the second and fourth trailer chassis; (d) first lift leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said front thereof; said first lift leg means including a right side first lift leg mounted adjacent said right side of said base platform and a left side first lift leg mounted adjacent said left side of said base platform; and (e) second lift leg means mounted to said base platform means adjacent said rear thereof and spaced from said first lift leg means for coacting with said first lift leg means to allow said chassis shipping unit to be lifted by the lift device; said second lift leg means including a right side second lift leg mounted adjacent said right side of said base platform and a left side second lift leg mounted adjacent said left side of said base platform.

12. The chassis shipping unit of claim 11 in which is included strap means strapping the trailer chassis to said base platform means.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates, in general, to a unit for use in shipping container chassis, and more particularly to a collapsible chassis shipping unit for multiple container chassis.

2. Background Art

In the intermodal transportation industry, goods are often shipped in large box-like containers, commonly referred to as “ISO (International Standardization Organization) containers,” that have standardized fittings at standardized locations to receive standardized twist locks and locking pins, etc. Such ISO containers are commonly transported by ship, rail, and road. For transport, the ISO containers are commonly locked to flat bed trailers (typically referred to as “container or trailer chassis”) for being pulled by tractors, etc., from a loading location to an off-loading location. Often times the trailer chassis will need to be transported back to a loading or storage location without a load (i.e., empty). Such transport of empty trailer chassis adds to the expense of intermodal transportation, and various methods and structures have been developed to allow several empty trailer chassis to be transported as a single unit or bundle to a loading or storage location, etc. See, for example, Braly et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,611,962, issued Sep. 16, 1986, which discloses a container chassis bundling system in which a stack of empty trailer chassis are placed on top of another trailer chassis and secured thereto using the standardized twist locks, etc., and with a lifting frame connected to the upper trailer chassis in the bundle so that the entire bundle can be lifted as a bundle.

Nothing in the know prior art discloses or suggests the present invention.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved chassis shipping unit for safely and securely accommodating a plurality of over-the-road trailer chassis.

The chassis shipping unit of the present invention is for accommodating over-the-road trailer chassis of the type including a tandem support wheel assembly having a leading wheel and a trailing wheel spaced from the leading wheel. The chassis shipping unit includes base platform means for supporting first and second trailer chassis with the second trailer chassis supported above the first trailer chassis; first tandem leg means mounted to the base platform means for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the first trailer chassis when the first trailer chassis is supported on the base platform means; and second tandem leg means mounted to the base platform means for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels of the second trailer chassis when the second trailer chassis is supported on the base platform means.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a chassis shipping unit that will handle both 40 foot (12.2 meters) and 20 foot (6.1 meters) container chassis on the same unit, without modification.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has the ability to be folded flat, stacked in groups of four, and mounted on a road chassis while staying within the highway legal load height limit (typically 13 feet, 6 inches, or 4.1 meters).

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that can be locked together in stacks of four folded units with interbox connectors and ship this “bundle” atop a road chassis, a rail flat car, or a container which is loaded into a well-car.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has the ability to stack multiple loaded units atop one another for stationary storage to allow significant savings of space as compared with parking individual chassis on the ground.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has the ability to lock stacked and loaded units together securely to assure a stable stack, not subject to having the upper units slide off the lower ones.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that uses eight legs, each of which fold 90°, with four of these legs folding outward while the other four fold inward.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit in which four of the legs serve as chassis locating members to prevent chassis movement either for-and-aft or side-to-side. These legs can be designated as “tandem legs” and fold away from each other along the longitudinal unit axis.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has four chassis locating (tandem) legs, located to provide for optimum nesting of both 20 foot and 40 foot chassis. These tandem legs fold toward each other, along the unit's longitudinal axis.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has four additional legs known as “ISO” (International Standards Organization) legs, positioned on a standard “ISO 20 foot pattern” to allow for lifting the unit either loaded or empty via the use of a standard top-pick container spreader.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit in which the main frame members have a built-in “camber” or bow, as viewed from the side of the unit, to prevent the bottom of the frame members from slapping against the top of a container when the unit is shipped atop a container.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that uses tension spring assemblies for counterbalancing the weight of each leg during the folding operation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit in which counterbalance spring assemblies allow unassisted one-person manual operation for folding and unfolding the legs.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit in which tension type counterbalance spring assemblies provide virtually uniform force on each leg for folding.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit in which tension spring adjustment bolts allow the spring force to be set to the proper level to obtain the desired manual force for raising or lowering the legs, and allow compensation for variance in the weights of the ISO legs and the tandem legs.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that uses cable assemblies wrapping around a radiused portion of each leg base, instead of conventional linkages, to help provide uniform forces when raising or lowering the legs.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that has commercial trailer tie-down winches and straps strategically positioned to secure each load whether 20 foot or 40 foot chassis.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that includes transverse, folding chassis support arms to hold the forward end of 20 foot chassis frames, preventing bouncing during transit.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that includes either leg hold-down chains which attach to the main frame when the legs are folded down, or mating boss and pin-type lock means, to prevent the legs from bouncing.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that includes manually folding leg locks to secure the legs in the upright, operating position and to prevent movement during transit or severe braking.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide such a chassis shipping unit that includes secondary gravity-assisted latches to prevent the leg locks form opening up during sever bumps.

A general purpose of the present invention to provide a safe, efficient means to transport multiple 20 foot or 40 foot container chassis via either highway or rail.

Another general purpose of the present invention to transport such units while empty in “bundles” of four securely attached to each other, and to the transporting unit, whether on a road chassis, a rail car, or atop a container which is being carried in a rail well-car.

Another general purpose of the present invention to save chassis yard storage space by stacking multiple units atop one another for stationary storage.

Another general purpose of the present invention to prevent container top damage during shipment of one of the chassis shipping unit.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a chassis shipping unit in which all means of locating and securing the chassis are built into the unit so there is no loose gear subject to loosening, falling off, or becoming lost.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a chassis shipping unit which is self-locating and easily secured by either ISO pins or attached tie-down straps located to provide the most efficient, safe securement for all chassis.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a chassis shipping unit which can be easily folded flat and locked to other units and secured four in a bundle that will be within legal highway load heights for over-the-road shipment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded elevational view showing a left side elevation of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention in combination with four 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis to be held by the chassis shipping unit, and a 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis to support the chassis shipping unit.

FIG. 2 is an exploded elevational view similar to FIG. 1 but showing a right side elevation of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention in combination with three 20 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis to be held by the chassis shipping unit, and a 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis to support the chassis shipping unit.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the components of FIG. 1 showing the left side of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention supported on the 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis, and holding the four 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis.

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the components of FIG. 2 showing the left side of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention supported on the 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis, and holding the three 20 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis.

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the components of FIG. 1 similar to FIG. 3 but showing the right side of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention supported on the 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis, and holding the four 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis.

FIG. 6 is an elevational view of the components of FIG. 2 similar to FIG. 4 but showing the right side of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention supported on the 40 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis, and holding the three 20 foot long over-the-road trailer chassis

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a somewhat diagrammatic sectional view substantially as taken on line 8-8 of FIG. 3 and rotated 90°.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the chassis shipping unit of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1-8 and identified by the numeral 11. The chassis shipping unit 11 is used to accommodate (i.e., carry and/or store) at least one and preferably multiple over-the-road trailer chassis 13.

The chassis 13 are preferably of the type including generally flat base or bed 15 with various ISO twistlocks and the like for supporting and securing a load such as one or more ISO containers, a tandem support wheel assembly 17 located generally toward the rear of the bed 15, a hitch means 19 located generally at the front or gooseneck of the bed 15 to allow connection to a coacting hitch means of a standard over-the-road tractor or truck, and landing gear support leg means 21 located generally toward the front of the bed 15 for supporting the front of the bed 15 when the bed 15 is not connected to the over-the-road tractor or truck, etc. The tandem support wheel assembly 17 typically has a leading right-side wheel 23 and a trailing right-side wheel 25 spaced from the leading right-side wheel 23, and has a leading left-side wheel 27 and a trailing left-side wheel 29 spaced from the leading left-side wheel, as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. The chassis 13 also typically includes standardized twist locks 31 or the like attached to the top of the bed 15 for coacting with coacting standardized twist locks or the like of ISO containers, etc., to secure such ISO containers, etc., to the chassis 13 as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such chassis 13 are commonly available in two sizes, a 40 foot (12.2 meters) size for supporting a 40 foot (12.2 meters) ISO container, and a 20 foot (6.1 meters) size for supporting a 20 foot (6.1 meters) ISO container. The construction and use of such chassis 13 are well know to those skilled in the art. The chassis shipping unit 11 of the present invention is specially adapted to support up to four chassis 13 of the 40 foot size (see FIGS. 1, 3 and 5) and up to three chassis 13 of the 20 foot size (see FIGS. 2, 4 and 6).

The chassis shipping unit 11 includes a base platform or frame means 31 for supporting at least a first trailer chassis 13 and a second trailer chassis 13 with the second trailer chassis 13 supported above the first trailer chassis 13. The base frame means 31 may be used to support a stack of four 40 foot chassis 13 as clearly shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, or a stack of three 20 foot chassis 13 as clearly shown in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6. The base frame means 31 is preferably an open structural platform including elongated left and right side beams 33 joined by a plurality of cross beams 35 (see FIG. 7). The side beams 33 may be I-beams and the cross beams 37 may be box tubing or the like. Two of the cross beams 35 may be accessible through the side beams 33 via openings 37 or the like for allowing the chassis shipping unit 11 to be easily lifted and moved, etc., using a, standard fork lift truck and the like. Diagonally extending beams, plates and angle members are preferably provided to strengthen the base platform means 31 as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art.

The base platform 31 has a bottom surface 39 formed or defined by the bottom surfaces of the side beams 33, and cross beams 35, 37, etc., with a front end 41, a rear end 43, and a midportion 45 between said front and rear ends 41, 43 with the midportion 45 bowed upward when chassis 13 are not supported thereon (see FIGS. 1 and 2) thereby provide an unladen chassis shipping unit 11 with a built in camber or bow to provide approximately 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) of clearance above whatever the base platform means 31 may be supported on (e.g, an ISO container, the deck of a ship, the floor of a train car or flatbed truck, or a 40 foot chassis C) at the center of the midportion 45 to prevent the bottom surface 39 from slapping against the top of a ISO container or the like if an unladen chassis shipping unit 11 is shipped on top of such a ISO container, etc.

The chassis shipping unit 11 includes first or front tandem leg means 47 mounted to the base platform means 31 for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of one or more chassis 13 when the chassis 13 are supported on said base platform means 31. Likewise, the chassis shipping unit 11 incudes second or rear tandem leg means 49 mounted to the base platform means 31 for extending upward between the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of one or more chassis 13 when the chassis 13 are supported on said base platform means 31. The first and second tandem leg means 47, 49 are preferably pivotally mounted to said base platform means 31 via pivot rods 51 or the like for movement between substantially vertical, in-use positions and substantially horizontal, stored positions. The tandem leg means 47, 49 are preferably designed to pivot or fold outward, away from each another along the longitudinal axis of the base platform means 31. Each tandem leg means 47, 49 preferably includes a right side tandem leg member 53 pivotally attached to the right side beam 33 of the base platform means 31 via a pivot rod 51, and a left side tandem leg member 55 pivotally attached to the left side beam 33 of the base platform means 31 via a pivot rod 51. Each tandem leg member 53, 55 may be constructed from elongated steel box beam members. The four tandem leg members 53, 55 provide means to properly locate the chassis 13 on the base platform means 31. By extending upward between adjacent leading and trailing wheels 23, 25 or 27, 29, the tandem leg members 53, 55 not only serve to insure proper location of the various chassis 13 on the base platform means 31, but also serve to prevent or limit both fore-and-aft and side-to-side movement of the chassis 13 as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art. The four tandem leg members 53, 55 are preferably positioned to provide for optimum nesting of both 20 foot and 40 foot chassis 13.

The chassis shipping unit 11 preferably includes first or front lift leg means 57 mounted to the base platform means 31 rearward of the first tandem leg means 47, and a second or rear lift leg means 59 mounted to the base platform means 31 forward of the second tandem leg means 49. The first and second lift leg means 57, 59 are preferably pivotally mounted to said base platform means 31 via pivot rods 61 or the like for movement between substantially vertical, in-use positions and substantially horizontal, stored positions. The lift leg means 57, 59 are preferably designed to pivot or fold inward, toward one another along the longitudinal axis of the base platform means 31. Each lift leg means 57, 59 preferably includes a right side lift leg member 63 pivotally attached to the right side beam 33 of the base platform means 31 via a pivot rod 61, and a left side lift leg member 65 pivotally attached to the left side beam 33 of the base platform means 31 via a pivot rod 61. Each lift leg member 63, 65 may be constructed from elongated steel box beam members, positioned on a standard ISO 20 foot pattern, and preferably has a ISO twist-lock lift connection 67 or the like (see FIG. 7) attached to the top end thereof for allowing the chassis shipping unit 11 to be used with a standard lifting device, i.e., to be lifted, either loaded or empty, via the use of a standard top-pick container spreader as will now be apparent to those skilled in the art.

Counterbalanced springs (not shown) may be provided for allowing the operator of the chassis shipping unit 11 to raise and lower the leg members 53, 55, 63, 65 without any need for additional power equipment or the like.

The chassis shipping unit 11 preferably includes strap means 69 for strapping the trailer chassis 13 to said base platform means 31. The strap means 69 preferably includes three spaced apart strap winches 71 attached to each side beam 33 of the base platform means 31, and an elongated woven fabric tie-down strap 73 associated with each winch 71 for securely tieing the chassis 13 down on the base platform means 31 during shipment, etc. These strap means 69 are the type commonly found on commercial flatbed trailers for securing cargo via the use of multiple straps. The winches 71 are typically manually operated with the use of elongated bar-like handles or the like (not shown).

Two-piece folding cross braces 75 may be provided between the leg members 63, 65 of the first or forward lift leg means 57 (see FIGS. 4 and 7) for supporting the bed 15 of a third 20 foot chassis 13 when three 20 foot chassis 13 are mounted on the chassis shipping unit 11 as shown in FIG. 4.

Interbox connectors 77 may be provided (see FIG. 7) for allowing empty, folded chassis shipping units 11 to be connected together for shipping.

Pads 79 may be provided on the base platform means 31 on which the trailing wheels 25, 29 of a second chassis 13 will rest when mounted on the chassis shipping unit 11 above a first chassis 13.

Female ISO sockets 81 are preferably mounted on the forward corners and midway along the length of each side beam 33 of the base platform means 31 for engaging coacting ISO twistlock pins of the first loaded chassis 13.

Land gear support plates 83 are preferably provided on the base platform means 31 (see FIG. 7) for supporting the landing gear 21 of the first chassis 13.

To load or mount a plurality of chassis 13 on the chassis shipping unit 11, the tandem leg means 47, 49 and lift leg means 57, 59 are all positioned in the raised or vertical, in-use positions.

To load three 20 foot chassis 13 on the chassis shipping unit 11 (see FIGS. 2, 4 and 6), the landing gear 21 of the first or lowermost chassis 13 is fully retracted, and, using a fork lift or the like, that first or lowermost chassis 13 is inverted and placed with its tandem support wheel assembly 17 toward the front of the base platform means 31. That first or lowermost chassis 13 is then lowered with its leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 straddling the respective leg members 53, 55 of the front tandem leg means 47, until it rest on the base platform means 31 with all four of the ISO twistlock pins of the chassis 13 engaging respective ISO sockets 81 on the base platform means 31. The twistlock pins can then be locked in a manner now apparent to those skilled in the art to secure that chassis 13 to the base platform means 31. Again using a fork lift or the like, a second or middle chassis 13 is lowered in an upright or non-inverted position over the rear of the base platform means 31 with the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of its tandem support wheel assembly 17 straddling the respective legs members 53, 55 of the rear tandem leg means 49, until its tandem support wheel assembly 17 and landing gear 21 come to rest on the respective pads 79 and plates 83. The landing gear 21 of the second or middle chassis 13 can then be adjusted (raised or lowered) so that its frame just clears the frame of the first or lower chassis 13. The folding cross braces 75 on the front lift leg means 57 are then opened to provide a support beam between the leg members 63, 65 as shown in FIG. 7, and the landing gear 21 of a third or uppermost chassis 13 is fully retracted, and, using a fork lift or the like, that third or uppermost chassis 13 is inverted and placed with its tandem support wheel assembly 17 toward the front of the base platform means 31. That third or uppermost chassis 13 is then lowered with its leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 straddling the respective leg members 53, 55 of the front tandem leg means 47, until its main frame comes to rest atop the main frame of the second or middle chassis 13 and the rear portion of its main frame comes to rest on the cross braces 75. Straps 73 of the forward two strap means 69 are then toss over the top of the third or uppermost chassis 13, and the strap 73 of the rearward strap means 69 is toss over the second or middle chassis 13. The straps 73 are connected to the respective winches 71 and tightened until all the chassis 13 are secure. The load is then ready for shipping, etc.

To load four 40 foot chassis 13 on the chassis shipping unit 11 (see FIGS. 1, 3 and 5), the landing gears 21 of the first or lowermost chassis 13, the third or upper middle chassis 13, and the fourth or uppermost chassis 13 are fully retracted. Then, using a fork lift or the like, that first or lowermost chassis 13 is inverted and placed with its tandem support wheel assembly 17 toward the rear of the base platform means 31. That first or lowermost chassis 13 is then lowered with its leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 straddling the respective leg members 53, 55 of the rear tandem leg means 49, until it rest on the base platform means 31 with the rear pair of ISO twistlock pins of the chassis 13 engaging respective ISO sockets 81 on the base platform means 31. The twistlock pins can then be locked in a manner now apparent to those skilled in the art to secure that chassis 13 to the base platform means 31. The forward horizontal chassis pins of the first chassis 13 should engage a front pair of holes in the front end of the base platform means 31. Again using a fork lift or the like, the second or lower middle chassis 13 is lowered in an upright or non-inverted position onto the base platform means 31 with the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of its tandem support wheel assembly 17 straddling the respective legs members 53, 55 of the front tandem leg means 47, until its tandem support wheel assembly 17 and landing gear 21 come to rest on the respective pads 79 and plates 83. The landing gear 21 of the second or middle chassis 13 can then be adjusted (raised or lowered) so that its frame just clears the axles, suspension and brake chambers of the first chassis 13. Again using a fork lift or the like, the third or upper middle chassis 13 is inverted with its tandem support wheel assembly 17 toward the rear of the chassis shipping unit 11. That third chassis 13 is lowered onto the base platform means 31 with the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of its tandem support wheel assembly 17 straddling the respective legs members 53, 55 of the rear tandem leg means 49, until the front, gooseneck portion of its main frame comes to rest atop the main frame of the second or lower middle chassis 13, and the rear portion of its main frame comes to rest on the gooseneck portion of the second or lower middle chassis 13. Again using a fork lift or the like, the fourth or upper chassis 13 is lowered in an upright or non-inverted position with its tandem support wheel assembly 17 toward the front of the chassis shipping unit 11 and with the leading and trailing wheels 23, 25, 27, 29 of its tandem support wheel assembly 17 straddling the respective legs members 53, 55 of the front tandem leg means 47, until its tires come to rest atop the tires of the second or lower middle chassis 13 and its landing gear 21 comes to rest atop the landing gear housing of the second or lower middle chassis 13. The landing gear 21 of the fourth or upper chassis 13 can then be adjusted in height so the frame of the fourth or upper chassis 13 just clears the axles, suspension and brake chambers of the third or upper middle chassis 13. Straps 73 of the strap means 69 are then tossed over the top of the fourth or uppermost chassis 13. The straps 73 are connected to the respective winches 71 and tightened until all the chassis 13 are secure. The load is then ready for shipping, etc.

Although the present invention has been described and illustrated with respect to preferred embodiments and preferred uses therefor, it is not to be so limited since modifications and changes can be made therein which are within the full intended scope of the invention.