Title:
Preservation skid
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is a skid or pallet that arrives at a “using location” with a pre-installed hermetically integrated base sheet, produced from a flexible packaging material. It is built, such that one of several methods of securing any given asset to the skid can be utilized in a fashion that eliminates the possibility of compromising the integrity, or air-tightness, of the base sheet. An asset(s) can be secured to the invention rapidly with minimal labor expenditures without worrying about, precision registration of machine feet with skid bolts or the dangers associated with manual guidance of equipment over protruding bolts. This invention can reduce the amount of time spent in the preparation of an asset for export shipment or placement into long-term storage multi-fold; due to the elimination of measuring, punching, drilling, calking and alignment operations all of which will save money and enhance employee safety protection.



Inventors:
Smith, Russell Louis (Fairport, NY, US)
Smith, William Stuart (Fairport, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/324524
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
01/04/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
STEPHENS III, JOSE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Heritage Packaging (Fairport, NY, US)
Claims:
What I claim as my invention is:

1. A skid or pallet that provides a method of securing any asset to it, through any securing method feasible, without violating the integrity of a hermetically integrated sheet of flexible packaging material that provides a means of sealing the asset inside of a flexible cover by any sealing method necessary while eliminating various costs associated with previously used onsite labor intensive traditional barrier packaging methods for export and preservation packaging needs.

2. The invention with its inherent qualities referenced in claim 1 eliminates these following traditional packaging practices for export and preservation packaging applications; obtaining exact asset dimensions and bolt-hole locations and subsequently drilling bolt-holes and installing bolts onsite, locating and cutting bolt holes in a cover or sheet of packaging material on-site, aligning the bolt-holes in the cover or packaging material over the bolt-holes in the skid or pallet onsite, making the interface between the skid or pallet, the bolts and the cover or sheet of packaging material air-tight on-site, lifting an asset and lowering it over protruding bolts where misalignment could cause worker injury and product damage, and time spent struggling to manipulate into alignment, the flexible cover material with that of a non-precision field-installed base sheet.

3. This invention; with its inherent qualities, as referenced in claims 1 and 2, facilitates the following new methods and concepts with regards to packaging for export shipment and long term preservation applications; allows an asset packaging crew to randomly locate an asset on the top deck of the invention without aligning it with protruding bolts, thereby reducing job time and increasing job safety, provides a large, readily accessible, and flat base surface for sealing an air-tight cover to the hermetically integrated sheet of packaging material by any means necessary such as but not limited to heat sealing, adhering, taping, etc, and reduces the number of steps required to package an asset at a job site by introducing the concept of a manufactured pallet or skid with a hermetically integrated sheet of flexible packaging material that does not require large amounts of onsite manipulation, assembly, or fabrication for complete asset preservation and subsequent shipment or storage.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This specification is now being filed (during the pending period) of the earlier filed Provisional Application having a filing date of Dec. 30, 2004 and which was assigned Application No. 60/640,007 with Confirmation Number 3626 and Filing Receipt #OC000000015019597. It is my intention to take benefit from said earlier filing.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The field of endeavor to which this invention pertains is the prevention of rust, corrosion or oxidation from occurring on the metal parts of an asset while said asset is in storage or during transport. Manufacturers of assets, that include but are not limited to, industrial machinery, computers and components thereof, aircraft and component parts, commercial equipment etc. etc., go to great lengths to protect these assets from corrosion during export shipment and/or long-term preservation. The traditional method(s) of preventing corrosion on assets involves costly labor intensive and sometimes dangerous procedures. These procedures are typically completed at the very end of the manufacturing cycle (or right after a sale has been made in the case of a “previously owned” asset) which usually creates a sense of urgency; as often the packing crews race to beat a deadline for transport vessel departure. The traditional and most typical packaging method utilized by these crews is as follows. A skid, with overall dimensions and a load capacity that is coincident with the asset to be packed, is built from wood, manufactured wood products, metal, etc. The assets typically have flanges or “feet” with holes in them through which bolts can be passed. The “bolt-hole-pattern” of the asset is determined and transferred to the deck of the skid. Holes are then drilled through the skid deck and bolts are inserted through the deck from the underside of the skid. A base sheet (of flexible packaging material) is then cut to size (often heat-seal fabricated to make it large enough to fit under the entire asset). The same bolt-hole-pattern is transferred onto the flexible base sheet and holes are punched in the sheet accordingly. Then gaskets made from a resilient material such as rubber or cork, etc. are placed over the bolts protruding up through the skid deck. Silastic calk is applied to the gasket surface fully encircling the bolt. The flexible base sheet is then fitted over the bolts and pressed into the silastic. An additional application of silastic is then done on the upward facing surface of the base sheet, again encircling the bolts. Additional resilient gaskets are then placed over each bolt and pressed into the silastic calk to effect the hermetic sealing of each bolt hole. Next; the asset (often weighing several thousand pounds or more) must be placed in perfect alignment with the bolts and lowered into place by overhead crane or other appropriate lifting device. This action requires multiple personnel (with hands and fingers at risk) to carefully guide the asset “feet” down over the protruding bolts, without causing damage to the base sheet or injuring themselves. This operation is time consuming, and if the base sheet becomes torn or otherwise damaged it must be replaced with a new one. Once the asset is seated on the skid, nuts are tightened onto the bolts to fasten the asset to the skid. The next step is to “condition” the asset through various methods including but not limited to, oiling or greasing of metal parts, introduction of desiccant packs or VCI emitters or oxygen scavengers etc. within the assets structure. Next a flexible cover is fabricated from the same material (typically, but not limited to, a flexible packaging material that is compliant with MIL-PRF-131J) as the flexible base sheet. Said cover is lowered over the asset and aligned with the base sheet such that when the cover is heat-sealed to the base sheet the asset becomes fully enveloped within a hermetically sealed “package”.

This invention was produced in response to the inventor's desire to significantly speed up and simultaneously reduce the risk of injury during the “hermetic cover installation process” described above; as it relates to the preparation of assets for export shipment and/or long-term preservation. In 2002 a study conducted by NACE International estimated that Businesses in the United States alone incur costs, reaching nearly 3.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP)—a staggering $340 billion, in the prevention and/or remediation of damages caused by corrosion. This invention is intended to minimize the costs of installation labor and wasted materials as well as to help create a safer work environment with significantly reduced employee injuries and subsequent compensation claims and costs.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of this invention is to provide a skid and cover system that reduces the amount of time and personnel required to pack an asset for export shipment or long-term preservation, and also reduce the risk of injury to installation personnel. To accomplish those goals it was determined that the necessity of installing bolts, over which an asset would be lowered and then fastened to a skid must be eliminated. Installation of a flexible base sheet as an integral part of a skid is the first step towards accomplishing the goals. Hermetic “factory mounting” of an upper tier, to a skid (on top of the base sheet), provides a surface onto which an asset may be bolted without “field-penetrating” the flexible base sheet and without needing to have the bolts protruding from up under the deck. The asset can simply be placed upon the deck of the upper tier, drilling can be done right through the asset's feet and upper deck and then bolts can be installed with a much higher degree of speed and safety (see FIG. 4). Another method of goal attainment is to produce a skid; again with a pre-installed hermetically sealed base sheet, with an additional layer of decking (machine platform) mounted directly on top of the flexible base sheet. In this case, bolt-holes are drilled from the upper-most layer (machine platform) through the deck and out the bottom of the stringers. Carriage bolts are then inserted through all components of the skid; stringers, deck boards, base sheet, resilient gaskets with silastic calk and upper machine platform, such that the bolts protrude up through the top of the skid. Eye nuts are then tightened to the bolts which securely fasten all skid components together. With this system in use an installation crew need not drill any holes nor install any bolts whatsoever. The asset is simply placed upon the upper deck (flanked by the eye nuts) and then heavy duty ratchet straps are utilized to secure the asset to the skid (see FIGS. 7 and 9). In both styles sited above, the flexible base sheet is produced and installed such that its outer edges extend out beyond the outer edges of the skid. This positioning of the base sheet allows for the un-obstructed lowering of a flexible cover, down over the asset for alignment with and heat-sealing to the base sheet. Utilization of this invention has been shown to significantly reduce installation time, reduce installation personnel requirements, and greatly minimizes the risk of crushing, pinching and amputation injuries.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 depicts the construction of a two tiered style of the invention which is to be utilized when it is deemed that utilization of ratchet straps could damage the asset to be packed and therefore “field bolting” must occur.

FIG. 2 depicts the positioning of the flexible base sheet between the two tiers of the skid and also the relative alignment of the flange of the flexible cover and the outer edge of the flexible base sheet.

FIG. 3 depicts the lower tier of a two tiered style skid having “floor contact” stringers, deck board planking and an optional Nailer Strip which can be used for attachment of crate walls to the skid.

FIG. 4 depicts the placement of an asset onto a two tiered style skid. The exploded view shows how all of the skid component parts are fastened together with bolts that extend up through the lower stringer, lower deck boards, flexible base sheet, upper stringer, and upper deck panel; while the asset is bolted to the upper tier deck with bolts inserted up from underneath the upper deck, through the machine feet and fastened in place with nuts.

FIG. 5 depicts in pictorial view, a completed two tiered style skid, while the exploded view shows the assembly sequence of the various component parts of this style.

FIG. 6 depicts the two tiered style skid minus the flexible base sheet and nailer strip for clarity in showing the relationship and positioning of the two tiers relative to one another.

FIG. 7 depicts a single tier style skid. A completed skid is shown in pictorial view while the exploded view shows the interrelationship and assembly sequence of all component parts of the single tier style (exclusive of ratchet straps).

FIG. 8 depicts a single tier style skid having the three dimensional flexible barrier cover installed in its intended position to the flexible base sheet.

FIG. 9 depicts a single tier style skid which has an asset placed upon its deck surface and ratchet straps employed to fasten the asset to the skid by placing the hook at each end of a ratchet strap through the eye-nuts fastened to each carriage bolt. This demonstrates a method of fastening an asset to the skid without disrupting the hermetically integrated flexible base sheet by drilling holes for “field-bolting” of an asset to the skid.

FIG. 10 depicts a single tier style skid together with a three dimensional flexible barrier cover, and shows the relative alignment of the cover to the base sheet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention is comprised of a skid which has a sheet of flexible packaging material “sandwiched” between two layers of rigid material in a hermetic or air-tight fashion, and that extends out beyond the edges of the rigid materials (see FIGS. 1, 5, 7 and 8). For the purpose of this description, a skid shall be defined as an assembly of rigid parts onto which an asset or product may be placed for the purpose of moving the asset or product. The skids construction shall consist of two or more stringers that are placed upon the floor, all in parallel alignment with one another and of sufficient thickness so as to allow a lifting device (such as the forks of a lift truck of pallet jack) to fit between the stringers and beneath deck boards which get fastened to the upper faces of the stringers. The deck boards shall be positioned at 90° to the stringers and all deck boards shall be parallel to one another (see FIG. 3).

This invention can be configured in numerous ways. One example or style is a two tiered skid; where the lower tier is a skid that sandwiches a sheet of flexible barrier packaging material between it and an upper tier which is another skid of smaller dimensions (see FIGS. 4 and 5). The two-tier style construction consists of a set of lower stringers with deck boards attached to them together with an upper set of stringers that have an upper deck on their top side (load bearing surface). Fasteners utilized to attach the individual components together would depend upon the material(s) that the respective components are made from. Fasteners and fastening methods could be either standard commercial fare or custom designed and manufactured. The fasteners used could be, but are not limited to; nails, screws, rivets, nuts and bolts, pegs, adhesives, solvent bonds, welds or brazing etc. The upper tier, flexible sheet, and lower tier are all fastened together by long bolts whose heads are recessed in the under side of the lower stringers and whose matching nuts are recessed in the upper deck (see FIG. 1). The outer edges of the lower tier shall extend beyond the outer edges of the upper tier on all four sides (see FIG. 6). The lower deck is constructed with individual boards which have a space between them. The width of the space is determined by the overall length of the lower tier. In all cases the number of boards utilized to construct the lower deck shall be at least three and perhaps four or even five (again depending upon the length of the lower tier—see FIG. 3). The lower deck boards shall be placed such that the resultant spaces between the boards are of equal widths, regardless of the number of boards utilized. A “nailer-strip” can be fastened to the top side of the lower deck on all four sides. Its outer edge is to be located inboard of the outer edge of the lower deck. The purpose of the “nailer-strip” is to allow for on-site fastening of end-user provided crate wall panels to the invention if their use is desired by the end user. The upper deck is constructed from either one continuous piece or from numerous deck boards that butt-up against one another to form a continuous surface. This load-bearing surface allows the end user to lay-out and drill any bolt-hole pattern that a particular asset that is being palletized requires. The holes are drilled through the upper deck. Washers; (provided with the invention and that have a large surface area) are placed over the asset bolts which are inserted up through the upper deck from its underside, through the bolt-hole in the asset and mated with a corresponding nut in order to fasten the asset to the invention. (see FIG. 4) If the asset is not configured in a manner that allows bolting to the invention; it can simply be placed upon the upper deck (secured in place if desirable by fastening “blocks” around it) and then banded to the upper deck by passing metal strapping between the tiers of the invention, up over the asset and then fastening with standard commercial banding clips. A three dimensional flexible barrier cover is utilized to shroud whatever item (or asset) is placed onto the upper deck. The edges of the barrier cover opening are aligned with the edges of the base sheet that is sandwiched between the tiers of the skid. These two components are then joined by the end user through means or use of; but not limited to, heat-sealing, zipper, adhesive bonding, hook and loop fasteners etc., to form an airtight barrier enclosure that completely envelops the item within (see FIGS. 2,8, and 10).

A second example or style is a single tier skid that sandwiches the flexible base sheet between “lower deck boards” and upper rigid decking material (see FIGS. 7 and 8). This style of the invention offers vast improvement over traditional export and preservation packing methods and materials because it eliminates the necessity to measure, lay-out, drill and install bolts in any bolt-holes through the skid deck by installation personnel. Utilization of this style (and of the two-tiered style) is also much safer for installation personnel due to the elimination of the need to manually guide the feet of a heavy asset down over numerous bolts protruding from the deck and potentially suffering a finger, hand or arm crushing or pinching injury. Instead of utilizing the traditional field-bolting method of securing the asset to the invention, the single tier style incorporates the use of eye-nuts that are fastened to carriage bolts that are hermetically installed at the invention manufacturing site. The carriage bolts are inserted up through the bottom of the stringers and continue through the lower and upper deck materials, the flexible base sheet, and the uppermost rigid deck member (machine contact platform), on top of which the eye-nuts are fastened which creates a strong anchoring device. Hold-down straps with integral ratchet mechanisms are utilized to secure the asset to the invention (see FIG. 9). The hooks at each end of the ratchet strap are connected to opposing eye-nuts and the strap is tightened to securely hold the asset to the invention. A flexible barrier cover is installed through attachment to the flexible base sheet in identical fashion as described above.

The feature of the invention which renders it truly innovative and unique is the flexible barrier base sheet that is hermetically integrated by the manufacturer between skid components (regardless of how the skid is configured or of what materials it is made). The base sheet is a heat-sealable flexible packaging material that extends beyond the edges of the upper tier on all four sides. Its position, below the upper deck where any bolt-hole drilling or other asset fastening occurs, allows the end user to easily secure the asset to the upper deck without first having to penetrate a base sheet in order to complete the asset fastening operation. This feature negates the end users need to take precautionary steps to assure that the penetrations in the base sheet are done in an “air-tight” fashion and vastly speeds-up the packaging operation at the end users site. Prior to installation, the base sheet has a bolt-hole pattern (identical to that of the skid members) laid-out and punched at the invention manufacturing site. A pair of gaskets made from resilient material, whose diameters are at least five times the diameter of the bolt hole, is secured to the base sheet concentrically to each bolt-hole, both on top of and on the under-side of the base sheet. A paste or gel type material such as GE Silastic that cures to an airtight yet still flexible condition, is spread across the surfaces of the gaskets that make contact with the base sheet and then the gaskets are pressed against the base sheet material in concentric alignment with the holes in the base sheet and set aside and allowed to cure (see FIG. 5). After the silastic has cured on the base-sheet/gasket assembly the full assembly of the invention can take place. The lower deck members are fastened to the lower stringers, the nailer-strips are attached to the lower deck, the upper deck is fastened to the upper stringers, both tiers are laid-out and have the bolt-holes drilled through them, the skid bolts are inserted up through the lower tier, more silastic is spread across the surface of the gaskets on the underside of the base sheet and it is then lowered down over the protruding bolts, more silastic is spread across the surface of the gaskets on the upper side of the base sheet, then the upper tier is lowered down over the bolts and finally nuts are screwed onto the bolts and tightened.

Except for the flexible base sheet, nuts, bolts, washers and gaskets made from resilient material (such as rubber, urethane, etc.) all components of the invention shall be constructed from a strong and rigid material such as, but not limited to; hardwood, softwood, composite wood products, other composite materials, laminated materials, plastics, plastic lumber, metals, etc. or any combination thereof.

The overall dimensions of the invention are dictated by the size of the asset to be packaged. The only constraints upon size would be the available sizes of stringer and or decking materials. Typically; the invention will be sized such that after the asset has been fastened to the upper deck and sealed within the flexible barrier cover, the full assembly will fit inside of a sea going cargo container. However; the invention could also be made larger than that with the intent that the load would be placed on the deck of a ship instead of into a cargo container or the ships hold. Regardless of size; the inventions configuration remains the same: an upper and lower tier sandwiching a flexible barrier base sheet between them.

DRAWINGS

There are ten pages of drawings included herewith with views described above.

SEQUENCE LISTING

Not applicable.