Title:
POLYMERIC BATTEN FOR LOAD STRAPPING AND SPACING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A polymeric batten for supporting an associated load includes a main body having a base wall having a pair of opposing, spaced apart upstanding side walls extending upwardly from the base wall and a pair of opposing, spaced apart legs extending downwardly from the base wall. The legs are spaced from one another a predetermined distance and the side walls are spaced from one another a predetermined distance. The upstanding side walls and base wall define a generally U-shaped profile and the legs and base wall define a generally inverted U-shaped profile that defines a strap receiving region configured for receiving an associated strap material disposed around the load and the batten. A load strapping and supporting system is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Person, Donald L. (Elwood, IL, US)
Peck, Lawrence R. (Frankfort, IL, US)
Markert, Gary G. (Hawthorn Woods, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/421152
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
05/31/2006
Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS, INC. (Glenview, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04C3/30
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HOLLOWAY, JASON R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC (ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS) (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A polymeric batten for supporting an associated load comprising: a main body having a base wall having a pair of opposing, spaced apart upstanding side walls extending upwardly from the base wall and a pair of opposing, spaced apart legs extending downwardly from the base wall, the legs being spaced from one another a predetermined distance and the side walls being spaced from one another a predetermined distance that is different from the distance the legs are spaced from one another, and wherein the upstanding side walls and base wall define a generally U-shaped profile and wherein the legs and base wall define a generally inverted U-shaped profile and defining a strap receiving region configured for receiving an associated strap material disposed around the load and the batten.

2. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 wherein the predetermined leg spacing is different from the predetermined side wall spacing.

3. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 2 wherein the leg spacing is greater than the predetermined side wall spacing.

4. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 wherein the side walls include means for receiving the legs of a nested, like batten.

5. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 4 wherein the receiving means is a notch formed in an outer surface of the side configured for receiving the legs of the nested, like batten.

6. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 including an intermediate support element extending from the base wall from about an intermediate portion thereof.

7. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 6 wherein the intermediate support element is an intermediate support leg extending downwardly from the base wall, between the legs to define a pair of side-by-side strap receiving regions.

8. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 6 wherein the intermediate support element is an intermediate support wall extending upwardly from the base wall, between the side walls.

9. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 wherein the polymer is a polyolefin.

10. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 wherein the legs have a height measured from the base wall to a free end of the legs that is less than a height of the walls measured from the base wall to a free end of the walls.

11. The polymeric batten in accordance with claim 1 wherein the batten is formed from recycled material.

12. A load supporting and strapping system comprising, in combination: a polymeric batten having a main body having a base wall having a pair of opposing, spaced apart upstanding side walls extending upwardly from the base wall and a pair of opposing, spaced apart legs extending downwardly from the base wall, the legs being spaced from one another a predetermined distance and the side walls being spaced from one another a predetermined distance, and wherein the upstanding side walls and base wall define a generally U-shaped profile and wherein the legs and base wall define a generally inverted U-shaped profile and defining a strap receiving region; and a strap disposed around the load and the batten, the strap positioned within the strap receiving region and around the load, encircling the batten with the load.

13. The load supporting and strapping system in accordance with claim 12 wherein the batten includes an intermediate support element extending from the base wall from about an intermediate portion thereof.

14. The load supporting and strapping system polymeric batten in accordance with claim 13 wherein the intermediate support element is an intermediate support leg extending downwardly from the base wall, between the legs to define a pair of side-by-side strap receiving regions.

15. The load supporting and strapping system polymeric batten in accordance with claim 13 wherein the intermediate support element is an intermediate support wall extending upwardly from the base wall, between the side walls.

16. The load supporting and strapping system in accordance with claim 12 wherein the batten is formed from recycled material.

17. The load supporting and strapping system in accordance with claim 12 wherein the predetermined leg spacing is different from the predetermined side wall spacing.

18. The load supporting and strapping system in accordance with claim 17 wherein the leg spacing is greater than the predetermined side wall spacing.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a polymeric batten. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a polymeric batten for placing between loads or between a load and a surface to permit strapping around the load and the batten.

Battens are often used under a load or package to support the load and to provide a channel or track through which strap is positioned for strapping or bundling the load. Battens also elevate or lift the load to, for example, permit the tines of a forklift or fork truck under the load to raise and move the load. Battens are used to support and facilitate moving material such as sheets of plywood and oriented strand board (OSB).

Battens that are presently used are made of wood. A center longitudinal channel is routed in the batten and the batten is placed with the planar (non-routed) side in contact with the load. The load is then strapped (i.e., secured with strapping material) with the strap traversing through the channel. In this manner, the load is elevated from the surface on which it rests (of a load below), the load is supported by the batten and the strap is protected from damage from below. This arrangement permits the use of fork tines (from a lift or truck) for moving the load.

One drawback to wood battens is that they can be inconsistent. That is, the wood can be warped and split, and the sizes of the battens can vary. Typically the battens are inserted in an automated process and as such the inconsistent (e.g., warped or split) battens can result in jamming the loading machines.

Accordingly, there is a need for a consistently formed or profiled batten. Desirably, such a batten is light-weight and cost effective compared to wood battens. Most desirably, such a batten facilitates use in an automated loading process.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A polymeric batten is used for supporting and facilitating the bundling of an associated load. The batten includes a main body having a base wall having a pair of opposing, spaced apart upstanding side walls extending upwardly from the base wall and a pair of opposing, spaced apart legs extending downwardly from the base wall.

In that the batten is formed form a polymer (plastic) it is consistently formed or profiled, by fabrication, for example, in an extrusion process. As such, the batten is light-weight and relatively inexpensive to produce. Also, because the batten is consistent in its manufacture, it readily lends itself to use in an automated loading process.

The legs of the batten are spaced from one another a predetermined distance and the side walls are spaced from one another a predetermined distance. In one embodiment, the predetermined leg spacing is different from the predetermined side wall spacing.

The upstanding side walls and base wall define a generally U-shaped profile and the legs and base wall define a generally inverted U-shaped profile that defines a strap receiving region configured for receiving strap material that is disposed around the load and the batten.

In a present batten the legs are spaced a distance greater than the side walls. Most preferably, the side walls include means for receiving the legs of a nested, like batten, such as notches formed in an outer surface of each side wall that are configured for receiving the legs of the nested, like batten. The legs and walls can also be configured such that they are not spaced differently from one another.

One embodiment of the batten includes an intermediate support leg extending downwardly from the base wall, between the legs, to define a pair of side-by-side strap receiving regions. Alternately, the intermediate support element can be a wall extending upwardly from the base wall, between the side walls.

The batten can be formed from a polyolefin and is preferably formed from recycled materials.

The legs have a height measured from the base wall to a free end that is less than a height of the walls measured from the base wall to a free end.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description, in conjunction with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The benefits and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the relevant art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a stack of sheet material having a pair of battens embodying the principles of the present invention positioned under and supporting the load;

FIGS. 2A and 2B are perspective and cross-sectional views of one embodiment of the batten;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are perspective and cross-sectional views of an alternate embodiment of the batten; and

FIGS. 4A and 4B are perspective and cross-sectional views of the batten of FIGS. 2A and B shown in a nested configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While the present invention is susceptible of embodiment in various forms, there is shown in the drawings and will hereinafter be described a presently preferred embodiment with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the specific embodiment illustrated.

It should be further understood that the title of this section of this specification, namely, “Detailed Description Of The Invention”, relates to a requirement of the United States Patent Office, and does not imply, nor should be inferred to limit the subject matter disclosed herein.

Referring now to the figures and in particular to FIG. 1, there is shown a stack of sheet material M (such as 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB)) that is supported by a pair of battens 10 embodying the principles of the present invention. The material M stack can be quite heavy and generally difficult to handle due to the size and bulkiness of the load L. Strap material S encircles the batten 10 and the load L to secure the batten 10 to the load L.

In order to facilitate lifting and moving the load L, it is desirable to elevated the load L sufficiently to permit the tines of a forklift or fork truck under the load L (between the load and the ground or between the load and next lower load, for example if the load is stacked). Known wood battens elevate these loads to permit moving the load. However, because these battens are made from wood, they can be inconsistent, vis-á-vis warping, bending, splitting and the like. It will be appreciated that these inconsistencies can cause problems when using these battens in automated loading operations. It has been found that automated loading machines can jam or otherwise require additional maintenance when low quality battens are used.

The present polymeric battens 10 overcome the problems of know battens. The illustrated battens 10 are formed from polymeric materials, e.g., plastic, rather than wood. The battens 10 can be formed from a variety of materials, such as polyolefins, for example, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride or other readily available materials. It is anticipated that the battens 10 will be manufactured from principally recycled materials, such as polyethylene terephthalate or polyvinyl chloride to provide an economic benefit (e.g., lower cost) as well as lessened environmental impact.

The battens 10 are formed as dual, opposing channel members. A main body 12 has an upper portion 14 that defines a U-shaped channel 16 that is formed by a base wall 18 and opposing, upstanding side walls 20 that together define the “U” channel 16. In the embodiment of FIGS. 2A,B and 4A,B, the lower portion 22 is formed by a pair opposing, downwardly oriented walls 24 that extend from the base wall 18 and define outer support legs. The legs 24 have a height h24 that is less than the height h20 of the side walls 20. Thus, the legs 24 are shorter than the upper side walls 20 are high. Accordingly, the U in the upper portion 16 is deeper than the inverted U of the lower portion 26. The inverted U 26 defines a strap receiving region 28.

The junctures of the side walls 20 and the base wall 18 and the legs 24 and the base wall 18 are rounded, as indicated at 30, to facilitate manufacture and to provide additional materials at the high stress points (e.g., the corners) of the batten 10. In this embodiment, an additional support leg 32 extends downwardly from the base wall 18 intermediate the outer legs 24. The intermediate leg 32 in turn defines a pair of lower, inverted U-shaped channels 26a,b.

The upper walls 20 have a stepped or notched profile 34 formed on an outer surface 36 of the walls 20. The step or notch 34 is dimensioned, as at d34 to correspond to the space between the inner surfaces of the outer legs, as at d26. In this manner, the battens 10 nest with one another (e.g., stack), as seen in FIGS. 4A and 4B, to facilitate storage and shipping of the battens 10. Accordingly, the dimension d16 across the upper portion U channel 16 is slightly less than the dimension d26 across the lower portion U channel 26.

The outer surface 36 of the upstanding side walls 20 and the legs 24 are contiguous. A longitudinal recess 38 is formed in the outer surface that corresponds with that portion of the outer wall that spans the upper side walls 20, the legs 24 and the base wall 18.

FIGS. 3A,B illustrate a batten 110 that does not include the intermediate support leg. This embodiment of the batten 110 can be used for lesser weight loads. Nevertheless, this embodiment 110 includes the stepped wall 134 configuration to permit stacking or nesting of the battens 110. A single strap receiving region 128 is defined by the single inverted U channel 126.

Advantageously, the present batten 10, 110 provides a light-weight, cost effective solution to inconsistent, warped, broken and split wooden battens. The batten 10, 110 thus permits use with automated loading systems, without the attendant problems of jamming and the like observe with inconsistent wooden battens. The polymeric batten 10, 110 can be formed from recycled materials to reduce any adverse environmental impact. The battens, whether the heavy-weight supporting embodiment 10, or the light-weight embodiment 110, can be stacked for ease of transport, storage and use. It will be appreciated that because of the constant cross-section of the battens, the manufacture of the battens 10, 110 can be readily carried out in any of a number of ways, such as by an extrusion or like process.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the battens 10, 110 can be used with all types of material, other than the illustrated sheet materials, such as structural steel shapes (angle iron, channels, smaller weight T and I beams), extruded aluminum and the like. It will also be understood that the battens 10, 110 can be formed without the stacking capability, and as such, the walls 20, 120 and legs 24, 124 may not have different spacings. It is also contemplated that the battens can be used in a flipped orientation in which the U channel 16 is used as the strap channel and the inverted U channels 26a,b are adjacent the load L (the walls 20 are thus oriented downward and the legs 24, 32 are oriented upward, toward the load L). The embodiment 110 of FIGS. 3A and B can be likewise used in a flipped orientation.

All patents referred to herein, are hereby incorporated herein by reference, whether or not specifically do so within the text of this disclosure.

In the present disclosure, the words “a” or “an” are to be taken to include both the singular and the plural. Conversely, any reference to plural items shall, where appropriate, include the singular.

From the foregoing it will be observed that numerous modifications and variations can be effectuated without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the present invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific embodiments illustrated is intended or should be inferred. The disclosure is intended to cover by the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the scope of the claims.