Title:
DOUBLE STACKED PALLET SYSTEM FOR ROLLED SHEET GOODS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for handling rolled sheet goods includes at least two pallets with a box situated on each pallet, each box containing a plurality of rolls of sheet goods arrayed within each box so that an open central core of each roll is aligned perpendicular to the box bottom. A compression resistant member is situated adjacent to or within the open central core of some of the rolls, each compression resistant member extending from the box bottom to a plane above the roll top edge to contact a lower surface of the box top to resist vertical compression of the box that would damage the rolled sheet goods. At least one tension member can be used to couple the boxes and pallets of the system together in a vertical stack.



Inventors:
Robbins, Edward S. (Muscle Shoals, AL, US)
White, Ronald R. (Florence, AL, US)
Staggs, Sally D. (Florence, AL, US)
Magee, Bryan F. (Muscle Shoals, AL, US)
Hamilton, Nancy J. (Florence, AL, US)
Application Number:
11/737480
Publication Date:
12/06/2007
Filing Date:
04/19/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/55.1, 206/386
International Classes:
B65D19/38; B65D19/00; B65D19/44
View Patent Images:
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20090165679TECHNOLOGY PORTJuly, 2009Bakker et al.
20060278140Foldable device capable of being used as chair or deskDecember, 2006Chen
20080006182Display tableJanuary, 2008Mason et al.
20090211497TRANSPORT PALLET MADE OF PLASTICAugust, 2009Koenes
20070175368Leaf table having lockable slide railsAugust, 2007Yoder
20070137536Device to orient a supporting plate with respect to a plurality of axesJune, 2007Baccini
20090241461COMPOSITE STACKABLE PALLET CONSTRUCTIONOctober, 2009Linares



Primary Examiner:
CHEN, JOSE V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BGL/Indianapolis (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for handling rolled sheet goods comprising: a pallet adapted for engagement by a fork lift, a box situated on the pallet having a bottom, sidewalls and a top, a plurality of rolls of sheet goods arrayed within the box, each roll having an open central core aligned perpendicular to the box bottom and a top edge, and a compression resistant member loosely situated within a central portion of some of the rolls, each compression resistant member extending from the box bottom to a plane above the roll top edge to contact a lower surface of the box top so as to resist vertical compression of the box that would damage the rolled sheet goods situated therein.

2. The system of claim 1 further comprising a divider situated within the box to separate adjacent rolls of sheet goods, the divider occupying only a lower portion of the box.

3. The system of claim 1 further comprising a tension band surrounding each of the rolls of sheet goods to prevent unrolling of the goods.

4. The system of claim 1 further comprising a partition line in the sidewalls of the box facilitating transformation of the box into a display by removal of a portion of the sidewalls and the top.

5. The system of claim 4 wherein all the compression resistant members are removed upon transformation of the box into a display.

6. The system of claim 1 further comprising a second box secured under the pallet, the second box containing a plurality of rolls of sheet goods arrayed within the box, each roll having an open central core aligned perpendicular to the second box bottom, and a compression resistant member loosely situated within the open central core of some of the rolls within the second box, each compression resistant member extending from the second box bottom to contact a lower surface of the second box top so as to resist vertical compression of the second box that would damage the rolled sheet goods situated therein.

7. The system of claim 6 further comprising a second pallet secured under the second box.

8. The system of any of the forgoing claims wherein the compression resistant member comprises a generally planar corrugated member including at least one fold.

9. The system of claim 8 wherein the compression resistant member includes a unitary sheet having plurality of folds, the compression resistant member being loosely situated with the core of some of the rolls of sheet goods.

10. The system of claim 2 wherein the compression resistant members are situated between adjacent pairs of the rolls of sheet goods, the lower ends of the compression resistant members straddling the dividers located in the bottom of the box.

11. The system of claim 10 wherein the compression resistant members comprise a plurality of L-shaped members.

12. The system of claim 10 wherein each of the compression resistant members comprises a plurality of tubular members tied together.

13. A system for handling rolled sheet goods comprising: at least two pallets adapted for engagement by a fork lift, a box situated on each pallet, each box having a bottom, sidewalls and a top, a plurality of rolls of sheet goods arrayed within each box, each roll having an open central core aligned perpendicular to the box bottom and a top edge, and a compression resistant member loosely situated within the open central core of some of the rolls, each compression resistant member extending from the box bottom to a plane above the roll top edge to contact a lower surface of the box top so as to resist vertical compression of the box that would damage the rolled sheet goods situated therein, and at least one tension member coupling the boxes and pallets together in a vertical stack.

14. The system of claim 13 wherein the tension member comprises at least one band of strapping surrounding the vertical stack of boxes and pallets.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is related to, and claims domestic priority and all other available benefits from, provisional application Ser. No. 60/809,631 filed May 31, 2006.

BACKGROUND

The present invention is directed to material handling of rolled sheet goods and, specifically, to pallet systems for rolled sheets goods such as desk mats, floor mats, carpet mats and chair mats used to protect an underlying surface. In particular, the present invention relates to a pallet system having features that enhance the ease of transport and handling, and improve marketability of such rolled sheet goods.

Various types of mats typically made of plastic for office and home use are well known. The mats can vary in size ranging up to 60 inches on each side so that handling of the mats as a flat sheet is not always desirable, and is often awkward. The mats can be made of a plastic, such as vinyl, that will permit the mat to be rolled for ease of handling of the individual mat. It is generally desirable that the mats not be folded or creased as such folds or creases can contribute to product failure under subsequent use. Such rolled mats should generally not be stored horizontally as such storage can cause the development of folds or creases. These same observations can be made concerning other sheet goods such as large pictures, posters, maps, sheet flooring, etc.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,439,383 discloses a package assembly for shipment and in-storage handling rolls of fiber glass rovings. The package assembly includes a support base with plurality of generally cylindrical rovings stacked vertically upon the support base. A plurality of curved protective panels, each of which is at least the height of two roving layers, are located at the outside corners of the package assembly. The protective panels approximately conform to the exposed height of the vertically stacked plurality of rovings. Vertical support posts are also provided which, in a preferred embodiment, are slightly taller than the height of the columns of stacked rovings. The support posts are placed between two columns of stacked rovings located in the outside rows at opposite sides of the assembled rovings as shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 of the patent. An appropriate cover or top cap is placed over the rovings, panels and support posts to hold the assembly together so that a stretch wrap material can be applied to further protect the rovings during shipping, storage and other handling. In the event of rupture or tearing of the stretch wrap, the placement of the support posts on the outside the columns of stacked rovings may allow the support posts to be easily displaced from their intended position thereby permitting a crushing load to be applied directly on the stacked rovings.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,884,740 discloses a divider for imparting stacking strength to a shipping carton, the divider being comprised of a pair of fiberboard panels. The panels are aligned in an overlying contiguous relationship and bonded to each other at outer portions. Un-bonded medial portions have at least four cut score lines permitting medial portions of the panels to be separated to form open support columns of rectangular cross section, with the open support columns providing vertical stacking strength within the carton. The divider panels are shown to be vertically coextensive with the integral support columns so that, in the event the shipping carton is to be used in a display of the contents, the integral dividers and columns must be removed from the shipping carton, which may result in a sloppy display of the goods, particularly when some of the goods are removed from the carton.

Vertical support posts are also disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,971,518 in connection with a modular packaging system for shipping and displaying vertically stacked product containers. The system comprises a top cap and a bottom tray interspersed by a plurality of corrugated trays with openings formed therein for receiving the bottoms of the product containers and restricting their movement. A pallet supports the bottom tray. The vertical support posts key inside the bottom tray and top cap, and extend through the middle trays to help lock the system together. The locking function is provided by the interaction between the vertical support posts and the openings in the middle trays, which function would be absent if the middle trays were omitted.

The commercial transport of such rolled sheet goods can also present some other problems. The volume of space occupied by rolled sheet goods is such that a core of air is generally located in the center of each roll. Additional spaces are presented between the rolls, whether arranged in a square array or a hexagonal close-pack array. As a result, for a typical pallet-supported box containing an array of rolls of sheet goods, air may occupy the majority of the volume within the box. While the weight of a pallet-supported box containing an array of rolls of polymeric sheet goods may be so great that it can only be picked up with the aid of a fork-lift truck or similar vehicle, that pallet-supported box can still be much lighter than a comparably sized box of ground polymer of the same material as form the sheet goods in question. It is fully within the capacity of a typical fork-lift truck or similar vehicle to lift two such pallet-supported boxes containing arrays of rolls of sheet goods. Further, if coupled together is some satisfactory manner, the handling of two or more pallet-supported boxes at the same time will contribute to faster loading and unloading of truck trailers and containers containing such goods.

Thus, there is a need for a system of pallet supported boxes containing rolled sheet goods that will protect the integrity of the rolled sheet goods yet facilitate speedy handling of the boxes. It is also desirable that the boxes be capable of being quickly transformed into displays of the rolled sheet goods in a commercial setting.

BRIEF SUMMARY

A system of pallet supported boxes for containing rolled sheet goods can include a pallet adapted for engagement by a fork lift, with a box situated on the pallet, the box having a bottom, sidewalls and a top. A plurality of rolls of sheet goods can be arrayed within the box, each roll having an open central core aligned perpendicular to the box bottom and a top edge. A compression resistant member forming a separable support column can be loosely situated within the open central core of some of the rolls of sheet goods. Alternatively, the compression resistant members can be grouped together at the spaces between some of the rolls of sheet goods, with the compression resistant members of each group being angular or tubular. Each compression resistant member can extend from the box bottom to a plane just above the roll top edge to contact a lower surface of the box top. When so positioned, the compression resistant members can resist vertical compression of the box that would damage the rolled sheet goods situated therein. The compression resistant members can provide sufficient load bearing strength that a second similar pallet support box containing another array of rolled sheet goods can be stacked on top of the first. Further the pair of pallet supported boxes can be banded or otherwise secured together so that the pair of boxes can be commonly handled by a single lift truck. Corner braces can be included in each box to facilitate wrapping of the pair of pallet supported boxes.

The box can contain partitions that can be confined to a lower portion of the box so that the rolled sheet goods can be easily displayed by simply removing an upper portion of the box. Following the removal of an upper portion of the box, the support columns can be easily removed from within the rolls of sheet goods since the columns do not support the interior or exterior surface of the roll of sheet goods. A tension band can be provided to surround each of the rolls of sheet goods to prevent unrolling of the goods when the box is converted to a display.

One advantage of a pallet supported system of the present invention is the ease of handling the comparatively low-weight, high cubic volume presented by the vertically oriented rolled sheet goods. Another advantage is the ease of conversion of the boxes of the system from protective shipping containers for the goods to attractive commercial displays of the goods. Other features and advantages of a system in accordance with the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the following discussion that makes reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pallet supported system of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a display of rolled sheet goods prepared from the pallet supported system of FIG. 1, the display still containing compression resistant members.

FIG. 3 is a close-up perspective view of the upper end of the compression resistant members as situated with the core of some of the rolls of sheet goods.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one of the compression resistant members removed from the core of the rolled sheet goods.

FIG. 5a is a perspective view of a display of rolled sheet goods of a pallet supported system of the present invention including a group of L-shaped compression resistant members.

FIG. 5b is a top plan view of the display shown in FIG. 6a.

FIG. 6a is a perspective view of a display of rolled sheet goods of a pallet supported system of the present invention including tied multi-tubular compression resistant members.

FIG. 6b is a top plan view of the display shown in FIG. 7a.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a display of rolled sheet goods of a pallet supported system of any of the preceding embodiments including corner supports.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A system 10 of pallet supported boxes 12 for containing rolled sheet goods is shown in FIG. 1 to include pallets 14 adapted for engagement by a fork lift (not shown). Each box 12 has a bottom 16 supported by the underlying pallet 14. Sidewalls 18 extending upward from the bottom 16 to a top 20. The system 10 allows the boxes 12 and supporting pallets 14 to be vertically stacked at least two units high, and secured in this arrangement by bands 22 or other equivalent structures. The bands 22 can be located at a suitable spacing in a generally laterally central portion of the system 10. The combined vertically stacked units can be handled by insertion of a standard set of forks of a fork lift in openings 24 in either the lower pallet or the upper pallet 14. The ability to vertically stack the units is accomplished by arranging for proper supporting structure within the boxes 12.

The interior of a box 12 usable in a system 10 is shown in FIG. 2. The box can include a network of dividers 26 confined to a lower portion 13 of the box 12. The dividers 26 act to secure the vertically arranged rolled sheet goods 28 at desired locations within the box 12. The upper edge 30 of the dividers 26 is situated well below the upper edge 32 of the rolled sheet goods 28 so that the goods 28 are adequately displayed. Each of the rolls of sheet goods 28 has an open central core 29 aligned perpendicular to the box bottom 16. The sidewalls 18 of the box 12 can include a partition line that is generally aligned with the dividers upper edges 30 that facilitates the separation of an upper portion of the box 12 from the lower portion 13 shown in FIG. 2. The rolled sheet goods 28 can be surrounded by one or more tension bands 34 to help ensure that the goods 28 will not prematurely unroll.

A compression resistant member 36 is loosely situated within the open central core 29 of some of the rolls of sheet goods 28 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Each compression resistant member 36 extends from an interior surface of the box bottom 16 to an upper edge 37 defining a plane slightly above the upper edge 32 of the rolled sheet goods 28 to contact a lower surface of the box top 20. The compression resistant members 36 should be sufficiently strong to resist vertical compression of the box 12 that would damage the rolled sheet goods 28 situated in the box 12, yet sufficiently light weight to avoid contributing significantly to the overall load carried by the box. The light weight of the compression resistant members 36 also ensures that any slight movement of the members 36 within the central core 29 of a given roll will not damage the goods 28 making up that roll.

A particularly suitable material for making the compression resistant members 36 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 is a length corrugated cardboard having a plurality of folds 40 to assist in the vertical alignment of the cardboard coincident with the channels 42 formed within the cardboard. The plurality of folds 40 can be such as to have the compression resistant members 36 in the shape of a polygonal sided column, but other shapes can also be used. Once the upper portion of the box 12 is removed to form the display as shown in FIG. 2, the compression resistant members 36 can be easily removed without requiring the goods 28 be unrolled. Thus, a pallet supported system 10 of the present invention allows for an easy handling the comparatively low-weight, high cubic volume presented by the vertically oriented rolled sheet goods 28 while at the same time providing an easy conversion of the boxes 12 of the system 10 from protective shipping containers to attractive commercial displays of the goods.

FIGS. 5a and 5b show an alternative structure for the compression resistant members 36 in the form of a group of L-shaped members 44 which can be joined to each other by staples or other fasteners 46. The lower ends 48 of the L-shaped members 44 forming each compression resistant member 36 can be arranged to straddle the dividers 26 to stabilize the position of the compression resistant member 36 relative to the adjacent rolled sheet goods 28. Each compression resistant member 36 extends from an interior surface of the box bottom 16 to an upper edge 37 defining a plane slightly above the upper edge 32 of the rolled sheet goods 28. The number of L-shaped members 44 forming each compression resistant member 36 can vary from one to four, preferably two to four, with the number being a function of the compression strength of the material forming each L-shaped member. Some consideration can also be given to any negative effect of the weight contributed by each L-shaped member 44. A pallet supported system 10 using compression resistant members 36 constructed of groups of L-shaped members 44 can be successfully stacked at least two units high, and banded or otherwise secured together to permit easy handling the comparatively low-weight, high cubic volume presented by the vertically oriented rolled sheet goods 28 while at the same time providing an easy conversion of the boxes 12 of the system 10 from protective shipping containers to attractive commercial displays.

FIGS. 6a and 6b show another alternative structure for the compression resistant members 36 in the form of a group of cylindrical members such as rods or tubes 50 which can be joined to each other by a tie member or other fasteners 52. The lower ends 54 of the cylindrical members 50 forming each compression resistant member 36 can be arranged on opposite sides of the dividers 26 to stabilize the position of the compression resistant member 36 relative to the adjacent rolled sheet goods 28. The lower end 54 of each compression resistant member 36 rests on an interior surface of the box bottom 16 while an upper end 37 defines a plane slightly above the upper edge 32 of the rolled sheet goods 28. The number of cylindrical members 50 forming each compression resistant member 36 can vary from two to four, with the number being a function of the compression strength of the material forming each cylindrical member and its weight. Using compression resistant members 36 constructed of groups of cylindrical members 50 can be stacked at least two units high, and banded or otherwise secured together as previously described with reference to FIG. 1 to permit easy handling the comparatively low-weight, high cubic volume presented by the vertically oriented rolled sheet goods 28 while at the same time providing an easy conversion of the boxes 12 of the system 10 from protective shipping containers to attractive commercial displays.

Any of the previously described systems can also include corner supports 56 that will enable the individual boxes 12, as well as the stacked systems 10, to be wrapped by a surrounding film. The surrounding film can provide the required retention of the upper and lower boxes to each other while in the stacked orientation of the system 10. While the corner supports 56 can supply some of resistance to any vertical crushing force that might damage the rolled sheet goods 28, it is contemplated that the corner supports 56 do not replace the compression resistant members 36, but are merely supplemental thereto.

The foregoing detailed description should be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting. For example, while the system 10 is illustrated with merely a pair of boxes 12 and pallets 14, the illustrations are not intended to be limiting. Thus the number of boxes 12 and pallets 14 forming a system 10 can be something other than two, and the following claims, including all equivalents, define the spirit and scope of this invention.





 
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