Title:
CONTAINER-TRANSPORTING FRAME AND METHOD OF INSTALLING A CONTAINER IN A FRAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A type of frame utilized in transporting a container. The frame includes top and bottom frames which each have two corner fittings and four corner posts, The four corner posts are connected to the four corners of the top and bottom frames respectively through a first detachable fastener combination whereby the hole distance of the two corner fittings falls in an approximate range of 2260 mm. A method is also providing for installing a container into the frame. The frame and method of installation are utilized for special containers utilized as trailers in marine transportation. The transporting frames are used for both hoisting and stacking containers, which are easy to recycle and operate.



Inventors:
Tianhua, Huang (Qingdao, CN)
Guohao, Huang (Qingdao, CN)
Chaofu, Xie (Qingdao, CN)
Songlin, Xu (Qingdao, CN)
Renyong, Xu (Qingdao, CN)
Application Number:
11/531162
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
09/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D21/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Diaz and Associates (McKinney, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A type of frame utilized for transporting a container body, the frame comprising: a top frame and a bottom frame, each frame having two corner fittings and four corner posts, the four corner posts connecting to the four corners of the top and bottom frames by a first detachable fastener combination, the hole distance of the two corner fittings falling in an approximate range of 2260 millimeters.

2. The frame of claim 1, wherein the top frame and the bottom frame includes two cross members, two groups of supporting beams of corner fittings and two corner fittings, the cross members being connected in parallel through the supporting beams and the two corner fittings being respectively fastened onto the two groups of supporting beams of the corner fittings.

3. The frame of claim 2 wherein the corner fittings are fastened at an approximately central position of the supporting beams.

4. The frame of claim 1 wherein the first detachable fastener combination consists of two connecting boards and at least one group of a second detachable fastener combination, the two connecting boards being respectively fastened at ends of the corner posts and cross members, and being connected through the second detachable fastener combination.

5. The frame of claim 2 further comprising at least two stiffening side beams fastened onto the cross members of the top frame or the bottom frame through the second detachable fastener combination.

6. The frame of claim 5 wherein the stiffening side beams have holes which are used for the connection with the container to be transported.

7. The frame of claim 4 wherein the second detachable fastener combination include bolts with nuts, bolts, locating pins, cotter pins or rivets.

8. The frame of claim 5 wherein the second detachable fastener combination include bolts with nuts, bolts, locating pins, cotter pins or rivets.

9. The frame of claim 2 wherein the corner posts have a plurality of holes positioned for connection with the container to be transported.

10. A method for installing a container in the frame of claim 4 comprising the steps of: placing two bottom frames in parallel on one plane and ensuring the hole distance between the two corner fittings on the same side of the two bottom frames is more than or equal to 2777 mm and less than or equal to 11995 mm; placing the container to be transported onto the two bottom frames; fastening the corner post on the bottom frames through the first detachable fastener combination; and fastening the top frame on the corner post through the first detachable fastener combination.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein: before the step of placing two bottom frames in parallel, the method includes the step of fastening the stiffening side beams on a position near the two ends of the bottom cross member through the second detachable fastener combination, whereby the distance between the two stiffening side beams is the same width as the container to be transported; and before the step of placing the container to be transported onto the two bottom frames, the method includes the step of fastening the stiffening side beams on the container through the second detachable fastener combination.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein: before the step of fastening the top frame on the corner post through the first detachable fastener combination, the method includes the step of fastening the stiffening side beams at a position near the two ends of the top cross member through the second detachable fastener combination, whereby the distance between the two stiffening side beams have same width as the container to be transported; and after the step of fastening the top frame on the corner post through the first detachable fastener combination, the method includes the step of fastening the stiffening side beams onto the container body at a bottom side rail of the container body through the second detachable fastener combination.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein after the step of fastening the top frame on the corner post through the first detachable fastener combination, the method includes the step of fastening the corner posts onto the container through the second detachable fastener combination.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to transported containers. Specifically, the present invention relates to a container-transporting frame and a method of installing a container body in the frame of containers.

2. Description of the Related Art

Corner fittings at eight corners of a standard container body are utilized for lifting, stacking and fastening containers. Generally, twist locks are employed to connect the corner fittings of neighboring containers which are stacked, thereby ensure the safety of the stacked containers. It is quite important for the transport efficiency of a container ship to stack containers in a suitable way. The external sizes of ISO containers and the positioning dimensions of corner fittings are designed to comply with ISO668, therefore, ISO containers can make better use of the shipping space within a containership by utilizing these specially designed containers in accordance to the ISO container sizes.

For the containers having special external sizes or special corner fitting locations, the problem is that these containers cannot make better use of the shipping space of the container ship or may even be difficult to transport on a container ship. Currently, the solution is to utilize bulk ships designed to transport in bulk the containers with the special external sizes above. In such a way, technical improvements are needed in a transport ship's deck to allow the transportation of these containers with special external sizes, which increases improvement costs necessary to modify the container ships and increases transportation costs.

For example, 53′ trailers are widely used outside of China. Although other countries have a strong capability in design and production and a higher standardization level, they bear higher manufacturing cost and thus related profits declines. If 53′ trailers are manufactured in China, there exists an obvious cost advantage due to lower costs of raw materials and labor which can also result in an increase in export business. But the current marine transport system limits the export of 53′ trailers. A 53′ trailer has a low transport efficiency in bulk shipment and cannot be transported by a conventional container ship. Thus, new equipment is needed to solve the problem and to reduce transportation risks. It is an object of the present invention to provide such an apparatus.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention provides a type of frame for transporting special containers such as 53′ or 48′ trailers and a method of installing such containers in the frame to overcome the existing disadvantages of transporting these containers.

The present invention includes a type of frame used for transporting containers having top and bottom frames, each with two corner fittings and four corner posts. The four corner posts connect to the four corners of the top and bottom frames respectively by utilizing a first detachable fastener combination. Preferably, the hole distance of the two corner fittings falls in the range of 2260 mm. The top and bottom frames have the same construction which includes two cross members, two groups of supporting beams of corner fittings, as well as two corner fittings. The cross members are connected in parallel through the supporting beams of the corner fittings. The two corner fittings are respectively fastened at the central position of the supporting beams. The first detachable fastener combination consists of two connecting plates and at least one group of a second detachable fastener combination. The two connecting plates are respectively fastened at the end of the corner post and the cross members, and are connected through a second detachable fastener combination. The second detachable fastener combination may be bolts with nuts, bolts, locating pins, cotter pins or rivets.

In another aspect of the present invention, at least two stiffening side beams are utilized and the side beams are fastened onto the cross members of the top or bottom frames through the second detachable fastener combination. The stiffening side beams may contain holes used for the connection with the containers to be transported.

In another aspect of the present invention, the corner posts have holes that are used for the connection with the container to be transported.

In still another aspect, the present invention is a method of installing a container into the frame. The method begins by placing the two bottom frames in parallel on one plane while ensuring the hole distance between the two corner fittings lying on the same side of the two bottom frames is more than or equal to 2777 mm and less than or equal to 11995 mm. Next, the container to be transported is placed on the two bottom frames. The corner post on the bottom frames is fastened by the first detachable fastener combination. The top frame on the corner post is then fastened by the first detachable fastener combination. Furthermore, before placing the two bottom frames in parallel, the stiffening side beams are fastened on a position near two ends of the bottom cross members through the second detachable fastener combination, while ensuring the distance between the two stiffening side beams equals the width of the container to be transported. Prior to placing the container on the two bottom frames, the stiffening side beams on the container body are fastened by the second detachable fastener combination.

Furthermore, prior to fastening the top frame on the corner post with the first detachable fastener combination, the stiffening side beams on the position near the two ends of the top cross members are fastened by the second detachable fastener combination while ensuring the distance between the two stiffening side beams equals the width of the container to be transported.

The method also includes the step of fastening the stiffening side beams on the container body at its bottom side rail through the second detachable fastener combination. Next, the corner posts on the container body are fastened by the second detachable fastener combination.

The present invention creates a new method for transporting special containers, such as trailer utilized for marine transportation. The transporting frames of the invention can be used for both lifting and stacking containers, and also are easy to recycle and easy to operate.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a three dimensional drawing of a frame in the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is the top view of the frame of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an assembly schematic drawing of a container body and the frame.

FIG. 4 is the installation schematic drawing of the container and the stiffening side beam of the frame.

FIG. 5 is the installation schematic drawing of the container and the corner post of the frame.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart which describes the method of installing the frame to the container.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 1-3, the present invention is a frame 1 used for transportation of a container 2 and includes a top frame 11, a bottom frame 12 and four corner posts 13. The four corner posts 13 respectively connect with four corners of the top frame and bottom frame through a first detachable fastener combination 14. Since the top and bottom frames have the same construction, they are installed symmetrically. During the course of transportation, frame 1 is used in pair and two frames 1 are applied so that the plane location dimensions of the four corner fittings 17 of frame 1 complies with ISO668.

The first detachable fastener combination 14 consists of two connecting plates and at least one group of bolts and nuts. As shown in FIG. 4, in this embodiment, two connecting plates have the same shape and are respectively welded at the end of the corner post 13 and cross member 15. The area of the connecting plate is larger than the cross sectional area of the corner post 13 as well as the width of the cross member 15. The two connecting plates are fastened by the bolts with nuts through the holes on the plates. For ease in dismantling, the two connecting plates may also be fastened through locating pins, cotter pins, bolts or rivets instead of bolts with nuts.

As shown in FIG. 2, each top frame 11 and bottom frame 12 contains two cross members 15, two groups of corner fitting's supporting beams and two corner fittings 17. Cross members 15 are connected in parallel through the corner fitting's supporting beams 16. They form the shape of two ladder steps. Two corner fittings 17 are respectively fastened at the central position of two groups of corner fitting's supporting beams 16. The hole distance of the two corner fittings 17 falls in the range of 2260 mm and its normal tolerance, which complies with ISO668. The corner fittings 17 may be fastened at other positions of the supporting beams 16 in accordance with the actual situation. FIG. 2 illustrates each supporting beam 16 consisting of two beams which are welded on a cross member 15 at its end. The middle space provides for the affixing of the corner fitting 17 to ensure the strength of the corner fittings. In this embodiment, no side rails are available for the top or bottom frames. In the case where the width of the container 2 is so large that it is too far from the end position of the cross member 15 to the corner fitting's supporting beams 16 located near the cross member, side rails may be utilized.

In the present invention, the corner fittings 17 may be of a structure of a corner fitting plate with other accessories welded together. The structure can perform the function of corner fittings. In this embodiment, the corner fitting 17 consists of three plates which have standard corner fitting holes. Two ends of the first plate of the three plates cross connect two supporting beams 16 while the remaining two plates are welded on the side of the first plate and connected with the supporting beam 16. They form a semi-isolated structure with the supporting beam 16. Such a structure is suitable for stacking and lifting, which is commonly used in the transportation of containers.

To enforce the bearing strength of the bottom frame 12, frame 1 may also include two stiffening side beams 18 (see FIG. 1 and FIG. 4). The cross section of stiffening side beam 18 is L-shaped and the side beam is fastened on the cross member 15 of the bottom frame 12 through two supporting seats 19 with the cross section of a shape “[”. Stiffening side beams 18 and the supporting seats 19 are welded (rivet joint or bolting may also be available). The supporting seats 19 and the cross member 15 use such fastening methods as a rivet joints or bolting which are easy to dismantle. At the same time, the distance between the vertical parts of the two stiffening side beams 18 may be slightly larger than or equal to two times the width of the container 2. Thus, the container 2 may be directly placed on the horizontal part of the stiffening side beam 18. A space is provided between the container 2 and the cross member 15 of the bottom frame. The height of the corner post 13 includes a space between the top of the container 2 and the lower side of the top frame 11 after the container 2 is placed on the frame so as to ensure a cushion space for the container 2 and the top frame 11. In addition, the vertical part of the stiffening side beam 18 has holes which are used for the connection of the side beam and the container 2 to prevent the container 2 from sliding in transportation. In the present invention, in addition to enforcing the bearing capability of the bottom frame 12, the stiffening side beams 18 have other functions. When the frame 1, which is designed for the special container with larger sizes, is applied to the transportation of container 2 which is smaller, the installation location of the stiffening side beam 18 may be changed to match the size of the container 2 which is to be transported. In practice, the stiffening side beam 18 may function as a side beam only and used for reinforcement. According to the situation, more than two stiffening side beams 18 may be adopted and their location shall not interfere with the fixation of twist locks.

In practice, the stiffening side beam 18 may be fastened on the top frame 11 or on both the top and bottom frames. As shown in FIG. 5, corner post 13 of frame 1 has one plate which is welded at its top position and is larger than the corner post 13 in width. In addition, the plate may have a hole. Accordingly, container 2 may have rubber blocks corresponding to bolts. When the container 2 is placed on the bottom frame 12 and after the corner post 13 is installed, the corner post 13 is fastened on the container 2 by bolts. Holes are available which are used for the connection with the container 2 to be transported and utilized to prevent the container 2 from sliding in transportation. Holes may also be made on the corner post 13 which directly fasten the corner post 13 onto the container 2 by bolts, locating pins, cotter pins or rivets.

As shown in FIG. 6, the present invention is a method of installing the frame 1 onto container 2. The method begins with step S1 where the stiffening side beam 18 is fastened at a position near two ends of the cross member 15 of the bottom frame 12 through the supporting seat 19, whereby the distance between the vertical parts of the two stiffening side beams is slightly larger than or equal to the width of the container 2 to be transported. In practice, the stiffening side beam 18 may be fastened onto the top frame 11 as required. Next, in step S2, the two bottom frames 12 of frame 1 are placed on the same plane in parallel. According to the dimensions of the container and the specifications of the crane, the two bottom frames 12 are placed so that the distance between the corner fitting holes of the two corner fittings 17 on the same side of the two bottom frames 12 are more than or equal to 2777 mm and less than or equal to 11995 mm so that the plane location dimensions of four corner fittings 17 on the two bottom frames 12 comply with ISO668.

In step S3, the container 2 to be transported is placed on the horizontal portion of the stiffening side beam 18 of the two bottom frames 12. The method then moves to step S4 where the stiffening side beam 18 is fastened onto the container 2 by rivets or bolts. In step S5, the corning post 13 is fastened onto the bottom frame 12 located above through the first detachable fastener combination 14. Next, in step S6, the top frame 11 is fastened onto the corner post 13 located above through the first detachable fastener combination 14.

In step S7, the corner post 13 is fastened onto the container 2 by rivets or bolts. Step S1 may follow step S2 or step S3. Step S4 may follow step S5, step S6 or step S7. Step S7 may occur before step S6. If the stiffening side beam 18 needs to be fastened onto the top frame 11, step S1 may be placed after step S4 and step S5.

In practice, if the stiffening side beams 18 need to be installed on both the top and bottom frames, in step S1, the stiffening side beam 18 is respectively fastened at a position near the two ends of the cross member 15 of the top and bottom frames through the supporting seats 19, thereby making the distance between the vertical portions of the two stiffening side beams 18 slightly larger than or equal to the width of the container 2 to be transported. Additionally, step S1 may be placed after step S2 or step S3. Following the installation steps, the stiffening side beams 18 also may be installed on the top and bottom frames.

When the frame 1 needs to be dismantled, it can be operated by following the reverse sequence of the installation steps as described above. In addition, the stiffening side beam 18 may remain in place.

The frame of the present invention provides ease in installation and dismantling, as well as ease in recycling. The installation and separation of the frames and containers are also easy to operate. By use of the transport frames of this present invention, both hoisting and stacking special containers are available, which contributes to convenient transportation of the containers.

Thus, the present invention has been described herein with reference to a particular embodiment for a particular application. Those having ordinary skill in the art and access to the present teachings will recognize additional modifications, applications and embodiments within the scope thereof.

It is therefore intended by the appended claims to cover any and all such applications, modifications and embodiments within the scope of the present invention.