Title:
Storage Bin
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage bin comprising a body formed of plastic material. The body is formed in two sections, an upper section defining a storage chamber and a lower section defining a base below the storage chamber for resting on the ground. The storage chamber comprises a side and a bottom sloping downwardly towards the outlet. The base comprises a cradle section configured to receive and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber. The base an opening extending between the cradle section and a recess in the base, section whereby the lowermost end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber extends into the recess through the opening. The recess opens onto the exterior of the base whereby the outlet can be accessed through the recess.



Inventors:
Culleton, Rodney N. (Williams, AU)
Application Number:
11/682861
Publication Date:
02/07/2008
Filing Date:
03/06/2007
Assignee:
Australian Keg Company Pty Ltd (Williams, AU)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/169.9, 220/567, 220/737
International Classes:
B65D88/26; B65D6/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SHEARER, DANIEL R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KEVIN J. MCNEELY, ESQ. (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A storage bin, comprising: a body formed of plastics material, the body defining a storage chamber and a base below the storage chamber for resting on a support surface such as the ground, the storage chamber having a bottom sloping towards an outlet, the outlet being accommodated within the confines of the base and being accessible through a recess provided in the base, the recess opening onto an exterior side of the base.

2. A storage bin according to claim 1 wherein the body comprises two sections, being an upper section defining the storage chamber and a lower section providing the base.

3. A storage bin according to claim 2 the two sections are formed separately of each other and the upper section is adapted to rest on the lower section.

4. A storage bin according to claim 1 wherein the storage bin further comprises a control means for selectively opening and closing the outlet, the outlet being accommodated within the confines of the base and being accessible through a recess provided in the base.

5. A storage bin according to claim 2 wherein the storage chamber is adapted to rest on the base, the bottom being configured to be received and supported in a cradle section of the base.

6. A storage bin according to claim 2 wherein the base comprises a cradle section configured to receive and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber, the base having an opening extending between the cradle section and the recess within the base whereby the lowermost end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber can extend into the recess through the opening.

7. A storage bin according to claim 1 wherein the base incorporates a plurality of pads on the underside thereof for contacting the support surface.

8. A storage bin according to claim 7 wherein the pads are arranged in an array defining spaces for receiving lifting elements.

9. A storage chamber adapted to rest on a base having a cradle section, the storage chamber comprising a side and a bottom sloping downwardly towards an outlet, the bottom being configured to be received and supported in the cradle section of the base.

10. A base for supporting a storage chamber having a bottom sloping downwardly towards an outlet, the base comprising a cradle section configured to received and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber, the base having an opening extending between the cradle section and a recess within the base whereby the lowermost end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber extends into the recess through the opening, the recess opening onto the exterior of the base whereby the outlet can be accessed through the recess.

11. A storage bin comprising a body formed of plastics material, the body defining a storage chamber and a base below the storage chamber for resting on a support surface such as the ground, the storage chamber having a bottom sloping towards an outlet, the outlet being accommodated within the confines of the base and being accessible through a recess provided in the base, the recess opening onto an exterior side of the base, the base incorporating a plurality of pads on the underside thereof for contacting the support surface.

12. A storage bin according to claim 11 wherein the pads are arranged in an array defining spaces for receiving lifting elements.

13. A storage bin according to claim 12 wherein the spaces comprise a first pair of channels opening onto two opposed sides of the base and a second pair of channels opening onto two further opposed sides of the base.

14. A storage bin according to claim 13 wherein the base is generally rectangular in plan and wherein the first and second pairs of channels are arranged at right angles to each other.

15. A base for supporting a storage chamber having a bottom sloping downwardly towards an outlet, the base comprising a cradle section configured to received and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber, the base having an opening extending between the cradle section and a recess within the base whereby the lowermost end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber extends into the recess through the opening, the recess opening onto the exterior of the base whereby the outlet can be accessed through the recess, the base incorporating a plurality of pads on the underside thereof for contacting a support surface.

16. A base according to claim 15 wherein the pads are arranged in an array defining spaces for receiving lifting elements.

17. A base according to claim 16 wherein the spaces comprise a first pair of channels opening onto two opposed sides of the base and a second pair of channels opening onto two further opposed sides of the base.

18. A base according to claim 17 wherein the base is generally rectangular in plan and wherein the first and second pairs of channels are arranged at right angles to each other.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This utility patent application claims priority to Australian patent application 2004905114 filed on Sep. 8, 2004, and to international patent application PCT/AU2005/001368 filed on Sep. 8, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a storage bin. The invention has been devised particularly, although not necessarily solely, as a field bin for storage of grain, such as wheat.

BACKGROUND ART

Field bins are commonly used on farms for storage of wheat. Known field bins typically comprise a metal frame structure and sheet metal assembled on the frame structure to provide a storage bin, with the frame structure supporting the storage bin in an elevated condition above the ground so as to provide access to an outlet on the underside of the bin through which stored grain can be discharged.

Field bins of this type can be relatively heavy and are not readily transportable from one location to another on a farm.

Further, the field bins can be laborious to construct as it is necessary to construct the frame structure and thereafter assemble the metal sheeting in order to provide the storage bin.

Still further, the field bins are susceptible to deterioration through rusting, owing to their metal construction.

It is against this background that the present invention has been developed.

SUMMARY

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a storage bin comprising a body formed of plastics material, the body defining a storage chamber and a base below the storage chamber for resting on a support surface such as the ground, the storage chamber having a bottom sloping towards an outlet, the outlet being accommodated within the confines of the base and being accessible through a recess provided in the base, the recess opening onto an exterior side of the base.

The storage chamber and also the base on which it is supported may each be generally rectangular in plan.

Preferably, the storage chamber has a side and a top, wherein the side, top and bottom of the storage chamber cooperate to define a storage zone.

The plastics material may comprise as a linear low-density polyethylene.

Preferably, the body comprises two sections, being an upper section defining the storage chamber and a lower section providing the base.

Preferably, the two sections are formed separately of each other and the upper section is adapted to rest on the lower section.

Preferably, the storage bin further comprises a control means for selectively opening and closing the outlet, the outlet being accommodated within the confines of the base and being accessible through a recess provided in the base,

The outlet control means may comprise a gate slidable with respect to the outlet between open and closed conditions.

Preferably, the storage chamber comprises a side and a bottom sloping downwardly towards the outlet, and wherein the base comprises a cradle section configured to receive and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber, the base having an opening extending between the cradle section and the recess in the base, whereby the lower most end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber can extend into the recess through the opening. The top of the storage chamber may comprise an inlet for introduction of material to be stored therein. The inlet may comprise an inlet opening and a removable closure such as a cap for closing the opening.

The side may comprise a sidewall configured for structural rigidity. In this regard, the sidewall may incorporate ribbing, typically ribbing extending vertically from the base to the top.

Similarly, the top may comprise a top wall configured for structural rigidity. This can, for example, be achieved by incorporation of ribbing in the top wall.

The base may incorporate a plurality of pads on the underside thereof for contacting the support surface.

The pads may be arranged in an array defining spaces for receiving lifting elements such as lifting forks of a forklift, a pallet carrier or an agricultural machine equipped with lifting forks. This is particularly advantageous as it allows the storage bin to be transported readily.

Preferably, the body incorporates at least one tie-down point. Conveniently, the body has four tie-down points, one incorporated in each of four strengthening ribs provided in the top of the storage chamber.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a storage chamber adapted to rest on the base, the bottom being configured to be received and supported in the cradle section of the base.

According to the third aspect of the invention there is provided a base for supporting a storage chamber having a bottom sloping downwardly towards an outlet, the base comprising a cradle section configured to receive and support the sloping bottom of the storage chamber, the base having an opening extending between the cradle section and a recess within the base whereby the lowermost end of the sloping bottom of the storage chamber extends into the recess through—A—the opening, the recess opening onto the exterior of the base whereby the outlet can be accessed through the recess.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood by reference to the following description of several specific embodiments thereof as shown in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic front elevational view of a storage bin according to a first embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a schematic side elevational view of the storage bin;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the storage bin;

FIG. 4 is a view of the underside of the storage bin;

FIG. 5 is a schematic side elevational view of an upper section of the storage bin defining a storage chamber;

FIG. 6 is a schematic front elevational view of a lower section of the storage bin defining a face;

FIG. 7 is a schematic front elevational view of a storage bin according to a second embodiment;

FIG. 8 is a schematic side elevational view of the storage bin;

FIG. 9 is a planned view of the storage bin;

FIG. 10 is a view of the underside of the storage bin; and

FIG. 11 is a schematic side elevational view of an upper section of the storage bin defining a storage chamber.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The embodiments shown in the drawings are each directed to a storage bin in the form of a field bin typically for use on farms for storage of grain such as wheat.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 6, the field bin 10 according to the first embodiment comprises a body 11 formed of plastics material such as linear low-density polyethylene. The body 11 is formed in two sections, being an upper section 12 and a lower section 14. The upper section 12 defines a storage chamber 13, and the lower section 14 defines a base 15 below the storage chamber for supporting the storage chamber 13 in an elevated condition with respect to the ground (or any other surface on which the storage bin is located). The storage chamber 13 and the base 15 on which it is supported are each rectangular in plan, as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4.

The storage chamber 13 comprises a bottom 17 sloping downwardly towards an outlet 19, a side 21 and a top 23 cooperating to define a storage zone 24 within the storage chamber 13.

The bottom 17 comprises four bottom wall sections (only three 18a, 18b and 18c of which are seen in the drawing) sloping downwardly and inwardly towards the outlet 19.

The side 21 comprises a sidewall 25 to define the rectangular periphery of the storage zone 24. Ribbing 27 is provided in the sidewall 25 for structural rigidity.

The top 23 comprises a top wall 29 which slopes inwardly and upwardly from the sidewall 25 towards a central inlet 31. The inlet 31 comprises an opening 33 in the top wall 29 and a removable cap 35 for closing the opening 33. Grain for storage in the storage zone 24 is introduced into the storage chamber 13 through the inlet 31. The top wall 29 incorporates ribs 37 to provide structural rigidity. The ribs 37 are arranged diagonally, extending from each corner of the rectangular chamber 13 towards the central opening 31.

Each rib 37 incorporates a hole 41 adjacent the outer end thereof to provide a tie-down point for receiving a rope, cable or the like for tying-down the field bin.

The base 15 has a section 42 configured as a cradle to receive and support the bottom 17 of the storage chamber 13. With this arrangement, the bottom 17 of the storage chamber 13 nests in the cradle section 42 of the base 15. The cradle section 42 comprises a top wall 45 sloping downwardly towards an opening 50. The top wall 45 comprises four wall sections (only three 45a, 45b and 45c of which are shown in the drawing), each corresponding to a respective one of the bottom wall sections of the storage chamber bottom 17.

The base 15 also has a side periphery 46 which conforms to the rectangular periphery of the storage chamber 13, and a bottom 49. The side periphery 46 of the base 15 comprises a first pair of opposed walls 47 and a second pair of opposed walls 48:

The base 15 incorporates a recess 61 which opens onto the side periphery 46 thereof at sidewall 47a and which extends inwardly to a location below the opening 50 at the bottom of the cradle section 42 such that the opening 50 opens onto the recess 61.

When the storage chamber 15 is supported on the base, the lowermost section 17a of the bottom 17 thereof extends through the opening 50 into the recess 61. With this arrangement, the outlet 19 of the storage chamber 13 is accommodated within the recess 61. This provides access to the outlet 19 from the exterior of the base 15 via the recess 61.

The bottom 49 of the base 15 comprises a plurality of rectangular pads 51 arranged in an array of rows and columns, as shown in FIG. 4. The array of pads 51 cooperate to define a first pair of channels 53 and a second pair of channels 55 arranged at right angles with respect to each other. The channels 57 in the first pair 53 open onto opposed sidewalls 47 of the base 15, and the channels 58 in the second pair 55 open onto opposed side walls 48 of the base.

The spacing between channels of each channel pair 53, 55 is such that two forks of a load carrying unit (such as a forklift or pallet carrier) can be received therein. With the arrangement, the field bin 10 can be lifted from any one of the four sides thereof.

A control means 63 is provided for selectively opening and closing the outlet 19. The control means 63 comprises a gate slidable with respect to the outlet 19 between open and closed conditions, whereby in the closed condition the gate blocks the outlet to prevent discharge of material from the storage chamber 13 and whereby in the open condition the gate is clear of the outlet to permit discharge of material from the storage chamber under the influence of gravity.

The gate 63 is movable manually between the open and closed conditions, and can be accessed through the recess 61.

The field bin 10 according to the first embodiment operates in a fashion similar to that of a conventional field bin, in the sense that the outlet 19 is elevated above the ground and grain stored therein can discharge under gravity through the outlet 19 as necessary.

The field bin 10 according to the first embodiment has advantages arising from its construction of plastics material. First, the field bin 10 is durable and not prone to rusting, as is the case with existing field bins of metallic construction. Further, the field bin 10 is readily transportable, owing to its comparatively lightweight construction. The feature of transportability is also assisted by the construction which allows it to be lifted by a load carrying unit of the type having lifting forks, such as a conventional pallet carrier, a forklift or an agricultural machine equipped with lifting forks. Referring now to FIGS. 7 to 11, the field bin 70 according to the second embodiment is similar in many respects to the field bin 10 according to the first embodiment, and so corresponding reference numerals are used to identify similar parts.

The field bin 70 according to the second embodiment is somewhat larger than the field bin according to the first embodiment and the configuration of the lower section of the base 15 is somewhat different, as will be explained below.

In the field bin 70, the base 15 comprises an array of pads 51 defining a first pair of channels 53 and a second pair of channels 55 arranged at right angles with respect to each other, as was the case with the first embodiment. Similarly, channels 57 in the first channel pair 53 in this embodiment are also somewhat similar to the channels 57 in the first embodiment. However, in the field bin 70, the channels 58 in the second channel pair 55 are deeper, in the sense that the spacing between the (upper) closed face 71 and the (lower) open face 73 of each channel 58 is larger.

In this embodiment, the channels 57 are intended primarily to receive lifting forks of a light duty load carrying unit such as a pallet walker. A light duty load carrying unit would ordinarily be use for moving the field bin 70 over the ground, particularly when it is empty or only lightly loaded.

The channels 58 in this embodiment are intended to accommodate lifting forks of either a light duty load carrying unit or a more heavy duty load carrying unit (such as a fork lift or an agricultural machine equipped with lifting forks).

In this embodiment, each channel 58 is fitted with an upper cross member 75 and a lower cross member 77 adjacent each end thereof. The cross members 75, 77 straddle the channels 58, as best seen in FIGS. 8 and 10. Each upper cross member 75 is spaced downwardly from the (upper) closed face 71 of the channel 58 to define a gap 79 for receiving a respective one of the lifting forks of a heavy duty load carrying unit. With such an arrangement, the load lifting fork locates against the channel face 71 during the lifting operation, the channel face 71 being sufficiently robust to accommodate the lifting forces. The cross member 75 located below the underside of the lifting fork and serves to stabilise the bin 17 on the fork to prevent toppling.

Each lower cross member 77 presents a surface against which the respective lifting fork of a light duty load carrying unit can engage to perform a lifting operation should such a unit be used for that purpose.

The cross members 75, 77 comprise straps which span the channels 58 and also extend up the side periphery 46 of the base 15. The straps are accommodated in recesses provided in the bottom 49 and the side periphery 46, and a secured to the plastic body of the base by suitable fixings (not shown) such as bolts.

While the embodiments have each been described in relation to a storage bin in the form of a field bin, it should be appreciated that the invention is not so limited. The storage bin according to the invention may find application for various storage purposes other than field bins, including storage of animal feed and also liquids.

A particular feature of the storage bin is that it can be delivered to site with material (such as grain or other animal feed) contained within the storage chamber. Alternatively, it may not be necessary to deliver the entire storage bin. The base may be permanently located on site and replacement storage chamber (filled with the desired material such as grain or other animal feed) delivered and installed on the base as necessary. This may provide a particularly convenient way of delivery of bulk quantities of materials.

Modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

Throughout the specification, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.