Title:
Shipping decks for transporting cargo
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A shipping deck and shipping storage system is disclosed. The shipping deck is a generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material. The shipping deck is substantially planar to support cargo placed thereon. The shipping deck rests upon three or more adjacent cargo bars and a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extend from the tile member in order to limit the movement of the shipping deck and to allow for stacking of the shipping decks when not in use. The cargo bars secure within a track which is located on opposite walls of the shipping container. The shipping deck, the cargo bars, and the track within the shipping container form a system for shipping storage.



Inventors:
Barney, Pamela Ann (Macomb, MI, US)
Berquist, James M. (Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, US)
Walters, John P. (Royal Oak, MI, US)
Kehr, Anastasia (Clinton Township, MI, US)
Moroun, Manuel J. (Grosse Pointe Shores, MI, US)
Nemazi, John E. (Bloomfield Hills, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/598562
Publication Date:
05/15/2008
Filing Date:
11/13/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D3/16
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
DAYOAN, DARRELL G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Brooks Kushman (Southfield, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shipping deck for installation upon three or more adjacent horizontally spaced apart cargo bars which generally, horizontally, transversely span a container used to transport cargo, the shipping deck comprising: a generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material having: a substantially planar upper surface for supporting cargo, the upper surface provided with a series of local depressions formed therein, a lower surface spaced below the upper surface providing a plurality of contact regions adapted to rest upon each of the three or more adjacent cargo bars, and a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extending from the lower surface proximate the contact regions to cooperate with each of the three or more adjacent cargo bars to limit movement of the tile member in a forward horizontal direction perpendicular to the cargo bar; wherein a plurality of shipping decks may be stacked in a vertical manner with the downwardly projecting legs nested within the depressions formed in the shipping deck positioned immediately there below.

2. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is generally symmetrical about a diagonal line extending between opposed corners.

3. The shipping deck of claim 1 further comprising a series of handle openings formed through the tile member adjacent to and spaced about an outer peripheral region of the tile member.

4. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is formed of injection molded thermoplastic.

5. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is twin sheet thermo formed from an extruded sheet.

6. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is generally square shaped.

7. The shipping deck of claim 6 wherein the tile member is approximately four foot by four foot square.

8. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is unitary.

9. The shipping deck of claim 8 wherein the tile member is a plastic injection molded part.

10. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the legs are generally cup-shaped and downwardly tapered such that the shipping deck may be nested when stacked upon a second shipping deck.

11. The shipping deck of claim 10 wherein the tile member adds an incremental thickness of one to three inches when stacked upon the second tile member.

12. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the tile member is provided with an open grate to allow air and liquid to pass through.

13. The shipping deck of claim 12 wherein the legs are each provided with at least one drain hole to prevent liquid accumulation.

14. The shipping deck of claim 1 wherein the plurality of legs further comprise: a plurality of perimeter legs, the perimeter legs being spaced about a perimeter of the tile member; and at least one central leg extending from a central region of the tile member.

15. The shipping deck of claim 14 wherein the plurality of perimeter legs further comprise at least four perimeter legs spaced laterally near a corner of the tile member.

16. The shipping deck of claim 14 further comprising at least two central legs wherein the at least two central legs are spaced about a longitudinal and a transverse center axis of the shipping deck for receiving a center cargo bar.

17. A cargo shipping system comprising: a series of vertical tracks provided along two opposite walls within an enclosed shipping container, the tracks being spaced apart each providing a plurality of attachment points at various heights; at least three cargo bars sized to be received within tracks on opposed walls, the cargo bars being secured to the track at a common height such that at least one shipping deck can be placed thereon creating a generally planar surface; and two or more shipping decks sized to fill an area between opposite walls of a shipping container, the two or more shipping decks each having a generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material each tile member having: a substantially planar upper surface, for supporting cargo placed thereon, the upper surface provided with a series of local depressions formed therein, a lower surface spaced below the upper surface providing a plurality of contact regions adapted to rest upon the three or more cargo bars, and a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extending from the lower surface proximate the contact regions to limit movement of the tile member in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the cargo bar.

18. The cargo shipping system of claim 17 wherein the plurality of legs further comprise: a plurality of perimeter legs, the perimeter legs being spaced about an inboard perimeter of the tile member to engage at least two of the outermost cargo bars; and at least two central legs extending from a central region of the tile member to cooperate with opposed sides of a centrally located cargo bar.

19. A method of storing shipping decks within a container used to transport cargo comprising: providing a first generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material having a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extending from a lower surface; providing a second generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material having a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extending from a lower surface; and stacking the tile members when not in use; wherein the legs of the second tile member nest within the legs of the first tile member.

20. The method of storing shipping decks of claim 19 wherein a single tile member has a height of 2-5 inches and when stacked, the second tile member adds an incremental thickness of less than one half of the height of the tile.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to a shipping deck for installation upon cargo bars which spans a shipping container used to transport cargo in a multi tier manner.

2. Background Art

Cargo is commonly transported in a variety of containers such as a semi-truck trailer, an enclosed truck box, a shipping container, a rail car or the like. Frequently, it is not possible to stack cargo or pallets of cargo due to the nature of the goods. When the cargo is light, the floor space of the cabin is filled but load capacity has not been reached. In order to increase the amount of cargo that can be transported without damage, cargo bars are used to span the container to stack multiple tiers of cargo. Conventionally, plywood deck boards are placed atop the cargo bars to form a shelf-like structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a shipping deck which is used to transport cargo within a shipping container. One embodiment of the shipping deck is intended to be installed upon three or more adjacent horizontally spaced apart cargo bars which span the container. The shipping deck is a generally rectangular tile member formed of a plastic material. The tile member of the shipping deck has a substantially planar upper surface for supporting cargo placed thereon. The tile member also has a lower surface spaced below the upper surface. The lower surface provides a plurality of contact regions adapted to rest upon each of the three or more adjacent cargo bars. On the lower surface, a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extend proximate the contact regions in order to limit the movement of the tile member in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the cargo bar. When not in use, the shipping deck may be stacked with the legs of a second shipping deck nested within corresponding recesses in the upper surface of the shipping deck therebelow resulting in a low height, stable stack.

In another embodiment, a method of storing shipping decks in a stack arrangement within a container used to transport cargo is provided. The method provides nesting the legs of a second tile member within the legs of a first tile member. The first and second generally rectangular tile members are formed of a plastic material and each have a plurality of downwardly projecting legs extending from a lower surface.

The above embodiments, and other embodiments, objects, features, and advantages of the present invention are readily apparent from the following detailed description of embodiments of the invention when taken in connection with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view of a shipping container with a system for storage of cargo therein in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an axial end view of a shipping container with a system for storage of cargo therein in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an axial side view of a shipping container with a system for storage of cargo therein in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a view of a shipping container with a system for storage of cargo therein in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a top surface view of a plastic shipping deck in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side axial view of a plastic shipping deck in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a top surface view of a plastic shipping deck in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 8 is a top surface view of a plastic shipping deck in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale; some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for the claims and/or as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to utilize the present invention.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a shipping container is illustrated and referenced by numeral 18. The shipping container 18 has a storage system located within it. The storage system has a vertical track series 20 which is attached to opposing walls 22, 24 with tracks spaced at predetermined intervals, generally every two feet. The vertical track series 20 runs from the top of each opposing wall 22, 24 to the bottom with tracks spaced at predetermined intervals, generally every two feet. The vertical track series 20 preferably spans the entire length of the shipping container 18. Alternatively, one or more horizontal tracks may be provided on opposed side walls of the container. A cargo bar 26 is attached at each end to opposed vertical tracks within the series 20 at both opposing side walls 22, 24. Additional cargo bars 28, 30 are attached to adjacent vertical tracks within the series 20 at both opposing walls 22, 24. At least three cargo bars 26, 28, 30 may be at a uniform height in order to support a shipping deck 32. Additional cargo bar sets may be added throughout the shipping container 18 at the same height, or at a second or third uniform height to support a second shipping deck 32.

The shipping deck 32 is supported by three cargo bars 26, 28, 30 which are equally spaced. Although equally spaced cargo bars 26, 28, 30 are illustrated, varying distances between cargo bars are contemplated within the scope of the present invention when a shipping deck is created according to the present invention which is able to rest on the cargo bars. The lower surface of the shipping deck 32 comes into contact with the cargo bars 26, 28, 30. The upper surface of the shipping deck 32 supports cargo. Additionally, cargo may be stored underneath the shipping deck 32. This increases the amount of cargo a shipping container may hold.

The shipping deck 32 is a tile member having a generally rectangular shape. Of course the invention contemplates any number of generally rectangular shapes within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Additional shipping decks 32 may be placed on additional cargo bars throughout the shipping container 18 to form a generally planar surface wherein each shipping deck 32 serves as a tile member. Additionally, the shipping deck 32 has multiple legs 34 which extend downwardly from the lower surface of the shipping deck 32. The multiple legs are generally located on opposing sides of each of the cargo bars 26, 28, 30 to limit the horizontal movement of the shipping deck 32 within the shipping container 18.

With reference now to FIG. 2, an axial end view of the shipping container 18 of FIG. 1 is illustrated with a system of storage of cargo therein. The vertical track series 20 is provided on opposing walls 22, 24 of the shipping container 18. A cargo bar 26 is attached to the vertical track within the series 20 at opposite walls 22, 24. The cargo bars 26, 28, 30 as shown in FIG. 1, support two shipping decks 32.

With reference now to FIG. 3, an axial side view within a shipping container is shown. A shipping deck 36 is fully shown, along with a partial view of a shipping deck 36′. This pattern may be repeated many times within a shipping container to create one tiled surface. Additional shipping decks may be located at additional levels within the shipping container.

The shipping decks 36, 36′ are supported by three cargo bars 38, 40, and 42. The shipping decks have legs 44, 46 which limit the horizontal movement of the shipping decks 36, 38 within the shipping container. There are perimeter legs 44 which are located near the perimeter of the shipping decks 36, 38. The perimeter legs 44 are located to receive a cargo bar 38, 42 therebetween. Additionally, there are central legs 46 which are generally located in the transverse and longitudinal center of the shipping deck 36. The central legs 46 are sized to receive a cargo bar 40.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a shipping container 48 is illustrated with a system of storage for cargo therein. The system for storage provides a horizontal track 50 on opposite walls 52, 54 of the shipping container 48. Providing a horizontal track 50 allows flexibility in placing cargo bars 56, 58, 60 and when determining a size for the shipping deck 62. The cargo bars 56, 60 may be located at opposite sides of the shipping deck 62 and one cargo bar 58 may be located near the center of the shipping deck 62 to support it. The shipping deck 62 has multiple legs 64 which extend downwardly from the lower surface of the shipping deck 62. The multiple legs are generally located on either side of the cargo bars 56, 58, 60 to limit the horizontal movement of the shipping deck 62 within the shipping container 48, within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

With reference now to FIGS. 5 and 6, a shipping deck 66 is illustrated. FIG. 5 is a top view of the shipping deck 66 and FIG. 6 is a side axial view of the shipping deck 66. The shipping deck 66 may be formed out of a thermoplastic in order to reduce the weight of the shipping deck 66 while maintaining its structural integrity. This is desirable in the shipping field in order to increase the weight of the cargo. The prior art uses a plywood shipping deck which weighs about forty pounds. A shipping deck 66 made of a thermoplastic, for example polypropylene, weighs about sixteen pounds. When utilized as a system filling up a shipping container, the weight of the shipping system is decreased by about forty percent, which allows a shipper to increase the weight of cargo shipped. Any other suitable plastic is contemplated within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

The shipping deck 66 may be manufactured through a variety of methods such as injection molding, or vacuum forming. Of course any suitable process to create a plastic shipping deck is contemplated within the spirit and scope of the invention. These are automatic processes which allow for mass production of the shipping decks 66.

The thermoplastic shipping deck 66 has an upper surface 68 and a lower surface 70. The upper surface 68 supports the cargo and is generally planar. The upper surface 68 may be a unitary surface. The upper surface 68 may have a series of holes in it, which form a grate as illustrated. This design allows for air and liquid to pass through the shipping deck 66. In the prior art, a plywood shipping deck absorb liquid, which may cause the plywood shipping deck to become moldy or have a foul odor. Thus, having a plastic shipping deck 66 which does not absorb liquids and may easily be cleaned with water and allowed to self dry is ideal. Handle holes 71 are molded into the deck 66 at convenient locations.

The upper surface 68 of the shipping deck 66 may also have with a series of local depressions 69 formed therein. The local depressions 69 formed in the upper surface 68 are generally located above the multiple legs 72, 74.

The multiple legs 72, 74 extend downwardly from the lower surface 70. The legs 72, 74 have a generally cup shape and are tapered so as to have a larger opening at the top than at the bottom. Local depressions 69 formed in the upper surface 68 are located generally above the legs 72, 74. The local depressions 69 may be sized to receive legs of a second shipping deck, which makes the shipping decks nestable, and adds an incremental thickness when stacked upon the first tile member. The incremental thickness may be one to three inches. Adding an incremental thickness of less than two inches is preferred. This allows for easy storage of a large amount of shipping decks when they are not in use. This is an improvement over the prior art shipping decks because they are not stackable in a stable manner. The prior art shipping decks also take up a great deal of space when not in use.

The legs 72, 74 have at least one hole in their respective surfaces. This allows for liquid to pass through the legs 72, 74 so that the liquid does not accumulate inside the legs 72, 74. The legs 72, 74 are generally located in two different areas. There are perimeter legs 72 which are located near the perimeter of the shipping deck 66. The perimeter legs 72 may be located near a corner of the shipping deck 66. There are also central legs 74 which are generally located near a longitudinal and transverse center of the shipping deck 66. At least two central legs 74 are provided and up to four central legs 74 are contemplated within the scope of the invention. When at least two central legs 74 are provided, the central legs 74 may be located across a longitudinal axis or a transverse axis or both.

Near the perimeter of the shipping deck 66 at least two hand holes 76 are provided. A series of hand holes 76 is illustrated around the entire perimeter of the shipping deck 66. Locating the handle holes 76 near the perimeter of the shipping deck 66 allows for easy handling of the shipping deck 66.

The shipping deck 66 may be square as illustrated. The shipping deck 66 may have a length of four feet with a width of four feet.

Referring now to FIG. 7, interlocking embodiment of a shipping deck 78 is illustrated. The shipping deck 78 is a generally rectangular shape. The shipping deck 78 has two sides where two projections 80 extend beyond the general perimeter of the shipping deck 78. On the other sides of the shipping deck 78 are recesses 82 where the two projections 80 of an adjacent deck may interlock. This would help to create a generally planar surface when the shipping decks 78 are a part of a system for shipping within a shipping container. The shipping deck also may include legs 84, 86, which allow the shipping deck 78 to stack upon a second shipping deck, within the scope and spirit of this invention.

Now referring to FIG. 8, yet another embodiment of a shipping deck 86 is illustrated with a top surface view. The shipping deck 86 is a generally rectangular shape. The shipping deck 86 may include legs 88, 90 which may allow the shipping deck 86 to stack upon a second shipping deck, within the spirit and scope of the current invention. The shipping deck 86 may also have at least two hand holes 92 located near the perimeter of the shipping deck 86.

The shipping deck 86 may be twin sheet thermo formed from extruded sheet. The shipping deck may be formed with a top layer 94 and a bottom layer 96. The top layer 94 and bottom layer 96 may be held together by using an edge flange 100 and posts 102, which join the top layer 94 and the bottom layer 96 via a weld or an adhesive joint. The top layer 94 and bottom layer 96 have a hollow cavity 98 therebetween.

In summary, the present invention provides shipping decks used within a storage system to transport cargo which are stackable when not in use, light in weight, easy to clean, easy to manufacture, and provide sound structural integrity.

While embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, it is not intended that these embodiments illustrate and describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.





 
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