Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD OF CONTAINING AN OBJECT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container apparatus for the handling of at least one object is provided. The container apparatus generally includes a cover and a base. The cover includes an uppermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one cover sidewall. The base includes a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one base sidewall. The at least one base sidewall is configured to slide with respect to and overlap the at least one cover sidewall. The container apparatus further includes a first and a second tube engaged at the uppermost wall and at the least one object, and a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost base and at the at least one object.



Inventors:
Roy, Binayak (Santa Clara, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/564368
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
11/29/2006
Assignee:
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY (Schenectady, NY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/453, 206/454
International Classes:
B65D81/02; B65D85/00; B65D85/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GE Precision Healthcare LLC (Wauwatosa, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container apparatus for at least one object, comprising: a cover having an uppermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one cover sidewall; a base having a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one base sidewall, wherein the at least one base sidewall is configured to slide with respect to and overlap the at least one cover sidewall; a first and a second tube engaged at the uppermost wall and at the least one object; and a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost base and at the at least one object.

2. The container apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the tubes includes a hollow core.

3. The container apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first and second tubes extend from a first cover sidewall to a second cover sidewall located opposite the first cover sidewall, and wherein the third and fourth tubes extend from a first base sidewall to a second base sidewall opposite the first base sidewall.

4. The container apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the tubes is comprised of a silicone rubber composition.

5. The container apparatus of claim 1, wherein there is no adhesive attaching the first and second tubes at the cover and no adhesive attaching the third and fourth tubes at the base.

6. The container apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first tube is engaged against the uppermost wall and a first cover sidewall, and wherein the second tube is engaged against the uppermost wall and a second cover sidewall located opposite the first cover sidewall.

7. The container apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a first wedge and second wedge engaged at opposed ends of the at least object in support a vertical alignment of the at least one object.

8. The container apparatus of claim 7, wherein the first and second wedges are both engaged against the lowermost wall of the base, and wherein the first and second wedges are located between the third and fourth tubes, respectively, and the at least one base sidewall.

9. The container apparatus of claim 7, wherein the third and fourth tubes are located between the first and second wedges and the lowermost wall of the base.

10. A method of containing at least one object for shipment, the method comprising the acts of: providing a cover having an uppermost wall and at least sidewall abutted in general perpendicular relation to the uppermost wall; providing a base having a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one base sidewall, wherein the at least one base sidewall is configured to slide with respect to and overlap the at least one cover sidewall; placing a first and a second tube engaged against an uppermost wall at opposed ends of the uppermost wall; placing a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost wall of the base; placing the at least at least one object in the base and against the third and fourth tubes; placing the cover in sliding relation with the base so as to enclose the at least one object; and engaging the first and second tubes against the at least one object opposite the third and fourth tubes.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein each of the tubes includes a hollow core.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the first and second tubes extend from a first cover sidewall to a second cover sidewall located opposite the first cover sidewall, and wherein the third and fourth tubes extend from a first base sidewall to a second base sidewall opposite the first base sidewall.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein each of the tubes is comprised of a silicone rubber composition.

14. The method of claim 10, wherein the method does not include applying an adhesive to attach the first and second tubes at the cover nor to attach the third and fourth tubes at the base.

15. The method of claim 10, wherein the act of engaging the first and second tubes also includes engaging the first and second tubes against respective opposed sidewalls of the cover.

16. The method of claim 10, further comprising placing a first wedge and a second wedge engaged at opposed ends of the at least object in support a vertical alignment of the at least one object.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the act of placing the first and second wedges also includes engaging the first and second wedges against the lowermost wall of the base such that the first and second wedges are located between the third and fourth tubes, respectively, and the at least one base sidewall.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein the act of placing the third and fourth tubes includes placing the third and fourth tubes between the first and second wedges, respectively, and the lowermost wall of the base.

19. A container apparatus for a plurality of glass slides, comprising: a cover having an uppermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to opposed first and second cover sidewalls; a base having a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to the opposed first and second base sidewalls, wherein the first and second base sidewalls are configured to overlap the first and second cover sidewalls; a first and a second tube engaged at the uppermost wall of the cover and at the uppermost edge of the plurality of glass slides; and a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost base and at the lowermost edge of the plurality of glass slides, wherein each of the tubes includes a hollow core and is comprised of a silicone rubber composition, and wherein the first and second tubes extend from the first cover sidewall to the second cover sidewall, and wherein the third and fourth tubes extend from the first base sidewall to the second base sidewall.

20. The container apparatus of claim 19, wherein the first tube is engaged against both the uppermost wall of the cover and a third cover sidewall, and wherein the second tube is engaged against both the uppermost wall of the cover and a fourth cover sidewall located opposite the third cover sidewall, the third and fourth cover sidewalls both aligned generally perpendicular to the first and second cover sidewalls and to the uppermost wall of the cover.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to a container apparatus, and more specifically to a container apparatus or receptacle configured to hold generally fragile objects during shipment so as to be eventually removed from the apparatus.

Numerous types of containers have been developed to hold or carry fragile objects or goods during shipment. Examples include encasing the fragile objects with foam or “peanut foam” material. However, this known manner of encasing with foam material typically leads to contact of the foam material along an entire face or edge of the fragile objects, which can undesirably remove or affect sensitive coatings (e.g., silane coatings) placed on the fragile objects (e.g., micro-array glass slides). Also, the components in the manufacture of conventional encasing foam material are known to increase opportunities for deposition and contamination of clean surfaces of the fragile objects. These certain known container apparatuses also are known to be difficult in placement, later removal, and/or replacement of the fragile objects. Also, the encasing foam material used in these certain known container apparatuses is known to generate a considerable volume of waste.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Thus, there is a need for a container apparatus and method of containing one or more fragile objects that address the above-mentioned drawbacks. The container apparatus is operable to hold various shapes and types of fragile objects. The container apparatus causes minimal contact so as to protect and prevent undesired movement of the fragile objects associated with impact or sudden movements associated with handling during shipment in a manner that reduces opportunities of contamination of the fragile objects.

In accordance with a first embodiment, a container apparatus for at least one object is provided. The container apparatus includes a cover and a base. The cover includes an uppermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one cover sidewall. The base includes a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one base sidewall. The at least one base sidewall is configured to slide with respect to and overlap the at least one cover sidewall. The container apparatus further includes a first and a second tube engaged at the uppermost wall and at the least one object, and a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost base and at the at least one object.

In accordance with another embodiment, a method of containing at least one object for shipment is provided. The method includes the acts of providing a cover having an uppermost wall and at least sidewall abutted in general perpendicular relation to the uppermost wall; providing a base having a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one base sidewall, wherein the at least one base sidewall is configured to slide with respect to and overlap the at least one cover sidewall; placing a first and a second tube engaged against an uppermost wall at opposed ends of the uppermost wall; placing a third and a fourth tube engaged at the lowermost wall of the base; placing the at least at least one object in the base and against the third and fourth tubes; placing the cover in sliding relation with the base so as to enclose the at least one object; and engaging the first and second tubes against the at least one object opposite the third and fourth tubes.

In accordance with yet another embodiment, a container apparatus for a plurality of glass slides is provided. The container apparatus includes a cover having an uppermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to at least one cover sidewall, and a base having a lowermost wall abutted in generally perpendicular relation to the at least one base sidewall. The at least one base sidewall is configured to overlap the at least one cover sidewall. A first and a second tube are engaged at the uppermost wall of the cover and at the uppermost edge of the plurality of glass slides. A third and a fourth tube are engaged at the lowermost base and at the lowermost edge of the plurality of glass slides.

Systems and methods of varying scope are described herein. In addition to the aspects and advantages described in this summary, further aspects and advantages will become apparent by reference to the drawings and with reference to the detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a schematic diagram of perspective view of an embodiment of a container apparatus.

FIG. 2 shows a schematic diagram of a cross-section of the container apparatus along line 1-1 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a schematic diagram of the container apparatus with a cover lifted.

FIG. 4 shows a schematic diagram of another embodiment of a container apparatus with wedges raised above the lowermost base wall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments, which may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the embodiments, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, electrical and other changes may be made without departing from the scope of the embodiments. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense.

FIGS. 1-3 illustrates one embodiment of a container apparatus 20 configured to retain at least one object 25 for handling and shipment. The at least one object 25 can be a single object or a series of objects. For example, one embodiment of the object 25 is a series of glass slides, generally considered fragile such that impact is undesired. Yet, the type of object 25 (e.g., an ipod, laptop hard disks, etc.) can vary.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the illustrated embodiment of the container apparatus 20 includes a cover 30 attachable (See FIG. 2) in sliding relation with a base 35 to enclose the object 25. The cover 30 generally includes an uppermost wall 40 abutted in generally perpendicular relation to a series of cover sidewalls 45 extending downward therefrom. The base 35 generally includes a lowermost base wall 50 abutted in generally perpendicular relation to a series of base sidewalls 55 extending upwardly thereform. As shown by FIGS. 2 and 3, the cover sidewalls 45 are configured to receive and to at least partially overlap the base sidewalls 55 so as to enclose the object 25 before handling or shipment.

The illustrated container apparatus 20 further includes a series of tubes 60, 65, 70 and 75 located between the object and the cover and base. The tubes 60, 65, 70 and 75 are generally configured to absorb or isolate miscellaneous shock or impact forces associated with handling and shipment of the container apparatus 20, which could otherwise affect or cause damage to the object 25 retained in the container apparatus 20.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the illustrated embodiment shows each of the series of tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 with a hollow core 78 extending a length of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75. An embodiment of each of the series of tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 are generally comprised of a silicone rubber composition that is elastic, generally inert, non-toxic, and not readily vaporize or affect any coatings applied at a surface of the object 25. In accordance with this embodiment, each of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 provides a multi-level of impact cushion, as compared to a generally uniform cushion provided by a solid core. One level of impact absorption is provided by the collapse of the hollow core of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75. A second level of impact absorption is provided by a compression of the silicone rubber composition of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75. The second level impact absorption is greater relative to the first level of impact absorption.

The silicone rubber composition also enhances the ability of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 to return to their original shape after being deformed for an extended time period. The elasticity of the silicone rubber composition also enhances adherence of the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 to clean surfaces, such that adhesives are not used to retain the first and second tubes 60 and 65 in place at the cover 30 or to retain the third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 in place at the base 35. Yet, alternative embodiment of the container apparatus 20 can include more tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75, or other types of cushion materials to construct the tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75. The tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 can vary in exterior or borehole diameter for different objects 25 and applications.

As shown in the FIGS. 2 and 3, the first and a second tubes 60 and 65 are placed between and engaged against the uppermost wall 40 and an uppermost end 80 of the least one object 25. The third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 are placed between and engaged against the lowermost base wall 50 and a lowermost end of the at least one object 25. Also, each of the first and second tubes is simultaneously engaged against the uppermost cover wall 45 and the adjacent cover sidewall 45. The first and second tubes both generally extend across an entire width (wc) of the uppermost cover wall 40, from cover sidewall 45 to opposing cover sidewall 45. In a similar manner, both of the third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 extend across an entire width (wb) of the lowermost bottom wall 50, from base sidewall 55 to opposing base sidewall 55.

Still referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the illustrated embodiment of the container apparatus 20 further includes a first wedge 90 and second wedge 95 located in support of a vertical alignment of the at least object 25 in the container apparatus 20. In accordance with one embodiment of the container apparatus 20 shown in Fig., the first and second wedges 90 and 95 are both placed against the lowermost base wall 50 and the adjacent base sidewall 55, respectively. Accordingly, the first and second wedges 90 and 95 are located between the third and fourth tubes 70 and 75, respectively, and the adjacent base sidewall 55.

Referring now to FIG. 4 and in accordance with a second embodiment of the container apparatus 100, each of the first and second wedges 90 and 95 are placed against the respective base sidewall 55 and spaced a distance above the lowermost wall 50 so as to receive the respective third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 between the wedges 90 and 95, respectively, and the lowermost base wall 50.

Having described the construction of the container apparatus 20, the following is a description of a method of containing at least one object 25 for handling or shipment. It should be understood that the foregoing sequence of acts comprising the method can vary and may be performed simultaneously, that the method may not include each and every act in the following description, and the method can include additional acts not disclosed in the following description.

Referring back to FIGS. 2 and 3, assume that the cover 30 and base 35 are detached from one another as described above and shown in FIG. 3 so as to receive the object 25 therein. Also assume that the object 25 is a series of glass slides to be shipped. With respect to the cover 30, the first and second tubes 60 and 65 are respectively placed in engagement against opposed ends of the uppermost wall 40 and the adjacent sidewall 45. With respect to the base 35, the first and second wedges 90 and 95 are engaged against the respective adjacent base sidewall 55 and the lowermost base 50. The third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 are placed in engagement against the lowermost basewall 50 and the respective wedges 90 and 95.

The objects 25 are placed in the base 35 so as to be supported in vertical alignment by the first and second wedges 90 and 95, respectively. The third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 support the objects 25 from the lowermost base wall 50. Next, the cover 30 is placed over the base 35, enclosing the series the objects 25 in the container apparatus 20. In accordance with the illustrated container apparatus 20, the cover sidewalls 45 are received in sliding relation to the base sidewalls 55. The first and second tubes 60 and 65 are self-held in place by their adherence against the cover 30 as described above so as to automatically engage the uppermost edge 80 of the objects 25, opposite the third and fourth tubes 70 and 75 engaged against a lowermost edge 100 of the objects 25.

Accordingly, the objects 25 are held snug in the container apparatus 20 by the series of tubes 60, 65, 70, and 75 in combination with the wedges 90 and 95. Yet, the container apparatus 20 allows ready placement and removal of the glass slides 25 without moving the series of tubes 60, 65, 70 and 75 or the wedges 90 and 95 with respect to the base 35. Thereby, the removed series of objects 25 (such as glass slides) can be readily replaced in the protection provided by the container apparatus 20. The series of tubes 60, 65, 70 and 75 and wedges 90 and 95 also have minimal contact with the series of the objects 60, 65, 70 and 75, reducing opportunities of affecting any protective coatings applied to the objects 60, 65, 70 and 75, and minimizing generation of contaminants that may deposit on the series of the objects 60, 65, 70 and 75.

This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal languages of the claims.