Title:
Self-gripping rack for cantilevered tanks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A flexible system for holding articles such as propane tanks. Straps are arranged around and over three tanks in order to support the outer tanks in a cantilevered fashion over another row of tanks which only has two tanks. Spacers may be inserted between the three tanks to adjust the necessary dimensions for truck. The straps may take a number of configurations and may be held by different locking devices for holding the straps. The straps may also include hooks for attachment to eyes on the tanks.



Inventors:
Sheckells, Amuel E. (Leavenworth, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/889579
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
08/14/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D63/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIRCH, STEWART, KOLASCH & BIRCH, LLP (FALLS CHURCH, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A system for holding a stacked array of articles, comprising: at least one flexible strap; said strap extending around a first of said articles and extending at least over a second of said articles; the strap intercepting itself at least one point and said strap being secured to itself; said first article being held in a cantilevered fashion from said second article by said strap.

2. The system according to claim 1, wherein said strap extends around a third article, said first through third articles forming a horizontal layer in the array.

3. The system according to claim 2, wherein said strap extends around said first through third articles.

4. The system according to claim 1, further comprising a spacer between said first article and said second article around which said strap extends.

5. The system according to claim 1, wherein said strap is secured to itself using a holder.

6. The system according to claim 5, wherein the holder is a flat plate having a slot, said slot holding the strap by friction.

7. The system according to claim 6, wherein a shim is placed behind said plate to prevent the strap from being pulled through the slot.

8. The system according to claim 7, wherein the shim is in the shape of a second plate.

9. The system according to claim 7, wherein the shim is in the shape of a round pin.

10. The system according to claim 7, wherein the shim is elongated in the direction perpendicular to the plate to form a spacer between articles.

11. The system according to claim 7, wherein the holder is a tube with an opening on one side through which the strap is inserted, with a rod being inserted in a loop of the strap within the tube.

12. The system according to claim 7, wherein the holder is a chain link through which a loop of the strap is extended, with the loop being held in place by an elongated member.

13. The system according to claim 12, wherein the elongated member is a second chain link perpendicular to the first chain link.

14. The system according to claim 1, further comprising a spacer inserted between said first article and said second article, the spacer having attached thereto a holder having a opening for receiving the strap, one end of the strap being fixed to said spacer and extending outwardly from said holder to one side to extend over said second article and extending outwardly from said holder to another side to extend around said first article.

15. The system according to claim 14, further comprising a second spacer and holder placed between said second article and a third article.

16. The system according to claim 14, wherein the holder includes a chain link and pin arrangement.

17. The system according to claim 14, wherein the holder is two chain links with one chain link being perpendicular to the other

18. The system according to claim 14, wherein the holder is a flat plate having a slot and a rod behind the said plate.

19. The system according to claim 14, wherein the holder is a tube used as a spacer and having slots formed in the surface thereof for receiving said strap and a pin.

20. The system according to claim 19, wherein the tube has a vertical orientation and the strap extends vertically through the tube.

21. The system according to claim 19, wherein the tube extends horizontally and the strap extends through the tube horizontally.

22. The system according to claim 14, wherein the holder includes a mechanical advantage.

23. The system according to claim 1, wherein said articles are horizontally extending cylinders.

24. The system according to claim 1, wherein the articles are cylindrical tanks.

25. A method for stacking plurality of articles, comprising: providing a flexible strap; extending said strap around a first of said articles and at least over a second of said articles; securing said strap to itself at interception points with said straps causing said articles to be held in a cantilevered arrangement.

26. The method according to claim 25, wherein the strap extends around the third article to form a horizontal arrangement of three articles with the outer articles being cantilevered from the second article.

27. The method according to claim 25, wherein the strap extends around the second article.

28. The method according to claim 25, further comprising a spacer between said first and second articles and extending around said spacer.

29. The method according to claim 25, wherein the strap is secured to itself using a holder.

30. The method according to claim 25, wherein the holder works in conjunction with the spacer between the first and second articles.

31. A system for holding a plurality of articles in a cantilevered fashion, comprising: at least one flexible strap; at least one hook provided at each end of said strap; each hook being attachable to an eye provided on an article, whereby said strap extends over a central article in each hook is attached to an eye on an outer article so as to provide a horizontal array of three articles with outer articles being cantilevered from the central article.

32. The system according to claim 31, further comprising spacers connected to said straps for inserting between an outer article and the center article.

33. The system according to claim 31, to whereby said strap extends diagonally between outer articles.

34. The system for holding a plurality of articles in a cantilevered fashion, comprising: at least one round object having a central opening being firmly connected to each article; a connecting device extending through openings in objects connected to adjoining articles while being overlapped, so that the connecting devices firmly hold the adjoining tanks in position.

35. The system according to claim 34, wherein the objects are metal eyes.

36. The system according to claim 34, wherein the fastening device is a nut and bolt.

37. The system according to claim 34, wherein the object is a chain link.

38. The system according to claim 34, wherein the connecting device is a chain link having an opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO PROVISIONAL APPLICATION

This Non-Provisional Application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119 (e) on Provisional Application No. 60/837,625 filed on Aug. 15, 2006, the entire contents of which are incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a self-gripping flexible rack for stacking articles such as propane tanks and more particularly to a self-gripping flexible rack using straps and spacers between the tanks.

2. Description of the Background Art

Various types of racks are known for stacking and transporting articles such as propane tanks. With their round configuration, it is difficult to transport a large number of tanks due to legal limitations on the size of the truck. In addition, the racks may be heavy and bulky, thus taking up additional space and adding an extra load to the truck, leading to increased fuel usage. It is also often necessary to use a crane or multiple people to place the rack on the truck, leading to increased costs.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,735,412 describes a rack system which is a major improvement over prior art systems. In this rack system, a pair of holders, each having curved sides to match the shape of the propane tank, are joined by a flexible strap. The strap acts as a seat for an additional tank placed between the original two tanks onto which the holders are placed. Because of the small size of the holders and strap, it is possible to carry additional tanks on the same size truck. The weight of such rack is considerably less than in prior art systems, which reduces the weight on the truck and allows for easy installation by a single person. In this system, the strap is connected to the holder by sewing the end of the strap to make a loop and inserting a bolt through the holder and the loop to fasten it in position. In order to prevent any damage to the paint on the tanks, pads are placed along the contacting surfaces of the holders.

While this system was a major improvement over prior art devices, the placing of the pads requires considerable time, using skilled labor and laboratory conditions to install. When pads wear out and need to be replaced, it is necessary to sand the metal to acquire a clean surface. As a result, the metal parts must be relatively thick so that multiple sandings do not reduce the strength of the holder. The holders must then be heavier than would otherwise be necessary. The loop formed by sewing the end of the strap is weaker than the other parts of the system and accordingly limits the amount of weight the system can hold. Also, the operations of sewing a strap and inserting a bolt require a certain amount of time and cost. FIG. 1 shows such a prior art arrangement where a vehicle 10, such as a truck is used to carry a plurality of cylindrical objects, such as propane tanks 72. The truck includes the traditional structures including wheel, axles, and external body, all shown in dashed lines. A support 20 may be placed on the bottom of the truck bed to hold the tanks. The support may merely be a flat structure, or may include depressions or other structures for holding the bottom row of the tanks. Between the tanks is placed a holder 12 having curved sides for receiving adjoining tanks. A pair of holders are joined by a strap 16 which is used to support a tank in the immediate upper row. The weight of the tank on top of the holder 12 helps to lock the tanks supported by the straps into place. Straps also function to provide padding between the metal tanks to prevent damage to their paint. State regulations typically limit the total height of the truck, which is a combination of the height of the undercarriage and the height of the cargo area, as indicated in arrows on the right side of the figure. Regulations also limit the width of the truck indicated by an arrow at the bottom. Do to these limitations, it is important to provide racks which are small and lightweight in order that additional tanks can be placed within the vehicle.

Thus, it is important to provide some type of stacking system and rack for supporting the tanks in a manner in which it holds the maximum number of tanks within the truck to further reduce shipping cost. Further, the arrangement must be such that the tanks are firmly held and easily handled when placing them on the truck and removing them from the truck.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention provides a rack for stacking articles such as propane tanks on a truck or other vehicle.

The present invention also provides a rack on which articles can be shipped without damage.

The present invention further provides a lightweight rack which is easily installed manually.

The present invention further provides a system which is easily assembled by unskilled labor at a low cost.

The present invention still further provides a rack for holding cantilevered tanks firmly in place.

The present invention still further provides a rack having spacers for separating tanks.

The present invention provides arrangements of strapping used as a rack for holding cantilevered tanks with various strap holders for spacing the tanks and tightening the load.

The present invention is accomplished by providing strapping which surrounds a variety of tanks to hold them together in a manner to form a cantilever arrangement whereby the tanks are held in a row over a smaller number of tanks. The straps are joined using a variety of holding devices which may also include spacers to provide appropriate spacing in between tanks.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will become more fully understood from the detailed description given below and the accompanying drawings which are given by way of illustration only, and thus are not limitative of the present invention, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an end view of one arrangement of the prior art;

FIG. 2 is an end view of a rack system of tanks according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing an arrangement of straps used according to the present invention;

FIG. 4 is diagram showing another arrangement of straps used for holding tanks according to the present invention;

FIGS. 5 to 11 show various types of devices for holding and adjusting straps used in a rack according to the present invention;

FIGS. 12A and 12B show an arrangement of a strap holding device with a spacer used with the rack according to the present invention;

FIG. 13 shows a first embodiment of a spacer with a strap holding device;

FIGS. 14A and 14B show the use of the embodiment of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is an end view of a rack system of tanks using the embodiment of FIG. 13;

FIGS. 16-56 show other embodiments of a strapping system including spacers and strap holders;

FIGS. 57-59 show 3 embodiments using a strap and hook arrangement;

FIGS. 60 and 61 show the embodiments of FIGS. 58 and 59 in position;

FIG. 62 shows a diagonal strapping arrangement using the embodiment of FIG. 57;

FIGS. 63 and 64 show embodiments using semi-circular eyes joined by bolts;

FIG. 65 shows an embodiment using chain links.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and more particularly to FIG. 2 thereof, wherein an arrangement of articles such as propane tanks 72 are shown being held by holders 12. The holders 12 are connected using straps 16 which support the intervening tanks 72 and are also used for connecting together the top row of tanks in a different configuration. As shown in FIG. 3, three tanks are connected together through strapping 16 with holders 12 space there between.

The strap starts at point A and extends along the bottom side of the right hand rack through two cutouts. It then proceeds under the center tank and through cutouts on the bottom edge of the left hand rack. The strap then extends under and around the left hand tank and extends over the top of the center tank and right hand tank and then down and under the right hand tank to return to point A. At this point, the strap extends up the right hand side of the right hand rack. When it reaches the top of the right hand rack, the strap is placed over itself at a point between the center and right hand tanks. By looping this over, portions of the strap that extend horizontally across the top to the right hand tank support firmly the right hand rack. It would be also possible to sew or otherwise connect the two parts of the strap together at point D rather than looping it over the top. At this point, the strap extends down along the left hand side of the right hand rack through the appropriate cutouts and also extends under the center tank. Then it extends up the right hand side of the left hand rack and loops over the top portion of the strap at point C in a fashion similar to that at point D. The strap then extends down the left hand side of the left hand rack and ends at point B. Two ends of the strap may be anchored by sewing, by using an anchor described later or may be held by the friction developed in the cutouts. By strapping three tanks and two holders together in this fashion, it is possible for the assembly to be lifted by a forklift by extending forks under the racks, or by lifting from above by pulling up the strap along its top section, such as to the left of point C and to the right of point D. When these units are placed in a stack, the tanks above force downwardly on the upper racks and firmly hold the tanks in position.

While many propane tanks are simply cylinders in shape, many others also have adjoining parts which complicate their shape. Thus, in addition to the cylindrical tank itself, the article may have feet 74 in which the tank rest in its final position. On the opposite side, a filler port and valve arrangement 76 may be present. When these types of tanks are being carried, it is necessary to properly space tanks in order that damages are not done to these devices.

FIG. 4 shows a variation from the arrangement of FIG. 3 for cantilevered tanks, especially where the feet and controls are not a problem. In this arrangement, only strapping is utilized to hold the three tanks together.

The strap starts at point A between the left tank and the center tank, extends around the left hand tank and returns to point A. The strap then continues over the top of the center tank to point C and on around the entire center tank to return to point C and then continue on to the right hand tank, by way of point B. The strap extends around the right hand tank and returns to point B. As is seen, the strap is doubled along the top part of the center tank and is also doubled from point A to the left hand tank and from point B to the right hand tank. At points A, B and C, an anchoring is preferably fashioned to connect the loose end strap and also to connect the two overlapping straps together. Various arrangements, can be described below, can be used to connect the layers of strapping together at these points.

One device for locking straps is shown in FIG. 5 as a metal plate 22 of any length with an H-shaped opening 24 formed therein. By threading a strap through one end of the H-shaped opening and under the center section where the opening is reduced in height and then out the other larger end, where it is possible to hold the strap in position by friction with the metal plate. The metal plate may be a separate piece, or may be the surface of the holder 12. This arrangement can be used to adjust the tightness of the strap by inserting a shim 26 which is larger than the H-shaped opening, as shown in FIG. 6. Thus, in order to tighten the strap, the strap is pulled through the H-shaped opening and different thicknesses of shim are inserted until the strap is tight. Multiple layers of shims can also be used if desired. In addition to adjusting the length of the strap, this also adds additional friction in order to further lock the strap into location.

While this arrangement has been shown with an H-shaped opening, similar arrangements can be made with other shaped openings. Even a simple linear opening can be used if the shim is used there behind as a locking device. Other locking devices can be any number of shapes, such as a rod, as long as one dimension is greater than the opening to prevent it from being pulled through.

FIGS. 7 to 10 show another type of locking arrangement for the straps. FIG. 7 shows a tube having a opening 42. As shown in FIG. 8, the strap 16 can be inserted into the opening 42 to form a loop within the tube 40. A pin 44 in the shape of a rod may be inserted within the loop. The pin is longer than the length of the strap and preferably at least as long as the length of the tube. The pin may also have a diameter larger than the width of the opening. When the strap is pulled, the pin prevents the strap from being removed, accordingly, it acts as a locking device for the strap. FIG. 10 shows another arrangement where two straps from different directions, 16A and 16B both enter the opening 42 in the tube 40. Enough space exists between the rod 44 and the tube 40 to allow the thickness of both straps to be present. In this arrangement, the device not only locks both straps in position, but also holds the two together to prevent relevant movement there between. Although 10 is shown as a simple rod, it is also possible to use a nut and bolt arrangement to prevent any possible axial sliding of the device. A lag screw can also be used so that the threads of the screw also bite into the straps to hold them even tighter. Other similar structure can also be used as long as they tightly hold the strap into position. Thus, a square rod could be used rather than a round one or a hollow rod could be used if desired.

Another device for holding the strap could be a single link of a large chain. In FIG. 11, a link 28 is used in place of tube 40. The link, in traditional fashion has a large opening in the center. The strap 16 can be placed through the opening in the link in a similar fashion to being place in the opening in the tube of the previous embodiment. A pin 44 can be used for the same purpose of preventing the strap from being pulled through the link opening.

It is also possible to use a chain link in a different fashion in conjunction with the flat plate arrangement described above. In place of a shim or rod placed behind the flat plate, it is possible to place the link in such a position. It is possible to thread the strap through the opening in the link. If desired, or if the particular arrangement requires, it is possible to cut an opening in one side of the link in order to provide an opening in which the strap can be inserted. It would even be possible to use a second link in conjunction with the link shown in FIG. 11, where the second link replaces the pin 44 and lies in a perpendicular plane to the first link.

The particular locking device used for the strap may depend upon the physical configuration of the straps which are being held in the presence of solid objects, such as the tanks nearby.

As described above, government regulations limit the size of the truck carrying the tanks. These regulations specify both the height and the width of the load. Since propane tanks come in different sizes and since trucks have different heights of their load bed, it is sometimes possible to adjust the arrangement of the spacing between the tanks in order to maximize the number of tanks that can be held in a load. Thus, if tanks can be spaced further apart in a horizontal direction without exceeding the maximum width, the row immediately above may be able to move downwardly into the space created between the tanks. Accordingly, for different sized tanks, for tanks having different arrangement of attachments and for different trucks it may be possible to adjust the spacing to achieve a better result. Also, it is noted that in different states and countries, the maximum widths and heights may be different so the different loading may be desirable. Accordingly, while the cantilevered arrangement shown in FIG. 4 may be desirable for some situations, it may also be desirable to space the three tanks further apart in order to achieve different results. While separate spacers can be inserted if desired, it is preferred that an arrangement be utilized where the device for locking the strap, such as shown in FIGS. 5 to 11 are combined with the spacer. It is also possible to achieve better results by including the spacer as part of the path that the strap follows going around or over tanks.

Thus, while the arrangement shown in FIG. 4 shows a simple arrangement of straps, it is possible that the straps can be looped differently such as around the spacers and can be locked by using different apparatus. A number of different variations of the spacer and the strap holder arrangement are shown below.

FIGS. 12A and 12B show combination of a H-shaped opening cut in a channel shaped piece of metal behind which a wood block is placed. The opening 24 is on the central surface of the channel piece 30. A block 32 is placed between the walls of the channel extending downwardly from the channel. The block may be attached permanently to the channel or may be loose and held by the strap 16. As seen in FIG. 12A, the strap enters from either side, goes through the opening 24 in the central portion of the channel and returns in the same direction between the block and the central part of the channel and then proceeds around the block to the other side where it eventually exits the other side of the opening. While the block is being shown as wood, it could be any material having sufficient strength such as metal, plastic, etc.

FIG. 13 shows a similar connection of a H-shaped connector with a block used as a spacer between tanks 72. In this case, the block 32 is considerably lengthened to form the spacer. The end of the block is also shaped to a point for easier attachment of the straps and easier insertions between the tanks. In similar fashion to FIG. 12, a channel 30 has an H-shaped opening 24 on its top edge. The block 32 extends inside the channel and downwardly to form a spacer between tanks 72. Two straps are wrapped around the spacer and extend around the tanks to hold them in a cantilevered fashion as described above. One end of strap 16 is found on the inclined portion at the bottom of the block on the right hand side. Starting there, the strap extends upwardly, goes through the hole 24 and returns to the point at the bottom for proceeding up the other side and returns down to meet the surface of the left hand tank. The strap continues around that tank and returns as the strap approaching from the left hand top portion. This enters the opening 24 and continues down next to the block on the left and right sides before exiting in the upper right portion. The end of the strap may be attached to the block using nails 34 as shown. It is also possible to attach straps using other features such as screws, claps, adhesive or by any other fashion, which will hold it firmly in place. It is noted that the spacing block 32 is desirable in this arrangement due to the control 76, which is present with these tanks.

FIG. 14 shows an arrangement where three tanks are held together using such spacers. FIG. 14A shows an spacing between the block 32 and the adjoining tank 72, such as when the two tanks are lifted up for placing on the truck. FIG. 14B shows the arrangement in the final position where the tank 72 are adjacently blocks 32. It should be noted in this arrangement the two outer tanks are surrounded by the strapping 16 and the center tank only has the strap 16 which will lay on its upper edge. This can be modified slightly so that the strap 16 continues all the way around the center tank in a fashion as shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 15 shows an arrangement where such straps are used in a truck bed so that 13 tanks can be included in the truck body. Spacer 32 are present in each row having 3 tanks. Straps 16 are connected such as shown in FIG. 14. In arranging the row of three tanks in this fashion, the outer two tanks extend outwardly over the two tanks in the row below in a cantilevered fashion. They also form a type of “saddlebag” as shown in FIG. 14B. By adjusting the type of spacer and the size of the spacer, it is possible to adjust the relative positions of the tanks in both the horizontal and vertical directions.

A number of other arrangements of the connectors shown in FIGS. 5 to 12, some of which have been taken in conjunction with a block spacer, are possible. By varying the particular path of the straps and the use of combinations of spacers and holders, it is possible to achieve a number of different designs which can be used depending on the size of the truck, the prevailing regulations and the particular size of the tank with its attachments. A number of these are described below.

FIG. 16 shows an arrangement where the spacer 32 is used in conjunction with a chain link and pin arrangement 34 and a plate slot and pin arrangement 36. The strap 16 is also wrapped around the spacer 32.

In FIG. 17, a chain link and pin arrangement 34 is used with spacer 32.

In FIG. 18, a chain link and pin is used without a spacer. FIG. 19 is similar but extends in the opposite direction.

FIG. 20 shows a similar strapping arrangement to FIG. 19 but utilizes a strap holder 38 with a similar chain link to provide the opening but with a second chain link in place of a rod behind the first chain link. The second chain link is of larger diameter and is placed perpendicular to the first chain link. The second chain link may also have a cut in one side for easier installation.

FIG. 21 utilizes a chain link and pin arrangement 34, which is attached to spacer 32.

FIG. 22 uses a chain link and pin arrangement 34 attached to the top of spacer 32 but where the spacer has a different shape then in FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 uses a chain link and pin arrangement without a spacer with a different strapping arrangement then in FIG. 18.

FIG. 24 is an arrangement with a spacer 32 between tank 72 and the strapping 16 proceeding around the spacer. The bottom edge of the spacer is curved in order to accommodate the tank below. A chain link holder is on top of the spacer.

FIG. 25 utilizes a channel arrangement 46 to which is welded a chain link 48. The channel either forms the spacer between the tank 72 or a wood block 32 can be inserted therein.

FIG. 26 shows a large tube 40 used as the spacer and having a pin 44 inserted in a slot in the tube. FIG. 27 is similar to FIG. 26 but includes two pins 44 in two slots in the tube.

FIG. 28 shows an arrangement where the block 32 is relatively short and is in similar arrangement as FIGS. 12A and 12B. In this case, the block is not used as a spacer but instead becomes a pad or shim for the strap holder. It could also be extended downwardly a few inches to become a support leg resting on the tank below and would therefore be forced upwardly to touch the tank above.

FIG. 29 shows a spacer having a channel 30 provided with an opening 24 in similar fashion to FIG. 13. However, the spacer extends downwardly to contact the lower tank. Also, the channel extends to the right in order to help stabilize the leg. It should be noted that this arrangement is especially used in a row of tanks having only two tanks. Thus, in FIG. 15, these types of spacers are seen in the second and fourth rows.

FIG. 30 shows a similar arrangement with the channel being placed at the bottom and the channel also extending upwardly along the curved surface of the tank 72. A pin 44 may be used at the corner to receive the strap 16.

In FIG. 31 the spacer is formed from an elongated tube 50, the straps on both sides extend down thorough the tube and turn upwardly around its outer edge. Pins 44 are inserted through openings in the side of the tube to hold the strap firmly.

FIG. 32 shows another arrangement with tube 50 being used as a spacer. However, this tube is shorter and locates the pins near the side of the tube.

FIG. 33 shows an elongated leg in a similar fashion to FIG. 29. Pins are provided on both sides near the lower end. However, the strap can be adjusted by sliding block 52 up or down.

FIG. 34 shows another tube arrangement with locking pins near the lower edge and on the outside of the tube.

FIG. 35 is similar to FIG. 34 in that the strap proceeds through the bottom of the tube first and turns up the outside and back through the tube to provide more padding. The pins are also placed within the tube.

In FIG. 36 two tubes 50 are used in this arrangement, with one of the tubes being used as a spacer between two tanks while laying in a horizontal direction. The other tube receives the straps from both sides and secures them with pins 44. The straps then extend down through the other tube.

FIG. 37 is similar to FIG. 36 but uses one larger tube.

FIG. 38 is similar to FIG. 37 but uses a smaller tube near the center of the tanks.

FIG. 39 shows an arrangement with a tube having four slots near each end and the slots inserted therein around pins 44.

FIG. 40 uses a similar tube 50 having pins in the corners with slots to receive the straps. The tube 50 forms a spacer between the tanks while the straps do not cross from one tank to another.

FIG. 41 is similar to FIG. 36 but utilizes smaller tubes.

FIG. 42 is similar to FIG. 41 except the top tube is longer and used as a width spacer.

FIG. 43 uses a multiple tube design spacer which has a mechanical leverage designed to tighten the strap as the left tank pulls to the left.

FIG. 44 is similar but with differently shaped structural members. Likewise, FIG. 45 shows a similar arrangement.

FIG. 46 is similar to FIG. 45 but utilizes square shaped members.

FIG. 47 shows an arrangement with a spacer 32 to which the strap is attached with nails, glue, or screws. Carpet can also be applied if paint damages are a problem. The strap also extends through a pair of chain links 52 in serpentine fashion.

FIG. 48 is similar to FIG. 47, except the spacer is independent of the tank strap assembly.

FIG. 49 utilizes two round members 54 having pins 44 holding straps. Also, slots are formed through which the straps extend to the other side.

FIG. 50 uses an arrangement with two links 38 and spacer 32.

FIG. 51 shows a spacer arranged with a pair of chain links 38.

FIG. 52, shows an arrangement where the straps are sown together or are otherwise adhered at a point separate from the spacer 32.

FIGS. 53 and 54 are similar to the arrangement shown in FIG. 45, but have a different mechanical advantage.

FIG. 55 shows an arrangement where the spacer 32 is covered with carpet and is generally shaped like the device shown in FIG. 30. However, a chain link 56 is attached to one corner.

FIG. 56 is similar to FIG. 55 except that standard steel banding is used rather than nylon straps.

FIG. 57 shows another arrangement which can be used with some tanks which either have existing pick up eyes already on the tank or which have the capability of being added. The hook 60 is designed to attach the eyes with a strap 16 in between. Accordingly, it is not necessary to loop the strap all the way around the outer tanks. Instead, the strap and hook arrangement still allows the outer tanks to be cantilevered over the top of the center tank.

FIG. 58 shows a variation of this arrangement where the strap is connected both to the hook and a spacer separately. This allows the tanks to be separated and still held together with the hook.

FIG. 59 shows another variation where the hook and the spacer are on the same strap and arranged so that the hook can still attach to the eye on the tank.

FIG. 60 shows the arrangement of FIG. 58 used to connect to the eye 62 of the tank on the right. Likewise, FIG. 61 shows the use of the arrangement of FIG. 59 to hook to eye 62 of the tank on the right.

FIG. 62 shows an additional fashion where the hook arrangement can be utilized. The hook and strap arrangement can be used at opposite ends of the tanks as described above in addition to longer straps which can be used diagonally which serves as a structural member to help support the tanks.

FIG. 63 shows an arrangement where the strapping is not necessary. Eyes 63 are provided on the sides of each tank. The eyes are overlapped and a bolt and nut arrangement 64 is placed through the opening of the eyes to hold them fixed in position. In FIG. 63, the eyes are arranged in a vertical direction while in FIG. 64 the eyes are arranged in a horizontal arrangement. In some cases, the eyes for lifting the tank may already be present.

FIG. 65 shows an additional embodiment that does not require strapping. Each tank has attached thereto a link of a chain which is connected in a standard fashion to at least one other link. The two chains are joined together by a central link 68 which has an opening so that it may be connected to the two end links from each tanks. The center link can be replaced by other arrangements such as some type of loop fastener which can be locked together or simply by a nut and bolt arrangement which can be placed between the end links of each of the chains. The advantage of using the arrangements of FIGS. 63-65 is that the strapping is avoided and yet the tanks are held firmly in position using a simple nut and bolt or other simple fastener arrangement.

Numerous additional modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.