Title:
GLASS PACK
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A glass pack with a base having two opposed pockets on opposing sides for receiving legs of opposing side panels, connected on one side of each to the base, and a pair of opposing end panels that each connect on one side to the base, with aligned tabs for connecting adjacent edges of the side panels and end panels, such that one of the side panels or one of the end panels is selectively removable for access into the container for loading and unloading sheet articles.



Inventors:
Grigsby, John M. (Woodstock, GA, US)
Banks, Jeffrey C. (Mableton, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/671879
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
02/06/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/48
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Atlanta Baker Donelson (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A glass pack, comprising: a base with two opposed pockets on opposing sides of the base; a plurality of base tabs, each base tab extending from the base adjacent a respective one of the pockets; a pair of opposing side panels, each with two opposed posts having lower ends for seating in a respective two of the pockets to dispose the side panel on a side of the base, with a side panel tab extending outwardly and disposed for aligning with one of the base tab and configured to join to the base tab in order to secure the side panel to the base, and a plurality of first panel tabs extending from the posts; a pair of opposing end panels, each with two opposed posts from which a plurality of second panel tabs project and disposed for aligning with a respective one of the first panel tabs with connection means to joining the first panel tabs and the aligned second panel together; wherein the joined first and second panel tabs secure the side and end panels together with the side panel and the end panel each connected to the base with a respective fastener that engages a respective base tab.

2. The glass pack as recited in claim 1, further comprising a pair of pans attached in spaced-apart relation to the base.

3. The glass pack as recited in claim 2, further comprising a sheet defining an edge-receiving surface for receiving glass sheets thereon, and an opposing surface of the sheet having a pair of pads for seating in the pans.

4. The glass pack as recited in claim 1, further comprising an elongate channel for being disposed between the opposing end panels and laterally abutting against a f a plurality of glass sheets held in the glass pack.

5. The glass pack as recited in claim 4, wherein the channel has opposed open ends; and further comprising a band that extends through the channel and around an outside portion of one of the side panels, for tightly holding the channel against the plurality of sheets.

6. The glass pack as recited in claim 1, wherein the side panels each include planar surface defining members on opposing sides.

7. The glass pack as recited in claim 1, wherein the base comprises elongated members joined to define a rectangular shape.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to containers for holding, storing, and shipping articles. More particularly, the present invention relates to a container with a selectively removable panel for access into the container to sheets of glass.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Recent developments in video imaging and display technology has led to relatively low-cost, large screen image display devices such as televisions and other video displays. The developments in this technology include LCD display screens and liquid plasma display screens. These types of video display technologies use large area, thin, flexible glass sheets. While flexible, the sheets nevertheless can chip or scratch easily such as in containers used for shipping and storage. Manufacture of these glass sheets under this new technology is significantly automated including the placing of the glass sheets in containers with other such sheets for storage and shipping to display device maintenance users.

Due to the significant costs associated with the new technology, there are presently relatively few manufacturers of large glass sheets for video display devices. The locations of these plants typically are remote from the manufacturing plants that receive the glass panels and use them to manufacture video display devices. For example, such glass sheets are manufactured in the United States and shipped to foreign countries for production of the video display devices.

Because of the differing needs of the glass sheet manufacturer and the manufacturer of the video display devices, the containers used for storing and shipping glass sheets must accommodate access either through an end or through a side.

Containers heretofore used are large wooden boxes with side and end panels that secure to wooden frame members with screws.

While such containers satisfactorily hold sheets of glass, there are drawbacks to their use. The weight of the container itself limits the number of glass sheets which can be placed in a container. Also there is component degregation over time which is unsatisfactory.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved container for glass sheets. It is to such that the present invention is directed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an explode perspective view of a glass pack according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary detailed illustration of the glass pack holding sheets of glass and interspersed separators.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an angled stand configured for loading and unloading of glass sheets into containers.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to the drawings, in which like reference numerals indicate like parts, FIG. 1 illustrates in perspective view a glass pack 10 in accordance with the present invention. The glass pack 10 includes a base 12, two opposing side panels 14 and two opposing end panels 16. For convenience of illustration, FIG. 1 shows one of the side panels 14 and one of the end panels 16 in fragmentary view. The base 12 receives the side panels and the end panels 16 which are secured together to form a container or glass pack 10 for holding articles on the base 12, and particularly suited for holding a plurality of glass sheets interspersed with paper separators, as discussed below. The base 12 receives a pad 18 for providing a cushioned surface on which articles such as glass sheets are placed for containment, shipping, and storage.

The base 12 constructs from elongated tubular members that weld together, or otherwise fasten. It is to be appreciated that other materials, such as wood, polymerics, and such, can be gainfully applied with embodiments and with components of embodiments. The base 12 includes opposing outside runners 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the outside runner on one side is two spaced-apart members that define a gap 22. The gap 22 facilitates entry of a person deeper into the glass pack 10, as discussed below. An interior runner 24 extends longitudinally to provide intermediate support for articles contained on the base 12. The runners 20 and 24 are supported by spaced-apart transverse outside stringers 26 and intermediate stringers 28. Opposing side members 29 box-in the supporting structure, and leave central openings for forks of a forklift truck to pick-up the glass pack 10.

An interior member 30 is disposed parallel to and spaced-apart from the outside runners 20. The interior member 30 connects at its ends to the respective end stringer 26 and intermediate stringer 28. A stop member 32 connects transverse to the interior member 30 and the outside runner 20. The spaced-apart interior member 30 and outside runner 20 define a recess 34 in corner portions of the base 12. A base tab 36 or plate extends upwardly spaced-apart from the stop member 32. The base tab 36 defines an opening 38 for receiving a fastener for engaging a respective one of the side panels 14 or end panels 16, as discussed below.

The base 12 includes a plurality of spaced-apart transverse members 40, including end members 42 and interior members 44. The end member 42 extends between the interior members 30 while the interior members 44 extend between the opposing outside runners 20. A pair of pans 46 seat on adjacent pairs of the interior members 44. Each pan 46 has a bottom surface 48 and opposed projecting side walls 50.

In the embodiment having the gap 22, a Y-support 52 connects to the spaced-apart out runners 20 and extends transverse of the base 12 to the opposing outside runner 20 for support.

The pad 18 includes a sheet member 54 and spaced-apart filler pads 56. The pad 18 inverts so that the filler pads 56 are received in the pans 46. This disposes an opposing surface of the sheet member 54 for receiving articles on the base 12. The sheet 54 and pads 56 are resilient, such as corrugated paperboard, sandwiched air-bladder sheets, and other cushioning material.

The side panels 14 assemble from elongated tubes. The side panel 14 includes opposing end verticals 60. A lower portion 61 of the verticals 60 defines a leg that is received in the recess 34. Opposed pairs of longitudinal members 62, 64 connect at distal ends to the end verticals 60. The members 62, 64 are positioned on opposing sides of the end verticals 60. A pair of support members 66 connects between the aligned members 62 as shown in cut-away view. The members 62 cooperatively define an outside plane 68 as indicated generally by arrows, for a purpose discussed below. A sheet 70 attaches to cover the opening defined by the portions of the end verticals 60 and the longitudinal members 62. The sheet 70 in the illustrated embodiment is sheet metal or similar material that resists penetration.

A top member 72 extends between the end vertical 60 and connects at distal ends. A pair of supports 74 extend between the longitudinal member 64 and the top member 72. The supports 74 cooperatively define an interior plane 76 generally indicated by arrows, for a purpose discussed below.

Each end vertical 60 includes a pair of laterally extending plates or panel attachment tabs 78. The panel attachment tabs 78 include an opening 80 for receiving a fastener. One of the end verticals 60 includes a laterally extending plate or panel connection tab 82. The panel connection tab 82 defines an opening 84 for receiving a fastener.

The end panel 16 also assembles from elongated tubular members. The end panels 16 includes two spaced-apart verticals 90 connected by a lower transverse member 92 and an upper transverse member 94. The end panel includes two upper intermediate transverse members 96 and a lower intermediate transverse member 98. The lower intermediate transverse member 98 connects to the lower transverse member 92 by a support 100. The vertical members 90 each include two end panel tabs 102 extending inwardly towards the opposing tab on the opposing vertical member 90. Each of the end panel tabs 102 define openings 104. One of the verticals 90 includes a plate or end-panel base connector tab 106.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary and partially cut-away view of the glass pack 10 holding a stack 110 of glass sheets and interspersed paper sheets. The glass pack 10 has been assembled with the lower leg portion 61 of the end verticals 60 received in the recesses 34 of the base 12. The end panel 16 also is received on the base 12 with the lower transverse member 92 seating on the respective end transverse member 42 of the base 12. The panel tabs 78 of the side panels 14 align with the end panel tabs 102 of the end panel 16. A fastener such as a bolt or securing pin (not illustrated) extends through the aligned openings to rigidly connect the adjacent side panel 14 and end panel 16.

The glass pack 10 includes an interior pad 112 that seats on the pad 18 on the base 12 and against the supports 74. The pad can be corrugated paperboard, air-bladder or bubble sandwich sheeting, wood, or other resilient material. To hold the stack 110 of glass sheets in position, a cross-bar 114 extends longitudinally between opposed ones of the upper intermediate transverse members 96 on the opposed end panel 16. The cross-bar 114 is preferably a hollow tube. The distal ends of the cross-bar 114 include a depending flange 116. The flange 116 abuts an outside face of the transverse member 96. In one embodiment, the flange 116 defines an opening for receiving a fastener such as a screw or a bolt to rigidly secure the cross-bar 114 to the transverse members 96 in abutting bearing relation against the stack 110. A band 118 extends through the cross-bar 114 and loops around the outside of the glass pack 10 around the respective verticals 90 of the end panels 16 and the verticals 60 of the side panel 14. The band 118 secures the cross-bar in bearing relation to the stack 110. At the open distal ends, an edge of the cross-bar 114 is rolled to form a curved surface to reduce shearing load on the band 118. The cross-bar 114 accordingly is selectively positioned laterally to the side panels 14 and extending between the end panels 16 to hold the sheet articles from internal movement during shipping and handling.

FIG. 3 illustrates in perspective view an angled support 120 for holding the glass pack 10. The angled support 120 receives the glass pack 10 and orients the glass pack at an angle, for example, about 15 degrees, so that the stack 110 of glass sheets remains in a group when the cross-bar 114 is not present, such as during loading or unloading of glass sheets or other sheet articles. The angled support 120 is conventional, but, briefly, includes base supports 122 and back supports 124 and a central extended support 126. The supports each include pads 123, 125, and 127.

In use, the glass pack 10 is positioned on the angled support with the boxed end and intermediate stringers 26, 28 and side members 29 received on the respective pads 123 of the base supports 122. One of the side panels 14 bears against the back supports 124. The pads 125 bear against the supports 66 and the outside longitudinal members 62. The central pad 27 bears against the top member 72.

The glass pack 10 is used for containing, storing, and transporting articles, and particularly stacks 110 of glass sheets and interspersed paper liners. The glass pack 10 enables loading and unloading of the glass sheets either from an end of the glass pack or from a side of the glass pack. The structure of the glass pack 10 enables one side panel 14 or one end panel 16 to be readily removed for use of the glass pack 10.

The glass pack 10 assembles by inserting the legs 61 of one of the side panels 14 in the recesses 34. The panel connection tab 82 of the side panel 14 aligns with the base tab 36 of the base 12. A fastener such as a bolt or screw passes through the aligned openings to secure the side panel 14 to the base 12. One of the end panels 16 is positioned with the lower transverse member 92 seating on the end member 42 of the base 12. This aligns the end panel tab 106 with one of the base tabs 36. Fasteners extend through the openings in order to rigidly secure the end panel 14 to the base 12. Also the end panel tabs 102 align with the panel tabs 78 of the side panel 14. Fasteners through the aligned tabs secure the end panel and the side panel together.

Depending on the container access that is required, the remaining panel, either the other side panel 14 or the other end panel 16, attaches to the base 12 and to the adjacent panels, as discussed above.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, the side panel 14 opposing the gap 22 is installed first. The gap 22 provides reach-in access for persons or equipment to move more deeply into the base 12 for positioning of the sheets of glass or other articles on the base 12.

With reference to FIG. 3, the partially assembled glass pack 10 is placed on the angled support 120. The back support 124 bears against the side panel 14. The pads 125 bear against the supports 66 which define the outside plane 68 in a lower portion of the side panel on an outward face. The pad 127 bears against the top member 72. Similarly, the transverse members 26, 28 seat on the respective pads 123. The angle support 120 holds the glass pack 10 at an angle for placement of glass sheets.

With reference to FIG. 2, the pad 18 is positioned on the base with the filler pads 56 received in the pans 46. The opposing surface of the pad 18 provides a surface to receive edges of glass sheets in the glass pack 10. The pad 112 is positioned against the side panel 14 and bears against the support 74 that defines the plane 76 at an upper portion of the side panel 14 on an inward face.

Glass sheets are then placed on the pad 18 and the pad 112. The angled orientation of the glass pack 10 on the angled support 120 allows the glass sheets to be readily stacked (or unstacked, as the case may be).

When the stack 110 is complete, an interior pad 118 is placed adjacent the last of the sheets. The cross-bar 114 is positioned between the opposing transverse members 96. The flange 116 abuts an exterior face of the members 96. The band 118 extends through the open cross-bar 114 and wraps around the exterior of the opposing end panels 16 and side panel 14. The band 118 is snugged to draw the cross-bar 114 tightly against the stack 110. A second cross-bar is positioned on the second of the intermediate transverse members 96. The remaining panel is attached to the base 12 and connected to the adjacent side panels or end panels in the manner discussed above.

Although not illustrated, a top frame of connected together tubular members can be positioned on and/or attached to the upper ends of the panels 14, 16. Further, several of the glass packs 10 can be stacked. In an alternate embodiment, stacking is accomplished using conventional target and projections on the base and the verticals of the side panels, or L-shaped angle members on top members of the panels to define a receiving area for a stacked one of the glass packs 10.

The glass pack 10 can be wrapped with plastic sheeting to prevent dust and dirt from the contents of the glass pack. The glass pack 10 is readily handled by forklift trucks. In that regard, the sheet 70 on the side panels 14 blocks inadvertent positioning of the forks of a fork lift truck interior of the glass pack 10, and thereby prevents damage to the glass sheets held on the base 12.

The glass pack 10 receives the stack 110 of glass sheets at the manufacturing plant. The assembled glass pack 10 thereafter ships to a production facility for an image or video display manufacturer for use of the glass sheets in screens. Depending on the needs of the manufacturer, either a side panel 14 or and end panel 16 is removed for access into the glass pack 10. This is accomplished by removing the fastener connecting panel to the base, and removing the fasteners that connect the panel to the adjacent panels. The other three panels of the container remain attached to the base 12 and to each other. It is apparent, however, that the panels readily remove from engagement to the base 12 and to each other for knock-down shipping of the components as may be necessary from time-to-time.

It will be apparent to those of skill in the art, having the benefit of the present disclosure, that modifications, changes, and variations can be made to provide embodiments which remain within the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims for a container readily configured for containing, storing and shipping articles, and particularly sheet articles