Title:
Collapsible, stackable, semi-rigid universal cotainer for hazardous and non-hazardous goods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A universal collapsible, reusable, stackable, flexible shipping container for cargo including dry materials to slurries to fluids. This invention comprises using a flexible outer layer, foldable corner components, and flexible and foldable core section for insertion into the flexible outer layer and flexible container member for insertion into the flexible outer layer. This container utilizes components which may be used as a system either in combination or as individual elements with the flexible outer layer. These flexible components allow them to be disassembled and folded flat when they are empty, and then reassembled to form a container



Inventors:
True, Charles W. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/151513
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
05/07/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ALLEN, JEFFREY R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Parks & Associates, PC (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
Claimed is:

1. A universal flexible shipping container comprising; a. an outer flexible component layer, and b. foldable corner component members for combination with said outer flexible component layer for forming a shipping container.

2. The universal flexible shipping container of claim 1 further comprising; a. at least one foldable core section member for insertion in said outer flexible component layer for forming a shipping container.

3. The universal shipping container of claim 1 further comprising; a. at least one flexible container member for insertion in said outer flexible component layer for forming a shipping container.

4. The universal flexible shipping container of claim 1 further comprising; a. at least one foldable core section member for insertion in said outer flexible component layer, and b. at least one flexible container member for insertion in said at least one core section member for forming a shipping container.

5. The universal flexible shipping container of claim 2 further comprising; a. at least one flexible belt member positioned about said foldable core section member for providing reinforcement of said at least one foldable core section member.

6. The universal flexible shipping container of claim 2 wherein said at least one foldable core section member for insertion in said outer component layer further comprising; a. bat pockets formed in the at least one foldable core section member, and b. stiff bat members for insertion into said bat pockets for providing reinforcement of said at least one foldable core section member.

Description:

This application is based on Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/927,992 which was filed on 7 May 2007 and the contents of the entirety which is incorporated herein by reference.

1. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is related to universal collapsible, reusable, stackable, flexible shipping containers for shipping all types of cargo, ranging from dry bulk materials to slurries to fluids. This invention is achieved generally utilizing components which are flexible and when used as a system provides a container with superior shipping qualities. These flexible design components used in this invention of the universal shipping container allows them to be disassembled and folded into a package when they are empty, which is substantially smaller in volume than when they are assembled to form a container for carrying cargo. However, when they are assembled these, containers hold more volume when full than conventional containers.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

This novel inventive system allows the sum of the component parts to achieve a synergistic effect, which means that the resultant container formed is substantially stronger than any of its component parts and because it is made of independent rigid and semi-rigid components it is able to withstand damage from shipping events such as drops, collisions, etc.

This universal container is actually a series of panels and containers using components, which as assembled, provides a series of containers which can be used for varying and different cargos ranging from simple bulk cargos to non-toxic cargos dry or fluid to toxic cargos which are dry or fluid. These containers may also be configured to carry food grade and other products of high purity.

In certain configurations these containers are designed to provide containment against environmental leaks if the primary component of the container leaks. This containment feature is achieved by providing multiple film layers used in one of the components of these containers, such that if one film layer fails the other layers retain the product.

These universal containers are reusable many times over. They may even be reusable for different products without the necessity of washing the container, as was not the case in the prior art, because in one configuration of components in these containers a film and/or films layer is a removable inexpensive container which can be removed and disposed of and a new and inexpensive container inserted into the remaining components of the container to allow the container to handle different cargo.

This universal container invention also provides safe and environmentally sound disposal of products and containers without the need for washing and containment of wash water and product, by incineration of one of the component containers. Further, the container component which is be incinerated has fittings which may be removed and reused in new containers. Also, these fittings are relative expensive and therefore provide good recycle material incentive for both the seller and the user.

Because of the way these component elements are constructed in this container system, these containers although flexible are very stackable. These containers may be stacked at least two layers high. The stackability of this container allows it to be used two high in shipping containers. Further, the stackable containers maintained their rectangular side shape and do not expand out to become stuck in a shipping container, even when they are stacked two high.

Further, by the configuration of the Universal Container, these containers may be changed from wet too dry cargo by simply changing one component of this universal container system.

These containers from their simplest component configuration to the most complex component configuration are relatively inexpensive.

The components of these containers may be disassembled and laid flat, which greatly reduces the volume these universal containers take up when shipped empty. Further, these containers may be stored in their flat configuration until cargo is ready. Also by being greatly reduced in volume, it requires less freight to be shipped empty containers to destinations for filling because more of these containers can be placed in a freight container than a standard container, thereby reducing the cost of shipping these universal containers. It would also be appreciated by the skilled in the art, that many more of these containers can be stored in a smaller space, than previous containers of the prior art.

Other features and advantages of the universal containers which are the subject of this invention will become apparent upon reading the description of some preferred embodiments of this invention when viewed in conjunction with the drawing and the appended suggested scope of coverage, even though reference is made to specific embodiments herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some of the objects and advantages of the present invention having been stated, others will become apparent as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings of at least one embodiment of the invention, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an outer component layer showing one embodiment of its bottom and top covering parts and securing straps.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a bottom component which as shown is in a flat configuration, but fold lines are shown to form a bottom component.

FIG. 3 is a side view of a triangular stacking corner component showing it partially folded along fold lines for starting to form a triangular stacking corner.

FIG. 4 is a side view of a wall core section component showing it partially folded along predetermined fold lines to a form component panel.

FIG. 5 shows an exploded view of an assembly of components to form one embodiment of a universal container which has an outer component layer, wall core section components, bottom panel, triangle stacking corners components, and bottom component.

FIG. 6 shows and exploded view of an assembly of components to form another embodiment of the universal container which may be fitted into an outer component layer showing wall core section components, bottom component, bottom panel, and a flexible container member.

FIG. 7 is a partial side view, looking toward the top of one embodiment of the universal container, showing wall core section components, triangular stacking corners, and outer component layer.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the outer component layer showing the bottom and top covering parts secured, with hidden lines showing at least one embodiment of universal container components

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic top view of one embodiment of the universal container with 55 gallon drums superimposed by hidden lines in the universal container to diagrammatically show relative volume foot prints on a standard pallet.

FIG. 10 is a side view of four universal container embodiments collapsed, packaged, and stacked on a palette for shipment empty.

FIG. 11 is a side view of four pallets containing four 55 gallon drums per pallet for shipment empty to attempt to equal the volume possible in FIG. 10 when the four universal containers are filled for shipment.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of an outer component layer showing one embodiment of a triangular stacking corner component being inserted

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiment set forth herein; rather, this embodiment is provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

Referring now to FIG. 1, an embodiment of an outer component layer is shown in general reference number 10 with its bottom 10B and top covering parts 10T.

Referring to FIG. 2, a bottom component 11 is shown in a flat configuration with fold lines 11F shown for forming a bottom component 11. This bottom component 11 may be folded to form a bottom component 11 to be used as shown here after and then folded back flat after use for stacking and later reuse.

Referring to FIG. 3, a triangular stacking corner component 13 is shown in a partially folded position with fold lines 13F shown for forming a triangular stacking corner component 13. In some embodiments, at least two or more triangular stacking corner components 13 may be used.

Referring to FIG. 4, a wall core section component 14 is shown in a partially folded position with fold lines 14F shown for forming a wall core section component 14.

Referring to FIG. 5, an outer component layer 10 and its bottom 10B are shown receiving two wall core section components 14, bottom panel 15 and four triangular stacking corner components 13. In this embodiment, a bottom component 11 is being received into the at least two wall core section components 14. Once all the components are in place at least one embodiment of this container has been formed.

Referring to FIG. 6, an assembly for forming at least another embodiment of this container, is shown, wherein at least two wall core section components 14 are placed on bottom panel 15 and then are provided for receiving a bottom component of 11 which in turn receives a flexible container member 16. After all these combinations of components have been assembled, at least another embodiment of this container is formed. This formed container may be inserted into an outer component layer 10, not shown, for the formation of a least yet another embodiment of this universal container.

Referring to FIG. 7, an assembly for forming at least yet another embodiment of this universal container, is shown, wherein at least six wall core section components 14, four triangular stacking corner components 13 have been positioned and inserted into a bottom 10B of outer component layer 10, for forming yet another embodiment of this universal container.

Referring to FIG. 8, an assembly of one embodiment of this universal container has been completed showing the outer component layer 10 having its bottom 10B and top covering parts 10 mated and secured. The inner components shown in this figure being shown in hidden lines are four triangular stacking corner components 13, two wall core section components 14 and secured with securing straps 17 for forming yet another embodiment of this universal container.

Referring to FIG. 9, a footprint, top view, of this universal container formed from its outer composite layer 10, which would cover a standard palette, not shown, has superimposed by hidden lines for four 55 gallon drums 18. From this superimposed positioning of the 55 gallon drums, it can be seen that the universal container of this invention provides greater volume of storage on a palette than four 55 gallon drums.

Referring to FIG. 10, the universal container is shown in its collapsed stage in packages 19. These collapse stage packages 19, had been stacked four high on a pallet 20, which would be as high as four 55 gallon drums 18 if those 55 gallon drums 18 had been stacked on the palate 20. Referring now to FIG. 11, which is four palettes 20 with four 55 gallon drums 18 on each palette 20, it can be seen by comparing FIG. 10 and FIG. 11 the relative volumes of the universal container stored for shipment empty against 55 gallon drums, which would hold less volume, stored for shipment empty.

Referring to FIG. 12, an assembly for forming at least another embodiment of this universal container, is shown, wherein four triangular stacking corner components 13 are being positioned into the bottom 10B of outer component layer 10 for farming yet another embodiment of this universal container or as preparation for the formation of many different embodiments for this universal container.

In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed typical preferred embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation of the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.





 
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