Title:
Container for storage and transport of liquids
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A generally cuboid shaped container for storage or transport of bulk liquids including a textile bag having four side walls and a bottom face, all made of woven fabric, a frame attached to the bag and comprising a plurality of hoops, each hoop subtending a different vertically aligned corner of the bag; means retaining the hoops to the walls; and a collapsible bladder housed within the bag and sized and shaped such that a filled bladder substantially fills the bag. The frame has rigid members linking the top of each hoop to the tops of the other hoops to prevent the hoop tops from spreading apart from each other.



Inventors:
Howison, Stephen Charles (Doncaster East, AU)
Application Number:
12/151671
Publication Date:
11/12/2009
Filing Date:
05/08/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D88/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KIRSCH, ANDREW THOMAS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IPHORGAN LTD. (BUFFALO GROVE, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A container for storage and transport of bulk liquid material, said container having four sides, a top and a bottom all defining a generally cuboid shape wherein each pair of adjacent said sides defines a respective vertically aligned corner therebetween having a vertically aligned side edge, said container further comprising: a textile bag having four side walls and a bottom face, all made of woven fabric; a frame attached to the bag and comprising a plurality of hoops formed of rigid elongate material, each hoop having a first portion extending generally vertically up a respective first of the walls, a second portion extending across the top of the container, a third portion extending generally vertically down a respective second of the walls which is adjacent to said first wall, and a fourth portion extending across said bottom face to join the bottom of said first portion, each said hoop subtending a different one of said vertically aligned corners; means retaining the hoops to their respective first and second walls; a collapsible bladder housed within the bag and sized and shaped such that a filled bladder substantially fills the bag; and said frame further comprising rigid members linking said second portion of each hoop to the second portions of the other hoops whereby said rigid members prevent said second portions from spreading apart from each other.

2. A container according to claim 1 wherein each said rigid member has the form of a rigid strut integrally attached to each of a pair of adjacent said hoops.

3. A container according to claim 2 wherein each said rigid member has the form of a rigid strut integrally attached to said second portion of each of said pair of adjacent hoops.

4. A container according to claim 1 wherein said rigid members are attached to each other to form a rigid frame which is detachably affixed to all of said second portions of said hoops.

5. A container according to claim 1 wherein the second portion of each hoop is integrally joined via a rigid strut to each adjacent hoop such that said second portions and struts together form a rigid ring.

6. A container according to claim 5 wherein said ring has legs attached thereto and said legs extend down to engage with the tops of said first and third portions of the hoops.

7. A container according to claim 5 wherein said ring is octagonal, a leg is attached to each corner of the ring, and each leg extends down to engage with the top of a corresponding first or third portion of the hoops.

8. A container according to claim 1 wherein said rigid members are attached to each other in a hinged linkage which is detachably affixed to all of said second portions of said hoops.

9. A container according to claim 1 wherein the means of retaining the hoops to said first and second walls comprises strips of fabric sewn onto the first and second side walls to form sleeves and the generally vertical portions of the hoops are held within the sleeves.

10. A container according to claim 1 wherein said respective third, fourth and first portions comprise one continuous U-shaped member and said second portion is formed by a separate member removably attachable to the U-shaped member.

11. A container according to claim 1 wherein the separate member forming the second portion is a U-shaped elongate member having a central portion with an arm depending therefrom at each end, said arms being adapted to slidably engage with the upper ends of said first portion and said third portion.

12. A container according to claim 1 wherein each of the four vertically aligned corners are subtended by a respective hoop.

13. A container according to claim 1 wherein the second portion of each hoop is integrally joined via a rigid strut to each adjacent hoop such that said second portions and struts together form a rigid ring.

14. A container according to claim 1 wherein lifting means are attached to each said side edge closer to the bottom than to the top.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Filed of the Invention

This invention generally concerns the use of containers known to those skilled in the art as Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs) which are flexible bags made from woven fabrics, to transport and store bulk materials. The invention particularly concerns the use of containers for transport and storage of bulk liquid materials. In some embodiments the invention is useful for storage of rain water collected from a building roof.

2. Background Art

FIBCs are commonly made from heavy woven textile fabrics, typically made from polyolefins such as polypropylene and polyethylene. This fabric is sometimes coated on one or both sides with a melted extrusion of similar material. Designs may vary according to the rated capacity of the FIBC and whether it is for a single use only or is reusable.

FIBCs sometimes include an inner bag made from polyethylene or polypropylene film to provide a barrier against moisture and/or gases and this inner bag may be closed by heat sealing to provide a fully sealed package for the enclosed material.

FIBC's are commonly manufactured with a base of about 1100 mm square and side walls about 1100 mm high. They therefore fit neatly on a conventionally sized timber shipping pallet. FIBC's on pallets are commonly stacked two high into standard shipping containers and even higher in warehouses.

Australian patent application no. 2002300804 describes one stackable such container which, in some embodiments, can be used to store liquids. However the container utilizes rigid panel inserts in the walls for strengthening and these add complexity in assembly and in weight. It would be beneficial if a liquid storage container of the same general size could be constructed having similar stackability but without the disadvantages of the panels.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of another form of the present invention is to provide an alternative form of FIBC suitable for storage of liquids. In one application it could be used for storage of rain water being discharged from the roof of a building.

Accordingly, in one aspect the invention provides a container for storage or transport of bulk liquid material said container having four sides, a top and a bottom all defining a generally cuboid shape wherein each pair of adjacent said sides defines a respective vertically aligned corner therebetween having a vertically aligned side edge, said container further comprising:

    • a textile bag having four side walls and a bottom face, all made of woven fabric;
    • a frame attached to the bag and comprising a plurality of hoops formed of rigid elongate material, each hoop having a first portion extending generally vertically up a respective first of the walls, a second portion extending across the top of the container, a third portion extending generally vertically down a respective second of the walls which is adjacent to said first wall, and a fourth portion extending across said bottom face to join the bottom of said first portion, each said hoop subtending a different one of said vertically aligned corners;
    • means retaining the hoops to their respective first and second walls;
    • a collapsible bladder housed within the bag and sized and shaped such that a filled bladder substantially fills the bag; and
    • said frame further comprising rigid members linking said second portion of each hoop to the second portions of the other hoops whereby said rigid members prevent said second portions from spreading apart from each other.

Each said rigid member may have the form of a rigid strut integrally attached to each of a pair of adjacent said hoops. Each said rigid member may have the form of a rigid strut integrally attached to said second portion of each of said pair of adjacent hoops.

The rigid members may be attached to each other to form a rigid frame which is detachably affixed to all of said second portions of said hoops. The second portion of each hoop may be integrally joined via a rigid strut to each adjacent hoop such that said second portions and struts together form a rigid ring.

The ring may have legs attached thereto such that said legs extend down to engage with the tops of said first and third portions of the hoops. The ring may be octagonal, with a leg attached to each corner of the ring, and each leg extending down to engage with the top of a corresponding first or third portion of the hoops.

Alternatively the rigid members may be attached to each other in a hinged linkage which is detachably affixed to all of said second portions of said hoops.

Preferably the means for retaining the hoops to said first and second walls comprises strips of fabric sewn onto the first and second side walls to form sleeves and the generally vertical portions of the hoops are held within the sleeves.

Preferably said respective third, fourth and first portions comprise one continuous U-shaped member and said second portion is formed by a separate member removably attachable to the U-shaped member. The separate member forming the second portion may be a U-shaped elongate member having a central portion with an arm depending therefrom at each end, said arms being adapted to slidably engage with the upper ends of said first portion and said third portion. Each of the four vertically aligned corners may be subtended by a respective hoop.

Alternatively the second portion of each hoop may be integrally joined via a rigid strut to each adjacent hoop such that said second portions and struts together form a rigid ring.

Lifting means may be attached to each said side wall or each said side edge and the attachment is preferably closer to the bottom than to the top.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES

In order that the invention may be more fully understood there will now be described, by way of example only, preferred embodiments and other elements of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the container shown in FIG. 1 together with an additional cap;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of some of the components of the container shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a view of the container in FIG. 1 when being used to collect rainwater from the downspout of a building;

FIG. 5 is an axonometric view of portion of a container according to a second embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a view of frame components incorporated in the container shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the container shown in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a view of the textile bag shown in FIG. 5 together with a cover therefore;

FIG. 9 shows a front view of an outlet support plate incorporated in the containers shown in FIGS. 1 and 5; and

FIG. 10 shows a top view of the plate shown in FIG. 9.

For ease of explanation, components in the second embodiment have been given an identification numeral which is 100 greater than the corresponding components in the first embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

An intermediate bulk container (IBC) 10 according to the first embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 1 to 3. The container 10 has an approximately cubic shape with four side walls 14 to 17 and bottom face 18 and has a body generally in the form of a bag 11. Pairs of adjacent side walls 14 and 15, 15 and 16, 16 and 17, and 17 and 18 respectively meet along vertically extending edges 22 to form corners 19 in the bag, said corners extending vertically from the bottom face 18 to the open top 13 of the bag.

The side walls 14 to 17 and bottom face 18 are all made from a layer of heavy woven fabric. A suitable fabric is a heavy woven polypropylene fabric coated with polypropylene and having a weight of 320 gsm and a breaking force of about 1800×1500N/50 mm according to Australian Standards test AS2001.2.3.

Side edge seams 21 form the join between adjacent side walls 14 and 15, 15 and 16, 16 and 17, and 17 and 14 respectively.

Within the bag 11 is a bladder 12 sized to fit snugly into the bag 11. A typical external size for the bag 11 would be 100 cm long×100 cm wide×95 cm high. The bladder 12 may conveniently be made from polyethylene film of the gauge appropriate for the use.

The top face of the bladder 12 is fitted with an inlet spigot 80 which is used for filling the bladder. Discharge is achieved through a lower female-threaded fitting 84 into which is screwed a valve 86.

A cap 20 fits in a sliding fit over the top of the side walls and is tied down with ties 24.

The fabric on each side wall 14-17 has sewn onto it two strips 30 of fabric, each strip running from near the top to near the bottom of the side wall and having its top and bottom edges not sewn to the side walls so that, in conjunction with the side wall, it forms a vertically aligned open-ended sleeve or tube 31 of fabric. The two sleeves 31 on each side wall are positioned approximately one quarter of the wall's width in from each side edge seam 21 so that they divide each side wall into three areas the middle one of which is about twice the width of the outer areas.

A frame 40 is attached to the bag 10 to support it when full or empty and to support similar containers above when stacked. The frame 40 has four U-shaped base portions 42-45 the upright arms 68 of which slide into the sleeves 31. Each base portion has a corresponding U-shaped top portion 47-50, shallower than the base portion, which engages the base portion to form respective hoops 52-55.

The base portions 42-45 are bent to shape from 20 mm square hollow section steel tube and the top portions 47-50 are bent to shape from 25 mm diameter square hollow section steel tube.

To assemble the container 10, the side arms 68 of the base portions 42-45 are pushed into a pair of sleeves 31 with one edge seam 21 between them. The upwardly extending side arms 68 are then pushed into the downwardly extending side arms 66 of the top portions 47-50. Each top portion and its corresponding base portion thus forms a hoop of rigid material subtending a vertically aligned corner 19 of the bag 11.

A further portion of the frame is then installed by attaching a spider member 70 across the top. The spider member has a circular ring 72 formed from steel tube captive upon which are four arms 74 also formed from steel tube. Each end of each arm 74 is flattened. A first of those ends 76 is bent into a ring 77 which loosely grasps the ring 72 so that the arms 74 are free to slide around the ring 72. The second end 79 of each arm is also formed, after initial flattening, into a square-U-shaped claw 78 which loosely engages the centre of each top portion 47. The spider member 70 thus prevents the top portions 47 from spreading apart from each other.

The ring 72 on the spider member 70 is sized so that the inlet spigot 80 may extend therethrough. A flat rigid circular collar 82 is placed around the spigot beneath the ring 72 to protect the bladder 12 from rubbing against the ring 72 and more particularly against the claws 78. The cap 20 is then slipped into position and tied down using the tie-down cords 24 on the cap to fasten to the base portions 42-46.

With the hoops 62 so installed, they can be seen to pass around, or enclose, or subtend the vertically aligned corners 19. Such containers, resting on respective pallets, may be stacked one on top of the other without the contents of the container being compressed.

A valve support plate 88, as seen particularly in FIGS. 9 and 10, is provided at the bottom of one side wall 14. It is a steel plate and provides support for the valve 86 which protrudes through the central hole 89. The plate extends between one arm 68 on base portion 42 and one arm 68 on base portion 43. A first end 90 of the plate is bent into an almost complete cylinder through which the arm 68 on portion 42 loosely passes. The plate thereby is hinged around that arm at end 90. The other end 92 carries an outwardly opening trough into which bears the arm on portion 43 as the plate 88 is pressed outwards by the full bag.

As seen in FIG. 4, the container 10 may be connected to a downspout 36 of a building via appropriate inlet piping 37 and overflow piping 38 connected to the spigot 80. In this way rainwater may be collected for later use.

The embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 5 to 8 in use includes a bladder much the same as that described above for the first embodiment. However in FIGS. 5 and 8, the bladder is omitted for ease of illustration.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 5 and 6, the frame 140 includes four identical U-shaped base portions 142 to 145, the upwardly extending legs 168 of which are inserted through sleeves 131 in the bag 111 much the same as for the first described embodiment. However for container 110, the two sleeves 131 on each side wall are positioned approximately one third of the way in from each side edge seam of 121 so that they divide their respective side wall 114 to 117 into three approximately equally sized areas 133, 134 and 135.

Instead of each base portion of the frame 140 having its own U-shaped top portion as in container 10, the top portion of 141 of the frame 140 is a rigid octagonal ring 147 having extending down therefrom at or near each corner of the octagon a short rigid leg 166. Each U-shaped base portion 142 to 145 is formed by bending galvanized steel square tubing of 20 mm×20 mm×1.6 mm wall thickness. Each U-shaped base portion 142 to 145 thus has a pair of vertically aligned leg portions 168 and a horizontally aligned foot portion 169. The top portion is 141 of the frame 140 is formed by bending and welding together appropriate lengths of galvanized steel square tubing of 25 mm×25 mm×1.6 mm wall thickness. The upwardly extending arms of the base portions 142 to 145 are thus able to slide neatly into the legs 166. Two opposite pairs of legs 166a are 100 mm long whereas the other opposite pairs 166b are 130 mm long. This makes it easier to feed all of the legs 150 over their corresponding base portions.

The octagonal ring 147 has uneven sides. Each side 151 extending along a top edge of the container is approximately 300 mm long whereas each side 156 of the octagon extending across the top of the container (so crossing the corner) is approximately 570 mm long. Each U-shaped base portion 142 to 145 and its corresponding cross-corner portion 156 together form a hoop which subtends one of the vertically aligned corners 119.

The bag 111 is held to the foot portion 169 of each base portion 142 to 145 by tie tapes 158. Elastic cords 162 attached to the cap 120 are provided with hooks 160 on their free ends to allow the cap to be fastened to loops 164 sewn low down on the side edge seams 121. When the container 110 is full of liquid it may be lifted by means of the loops 164 and stacked on top of a like container, preferably with a pallet between the containers to more safely distribute and apply the load to the lower container. The loops 164 providing the attachment are closer to the bottom than to the top. In this way the connections between the vertical legs of the base portions 142 to 145 and the legs 166 are less likely to slide during the lifting operation.

Whilst the above description includes several embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that many variations, alterations, modifications and/or additions may be introduced into the constructions and arrangements of parts described without departing from the essential features or the spirit or ambit of the invention, which is defined by the following claims.

It will be also understood that where the word “comprise”, and variations such as “comprises” and “comprising”, are used in this specification, unless the context requires otherwise such use is intended to imply the inclusion of a stated feature or features but is not to be taken as excluding the presence of other feature or features.