Title:
WORK STORAGE CONTAINERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container system that includes a container portion having a base that defines a perimeter and a wall having a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The container system further including a cover having a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block the opening, wherein the surface includes a pattern of perforations that defines a weakened area of the surface that is surrounded by the pattern of perforations.



Inventors:
Gaul, Ryan William (Lawton, MI, US)
Application Number:
13/274102
Publication Date:
04/04/2013
Filing Date:
10/14/2011
Assignee:
GAUL RYAN WILLIAM
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/200, 220/315, 220/377, 242/550, 206/525
International Classes:
B65H55/00; B65D45/00; B65D85/67; B65H49/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20110094042WIRE GUIDER AND A DRILL USING THE SAMEApril, 2011LI
20050150993Apparatus, system and method for dispensing paper from a paper rollJuly, 2005Flis
20060097101Guiding elements for a strip-producing or strip-processing machineMay, 2006Boppel et al.
20090141284OCTUPOLE WINDING PATTERN FOR A FIBER OPTIC COILJune, 2009Sardinha et al.
20080116312Wire dispensing systemMay, 2008Eastwood et al.
20110174914Connector device to prevent person from fallingJuly, 2011Yang
20050127228Belt retractor for a vehicle safety beltJune, 2005Holbein et al.
20130032652ROLLS OF SEPARATE SELF-ENCIRCLING SHEETSFebruary, 2013Alalu
20080029633Seatbelt retractorFebruary, 2008Hiramatsu
20130220872Cable Storage Case With Articulating DoorAugust, 2013Stiehl et al.
20090057471Seat belt retractorMarch, 2009Hiramatsu et al.



Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Crowell/BGL (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
1. A container system comprising: a container portion, comprising: a base that defines a perimeter; and a wall comprising a first end that is attached to said base, wherein said wall extends from said first end so that said base and said wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of said wall defines an edge of an opening into said interior volume of space; and a cover comprising a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block said opening, wherein said surface comprises a pattern of perforations that defines a weakened area of said surface that is surrounded by said pattern of perforations.

2. The container system of claim 1, wherein said pattern of perforations is a circle of perforations.

3. The container system of claim 2, wherein a center of said circle of perforations is located at a center of said cover.

4. The container system of claim 1, further comprising a strap that engages said wall so that a first end of said strap and a second end of said strap extend past said edge of said opening.

5. The container system of claim 4, wherein said strap engages said cover.

6. The container system of claim 5, wherein said wall comprises a first slot and a second slot and said cover comprises a third slot and a fourth slot; and wherein said first end of said strap is threaded in order said third slot, said first slot, said second slot and said fourth slot.

7. The container system of claim 1, further comprising wire located within said interior volume of space, wherein an end of said wire extends through an opening formed in said surface of said cover.

8. The container system of claim 1, wherein said cover releasably engages said container portion.

9. 9-11. (canceled)

12. The container system of claim 1, wherein said cover is not integrally attached to said container portion.

13. (canceled)

14. The container system of claim 1, further comprising a dispensing cover, wherein said dispensing cover comprises: a first surface facing away from said cover and comprising a hood with an aperture formed therethrough; and a second surface that lies on said cover.

15. The container system of claim 14, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

16. The container system of claim 15, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

17. The container system of claim 1, wherein said cover comprises a hood with an aperture formed therethrough, wherein said hood extends in a direction away from said base.

18. The container system of claim 17, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

19. The container system of claim 18, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

20. A container system comprising: a container portion, comprising: a base that defines a perimeter; and a wall comprising a first end that is attached to said base, wherein said wall extends from said first end so that said base and said wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of said wall defines an edge of an opening into said interior volume of space; a cover comprising a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block said opening, wherein said cover is not integrally attached to said container portion; and a strap that engages said wall and said cover so that a first end of said strap and a second end of said strap extend past said edge of said opening.

21. The container system of claim 20, wherein said wall comprises a first slot and a second slot and said cover comprises a third slot and a fourth slot; and wherein said first end of said strap is threaded in order said third slot, said first slot, said second slot and said fourth slot.

22. The container system of claim 20, further comprising wire located within said interior volume of space, wherein an end of said wire extends through an opening formed in said surface of said cover.

23. The container system of claim 22, further comprising a dispensing cover, wherein said dispensing cover comprises: a first surface facing away from said cover and comprising a hood with an aperture formed therethrough; and a second surface that lies on said cover.

24. The container system of claim 23, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

25. The container system of claim 24, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

26. The container system of claim 22, wherein said cover comprises a hood with an aperture formed therethrough, wherein said hood extends in a direction away from said base.

27. The container system of claim 26, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

28. The container system of claim 28, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

29. The container system of claim 20, wherein said cover releasably engages said container portion.

30. 30-33. (canceled)

34. A container system comprising: a container portion, comprising: a base that defines a perimeter; and a wall comprising a first end that is attached to said base, wherein said wall extends from said first end so that said base and said wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of said wall defines an edge of an opening into said interior volume of space; a cover comprising a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and partially block said opening, wherein said cover defines a dispensing opening that is in fluid communication with said interior volume of space; and wire located within said interior volume of space, wherein an end of said wire extends through said dispensing opening.

35. The container system of claim 34, wherein said cover releasably engages said container portion.

36. The container system of claim 34, wherein said dispensing opening has a first area that is at most 68% of a second area of said base.

37. The container system of claim 34, further comprising a dispensing cover, wherein said dispensing cover comprises: a first surface facing away from said cover and comprising a hood with an aperture formed therethrough; and a second surface that lies on said cover.

38. The container system of claim 37, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

39. The container system of claim 38, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

40. The container system of claim 34, wherein said cover comprises a hood with an aperture formed therethrough, wherein said hood extends in a direction away from said base.

41. The container system of claim 40, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window, separate from said aperture, for viewing an interior of said hood.

42. The container system of claim 41, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

43. (canceled)

44. A method of dispensing wire comprising: providing a container portion, comprising: a base that defines a perimeter; and a wall comprising a first end that is attached to said base, wherein said wall extends from said first end so that said base and said wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of said wall defines an edge of an opening into said interior volume of space; placing a first wire dispenser within said interior volume of space; positioning a cover to contact said edge and partially block said opening, wherein said cover defines a dispensing opening that is in fluid communication with said interior volume of space, said dispensing opening has a size that prevents said first wire dispenser to pass through said dispensing opening; dispensing a wire from said first wire dispenser so as to pass through said dispensing opening; removing said cover; removing said first wire dispenser from said interior volume of space; placing a second wire dispenser within said interior volume of space; placing said cover to contact said edge and partially block said opening, wherein said dispensing opening has a size that prevents said second wire dispenser to pass through said dispensing opening; and dispensing said wire from said second wire dispenser so as to pass through said dispensing opening.

45. The method of claim 44, wherein prior to said positioning said cover removing a weakened area of said cover that is defined by a pattern of perforations so that the removed weakened area defines said dispensing opening.

46. A cover for a container system comprising: a surface comprising a pattern of perforations that defines a weakened area of said surface that is surrounded by said pattern of perforations; and a side piece that is attached to said surface at an angle.

47. The cover of claim 46, wherein said pattern of perforations is a circle of perforations.

48. The cover of claim 47, wherein a center of said circle of perforations is located at a center of said cover.

49. The cover of claim 46, wherein said surface defines an aperture.

50. 50-52. (canceled)

53. The cover of claim 46, wherein said surface comprises a hood with an aperture formed therethrough.

54. The cover of claim 53, wherein said hood comprises a side surface that includes a window for viewing an interior of said hood.

55. The cover of claim 54, wherein said window is made of a transparent material that completely covers a hole formed in said side surface.

56. 56-63. (canceled)

Description:

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e)(1) of: 1) U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/543,154, filed Oct. 4, 2011 and 2) U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/544,941, filed Oct. 7, 2011, the entire contents of each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure generally relates to wire storage containers. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to recyclable wire storage containers for storing, transporting and dispensing wire.

BACKGROUND

Convention welding wire containers come in the form of large cylindrical drums usually having metal rings at the top and the bottom of the containers. These welding wire drum containers are bulky and difficult to transport. They are also difficult to properly dispose of as they are not structurally designed to be disassembled or change shape and are not made from readily recyclable materials. Moreover, the conventional welding wire drum containers are made so that only one type of welding wire dispensing device is able to be attached to them during a welding operation.

BRIEF SUMMARY

One aspect of the present invention regards a container system that includes a container portion having a base that defines a perimeter and a wall having a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The container system further including a cover having a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block the opening, wherein the surface includes a pattern of perforations that defines a weakened area of the surface that is surrounded by the pattern of perforations.

A second aspect of the present invention regards a container system that includes a container portion having a base that defines a perimeter and a wall including a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The container system further includes a cover having a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block the opening, wherein the cover is not integrally attached to the container portion. A strap engages the wall and the cover so that a first end of the strap and a second end of the strap extend past the edge of the opening.

A third aspect of the present invention regards a container system includes a container portion that includes a base that defines a perimeter and a wall having a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The container system further includes a cover having a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and partially block the opening, wherein the cover defines a dispensing opening that is in fluid communication with the interior volume of space. The container system includes wire located within the interior volume of space, wherein an end of the wire extends through the dispensing opening.

A fourth aspect of the present invention regards a method of dispensing wire that includes providing a container portion that has a base that defines a perimeter and a wall having a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The method including placing a first wire dispenser within the interior volume of space and positioning a cover to contact the edge and partially block the opening, wherein the cover defines a dispensing opening that is in fluid communication with the interior volume of space, the dispensing opening has a size that prevents the first wire dispenser to pass through the dispensing opening. The method including dispensing a wire from the first wire dispenser so as to pass through the dispensing opening, removing the cover and removing the first wire dispenser from the interior volume of space. The method further including placing a second wire dispenser within the interior volume of space and placing the cover to contact the edge and partially block the opening, wherein the dispensing opening has a size that prevents the second wire dispenser to pass through the dispensing opening. The wire is dispensed from the second wire dispenser so as to pass through the dispensing opening.

A fifth aspect of the present invention regards a cover for a container system, the cover includes a surface having a pattern of perforations that defines a weakened area of the surface that is surrounded by the pattern of perforations. The cover further including a side piece that is attached to the surface at an angle.

A sixth aspect of the present invention regards a container system that includes a container portion that has a base that defines a perimeter and a wall having a first end that is attached to the base, wherein the wall extends from the first end so that the base and the wall define an interior volume of space and wherein a second end of the wall defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space. The container system including a cover having a surface that is positioned to contact the edge and block the opening, wherein the cover releasably engages the container portion via a male/female attachment.

One or more aspects of the present invention allow for recycling a welding wire storage container.

An advantage of the present disclosure to provide a welding wire storage container adaptable to individually incorporate a plurality of different welding wire dispensing devices.

Still another advantage of the present disclosure is to provide a product that can be used with a plurality of different types of welding wire dispensing devices.

Another advantage of the present disclosure is to provide an improved method of using a welding wire storage container.

Still another advantage of the present disclosure is to provide an improved method of individually incorporating a plurality of different welding wire dispensing devices into a welding wire storage container.

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and constitute part of this specification and, together with the general description given above and the detailed description given below, serve to explain features of the present invention. In the drawings:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a container system in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a container portion that is used with the container system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a view of a portion of the interior of the container portion of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a blank that is used to form the container portion of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a front view of an embodiment of a portion of a blank that is used to form an embodiment of an inner wall of an interior container used with the container portion of FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a view of a portion of the interior of the container portion of FIG. 2 with the blank of FIG. 5 folded to form the inner wall of an embodiment of the interior container used with the container portion of FIG. 2;

FIG. 7 is a front view of a blank that is used to form a base of an interior container used with the container portion of FIG. 2;

FIG. 8 is a front view of an embodiment of the base formed from the blank of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9A is a top view of the container portion of FIG. 2 when containing the interior container and base of FIGS. 5-8;

FIG. 9B shows the container portion of FIG. 9A with a spool of wire inserted therein;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a cover to be used with the container system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 11 is a bottom perspective view of the cover of FIG. 10 when partially assembled;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged view of an embodiment of an attachment mechanism of the cover of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is an embodiment of a blank to form the cover of FIGS. 10-12;

FIG. 14 shows the cover of FIGS. 10-13 being placed on the container portion of FIGS. 2-4;

FIG. 15 shows the cover of FIGS. 10-13 engaging the container portion of FIGS. 2-4 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 16 shows a hood supported by the container portion and inner container of FIG. 9 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 17 shows the cover of FIG. 10 when a weakened area is removed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 18 shows the cover of FIG. 17 being attached to the container portion of FIG. 16 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 19 shows the cover of FIG. 17 being attached to the container portion of FIG. 9 in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 20 shows an embodiment of a dispensing cover placed on the container portion and cover of FIG. 19;

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a pallet to be used with the container system of FIG. 1 in accordance with the present invention; and

FIG. 22 is a bottom perspective view of the pallet of FIG. 21.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present disclosure relates to wire storage containers and methods of using the wire storage containers. The wire storage containers can be shaped and configured to store and dispense any suitable wire such as a welding wire. The wire storage containers can be entirely made from a recyclable material such as paper, cardboard, cellulosic material, etc., and not include staples or any other metal pieces so as to be completely recyclable. The wire storage containers can advantageously be disassembled and broken down or flattened after the wire has been depleted for easy recycling or disposal of.

The wire storage containers can also be advantageously adapted to incorporate or be attached to a variety of differently shaped wire dispensing devices. The wire dispensing device can be a quick disconnect payout, a round drum payout hood, a square box payout hood or any other suitable wire dispensing devices. This allows a user to use their own choice of wire dispensing device in conjunction with the wire storage containers. As a result, the wire storage containers can be compatible with the type of wire dispensing device the user might already have in stock or a wire dispensing device that the user prefers to use for a specific operation.

With the above statements in mind, a container system 100 is shown in FIG. 1 that includes a container portion 102 and a cover 104 that are attached to one another. The container portion 102 includes a base 106 that defines a rectangular or square perimeter. In the case of a square perimeter, each side of the perimeter can have a length of approximately 20⅜ inches. The container portion 102 further includes a wall 108 that includes a first end 110 that is attached to the base 106. As shown in FIG. 1, the wall 108 includes four panels 112 that extend from the first end 110 so that the base 106 and the wall 108 define an interior volume of space. As shown in FIGS. 2-3, a second end 114 of the wall 108 defines an edge of an opening into the interior volume of space.;

As shown in FIG. 4, the base 106 and wall 108 are formed from a single blank 116 that is made of a material, such as corrugated cardboard. The blank 116 includes four creases/fold lines 118 that are parallel to one another and define at least in part the four panels 112. As shown in FIG. 4, the panels 112 are rectangular in shape. For example, each panel 112 can have a length of approximately 31⅜ inches and a width of approximately 20⅜ inches. In addition, two of the four panels 112 include five slots 119 that are centered on the panels and equidistantly separated from one another. For example, the slots are rectangular in shape having a length of approximately 2.25 inches and separated from one another by approximately 8 inches. As shown in FIG. 4, the top slot 119 is positioned at the top edge of the wall and the bottom slot 119 is positioned adjacent the crease 120. Each top slot 119 is positioned just below a male attachment member 121 that is in the form of a trapezoid. Operation of the male attachment member will be described later in the description.

As shown in FIG. 4, each of the bottom edges of the panels 112 is defined by a crease/fold line 120 that is oriented perpendicular to the creases 118. Attached to each crease 120 is a base panel 122. As shown in FIG. 4, the base panels 122 are separated from one another by three cut lines 124 that are aligned with three of the creases 118. In addition, the base panels 122 are rectangular in shape having a length of approximately 20⅜ inches and a width of approximately 10 3/16 inches.

The container portion 102 is formed by folding the blank 116 along creases 118 so that the panels 112 define a square tube. The container portion 102 retains its shape by having a flap 126 glued to an interior edge portion 128 of one of the exterior panels 112.

Once the square tube is formed, the two bottom base panels 122 that face one another are folded along creases 120 towards each other. Next, the other two bottom base panels 122 are folded toward each other along creases 120 so that all four panels 122 define a base 106 that is perpendicular to the panels 112. Note that a piece of adhesive tape is placed along the linear space between the free edges of the last two bottom panels 112 that are folded so that the last two bottom panels 112 are attached to one another via the tape. The first two bottom panels can also be attached to one another via tape 129 placed in the interior of the container portion 102 as shown in FIG. 6. Of course, other ways of attachment between the base panels 122 so as to form a sturdy base 106 are possible.

After the container portion 102 is formed, a strap 130 is laced/threaded onto the container portion. In particular, one end 132 of the strap 130 that is in the shape of a closed loop is inserted from the interior of the container portion 102 into and through one of the two top slots 119. The end 132 is then inserted through the next lower slot 119 so that the end 132 enters the interior of the container portion 102. Next, the end 132 is inserted through the next lower slot 119 to the exterior of the box. The end 132 then bypasses the next lower slot 119 and goes all the way to the bottom slot 119 where it is inserted into that slot and passes back into the interior of the container portion 102 adjacent to the interior surface of the base 106. The end 132 is then passed through the bottom slot 119 on a second panel 112 that faces opposite the panel 112 in which the lacing process was begun. The end 132 is then laced up the second panel 112 by being inserted into slots 119 that correspond to those slots on the initial panel 112 that have previously received the end 132. The end result of the lacing process is that the strap 130 is laced the same on both panels 112. As shown in FIG. 1, the strap 130 has a second end 134 that is also looped. The looped ends 132 and 134 allow for the ends to be grasped or engaged so that the container portion 102 can be lifted and moved to other positions. It is envisioned to have either a forklift or a crane engage the looped ends to move the container portion and its contents. It is also envisioned that other lacing patterns for the strap 130 are possible. Such lacing patterns can be promoted by adding or subtracting the number of slots 119 formed on the panels 112.

After the strap 130 has been laced onto the container portion 102, an inner container 136 is inserted into the interior of the container portion 130 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 9. The inner container 136 includes a base 138 that defines a polygonal opening 140 facing the interior surface of the base 106, such as an octagon as shown in FIG. 6. In the case of an octagonal opening, the length of each side of the octagon is approximately 8 inches. The inner container 136 further includes a wall 142 defined by eight panels 144 that extend from the base 138.

As shown in FIG. 5, the base 138 and wall 142 are formed from a single blank 146 that is made of a material, such as corrugated cardboard. The blank 146 includes eight creases/fold lines 148 that are parallel to one another and define at least in part the eight panels 144. As shown in FIG. 5, the panels 144 are rectangular in shape. For example, each panel 112 can have a length of approximately 31⅜ inches and a width of approximately 8 inches.

As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, each of the bottom edges of the panels 144 is defined by a crease/fold line 150 that is oriented perpendicular to the creases 148. Attached to each crease 150 is a base panel 152. As shown in FIG. 5, adjacent base panels 152 are separated from one another by seven triangular notches 154 (three of the notches are shown) whose apexes are aligned with seven of the creases 148. In addition, the base panels 152 are trapezoidal in shape having a height of approximately 4 inches, a first base of approximately 8 inches and a second base of approximately 4⅝ inches.

The inner container 136 is formed by folding the blank 146 along creases 148 so that the panels 152 define a polygonal tube. The inner container 102 retains its shape by having a rectangular flap 154 glued to an interior edge portion of one of the panels 142 as shown in FIG. 6.

Once the polygonal tube is formed, the inner container 136 is lowered into the interior of the container portion 102 until the eight base panels 152 engage the base 106 of the container portion 102 which causes the base panels to flatten against the base 106 and form the polygonal opening 140, as shown in FIG. 6. Note that there is no attachment other than a frictional fit between the container portion 102 and the inner container 136. Such frictional fit is further promoted by four corner pieces 156 that are inserted in the corner volumes defined between the inner container 136 and the container portion 102.

Each corner piece 156 is formed from a blank that is made of a material, such as corrugated cardboard. The blank includes three creases/fold lines that are parallel to one another and define four rectangular panels 158. Each panel 112 can have a length of approximately 31⅜ inches and a width of approximately 5 inches. The four panels are folded about the creases to form polygonal tubes, such as the triangular tubes shown in FIG. 9A.

Once the base 138 is formed as shown in FIG. 6, then a support 160 is inserted into the inner container 136 so that a central flange 162 is exposed as shown in FIG. 9A. As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the support 160 is formed from a blank 161 that is made of a material, such as corrugated cardboard. The blank 161 includes four creases/fold lines 162 and 164 that are parallel to one another and define one octagonal central panel 166, two half-octagonal side panels 168 and two rectangular end panels 170. A central slot 172 and a pair of circular openings 174 are formed in the blank.

The support 160 is formed by folding the panels 168 about creases 162 toward the octagonal panel 166 and inserting the rectangular end panels 170 through the slot 172 so that the panels 170 extend through the slot 172 and define a flange as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. The slot 172 and the openings 174 define a path so that a tension device, such as a rubber band 176 can be attached to the flange as shown in FIG. 8. Once assembled, the support 160 is placed on top of the bases 138 and 106 as shown in FIG. 9A. The support frictionally engages the panels 144 of the inner container 136.

After the support 160 is positioned within the inner container 136, a commodity can be placed in the volume of space defined by the inner container 136 and the support 160. For example, a spool of wire can be inserted as shown in FIG. 9B. In this example, the spool is place on a float ring and is tensioned to the support 160 by stretching rubber band 176 so as to extend past the top of the reel. At this point one or more dowels are inserted into the rubber band and engage the top surface of the reel as shown in FIG. 9B.

As shown in FIG. 1, a cover 104 is placed on the container portion 102. Before totally covering the opening of the container portion 102, the ends 132 and 134 of the strap 130 are inserted through central slots 178 of the cover 104. Next, while the male engagement members 119 are directed downward toward the exterior sides of the panels 112, the cover 104 is pressed down on the container portion 102 so as to engage the container portion 102. Such engagement shall be discussed below.

Before discussing the above mentioned engagement, a brief description of the cover 104 is presented. In particular, the cover 104 is formed from a blank 180 that is made of a material, such as corrugated cardboard. As shown in FIG. 13, the blank 180 includes two pairs of central creases/fold lines 182 and 184, wherein the creases in each set are parallel to one another and the creases 182 and 184 are perpendicular to each other. The blank 180 further includes two sets of creases 186 that are aligned with creases 184 as shown in FIG. 13. In addition, two sets of creases 188 are formed that are parallel to creases 184 as shown in FIG. 13. The creases define a central surface 190, two identical side panels 192 and two identical end panels 194. The central surface includes a pattern of perforations 199 that define a weakened surface within the pattern. While a circular pattern is shown in FIGS. 1 and 13 wherein the center of the circle is located at the center of the central surface 190, other patterns are possible. In the case of a circle, the diameter is 19.5 inches and at most 68% of the central area contains an aperture. Note that the central surface 190 further includes a second pattern of perforations that define a weakened area therein such that when the weakened area is removed a dispensing opening 203 located at the center of the pattern of perforations 199.

Each side panel includes two corner flaps 195 that are unattached to the end panels 194 due to cut lines 196. As shown in FIG. 11, the cover 104 is formed by placing the blank 180 bottom side up and folding the side panels 192 up about creases 182 so as to be perpendicular to the central surface 190. Next, the four corner flaps 195 are folded so they are aligned along the creases 184. The two end panels 194 are folded upward about creases 184 so as to be perpendicular to the surface 190. Next, the outermost sections 198 of end panels 194 are folded about creases 188 so as to overlap the corner flaps 195. Tabs 200 of sections 198 then are inserted into slots 202 to complete construction of the cover 104. The end result is shown in FIG. 11, wherein the cover 104 includes a skirt that includes two side walls 204 and two end walls 206.

As shown in FIGS. 11-13, the end panels define a trapezoidal-like indentation 208 that when folded in the manner shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 defines a female member, such as the trapezoidal notch 210. The notch 210 is aligned with opening 212 formed in the cover 104.

As mentioned previously, cover 104 is pressed down on the container portion 102 so that the skirt of the cover 104 slides past the top edges of the opening defined by the panels 112 and slide over the exterior top portions of the panels 112. The notches 210 slide over corresponding male engagement members 121 as shown in FIG. 14. When an edge 214 of notch 210 moves past a free end 216 of male engagement member 121, the free end 216 moves into the notch 210. At this stage, if a user tries to lift the cover 104 off of the container portion 102, the free end 216 engages the edge 214 of the notch 210 so removal of the cover 104 is prevented. Disengagement between the cover 104 and the container portion 102 is accomplished by inserting an object through hole 212 shown in FIG. 15 and pressing male engagement member 121 so that free end 216 no longer is present within the notch 210. Thus, the cover 104 can be removed.

Note that other manners of releasably attaching cover 104 to container portion 102 are possible. For example, attachment may be achieved by snap-fitting, pressure-fitting, friction fitting, etc. In addition, the male and female attachment members of FIGS. 1-22 can be reversed.

With the above mentioned structure for the container system 100 of FIGS. 1-15 in mind, operation of the system 100 will now be explained in the case where a reel of wire, such as shown in FIG. 9B, is contained in the container system 100. In one embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the weakened area corresponding to hole 203 is removed and a quick disconnect payout 218 is inserted therein. It should be appreciated that quick disconnect payout 218 can be positioned at any location on the top of cover 104. The quick disconnect payout 218 is a two piece where one piece is inserted into the hole from the external side of the cover and a second piece threadingly engages the first piece at the internal side of the cover. An example of such a two piece payout is the quick connect and ceramic inlet guide available from Wire Wizard in Direct Pull Kit Model WWDP.

As used herein, the term “quick disconnect payout” means a removable outlet piece circumferentially sized to allow a wire to pass through. The quick disconnect payout may have any suitable length and be made from a solid material such as a metal. Next, a free end of the wire within the cover system 100 is threaded through the hole 203 and the disconnect payout 218 so that it can be used for some designated activity. Note that cover 104 does not need a perforation pattern if the quick disconnect payout is already incorporated into the cover 104.

As an alternative way to dispense the wire, the cover 104 is removed and a dispensing device 220 is placed on the top portion of the container portion 102. In particular, the dispensing device 220 has a bottom flanged surface 222 that lies upon the top edges of the inner container 136 and the corner pieces 156. The dispensing device 220 further includes a conical-like hood 224 that extends upward and away from the top portion of the container portion 102. A side surface 225 of the hood includes an aperture 227 that is covered by a window 226 made of a transparent material. The window allows viewing of the wire inside the container system 100 while at the same time preventing the wire from leaving through the aperture 227. At the top of the dispensing device 220 is a disconnect payout 228 that receives an end of the wire within the container system 100. Examples of suitable dispensing devices 220 are drum hoods available from Wire Wizard under part nos. WW 10200C-2, WW 10204C-2, WW 10234C-2, WW 10260C-2, WW 10201F, WWOC-20.5, WWOC, WWSC-21, WWSC-24 and WWSC-29.

After the dispensing device is placed on the top edges of the inner container 136 and the corner pieces 156, the weakened area 201 of cover 104 is removed (see FIG. 17) and the cover is placed over the dispensing device 220 and engaged with the container portion 104 as shown in FIG. 18. Note that the weakened area is positioned and sized so that the surface 22 lies underneath material of the cover 104 so that the dispensing device cannot be removed through the top opening of the cover 104. The wire is then ready to be dispensed.

Note that the above described embodiment of FIGS. 16-18 provides the advantage of being economical and user friendly. As mentioned previously, dispensing devices 220 are commercially available and are often available on site of a user. The embodiment is flexible in that a wide variety of dispensing devices can be used with the container system 100. So, when the container system is shipped to a user, the user can use his or her own dispensing device and so avoid the expense of paying for a special dispensing device that can only be used for the container system. The embodiment of FIGS. 16-18 is flexible in that a user can use a first type of dispensing device and if the dispensing device malfunctions the cover can be removed followed by replacing the malfunctioning dispensing device with an entirely different type of dispensing device. After the new dispensing device is in place, the cover is placed back on and the wire is dispensed. Similarly, the container system may be used at one site of a company using one type of dispensing device. When work is done, the cover is removed so as to allow the dispensing device to be removed. Next, the cover is placed back on the container portion (or a new perforated cover is placed back on) and the container system is shipped to a different site of the company. If that different site has a different type of dispensing device than the first site, there is no problem with removing the cover and using the different dispensing device in a manner discussed previously.

As a second alternative way to dispense the wire, the weakened area 201 is removed (see FIG. 19) and a separate dispensing cover 230 is placed over the cover 104. In particular, a skirt 232 of the dispensing cover 230 is placed over the cover 104. The skirt 232 is integrally attached to a top surface 234 that is integrally attached to a conical-like hood 236 that extends upward and away from the top surface 234. A side surface 238 of the hood includes an aperture 240 that is covered by a window 242 made of a transparent material. The window 242 functions in the same manner as the window 227 of FIG. 18. At the top of the dispensing cover 230 is a disconnect payout 244 that receives an end of the wire within the container system 100. Note that dispensing cover 230 may be made from any suitable material such as metal and be removed prior to recycling or disposing the container system 100.

In another alternative embodiment, the cover 104 is removed entirely and dispensing cover 230 is used in its place.

As mentioned previously, lifting of the container system 100 can be accomplished by the use of the strap 130. As an alternative, a pallet 246 can be used as shown in FIGS. 21-22. In particular, the pallet 246 includes a base 247 that includes a support surface 248 and a plurality of skids 250 that are glued to the bottom side of the support surface 248. As shown in FIG. 22, each skid 150 is made of layered corrugated cardboard. Note that the base 247 has the same structure as the cover shown in FIG. 10. In practice, the base 110 of the container portion 102 is placed on the top side of the support surface 248. No physical attachment other than a frictional fit between the container portion and the base 247 is made.

The wire storage containers can be prepackaged to include a wire such as a coiled supply of welding wire already stored in the wire storage containers. The wire storage containers can also be prepackaged to include a wire dispensing device preselected by the user and already attached to the wire storage containers. Alternatively, a user can insert their own wire into the wire storage containers or attached their own wire dispensing device upon receipt of the wire storage containers.

Although the container systems shown in FIGS. 1-22 are substantially square or rectangular in shape, the container system 100 may define any shape that is known in the art that is suitable for storing wire. For example, container system 100 may be cylinder, a cube, a cuboid, etc. The skilled artisan will appreciate that the dimensions of box 100 and lid 200 may vary as desired or in accordance with manufacturing specifications or in accordance with the size and shape of the products contained therein.

As mentioned previously, the container systems of FIGS. 1-22 are made of corrugated cardboard. Such container systems may be made from any suitable recyclable material such as, for example, cardboard, paperboard, cardstock, lidstock, fiberboard, or the like, or combinations thereof. Alternatively or in addition to, box 100 and lid 200 may be made from any suitable biodegradable materials such as a biodegradable polymer.

In an embodiment, any portion of the container systems of FIGS. 1-22 may be either transparent or translucent so that a user can readily discern the type of wire stored within the system. In another embodiment, any portion of the container systems of FIGS. 1-22 may define a window or opening so that a user can readily discern the type of wire stored within the system.

The wire storage containers can be used to handle virtually all types of welding wire in many different industries, including but not limited to, low carbon steel wire, both in a coated and uncoated form. The wire storage containers can also be used to handle wire for other applications, such as electrical wire, with and without insulation. As used throughout, the term “welding wire” is intended to encompass virtually any flexible wire that can be coiled and drawn out of the coiled state for dispensing.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.