Imported: 17 Feb '17 | Published: 10 Jan '12
USPTO - Utility Patents
A bulk shipping and storage container in the form of a drum is made of corrugated fiberboard and includes a bin with a sidewall, a closed bottom and an open top. The sidewall has a plurality of interconnected sidewall panels, and a rim is on an upper outer surface of the sidewall for engagement by the tines of a forklift to carry the container. The locking structure on the lid and bin enable the lid to be locked in place. The bottom of the container has adhesively attached overlapping panels that provide smooth interior and exterior surfaces. A preferred embodiment has a tray inserted in the bottom and a liner inserted in the tray and extending upwardly inside the sidewall. In another embodiment, a shock-absorbing pad is between the liner and the lid.
This invention relates to bulk shipping containers, and more particularly to a multi-sided shipping container in drum form made of corrugated fiberboard to replace the plastic, fiber or metal cylindrical shipping drums conventionally used.
Containers of relatively large size are commonly used for the bulk transportation and storage of materials such as, e.g., solvents, lubricants, inks, dyes, abrasives, adhesives, resin, insecticides, dry chemicals, powdered detergents, grains, frozen concentrate, meat, spices, sauces, and the like. These bulk containers must be capable of withstanding the weight of the contents as well as the rough handling to which they may be subjected. Further, they should be capable of being handled with mechanized equipment, and should be capable of being stacked on top of one another.
A bulk container commonly in use comprises a cylindrical drum made of solid fiber, plastic or metal. These drums typically are provided in sizes ranging from 30 to 55 gallons size and have metal rings or bands at their top and bottom ends, with a lid or cover removably secured in place by a clamping band. The drums can be picked up and transported by mechanized equipment, including engaging the tines of a forklift under the rim provided by the band at the top of the drum. They also may be manually moved around on a supporting surface by tilting the drum and rolling the bottom edge of it along the supporting surface.
Depending upon the product stored in them, when full these cylindrical drums can weigh upwards of 500 pounds. Accordingly, manual handling of them can be difficult, especially when they are tilted and rolled along a supporting surface, since the metal band at the top does not provide much surface to grip and control the drum. Moreover, the circular configuration at the bottom end enables momentum or inertia to be built up when the drum is being rolled, making it difficult to control.
Further, due to their construction, cylindrical drums must be fully assembled and shipped to a user in their normal usable configuration. This requires substantial storage and shipping space for empty drums, adding to freight and warehousing costs. In addition, these types of drums are not easily recyclable.
Accordingly, there is a need for a bulk container that has the advantages of a cylindrical drum but that is free of the disadvantages.
The invention is a multi-sided bulk shipping container in drum form made of corrugated fiberboard and that generally looks, handles, stores, ships, and can be received like the fiber, plastic or steel cylindrical drums conventionally used. It may be moved with a hand truck, clamp truck, or forklift, and may be manually rolled on its bottom edge. It has superior stacking strength, with a top to bottom compression of 6,000 pounds, and may be stacked three high with a safety factor of 5:1. The container of the invention is easily and fully recyclable, and when empty the container of the invention may be shipped and stored in a knocked-down or flattened condition, although it can be shipped in fully assembled condition if desired. It can be provided in a variety of sizes and footprints, and preferably is designed with a footprint so that four of the containers fit side-by-side on a 40×48, 45×48 or 44×44 inch pallet. To fit on the different size pallets the footprint of the container could be selected as necessary and the height changed, for example, to accommodate a desired capacity.
Integral rim structure at the top end of the container enables the container to be picked up and carried by engaging the tines of a forklift under the rim, and the container may be manually moved by tilting and rolling it on its bottom edge. Since the container of the invention is multi-sided rather than cylindrical, the rim formed at the top has a plurality of short straight sides corresponding to the number of sides of the drum, defining a larger and more secure surface for lifting the drum by engaging the tines of a forklift under the rim than does the rim at the top of a conventional cylindrical drum. Further, this larger rim provides a larger surface for gripping and control when the container is being manually moved by tilting and rolling it on its bottom edge, and the plurality of short straight sides or surfaces provided by the multi-sided construction retards the build-up of momentum or inertia when the container is tilted and rolled on its bottom edge, thereby enhancing control over the container when it is being moved manually.
The simplest form of container according to the invention comprises a multi-sided bin or ease with a closed bottom and an open top, and a cover or lid for placement over the open top. This aspect of the invention could be used, for example, when the product placed in the container poses little risk of leakage, or when a bag is placed in the bin to contain the product, such as when the product comprises a liquid or semi-liquid material. In a preferred embodiment the bin is octagonal in shape, with eight relatively narrow straight sides, and preferably made of triplewall corrugated fiberboard. The relatively narrow side panels of the octagonal shape provide superior flexural rigidity and stacking strength, and also results in a plurality of relatively short straight surfaces in a circumferential direction of the container, facilitating manual rolling of the container on its bottom edge. An outer rim at the upper end of the bin follows the contour of the octagonal shape and thus has a plurality of straight sections presenting downwardly facing shoulders that can be securely engaged with the tines of a forklift. Moreover, since the rim extends on all eight sides of the container it is easily accessed for all fork truck approaches to the container. The bottom of the bin is constructed so that it is strong and leak-resistant and preferably so that it provides a flat smooth surface on both the interior and exterior of the bin. Means on the bin and lid form locking structure that may be interlocked for locking the lid to the bin if desired.
In a further preferred embodiment, a tray is placed in the bottom of the bin and an open-ended liner is seated in the tray and extends the full height of the bin. This form of the invention provides a leak-proof container without using a bag, but a bag may be used if desired. The cover, liner and tray may be of single wall construction or other suitable construction as desired or necessary.
In an alternate preferred embodiment the liner terminates short of the upper end of the bin and a shock-absorbing and force distributing pad is placed in the bin between the lid and the top end of the liner. The pad strengthens and reinforces the upper end of the container against opening in the event the container is tipped over onto its side and preferably is of triplewall construction.
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
A container 10 according to the invention is indicated generally in FIGS. 1 and 2. The container 10 comprises a bin or case 11 with an open top 12, a closed bottom 13, and a cover or lid 14 closing the open top. In a preferred embodiment, the bin 11 is octagonal and has eight sidewall panels 15a-15h. As described in more detail hereinafter, a locking feature 16 is provided on the lid and the bin 11 to lock the lid 14 to the bin if desired. As seen best in FIG. 2, a rim 17 extends around the upper end of the bin 11 and presents a downwardly facing shoulder 18. The rim 17 comprises a series of short straight sections 17a-17h each having a length substantially the same as the width of the associated sidewall panel, and as seen in FIG. 1, the width of the rim 17 is such that the shoulder 18 is spaced slightly below the bottom edge 19 of the cover sidewall 20. This enables the tines of a forklift to engage the rim 17 to lift and carry the container 10, as depicted in FIG. 28.
With reference to FIG. 2, which shows a preferred embodiment, a tray insert 22 is placed in the bottom of the bin 11, and an open-ended sleeve or liner insert 23 is seated in the tray and extends substantially the full height of the bin 11. The tray fits snugly in the sidewall of the bin, and the bottom end of the liner fits snugly in the tray 22. The container may be used without the tray insert 22 and liner insert 23, but their use ensures a leak-proof container, especially when liquids or semi-liquids are placed in it.
A blank B1 for making a preferred embodiment of the bin of the invention is illustrated in FIGS. 3-10. The blank B1 has eight substantially identical elongate rectangular sidewall-forming panels 15a-15h joined together along spaced parallel fold scores 25, and a substantially identical panel 15i at one end of the blank forming a glue panel. When the blank B1 is folded onto itself to form the bin, as shown in FIG. 4, the glue panel 15i overlaps and is glued to wall-forming panel 15a. Rim-forming flaps 17a-17h are foldably joined to one end of the respective panels 15a-15h along a double fold score 26, 27, and are separated from one another by cuts 28. The area between the scores 26, 27 is crushed and a series of small stress relieving cutouts 29 are made at the base of the cuts 28 and between the scores 26, 27, extending slightly into the ends of scores 25 to prevent tearing of the material when the flaps are folded 180 degrees to lie against the outer surface of the side panels as seen in FIGS. 2 and 5-7. A series of second cutouts 30 are made in the flaps 17a-17h, extending across approximately the midpoint of the cuts 28, defining recessed areas or notches 32 extending across each corner of the rim 17 in a container erected from the blanks as seen in FIGS. 2 and 11. These notches define part of the lid locking structure mentioned previously.
Bottom-forming flaps are foldably joined along the edge of the blank B1 opposite the rim-forming flaps 17a-17h, and include a pair of generally hexagonally shaped major bottom flaps 35a and 35b that are disposed in opposed relationship to one another when the bin 11 is erected from the blank, a pair of U-shaped rectangular shaped minor bottom flaps 36a and 36b that are in opposed relationship to one another and disposed orthogonally to the flaps 35a and 35b when the bin 11 is erected, and intermediate triangularly shaped flaps 37a-37d attached to the side panels located between the side panels carrying the major and minor flaps. The outer end edge of one of the major bottom flaps 35a and 35b has an outwardly projecting tab 38 and the outer end edge of the opposite major bottom flap has a complemental notch 39. Similarly, the outer end edge of one of the minor bottom flaps has an outwardly projecting tab 40 and the outer end edge of the opposite minor bottom flap has a complemental notch 41. These tabs 38, 40 and notches 39, 41 serve as an aligning feature when the bin 11 is being set up from its knocked-down of folded flat condition, as depicted in FIGS. 8-10.
To erect the bin from the blank B1, the blank is folded in half and the glue panel 15i is adhesively attached in overlapping relationship to sidewall panel 15a as depicted in FIG. 4. The rim-forming flaps 17a-17h are then folded through 180° and secured to the upper outer surface of the respective sidewall panels 15a-15b as depicted in FIGS. 5-7. The flaps 17a-17h preferably are secured to the sidewall panels with an adhesive, but other means of attaching the flaps to the sidewalls may be used if desired and/or appropriate. The bin 11 is then opened up into a tubular configuration as shown in FIG. 8, and the minor bottom flaps 36a and 36b are folded inwardly, followed by inward folding of the intermediate flaps 37a-37d, and then followed by inward folding of the major bottom flaps 35a and 35b. When the flaps are all folded inwardly over the bottom of the bin 11, the major bottom flaps 35a and 35b completely overlap both the minor bottom flaps and the intermediate bottom flaps, and as indicated by the shaded areas in FIG. 8, adhesive 45 is applied to the major bottom flaps over the entire area where they overlap the other bottom flaps. The tabs 38, 40 and notches 39, 41 on the ends of the major and minor bottom flaps serve to align the flaps into proper relationship with one another and to square up the bin 11. Further, the size and shape of the bottom-forming flaps produces a flat smooth surface on both the interior and exterior of the bin, as depicted in FIGS. 9 and 10, wherein FIG. 9 is a plan view of the interior surface of the bottom and FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the outer surface. FIG. 11 is a top perspective view of a fully erected bin 11 in accordance with the invention.
A blank B2 for making the optional but preferred tray insert 22 is shown in FIG. 12. The blank B2 comprises a central panel 50 shaped corresponding to the shape of the bin 11—octagonal in the example shown—and flaps 51 extending from each straight edge of the central panel 50. The flaps 51 are separated from one another by cutouts 52 that terminate a short distance from the fold 53 joining the respective flaps to the central panel, leaving a small gusset 54 at the base of the cutout 52 on each side of the flaps. To erect the tray insert 22, the flaps 51 are simply folded upwardly as shown in FIG. 2.
A blank B3 for making the liner insert 23 is shown in FIG. 13. The liner insert has a plurality of side panels 61 corresponding in number to the side panels of the bin 11, and a glue panel 62 at one end of the blank. In that form of the invention shown in FIGS. 2 and 18 the liner insert has a height the same as the height of the bin 11. However, one of ordinary skilled in art will appreciate that that the height of the liner insert may be different from the height of the bin 11. A liner insert 23 erected from the blank B3 is shown in FIG. 14. In use, the tray insert 22 is placed in the open upper end of the bin 11 and the liner insert 23 positioned in the tray and pushed down into the bin as shown in exploded view in FIG. 2.
A blank B4 for making the lid 14 is shown in FIG. 16. For the preferred octagonal shape of the container of the invention the blank B4 has an octagonal center panel 70 with a first pair of opposed side flaps 71, 72 foldably joined to respective opposite edges of the center panel along opposed parallel fold scores 71a, 72a. A second pair of opposed side flaps 73, 74 is foldably joined to respective opposite edges of the center panel along fold scores 73a, 74a disposed orthogonally to the fold scores 71a, 72a. The side flaps 71, 72 and 73, 74 are identical to one another and each comprises a rectangular panel 75 equal in width to the adjacent edge of the center panel 70, with assembly flaps 76, 77 foldably joined to opposite ends thereof along fold scores 78. A pair of spaced parallel cuts 79 and 80 extend across each fold score 78 to define a bendable strip 81 between the cuts. A third pair of opposed side flaps 83, 84 is foldably joined to respective opposite edges of the center panel along fold scores 83a, 84a extending angularly between respective adjacent ends of the fold scores 71a, 74a and 72a, 73a. A fourth pair of opposed side flaps 85, 86 is foldably joined to respective opposite edges of the center panel along fold scores 85a, 86a extending angularly between respective adjacent ends of the fold scores 71a, 73a and 72a, 74a. The side flaps 83, 84 and 85, 86 are identical to one another and each comprises a first irregularly shaped panel 87 with inset side edges, and a second irregularly shaped panel 88 joined to the first panel along a double fold score 89. The first panel 87 forms an outer side panel and the second panel 88 forms an inner side panel in a lid erected from the blank. A slot 90 is formed in the center panel 70 adjacent the midpoint of each of the fold scores 83a, 84a, 85a and 86a, and a tab 91 projects from the center of the outer end edge of each of the panels 88.
The blank B4 is folded according to the sequence depicted in FIGS. 16-19 to form the lid 14, shown inverted in FIG. 20. The side flaps 71, 72, 73 and 74 are first folded upwardly, and the assembly flaps 76, 77 are folded inwardly, as depicted in FIG. 17. The side flaps 83, 84, 85 and 86 are then folded upwardly as shown in FIG. 18, and the panels 88 are folded inwardly and downwardly over the assembly flaps 76, 77 to engage the tabs 91 in slots 90 as shown in FIG. 19, holding the lid in erected condition as shown in FIG. 20. When the lid is placed on the container 10 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 18-20 the bendable strips 81 may be pushed inwardly to extend into the recessed areas or notches 32 on the corners of the bin to lock the lid 14 to the bin 11.
FIG. 15 depicts a longitudinal cross sectional view of the container 10 taken along line 15-15 in FIG. 1. It can be seen that the tray 22 is positioned in the bottom of the bin 11 and one end of the open-ended sleeve or liner insert 23 is seated in the tray 22. Moreover, the upper end of the liner insert 23 is aligned with the top edge of the bin 11. Although the height of the liner insert 23 and the height of the bin 11 are shown substantially the same, but depending on the configuration, the height of the liner insert 23 can be shorter than the height of the bin 11. It should also be noted that the height of lid 14 is slightly shorter than the height of downwardly facing shoulder 18 of the rim 17 so that the tines of a forklift machine engages the rim 17 to lift and carry the container, as depicted in FIG. 31. In FIG. 15, the lid 14 is illustrated as single wall, but the lid can be double or triple wall, if desired. Likewise, the liner insert 23 is depicted as single wall, but the liner insert can be double or triple wall, if desired.
If desired a strap or band 100 may be placed around the skirt of the lid 14, as is illustrated in FIG. 24, in the depressions left by pushing the strips 81 inwardly, as shown in FIG. 21. The strap presses the strips into the notches 32 in the corners of the bin 11 and firmly anchors the lid 14 to the bin. In addition to securing the lid 14 on the bin 11, the depressions serve as a guide for positioning the strap 100 and retaining it in position.
Alternatively, or in addition to the strap 100, stretch wrap or shrink wrap or the like W may be applied around the upper end of the container to help hold the lid 14 in place, as shown in FIG. 25.
Additional reinforcing straps 101 may be placed around the container at spaced locations along its height, as shown in FIG. 26. Plural containers may be placed on a pallet P and strapped together by bands 102 and 103, also as shown in FIG. 26.
In lieu of or in addition to the bands 102 and 103, stretch wrap or shrink wrap or the like W may be placed around a group of containers and a portion of the pallet P on which they are placed, as shown in FIGS. 25 and 27.
In FIG. 28 a pair of containers 10 is shown being lifted and carried by the tines of a forklift engaged beneath the rim 17 of the containers. The triple wall construction of the rim 17, its integral formation with the bin 11, its secure attachment to the bin sidewall, and the plurality of straight sections defined by it form a very strong and secure structure for lifting the container.
Further, as depicted in FIG. 29, the provision of a relatively wide rim at the top of the container and the construction of the container so that its sidewalls comprise a plurality of short straight sections provide good control of a container 10 being rolled on its bottom edge.
As shown in FIG. 30, a bag B may be placed in the bin, either in addition to the tray and liner inserts, or in lieu thereof, to provide a more secure leak-proof container, especially when liquids are being shipped and stored.
A blank B5 is shown in FIG. 31 for making an alternate embodiment of bin according to the invention. The blank B5 is substantially identical to the blank B1, except that the glue panel 15i′ is much narrower than the glue flap in the previous embodiment, rim-forming flaps 17a′-17h′ foldably joined to the top edge of the blank are separated from one another by slots 110 that extend a short distance 111 into the fold scores 25 between adjoining bin side panels 15a-15h, and the bottom flaps are arranged in a slightly different order. The extended areas 111 of the slots serve the same function as the cutouts 29 in the first embodiment, i.e. to relieve stress and prevent tearing of the material when the flaps are folded through 180°. Also, the outer corners of the flaps 17a′-17h′ are cut away at 112 to form recessed areas on the bottom edge of the rim at the corners of the bin for locking the lid to the bin and/or receiving a tie strap. The lid locking structure and the strap receiving recesses thus are moved to the bottom edge of the rim 17′ rather than being located between the top and bottom edges of the rim as in the first embodiment.
The use of the tray insert and liner is optional, but preferred. The drum of the invention is capable of shipping and storing liquid, semi-liquid, or dry products if the tray insert and liner are omitted, but their use is preferred. Use of straps or bands is also optional but preferred.
A further embodiment is indicated generally at 120 in FIGS. 32 and 33, wherein the liner insert 23′ is shortened so that its upper end 121 is spaced below the upper end of the bin sidewall, and a shock-absorbing and load-distributing pad 122 is placed on the upper end of the liner insert to rest between the liner and the lid (not shown). The pad reinforces the top of the container and helps to prevent displacement of the lid and leakage of product in the event the container is tipped over onto its side. In a preferred construction, the pad 122 is of triplewall construction. In all other respects the construction and function of this container is the same as that previously described.
The bin 11 preferably is triple wall CAA flute, and the tray insert, lid and liner preferably are single wall C flute. For increased strength, the direction of corrugations in the drum and liner can be extended at different angles. In a preferred embodiment, the flutes in the corrugated medium of the liner extend horizontally and the flutes of the corrugated medium in the bin extend vertically.
While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from its scope. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.