Patent application title: Sealed Transport or Storage Package
William S. Smith (Victor, NY, US)
Russell L. Smith (Victor, NY, US)
W. STUART SMITH, INC., D/B/A HERITAGE PACKAGING
IPC8 Class: AB65D1900FI
Class name: Special receptacle or package with pallet feature binder wrap for content
Publication date: 2009-08-20
Patent application number: 20090205999
A base for a sealed package used to ship or store a large and valuable
asset is formed by drilling the base to receive a bolt array, placing the
bolts in the drilled bolt holes, punching holes in a sealing layer to fit
over the bolts and rest on the base; applying sealant material around
each bolt below and above the sealing layer to seal the junctures between
the bolts and the sealing layer; and preferably arranging a protective
layer over the sealing layer to leave an exposed perimetal region of the
sealant layer extending continuously around a protective layer. The bolts
are used to fasten the asset or a carriage for the asset to the base, and
a flexible top cover with a bottom region engaging the peripheral region
of the sealing layer is then bonded to the sealing layer to seal the
asset within the package.
1. A sealable package for shipping or storing a large and valuable asset,
the package including a base pre-arranged with a surface supporting the
asset, or a carriage for the asset, and the package comprising:an array
of bolts having threaded ends extending upward through the base to a
region above the support surface;lower sealant material arranged around
the bolts at the intersection of the bolts with the support surface;a
flexible sealing layer perforated with holes that register with the array
of bolts, the sealing layer being laid over the bolts and over the
support surface, and over the lower sealant material;upper sealant
material arranged around the bolts at their intersection with a top
surface of the sealing layer; andthe bolts of the array being held in
predetermined positions that are perpendicular to the support surface of
the base to facilitate securing the asset to the base.
2. The package of claim 1 including a protective layer laid over the sealing layer in a region to be engaged by the asset.
3. The package of claim 2 wherein the protective layer is dimensioned to leave the perimeter region of the sealing layer continuously exposed around the protective layer.
4. The package of claim 3 including a cover formed of flexible sealing material having a bottom of the cover configured to engage the perimetal region of the sealing layer to allow the cover to be sealed to the perimetal region of the sealing layer on the base.
5. The package of claim 1 including eye nuts threaded on the bolts to anchor straps holding the asset securely on the base.
6. The package of claim 1 including elastomeric washers arranged around the bolts below and above the sealing layer to help seal the intersections.
7. The package of claim 2 wherein the protective layer is located on the base by the bolts.
8. The package of claim 1 wherein jamb nuts are countersunk below the support surface to secure the bolts in position.
9. A base for a sealed package for shipping a large and valuable asset, the base including a support surface for the asset or a carriage for the asset, and the base comprising:an array of bolts having threaded regions extending upward from the base through the support surface;the threaded regions of the bolts being accurately perpendicular to the support surface;the array of bolts being secured within the base to inhibit any movement of the bolts away from perpendicular to the support surface;elastomeric washers and sealant material applied around the bolts at their intersection with the support surface;a sealable layer perforated with holes to register with the array of bolts, the sealing layer being laid down over the threaded regions of the bolts and over the washers and sealant material to extend over the support surface; andelastomeric washers and sealant material applied around the bolts at their intersection with a top surface of the sealing layer.
10. The base of claim 9 including a protective layer arranged over the sealing layer.
11. The base of claim 10 wherein the protective layer engages and is held in position by the bolts.
12. The base of claim 11 wherein the protective layer is dimensioned to leave a perimeter region of the sealing layer extending continuously around the protective layer.
13. The base of claim 12 combined with a top cover of flexible material formed so that the cover engages with a perimetal region of the sealable layer where the cover and the sealable layer can be thermally bonded.
14. The base of claim 9 wherein eye nuts are threaded on the bolts to hold straps securing the asset in place on the base.
15. The base of claim 9 wherein jamb nuts are countersunk below the support surface to secure the bolts in position.
16. A combination of a base and a flexible sealing layer arranged on the base to form a bottom portion of a sealed package for shipping or storing a large and valuable asset, the combination comprising:a predetermined array of bolts extending upward from the base;a predetermined array of bolt holes formed in the sealing layer to register with the bolts when the sealing layer is laid over the bolts and on the base;sealing material applied around the bolts and around regions of the sealing layer surrounding the bolts to seal the junctures where the bolts penetrate the sealing layer;a protective layer laid over the sealing layer; andthe protective layer being dimensioned to leave an exposed perimetal region of the sealing layer extending continuously around the protective layer.
17. The combination of claim 16 including eye nuts threaded onto the bolts above the protective layer.
18. The combination of claim 16 including sealing washers arranged on the bolts above and below the sealing layer.
19. The combination of claim 16, to which is added a top cover having a bottom region engaging the perimetal region of the sealing layer to allow the top cover to be sealed to the sealing layer.
20. The combination of claim 16 wherein the bolts predetermine a position for the protective layer over the sealing layer.
21. The combination of claim 16 wherein jamb nuts are countersunk below the support surface to secure the bolts in position.
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/324,524, filed 4 Jan. 2006, and entitled "Preservation Skid", now pending, and abandoned upon filing of this application.
Sealable packages for large and valuable assets.
Sealable packages are desirable for shipping or storing large objects that are valuable enough to warrant special protection. The assets that benefit from a sealable package are often machines, but the inventive way of making a sealed package can be applied to anything valuable enough to deserve such care.
Previous sealable packages have involved a rigid base derived from one technology for supporting and securing the asset in place. Then a flexible cover derived from a different technology can be used to cover and seal the asset once it is secured to the base. It has not been previously possible to acquire a base that is prefabricated to receive a flexible cover sealing an asset mounted on the base. Using experience with sealable materials to integrate a sealing layer with a rigid base, and arranging this to be bonded with a flexible sealing cover brings together both the sealing technologies and the rigid base construction technologies for a much improved result.
Taking the steps of the previous procedure in their usual order, a rigid base is made beforehand in whatever dimensions and constructions are required, with no special regard for sealing requirements. Then at a job site, a sealing layer of flexible material is laid over the base and bolt holes are drilled through the sealant layer and into the base to receive bolts in positions to hold the asset in place on the base. Sealant material was manually applied around the bolts where they penetrate the sealing layer to reduce leakage around bolt holes, but this often led to leaky seals. Then the asset was maneuvered by a crane or lifting device over the base and lowered onto the bolts. This can be problematic and dangerous, because if the bolt holes were not drilled true, the bolts might not exactly fit the asset, and manual interventions to align the asset with the bolts sometimes led to injury. It also occurred that the asset might be moved or shifted while in contact with the sealing layer, to puncture or tear what should have remained continuous.
The invention aims at solving the shortcomings of the existing processes to minimize injuries to people and maximize the possibilities for a secure and sealable package. The invention accomplishes this by pre-fabricating the base in the optimum working environment of a shop where the base can be accurately fitted with a lower sealing layer prepared in advance to be later sealed to a flexible cover. In the shop environment, holes for the necessary bolts can be located precisely and drilled perpendicular to the top of the base with the aid of a drill press. The same preferably computerized system for locating the bolts can also punch holes in a sealing sheet to accurately register with the bolts. Also, the sealing that is necessary between the bolts and the sealing layer can be pre-arranged, preferably to include sealing material around each of the bolts both above and below the sealing layer. These measures can maximize the chances for an effective and durable seal underneath the asset, and can minimize any difficulty in lowering the asset onto the base.
Then before the asset is lowered onto the base, a protective layer is preferably positioned over the sealing layer. The protective layer is positioned to cover at least regions that the asset will contact, and for simplicity, can also cover all but a continuous perimetal region of the sealant layer. This exposed perimetal region can later be heat sealed to a top cover formed to register with the perimetal region of the sealant layer. This preparation integrates a sealable cover system with the rigid shipping base of a pallet or skid so that the sealable layer of the base can be integrated with a flexible asset covering material. This reduces installation time, reduces risk of injury, and increases the protective qualities of the total installed system.
Instead of arranging bolts to register with foot holes or a cradle supporting the asset, the bolts can be arranged in an array so that eye nuts on the bolts can receive the ends of straps that are ratcheted tight to hold the asset on the base. For some circumstances, this can simplify the positioning of the asset on the base. Altogether, the inventive improvement aims to avoid damage or flaws in the sealant layer, and to greatly reduce the chance of injury in positioning the asset on the base.
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a preferred embodiment of a portion of the inventive package showing an asset strapped to a hermetically sealable base.
FIG. 2 is a view of the package of FIG. 1 enclosed in a top cover hermetically sealed to the base.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a bottom corner portion of the package of FIGS. 1 and 2, showing details of the sealant material, the protective layer, one of the bolts, and the top cover.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of an alternative to the arrangement of FIG. 3.
Considering the invention in the order in which it is ordinarily assembled, base 10, which can be a pallet or skid, is first made in whatever sizes and shapes are required to support an asset 50 for shipment. Often, base 10 is made of wood with joists or stringers 11 upholding and providing support for a deck 12 often formed of wood or plywood. Whatever materials or dimensions are involved, a top surface 20 of deck 12 generally supports asset 50. Base 10 is preferably assembled in the comfort of a shop providing the accuracy available from computers and machine tools.
As the base is designed, the positions of an array of bolts 15 are predetermined so that the bolts can secure the asset to the base. Once the bolt positions are determined, then base 10 is drilled with holes to receive bolts 15. This is preferably done precisely and accurately with a drill press to ensure that each bolt stands upright and true. The bolts and the bolt holes are preferably located to extend through stringers or joists 11 that underlie deck 12. This gives the bolts a substantial vertical extent through solid material, which helps support the bolts rigidly in place. The bolt holes are preferably dimensioned to give the bolts a snug fit, which also helps to secure the bolts solidly in place. The bolt holes are also preferably made accurately perpendicular to top surface 20 of deck 12, so that threaded ends can extend upward from surface 20. The bolts are preferably carriage bolts that can be driven into the bolt holes from the bottom into the top of base 10. Countersinks 13 can be formed on stringer bottoms to receive the bolt heads in slightly recessed positions.
Another way of securing bolts 15 in place on base 10 is shown in FIG. 4. This involves a counter bore 14 extending below top surface 20 in deck 12 to receive a jamb nut 16 that can be tightened down with a socket wrench to hold each bolt securely in place. Whichever alternative is used, the objective is to have accurately positioned bolts that are stably secured within base 10 to present upstanding threaded ends extending above top surface 20 of deck 12.
Facilitating the eventual seal that is desired for the package requires a sealing layer to be arranged on the base. For this purpose, a sheet 29 of a flexible and sealable material is selected in a suitable size. Suitable sealing materials may be single layer films, multipolymer co-extrusions, and multi-layer laminations that may or may not have resinous layers. Selection from the multitude of available materials is based primarily on the sealing needs of the asset in question.
Then the same system that was used for positioning the holes for bolts 15 is used to punch matching holes in sheet 29 so that these holes register with bolts 15. This ensures that sheet 29 will fit perfectly over bolts 15 and lie flat on deck surface 20.
Before sheet 29 is positioned, though, washers 18 of rubber or some other preferably elastomeric material are placed around the upstanding threaded regions of bolts 15. Then, a sealant or caulk material 21 is applied over washers 18 and around bolts 15. When sealing layer 29 is lowered down over bolts 15 and pressed against washers 18 and fresh caulk or sealant material 21, a bond occurs that seals layer 29 around each bolt hole.
To ensure that the seal around each bolt is complete, additional caulk or sealant 21 is applied around the bolts at the top surface of sealing layer 29. Preferably additional washers 18 are then positioned over bolts 15 and pressed down against the sealant material 21 to provide an upper bond between bolts 15 and sealing layer 29 to ensure a complete seal at each bolt.
At this point, base 10, with sealing layer 29, could be used to receive asset 50. It is important when this is done, though, that sealing layer 29 not be damaged or torn in a way that could impair its sealing ability. Rather than risk any damage to sealing layer 29, we prefer to position a protective layer 25 on top of sealing layer 29. Protective layer 25 can be made of many materials, including sheets, webs, fiber boards, plywood, and the like.
Protective layer 25 should be positioned wherever asset 50 will touch base 10, but for simplicity and expedience, we prefer that protective layer 25 cover all but a perimetal region 19 of layer 29. The perimetal region 19 is then available to receive a flange 22 or bottom portion of a top cover 23 so that flange 22 and perimetal region 19 can be heat bonded together to complete a hermetic seal for the package. The bonding that is used depends in part on the materials selected for sealing layer 29 and cover 23. Heat bonding is simple and effective if the materials chosen are resinous. Adhesives and tapes are also possible for bonding top cover 23 to base layer 29.
Bottom layer 29 can also be formed with a raised perimeter 19 that extends upward above base 12 to receive and bond to cover 23 at a level above base 12. Ordinarily, it is simpler to leave bottom layer 29 flat and extending to the edge of base 12. There, a bottom region or flange of cover 23 can be conveniently bonded to bottom layer 29.
Making protective layer 25 cover a large extent of sealing layer 29 also has the advantage that bolts 15 can be used to hold protective layer 25 in place. This can be done by using the same locating system that determined the positions of the bolts and the bolt holes in layer 29 to make positioning holes in protective layer 25. Layer 25 can then be positioned onto bolts 15 in one or in several pieces where it will be held in position covering most of sealing layer 29.
With the preferred protective layer 25 in place, base 10 is ready to receive asset 50. This can be done by positioning foot holes 51 in asset 50 over the upstanding threaded regions of bolts 15, as shown in FIG. 4. The bold threads can be protected by nuts that are removed before the asset is lowered, and are then threaded down to fasten asset 50 to base 10. The accuracy used in the preferred way of assembling base 10 makes the positioning task relatively safe and convenient. Bolts 15 can also receive a carriage (not shown) that is specially made to mount asset 50 on base 10. Carriages are especially useful for assets that do not have feet or stands that can rest flat on a pallet base. A carriage can be made to fit any shape of asset and provide a resting surface engaging a base. A carriage is then an intermediate between the asset and the base, with the asset being secured to the carriage, and the carriage being secured to the base.
Another alternative is to arrange bolts 15 in an array that can receive eye nuts to which cargo straps can be connected and ratcheted down to hold asset 50 in place, as shown in FIG. 1. In this case, the placement of bolts 15 does not have to accurately match foot holes 51 in asset 50. Instead, asset 50 can be placed within the bolt array within a reasonable tolerance of positions, since several cargo straps can be connected to the eye nuts on bolts 15 to hold asset 50 snugly in place.
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