US20030201272A1 - Container with reinforcing rigid hoop and locking arrangement - Google Patents

Container with reinforcing rigid hoop and locking arrangement Download PDF

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Publication number
US20030201272A1
US20030201272A1 US10425588 US42558803A US2003201272A1 US 20030201272 A1 US20030201272 A1 US 20030201272A1 US 10425588 US10425588 US 10425588 US 42558803 A US42558803 A US 42558803A US 2003201272 A1 US2003201272 A1 US 2003201272A1
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Prior art keywords
walls
side
container
respective
bottom
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Abandoned
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US10425588
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Alan Carter
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CARTER & ASSOCIATES Inc
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CARTER & ASSOCIATES Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65DCONTAINERS FOR STORAGE OR TRANSPORT OF ARTICLES OR MATERIALS, e.g. BAGS, BARRELS, BOTTLES, BOXES, CANS, CARTONS, CRATES, DRUMS, JARS, TANKS, HOPPERS, FORWARDING CONTAINERS; ACCESSORIES, CLOSURES, OR FITTINGS THEREFOR; PACKAGING ELEMENTS; PACKAGES
    • B65D11/00Containers having bodies formed by interconnecting or uniting two or more rigid, or substantially rigid, components made wholly or mainly of plastics material
    • B65D11/10Containers having bodies formed by interconnecting or uniting two or more rigid, or substantially rigid, components made wholly or mainly of plastics material of polygonal cross-section and all parts being permanently connected to each other

Abstract

A box-like container includes a bottom wall and two side walls formed from a single sheet of material, such as corrugated plastic, and a pair of rigid end walls are attached to the ends of the bottom and side walls by a locking mechanism. A continuous reinforcing hoop is provided along the upper edges of the side and end walls.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO PRIOR APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 USC §119(e) of copending provisional application Serial No. 60/376 130 filed Apr. 29, 2002, the entire disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference.[0001]
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to a box-like container or bin constructed primarily of corrugated plastic, and in particular to a container having improved reinforcing features. [0002]
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Box-like containers are conventionally constructed of extruded plastic panels which have inner and outer sheet-like plastic layers transversely and rigidly joined together by a plurality of parallel ribs which define elongated flutes or channels. These plastic panels are utilized for defining the walls of the container, including both the bottom and side walls, with the top of the container conventionally being open. The plastic panels provide an economical construction technique and at the same time provide a container having reasonable strength and durability. In order to provide proper strength around the open top of the container and also to prevent or at least minimize twisting or racking of the container, a hoop-like reinforcing rod is positioned to exteriorly surround the container side walls adjacent the upper edges thereof. This type of container is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,322,213. The container disclosed in the '[0003] 213 patent has bottom, side and end walls which are constructed from a one-piece flat blank cut from an extruded plastic panel.
  • Another type of container is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 2,493,281. This container is constructed of paperboard and includes a pair of side walls and a bottom wall formed from a single sheet, and a pair of end walls each formed from a further sheet of paperboard. A continuous wire hoop is provided adjacent the upper edges of the side and end walls, and is attached thereto by folding the upper free edges of the side and end walls over the hoop. The respective end walls have side and bottom flaps which project into the interior of the container when the end walls are assembled thereto. [0004]
  • The present invention is directed to a container which improves upon containers of the general type described above, and in particular relates to an improved container which in at least one embodiment is constructed of extruded fluted plastic bottom and side panels, and additionally includes pair of rigid plastic end panels which are separate from the side and bottom walls. A continuous loop-shaped rod or hoop, preferably of metal, is provided along the upper edges of the side and end walls for reinforcement. The upright side and end walls are interconnected to one another adjacent the upper edges thereof by the rod or hoop, and a locking mechanism is also provided which interconnects the side and bottom walls with the respective end walls. The locking mechanism can be a one-way locking mechanism such that the end walls are not readily separable from the side and bottom walls once the container is assembled, or alternatively can be a releasable type of connection to allow knock-down of the container. [0005]
  • Objects and purposes of the invention will be apparent to persons familiar with constructions of this type upon reading the following specification and inspecting the accompanying drawings.[0006]
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the container of the present invention. [0007]
  • FIG. 2 is a front view of the FIG. 1 container from one side wall thereof, wherein the opposite side has an identical configuration. [0008]
  • FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the FIG. 1 container. [0009]
  • FIG. 3A is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken generally along line [0010] 3A-3A in FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 4 is an enlarged side view of the FIG. 1 container from the outer side of one end wall thereof, wherein the opposite end wall has an identical configuration on the outer side thereof. [0011]
  • FIG. 4A is an enlarged view of the end wall shown in FIG. 4 which shows the inner side of the end wall, wherein the opposite end wall has an identical configuration on the inner side thereof. [0012]
  • FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, exploded view of the end wall locking mechanism of the FIG. 1 container. [0013]
  • FIG. 6 is an enlarged and fragmentary, crosssectional view taken generally along line [0014] 6-6 in FIG. 5.
  • FIG. 6A is a perspective, partially assembled view of one end of the container with the container oriented so that one end wall is uppermost. [0015]
  • FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary, exploded view of an alternative locking mechanism. [0016]
  • FIG. 8 is an enlarged side view of the outer side of the end wall shown in FIG. 7, wherein the opposite end wall has an identical configuration on the outer side thereof. [0017]
  • FIG. 9 is an enlarged side view of the inner side of the end wall shown in FIG. 8, wherein the opposite end wall has an identical configuration on the inner side thereof. [0018]
  • Certain terminology will be used in the following description for convenience in reference only, and will not be limiting. For example, the words “upwardly”, “downwardly”, rightwardly” and “leftwardly” will refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. The words “inwardly” and “outwardly” will refer to directions toward and away from, respectively, the geometric center of the container and designated parts thereof. This terminology will include the words specifically mentioned, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import.[0019]
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring to FIGS. [0020] 1-5, there is illustrated an open box-like container 10 according to the present invention. The container 10 includes a generally horizontally oriented and planar bottom wall 11 and a pair of generally vertically oriented and parallel side walls 12 which project upwardly in generally vertical relationship from opposite longitudinal edges of the bottom wall 11. A pair of generally vertically oriented, parallel and substantially identical end walls 13 project upwardly from respective transverse edges of bottom wall 11. Each end wall 13 extends generally perpendicularly between a pair of opposite upright edges 12A (FIG. 5) of the respective side walls 12, whereby the side and end walls 12 and 13 in cooperation with the bottom wall 11 define an interior storage compartment. In the illustrated embodiment, the top of the container 10 is open to provide ready access to the storage compartment defined therein. Further, the side and bottom walls 12 and 11 are elongated as compared to the end walls 13, which provides the container 10 with an elongated shape. It will be appreciated, however, that other configurations of container 10 are within the scope of the invention.
  • The bottom wall [0021] 11 and side walls 12 are formed of a single sheet of material or blank. In the embodiment disclosed herein, the bottom wall 11 and side walls 12 are formed from a sheet of corrugated plastic which includes a pair of generally parallel and laterally spaced outer plastic sheets that are joined by a plurality of generally parallel ribs that extend transversely therebetween. The ribs, in cooperation with the side sheets, define a plurality of elongated flutes or channels which extend in parallel relationship in the direction of extrusion of the plastic panel. Such corrugated plastic panels are conventional and well known. The end walls 13 are constructed of a rigid material, such as a rigid plastic, and can be formed by injection molding.
  • With reference to FIGS. 5 and 6A, the container [0022] 10 incorporates therein a locking mechanism including a pair of slot-like openings 14 defined in bottom wall 11 along both transverse edges 11A thereof. The elongated direction of the respective pairs of openings 14 is generally parallel with the corresponding edge 11A. The two openings 14 are sidewardly or horizontally spaced from one another along each edge 11A, and each opening 14 is disposed in bottom wall 11 a relatively short distance inwardly from both edge 11A and a respective upright edge 12A of the adjacent upright side wall 12. Further, each side wall 12 defines therein a pair of slot-like openings 14A (only one of which is shown in FIG. 5) at opposite ends thereof adjacent end walls 13 which are substantially identical in shape to openings 14 in bottom wall 11. The openings 14A in each side wall 12 are disposed along and are generally parallel to the respective upright edges 12A. As shown in FIG. 5, each opening 14A is spaced a short horizontal distance inwardly from the respective edge 12A, and a short vertical distance upwardly from bottom wall 11.
  • With reference to FIGS. 4A and 5, each end wall [0023] 13 defines thereon a plurality of tabs 19, 19A which cooperate with openings 14 and 14A and form part of the locking mechanism of container 10. More specifically, each end wall 13 defines therein a generally U-shaped and sidewardly and inwardly opening channel 13B which in the illustrated embodiment extends peripherally along an inner surface thereof. Each end wall 13 includes a pair of tabs 19 disposed along a lower transverse edge 13C thereof which cooperate with the correspondingly located openings 14 along one transverse edge 11A of bottom wall 11. A further tab 19A (identical to tabs 19) is disposed along each upright edge 13A of each end wall 13 which respectively cooperate with the correspondingly located openings 14A in the respective side walls 12. The tabs 19 along lower edge 13C are horizontally spaced from one another and are spaced a short distance upwardly from lower edge 13C, and a short horizontal distance inwardly from the respective adjacent upright edges 13A. The tabs 19A are spaced a short horizontal distance inwardly from the respective edges 13A and a short vertical distance upwardly from edge 13C.
  • As shown in FIG. 6, the tabs [0024] 19 and 19A are disposed within channel 13B so as to extend transversely across or span a portion thereof. Each tab 19, 19A defines thereon an inclined surface 19B which angles into the channel 13B to facilitate assembly of the end wall 13 to the side and bottom walls as discussed below. The free end of each tab 19, 19A is spaced from edge 13A (which defines the outer wall of channel 13B) so as to define a mouth 13D which opens into channel 13B.
  • The container [0025] 10 is additionally provided with a reinforcing hoop 21 which is fixedly secured to the side walls 12. The hoop 21 is of a generally closed, endless and rectangular configuration corresponding to the size and geometry of the container 10, and is preferably constructed of a metal rod or wire. The hoop 21 includes a pair of generally parallel and elongate longitudinal legs 22 which are joined at opposite ends through right angle bends or corners 23 to a pair of generally parallel transverse legs 24.
  • To fixedly secure the hoop [0026] 21 to the container 10, each side wall 12 includes a securing flange 26 which projects outwardly from the respective top edge 27 and terminates in a free edge 28. In the illustrated embodiment, the flange 26 extends along substantially the entire length of the respective side wall 12. An undercut groove 29 (FIG. 3A) is formed in each flange 26 and extends along the length thereof.
  • The groove [0027] 29 is positioned so that one side edge of the groove 29 is aligned with and effectively constitutes an extension of the top edge 27 of the respective side wall 12. The width of the groove 29 is selected so as to readily accommodate therein the cross section of the longitudinal leg 22 of hoop 21, whereupon this leg 22 is positioned in the groove 29 so the flange 26 wraps around the longitudinal leg 22. The flange 26 is bent downwardly through an angle of about 180° and vertically overlaps or overlays the exterior surface of the respective side wall 12. The overlapping areas between each flange 26 and the exteriorly contacted face of the respective side wall 12 are suitably adhesively fixed or bonded together whereby the flanges 26 securely retain the hoop longitudinal legs 22 in snug and fixed engagement with the top edges 27 of the side walls 12.
  • The transverse legs [0028] 24 of the hoop 21 are secured to the end walls 13, and thus the hoop 21 effectively functions to interconnect the side and end walls 12 and 13. More specifically, each end wall 13 includes a horizontally sidewardly opening groove 31 which extends generally horizontally along substantially the entire length of the respective end wall 13 adjacent an uppermost edge 31A thereof. Each groove 31 is open at both of the upright edges 13A of the respective end wall 13, as best illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 4A, to accommodate the corners 23 of the continuous hoop 21. Each groove 31 is sized to snugly receive the respective transverse leg 24 of the hoop 21 in a locking fashion.
  • The container [0029] 10 is also preferably provided with handles 32 to permit manual grasping and hence manual manipulation of the container 10. In the illustrated embodiment, each side wall 12 is provided with two horizontally spaced-apart handle openings 33. The handle openings 33 extend through the flange 26 and the side wall 12 and open downwardly from the top edge 27 of the container 10. The longitudinal legs 22 of the hoop 21 span across the upper part of the openings 33 and effectively function as handles 32 to allow manual gripping and manipulation of the container 10.
  • Once the hoop [0030] 21 is attached along the top edge 27 of the container 10 as discussed above, the end walls 13 can then be assembled to the side and bottom walls as follows and with reference to FIGS. 5 and 6A. The upper edge 31A of an end wall 13 inserted under a respective transverse leg 24 of hoop 21 so as to engage leg 24 in the groove 31 defined in the end wall 13. The end wall 13 is then pivoted downwardly about leg 24 so that the edges 12A of the side walls 12 and the edge 11A of the bottom wall 11 are respectively inserted into side and bottom portions of channel 13B on the inner side of end wall 13. The edges 12A and 11A pass through the mouths 13D adjacent the respective tabs 19A, 19, which eventually causes engagement of the free ends of tabs 19A on opposite sides of end wall 13 into the respective slots 14A on the opposite side walls 12 and engagement of the free ends of tabs 19 along the bottom edge 13C of end wall 13 into the respective slots 14 adjacent the edge 11A of bottom wall 11. The angled surface 19B of each tab 19, 19A facilitates insertion of the side and bottom walls 12 and 11 into channel 13B. The opposite end wall 13 is then assembled onto the opposite edges of side and bottom walls 12 and 11 in a similar manner.
  • In the embodiment discussed above, the end walls [0031] 13 are not intended for ready removal from the container 10 once same is assembled as the tabs 19, 19A are configured as one-way locking tabs. However, the container 10 prior to assembly of the end walls 13 onto the side and bottom walls 12 and 11 can be shipped or transported in a generally flat condition by pushing downwardly and sidewardly on the hoop 21 so that the side walls 12 collapse.
  • While the container [0032] 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1-6A is not intended for knock-down after the end walls 13 are attached to the side and bottom walls, it will be recognized that a container which can be repeatedly assembled and disassembled after the initial assembly is often desirable. In this regard, reference is made to FIGS. 7-9. FIG. 7 illustrates an assembly view of one end of such modified container. It will be appreciated that the configuration of the side walls and bottom wall in this embodiment is identical to that described above, and thus the same reference numbers plus a prime are used where appropriate. In the container of FIG. 7, the tabs 19 and 19A defined on end wall 13 are replaced by releasable locking arrangements 40 disposed
  • Each locking arrangement [0033] 40 includes an elongate tab 41 which is slidably supported on an outer surface of the respective end wall 13′, for example by one or more braces 42 fixed to end wall 13′. Each locking arrangement 40 is disposed adjacent an elongate slot or opening 43 which projects completely through the peripheral edge of end wall 13′ and opens inwardly into the end wall channel 13B′ as shown in FIG. 9. A further opening 44 (shown in FIG. 7 and in dotted lines in FIG. 8) is defined in an interior and generally upright inner side wall 45 of opening 43, which opening 44 is vertically aligned with an outer free end 46 of tab 41.
  • To assemble the container shown in FIG. 7, the upper edges of the respective end walls [0034] 13′ are attached to the respective transverse legs 24′ of hoop 21′ as discussed above. The end wall 13′ is then pivoted downwardly so as to engage the upright edges 12A′ of the respective side walls 12′ and the edge 11A′ of bottom wall 11′ into the side and bottom portions of the end wall channel 13B′. Once these edges 12A′ and 11A′ are seated within channel 13B′, the tabs 41 of the respective locking arrangements 40 are slidably moved outwardly into the respective openings 43 so as to effectively engage the free ends 46 of tabs 41 in the corresponding opening 14A′ or 14′ of the side or bottom wall. The tabs 41 can be held in the locked position by friction, or by an appropriate releasable detent mechanism. When it is desired to disassemble the container, the tabs 41 are slidably moved so as to disengage the free ends 46 thereof from the opening 14A′ or 14′ to allow removal of the end walls 13′ from the side and bottom walls 12′, 11′. It will be appreciated that the locking arrangements 40 provided along the lower edge of end wall 13 are vertically oriented so that the tabs 41 thereof slide vertically.
  • It will be appreciated that other locking mechanisms may be utilized in accordance with the present invention. For example, mechanical fasteners, such as screws or rivets, could be inserted through the edges of the end walls and into the respective side and bottom walls to secure the end walls to the container. [0035]
  • Although particular preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, lie within the scope of the present invention. [0036]

Claims (20)

    What is claimed is:
  1. 1. A container comprising:
    a generally horizontal bottom wall and first and second generally vertical side walls joined to a pair of opposite edges of said bottom wall;
    a pair of end walls respectively projecting upwardly from another pair of opposite edges of said bottom wall and extending transversely between the respective side walls, said end walls having inner surfaces disposed in spaced-apart opposed relation with one another, each said inner surface defining therein a groove, said side and bottom walls having edge portions adjacent each said end wall which are seated within the respective grooves thereof; and
    a reinforcing hoop extending along upper edges of the respective side and end walls.
  2. 2. The container of claim 1 wherein said groove in each said end wall has a U-shape which opens upwardly
  3. 3. The container of claim 1 wherein said hoop is connected to upper edges of the respective side walls.
  4. 4. The container of claim 3 wherein each said end wall has an outer surface which faces away from the respective inner surface, said outer surface defining therein an elongate and sidewardly opening groove adjacent an upper edge portion of the respective end wall, and said hoop has a pair of laterally-spaced first legs connected to the respective side walls and a pair of laterally-spaced second legs which extend transversely between said first legs and are engaged within the grooves of the respective end walls.
  5. 5. The container of claim 3 wherein each said end wall defines therein a continuous, elongate and sidewardly opening groove therein in which said hoop is engaged.
  6. 6. The container of claim 1, further including a locking mechanism which cooperates between said side, bottom and end walls for securing said end walls to said side and bottom walls.
  7. 7. The container of claim 6 wherein said hoop has a first pair of spaced-apart legs which are connected to upper edges of the respective side walls and a second pair of spaced-apart legs which extend transversely between said first legs and are connected to the respective end walls adjacent upper edges thereof, and said locking mechanism cooperates between lower portions of said side, bottom and end walls to secure said end walls to said side and bottom walls.
  8. 8. The container of claim 6 wherein upright edge portions of each said end wall each define thereon a tab, and a lower edge portion of each said end wall defines thereon a tab, a pair of laterally-spaced slots are defined in each said side wall adjacent the respective said edge portions thereof, and a pair of laterally-spaced slots are defined in said bottom wall adjacent the respective said edge portions thereof, said tabs at said upright edge portions of each said end wall being engaged within the respective slots of said side walls, said tab at said lower edge portion of each said end wall being engaged within a said slot of said bottom wall such that said end walls are fixedly secured to said side and bottom walls at both ends of said container, and said tabs and slots define said locking mechanism.
  9. 9. The container of claim 8 wherein said bottom wall defines a pair of said slots at each said edge portion thereof and each said end wall defines a pair of said tabs at said lower edge portion thereof which are engaged within a corresponding pair of said slots of said bottom wall.
  10. 10. The container of claim 1 wherein said side and bottom walls are formed from a single sheet of material, and said end walls are entirely separate components from said side and bottom walls.
  11. 11. The container of claim 1 wherein said side and bottom walls are formed from a single sheet of corrugated plastic, and said end walls are formed from a rigid molded plastic.
  12. 12. The container of claim 1 wherein said upper edges of the respective side walls define flaps thereon, said flaps being folded downwardly and oriented in superimposed relation with respective outer surfaces of the respective side walls, wherein each said flap and the corresponding outer surface define a channel therebetween in which a portion of said hoop is engaged to secure said hoop to the respective side walls along said upper edges thereof, and each said end wall defines therein a continuous, horizontally elongate and sidewardly opening groove therein in which additional portions of said hoop are respectively engaged.
  13. 13. The container of claim 6 wherein a pair of laterally-spaced slots are defined in each said side wall adjacent the respective said edge portions thereof, and a pair of laterally-spaced slots are defined in said bottom wall adjacent the respective said edge portions thereof, a plurality of tabs are slidably mounted on an outer surface of each said end wall in locations which permit said tabs to cooperate with said slots of said side and bottom walls, each said tab being slidably movable into a corresponding said slot of one of said side and bottom walls.
  14. 14. A container comprising a bottom wall and a pair of generally parallel side walls which respectively project generally upwardly from a pair of opposite edge portions of said bottom wall, and a pair of end walls which respectively project generally upwardly from another pair of opposite edge portions of said bottom wall, an endless rigid hoop having a first pair of legs extending along upper edge portions of the respective side walls and a second pair of legs extending between said first legs, each said end wall defining therein a horizontally elongate groove which extends along a substantial portion of said end wall along an upper edge portion thereof and opens sidewardly along a length of said end wall, said second legs of said hoop being engaged within the respective grooves.
  15. 15. The container of claim 14 wherein said first legs of said hoop are disposed within channels defined in said upper edge portions of the respective side walls.
  16. 16. The container of claim 14 including a one-way locking arrangement which cooperates between said side, bottom and end walls to secure said end walls to said side and bottom walls.
  17. 17. The container of claim 14 including a releasable locking arrangement which cooperates between said side, bottom and end walls to fasten said end walls to said side and bottom walls.
  18. 18. The container of claim 14 wherein each said end wall defines a pair of generally vertically oriented channels in which upright edge portions of the respective side walls are seated, and each said end wall defines a generally horizontally oriented channel in which an edge portion of said bottom wall is seated.
  19. 19. The container of claim 14 wherein said grooves are defined in outwardly facing surfaces of the respective upper edge portions such that second legs are disposed in surrounding relation with the respective end walls.
  20. 20. The container of claim 14 wherein said side and bottom walls are formed from a single-sheet of corrugated material, and said end walls are separate components from said side and bottom walls.
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US20080053025A1 (en) * 2006-04-07 2008-03-06 Rich Howe Clip
US20080216426A1 (en) * 2007-03-09 2008-09-11 Tuff Shed, Inc. Building with Interlocking Panels
US7658038B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-02-09 Lifetime Products, Inc. System and method for constructing a modular enclosure
US7707783B2 (en) 2005-05-11 2010-05-04 Lifetime Products, Inc. Modular enclosure
US7770337B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-08-10 Lifetime Products, Inc. Modular enclosure with offset panels
US7770339B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-08-10 Lifetime Products, Inc. Roof system for a modular enclosure
US7770334B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-08-10 Lifetime Products, Inc. Door assembly for a modular enclosure
US7779579B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-08-24 Lifetime Products, Inc. Packaging system for a modular enclosure
US7797885B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2010-09-21 Lifetime Products, Inc. Modular enclosure
US7926227B2 (en) 2004-03-29 2011-04-19 Lifetime Products, Inc. Modular enclosure with living hinges
US8020347B2 (en) 2005-05-11 2011-09-20 Lifetime Products, Inc. Modular enclosure
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