US20090064428A1 - Cabana tailgate ramp - Google Patents

Cabana tailgate ramp Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090064428A1
US20090064428A1 US11/853,335 US85333507A US2009064428A1 US 20090064428 A1 US20090064428 A1 US 20090064428A1 US 85333507 A US85333507 A US 85333507A US 2009064428 A1 US2009064428 A1 US 2009064428A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
container
ramp
standardized cargo
moveable
cargo container
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Abandoned
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US11/853,335
Inventor
William Dale Hoffman
George Curtis Thompson
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Boeing Co
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Boeing Co
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Priority to US11/853,335 priority Critical patent/US20090064428A1/en
Assigned to THE BOEING COMPANY reassignment THE BOEING COMPANY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HOFFMAN, WILLIAM DALE, THOMPSON, GEORGE CURTIS
Publication of US20090064428A1 publication Critical patent/US20090064428A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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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
    • B65D88/00Large containers
    • B65D88/54Large containers characterised by means facilitating filling or emptying
    • B65D88/542Ramps forming part of the container

Abstract

A method and apparatus for a ramp system for use with standardized cargo containers. In one advantageous embodiment, a container system comprises a container, a hinge, and a movable ramp. The container may have an opening and the hinge may be connected to the container at the opening of the container. The moveable ramp may be connected to the hinge.

Description

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION
  • 1. Field
  • The present disclosure relates generally to containers and in particular to cargo containers. Still more particularly, the present disclosure relates to a ramp for use with containers.
  • 2. Background
  • Containerization may be a system of cargo transport, which may be accomplished using standard International Organization for Standardization containers. The containers may also be referred to as shipping or cargo containers. These types of containers may be loaded with cargo and placed onto transport vehicles, such as, for example, without limitation, container ships, railroad cars, aircraft, and trucks. On these vehicles, the containers may be transported from a source location to a destination location. These types of containers may have various dimensions. The length of these type containers may be, for example, without limitation, twenty feet, thirty feet, thirty-five feet, forty-eight feet, and fifty-three feet. A twenty foot long container may be, for example, without limitation, eight feet wide and nine feet high. These types of containers may be made of steel or other suitable materials and may be stacked for shipping.
  • Cargo or other items may be placed into and removed from these containers through an opening in the cargo container. The opening may have a door that may be closed for transport. With heavy cargo, ramps may be used to allow the cargo to be moved into and out of the container. A ramp may have two pieces, which may be put into place in front of the door or opening of the container. Placement of the ramp may require a forklift with a forklift operator and two other people to lift and move the pieces of the ramp into place. Moving pieces into place for these types of ramps may be labor intensive and prone to cause injury to workers because of the weight and complexity of these ramps.
  • Accordingly, there is a need for a method and apparatus for minimizing problems associated with placing ramps which overcomes the problems discussed above. The embodiments of the disclosure intend to satisfy this need.
  • SUMMARY
  • The advantageous embodiments provide a ramp system for use with standardized cargo containers. In one advantageous embodiment, a container system comprises a container, a hinge, and a movable ramp. The container may have an opening and the hinge may be connected to the container at the opening of the container. The moveable ramp may be connected to the hinge.
  • In another advantageous embodiment, a method may be used to move items. A fastening system holding the moveable ramp in a closed position on the container may be disengaged. The moveable ramp may be attached to the container by a hinge and may be located in front of an opening to an interior of the container. The moveable ramp may be lowered into an open position and items from the container may be removed using the moveable ramp.
  • The features, functions, and advantages can be achieved independently in various embodiments of the present disclosure or may be combined in yet other embodiments in which further details can be seen with reference to the following description and drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The novel features believed characteristic of the advantageous embodiments are set forth in the appended claims. The advantageous embodiments, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an advantageous embodiment of the present disclosure when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • FIG. 1 is a flow diagram of aircraft production and service methodology in which an advantageous embodiment may be implemented;
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an aircraft in accordance with an advantageous embodiment;
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating functional components of a container in accordance with an advantageous embodiment;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a cabana in accordance with an advantageous embodiment;
  • FIG. 5 is an illustration of a front-end of a cabana with a moveable ramp in an open position in accordance with an advantageous embodiment;
  • FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of a ramp and container for a cabana in accordance with an advantageous embodiment;
  • FIG. 7 is a more detailed illustration of a tab and fastening system for a moveable ramp in accordance with an advantageous embodiment; and
  • FIG. 8 is a flowchart of a process for accessing a cabana in accordance with an advantageous embodiment.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring more particularly to the drawings, embodiments of the disclosure may be described in the context of aircraft manufacturing and service method 100 as shown in FIG. 1 and aircraft 102 as shown in FIG. 2. During pre-production, exemplary method 100 may include specification and design 104 of aircraft 102 and material procurement 106. During production, component and subassembly manufacturing 108 and system integration 110 of aircraft 102 takes place. Thereafter, aircraft 102 may go through certification and delivery 112 in order to be placed in service 114. While in service by a customer, aircraft 102 is scheduled for routine maintenance and service 116 (which may also include modification, reconfiguration, refurbishment, and so on).
  • Each of the processes of method 100 may be performed or carried out by a system integrator, a third party, and/or an operator (e.g., a customer). For the purposes of this description, a system integrator may include without limitation any number of aircraft manufacturers and major-system subcontractors; a third party may include without limitation any number of venders, subcontractors, and suppliers; and an operator may be an airline, leasing company, military entity, service organization, and so on.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, aircraft 102 produced by exemplary method 100 may include airframe 118 with a plurality of systems 120 and interior 122. Examples of high-level systems 120 include one or more of propulsion system 124, electrical system 126, hydraulic system 126, and environmental system 130. Any number of other systems may be included. Although an aerospace example is shown, the principles of the disclosure may be applied to other industries, such as the automotive industry.
  • Apparatus and methods embodied herein may be employed during any one or more of the stages of production and service method 100. For example, components or subassemblies corresponding to production process 108 may be fabricated or manufactured in a manner similar to components or subassemblies produced while aircraft 102 is in service. Also, one or more apparatus embodiments, method embodiments, or a combination thereof may be utilized during production stages 108 and 110, for example, by substantially expediting assembly of or reducing the cost of aircraft 102. Similarly, one or more of apparatus embodiments, method embodiments, or a combination thereof may be utilized while aircraft 102 is in service, for example and without limitation, to maintenance and service 116.
  • The different advantageous embodiments recognize that these types of containers may have many uses beyond the normal shipping of goods from one place to another. A non-limiting example of another use may be to move items for use during certification and delivery 110 or maintenance and service 114. More specifically, these types of containers may be used to transport items, such as, for example, without limitation, equipment, tools, tool boxes, and supplies for use during an aircraft on ground situation.
  • An aircraft on ground situation may be a situation in which a problem is present with an aircraft that may be serious enough to prevent the aircraft from flying. With this type of situation, a maintenance team, along with their tools and parts, may be called upon to travel to the location of the aircraft to fix the problem. The different advantageous embodiments employ the use of modified cargo containers for these types of situations. These types of containers may be referred to as cabanas.
  • The different advantageous embodiments recognize that finding or locating a ramp at an aircraft on ground site may be time consuming. In some instances, a ramp may be unavailable at the site. With this type situation, the movement of equipment and tools into and out of a cabana may become more difficult. In these examples, the different tools and parts may often be heavy enough that the tools may be stored within tool boxes with wheels to facilitate rolling these units in and out of the cabanas. Further, certain parts may be heavy enough that they may be placed on dollies, hand trucks, or other rolling support mechanisms to facilitate their movement into and out of the cabana. These parts include, for example, without limitation, landing gear components, landing gear doors, cargo compartment doors, ailerons, rudders, and engine parts.
  • Also, in some cases, these ramps may be placed into the cabana for transport to a particular location. This type of implementation, however, may be non-optimal and space within the cabana may be limited. Further, in some places, a forklift may be unavailable for use in placing the ramps. Having personnel move and place these ramps into place without a forklift may result in injuries.
  • Thus, the different advantageous embodiments provide a method and apparatus for transporting items. In one advantageous embodiment, a container system may have a container, a hinge, and a movable ramp. The hinge is connected to the container at an opening of the container. Additionally, the hinge may be connected to the movable ramp such that the movable ramp may be rotatable or movable with respect to the container. In the different advantageous embodiments, the container system may take the form of a cabana or other type of container for transporting items or other cargo.
  • In these examples, the container may be a standardized cargo container. A standardized cargo container may be a container constructed using a set of standards or specifications. For example, a standardized cargo container may specify dimensions and materials to be used. Standardization may allow for stacking and easier movement of containers. Further, the standards or specifications may set out features to facilitate handling of standardized cargo containers using equipment, such as, for example, without limitation, a crane, a fork lift, or a twist lock.
  • With reference next to FIG. 3, a block diagram illustrating functional components of cabana 300 is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this example, cabana 300 may be an example of a container system used in the maintenance of an aircraft. In this example, cabana 300 may include, for example, without limitation, container 302, power interface 304, lights 306, door 308, and moveable ramp 310. Container 302 may take the form of a cargo container and may take various lengths, such as, for example, without limitation, twenty feet or forty feet. Container 302 may be eight feet wide and nine feet high, in these examples. The dimensions may vary, depending on the particular implementation.
  • In this example, container 302 may be made of steel. Of course, other materials, such as, for example, without limitation, iron composite, aluminum, or other suitable materials may be used, depending on the particular implementation. In these examples, container 302 is in the form of a cuboid, which may be a solid figure bounded by six rectangular faces. The different advantageous embodiments may be applied to containers that have other shapes.
  • Power interface 304 may be attached to container 302 and may provide an ability to connect container 302 to a power source and provide outlets within container 302 to supply power for various tools. Further, cabana 300 may also include lights 306. In these examples, lights 306 may be connected to power interface 304 to provide light within container 302.
  • Door 308 may be a moveable door that provides access to the interior of container 302. In the different advantageous embodiments, moveable ramp 310 may take the form of a tailgate ramp or moveable ramp that may be affixed to container 302. In these examples, moveable ramp 310 may provide an ability to move equipment and other items into and out of container 302 more quickly and easily.
  • In the different advantageous embodiments, moveable ramp 310 may be attached to container 302 in a manner that allows moveable ramp 310 to pivot or turn relative to container 302. Moveable ramp 310 may be lowered into place in an open position, rather than requiring placement of a separate ramp to access container 302. Further, by including moveable ramp 310 with cabana 300, having to find or locate a ramp and/or forklift at an aircraft on ground site may become unnecessary.
  • The different components illustrated within cabana 300 are non-limiting examples of functional components. Other components may be found within cabana 300 in addition to the ones illustrated. Further, with other advantageous embodiments, container 302 may be used with moveable ramp 310 to provide an ability to more easily move items into and out of container 300.
  • Turning now to FIG. 4, a perspective view of cabana 300 is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this perspective view, cabana 300 may include top 400, bottom 402, side 404, side 406, end 408 and end 410. In this illustration, end 410 may include door 308 and moveable ramp 310.
  • Door 308 may be a moveable door that may roll up and down along a track system to provide access to the interior of cabana 300. In other advantageous embodiments, door 308 may be attached to a side of the opening to swing open either outward or inward. Moveable ramp 310 may be a moveable ramp that may fold downward to provide access to door 308. In this illustration, moveable ramp 310 may be in a closed or secured position. Placement of moveable ramp 310 in front of door 308 may allow for a quick and easy placement of moveable ramp 310 into a position for moving items into and out of cabana 300, as compared to currently used ramps for moving cargo.
  • In this example, moveable ramp 310 is attached to container 302 through hinge 412. Moveable ramp 310 may be made of materials other than that used for container 302. For example, instead of steel, moveable ramp 310 may be made from aluminum or some other alloy composite or other suitable material. In these examples, the type of material for movable ramp 310 may be selected to minimize the weight of moveable ramp 310, increasing the ease of lowering and lifting moveable ramp 310.
  • Additionally, moveable ramp 310 also may include channels 414, 416, and 418 which may be attached or welded to bottom surface 420 of moveable ramp 310 and may be structural members that provide reinforcement for movable ramp 310. In these examples, channels 414, 416, and 418 may be two by four inches in dimensions to form a strengthening member or rib to increase the strength of moveable ramp 310. A variety of cross section sizes and shapes may be used, including, without limitation, “I” beams, “C” channels, “L” beams, and box beams. Cross section size and shape may vary along its length.
  • Hinge 412 may be located at bottom 402 at end 410. Hinge 412 may be a mechanical device that connects to two components and allows rotation between the components. In the depicted examples, hinge 412 may take the form of a piano hinge. The hinge may be fabricated from stainless steel, or other suitable materials. In these examples, hinge 412 may allow movable ramp 310 to pivot or rotate relative to container 302. Of course, any other type of hinge or mechanical structure may be used that may allow moveable ramp 310 to pivot or move from a closed position to an open position.
  • In this example, moveable ramp 310 also may include tabs 422 and 424. These tabs may prevent moveable ramp 310 from falling inward into container 302 of cabana 300 when door 308 is opened.
  • Further, cabana 300 also may include fastening system 426 and fastening system 428. These fastening systems may be employed to secure movable ramp 310 in a closed position as depicted in FIG. 4.
  • With reference now to FIG. 5, an illustration of a front-end of cabana 300 with moveable ramp 310 in an open position is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this particular example, moveable ramp 310 is in an open position. Moveable ramp 310 may be moveable at hinge 412 to move moveable ramp 310 between an open and closed position. In some embodiments, movable ramp 310 may be removable as well as movable.
  • In this example, hinge 412 may be a piano hinge with plate 512 attached or joined to floor 514 inside container 400. Dotted line 500 shows moveable ramp 310 in phantom to illustrate the move ability of moveable ramp 310. Movable ramp 310 may be moved downward into an open position to allow access to items located inside of container 302 of cabana 300.
  • Movable ramp 310 may be moved upwards into a closed position when access to cabana 300 is no longer needed. As can be seen, in this illustration, moveable ramp 310 may be easily moved from a closed position to an open position to allow the movement of items into and out of cabana 300. In these examples, items, such as toolbox units 502 and 504, may be moved into and out of container 302 of cabana 300 using moveable ramp 310.
  • Further, in these different advantageous embodiments, top surface 508 of ramp 310 may include non-slip material 510. Non-slip material 510 may reduce the possibility of items sliding on movable ramp 310. Non-slip material 510 may increase the coefficient friction in a manner that increases the force needed for an object to slide on top surface 508. Non-slip material 510 may be, for example, without limitation, non-slip paint, pressure sensitive backed grit tapes, or a non-slip laminate.
  • With reference now to FIG. 6, a cross-sectional view of a portion of movable ramp 310 and container 302 for cabana 300 is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this example, container 302 and moveable ramp 310 for cabana 300 are shown in a partial cross-sectional view taken along lines 6-6 from FIG. 5.
  • In this view, hinge 412 may be joined or attached to bottom surface 420 of moveable ramp 310. Hole 600 may be part of fastening system 426, in these examples.
  • Turning next to FIG. 7, a more detailed illustration of tab 424 and fastening system 428 for moveable ramp 310 is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this example, fastening system 428 may be used to secure moveable ramp 310 in a closed position with respect to container 302 through placement of pin 700 through holes 702 and 600. Pin 700 may be secured in place with fastener 704. This type of mechanism may hold moveable ramp 310 in place for transport or when access to the interior of cabana 300 may not be needed.
  • Although fastening system 428 may be shown in the form of a pin and fastener, other types of fastening systems may be used. For example, without limitation, a lock may be used to secure moveable ramp 310 to container 302. With this type of configuration, when moveable ramp 310 is in a closed position, access to open door 308 may be prevented. If a lock is used to secure moveable ramp 310 in place, a lock may be unnecessary to keep door 308 closed. Alternatively, a lock also may be used with door 308 to provide additional security for the items stored within container 302 of cabana 300.
  • Turning now to FIG. 8, a flowchart of a process for accessing a cabana is depicted in accordance with an advantageous embodiment. In this example, the process begins by unsecuring the moveable ramp in the closed position (operation 800). In operation 800, the movable ramp may be unsecured by disengaging the fastening system holding the movable ramp in the closed position on the container.
  • Thereafter, the process may lower the moveable ramp into an open position (operation 802). In these examples, the ramp may be lowered into the open position by two workers. Although, in other embodiments, other numbers of workers may be employed to open the ramp. With the moveable ramp being attached to the cabana, the use of a forklift becomes unnecessary, in these examples.
  • Next, the door may be opened (operation 804). After the door has been opened, items may be removed or placed into the container of the cabana (operation 806). These materials are merely examples of materials that may be used in one embodiment. The types of materials selected may vary in different embodiments and implementations. Further, in operation 806, other activities may take place. For example, without limitation, repairs to parts may be performed within the cabana.
  • Thereafter, maintenance may be performed on an aircraft using items from the cabana (operation 808). In operation 808, the maintenance may be performed using the items from the aircraft. For example, the items may be, for example, without limitation, toolkit units containing tools needed to perform maintenance on an aircraft and parts needed to perform the maintenance. Operation 808 is an optional step, depending on the implementation. In the instance in which the process may be performed to load items for transport to a location for maintenance, this operation is omitted.
  • When access is no longer needed to the cabana, the process may close the door (operation 810). Thereafter, the process may raise the moveable ramp into a closed position (operation 812), and the moveable ramp may be secured through a fastening system as described above (operation 814), with the process terminating thereafter. This fastening system may be, for example, without limitation, a pair of pins, a pair of locks, or some combination of the two. At this point, the cabana may now be secured and ready for transport.
  • Thus, the different advantageous embodiments provide a method and apparatus for transporting items. In one of the advantageous embodiments, a container system has a container with an opening. A hinge may be connected to the container at the opening of the container. A movable ramp may be connected to the hinge. This movable ramp may be movable into either a closed or open position. In an open position, the movable ramp may provide workers and other users an ability to move items into and out of a container. These items may be, for example, toolbox units containing tools for performing maintenance on aircraft or other vehicles. In other advantageous embodiments, the items also may include different parts needed to perform the maintenance.
  • This container system may reduce a need to locate a ramp when arriving at a location to perform work, such as maintenance on an aircraft on the ground. Further, a need for a forklift or other equipment to move a ramp into place also may be unnecessary with this type of container system. With these different features, the time needed to perform maintenance on an aircraft may be reduced.
  • The description of the different advantageous embodiments has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the embodiments in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. The different advantageous embodiments described in the illustrative examples are directed towards a container in the form of a cabana. Other advantageous embodiments may be directed towards other types of containers.
  • For example, without limitation, the different embodiments may be implemented in cargo containers that are normally used to transport cargo, such as, for example, without limitation, tires, computers, perishable items, lumber, concrete, furniture, and consumer electronics. Further, the different advantageous embodiments may provide different advantages as compared to other advantageous embodiments. The embodiment or embodiments selected are chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the embodiments, the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the disclosure for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.

Claims (20)

1. A standardized cargo container system comprising:
a container having an opening;
a hinge connected to the container at the opening of the container; and
a moveable ramp connected to the hinge.
2. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1 further comprising:
a door connected to the opening.
3. The standardized cargo container system of claim 2, wherein the door is moveable upwards and downwards.
4. The standardized cargo container system of claim 2, wherein the hinge is connected to a bottom portion of the opening of the container and wherein the moveable ramp moves upward into a closed position and moves downward into an open position.
5. The standardized cargo container system of claim 4, wherein the moveable ramp obscures at least a portion of the door when the moveable ramp is in the closed position.
6. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1, wherein the movable ramp comprises:
a substantially planar member having a top surface and a bottom surface; and
at least one reinforcement member attached to the bottom surface.
7. The standardized cargo container system of claim 6 further comprising:
a tab located on one of the plurality of reinforcement members, wherein the tab prevents the moveable ramp from falling inward into the container when the moveable ramp is moved into the closed position.
8. The standardized cargo container system of claim 6, wherein the top surface of the substantially planar member has a non-slip material.
9. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1, wherein the container is a cuboid.
10. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1, wherein the container is comprised of steel and the moveable ramp is comprised of aluminum.
11. The standardized cargo container system of claim 4 further comprising:
a fastener system capable of securing the moveable ramp in the closed position.
12. The standardized cargo container system of claim 11, wherein the fastener system comprises a first hole in the moveable ramp, a second hole in the container aligned to the first hole when the moveable ramp is in the closed position, and a pin capable of being placed through the first hole and the second hole when the moveable ramp is in the closed position.
13. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1 further comprising:
a power interface attached to the container, wherein the power interface is capable of providing power to an interior of the container when coupled to a power source.
14. The standardized cargo container system of claim 13 further comprising:
a set of lights located inside of the container, wherein the set of lights are electrically connected to the power interface.
15. The standardized cargo container system of claim 14, wherein the container system is a cabana.
16. The standardized cargo container system of claim 1 further comprising:
tool kit units located inside of the container.
17. A method for accessing a standardized cargo container, the method comprising:
disengaging a an attachment system holding a moveable ramp in a closed position on the container, wherein the moveable ramp is attached to the container by a hinge and is located in front of an opening to an interior of the container;
lowering the moveable ramp into an open position; and
accessing the container using the moveable ramp.
18. The method of claim 17 further comprising:
raising the movable ramp back to the closed position; and
securing the movable ramp in the closed position.
19. The method of claim 17 further comprising:
opening a door in the opening.
20. The method of claim 17, wherein the accessing step comprises removing items from the standardized cargo container using the movable ramp and further comprising:
using the items removed from the standardized cargo container to perform maintenance on an aircraft.
US11/853,335 2007-09-11 2007-09-11 Cabana tailgate ramp Abandoned US20090064428A1 (en)

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US20140304927A1 (en) * 2013-04-11 2014-10-16 Vacon Oyj Installation arrangement for a power electronics device
US9545867B2 (en) * 2015-03-29 2017-01-17 Dropstor, Inc. Ramp wall operating arrangement
US20170156226A1 (en) * 2015-11-30 2017-06-01 Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. Power converter

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US20140304927A1 (en) * 2013-04-11 2014-10-16 Vacon Oyj Installation arrangement for a power electronics device
US9545867B2 (en) * 2015-03-29 2017-01-17 Dropstor, Inc. Ramp wall operating arrangement
US20170156226A1 (en) * 2015-11-30 2017-06-01 Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. Power converter

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