US20140124464A1 - Rack and method of use - Google Patents

Rack and method of use Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140124464A1
US20140124464A1 US14/074,161 US201314074161A US2014124464A1 US 20140124464 A1 US20140124464 A1 US 20140124464A1 US 201314074161 A US201314074161 A US 201314074161A US 2014124464 A1 US2014124464 A1 US 2014124464A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
rack
base
cradle
cylindrical
stringers
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US14/074,161
Inventor
Christopher M. Nijakowski
Michael Staudinger
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Dana Automotive Systems Group LLC
Original Assignee
Dana Automotive Systems Group LLC
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US201261723764P priority Critical
Application filed by Dana Automotive Systems Group LLC filed Critical Dana Automotive Systems Group LLC
Priority to US14/074,161 priority patent/US20140124464A1/en
Assigned to DANA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS GROUP, LLC reassignment DANA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS GROUP, LLC ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: NIJAKOWSKI, CHRISTOPHER M., STAUDINGER, Michael
Publication of US20140124464A1 publication Critical patent/US20140124464A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • B65D85/00Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials
    • B65D85/20Containers, packaging elements or packages, specially adapted for particular articles or materials for incompressible or rigid rod-shaped or tubular articles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F16ENGINEERING ELEMENTS AND UNITS; GENERAL MEASURES FOR PRODUCING AND MAINTAINING EFFECTIVE FUNCTIONING OF MACHINES OR INSTALLATIONS; THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
    • F16LPIPES; JOINTS OR FITTINGS FOR PIPES; SUPPORTS FOR PIPES, CABLES OR PROTECTIVE TUBING; MEANS FOR THERMAL INSULATION IN GENERAL
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    • F16L3/22Supports for pipes, cables or protective tubing, e.g. hangers, holders, clamps, cleats, clips, brackets specially adapted for supporting a number of parallel pipes at intervals
    • F16L3/223Supports for pipes, cables or protective tubing, e.g. hangers, holders, clamps, cleats, clips, brackets specially adapted for supporting a number of parallel pipes at intervals each support having one transverse base for supporting the pipes
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Abstract

Described herein is an improved rack for efficient and safe storage and transport of cylindrical or near cylindrical product. The rack may be rectangular or square in shape and consist of a base with uprights, which may form the base rails on the sides of the rack, and side end rails. The base includes openings at predetermined intervals on its short sides and on its long sides to accept tines from a fork lift. The base further includes stringers and ribs. The stringers support cradles having two L-shaped sections which extend the length of the cradle. The base of the cradle includes teeth that engage with one or more ribs to allow the cradle to selectively lock into a predetermined position in the rack. The cradle base portion includes a cradle upper portion which may define product support sections. The product support sections are designed to support a cylindrical or near cylindrical product such as drive shaft tubes or tie rods for vehicles.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is claiming the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of the provisional application filed on Nov. 7, 2012, under 35 U.S.C. §111(b), which was granted Ser. No. 61/723,764, and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a rack for holding cylindrical or nearly cylindrical product. The rack can aid in the efficient storage or transport of the product.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Manufacturing of specialized or uncommon products can result in a need for specialized storage and transport solutions. Described herein is a rack for holding cylindrical or nearly cylindrical product.
  • Other racks have been described. Some describe racks with a base that is designed to receive the tines of a forklift. Others describe racks with concave supports for receiving cylindrical product thereon. Discussed below are several examples of known racks.
  • U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,474,613, 6,322,034, 6,209,839, 5,123,547, 4,901,870, 4,832,196, 4,195,732 and 3,590,752 all generally disclose a support member with concave portions spaced along its length for receiving/supporting a tube shaped member therein and/or a base portion designed to receive forklift tines therein.
  • U.S. Pat. Nos. 7,726,496, 3,620,388 and 3,499,398 teach framework barriers on the ends and sides of a rack.
  • U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,123,208 and 6,422,405 teach adjustable racks. The racks have male and female base members, each with fastener receiving apertures. The male base member is located within the female base member and a fastener is located in the aligned apertures to fix the two together at a predetermined length.
  • There remains a need for an improved rack for efficient and safe storage and transport of cylindrical or near cylindrical product. Described herein is such a rack. The rack may be rectangular and consist of a base with uprights, which may form the base rails on the sides of the rack, and side end rails. The base includes openings at predetermined intervals on its short sides and on its long sides to accept tines from a fork lift. The base further includes stringers and ribs. The base supports a cradle having two L-shaped sections which extend the length of the cradle as illustrated. The base of the cradle includes teeth that engage with one or more ribs to allow the cradle to selectively lock into a predetermined position in the rack. The cradle base portion includes a cradle upper portion which may define product support sections. The product support sections are designed to support a cylindrical or near cylindrical product such as drive shaft tubes or tie rods for vehicles.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed toward a rack that has a base with stringers and ribs. The ribs and stringers may be substantially transverse to one another. The rack should have at least one cradle. Each cradle has a base portion and an upper portion that is supported on the base portion. The base portion is slidably supported on said stringers by two complimentary surfaces slidably engaged with two surfaces on each of the stringers. The said base portion may have teeth for selectably engaging with the ribs. The said upper portion of the cradle may have supports for selectively receiving product thereon.
  • In a preferred embodiment, the supports are tapered. In other embodiments, the rack may also have at least one side rail, or end rail or both. It may also have at least one screen. Optionally, the at least one cradle may have an open end and a closed end. The rack may also have at least one spacer.
  • The invention also relates to a rack with at least one cylindrical or near cylindrical product located thereon.
  • The invention further relates to the method of storing cylindrical or near cylindrical product that involves providing a rack with at least one cradle as described above. In a preferred embodiment, the supports on the cradle provided in the method are tapered. In other embodiments, the rack provided in the method may also have at least one side rail, or end rail or both. The rack provided in the method may also have at least one screen. Optionally, the at least one cradle provided in the method may have an open end and a closed end. The rack provided in the method may also have at least one spacer.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The above, as well as other advantages of the present invention, will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description when considered in the light of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the rack of one embodiment of the invention holding cylindrical or near cylindrical product.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the base of the rack of one embodiment of the invention showing several cradles, with one cylindrical or near cylindrical product having end fittings resting in a single cradle.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an isolated cradle, as used in one embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an isolated spacer, as used in one embodiment of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • It is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific assemblies, methods and features illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are simply exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts. Hence, specific dimensions, directions, or other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed are not to be considered as limiting, unless expressly stated otherwise. Also, although they may not be, like elements in various embodiments may be commonly referred to with like reference numerals within this section of the application.
  • Described herein is an improved rack for efficient and safe storage and transport of cylindrical or near cylindrical product. A rack 100, one embodiment of which is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, is provided. The rack 100 may be of any shape, but is shown as rectangular, having a length 102 and a width 104. The rack 100 may have two end portions 106 spanning the width 104 of the rack 100.
  • The shape of the rack 100 is in part defined by the rack base 110. The base 110 may be unitary and one-piece or it may be comprised of multiple pieces. In the depicted embodiment, the base 110 is comprised of multiple individual pieces that have been connected together such as by mechanical fasteners, welding and/or male/female connections.
  • It is preferred that the base 110 define openings 120 at predetermined intervals on at least one side of the base 110, but openings 120 may be present on all sides. The depicted embodiment shows openings 120 on all sides. The openings 120 are sized, shaped and positioned so as to accept tines from a fork lift. The openings 120 permit one or more forklifts to engage the base, pick up the rack 100 and move it or lift it to a desired location.
  • At least one upright 130 is connected to the base 110. The at least one upright 130 may be located at any location about the base 110. In the depicted embodiment, several uprights 130 are located at the four corners of the base 110.
  • The uprights 130 may be used to form base rails 140 on the sides of the rack 100. The base rails 140 assist in maintaining product items when the product items are located within the rack 100. The base rails 140 also function to protect the product items within the rack 100 from objects outside of the rack 100.
  • The rack 100 may also comprise side rails 150 and end rails 160. The side rails 150 and end rails 160 may be part of a single system or they may be separately formed. In the depicted embodiment, the side rails 150 and end rails 160 are connected together and move as a unit. In the depicted embodiment, the united side rails 150 and end rails 160 system is located on two sides of the rack 100. Preferably, the united side rail 150 and end rail 160 system may comprises two side rails 150 and one end rail 160. The side rails 150 connect with the end rail 160. The side rails 150 and the end rails 160 help keep goods inside of the rack and other materials from entering the rack. The side rails 150 and end rails 160 may be removably mounted to the base portion 110 and/or the base portion uprights 130. Various shapes and designs and numbers of the side 150 and end rails 160 are permissible not limited to the shown design.
  • In addition, the rack 100 may comprise a safety screen 165 mounted to the end rails 160. The safety screen 165 can be of any configurations, but is intended to prevent an additional barrier to the product coming loose and sliding out of rack 100.
  • The side rails 150 may have one more portals 170 for people and/or machines to access the interior of the rack 100. Preferably, the side rails 150 have aligned portals 170 to facilitate equal access on both sides of the rack 100.
  • As detailed in one embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the base 110 may also comprises one or more stringers 180. The one or more stringer 180 runs the length 102 of rack 100, either as a single piece or as two or more pieces connected together. The one or more stringer 180 has a first 182 and second surface 184. In the depicted embodiment, the stringers 180 have an upstanding portion 190 that provides an unobstructed run along at least a portion of their length. The stringers 180 may be parallel to one another and equally spaced from one other.
  • The base 110 may also comprise one or more ribs 198. The one or more ribs 198 run the width 104 of the rack 100, either as a single piece or as two or more pieces connected together. The one or more ribs 198 extend transversely to the one or more stringers 180 in the depicted embodiment, however, the invention is not restricted to just this orientation. The one or more ribs 198 serve to provide stops and resting spots for the one or more cradles 200 that hold product, therefore, any orientation that allows the one or more cradles 200 to engage one or more ribs 198 is permissible and included within the scope of the disclosed invention.
  • As mentioned above, the base 110 supports at least one cradle 200. An isolated view of one embodiment of the cradle 200 can be seen in FIG. 3. More particularly, the one or more stringers 180 selectively slidably support at least one cradle 200. The at least one cradle 200 comprise a base portion 210 that rests on at least one stringer 180. In the depicted embodiment, a single cradle 200 rests on two stringers 180.
  • The cradle base portion 210 preferably has two L-shaped sections 220. However, the L-shaped sections 220 need not be L-shaped, they need only be complementary to the profile of the stringers 180. Preferably, each L-shaped section 220 rests on a first 182 and second 184 surface of one stringer 180. The L-shaped sections 220 have a complimentary shape to the first 182 and second 184 stringer surfaces. The L-shaped sections 220 may preferably be parallel to one another and may preferably equally spaced from one another. The L-shaped sections 220 may extend for the length of the cradle 200, but may only extend a portion of the length of the cradle 200.
  • The cradle base portion 210 may have one or more teeth 240 that engage with one or more ribs 198 so as to permit the cradle 200 to selectively lock into a predetermined position in the rack 100. The teeth 240 may rectangular in shape, but any shape that is complementary to the profile of the ribs 198 is contemplated. The base portion of the cradle 210 permits a cradle 200 to engage with any rib 198 so that the cradle 200 can be located anywhere along the length 102 of the rack 100.
  • The cradle base portion 210 supports a cradle upper portion 250. The cradle upper portion 250 may comprise any design, depending on the design and shape of the product, but in the depicted design the cradle upper portion 250 comprises product support sections 260. As shown the product support sections 260 are tubes that extend the length of the cradle. The product support sections 260 may be of any form or design or shape so as to allow for support of the product to be stored or transported. In the depicted embodiment, the product support sections 260 are cylindrical as they support a cylindrical or near cylindrical product such as driveshaft assemblies or tie rod assemblies.
  • In one embodiment the product support sections 260 have a tapered design. The product support sections 260 may taper from one end of the cradle continuing to the other end of the cradle. The taper may be formed by changing either (1) the thickness or diameter of the product support sections 260, (2) how the product support sections 260 are attached to the base portion of the cradle 210, or (3) both. The tapered design permits product with end fittings (discussed below) to rest on the end fittings rather than a tube portion of the product. The tapered design also helps prevent product from shifting from one end of the cradle 200 to the other end during transport of the rack 100. Further, the tapered design also permits product of different lengths to be located in the rack 100 with a minimization of cradle 200 repositioning.
  • An additional advantage of the taper is that it minimizes discoloration during any heat treating process and it allows for uniform heat to be applied to the product, especially if the product is an aluminum or aluminum alloy or other metal cylinder or near cylinder (described below).
  • The one or more product support sections 260 function to maintain lateral spacing between product stored on or in them. Thus, the one or more product support sections 260 prevent or reduce lateral movement of product so that products located thereon or therein do not come in contact with one another and/or other portions of the rack 100 or become dislodged from the rack 100.
  • Multiple cradles 200 may be used in a single rack 100. As shown in Fig. , four cradles 200 are positioned across the width 104 of the rack 100 adjacent to each end portion 106 of the rack 100. A greater or fewer number of cradles 200 may be used. Additionally, cradles 200 may be located between the end portions 106 of the rack 100.
  • Each cradle 200 may have a substantially open end 280 and substantially closed end 290. The substantially closed end 290 may be adjacent the end portion 106 of the rack 100 while the substantially open end 280 is opposite the substantially closed end 290.
  • The substantially open end 280 of the cradle 200 may be defined by a concave shaped partial wall 295. The concave shaped partial wall 295 has bilateral symmetry in two axes, forming essentially a flat U-shape. The concave shape of the partial wall 295 assists in permitting product in the rack to be nested, can provide a compressive force on the racked product and/or at least function as a limit or boundary for the product.
  • The rack 100 is designed to be used for storing and/or transporting cylindrical or near cylindrical products, such as drive shaft assemblies or tie rods for vehicles. The rack 100 is dimensioned so that multiple products can be supported in the rack while they are laid in the rack 100 on their sides. To permit multiple products to be supported in the rack 100 on their sides, and so that the products do not touch one another, spacers 300 may be provided.
  • The spacers 300 have an upper surface 302 and a lower surface 304. One embodiment of the spacer 300 is shown in FIG. 4. The upper surface 302 may be defined by a plurality of concave shapes 306. The lower surface 304 may also be defined by a plurality of concave shapes 308. The concave shapes 306 and 308 may be axially aligned with one another or they may be offset from one another.
  • The concave shapes 306 and 308 may have a complimentary shape to the exterior surface of the product 320. The products 320 may fit within the concave shapes 306 and 308. For example, an upper portion 322 of a lower product 320 a may reside in the lower surface concave shape 308 and a lower portion 324 of another product 320 b may reside in the upper surface concave shape 306 directly opposite the lower product 320 a.
  • One or more spacers 300 may be located along the length of the products 320 so as to support the products 320, to keep them from contacting one another and to keep the products 320 at a preferred orientation, such as substantially horizontal.
  • Products 320 may comprise manufactured items such as drive shaft assemblies or tie rods and may have end fittings 330 located in their end portions 340. The end fittings 330 may be those such as yokes. Such end fittings 330 have been described in many patents, such as described in, but not limited to, U.S. Pat. No. RE 41,101, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety to the extent permitted by law.
  • The cradle 200 may be designed to support the tube portion 350 of the product 320, the end fitting 330 and/or the joint 360 between the tube portion 350 and the end fitting 330. Preferably, the cradle 200 is designed to primarily contact and support the end fitting 330. The end fittings 330 are typically constructed of steel and are very robust. By contrast, the tubes 350 are usually constructed of lightweight aluminum alloy. Furthermore, as the tubes 350 are often constructed to exact dimensions and weight; it is undesirable for them to become dented. The end fittings 330 are better positioned to bear the weight of the tube(s) 350, spacers 300, etc. and thus it is preferred that the end fittings 330, rather than the tube 350, are in contact with the cradle 200.
  • It can be appreciated that the invention works equally well whether the tubes 350 have end fittings 330 located therein or not. For example, the rack 100 and cradles 200 can be used for transport and/or storage of just the tubes 350, or for the tubes 350 with the end fittings 330 located therein. Furthermore, the adjustability of the cradles 200 within the rack 100 permits tubes 350 and/or tubes 350 with end fittings 330 to be transported and/or stored regardless of the length of the tube 350. Thus, it can be appreciated that tubes 350 with or without end fittings 330 and/or tubes 350 of varying length can be located in the same rack 100 by adjusting the position of the cradles 200 and/or the position of the spacers 300. The adjustment of the cradles 200 can occur by moving the cradle 200 along the stringers 180 so that the teeth 240 in the base portion 210 of the cradle 200 engage with a rib or ribs 198 and secure the position of the cradle 200.
  • It can also be appreciated that the design of the rack 100 work especially well if the tube portion 350 of the product 320 is not a perfect cylinder, but wider between its end portions 340 than at its end portions 340. This fact is especially true of the diameter of the tube 350 is at its greatest at the center of the tube 350, with a gradual lessening of diameter as the end portions 340 of the tube 350 are approached.
  • As far as materials used to construct the rack 100 or spacers 300, any suitable material may be used. Some examples are wood, plastic, metals or metal alloys such as steel or steel alloys or aluminum or aluminum alloys and the like.
  • A rack 100 with or without product 320 is intended to be included within the bounds of this invention. Further a method for the use of the rack 100 described herein to store or transport product 320 is also contemplated as being included within the bounds of this invention as disclosed.
  • In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the present invention has been described in what is considered to represent its preferred embodiments. However, it should be noted that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its spirit or scope.

Claims (16)

What is claimed:
1. A rack, comprising:
a base comprising at least two stringers and at least two ribs located substantially transverse to said at least two stringers; and
at least one cradle, each cradle having a base portion and an upper portion supported on said base portion, said base portion slidably supported on said stringers by two complimentary surfaces slidably engaged with two surfaces on each of said stringers, said base portion having teeth for selectably engaging with said ribs, said upper portion having supports for selectively receiving product thereon.
2. The rack of claim 1, wherein said at least one cradle with said upper portion has supports that are tapered.
3. The rack of claim 1 further comprising at least one side rail.
4. The rack of claim 1 further comprising at least one end rail.
5. The rack of claim 4 further comprising at least one screen attached to the at least one end rail.
6. The rack of claim 1 wherein said at least one cradle further comprises an open end and a closed end.
7. The rack of claim 1 further comprising at least one spacer.
8. The rack of claim 1 with at least one cylindrical or near cylindrical product located thereon.
9. The method of storing cylindrical or near cylindrical product comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a rack, wherein the rack comprises, a base comprising at least two stringers and at least two ribs located substantially transverse to said at least two stringers; and
(b) providing at least one cradle, each cradle having a base portion and an upper portion supported on said base portion, said base portion slidably supported on said stringers by two complimentary surfaces slidably engaged with two surfaces on each of said stringers, said base portion having teeth for selectably engaging with said ribs, said upper portion having supports for selectively receiving product thereon.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein said at least one cradle with said upper portion further comprises supports that are tapered.
11. The method of claim 9 wherein said rack further comprises at least one side rail.
12. The method of claim 9 wherein said rack further comprises at least one end rail.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein said rack further comprises at least one screen attached to the at least one end rail.
14. The method of claim 9 wherein said at least one cradle further comprises an open end and a closed end.
15. The method of claim 9 wherein said rack further comprises at least one spacer.
16. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step of storing cylindrical or near cylindrical product on said rack.
US14/074,161 2012-11-07 2013-11-07 Rack and method of use Abandoned US20140124464A1 (en)

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US14/074,161 US20140124464A1 (en) 2012-11-07 2013-11-07 Rack and method of use

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USD806260S1 (en) * 2016-07-12 2017-12-26 Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc. Sample carrier

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USD806260S1 (en) * 2016-07-12 2017-12-26 Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc. Sample carrier

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AS Assignment

Owner name: DANA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS GROUP, LLC, OHIO

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NIJAKOWSKI, CHRISTOPHER M.;STAUDINGER, MICHAEL;REEL/FRAME:031637/0838

Effective date: 20131118

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION