WO2014193241A1 - Storage structure for storing cargo - Google Patents

Storage structure for storing cargo Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2014193241A1
WO2014193241A1 PCT/NO2014/050086 NO2014050086W WO2014193241A1 WO 2014193241 A1 WO2014193241 A1 WO 2014193241A1 NO 2014050086 W NO2014050086 W NO 2014050086W WO 2014193241 A1 WO2014193241 A1 WO 2014193241A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
cargo
storage
platform
locking
trolley
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NO2014/050086
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Einar Pedersen
Original Assignee
Polotec As
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 NO20130760A priority Critical patent/NO335490B1/en
Priority to NO20130760 priority
Application filed by Polotec As filed Critical Polotec As
Publication of WO2014193241A1 publication Critical patent/WO2014193241A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G1/00Storing articles, individually or in orderly arrangement, in warehouses or magazines
    • B65G1/02Storage devices
    • B65G1/04Storage devices mechanical
    • B65G1/0471Storage devices mechanical with access from beneath
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65GTRANSPORT OR STORAGE DEVICES, e.g. CONVEYORS FOR LOADING OR TIPPING, SHOP CONVEYOR SYSTEMS OR PNEUMATIC TUBE CONVEYORS
    • B65G63/00Transferring or trans-shipping at storage areas, railway yards or harbours or in opening mining cuts; Marshalling yard installations
    • B65G63/002Transferring or trans-shipping at storage areas, railway yards or harbours or in opening mining cuts; Marshalling yard installations for articles
    • B65G63/004Transferring or trans-shipping at storage areas, railway yards or harbours or in opening mining cuts; Marshalling yard installations for articles for containers

Abstract

A storage structure 1 for storing/accommodating cargo 30, wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms 40, comprising: -a plurality of vertical columns 2 having a plurality of receiving means/ receptacles 3 adapted for engaging the cargo load platforms 40, wherein the plurality of receiving means/receptacles are arranged in a predefined vertical pattern along the vertical columns 2 corresponding to a number of possible storage positions for a number of cargo load platforms enabling flexible storage based on a height of the cargo 30 on each cargo load platform 40. A vessel with such a storage structure is also described, as well as a cargo load platform, a cargo trolley and uses of the storage structure.

Description

STORAGE STRUCTURE FOR STORING CARGO
INTRODUCTION
The present invention relates to the field of flexible storage and retrieval of heavy objects and cargo onboard vessels, in ocean and inland terminals and for industrial storage applications. In particular the invention provides a storage structure for storing/accommodating cargo, wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms; a vessel including the storage structure, a cargo load platform, a cargo trolley for transporting cargo load platforms, a method for storing cargo of varying heights in the storage structure as well as uses of the invention.
BACKGROUND
Storing heavy cargo onboard vessels and in land terminals, present numerous issues.
In the ocean container terminals, containers are stacked on top of each other, up to 6 containers high, using overhead cranes, gantry cranes, shuttle carriers or sidelift trucks to move the containers into and out of the stack. This creates a massive material handling challenge since area limitations results in containers having to be handled numerous times between receipt and dispatch. At the same time there is a requirement to serve the container vessels so that vessel turnaround time is minimized, and land side waiting time for trucks delivering or collecting containers is short. The complexities of operating the storage system results in frequent periods of disharmony between the storage area and the interface with vessels and trucking operation, reducing overall terminal efficiency which effects terminal revenue as well as vessel and trucking economics.
Onboard vessels, the traditional container vessels store containers in vertical stacks, below and above the hatches, significantly impacting the onboard logistics and the flexibility with which the vessels can load and unload in ports en route. For other trades than the container trades, the vessels are normally equipped with fixed or adjustable decks that can be adapted to actual load height which are served by access ramps or side elevators. In these types of vessels the cargo is either of ro-ro type (Roll-on/roll-off), such as car carriers where cargo is driven on/off the decks via ramps, or the cargo is brought to the deck by side port elevators and block stowed in the fixed decks using fork trucks. These types of vessels have difficulties in achieving good cube utilization of the hull as well as operational limitations in respect of the manner in which the vessel can load and unload in ports en route. All the above types of vessels are specialized to certain trades and do not have onboard automated handling technology resulting in labor cost as well as long vessel turnaround time. Being specialized, the ability to adapt to changing market needs is limited.
WO 2012/008846 describes a vessel equipped with a fully automated onboard handling system in which the cargo is placed on and secured to a skid. The skid is transported to multiple decks onboard the vessel via side elevators and stored in slots via a central aisle using automated trolleys. The automated trolleys are provided with wheels which can be turned 90 degrees to enter into the slots for storing and retrieving the cargo on the skids. The skid has foldable legs which are secured to the decks with an automated latching system. The vessel can handle all types of cargo that fits within the footprint and design capacity of the skid and does not require shore cranes for loading and unloading. The system provides a high handling capacity ship to shore, drastically reducing vessel turnaround time. The cargo is stored in slots so that cargo for specific ports are accumulated in specific slots facilitating trading between multiple ports and that simultaneous loading and unloading operations can take place.
Whereas the ISO ocean containers have defined height, other irregular objects have load heights that vary significantly and storage in traditional storage racks with fixed slot openings results in a very low cube utilization. Traditional storage racks for heavy loads also requires heavy steel constructions to support the loads and wide isles to provide access for transport equipment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The object of the present invention is to create an efficient, economical and flexible handling and storage system for heavy and irregularly shaped cargo allowing a high level of automation, optimized use of area and cube for applications in heavy industries, ocean transport and land based terminal applications.
In an aspect the invention provides a storage structure for storing/accommodating cargo, wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms, comprising:
- a plurality of vertical columns having a plurality of receiving means/ receptacles adapted for engaging the cargo load platforms, wherein the plurality of receiving means/ receptacles are arranged in a predefined vertical pattern along the vertical columns corresponding to a number of possible storage positions for a number of cargo load platforms enabling flexible storage based on a height of the cargo on each cargo load platform.
In a further aspect the invention provides a storage structure for
storing/accommodating cargo, wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms adapted to be transported by cargo trolleys, the storage structure comprising:
- a plurality of vertical columns having a plurality of receiving means/ receptacles adapted for engaging the cargo load platforms, wherein the plurality of receiving means/ receptacles are arranged in a predefined vertical pattern along the vertical columns corresponding to a number of possible storage positions for a number of cargo load platforms enabling flexible storage based on a height of the cargo on each cargo load platform; and
- wherein each cargo load platform comprising a number of locking means, wherein each locking means is adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure, wherein the locking means is adapted to be activated through an actuating mechanism on a lifting platform of the cargo trolley.
In an embodiment the plurality of vertical columns defines a number of slots, each slot providing a number of possible storage positions in a horizontal direction and a number of possible storage positions in a vertical direction. Each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot may be defined by four vertical columns. A base size of each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot may correspond to a base size of the cargo load platforms, and wherein each cargo load platform are provided with locking means for engaging the receiving means/receptacles enabling support of the cargo load platform as close to the vertical columns as possible.
The receiving means/receptacles may be provided with conical guides for the locking means on the cargo load platforms. Further, the receiving
means/receptacles are in the form of steel housings provided with a solid lower part preferably made of high strength steel. The height of each slot may
correspond to a maximum lifting height of a cargo trolley adapted for transporting the cargo load platforms. The storage structure may further comprise at least one distribution aisle serving the slots, wherein the slots are arranged transverse of the distribution aisle. The at least one distribution aisle may be provided with longitudinal rails for the cargo trolley serving the slots. Each slot may be provided with rails transverse to the longitudinal rails in the distribution aisle adapted for side transfer of the cargo trolley and cargo load platforms into and out of the slot. Power supply rails may be provided for power supply to cargo trolleys serving the slots. The vertical columns may be horizontally connected by longitudinal beams and transverse beams supporting longitudinal rails in at least one distribution aisle and transverse rails in the slots. The storage structure may be provided with bracings. Additional levels may be added to the storage structure by extending the vertical columns and adding cargo trolleys, longitudinal and transverse rails and power rails for each level.
In a further aspect the invention provides a vessel comprising a storage structure as defined above, wherein the storage structure is connected to inner sides of the vessel hull contributing to an internal strength of the vessel.
In a further aspect the invention provides a cargo load platform with a platform structure, the cargo load platform being adapted to be transported by a cargo trolley. The cargo load platform comprising a number of locking means, wherein each locking means is adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure, the locking means being activated through a mechanical connector on the underside of the cargo load platform for connecting to an external docking device on the cargo trolley lifting platform, wherein the locking means is activated by the cargo trolley.
In an embodiment the locking means is arranged in pairs on each side of the platform structure, and the locking means are activated simultaneously. Further a securing mechanism may be provided for securing the locking means when the locking means is engaged to or disengaged from the storage structure. In an embodiment the locking means may have a conical end adapted for engaging the receiving means for the cargo load platforms in the storage structure.
In a further aspect the invention provides a cargo trolley for transporting a cargo load platform, wherein the cargo load platform comprising a number of locking means adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure: the cargo trolley comprising a chassis with a wheel arrangement enabling longitudinal and transversal movement of the cargo trolley, a lifting platform adapted for engaging the cargo load platform, the lifting platform comprising an actuating mechanism enabling actuation of the locking means on the cargo load platform for engaging and disengaging the cargo load platform with a storage structure, and a lifting mechanism for lifting and lowering the lifting platform.
The wheel arrangement may comprise a first set of a wheel arrangement for running in the longitudinal direction, a second set of wheel arrangements transversally arranged to the first wheel arrangements for transversal transfer of the cargo trolley.
In a further aspect the invention provides a cargo trolley for transporting a cargo load platform, wherein the cargo load platform comprising a number of locking means adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure; the cargo trolley comprising a chassis with a first set of a wheel arrangement for running in the longitudinal direction, a second set of wheel arrangements transversally arranged to the first wheel arrangements for transversal transfer of the cargo trolley, a lifting platform adapted for engaging the cargo load platform, the lifting platform comprising an actuating mechanism enabling actuation of the locking means on the cargo load platform for engaging and disengaging the cargo load platform with a storage structure, and a lifting mechanism for lifting and lowering the lifting platform.
In an embodiment the locking means on the cargo load platform are actuated simultaneously. The lifting mechanism may be a scissor lift mechanism. The lifting platform may comprise a positioning system for positioning of the lifting platform before actuation of the locking means on the cargo load platform when engaging the cargo load platform with the storage structure.
The cargo trolley may further comprise at least one of a current collector for connecting to an external power supply, the cargo trolley may further be adapted for hydraulically accumulation of power, or be adapted for contactless inductive power or diesel-electric .
The storage structure as defined above may be used as an onboard vessel storage structure in a vessel. The storage structure as defined above may be used in a storage terminal for heavy cargo.
In a further aspect the invention provides a method for storing cargo of varying heights in a storage structure as defined above wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms. The cargo load platforms are adapted to be transported by cargo trolleys. The method comprises establishing a height of the cargo on a cargo load platform, and assigning a storage position to the cargo load platform in the storage structure based on a height of the cargo on the cargo load platform, wherein the storage position is defined by a slot position and a horizontal and a vertical position within the slot.
The method may further comprise transporting the cargo load platform with cargo to the assigned horizontal position in the assigned slot using a cargo trolley provided. The cargo trolley may be provided with a lifting mechanism for lifting and lowering the lifting platform. The cargo load platform is lifted to the assigned vertical position in the slot. The method further comprises actuating a locking mechanism on the cargo load platform for engaging the storage structure in the assigned storage position using an activating mechanism on the cargo trolley. Positioning of the cargo load platform with reference to receiving means for a locking mechanism on the cargo load platform in the storage structure may be performed using a positioning system.
The present invention provides a high performance storage structure and method for storing loads of varying heights, in particular heavy loads, in an automated storage system that stores loads on standardized cargo load platforms in slots. The storage system permits bulk storage of cargo distributed across a number of slots. Each slot is independently accessible depending on port of destination of the cargo, or in the case of land based terminals for each vessel departure / arrival or inland destination. The invention may be used onboard vessels or in land based terminals.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
Example embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the followings drawings, where:
Figure 1 a is view of a part of a storage structure comprising vertical columns and beams for flexible storage of cargo according to an embodiment of the invention; Figure 1 b is a detail of one receiving means for a locking means on a cargo load platform according to an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 1 c shows a side view of a conical receiving means for cargo load platforms according to an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 1 d shows details of an end of a transport trolley for use in the storage structure shown in Figure 1 a according to an embodiment of the invention;
Figure 2a is a schematic cross sectional outline of a storage structure with four storage levels, two passageways with storage areas in the middle and on the sides for storing cargo on cargo load platforms according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 2b is a schematic side view of the storage structure from Figure 2a, illustrating placement of a container on a cargo load platform by the use of a transport trolley in a dedicated position within the storage structure according to an embodiment of the present invention; Figure 2c is a view from above of a level in the structure from Figure 2a showing two passageways with storage areas in the middle and on the sides according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 3a is an enlarged view of an end of a cargo load platform showing details of a locking arrangement and an actuating arrangement for engaging the cargo load platform in the storage structures shown in Figure 1 and 2 according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 3b is a side view of the details of the locking arrangement from Figure 3a according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 3c is view from above of the cargo load platform with container fixed to the storage structure;
Figure 3d is a side view of the cargo load platform with container fixed to the storage structure;
Figure 4 is an enlarged view from above of the cargo load platform showing details of a locking arrangement and an actuating arrangement for engaging the cargo load platform in the storage structure according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 5a is a schematic outline of a slot in a part of a storage structure with columns and beams providing flexible storage positions for cargo stored on cargo load platforms according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 5b shows the slot from Figure 5a upon arrival of a container on a cargo load platform transported by a cargo trolley according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 5c shows arranging of the cargo load platform with container in a
predefined storage position in the slot by a scissor lift system of the cargo trolley; Figure 5d shows the slot with containers on cargo load platforms fixed to the storage structure;
Figure 6a illustrates flexible storage of cargo load platforms with cargo of different heights in a slot in the storage structure according to an embodiment of the present invention;
Figure 6b shows the slot from Figure 6a upon arrival of a container on a cargo load platform to be stored in the slot; and Figure 7 illustrates use of the storage structure on board a vessel according to an embodiment of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
The present invention will be described with reference to the drawings. The same reference numerals are used for the same of similar features in all the drawings and throughout the description.
A detailed view of a storage structure 1 for storing/accommodating cargo stored on cargo load platforms is shown in Figure 1 a. The storage structure comprises a plurality of vertical columns 2 provided with a plurality of receiving means/ receptacles 3 adapted for engaging the cargo load platforms. As can be seen from Figure 1 a the plurality of receiving means/ receptacles 3 are arranged in a predefined vertical pattern along the vertical columns 2. This predefined vertical pattern corresponds to a number of possible storage positions for cargo load platforms enabling flexible storage based on a height of the cargo on each cargo load platform. The vertical columns defines a number of slots 4, where each slot provides a number of possible storage positions in a horizontal direction and a number of possible storage positions in a vertical direction. The flexible storage is illustrated in Figures 6a and 6b as the cargo load platforms are fixed to the storage structure in vertical positions also depending on the height of the cargo on the other cargo load platforms in the slot 4.
The vertical columns 2 are provided with bracings 10 stiffening the structure and maintaining the vertical and horizontal position of the columns. The bracings 10 may be in the form of bracing rods providing diagonal vertical and horizontal bracings. A number of transverse 9 and longitudinal 8 beams provide support of the transverse trolley rails 6 and longitudinal trolley rails 12 and defines levels within the storage structure. In Figure 1 a two aisles for transport of the cargo load platforms with cargo on cargo trolleys 20 are provided. The distribution aisles are constituted by the longitudinal rails 7 for the cargo trolleys 20 serving the storage structure. The storage structure 1 is shown in Figure 2a with four levels 1 1 (including ground level), each level provided with distribution aisles 15 for transport trolleys 20. The levels may be connected through an elevator 13. The elevator 13 is provided with at least one buffer area 14 on each level for infeed/outfeed of cargo load platforms with cargo to/from each level. Figure 2b shows this matrix structure from the side, where a transport trolley with scissor lift is about to place a cargo load platform with container in a dedicated storage position in a slot in the storage structure. As shown in Figure 2c, which is one level of the storage structure from Figure 2a seen from above, slots 4 for storage of cargo load platforms with cargo are provided on each side of the distribution aisles 15. The slots 4 are arranged transverse of the distribution aisles 15. This is illustrated in e.g. Figure 5a, where transverse rails 6 are provided for the three slots 4 (middle and on each side of the distribution aisle). The transverse rails 6 enable side transfer of the cargo trolley and cargo load platforms into and out of the slot 4.
The slots 4 can be of varying depth; i.e. varying number of storage positions in a horizontal direction. The number of possible load positions; i.e. storage positions in the vertical direction in a slot, depends on the number of receiving means in the vertical columns but also on the height of the cargo on a cargo load platform. In the embodiment in Figure 2a and 2c, the slots 4 on the outer side of the
distribution aisles 15 have one storage position in the horizontal direction, whereas the slot 4 between the distribution aisles have 5 storage positions in the horizontal direction. Other configurations of distribution aisles, slots and number of horizontal storage positions are also possible. The distribution aisles may be symmetric or asymmetric, and a central distribution aisle is also possible. The outline of these configurations may also vary between levels. The actual design will depend on the required size and capacity of the storage structure.
In a preferred embodiment, each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot 4 is defined by four vertical columns 2. The length of the cargo load platforms 40 and the slot 4 lengths are adapted to each other. This enables support of the cargo load platform as close to the vertical columns as possible. Preferably also a base size of each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot is adapted to a base size of the cargo load platforms. The vertical cumulated load of all stored loads in the slots is transferred to the ground with a minimum of structural steel weight and with maximum cube utilization.
The storage structure 1 according to the invention provides a flexible matrix structure. The structure with its columns, beams, bracings and rails is preferably made of steel. The columns may be square tube columns of high strength steel. The vertical columns are easily extendable enabling construction of levels on top of each other. The matrix construction permits the cumulative loading of the entire structure to be transferred to base foundations. Each additional level added is equipped with rails and transport trolleys serving the slots in that level. The structure which supports the stored loads and the vertical loads from the cargo load platforms with cargo and the wheel loads from the trolleys are applied close to the column centerline minimizing column bending moments thereby contributing to a cost efficient vertical storage structure.
When installed onboard vessels the matrix of vertical columns, transverse and longitudinal beams and diagonal vertical and horizontal bracing, can connect to the vessel hull and thereby become part of the vessel internal structure. The cumulative vertical loading is transferred to the vessel tank top. This matrix structure may thus replace in part the traditional bulkheads in vessels and reduces the overall steel weight of the vessel.
The storage structure is served by a number of cargo trolleys 20. Each level is preferably provided with dedicated cargo trolleys. A cargo trolley 20 comprises a lifting platform 25 adapted for engaging a cargo load platform 40 and a chassis with a wheel arrangement enabling longitudinal and transversal movement of the cargo trolley. The wheel arrangement may be provided by a first set 21 of a wheel arrangement for running in the longitudinal direction along the transport aisles and a second set 22 of wheel arrangements transversally arranged to the first wheel arrangements 21 for transversal transfer of the cargo trolley. The lifting platform 25 engages the cargo load platform from the underside. Preferably, the cargo trolley 20 is provided with two wheel arrangements on each short side of the cargo trolley. Preferably, the wheel arrangements are symmetrically arranged on each side. The wheels may be made of steel. As illustrated in Figure 5b a cargo trolley transports a cargo load platform with container along the distribution aisle 15 until the cargo trolley arrives at an allocated slot 4 for the container. When the cargo trolley is in correct position for side transfer into the allocated slot 4, the second set of wheels 22 on the cargo trolley are lowered down on the transversal rail track 6 engaging the steel rails. Lowering the second set of wheels, results in lifting of the entire cargo trolley, in order for the first set of wheels 21 to be lifted out of engagement with the longitudinal rails. The cargo trolley is then moved sideways into the slot by the second set of wheels. As shown in Figure 5c the cargo trolley is moved sideways until the allocated horizontal position within the slot 4 is reached. The cargo trolley is provided with a lifting mechanism for lifting and lowering the lifting platform 25. As shown in Figure 5c, the lifting mechanism 32, in the form of a scissor lift mechanism, lifts the cargo load platform 40 with container 30 up to the allocated vertical position in the slot. An actuating mechanism on the lifting platform 25 of the cargo trolley actuates locking means on the cargo load platform engaging the cargo load platform with the receiving means in the vertical columns 2 in the slot. This is illustrated in more detail in Figures 3a-d, where a container on a cargo load platform is attached to the vertical columns through locking means in the form of plungers engaging corresponding conical receiving means in the columns.
Figures 5b and 5c illustrates arrangement of a cargo load platform with container in a dedicated storage position in the storage structure. The cargo trolley also operates retrieving cargo stored in dedicated positions within the structure. When retrieving cargo, the same procedure is applied for side transfer of the cargo trolley 20 into the slot 4 to the predetermined horizontal position beneath the cargo load platform 40 and lifting of the lifting platform 25 up into engagement with the cargo load platform 40. The actuating mechanism on the upper side of the lifting platform of the cargo trolley disengages the cargo load platform from the storage structure; the cargo load platform with container is lowered down on the lifting platform to a transport position, followed by side transfer of the cargo trolley into a transport aisle 15 for further transport away along the transport aisle. As shown in Figure 4, the standardized cargo load platforms 40 are provided with locking means 41 for engaging the receiving means 3 in the vertical columns 2. The locking means 41 have preferably a conical end and may have the form of a plunger mechanism. Two locking means are arranged on each short side of the cargo load platform. The locking mechanism may also be in the form of a locking shaft, bar, rod or other longitudinal structure enabling secure engagement with the vertical columns. The receiving means 3 are preferably provided with conical guides 5 for the locking means on the cargo load platforms. The conical guides serve to guide the entry of the conical end of the locking means into the receiving means in the vertical columns. In addition, the scissor lift platform 25 of the cargo trolley 20 is provided with sensors 33 for fine adjustment of the scissor lift platform in the correct position. In order to secure accurate alignment of the lifting platform in view of the receiving means in the vertical structure both of the short ends of the cargo trolley lifting platform is provided with sensor means 33. The vertical columns 2 may not always be entirely vertical due to the load on the columns. Each of the second pair of wheels may thus be fine positioned independently. Also, sensor means on the lifting platform may provide fine positioning of the lifting platform in view of the receiving means on the vertical columns. The sensors may be e.g. optical sensors. The final simultaneous guiding of the plungers 41 into the receiving means 3 is however performed by the conical guides 5 in the receiving means 3 in the vertical columns.
The locking means 41 is arranged in pairs on each side of the lifting platform25, and the locking means are activated simultaneously. Figures 1 b and 1 c show an embodiment of the receiving means in the form of conical guides 5 in a front view, and seen from the side respectively. The receiving means/conical guides 5 may be in the form of steel housings provided with a solid lower part preferably made of high strength steel. The receiving means are preferably replaceable.
The standardized cargo load platforms 40 also comprises a securing mechanism 42 for securing the locking means 41 when the locking means is engaged to or disengaged from the storage structure 1 . The locking means are secured both in extended and retracted position. This provides secure locking in extended position of the cargo load platform with cargo in the storage structure, and will also serve as see fastening for the cargo load platform with cargo onboard vessels. In the retracted position, secure transport of the cargo load platform along the rails in the structure is enabled.
The details of an embodiment of the locking means 41 on the cargo load platform 40 and the external activating mechanism are shown in Figures 3a-3d. Each locking means is operated by an external activating mechanism. The external activating mechanism is provided in the upper side of the scissor lifting platform25 on the cargo trolley 20. As shown in Figure 3b the scissor lifting platform engages the cargo load platform by a sliding bracket 26 engaging an external connecting guide 27, preferably conical, on the underside of the cargo load platform 40. The sliding bracket 26 is connected to actuators 28, 29. The actuators 28, 29 enabling both lifting of the external actuating mechanism into engagement with the external connecting guide 27 on the underside of the cargo load platform and the sliding movement of the sliding bracket 26. The actuator and the sliding bracket provide a docking pusher. The actuator and the lifting mechanism may be hydraulic cylinders.
The cargo trolley comprises a current collector 24 for connecting to an external power supply. The cargo trolley may further be adapted for hydraulically
accumulation of power. The cargo trolley may receive its energy supply from power rails 23 mounted in the distribution aisles 15. When entering into the slot 4, the power rail collector shoes are lifted clear of the power rail in the distribution aisle. When operating in the slot, power may be provided through a combination of battery capacity and hydraulic accumulators. Alternatively power can be based on batteries charged via contactless capacitors. The cargo trolley may alternatively be diesel electric powered or through induction. Combinations of the power forms may also be envisaged. An inventory control system keeps track of each cargo load platform and the exact storage location in the storage structure, and the identification and description of the cargo on each cargo load platform including the height of the cargo. Figure 6a and 6b shows storage of cargo 30 with different heights in a slot 4 in the storage structure. The cargo load platforms can be stored in slots of different depths allowing for random access, first in first out or block storage strategies. The utilization of vertical space in each slot, and each storage position in a slot is managed by the inventory control system. The inventory control system preplans and manage the use of the storage positions in the slots, and the vertical space in each slot based on load description and associated electronic shipping documents including transport route and the height of each load 30. The storage structure accommodates variations that occur in heights for the cargo 30 on the cargo load platforms 40. The cargo may be standardized containers, cars, packages or any other cargo.
The inventory control system decides the storage location for each cargo load platform 40 with cargo 30 in the storage structure 1 based on the height of the cargo on each cargo load platform. The inventory control system thus establishes a height of the cargo on a cargo load platform, and assigns a dedicated storage position to the cargo load platform in the storage structure based on a height of the cargo on the cargo load platform and the vertical space available in the slots, wherein the storage position is defined by a slot position and a horizontal and a vertical position within the slot. Figures 6a and 6b shows storage of cargo with different heights in the storage structure.
A process control system controls the entire material handling and processes of the entire storage structure, including e.g. all of the lifts, conveyors and scissor lift trolley movements. The inventory control system controls the accurate positioning of the scissor lift trolley 20 in front of the slots 4, the sideway transfer, positioning with reference to the receiving means 3 for the desired horizontal and vertical location within the slots.
The storage system operates in automatic mode.
The process control system enables: - transporting the cargo load platform 40 with cargo 30 to the assigned horizontal position in the assigned slot using a cargo trolley 20 provided with a lifting mechanism 32 for lifting and lowering the lifting platform 25, and lifting the cargo load platform to the assigned vertical position in the slot;
- positioning the cargo load platform with reference to receiving means 3 for a locking mechanism 41 on the cargo load platform in the storage structure using a positioning system; and
- actuating a locking mechanism 41 on the cargo load platform for engaging the storage structure in the assigned storage position using an activating mechanism on the cargo trolley 20.
When cargo on the cargo load platforms are to be retrieved from within the storage structure, the process control system controls the entire process of running cargo trolleys for retrieving the cargo load platforms in the correct slot position, activating the locking mechanism and disengaging the cargo load platforms from the vertical columns, and transporting the cargo load platforms with cargo to their destinations.
Having described preferred embodiments of the invention it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other embodiments incorporating the concepts may be used. These and other examples of the invention illustrated above are intended by way of example only and the actual scope of the invention is to be determined from the following claims.

Claims

1 . A storage structure (1 ) for storing/accommodating cargo (30), wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms (40) adapted to be transported by cargo trolleys (20), the storage structure comprising:
- a plurality of vertical columns (2) having a plurality of receiving means/
receptacles (3) adapted for engaging the cargo load platforms (40), wherein the plurality of receiving means/ receptacles are arranged in a predefined vertical pattern along the vertical columns (2) corresponding to a number of possible storage positions for a number of cargo load platforms enabling flexible storage based on a height of the cargo (30) on each cargo load platform (40); and
- wherein each cargo load platform (40) comprising a number of locking means (41 ), wherein each locking means (41 ) is adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure (1 ), wherein the locking means (41 ) is adapted to be activated through an actuating mechanism (26) on a lifting platform (25) of the cargo trolley (20).
2. Storage structure according to claim 1 , wherein the plurality of vertical columns (3) defines a number of slots (4), each slot providing a number of possible storage positions in a horizontal direction and a number of possible storage positions in a vertical direction.
3. Storage structure according to claim 2, wherein each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot is defined by four vertical columns.
4. Storage structure according to claims 2 or 3, wherein a base size of each storage position in the horizontal direction in each slot (4) is adapted to a base size of the cargo load platforms (40), and wherein each cargo load platform are provided with locking means (41 ) for engaging the receiving means/receptacles (3) enabling support of the cargo load platform as close to the vertical columns (2) as possible.
5. Storage structure according to one of claims 1 -4, wherein the receiving means/receptacles (3) are provided with conical guides (5) for the locking means (41 ) on the cargo load platforms (40).
6. Storage structure according to one of claims 1 -5, wherein the receiving means/receptacles (3) are in the form of steel housings provided with a solid lower part preferably made of high strength steel.
7. Storage structure according to one of claims 2-6, wherein a height of each slot corresponds to a maximum lifting height of the cargo trolley (20) adapted for transporting the cargo load platforms (40).
8. Storage structure according to one of claims 2-7, further comprising at least one distribution lane (15) serving the slots (4), wherein the slots are arranged transverse of the distribution lane.
9. Storage structure according to claim 8, wherein the at least one distribution lane (15) is provided with longitudinal rails (7) for the cargo trolley (20) serving the slots (4).
10. Storage structure according to claims 8 or 9, wherein each slot (4) is provided with rails (6) transverse to the longitudinal rails (7) in the distribution lane (15) adapted for side transfer of the cargo trolley (20) and cargo load platforms (40) into and out of the slot (4).
1 1 . Storage structure according to one of claims 1 -10, further comprising power supply rails (23) for power supply to cargo trolleys serving the slots.
12. Storage structure according to one of claims 2-1 1 , wherein the vertical columns (2) are horizontally connected by longitudinal beams (8) and transverse beams (9) supporting longitudinal rails (7) in at least one distribution lane and transverse rails (6) in the slots (4).
13. Storage structure according to one of claims 1 -1 1 , wherein the storage structure is extendable vertically by extending the vertical columns and adding cargo trolleys, longitudinal and transverse rails and power rails for each level.
14. Storage structure according to one of claims 1 -13, wherein the storage structure (1 ) is provided with bracings (10).
15. Vessel comprising:
- a storage structure according to one of claims 1 -14, wherein the storage structure is connected to inner sides of the vessel hull contributing to an internal strength of the vessel.
16. A cargo load platform (40) with a platform structure, the cargo load platform being adapted to be transported by a cargo trolley (20) comprising:
a number of locking means (41 ), wherein each locking means (41 ) is adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure (1 ), the locking means being activated through a mechanical connector (27) on the underside of the cargo load platform (40) for connecting to an external docking device (26) on the lifting platform (25) of the cargo trolley (20), wherein the locking means (41 ) is activated by the cargo trolley.
17. A cargo load platform according to claim 16, wherein the locking
means (41 ) is arranged in pairs on each side of the platform structure, and the locking means are activated simultaneously.
18. A cargo load platform according claim 16 or 17, further comprising a securing mechanism (42) for securing the locking means (41 ) when the locking means is engaged to or disengaged from the storage structure (1 ).
19. A cargo load platform according to one of claims 16-18, wherein the locking means (41 ) has a conical end adapted for engaging the receiving means (3) for the cargo load platforms in the storage structure (1 ).
20. A cargo trolley (20) for transporting a cargo load platform (40), wherein the cargo load platform comprising a number of locking means (41 ) adapted for engaging and disengaging a storage structure: the cargo trolley (20) comprising:
- a chassis with a wheel arrangement enabling longitudinal and transversal movement of the cargo trolley,
- a lifting platform (25) adapted for engaging the cargo load platform (40), the lifting platform (25) comprising an actuating mechanism (26) enabling actuation of the locking means (41 ) on the cargo load platform for engaging and disengaging the cargo load platform with a storage structure, and
- a lifting mechanism (32) for lifting and lowering the lifting platform.
21 . Cargo trolley according to claim 20,
a first set of a wheel arrangement (21 ) for running in the longitudinal direction, a second set of wheel arrangements (22) transversally arranged to the first wheel arrangements (21 ) for transversal transfer of the cargo trolley(20),
22. Cargo trolley according to claim 20 or 21 , wherein the locking means (41 ) on the cargo load platform are actuated simultaneously.
23. Cargo trolley according to claim 20, wherein the lifting mechanism (32) is a scissor lift mechanism.
24. Cargo trolley according to one of claims 20-23, wherein the lifting platform comprising a positioning system (33) for positioning of the lifting platform before actuation of the locking means (41 ) on the cargo load platform when engaging the cargo load platform with the storage structure (1 ).
25. A cargo trolley according to one of claims 1 -23, the cargo trolley further comprising a current collector (24) for connecting to an external power supply.
26. A cargo trolley according to one of claims 20-25, the cargo trolley is further adapted for being powered by at least one of hydraulically accumulation of power, contactless inductive power or diesel-electric power.
27. Use of the storage structure according to one of claims 1 -14 as an onboard vessel storage structure in a vessel.
28. Use of the storage structure according to one of claims 1 -14 in a storage terminal for heavy cargo.
29. A method for storing cargo (30) of varying heights in a storage structure (1 ) according to one of claims 1 -14, wherein the cargo is stored on cargo load platforms (40) adapted to be transported by cargo trolleys (20), comprising:
- establishing a height of the cargo on a cargo load platform,
- assigning a storage position to the cargo load platform in the storage structure based on a height of the cargo on the cargo load platform, wherein the storage position is defined by a slot position and a horizontal and a vertical position within the slot;
- transporting the cargo load platform with cargo to the assigned horizontal position in the assigned slot using a cargo trolley with a lifting platform on which the cargo load platform with cargo is transported,
- lifting the cargo load platform to the assigned vertical position in the slot; and
- actuating a locking mechanism on the cargo load platform for engaging the storage structure in the assigned storage position using an activating mechanism on the lifting platform of the cargo trolley.
30. Method according to claim 29, further comprising:
- positioning the cargo load platform with reference to receiving means for a locking mechanism on the cargo load platform in the storage structure using a positioning system.
PCT/NO2014/050086 2013-05-31 2014-06-02 Storage structure for storing cargo WO2014193241A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
NO20130760A NO335490B1 (en) 2013-05-31 2013-05-31 Storage structure for storing cargo on loading platforms, vessels comprising storage structure, loading platform, truck for transporting loading platform, as well as a method for storing cargo in a storage structure.
NO20130760 2013-05-31

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
SG11201509445TA SG11201509445TA (en) 2013-05-31 2014-06-02 Storage structure for storing cargo

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NO20130760A1 (en) 2014-12-01
NO335490B1 (en) 2014-12-22

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