CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
Benefit of U.S. Provisional Application for Patent Ser. No. 60/960,426, filed on Sep. 28, 2007, is hereby claimed.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention concerns a pallet rack stopper assembly for restricting the positioning of a pallet on a rack thereby to prevent accidental displacement of the pallet.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Assemblies for preventing displacement of a pallet on a rack are well known in the art. Typically, such assemblies are intended to prevent displacement of the pallet by the impact from a passing forklift or because of insufficient support due to careless placement of the pallet on the rack. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,846, issued to Anderson, teaches a safety bracket attached to the load beams of a pallet rack for preventing pallets from being pushed off the rear end of the rack. Whilst this form of pallet rack stop is adequate for a relatively low level racking system and for pallets of limited weight and size, it has to be applied essentially during the manufacture of the pallet rack in view of its interengagement with the actual load beams. Accordingly such an arrangement would be unsuitable for retrofitting to an existing pallet rack without substantial disassembly of the whole rack.
Accordingly, there is a need for an improved pallet rack stopper assembly.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is therefore a general object of the present invention to provide an improved pallet rack stopper assembly.
An advantage of the present invention is that the pallet rack stopper assembly is capable of retrofitting to an existing pallet rack system.
Another advantage of the present invention is that the pallet rack stopper assembly efficiently is of more robust construction than conventional stopper assemblies known in the art.
According to first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a pallet rack stopper assembly comprising in combination:
- a plurality of brackets adapted for registration with rear, longitudinally extending load beams of a pallet rack; and
- a plurality of stanchions to which the brackets are attachable thereby to provide a backstop framework at the rear of the pallet rack in use to prevent inadvertent misalignment of a pallet in relation to the pallet rack.
The brackets are preferably formed in such manner as to provide means of positive registration with the longitudinally extending load beams at each level of the rack, the brackets being fixed thereto by for example bolting.
Each bracket is conveniently provided with a locating recess for accommodating the beam and is further provided with an aperture through which the stanchion extends, the aperture being formed with a back flange for abutting the stanchion and a side fixing plate for providing a means for securement to the stanchion.
Each stanchion may advantageously be of generally U-shape section and may be slotted and drilled in a manner similar to Dexion® struts, the drillings providing suitable sites for bolting through the side fixing plate to hold the brackets to the stanchions.
In a second aspect, the present invention comprises a pallet rack system including a pallet rack composed of a number of support posts, front and rear longitudinally extending load beams and cross load beams between the front and rear load beams to provide a rack framework, and a pallet rack stopper assembly according to the first aspect of the invention connected to the rear longitudinally extending load beams.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a careful reading of the detailed description provided herein, with appropriate reference to the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the description in association with the following Figures, in which similar references used in different Figures denote similar components, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective vertical elevation view of part of a pallet rack system incorporating a pallet rack stopper assembly according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective magnified view taken along line 2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a detail of the pallet rack stopper assembly; and
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic plan view of a pallet rack system incorporating the pallet rack assembly according to the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
With reference to the annexed drawings the preferred embodiments of the present invention will be herein described for indicative purpose and by no means as of limitation.
Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 4, pallet rack stopper assemblies 20, best shown in FIGS. 1 through 3, are shown in exemplary use in a pallet rack system 1, shown in FIG. 4. The pallet rack system 1 is comprised of two pallet racks 2 positioned back to back. Each rack 2 includes vertical posts 4 at each of four corners interconnected by front and rear longitudinally extending load beams 6, 8 respectively at a number of levels (not shown) with cross load beams 10 extending laterally therebetween as shown. The beams 6, 8 are suitably affixed to the posts 4 by bolting (not shown) as are the cross beams 10 to the beams 6, 8 as at 11.
The beams 6, 8 are stepped as at 7 with a longitudinally extending recess 9 with which the cross beams 10 securably register at 11.
In the present example, two pallet rack stopper assemblies 20 are provided for each pallet rack 2 and each assembly comprises a vertically extending stanchion 22 provided with fixing holes 24 and slots 26 as shown. Each stanchion 22 preferably has generally opposed longitudinally extending first and second side faces 60 and a longitudinally extending proximal face 62, extending from the first side face 60 to the second side face 60 and positioned facing the rear load beam 8, the faces 60, 62 defining a U-shape. Thus, the stanchion 22 of generally U-shape in cross section provided with fixing holes 24 and slots 26 as shown. Each assembly further comprises a bracket 30, as shown in the assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2, and enlarged in FIG. 3, for each level of the cross beams and front and rear load beams 6, 8 The bracket 30 being formed of steel plate with a base 32 with a downwardly extending lip 34 drilled as at 36 in two places, and an upwardly extending back flange 38 and a side fixing plate 40. A stanchion slot 42 for accommodating a stanchion 22 is provided adjacent the plate 40 and the flange 38, and downwardly extending first and second stiffening webs 44 are formed on respective first and second base sides of the base 32 but are spaced apart from, i.e. stop short of, the lip 34 to define a recess 46 for the registration with the rear beam 8, preferably the step 7 thereof.
The assembly 20 is combined by virtue of the stanchion 22 passing through the stanchion slot 42 with the bracket 30 fixed thereto by bolting the side fixing plate 40 to the stanchion. The lip 34 is then located over the step 7 of the beam 8 and is bolted through the lip apertures 36 provided by drillings, the lip 34 being thereby attachable to the rear load beam 8 at the step 7. Thus, the bracket 30 is attachable to the stanchion with the base 32 in vertical alignment with the rear load beam 8 and the stanchion 22 accommodated in the stanchion slot 42. Thus, the stanchion 22 provides a vertically extending backstop of the backstop assembly, stopping rearward movement of the pallet 50, while the base 32 supports the pallet 50 proximal the stanchion 22. The back flange 38 is configured to extend abut tingly against the stanchion 22 when the stanchion 22 is accommodated in the stanchion slot 42 and the side fixing plate 40 is attached to the stanchion 22.
Thus the assembly 20 in situ performs the function of a backstop assembly to a pallet 50 shown in ghosted outline in FIG. 4 thereby preventing rearward movement of the pallet beyond the stanchions 22, for example by the pallet being pushed too far onto the rack 2. The provision of the stanchion 22 affords a positive and rigid backstop in sharp contrast to the prior art proposals. Furthermore, the assembly 20 can be retrofitted to an existing pallet rack system since the bracket engages over the rear load beams and is then bolted thereto at the desired location.
It will be understood by the skilled addressee that the depth dimension of the base from the lip to the back flange may be varied depending upon the size of pallets to be accommodated on the pallet rack.
Additionally, whilst two pallet rack stopper assemblies have been shown in the drawings for each pallet rack, it will be readily understood that any number of such assemblies may be emplaced depending on the length of the beams 8 and the distance between the posts 4.
Furthermore, the stanchions 22 may be secured to the floor of the warehouse or may be freestanding depending on the prevailing requirements. The corner posts 4 are usually secured by bolting into concrete flooring for stability, strength and thus safety.
Although the present invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is to be understood that the disclosure has been made by way of example only and that the present invention is not limited to the features of the embodiments described and illustrated herein, but includes all variations and modifications within the scope and spirit of the invention as hereinafter claimed.