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Title:
COUPLING DEVICE FOR CARGO CONTAINERS, AN ASSEMBLY ARRANGEMENT AND A METHOD FOR CONING A COUPLING DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/070188
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A coupling device (100) comprising a tilt connection (91) for tilting a holding latch (62) into and out of securing a second cargo container (2), a turn connection (92) for turning a locking cone (21) into and out of securing a first cargo container (1), and a housing cavity (44) for accommodating a cone shaft (20) being turned and a latch arm (60) being either turned or tilted. An assembly arrangement of a shaft portion (22) inserted into a housing cavity (44) from an upper side of a housing (40), an arm portion (61) inserted from a lower side, and a pin connector (80) attaching them together to form a tilt connection (91). A method for coning a coupling device (100) comprising a tilting latch arm (60) by: aligning a locking cone (21) by turning, inserting into a corner fitting, and turning a latch arm (60) for securing.

Inventors:
KARLSSON, Torbjörn (Galoppvägen 55, Järfälla, 17759, SE)
Application Number:
SE2018/051011
Publication Date:
April 11, 2019
Filing Date:
October 03, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KARLSSON, Torbjörn (Galoppvägen 55, Järfälla, 17759, SE)
TAN, Guofang (Yixing Boen Enterprises Co. Ltd, No. 1-3 Qing Yuan Road,Economic Development Zon, Yixing Jiangsu, CN)
International Classes:
B65D90/00; B60P7/13; B61D45/00; B63B25/00
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1) A coupling device (100) for connecting a first and a second cargo container (1, 2), said coupling device comprising

a cone shaft (20) with a locking cone (21) for securing a corner fitting (3, 4) of said first cargo container,

a latch arm (60) with a holding latch (62) for securing a corner fitting (5, 6) of said second cargo container, and

a housing (40) with an upper and a lower collar (41, 43) for preventing relative horizontal movement between said cargo containers and for keeping said housing in an aligned direction with said cargo containers,

characterized in that said coupling device comprising:

a tilt connection (91) attaching said latch arm to said cone shaft for tilting said holding latch into and out of securing said second cargo container,

a turn connection (92) guiding said cone shaft with said housing for turning said locking cone into and out of securing said first cargo container, and

a housing cavity (44) in said housing for accommodating said cone shaft being turned and said latch arm being either turned or tilted.

2) A coupling device according to claim 1, wherein said tilt connection (91) comprising

an arm connection (63) in said latch arm,

a cone connection (25) in said cone shaft, and

a pin connector (80) rotatably attaching them together.

3) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said turn connection (92) comprising

a cylindrical cavity (45) in said housing rotatably guiding a cylindrical surface (24) on a shaft portion (22) of said cone shaft . 4) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said housing cavity (44) comprising

a cylindrical cavity (45) having an opening on an upper collar (41) side of said housing,

a tilt & turn cavity (47) having an opening on a lower collar (43) side of said housing, and

an intermediate cavity (46) connecting said cylindrical cavity with said tilt & turn cavity.

5) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said holding latch (62) comprising

a support portion (65) for guiding against a vertical side wall of an ISO-hole (8) of said corner fitting (5, 6), and

a grip portion (64) for contact against an horizontal inner surface in said corner fitting (5, 6),

said support portion and said grip portion being on opposite sides of said ISO-hole when said holding latch securing said second cargo container.

6) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said locking cone (21) comprising

a first and a second extrusion (26, 27) for contact against a horizontal inner surface in said corner fitting (3, 4),

said first and second extrusion being on opposite sides of an ISO-hole (7) when said locking cone securing said first cargo container .

7) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the rotating axis of said tilt connection (91)

essentially pointing in the longitudinal direction of said containers (1, 2), when said holding latch securing said second cargo container.

8) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the rotating axis of said turn connection (92)

essentially pointing vertically, when said locking cone securing said first cargo container.

9) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said housing (40) comprising

a load pad (42) for transferring vertical compression forces between said first and second container (1, 2),

said load pad being located between said upper and lower collar (41, 43) .

10) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said tilt connection (91) being located outside said housing (40) on an upper collar (41) side.

11) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said holding latch (62) tilting into and out of securing said second cargo container (2) when being moved into and out from an ISO-hole (8) of said corner fitting (5, 6), said movement has both a horizontal and a vertical direction

component in said tilt connection (91), said horizontal

direction component being essentially in the transversal direction of said second cargo container.

12) A coupling device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein said coupling device comprising a positioner (85) for interaction with a groove (28), said positioner striving to keep said cone shaft (20) in a turning position where said locking cone securing said first cargo container, said positioner comprising a stop screw (86), a compression spring (87) and a ball (88 ) .

13) An assembly arrangement of a coupling device (100) for connecting cargo containers (1, 2),

Characterized in that said assembly arrangement comprising:

- a shaft portion (22) of a cone shaft (20) inserted into a housing cavity (44) from an upper collar (41) side of a housing (40), said cone shaft being rotatably guided with said housing in a turn connection (92), said cone shaft comprising a locking cone (21) with a cone connection (25) remaining outside said upper collar,

- an arm portion (61) of an latch arm (60) inserted through said housing cavity from a lower collar (43) side of said housing, said arm portion comprising an arm connection (63) located outside said upper collar, and

- a pin connector (80) attaching said cone connection and said arm connection to form a rotatable tilt connection (91) .

14) An assembly arrangement according to claim 13, wherein said assembly arrangement being held together by opposite insert directions of said cone shaft (20) and said latch arm (60) relative said intermediate housing (40) .

15) An assembly arrangement according to any of claim 13 or 14, wherein

said cone shaft (20) comprising surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative said housing (40), and said latch arm (60) comprising surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative said housing.

16) An assembly arrangement according to any of claim 13 to 15 of a coupling device according to any of claim 1 to 12.

17) A method for coning a coupling device (100) in a first cargo container (1), said coupling device comprising a latch arm (60) attached to a cone shaft (20) in a tilt connection (91) for tilting a holding latch (62) into and out of securing a second cargo container (2),

characterized in that said method comprising the steps of:

- aligning a locking cone (21) of said cone shaft with an upper collar (41) of a housing (40) by turning said cone shaft relative said housing,

- inserting said locking cone and said upper collar into a corner fitting (3, 4) of said first cargo container, - turning said latch arm, wherein said latch arm brings said cone shaft to secure said corner fitting with said locking cone.

18) A method for coning according to claim 17, wherein said method further comprising the step of, prior to aligning said locking cone by turning:

- tilting said latch arm (60) to a turnable position in a housing cavity (44) of said housing.

19) A method for coning according to any of claim 17 or 18 of a coupling device according to any of claim 1 to 12.

Description:
COUPLING DEVICE FOR CARGO CONTAINERS, AN ASSEMBLY ARRANGEMENT

AND A METHOD FOR CONING A COUPLING DEVICE

The present innovation relates to a coupling device for

connecting a first and a second cargo container. The coupling device comprises a cone shaft with a locking cone for securing a corner fitting of the first cargo container, a latch arm with a holding latch for securing a corner fitting of the second cargo container, and a housing with an upper and a lower collar for preventing relative horizontal movement between the cargo

containers and for keeping the housing in an aligned direction with the cargo containers.

The present innovation also relates to an assembly arrangement of a coupling device and to a method for coning a coupling device.

Background art

Cargo containers are used for protecting goods and other content during transport and storage. They can often be found on trucks and trailers, on trains, ships and in transfer or storage areas. Their robust construction allows for a plurality of them to be stacked vertically on top of each other.

Cargo containers are normally shaped as rectangular boxes and equipped with a pair of doors on one of the short end sides. The corners are usually equipped with corner fittings with oval holes intended to be used for handling and securing of the container.

Coupling devices of the type herein discussed are often used for connecting stacked containers with each other by using the vertical pointing oval holes, frequently referred to as the

ISO-holes, in the corner fittings. They can also be used for connecting a container with a ship-' s deck, a rail wagon or a similar installation having corresponding fittings and ISO-holes. The coupling devices can often be used upside down with an opposite motion and release function.

Frequently, coupling devices are fastened to the bottom corner- fittings of a first container on the land side in an operation called coning. They then follow the co tainer being lifted, for example on board a ship by a crane. There, the first container is loaded on top of a lower container and the coupling devices engages with it, automatically or after providing additional work, to interlock the containers of the stack, When the first container- is being offloaded, the sequence is essentially the reverse. The first container is discharged from the lower container and the coupling devices follows underneath the first container with the crane to the land side. The coupling devices are then removed from the first contai er in an operation called deconing.

Traditional coupling devices, so called twistlocks, are fitted with a locking cone, which during coning is inserted through the ISO-hole and then turned to secure inside the corner fitting. The twistlock itself is prevented from turning after coning by being equipped with another part, often a so-called collar on a housing, which stays within the ISO-hole. This twistlock coning/deconing operation is well accepted and appreciated throughout the

industry. The fact that the locking cone engages on both of the opposite sides of the ISO-hole, inside the corner fitting, enables a reliable fit underneath a single container being moved as well as good securing strength capabilities between containers in a

When using so called automatic locks, the first upper container can be discharged from the second lower container without any prior work being done to open the coupling devices. The benefits in reduced labor and shorter turn around times are obvious when the coupling devices have a good functionality. The automatic function is normally achieved by an automatic lock creating a side movement in the first container when it is being lifted. The coupling device moves out diagonally from the lower container at discharge. On the sea, when one side of the container is exposed to a lifting force, the opposite side is under compression. The container is secured by the compressed coupling device preventing side movement, while at. the same time the lifted coupling device can not be release without a side movement. US3973684 (Di Martino) and US7621414 (Bederke) discloses coupling devices with automatic discharge functions where the devices generates a side movement during discharge.

JPH0516991 (Takaguchi) , WO2016067095 (Bohman, Karlsson) and WO2005097626 (Gloystein) discloses coupling devices with tilting hook type securing of the lower container.

Some of the known prior art creates a side movement by a sloping surface sliding against the inner corner edge of the corner fitting's ISO-hole. The wear and tear from such linear edge contact is undesirable. Additionally, the corner fitting as a whole can be deformed when the securing force not is applied at some distance away from the ISO-hole.

Other known prior art. uses a tilting hook to accomplish the automatic function. When gravity is used to determine the hook's position, the coupling device gets highly unreliable since wi d forces and ship's motion not is accounted for and since jamming may also easily disrupt the function. When the hook function instead is based on pivoting around a grip contact inside the upper container ' s corner fitting, as with an S-hook design, the geometric position of the pivot point becomes unsuitable, creating too large vertical gap when securing against lifting and making use of thinner housing load pad virtually impossible.

In some of the known prior art, the coupling devices has to be tilted into the ISO-hole and an internal mechanism has to be activated during coning/deconing . In others, the part securing inside the corner fitting is fi ed together with the part staying within the ISO-hole and a separate member, often a so called anti-slipout pin, has to be operated to prevent turn out after coning. These small-item mechanisms are often not reliable, have a tendency to jam or being hard to operate. The coning procedures gets complex, difficult and are less familiar. There is often an uncertainty if these coupling devices are correctly fitted after the coning is complete .

Several of the known prior art engages inside the upper

container's corner fitting on only one of the ISO-hole's two sides. This can cause reduced strength in the coupling device or in the corner fitting. It may also cause a less accurate fit between them.

Coupling devices according to the known prior art often consists of many parts assembled together in a difficult manner, with screws, pins or a plurality of springs. With costs under pressure, these designs are not economical .

It is thus desirable to provide a coupling device which combines a reliable securing of the upper first container with an good automatic discharge from the lower container. The coning and deconing operation should be easy to understand and carry out . The design should enable a cost effective production and assembly.

Summary of the invention

An object of the present invention is to provide a coupling device for cargo containers which has a good securing fit in the upper first container and enables fast loading and discharge with the lower container. Another object is to provide a sound coning and deconing method for such device. And yet another object is to provide an efficient assembly arrangement of few parts.

The above objects and other objects that will be evident from the following description are achieved by a coupling device according to the appended claims.

According to one aspect of the invention, a coupling device for connecting a first and a second cargo container comprises

a cone shaft with a locking cone for securing a corner fitting of the first cargo container,

a latch arm with a holding latch for securing a corner fitting of the second cargo container, and

a housing with an upper and a lower collar for preventing relative horizontal movement between the cargo containers and for keeping the housing in an aligned direction with the cargo containers . The coupling device also comprises

a tilt connection attaching the latch arm to the cone shaft for tilting the holding latch into and out of securing the second cargo container,

a turn connection guiding the cone shaft with the housing for turning the locking cone into and out of securing the first cargo container, and

a housing cavity in the housing for accommodating the latch arm being either turned or tilted.

The tilt connection provides a pivot around which the latch arm can tilt, with the objective to provide a fully automatic coupling device. With a fully automatic function, there is no need for unlocking the device before discharge, saving both labor and enabling an earlier start with contai er offloading.

An advantage of having the tilt connection in the cone shaft is that its geometric position, especially its angle and distance relative the holding latch, can be chosen to achieve best possible loading and discharge function.

An advantage of connecting the latch arm to the cone shaft is that the upper cone shaft can be operated in turning, rotating around a vertical axis, from the lower holding latch. Another advantage of this connection is that, it provides for an easy assembly of the coupling device.

The turn connection provides a guided rotational movement of the cone shaft, with the advantage of providing an well known and established coning /decerning operation. The coupling device can be vertically inserted and, after turning, the locking cone can fully engage on both sides of the ISO-hole.

The housing cavity is not only provided as a pass through, but also for guiding the movements of the latch arm being either turned or tilted. In a intersection position, starti g any o e of the two movements is possible, but they can only be carried out one at the time. Advantages of having such structured movements is to get an easier, better feeling, coning and deconing as well as a more safe loading and discharge.

In a preferred embodiment, the tilt connection comprises an arm connection in the latch arm, a cone connection in the cone shaft, and a pin connector rotatably attaching them together.

The tilt connection can be formed in different ways, it can for example be a surface on the latch arm. sliding against a corresponding surface in the cone shaft, without using a separate

An advantage of the described preferred embodiment may be that it, after simple manufacturing and assembly operations, can provide both a firm connection between the latch arm. and the cone shaft in all directions wanted, while still leaving it rotatable in the direction needed. In relation to more complicated

connections, the advantages may also be that it can be made strong e ough to handle high securing forces and robust enough to not be sensitive to rust and debris.

In a preferred embodiment, the turn connection comprises a cylindrical cavity in the housing rotatably guiding a cylindrical surface on a shaft portion of the cone shaft .

The use of opposite cylindrical surfaces provides a very simple way to guide the cone shaft relative the housing. It may be suitable in an environme t of harsh weather conditions and rough handling .

In a preferred embodiment, the housing cavity comprises a cylindrical cavity having an opening on an upper collar side of the housing, a tilt & turn cavity having an opening on a lower- collar side of said housing, and an intermediate cavity connecting said cylindrical cavity with said tilt & turn cavity.

The openings on opposite sides may be advantageous in order to provide an easy assembly arrangement with the cone shaft and the latch arm inserted from opposite directions. With the

intermediate cavity, the through going housing cavity is created which allows the cone shaft and the latch arm to meet and be connected together.

In a preferred embodiment, the holding latch comprises a support portion for guiding against a vertical side wall of an ISO-hole of the corner fitting, and a grip portion for contact against a horizontal inner surface in the corner fitting. The support portion and the grip portion are on opposite sides of the ISO-hole when the holding latch is securing the second cargo container.

The embodiment with the grip and support portions prevents the two containers from separating in a straight vertical direction without the latch arm being tilted. An advantage may be that this secures the containers against lifting forces at sea, when another compressed locking device in another corner fitting prevents side movement. With the grip portion having contact against the horizontal inner surface of the corner fitting, possibly at some short distance away from the ISO-hole opening, another advantage may be a limited wear and tear and a reduced risk of deforming the corner fitting.

The grip and support portions generates a tilting movement of the latch arm when the first container is lifted, which in turn can move the first container sideways . This may be advantageous in order to accomplish a smooth release of the holding latch and a diagonal discharge of the first container.

In a preferred embodiment, the locking cone comprises a first and a second extrusion for contact against a horizontal inner surface in the corner fitting. The first and second extrusions are on opposite sides of an ISO-hole when the locking cone is securing the first cargo container.

An advantage of securing on opposite sides of the ISO-hole may be to get a good and secure fit of the coupling device in the corner fitting. Both the locking device and the corner fitting may also be able to withstand higher forces in this embodiment.

In a preferred embodiment, the rotating axis of the tilt connection is essentially pointing in the longitudinal direction of the containers, when the holding latch is securing the second cargo container .

The ISO-holes are normally elongated in the same direction as the container, with suitable inner horizontal securing surfaces next to their opposite long sides. Therefore, in order to

accomplish the intended function of tilting the holding latch into and out of securing the second cargo container, it may be

advantageous if the tilt connection's axis is in the longitudinal direction .

In a preferred embodiment, the rotating axis of the turn connection is essentially pointing vertically, when the locking cone is securing the first cargo container. The ISO-holes are normally pointing vertically. In order to achieve a simple and easy to understand coning function, it. may therefore be advantageous to have the turn connection's axis pointing in the same direction.

In a preferred embodiment, the housing comprises a load pad for transferring vertical compression forces between the first and second container. The load pad is located between the upper and lower collar.

Coupling devices without load pads are sometimes used, with the containers resting directly on each other and the device kept in place at the small chamfer on the ISO-hole's edge. The

disadvantage with flangeless coupling devices is that they sometimes are accidentally pushed into the corner fitting by miss-positioning during loading. It could therefore be

advantageous to have a load pad for a more secure fit of the coupling device in and between the corner fittings.

In a preferred embodiment, the tilt connection is located outside the housing on an upper collar side.

It may be advantageous to have the tilt connection easily accessible outside the housing during the assembly of the parts. Another advantage may be that the geometric location of the pivot for the tilting latch arm is more suitable at a distance above the housing's upper collar.

In a preferred embodiment, the holding latch is tilting into and out of securing the second cargo container when being moved into and out. from an ISO-hole of the corner fitting. The movement, has both a horizontal and a vertical direction component in said tilt connection. The horizontal direction component is essentially in the transversal direction of the second cargo container.

The purpose of getting a side movement in the tilt, connection is for it to be transferred, via the cone shaft and corner fitting, to a side movement of the first container during loading or discharge. The advantages of an automatic discharge function, which can be achieved by the combined horizontal and vertical movement direction components, is mentioned in other parts of this specification . In a preferred embodiment, the coupling device comprises a positioner for interaction wi h a groove. The positioner strives to keep the cone shaft in a turning position where the locking cone secures the first cargo container. The positioner comprises a stop screw, a compression spring and a ball.

It may be advantageous to provide a positioner which prevents unintentional turning movement and stops the coupling device from dropping out after coning.

According to another aspect of the invention, an assembly arrangement of a coupling device for connecting cargo containers is provided by:

- A shaft portion of a cone shaft inserted into a housing cavity from an upper collar side of a housing, the cone shaft being rotatably guided with the housing in a turn connection, the cone shaft comprising a locking cone with a cone connection remaining outside said upper collar.

- An arm portion of an latch arm inserted through the housing cavity from a lower collar side of the housing, the arm portion comprising an arm connection located outside the upper collar.

- A pin connector attaching said cone connection and said arm connection to form a rotatable tilt connection.

Advantages of the incentive concept is the simplicity by which only a few parts can be easily assembled into a working coupling device. Just three parts and one main operation, the attachment of the pin connector, are needed to form the coherent arrangement.

Preferably, the assembly arrangement is held together by the opposite insert directions of the cone shaft and the latch arm relative the intermediate housing. And preferably, the cone shaft comprises surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative the housing, and the latch arm comprises surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative the housing.

This way, the parts are kept together in an working coherent, assembly. It may be advantageous, for simplicity reasons, that the housing is kept in place by surfaces, which also can be used for functional guiding, and by opposite insert directions. Preferably, the assembly arrangement includes one or more of the other coupling device embodiments mentioned earlier. It may be advantageous to incorporate some of the embodiments described above to improve the assembly arrangement.

According to another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for coning a coupling device in a first cargo contai er. The coupling device comprises a latch arm attached to a cone shaft in a tilt connection for tilting a holding latch into and out of securing a second cargo container. The method comprises the steps of:

- Aligning a locking cone of the cone shaft with an upper collar of a housing by turning the cone shaft relative the housing.

- Inserting the locking cone and the upper collar into a corner fitting of the first cargo container.

- Turning the latch arm., wherein the latch arm brings the cone shaft to secure the corner fitting with the locking cone.

An advantage of turning a cone shaft of a tilting latch arm type coupling device in the coning operation is to get a well known procedure. Another advantage is the relative large size of the parts being handled, whereby the job gets easier to carry out using gloves or under poor light conditions. Yet another advantage is that ones the coupling device has been coned, it is easy to determine that it has been correctly fitted in the corner fitting.

Preferably, the method for coning further comprising the step of, prior to aligning the locking cone by turning:

- Tilting the latch arm to a turnable position in a housing cavity of the housing.

If the coupling device has its latch arm in a tilted position, where turning not is possible, when it. is being picked up before coning, it may be advantageous to first tilt the latch arm in order to be able to proceed with the coning operation.

Preferably, the method for coning includes one or more of the other coupling device embodiments mentioned earlier. It may be advantageous to incorporate some of the embodiments described above to improve the method for coning.

Preferred embodiments will in the following be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a view in perspective showing the coupling devices fitted in a first cargo container above a second cargo container.

Figure 2 is a front, a side and a top view showing the coupling device .

Figure 3a-c are views in perspective showing the movement end positions for the coupling device.

Figure 4a-c are upper collar cross sections showing the movement end positions.

Figure 5a-c are lower collar cross sections showing the movement end positions.

Figure 6 is an exploded view showing the coupling device in perspective .

Figure 7a-b are two different front view cross sections showi g the coupling device in between the containers.

Figure 8a-b are two different front view cross sections showing the coupling device during discharge of the containers.

Figure 9a-b are two different front, view cross sections showing the coupling device after the first container has been released from the second.

Figure lOa-c are perspective views showing a coning sequence of the coupling device with a cut section bottom corner fitting.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments

The invention will now for the purpose of exemplification be described in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings .

An overview of a container arrangement, in which a coupling device 100 according to the invention can be used, is shown in Fig. 1. Four pieces of coupling devices 100, with three pieces visible in the illustration, are fitted, or coned, in the bottom corner fittings 3, 4 of a first cargo container 1. The first cargo container 1 is about to be loaded on, or has just been discharged from, a second cargo container 2, where the coupling devices 100 automatically will be secured in, or was released from, the top corner fittings 5, 6. Additional layers of cargo containers are not shown in Fig. 1 but can be present below the second cargo container 2 with additional coupling devices 100 between them, b In an alternative arrangement, the coupling device 100 can very well be fitted and then used upside down in the top corner fittings 5, 6 of the second container 2, but this is not shown herein. It may also be possible to for example use the invented coupling device 100 in two corners on one side of the container 1 and another type of device on the opposite side.

An embodiment of a coupling device 100 for connecting a first and a second cargo container 1, 2 according to the invention, usually comprises the main components of a cone shaft 20, a housing 40 and a latch arm 60. A overview of these three and other¾ components can be obtained by studying Fig. 6, where the different parts are separated from each other. The mentioned main components are subject to high stresses and impact forces and are suitably made by forged or cast heat treated high tensile steel, although the design not is limited to these choices and use of alternative0 materials and production methods may be considered.

The housing 40 is mounted between the cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60 and comprises an upper collar 41 and a lower collar 43. The lower collar 43 is hidden behind a load pad 42 in Fig. 6 and can be seen better in several of other figures.

b As seen in Fig. 6, the cone shaft 20 has a locking cone 21 for securing inside one corner fitting and the latch arm 60 has a holding latch 62 for securing inside another corner fitting. By having the cone shaft 20 attached to the latch arm 60, two cargo containers can be connected together, one on top of the other. The cone shaft 20 is attached to the latch arm 60 in a tilt connection 91. The tilt connection 91 allows for a rotation between the cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60, whereby the latch arm 60 can tilt back and forth in relation to the cone shaft. 20. This back and forth movement is used for tilting said holding latch 62 into and out of securing its corner fitting during loading and discharge. In a preferred embodiment, the tilt connection 91 comprises an arm connection 63 in the latch arm 60, a cone connection 25 in the cone shaft 20, and a pin connector 80 rotatably attaching them together. Suitably, the arm connection 63 and the cone connection 25 are formed as through holes overlapping when the cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60 are attached to each other. The pin connector 80 is preferably solid and made in a high tensile material to withstand high securing forces. The pin connector 80 can be threaded or it can be kept in place by other means, by for example an additional radial pointing stop screw. Or, as intended in Fig. 6, it can be kept in place by a tight press fit in the cone connection 25 and allow tilting by a loose fit with the arm.

connection 63.

The latch arm 60 comprises an arm portion 61 extending away from the holding latch 62, up through the housing 40, to the tilt connection 91 where the latch arm 60 is attached to the cone shaft 20. The position of the tilt connection 91, on an upper collar 41 side outside the housing 40, provides for an easy assembly access as well as for a good pivot geometry when tilting the holding latch 62 into and out. of securing. When assembled, the upper part of the arm portion 61 is accommodated in a cone recess 23 inside the cone shaft 20, where it has space to tilt back and forth.

The cone shaft. 20 is guided with the housing 40 in a turn connection 92. The turn connection 92 allows for a rotation between the cone shaft 20 and the housing 40. This turning is used for moving the locking cone 21 into and out of securing its corner fitting during coning and deconing .

As can be seen in Fig. 6, in a preferred embodiment, the turn connection 92 comprises a cylindrical cavity 45 in the housing rotatably guiding a corresponding cylindrical surface 24 on a shaft portion 22 of said cone shaft 20. When the cone shaft 20 is attached in. the tilt connection 91 and prevented to move out vertically by a guide surface 67 and a stop surface 68 on the latch arm 60, the shaft portion 22 is retained in the housing 40 and can only turn around its cylindrical surface 24 together with the latch arm 60. The lower part of the housing 40 has a tilt & turn cavity 47 guiding and accommodating movement of the latch arm 60, or in particular the arm portion 61, when it is being either turned around the turn connection 92 or tilted around the tilt connection 91. The tilt & turn cavity 47 opens up to the outside in the bottom of the housing 40, with an opening on a lower collar 3 side, and previously mentioned cylindrical cavity 45 opens up to the outside in the top of the housing 40, with an opening on an upper collar side. As also best seen in Fig. 6, the tilt & turn cavity 47 is connected to the cylindrical cavity 45 by an

intermediate cavity 46 to form a through hole housing cavity 44. The housing cavity 44 as a whole is thereby accommodating said cone shaft 20 in being turned and said latch arm 60 in being either turned or tilted.

In a preferred embodiment, a positioner 85 is provided to give better accuracy to the cone shaft's 20 positions. It. is especially important that the cone shaft 20 is kept in a turned position where the locking cone 21 is secured in the corner fitting after coning, preventing the coupling device 100 from falling out when the container is lifted and moved. The positioner 85 depicted in Fig. 6 consists of a ball 88 being pushed by a compression spring 87 against the cylindrical surface 24 of the shaft portion 22. The positioner 85 is mounted in a hole in the upper collar 41 of the housing 40 and the back end of the compression spring 87 is kept in place by a threaded stop screw 86 being screwed to the housing 40, As easier seen in Fig, 4a, b and 4c, the positioner 85 interacts with two grooves 28, 29 and clicks into them when the cone shaft 20 is in the intended position.

Alternatives to the shown positioner 85 could for example be a coil spring mounted to always strive to turn the cone shaft 20 to a position where the locking cone 21 is securing the corner- fitting. Springs striving to keep the latch arm 60 in a specified tilt position are not considered necessary at this point, but might be added later in order to simplify handling or make the loading smoother. The simplicity by which the coupling device 100 can be assemble is also best be envisaged by studying Fig. 6. The ready assembly arrangement comprises :

- The cone shaft 20 with its shaft portion 22 inserted into the housing cavity 44 from, the top, from an upper collar 41 side of the housing 40. As described before, the cone shaft. 20 is thereby rotatably guided with said housing 40 in a turn connection 92. Th locking cone 21 with its cone connection 25 is remaining outside the upper collar 41.

- The latch arm 60 with its arm portion 61 inserted through the housing cavity 44 from below, from a lower collar 43 side of the housing 40. The arm connection 63 is thereby also located outside the upper collar 41.

- The pin connector 80 attaching the cone connection 25 and the arm connection 63 to form a rotatable tilt connection 91.

The assembly arrangement is achieved by going from separated components as shown in Fig. 6 to a ready coupling device 100 as shown in Fig. 5. The first two arrangement points do not require any specific assembly order. The latch arm 60 can just as well be inserted before the cone shaft 20. In a preferred assembly, the pin connector 80 is pressed to a semi-permanent fit with the cone connection 25, or alternatively with the arm. connection 63.

In the preferred assembly arrangement, the parts are being held together by the opposite insert directions of the cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60 relative the intermediate housing 40. The cone shaft 20 has surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative the housing 40. Preferably, the horizontal bottom surface of the shaft portion 22 stops against a horizontal upper surface of the intermediate cavity 46, The latch arm 60 has surfaces preventing further movement in its insert direction relative the housing 40. Preferably, the guide surface 67 and stop surface 68 of the holding latch 62 stops against the botto surface of the lower collar 43.

Fig. 3a-c shows the movement end positions for the coupling device 100 and Fig. 4a-c and 5a-c shows the corresponding cross sections through the upper collar 41 and the lower collar 42. Fig 4a-c are in particular revealing the turn connection 92, Fig. 5a-c are in particular revealing the tilt & turn cavity 47.

In an intersection position, as shown in Fig. 3a, 4a and 5a:

- The locking cone 21 is set for securing the first container, suitably by being perpendicular to the upper collar 41.

- The holding latch 62 is set for securing the second container, suitably by being at an angle where it prevents vertical release.

- The cone shaft 20 and the latch arm. 60 can be turned, for moving the locking cone 21 out of securing. The cone shaft 20 would then be guided in the turn co nectio 92. The arm portion 61 wo ld then be guided in the tilt & turn cavity 47.

- The latch arm. 60 can be tilted, for moving the holding latch 62 out of securing. The arm portion 61 would then be guided in a cone recess in the cone shaft 22 and in the tilt & turn cavity 47.

In a tilted to release position, as shown in Fig. 3b, 4b and 5b:

- The locking cone 21 is set for securing the first container, suitably by being perpendicular to the upper collar 41.

- The holding latch 62 is set for releasing the second container, suitably by being tilted at an angle where it allows release.

- The cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60 can not be turned. The turning movement of the arm portion 61 is blocked in the tilt & turn cavity 47.

- The latch arm 60 can be tilted, for moving the holding latch 62 into securing. The arm portion 61 would then be guided in a cone recess in the cone shaft 22 and in the tilt & turn cavity 47.

In a tur ed to open position, as shown in Fig, 3c, 4c and 5c:

- The locking cone 21 is set. for not securing the first container, suitably by being aligned with the upper collar 41.

- The holding latch. 62 is in a position where it can not engage with the second container, but where it can be operated manually by hand .

- The cone shaft 20 and the latch arm 60 can be turned, for moving the locki g cone 21 into securing. The cone shaft 20 would then be guided in the turn connection 92. The arm portion 61 would then be guided in the tilt & turn cavity 47. - The latch arm 60 can not be tilted. The tilting movement of the arm portion 61 is blocked in the tilt & turn cavity 47,

Fig, 7a-b shows the coupling device 100 between a first and a second cargo container 1, 2. The housing's 40 upper collar 41 ¾ extends into the ISO-hole of the first cargo container 1 and its lower collar 3 extends into the ISO-hole of the seco d cargo container 2 , When a corner in a container stack is under

compression, with the bottom corner fitting 3 being forced against the top corner fitting 5, the collars 41, 42 will remain inside the ISO-holes and prevent relative horizontal side movement between the cargo containers 1, 2, Side forces are transferred between the first 1 and the second container 2 by an interaction of opposite surfaces on the upper collar 41 and the lower collar 43, The two collars 41, 43 are also keeping the housing 40 in an¾ aligned direction with the cargo containers 1, 2, The housing 40 can not be significantly rotated inside the ISO-holes 7, 8 since the collars 41, 43 have oval elongated shapes generally matching them.

In a preferred embodiment, the housing 40 comprises

0 a load pad 42 for transferring vertical compression forces between said first and second container 1, 2. The load pad 42 is located between the upper and lower collars 41, 43. As shown in Fig. 7a-b, the load pad is essentially designed as a flat plate in order to provide a good contact with the corner fittings 3, 5 on bothb sides.

The locki g cone 21 comprises a first, extrusio 26 a d a second extrusion 27. These extrusions 26, 27 have contact against, the horizontal inner surface inside the corner fitting 3 and are located on opposite sides of the ISO-hole 7. Forces coming from the latch arm 60, via the tilt connection 91, are transferred to both sides of the ISO-hole 7. Furthermore, the double sided contact will together with the upper collar 41 ensure a good fit of the coupling device 100 in the bottom corner fitting 3.

Fig. 7a-b, 8a-b and 9a-b shows in a sequence the function of the locking device 100 when a first cargo container 1 is being discharged from a. second cargo container 2. In particular, these front views, looking in the in the longitudinal direction of the containers, shows how the tilting of the latch arm 60 affects the relative movement between the two cargo containers 1, 2.

In a preferred embodiment, as shown in these pictures, the b rotating axis of the tilt connection 91 is essentially pointing in the longitudinal direction of the containers 1, 2, when the

holding latch 62 is securing the second cargo container 2. The rotating axis of the turn connection 92 is essentially pointing vertically, when the locking co e 21 is securi g the first cargo container 1.

The holding latch 62 comprises a support portion 65 for guiding against a vertical side wall of an ISO-hole 8 of the corner fitting 5, and a grip portion 64 for contact against an horizontal inner surface in said corner fitting 5. The support portion 65 and¾ the grip portion 64 are on opposite sides of the ISO-hole 8 when the holding latch 62 is securing the second cargo container.

Thereby, a straight vertical direction release from Fig. 7a-b is not possible. If another corner is under compression and

preventing side movement between the containers 1, 2, as during0 rolling on board a ship, the shown corner fittings 3, 5 will

remain connected when subject to a lifting force. The holding latch 62 is herein tilted into securing the second cargo container 2 with the grip portion 64 and prevented from tilting out of securing by the support portion 65.

b During loading and discharge, all four corners of the two

containers 1, 2 are ideally lifted simultaneously, creating the side movement shift between the bottom 3 and top corner fitting 5 shown in Fig. 8a-b and 9a-b. In practice, all four corners are not lifted at exactly the same speed, but a lifted corner will be released as long as the compression is relaxed in the opposite corner on the same container short end side. The shape of the holding latch 62 guides it to be tilting into and out of securing the second cargo container 2 when being moved into and out from the ISO-hole 8 of the corner fitting 5. This movement has both a horizontal and a vertical direction component in the tilt

connection 91 and the horizontal direction component, is essentially in the transversal direction of the second cargo container 2.

The loading sequence is essentially opposite to the discharge and can be followed by by studying the illustrations in a reversed b order, from Fig. 9a-b, via 8a-b to 7a-b. The lower part of the holding latch 62 is suitably equipped with an enter guide 66, essentially consisting of sloping surfaces, directing the holding latch 62 into the ISO-hole 8 in the early phase of the loading. Fig. lOa-c shows a coning sequence of the coupling device 100 with the bottom corner fitting 3. The coupling device 100

comprises the previously described latch arm 60 attached to the cone shaft 20 in a tilt connection 91 for tilting a holding latch 62 into and out of securing a second cargo container. The method for coning comprises the steps of:

¾ - Aligning a locking cone 21 of the cone shaft 20 with an upper collar 41 of a housing 40 by turning said cone shaft. 20 relative said housing 40. This is shown in Fig 10a.

- Inserting the locking cone 21 and the upper collar 41 into a corner fitting 3 of said first, cargo container. This is shown in0 Fig 10b.

- Turning said latch arm 60, wherein said latch arm 62 brings the cone shaft 20 to secure the corner fitting 3 with the locking cone 21. This is shown in Fig. 10c.

After the above coning procedure, the first container 1 fittedb with a coupling device 100 with a tilting latch arm 62 is ready to be loaded onto a. second container 2.

If, before coning, the coupling device 100 is in a tilted position where turning around the turn connection 92 not is possible, as illustrated in Fig. 3b, 4b, 5b, a additional step will be needed before the aligning step:

- Tilting the latch arm 60 to a turnable position in the housing cavity 44. This position is shown in Fig. 3a, 4a, 5a.