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Title:
PACKING AID
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/116821
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to both a method of packing stemmed fruits such as grapes (40) using first (6) and second (8) fruit containers, and a platform (1) for supporting these containers that is mounted upon wheels (4), so as to be in effect, a trolley. The method includes the steps of the placing grapes (40) in the first fruit container (6) with their stems (42) visible, and then turning this first container over and transferring these grapes (40) to the second fruit container (8) so that their stems (42) are not visible.

Inventors:
Burrows, Barry Charles (Lot 1, Sandilong Avenue Nichols Point, VIC 3501, AU)
Marciano, Gregory James (Block 380, Red Cliffs, Victoria 3496, AU)
Marciano, Donald John (Block 375, Red Cliffs, Victoria 3496, AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2006/000587
Publication Date:
November 09, 2006
Filing Date:
May 05, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Burrows, Barry Charles (Lot 1, Sandilong Avenue Nichols Point, VIC 3501, AU)
Marciano, Gregory James (Block 380, Red Cliffs, Victoria 3496, AU)
Marciano, Donald John (Block 375, Red Cliffs, Victoria 3496, AU)
International Classes:
B65B25/04; B65G65/23
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997044269A11997-11-27
Foreign References:
GB2379650A2003-03-19
JP2004018078A2004-01-22
US4095707A1978-06-20
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Week 197548, Derwent World Patents Index; Class Q31, AN M8112W, XP003003737
DATABASE WPI Week 199934, Derwent World Patents Index; Class C07, AN 1999-397303, XP003003738
PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COLLISON & CO (117 King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A fruit packing platform adapted to provide support for at least two fruit containers so that a first fruit container can be rotated so as to effect transfer of any contents directly into a second fruit container.
2. The fruit packing platform as in the immediately preceding claim further characterised in that the first fruit container is overturned.
3. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first and second fruit containers are open topped boxes.
4. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container is sized so that it will just fit within the opening of the second container, and the two containers hold approximately the same volume.
5. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container is intended to receive fruit so that their stems are not visible.
6. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the platform supports the first fruit container at a level above the second fruit container.
7. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container is connected to the platform via means that allow it to be lifted and rotated.
8. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the second fruit container can be positioned over the top of the first fruit container so that the first and second fruit containers are rotated together, and the contents of the first fruit container are transferred directly into the second fruit container.
9. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the second fruit container rests upon a portion of the platform and is removable there from.
10. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container is a metal box.
11. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the second fruit container is a Styrofoam or cardboard box.
12. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the platform is a frame.
13. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the frame is mounted on wheels so as to be in effect, a trolley.
14. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container rests atop a set of scales, which are in turn supported by the frame.
15. The fruit packing platform as in any one of the preceding claims further characterised in that the first fruit container can be replaced by fruit container of a different size so that the platform can be used to pack second fruit containers of a different size.
16. A method of packing grapes using the fruit packing platform as in any one of the claims to a fruit packing platform, including the steps of placing grapes in the first fruit container so that their stems are visible, and then turning this first container over and transferring these to the second fruit container so that their stems are not visible.
17. A method of packing grapes using first and second fruit containers, including the steps of placing grapes in the first fruit container so that their stems ar e visible, and then turning this first container over and transferring these to the second fruit container so that their stems are not visible.
18. The method as in either one of claims 16 or 17 further characterised in that it includes the further step of placing the second fruit container over the top of the first fruit container before turning it over.
19. The method as in any one of the preceding method claims further characterised in that it includes the further step of covering the first fruit container with a bag before covering it with the second fruit container.
20. The method as in any one of the preceding method claims further characterised in that it includes the further step of turning the first and second fruit containers over together.
21. The method as in any one of the preceding method claims further characterised in that it includes the further step of returning the first fruit container to the upright position.
22. The method as in any one of the preceding method claims further characterised in that it includes the further step of replacing the filled second fruit container with an empty one.
23. The method as in any one of the preceding method claims further characterised in that it includes the further step of packing the first fruit container, thereby starting the method over again.
Description:
TITLE

PACKING AID

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a means and method for packing stemmed fruits.

For the purposes of explanation, reference will be made to use of the present invention with respect to packing grapes. It would be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art however that the invention is not limited to use in grape packing, its application could instead extend to use in packing any produce where e the orientation of the produce is a consideration in packing e.g. cherries and tomatoes.

BACKGROUND ART

While grape bunches are generally handled via their stems, the correct technique for packing grapes after picking involves packing the bunches in an open top box or tray so that the stems are not visible.

Doing this correctly requires training and practice. Given the transitory nature of the labour commonly employed for grape picking work, employers constantly have to train new workers how to do this.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a means and method for packing grapes that is simpler and easier than the aforementioned packing technique, or at the least provides the public with a useful alternative.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, an embodiment of the present invention is disclosed.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

In one form of this invention there is proposed a fruit packing platform adapted to provide support for at least two fruit containers so that a first fruit container can be rotated so as to effect transfer of any contents directly into a second fruit container.

Peferably, the first fruit container is overturned.

Preferably, the first and second fruit containers are open topped boxes.

Preferably, the first and second fruit containers hold approximately the same volume.

Preferably, the first fruit container is intended to receive fruit orientated with their stems visible.

Preferably, the platform supports the first fruit container at a level above the second fruit container.

Preferably, the first fruit container is connected to the platform via means that allow it to be lifted and rotated.

Preferably, the second fruit container can be positioned over the top of the first fruit container so that when the first and second fruit containers are rotated together, the contents of the first fruit container are transferred directly into the second fruit container.

Preferably, the second fruit container rests upon a portion of the platform and is removable there from.

Preferably, the first fruit container is a metal box.

Preferably, the second fruit container is a Styrofoam or cardboard box.

Preferably, the platform is a frame.

Preferably, the frame is mounted on wheels so as to be in effect, a trolley.

Preferably, the first fruit container rests atop a set of scales, which are in turn supported by the frame.

Preferably, the first fruit container can be replaced by fruit container of a different size so that the platform can be used to pack second fruit containers of a different size.

In a further form, the invention may be said to reside in a method of packing grapes using the aforementioned fruit packing platform, including the steps of placing grapes in the first fruit container with their stems visible, and then turning this first container over and transferring these to the second fruit container so that their stems are not visible in the second container.

In a further form, the invention may be said to reside in a method of packing grapes using first and second fruit containers, including the steps of placing grapes in the first fruit container with their stems visible, and then turning this first container over and transferring these to the second fruit container so that their stems are not visible in the second container.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of placing the second fruit container over the first fruit container before turning it over.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of covering the first fruit container with a bag before covering it with the second fruit container.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of turning the first and second fruit containers over together.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of returning the first fruit container to the upright position.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of replacing the filled second fruit container with an empty one.

Preferably, the method includes the further step of packing the first fruit container, thereby starting the method over again.

In a further form it is considered that the operation of lifting and turning the container may be driven by an electric motor or the like, so as to reduce the physical effort required by the user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of this invention it will now be described with respect to the preferred embodiment which shall be described herein with the assistance of drawings wherein;

Figure 1 is a rear perspective view of the platform illustrating the first container empty, and second container full;

Figures 2 through 6 are side views of the platform in Figure 1 , illustrating the first fruit containers position during various stages of the packing and transfer processes; and

Figures 7 through 11 are detailed views of the platforms tilting and lifting mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Now referring to the illustrations, and in particular to Figure 1 , there is a fruit packing platform 1 having a frame 2 that is mounted upon wheels 4 so as to be in effect, a trolley.

The platform supports at least two fruit containers 6 and 8 at what is a comfortable working height for a standing person who is of average height. The framework 2 of the platform 1 supports the first fruit container 6 at a level above the second fruit container 8.

The first 6 and second 8 fruit containers are open topped boxes that hold approximately the same volume of fruit, although the first fruit container 6 is sized so that it will just fit within the opening of the second container 8.

The first fruit container 6 is a metal box, and the second fruit container 8 is a Styrofoam or cardboard box, of the type used for transporting fruit.

The first fruit container 6 is connected to the platform 1 via means 9 that allow it to be lifted and rotated.

The second fruit container 8 merely rests upon a portion 2a of the platforms framework 2, and is removable there from.

The first container 6 is connected at one edge 6a to a cross member 20 that extends between a pair of opposing frame uprights 22.

Referring now to Figures 7 through 9, each end of the cross member 20 is pivotally attached to a carriage 24 that runs in a track 26 fixed to a frame upright 22, allowing the first container 6 to travel up and down along the track 26.

Referring now to Figure 10 and 11 , the pivotal connection is such that the cross member 20 and the first container 6 can rotate relative to the carriage 24. The axis of this rotation coincides with the axis of elongation of the cross member 20.

The first fruit container 6 rests atop a set of scales 30, which are in turn supported by the frame. This will be referred to as the 'home position' for this container 6.

In use, a grape picker can push the platform 1 along a vine row via handles 31 , picking and packing grapes 40 as they go.

Referring now to Figure 2, as bunches of grapes 40 are picked, they are placed in the first container 6 via their stems 42, so that these stems 42 are visible. Grape bunches are packed into the first container until the scales 30 indicate that a prescribed weight of grapes 40 has been packed therein.

The grape picker then places a plastic bag 44 over the first container 6 (see Figure 3) and then positions the second fruit container 8 over the top of the first fruit container 6 and the plastic bag 44 (see Figure 4).

Referring now to Figure 5, the grape picker then picks up the first 6 and second 8 containers together via handles 45, and turns them both over,

emptying the contents of the first fruit container 6 into the second fruit container 8.

Once this transfer has been effected, the first fruit container 6 is turned the right way up, and returned to its home position atop the scales 30, and the second fruit container is left sitting upon its frame support 2a with a load of fruit 40.

The grapes 40 in the second container 8 now sit in this container with their stems 42 pointed down into the container, largely unseen by an observer (see Figure 6).

The full second container 8 is then taken away for transporting, and it is replaced with another empty second fruit container 8.

The first fruit container 6 is removably attached to the cross member by hook and loop fastener or bolts, so that it can be replaced by a first fruit container of a different size, so that the platform 1 can in turn be used to pack second fruit containers 8 of a different size.

It is considered that the means and method according to the present invention will make the correct method of packing grapes easier to perform, and reduce the training burden associated with training grape pickers and packers.

Although the invention has been herein shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognised that departures can be made within the scope of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details described herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the appended claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus.




 
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