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Title:
PROTECTION DEVICE FOR ENVIRONMENTS WITH AUTOMATED CLOSING
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/019271
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a device for protecting environments (1, 1', 1") such as warehouses, workshops, cellars, basements, transportable containers and the like, which may become exposed to atmospheric agents. The device, which can be implemented either as a mountable kit or as a fixed installation, comprises a waterproof wall (11, 11', 11") or casing associated with a zip type fastening (20, 20', 20") acting as a barrier against water or humidity, which can be easily installed thanks to a structure applicable to the walls of the environment to be protected. Advantageously, the closing of the wall or casing is automated, i.e. drive means (25, 26, 38, 39, 25', 26', 38', 39', 25", 26", 38", 39") are foreseen for actuation of the zip type fastening, so that it can be activated quickly in case of need, thus making the invention particularly suited to large applications such as industrial warehouses, depots and the like.

Inventors:
CONIGLIO, Davide (Stradone Sant'Agostino 35/3, Genova, I-16123, IT)
LASAGNA, Adriano (Via V Maggio 97 a/5, Genova, I-16148, IT)
Application Number:
IB2014/063676
Publication Date:
February 12, 2015
Filing Date:
August 04, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CONIGLIO, Davide (Stradone Sant'Agostino 35/3, Genova, I-16123, IT)
LASAGNA, Adriano (Via V Maggio 97 a/5, Genova, I-16148, IT)
International Classes:
E04H6/02; B61D3/00; E04B9/06; E04H9/14; E06B9/08
Foreign References:
US20040020611A12004-02-05
EP0272733A11988-06-29
JP2000045657A2000-02-15
DE3803600A11988-08-18
EP1175842A22002-01-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FERRONI, filippo et al. (Via Palestro 5/2, Genova, I-16122, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Protection device for environments (1; ; 1 ") of constructions such as warehouses, containers and the like, wherein a passage opening (2; 2'; 2") allows access of persons and/or things to and from an environment (1; ; 1 "), the device comprising a flexible waterproof wall (11; 1 ; 11 ") associated with a zip type fastening (20; 20'; 20"), means (12; 17, 18; 12', 17', 18'; 12", 17", 18") for supporting said wall (1 1; 1 ; 11 ") in correspondence of the passage opening (2; 2'; 2"), characterized in that it comprises drive means (25, 26, 38, 39; 25', 26', 38', 39'; 25", 26", 38", 39") for the actuation of said zip type fastening (20).

2. Device according to claim 1, wherein the means for the actuation of the zip type fastening (20; 20'; 20") comprise a chain (25; 25'; 25") or another similar flexible transmission element, connected to a slider (21; 21 '; 21 ") of the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20") so as to move it in order to open and/or close the wall (11; 1 ; 11 ").

3. Device according to claims 1 or 2, wherein the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20") extends substantially in correspondence of the edge of the wall (11; 11 '; 11 "), so that the wall can be folded upwards in the open condition of the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20").

4. Device according to any one of claims 2 or 3, wherein the chain (25; 25'; 25") or other similar flexible element extends along at least one portion of the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20").

5. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising a frame (12; 12'; 12") supporting the waterproof wall (11; 1 ; 11 "), which also supports a chain (25; 25'; 25") or another similar flexible element so as to maintain it in a spaced relationship with respect to the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20") of the wall.

6. Device according to claim 5, wherein the frame (12; 12'; 12") has a substantially polygonal shape and includes angular elements (18; 18'; 18") at the vertices, which support idle pinions (26; 26'; 26") for guiding the chain (25; 25'; 25") or the like.

7. Device according to claim 6, wherein the position of the pinions (26; 26'; 26") is adjustable, thereby regulating the tension of the chain (25; 25'; 25") or the like.

8. Device according to claim 7, wherein the pinions (26; 26'; 26") are associated with a respective shaft (27; 27'; 27") supported by a corresponding bearing (28; 28'; 28"), which comprises a sleeve (32; 32'; 32") with a cavity (33; 33'; 33") for housing the shaft (27; 27'; 27") configured with an elongated section in a direction transversal to the axis of the sleeve (32; 32'; 32"), thereby providing clearance for the positioning of the shaft (27; 27'; 27").

9. Device according to claim 8, wherein the bearing (28; 28'; 28") comprises a base (29; 29'; 29") to be fixed to a corresponding angular element (18; 18'; 18"), which is substantially curved.

10. Device according to any one of claims 6 to 9, wherein in correspondence to the vertices of the polygonal frame (12; 12'; 12") the zip fastening (20; 20'; 20") has a predetermined radius of curvature.

11. Device according to any one of claims 5 to 10, comprising a band (19; 19'; 19") extending along the frame (12; 12'; 12"), to which it is fixed on one side, while on the other side it is fixed to the zip fastening (20; 20' ; 20").

12. Device according to claim 11, wherein the band (19; 19'; 19") includes a gasket (14; 14'; 14") which engages with the frame (12; 12'; 12") for the sealed fixing thereof.

13. Device according to claim 12, wherein the gasket (14; 14'; 14") comprises a thicker first portion (14a; 14a'; 14a"), engaged in a seat (16; 16'; 16") internal to the frame (12; 12'; 12"), and a thinner second portion (14b; 14b'; 14b") joined to the band (19; 19'; 19") extending along the frame (12; 12'; 12").

14. Device according to claim 13, comprising a plurality of plates (15; 15'; 15") fixed to the frame (12; 12'; 12"), and wherein the gasket (14; 14'; 14") is sealingly compressed between the plates (15; 15'; 15") and the frame (12; 12'; 12").

15. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the frame (12; 12'; 12") comprises a plurality of sections (17; 17'; 17") and angular elements (18; 18'; 18"), some of which are made of polyoxymethylene (POM).

16. Device according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising a body (50") forming, together with the wall (11 "), a substantially closed flexible casing (1 ").

17. Device according to claim 16, wherein the body (50") has a substantially parallelepiped shape, in which one face is constituted by the wall (11 ").

18. Container for transportation and/or storage of goods, comprising a plurality of walls (3', 4', 5', 6', 7') and characterized by comprising a protection device according to any one of the preceding claims.

19. Container according to claim 18, wherein the container is equipped with wheels (8') for moving it.

20. Container according to claim 19, which is a railway wagon.

Description:
Title:

"PROTECTION DEVICE FOR ENVIRONMENTS WITH AUTOMATED CLOSING"

The present invention relates, in a more general aspect thereof, to the protection of environments in general, such as those for civil, commercial, industrial uses and the like, against external agents.

As will become apparent from the following description, wherein reference will be made, for simplicity, to anti-flooding applications of the protection device, the invention can advantageously be used wherever separation is required between one environment and another, regardless of the fact that this is done in order to protect an environment against external agents or material stored in a container or whatever. Therefore, the statements herein after relating to applications against atmospheric agents, flooding and the like should also be extended to other possible applications, some of which will become apparent in the course of the following description.

As is known, when floods occur in towns or in populated areas, caused by heavy rain, overflowing rivers or broken water pipes, most damages and dangers concern people or things that are located in environments at risk of flooding.

In fact, when flooding occurs, shops, houses, warehouses, depots or basements at or under the ground level are the first to be invaded by water, with severe or even tragical consequences for the people or things inside.

Usually, in order to protect environments at ground level, people place at the house entrance or in front of doors or gates more or less extemporaneous barriers made of panels, sandbags and other objects that can resist to water. Experience has shown that these solutions are essentially just stopgap measures that can slow down the water flow for some time, without however offering any reliability in protecting things or people.

On the other hand, it is not feasible, in shops located along city streets frequented by a public of customers who must be allowed to go in and out freely and easily, to adopt waterproof bulkheads or other water protection measures that would take a lot of space or anyway would hinder the passage of people and would not be suited to shop windows and the exposed goods; the same is true for cellars and basements used as warehouses, furniture depots, car depots, etc., where people must be able to move freely in and out in order to move vehicles, goods and materials in general.

Similar problems also arise for goods stored in containers, such as fixed tanks or installations (e.g. concrete or metal silos) or transported in containers like those for marine and terrestrial transportation.

In such a context a need is therefore felt for protection devices for people or things in environments such as houses, shops, workshops, containers, fixed or mobile installations or whatever, which can be readily made operational or removed as necessary, without requiring complex operations or anyway only requiring operations that can be carried out by a single person without needing any help from others.

The present Applicant has recently set up an advantageous solution in a kit format, wherein a waterproof wall is mounted at the entrance of an environment, supported by a frame configured like a door fixture; a special zip fastening allows the wall to be opened and closed quickly at any time in order to protect the environment, while not hindering access thereto. Alternatively, the known anti-flooding kit comprises a substantially parallelepiped casing, with a wall that is opened and closed like the previous one by means of a zip fastening; both of these solutions represent a significant step forwards from the prior art, because they allow protecting environments against external agents in an effective manner under all aspects, including costs, which are affordable especially when compared with the potential damages that could be suffered without the presence of such protection devices.

The latter have been developed for small-size applications, i.e. shop windows or doors, garages or houses, and therefore they are not suitable for protecting large environments or places with large passage openings, such as, for example, industrial warehouses, workshops, supermarkets, the access doors of which may be as tall as 4 or 5 metres or even more.

Indeed, as it can be understood, in these cases a person cannot reach such heights without using a ladder, and the waterproof walls and casings are so big and heavy that they can be hardly handled by one person.

The technical problem underlying the present invention is therefore to provide a protection device for environments that has such structural and operational features as to overcome the above-described limits of the prior art, thereby being also applicable to large environments and being operated in a simple manner.

The idea that solves this problem is to create an automated protection device.

To this end, according to a preferred embodiment, the device comprises at least one flexible waterproof wall associated with a zip type fastening, which can be opened and closed in an automated manner; in this way, the wall can be opened and closed by one person by simply operating the automated opening and closing means, whatever the size of the waterproof wall and of the passage opening that must be closed, similarly to common rolling gates or shutters.

The features of the invention will be more specifically set out in the appended claims; such features and the advantages deriving therefrom will become more apparent from the following description of a preferred but not limiting embodiment of the invention with reference to the annexed drawings, wherein:

- Fig. 1 shows an application of a protection device according to the invention, placed in correspondence to the passage opening of an environment;

- Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a detail of the protection device of Figure 1;

- Fig. 3 is a perspective view of the detail of Fig. 2 from another angle, with some parts removed for clarity;

- Fig. 4 shows another detail of the protection device of Fig. 1;

- Fig. 5 is an exploded view of an angular element of the protection device of the preceding Figures;

- Figs. 6 and 7 are perspective views from respective angles of the element of Fig. 5 in the assembled condition;

- Fig. 8 shows the cross-section of a gasket of the device of the preceding Figures;

- Fig. 9 shows another detail of the device of the preceding figures;

- Fig. 10 shows the protection device of the preceding figures in an operating condition other than that of Fig. 1;

- Fig. 11 shows an enlarged detail of Fig. 10;

- Fig. 12 is a view of a further detail of the device of the preceding Figures, with the parts thereof detached from each other;

- Fig. 13 shows a first application variant of the device according to the invention; - Fig. 14 shows a detail of the variant of Fig. 13;

- Figs. 15, 16 show a further variant of the device of the invention.

With reference to the above-listed drawings, reference numeral 1 designates an environment room intended for any use, e.g. an industrial warehouse, a garage or the like, fitted with the protection device 10 according to the invention.

The room 1 has a passage opening 2 that is preferably closed by a leaf-type or horizontally-pivoted door or by a rolling gate or the like, which are not shown in the drawings for simplicity's sake; furthermore, again for simplicity, the room 1 is shown in the Figures to have a parallelepiped profile, which has been drawn with a dashed line: this is not however a limiting factor, and the protection device according to the invention will also be applicable to environments of any other shape, since one of the advantageous aspects of the invention is its functional flexibility, i.e. its adaptability to various application situations.

Therefore, the following description will have to be considered as applicable to any type of environment of any size, with or without closing doors; in fact, as will be better explained below, the invention is especially suited to large buildings such as industrial facilities, warehouses, workshops, hangars and the like.

The device 10 of the invention comprises a waterproof wall 11 supported by a frame

12 sealingly applied in correspondence to the passage opening 2 of the building; the wall 11 is made of an appropriate waterproof material having good waterproofing and mechanical strength properties.

The thickness of the material of the wall 11 is, depending on the material's characteristics, preferably comprised between 1 and 5 mm; suitable materials for implementing the invention are films of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), waterproof fabrics coated with vulcanized rubber, silicone, resins, etc: some fabric examples are those made out of synthetic threads (e.g. nylon, rayon, PVC, aramidic fibres, etc.) or natural threads (cotton), coated with neoprene, polyurethane or other waterproof materials.

The fabric must be able to withstand pressure levels of a few atmospheres, preferably 2 to 4 bar, so that, in accordance with the invention, the wall 11 can advantageously be manufactured by using the same materials as those used for rubber boats, which, as is known, have an inflatable structure, and wherein the material must have very good airproofing and waterproofing properties.

Airproof and waterproof materials for rubber boats, which can be used together with the present invention, are available under the name Orca® from company Pennel & Flipo.

The frame 12 is fixed to the building wall by means of clamps or bolts 13 arranged along its perimeter, some of which are also useful for fixing a sealing gasket 14 between the wall 11 and the frame 12; for this purpose, the bolts 13 act upon a closing plate 15, pressing the latter against the gasket 14 into a seat 16 in the sections 17 that constitute the sides of the frame 12.

More in particular, in the embodiment shown in the drawings the gasket 14 has a thicker first portion 14a with a substantially circular cross-section, which is inserted into the seat 16 of the section 17; the first portion 14a is associated with a thinner second portion 14b, which extends tangentially with respect to the first one, so that in the ordinary installation condition of the device it is compressed by the plate 15 that closes the section 17, thus ensuring an optimal seal. To this end, the dimensions of the portions 14a, 14b of the gasket 14, the material it is made of (e.g. neoprene, polyurethane, rubber or other suitable polymeric materials), and its mechanical characteristics (elasticity, hardness, etc.) are accurately designed in such a way as to allow the gasket to be firmly secured into the section 17 and to avoid any risk of water infiltration through the frame 12 of the device.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the thinner portion 14b of the gasket is made integral, for example by means of a welded junction (e.g. made by thermal welding, ultrasonic welding or another suitable technique) or a glued junction, with a band 19 made of the same fabric as the one that the wall 11 is made of; said band is a few centimetres wide (preferably 4-5 to 10-13 cm), depending on the dimensions of the device 1 and on the shape of the opening 2 to be closed, and a part of the zip fastening 20 of the wall of the device is fixed onto it.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the zip fastening 20 is of a special type characterized by very good sealing and mechanical strength.

For this application, commercially available zip fastenings can be employed, e.g. like those manufactured by Japanese company YKfC Corp., one example of which has been described in European patent EP 1 175842, or those available under the commercial name of "T ZIP ® " from German company Titex Vertriebs GmbH.

The band 19 extends along the edge of the frame 12, de facto increasing the width thereof and allowing the junction with the waterproof wall 11 by means of the zip fastening 20.

The latter is, in fact, advantageously applied in proximity to the junction edge between the wall 11 and the band 19, adjacent to a drive chain 25 that operates the device. The chain is of any type suitable for this purpose, as will become apparent below; for example, a roller or ring chain, of the Galle type as commonly used on bicycles; it must however be pointed out that the chain may be replaced with other flexible transmission elements, such as, for example, simple or toothed belts, etc. It is clear that, in such a case, the pinions and toothed wheels shown in the drawings will be replaced with pulleys, idlers and other mechanical elements for belt transmissions. As shown in the drawings, the chain 25 has a quadrangular development that follows that of the frame 12 and of the band 19, since it is engaged at the four vertices by respective pinions 26.

The installations of the device 1 include safety protections such as nets, panels, sections and the like, which are not shown in the drawings since they are per se known, for preventing a person's hands or other body parts from being injured or anyway damaged by the chain 25, the pinions 26 and the other moving mechanical parts.

In this example, the pinions 26 are all equal; their configuration is shown in more detail in Figures 5-7, which also show the angular element 18 of the frame 12, which advantageously acts as a support for the shaft 27 of the pinion 26.

More in particular, according to a preferred embodiment of the invention the pinion 26 is so supported that its position can be adjusted to keep the chain 25 at the desired tension; to this end, the shaft 27 is supported by a bearing 28 comprising a base 29 to be fixed to the angular element 18 with the bolts 13, which engage into the holes 30 and 31 respectively provided on the base 29 and on the angular element 18.

The bearing 28 comprises a sleeve 32 in which there is a cavity 33 advantageously configured with an elongated cross-section, i.e. slightly elongated in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the sleeve and substantially diagonal with respect to the quadrangular shape of the frame 12.

This allows some clearance in the positioning of the shaft 27, which is secured by means of a fastening nut 34 at its rear end, i.e. the end opposite to the crown of the pinion 26.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment, for the best performance both the angular element 18 and the bearing 28 are made of light high-strength materials: in fact, due to the small dimensions of both elements, and considering the stresses that they have to withstand in the event of flooding or water pressure, the materials employed are preferably synthetic ones, even though some metal materials should not be excluded.

In addition to carbon, glass, aramidic fibres and the like, suitable synthetic materials also include acetal homopolymer resin, commonly known as polyoxymethylene, which is commercially available under the name of Delrin ®.

The slider 21 of the zip fastening 20 has an appendix 22 for engaging with one or more links of the chain 25; the appendix 22 may have any shape suitable for this purpose, and there may also be connection means between it and the chain link, such as, for example, laces, cables, straps and the like: what is important is that the slider 21 is connected to the chain in such a way as to be dragged by it when moving forwards or backwards.

To this end, the device 1 according to the invention comprises a drive motor 38 positioned in the upper part with respect to the frame 2 and equipped with a toothed wheel 39 meshing with the chain 25; of course, other solutions regarding the drive system of the device are also possible. For example, the motor 38 may be associated with one of the pinions 26 arranged at the vertices of the quadrangular development of the chain: what is important is, however, the fact that the chain drive system allows the chain to move forwards and backwards, stopping it when the slider 21 of the zip fastening 20 reaches the end of its travel.

For this purpose, the motor 38 will be associated with a control system, per se known and therefore not described herein, that will allow reversing of the rotary motion of the toothed wheel 39 and stopping the motor when the slider 21 of the fastening 20 arrives at the end of its opening or closing travel.

From the above description it is apparent how the device 1 according to the invention operates.

In fact, in normal operating conditions the wall 11 is rolled up, thus not hindering the passing of people or vehicles to and from the room 1, as shown in Figure 1; for this purpose, cords are provided (not shown in the drawings), which allow lifting the wall just like a "packet" or Venetian blind.

In this context, it must be pointed out that, if the bottom section 17 of the frame 12 is embedded into the floor, the device 1 of the invention will not interfere by any means with the passing of people or vehicles through the opening 2.

When the room 1 needs to be protected against flooding, the wall 11 will be quickly closed by the motorized system: note that this simply requires operating the motor, which can be done remotely via a switch connected to the motor by means of electric wires, or even via a remote control unit, just like common gates or main doors.

In fact, the motor 38 puts the chain 25 in motion, which in turn drags the slider 21 of the zip type fastening 20, moving it from its initial condition, i.e. at the top in correspondence to one of the upper vertices of the frame 12, down along one of the vertical edges of the wall, then horizontally along the bottom edge, and then vertically upwards, until it reaches the end-of-travel condition, in which the wall 11 is closed. The slider 21, therefore, follows the same path as the chain 25, which also corresponds to the development of the zip fastening 20: due to these features, the operation of the slider 21 is uniform and regular, since there is uniformity and parallelism between the chain 25 and the zip fastening 20.

Moreover, the possibility of adjusting the position of the idler pinions 26 of the chain 25 allows taking up any slack or irregularity due to an incorrect installation of the device.

It must also be pointed out that the teaching of the invention regarding a frame 12 on which the wall 11 is mounted provides an anti-flooding device with a rigid structure and fixed dimensions, i.e. not affected by the installation environment.

It follows that the operation of the device is regular and reliable regardless of the place where it is installed; in fact, the relative distances between the wall 11 and the zip fastening 20, the chain 25 and the frame 12 remain unchanged, so that the device will always be kept in the same operating conditions.

The is true for any dimensions of the device and of the installation environments: this makes it particularly advantageous for large applications, such as industrial facilities, workshops and, more in general, in all cases wherein a person could not manually grasp the slider 21 and move it from one end to the other of the zip fastening 20 because it is too high.

On the other hand, the feature that allows closing the zip fastening 20 so as to obtain a completely sealed wall 11 makes the device 1 very resistant and safe in the event of a flood: in fact, the wall 11 is anchored to the frame 12 along its entire edge, and hence there are no weak points; besides, it is apparent that the wall 11 is completely sealed, and therefore totally waterproof.

In other words, the wall 11 allows sealing the whole access opening 2, de facto being a complete diaphragm, not just a bulkhead protecting only the lower part of the opening, as generally used in the prior art.

It should be noted that the protection device according to the invention is applicable to existing building environments because, as aforesaid, it does not require any particular works and can be installed in warehouses and other environments with no particular difficulty.

In this context, it must be pointed out that the gasket 14 proves to be particularly effective, since the water, acting on the side shown in Fig. 4, cannot seep through also due to the presence of the plate 15.

As concerns the sealing of the wall 11 and the movement of the slider 21 of the fastening, one should also note the importance of the angular elements 18 of the frame 12 and of the curved path followed at the vertices by the chain 25 and the zip fastening 20.

As can be understood, in fact, these are critical points of the system, since in order to obtain a regular action of the slider 21, the path of the zip fastening 20 must not include any narrow angles.

The invention may however be subject to some possible variations with respect to the description provided so far.

In general, it can in fact be assumed that systems more complex than the chain 25 could be used for operating the zip type fastening 20: let us think, for example, of robotized systems or solutions with multiple chains associated at the vertical and horizontal sections of the zip fastening, to which the slider 21 must be connected in turn.

These variants, however, seem to be more complex and less effective than the single chain 25; on the other hand, as aforesaid, the latter may nonetheless be replaced with a (toothed or simple) belt or with another flexible transmission means; in such case, of course, the pinions 26 and the toothed wheel 39 will have to be replaced with pulleys. From a more general viewpoint, it must be stated that the invention is also applicable to environments other than civil, industrial, commercial, etc. buildings like those previously referred to.

This is the case, for example, of containers like the one shown in Figures 13 and 14, wherein structurally or functionally equivalent elements are designated with the same numerals, with the addition of an apostrophe, as those already described.

In this case, the container 1 ' is open at the top and comprises side walls or sideboards 3', 4', 5', 6' delimiting a top opening 2'; the container is also fitted with a base or bottom 7' with wheels 8', so that it can be moved easily.

In fact, the container may advantageously be a railway wagon, wherein the wheels 8' are useful for moving it on rails.

Said wheels are nevertheless optional, since the container may have no wheels; likewise, the container may be closed at the top or anyway have a different shape than the one shown in Figures 13, 14.

For example, the container 1 ' may be of the type intended for marine transportation of goods (e.g. 20 or 40 foot containers), with angle blocks, a bearing structure, and a supporting base equipped with seats for lift truck arms. Regardless of this, at the upper edge of the container there is a frame 12' comprising sections 17' arranged along the sides and angular elements 18' wholly similar to those already described in the previous example, to which reference should be made for brevity's sake.

The frame 12' supports a wall 11 ' for closing the top part of the container; for this purpose, on the edge of the wall 11 ' there is a zip type fastening 25', the slider 22' of which is associated with a drive chain 25' extending along a quadrangular path along the sideboards 3 '-6' of the container. In this case as well, these details are similar to those already described, and therefore reference should be made to the above description to avoid repetition.

Cords 40' are associated with the wall 11 ', which pass through guide rings 41 ' provided on the wall 11 ' to allow the latter to be folded like a Venetian blind.

The container is equipped with an electric motor for driving the chain 25' as already explained, so that the container 1 ' can be closed (or opened) at the top from the wall 11 ' by activating its automated zip fastening 20' .

As can be understood, this variant of the device of the invention allows protecting the load contained in the container against external agents in a quick and effective manner and, most importantly, it can be easily operated by one person thanks to its automated closing system.

It must also be remarked that in this variant of the invention the wall 11 ' can be applied either as a separate element for closing the top part of the container , similarly to the wall 11 of the previous example (see Fig. 1), which closes the access opening 2 of the environment 1, or as a part of a casing that is housed in the container 1 '. To better understand this situation, reference can be made to a further variant of the invention visible in Figures 15, 16 and 17, which show an application of the automated closing system to a casing intended for containing objects in general, like, for example, a car, or loose material such as grain or the like.

As in the previous variant, wherever possible the same reference numerals have been used, with the addition of a double apostrophe.

In this case, the wall 11 " closes at the front a casing 1 " that is preferably made of the same flexible material as the wall 11 ", even though this is not strictly necessary.

For this purpose, the zip fastening 20" joins the wall 11 " to the body 50" of the casing, at the mouth of which there is the frame 12" constituted by the sections 17" and the angular elements 18"; optionally, the frame 12" may include other elements, such as an additional section 53" serving as a ramp for easy access to and from the inside of the casing 1", while also protecting the chain 25" and other parts of the device.

The casing can be installed in any environment 51 ", e.g. a basement, a garage or the like, the shape of which is drawn with a dashed line in Figure 15; the casing 1 " is suspended from the walls of the environment 51 "; in accordance with a preferred embodiment, beams or side members 52' are provided on the ceiling for this very purpose, along which the casing 1 ' ' can be moved to adjust its position relative to the wall of the environment, or else be folded, if necessary.

The wall 11 " of the casing 1" can be opened and closed in an automated manner wholly similar to the previous example. Therefore, also in this application the device of the invention is equipped with a motor 38" and a chain 25" extending along the edge of the wall 11 " and connected to the slider 21 " of the zip fastening 20" .

When it is activated, the motor 38" drags the chain 25" and the slider 21 " with it, which opens (or closes, depending on the circumstances) the zip fastening 20"; once open, the wall 11 " is free and can be folded up with cords, just like a Venetian blind, as previously described.

The features of the invention illustrated in the above examples are specifically set out in the following claims.