Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
STORAGE SYSTEM COMPRISING TROLLEYS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/125137
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a trolley (10) for transporting a unit (200) comprising or supporting a product (210), wherein the trolley (10) comprises transport elements (20) configured for transporting the trolley (10) along a guide (1550) of a racking system (1500); coupling elements (15), configured for coupling a first side (11) of the trolley (10) with a second side (12) of a further trolley (10a) thereby providing a trolley train (100); a connection element (30) configured for attaching the unit (200) to the trolley for suspended transport of the unit (200) by the trolley (10).

Inventors:
HOLLANDER, Riepke (Gezichtslaan 2, 3956 BB Leersum, NL)
ZONDAG, Nelis Albert (p/a Steel Constructions B.V, Gerdina's Hof 31, 4191 MX Geldermalsen, NL)
Application Number:
NL2017/050879
Publication Date:
June 27, 2019
Filing Date:
December 22, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
STEEL CONSTRUCTIONS B.V. (Gerdina's Hof 31, 4191 MX Geldermalsen, NL)
International Classes:
B65G9/00; A47B53/02; B65G1/02; B65G1/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016010429A12016-01-21
Foreign References:
DE461978C1928-06-30
US20070251906A12007-11-01
US5921368A1999-07-13
FR2707924A11995-01-27
EP3015400A12016-05-04
FR2643887A11990-09-07
US5354166A1994-10-11
DE202016106276U12016-12-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EDP PATENT ATTORNEYS B.V. (Bronland 12E, 6708 WH Wageningen, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A trolley (10) for transporting a unit (200) comprising or supporting a product (210), wherein the trolley ( 10) comprises:

- transport elements (20) configured for transporting the trolley (10) along a guide (1550) of a racking system (1500);

- coupling elements (15), configured for coupling a first side (11) of the trolley (10) with a second side (12) of a further trolley (lOa) thereby providing a trolley train (100);

- a connection element (30) configured for attaching the unit (200) to the trolley for suspended transport of the unit (200) by the trolley (10).

2. The trolley (10) according to claim 1, wherein the unit (200) is a flexible intermediate bulk container (250).

3. The trolley (10) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the transport elements (20) comprise rotatable transport elements (25) configured to run via the guide (1550) of the racking system (1500). 4. The trolley (10) according to claim 3, wherein the trolley (10) comprises a trolley frame (90), and wherein the rotatable transport elements (25) are partly enclosed by the trolley frame (90).

5. The trolley (10) according to claims any of the preceding claims, wherein the trolley (10) further comprises transport element receivers (95) configured for receiving the transport elements (20) of the further trolley (10a) stacked on top of the trolley (10), wherein the transport element receivers (95) are configured for detachable stacking the further trolley (lOa) to the trolley (10) 6. The trolley (10) according to any of the preceding claims comprising an alignment element (60) configured to align stacked trolleys (10, lOa).

7. The trolley (10) according to any of the preceding claims comprising a plurality of connection elements (30), wherein the connection elements (30) comprise protrusions extending in a direction towards a center axis (A) of the trolley, wherein each protrusion (35) is configured for holding a loop (255) of a flexible intermediate bulk container (250).

8. The trolley (10) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the trolley(lO) further comprises a support element (40) for supporting a further unit (200a).

9. The trolley (10) according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a lifting support element (70) configured for lifting and handling the trolley (10) by a lifting device

10. The trolley (TO) according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the coupling elements (15) comprise respectively a pin (18) and a hole (19), wherein the trolleys (10, 10a) are configured for arranging the hole (19) over the pin (18) for mutually coupling the trolleys (10, 10a).

11 A racking system unit (150) for building a racking system (1500) comprising a row (1600) of a plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units (150), wherein the racking system unit (150) comprises an open frame (159) comprising a top guide (151) configured for suspended transport of a unit (200) by a trolley (1) through the racking system unit (150) and a bottom guide (152) for supported transport of a unit (200) by the trolley (1) through the racking system unit (150).

12. The racking system unit (150) according to claim 11, wherein the racking system unit (150) is configured for suspended transport or supported transport by the trolley (1), wherein the trolley (1) comprises transport elements (20) configured for transporting the trolley (T) along one of the top guide (151) and the bottom guide (152); coupling elements (15), configured for coupling a first side (1 1) of a the trolley (1) with a second side (12) of a further trolley (la); one or more of (i) a connection element (30) configured for attaching the unit (200) at the trolley (1) for suspended transport of the unit (200) by the trolley (T) and (ii) a support element (40) configured for supporting the unit (200) by the trolley (T) for supported transport of the unit (200) by the trolley (1).

13. The racking system unit (150) according to any one of the preceding claims 1 1- 12, wherein the racking system unit (150) is configured for suspended transport or supported transport by the trolley (10) according to any one of the preceding claims 1- 10

14. The racking system unit (150) according to any of the preceding claims 11-13, wherein the open frame (159) has dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container (250).

15. The racking system unit (150) according to any of the preceding claims 11-14, wherein the open frame (159) has dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container (250) in combination with supported transport of a further unit (200a).

16. A racking system (1500) comprising open frames (159) comprising a top guide (151) through the open frames (159) configured for suspended transport of a unit (200) by a trolley (1) through the open frames (159) and a bottom guide (152) through the open frames (159) for supported transport of a unit (200) by the trolley (T) through the open frames (159)

17. The racking system (1500) according to claim 16, comprising a row (1600) of a plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units (150) according to any one of the preceding claims 11-15.

18. The racking system (1500) according to claim 17, comprising a plurality of rows (1600), wherein two or more rows (1600) are horizontally or vertically stacked.

19. The racking system (1500) according to any of the preceding claims 16-18, further comprising a plurality of trolleys (10) according to the preceding claims 1-10.

20 A storage system, comprising a racking system (1500) according to any one of the claims 16-19, one or more trolleys, a carrying device to transport a trolley to or from a row of the racking system and to connect a trolley or to disconnect the trolley to or from another trolley, and a control system configured to control the carrying device.

21. A method of handling a plurality of units (200,200a) in a racking system (1500) according to any one of the preceding claims 16-19, the method comprising arranging sequentially a number of trolleys (1) with the units (200,200a) into a first open frame (159) of the racking system (1500) and connecting each sequential trolley (10) with an earlier arranged trolley (10) via coupling elements (15) to provide a trolley train (100).

22. Use of trolley (1) in a transport unit for transporting a unit (200) comprising or supporting a product (210), wherein the transport unit comprises one or more of (i) a top guide (151) configured for suspended transport of the unit (200) by a trolley (1) in the transport unit and (ii) a bottom guide (152) for supported transport of the unit (200) by the trolley ( 1) in the transport unit.

23 The use according to claims 22, wherein the transport unit is a movable transport unit selected from the group consisting of a transport vehicle, a truck, a container, a shipping container, a(n) automated) transport device for use in a warehouse for transporting a plurality of trolleys (1).

Description:
STORAGE SYSTEM COMPRISING TROLLEYS FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a trolley for transporting a unit. The invention also relates to a racking system, wherein such trolley can be used. The invention further relates to racking system units that may be used as elements to construct such racking system, wherein such trolley can be used. Yet further, the invention also relates to a method of storing a unit, such as a big bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

W02016010429 describes a system for storing product containers comprising racks, a guide system with longitudinal guides and transverse guides extending between adjacent rows of the racks and trolleys that can move along the guide system. The longitudinal guides comprise longitudinal guide members having a longitudinal running surface and a guide surface and the transverse guides comprise transverse guide members having a transverse running surface. Each trolley comprises longitudinal running wheels, transversal running wheels and at least one guide member for guiding cooperation with a longitudinal guide surface. The upper sides of the longitudinal guide surfaces are located lower than the upper sides of the transverse guide members, at least at the longitudinal positions thereof where the longitudinal running wheels pass the longitudinal guide surfaces in the transverse position of the vertical adjustment means upon movement of the trolley in the transverse direction

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Warehouse systems for many kinds of products are automated today. For instance, warehouses in distribution centers may be automated to improve the efficiency of the total warehouse process. Information on storage locations and locations to pick articles may continuously be followed in real time. In warehouses or distribution systems, an automated storage and retrieval system may be installed for automatically placing and retrieving loads from defined storage locations.

Yet, many systems are based on picking and placing a specific product at or from a specific location. For systems wherein many different products are stored, this may be most efficient. Especially, warehouses comprising a limited number of different products with a varying volume (number of packages) of the different products may require optimization. Products may be stored in rows and/or layers on top of each other. Warehouses may further be configured with a system of wide aisle pallet racking systems to store goods that can be loaded and unloaded using forklifts. A racking system may also name rack (storage) system.

( Bulky) goods, such as in big bags, are often stored on the ground or on top of each other, either directly or after first placing the goods on a pallet. For storing the big bags or other goods, a carrier/vehicle such as a forklift may be applied to line up the goods therewith gradually packing a complete storage area (either directly at the ground, at a previous big bag or good, or by filling racking systems). This type of operation may be observed in block stacking or floor storage. Initially, when starting to pack such area, the forklift has to travel a long distance from an unloading location (such as from or out of a lorry) to a first still open faraway location in the warehouse. The unloading time per big bag (good or package) in block stack may be significant when the warehouse is rather empty. During filling up the storage area, the distance from the unloading location to the location to store the goods may gradually decrease and unloading times may decrease to the same extend. The same holds for removing the goods from the warehouse. Removing them from a completely filled warehouse may take considerably less time than removing the goods from a warehouse that is only partly filled. It may be understood that also moving the goods from one location to another location is such warehouse may be time consuming.

Furthermore, when big bags are stored at the ground, at a pallet or e.g. at another big bag, this may negatively affect the shape of the big bag, or may even induce a discharge of the (flowable goods) contained in the big bag. A big bag may start bulging, cave in, or the opening of the big bag may go down when standing on the ground, pallet or another big bag. A deformed big bag may further require more storage space and/or may be harder to handle compared to a big bag having its designed symmetric shape.

Hence, it is an aspect of the invention to provide an alternative system and method for storing and handling goods that preferably further at least partly obviates one or more of above-described drawbacks. It is a further aspect of the invention to provide a racking system, which preferably further at least partly obviates one or more of above- described drawbacks. It also is an aspect of the invention to provide a racking system unit for building a racking system, which preferably further at least partly obviates one or more of above-described drawbacks. Yet, it is also an aspect to provide a trolley for transporting and storing goods, which preferably further at least partly obviates one or more of above-described drawbacks.

The present invention may have as object to overcome or ameliorate at least one of the disadvantages of the prior art, or to provide a useful alternative.

Therefore, in a first aspect the invention provides a trolley for transporting a unit comprising or supporting a product, wherein the trolley especially comprises transport elements configured for transporting the trolley along a guide of a racking system; and coupling elements, configured for coupling a first side of the trolley with a second side of a further trolley thereby providing a trolley train. Further, the trolley especially comprises one or more of (i) a connection element configured for attaching the unit to the trolley, especially for suspended transport of the unit by the trolley and (ii ) a support element configured for supporting the unit by the trolley, especially for supported transport of the unit by the trolley. Especially, the trolley comprises at least the former.

Essentially, the trolley comprises one or more association elements. An association element is especially configured for associating the unit with the trolley, especially for transport of the unit by the trolley In an embodiment the one or more association elements comprises the connection element (for suspending a unit). In an embodiment, the one or more association elements comprise the support element (for supporting the unit). In a further embodiment, the one or more association elements comprise the support element and the connection element (for suspending and/or supporting a unit). To differentiate between trolleys comprising different association elements the terms '‘suspend trolley”,“support trolley”, and“multi-association trolley” may also be used herein (see below).

The trolley of the invention may be transported along a guide. The trolley may be coupled to another trolley forming a train of trolleys that may be moved along a guide. Therefore, the trolley may advantageously be loaded at the guide at a central location and especially be transported along the guide. Hence, the trolley allows loading a plurality of the units, especially of the trolley at a predetermined location, for instance in a warehouse. Therefore, loading and unloading goods in and from a warehouse may be more efficient and less time consuming relative to prior art solutions. The guide may be configured as support. The guide may e.g. be a rail. The term“guide” may also refer to a plurality of guides. The guide may consist of a plurality of smaller guides, which together may form a guide, such as a rail.

The trolley may be used for suspended transport and also storage, such as of big bags. When storing big bags in a hanging configuration, the big bag may not start bulging or partly fall down. Moreover, the shape/form of the big bag may further settle in a suspended configuration. The shape of the big bag may adjust because air from air pockets may escape from the big bag and flowable material (i.e the product) in the big bag may fill these pockets. The settled shape may especially be symmetrically, especially defined by the dimensions of the big bag and may be easier to handle and may also require less space than a deformed, bulging big bag stored at the ground, pallet or another big bag (as is known from prior art solutions.

The trolley may (also) be used for supported transport and also storage, such as of a pallet (and/or a big bag).

Such trolley may further have the advantage that goods may be stored on (top of) the trolley as well as hanging from the trolley (i.e.“suspended’'). The trolley is flexible and can be arranged at a guide, e g. installed in a racking system already present in the warehouse, but also in a dedicated racking system, such as the racking system described herein. Use of the trolley may improve logistics in the complete supply chain.

Especially, the trolley comprises the connection element, for connecting a trolley to a further trolley Especially, (in embodiments) (the constructions and dimensions of) the further trolley is identical to the trolley. Additionally or alternatively, the further trolley or any further (or next) trolley and the trolley may be different embodiments (of the trolley according to the invention).

Herein the terms“connection element” and“support element” may relate to more than one (different) connection element and more than one (different) support element, respectively.

The trolley may be considered as a carrier. The trolley is configured to carry a unit especially comprising or supporting a product (see below). The trolley of the invention may also be referred to as“HST trolley”. The trolley is configured for transporting, and especially also for storing, a good, especially a unit. The trolley is especially configured for transporting the unit along a guide. The guide may be configured in a racking system (see further below). The trolley may be moved or transported by an external force, e.g. provided by a carrying device or e.g. a lifting device (see below). The trolley may e.g be moved by a pushing or pulling force, or by being lifted or carried by another device. The trolley especially may not move autonomously. The trolley especially does not comprise a motor or any other driving element.

The trolley especially comprises transport elements configured for transporting the trolley along the guide. The trolley (in combination with the guide) may e.g. be configured for sliding along the guide. Hence, the trolley may comprise sliding elements as transport elements. Additionally or alternatively, the trolley (in combination with the guide) may be configured to run along the guide. Hence, the trolley may comprise rotatable elements (wheels) as transport elements.

In embodiments, the guide comprises a (mono)rail and the transport elements comprise runners corresponding with the (mono)rail for running along the (mono)rail. In further embodiments the trolley comprises transport elements for transporting along a plurality of guides.

Essentially, the transport elements and the guide are configured for allowing a movement of the trolley (especially the transport elements) along the guide. In an embodiment, the transport elements may move, such as slide, over the guide. In a further embodiment, the transport elements may move, such as slide, or role, in the guide. Yet in further embodiments, the transport elements may move around the guide. Especially, the transport elements may move via the guide. The guide may especially be the guide of the racking system. The guide is especially configured to cooperate with the transport elements. Hence, the guide may comprise a profile matching the transport elements. The guide may comprise a groove or a slot to receive rotating transport elements. The guide may comprise an I, an L, an H or a U shape profile, etc..

Herein the term“guide’' may relate to one or more (different) guide. Hence, in an embodiment the trolley comprises transport elements configured for transporting the trolley along two (parallel) guides, especially of the racking system. In an embodiment, the transport elements comprise rotatable transport elements, especially wheels, configured to run via (or in) the guide of the racking system.

The unit as described herein may relate to a unit comprising a product. Alternatively or additionally, the unit may relate to a unit supporting a product. The unit may e.g. comprise a pallet.

The trolley may also be used to transport (and store) one or more other trolleys (on top of a trolley). Hence, in embodiments the trolley may also be configured to transport a further trolley (see below). Thus, in embodiments, the unit comprises a (further) trolley. Hence, also the product may comprise a further trolley, or e.g. a pallet.

Yet, additionally or alternatively, the unit comprises a pallet, and the pallet comprises the product. The unit especially comprises a flexible intermediate bulk container (“FIBC”) (see below). The product especially comprises a good. The product may comprise bulk (material). In embodiments, the unit, e.g., comprises a FIBC comprising bulk material, such as sand, seeds, granules, a liquid, etc. The unit may further comprise one or more attaching elements for attaching the unit to the trolley, especially to one or more connection elements of the trolley (see below).

Herein the terms“the unit” and“the product” and similar terms may relate to a more than one (different) unit and more than one (different) product, respectively. The trolley may (also) be configured for transporting two different units, e.g. a unit attached to the trolley for suspended transport of the unit by the trolley and especially (also) a (further) unit for supported transport of the unit by the trolley.

Phrases like“a unit (supported or supportable at the trolley) for supported transport of the unit (by the trolley)”, especially relates to a unit that may be arranged at or on (supporting elements of) the trolley. Such unit may also be referred to with the term a“supportable unit”. A supportable unit may e.g. be positioned on top of the trolley, especially on top of the supporting elements. A supportable unit may especially be associated with the trolley because of gravity forcing the supportable unit in place. A support element may comprise a (top) surface of the trolley. The support element may comprise a frame of the trolley (see below). A support element may further comprise a dedicated shape adapted to the (supportable) unit. A support element may be configured to prevent the unit from sliding from the trolley. A support element may comprise anti- slip matting.

Herein, phrases like“a unit (attached or attachable to the trolley) for suspended transport of the unit (by the trolley)”, especially relates to a unit that may be arranged suspendedly at or to (one or more connection elements of) the trolley Such unit may also be referred to with the term a“suspendable unit”,“suspended unit” or a“hanging unit”. A suspendable unit may e.g. be arranged hanging from the trolley, especially attached to the trolley, such as hanging on the connection element. Hence, in embodiments the unit may be configured suspended from the trolley.

In a specific embodiment, the unit comprises or is a flexible intermediate bulk container. Flexible intermediate bulk containers are known in the art and may be named bulk bag or big bag (“big bag”) The flexible intermediate bulk container is especially an industrial container made of flexible fabric, and is especially designed for storing and transporting dry, flowable products, such as sand, fertilizer, and granules of plastic. The flexible intermediate bulk container may also be configured for transporting and storing of liquids. Herein, the terms“flexible intermediate bulk container” and“big bag” may be used interchangeably, both referring to the“FIBC”. The FIBC is especially a big bag.

A big bag may be made of a woven polymer, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, either coated or uncoated. A big bag has dimensions, especially a height, a width and a length (or depth), or a height and a diameter. Typically, the width and/or length or the diameter of the big bag is about 1 10 cm or 45-48 inches. In embodiments, the width and the length are substantially the same. In further embodiments, the width and the length may be different, especially defining a rectangle. For instance, a width x a length may be 1 10 cm x 90 cm or 120 cm x 100. Yet, the unit may also comprise smaller and larger big bags than described above. The width and the length may especially be equal to or larger than 40 cm, such as equal to or larger than 65 cm. The width and or the length are especially equal to or smaller than 200 cm, such as equal to or smaller than 150 cm, especially equal to or less than 120 cm. The height may especially be selected in the range of 50-250 cm, such as 100-250 cm. The height may in embodiments also be larger than 250 cm or smaller than 50 cm The unit comprising a big bag may weigh up to around 1000- 1200 kg Moreover, the weight of larger filled big bags may be over 1200 kg, especially up to 2000 kg. Likewise, the unit may weigh up to about 2000 kg. Moreover, in embodiments, the unit comprising a big bag may weigh over 1200 kg, especially up to 2000 kg.

Hence, the unit may e.g. comprise a weight selected from the range of (at maximum) 1000-2500 kg, especially 1000-1500 kg. In other embodiments, the unit may comprise a weight selected from the range of 1-1000 kg, such as 10-500 kg. However, the weight may also be smaller, when the big bags e.g. contain clothes or other relatively light materials.

A unit, such as a big bag, may comprise at least one attaching element for attaching the unit to the trolley, especially to one or more of the connection elements of the trolley. The big bag may e.g. comprise a (lifting) loop for lifting and suspending the big bag at (on) a fork of a forklift, or a hook or e.g. a connection element of the trolley. Big bags may especially comprise two, three, or four loops. Such loops are an example of attaching elements. The connection element may be configured to hold a single loop of a big bag or more than one loops of a big bag. The connection element may e.g. comprise a hook or a protrusion. The protrusion is especially arranged for preventing the loop to slide of the protrusion. The protrusion may further comprise a ridge for preventing the loop to slide of the protrusion. Alternatively or additionally, the connection element may comprise a suspender, a pin or e.g. a clip.

In an embodiment, the trolley, especially one or more of the connection elements, further comprises a protector, especially configured for protecting a loop arranged at the connection element from being damaged by any device (such as a forklift) that may be used to arrange the trolley at the guide. Such protector may further function as an abutment or stop for the device when picking up the trolley with the device. The protector may protect the loop from being damaged by a fork board of a forklift. The protector may also be directly configured at (a frame of) the trolley.

In a further embodiment, the trolley comprises a plurality of connection elements, wherein the connection elements comprise in specific embodiments protrusions extending in a direction towards the center axis of the trolley, especially wherein each protrusion is configured for holding a loop of a flexible intermediate bulk container. When the trolley is configured on a horizontal plane, the connection elements may also be configured with a horizontal top face. Especially, the connection elements are configured such to maintain the unit supported or suspended during use, and allowing the unit only be removed from the trolley with a force having a component direction upwards (perpendicular to a horizontal plane).

A suspendable unit may comprise a big bag. Yet, also a supportable unit may comprise a big bag. Surprisingly, it was found that a big bag might be more advantageously be transported and stored in a suspended configuration than in a supported configuration. A shape of the big bag may settle in a suspended configuration. The shape of the big bag may adjust because air from air pockets may escape from the big bag flowable material (product) in the big bag may fill these pockets. Said settled shape may especially be symmetrically, especially defined by the dimensions of the big bag. Moreover, a big bag may start deforming, such as bulging in a supported configuration. A bulged big bag may require more storage space and/or may be harder to handle compared to a symmetric big bag. Especially, the suspendable unit comprises a big bag.

Hence, in embodiments, the trolley comprises a support element for supporting the unit, especially for supported transport of the unit by the trolley. Herein such trolley may be referred to as “support trolley”. Yet, in another embodiment, the trolley comprises a connection element configured for attaching the unit to the trolley for suspended transport of the unit by the trolley. Herein, such trolley may be referred to as “suspend trolley”. In a further embodiment, the trolley further comprises a support element for supporting a (further) unit, especially for supported transport of the (further) unit by the trolley. Such trolley may also be named a“multi-association trolley”. The support trolley, the suspend trolley, and the multi-association trolley may all be trolleys according to the invention.

The trolley according to the invention is especially connectable (couplable) to a further trolley of the invention The trolley may comprise a longitudinal or center axis, which especially is configured (substantially) parallel to a longitudinal axis of the guide when the trolley is arranged at the guide. The trolleys are especially configured to be mutually connectable to provide a trolley train. In the trolley train, a longitudinal axis of the trolley train and the center axis of each trolley are especially configured parallel. These axes may especially coincide. A trolley train may comprise two or more trolleys, such as three trolleys, ten trolleys, 20 trolleys, or even more than 50 trolleys. Essentially, the invention provides that the trolley train may be moved along the guide (especially by forcing a first or last trolley of the trolley train to move). The number of trolleys in the trolley train may be limited by a total length of the guide. Especially, the trolley train comprises essentially identical trolleys.

The trolleys may be coupled by the coupling elements. The coupling element may comprise a clicking system, coupling a first trolley to a second trolley, e.g. by pushing the first trolley to the second trolley and forcing a first element of the clicking system arranged at the first trolley into a second element of the clicking system arranged at the second trolley. The coupling elements may further comprise (electro)magnetic elements, wherein a first trolley comprises a first magnetic element at a first side and a further (or next) trolley comprises a second magnetic element at a second side, and wherein the magnetic elements are arranged for attracting each other.

In embodiments, the coupling elements (respectively) comprise elements of a male-female connection, such as a pin-hole connection. Especially, the coupling elements comprise (respectively) a pin and a hole, wherein the trolleys (a further trolley and a trolley) are configured for arranging the hole over the pin for mutually coupling the trolleys. It has been found that especially such pin-hole connection may provide a robust connection and especially may be less susceptible to malfunction. Such connection may simply be established and again be relieved, especially by lifting or tilting one of the trolleys relative to the other to align the hole and the pin and successively arranging the hole around the pin (or the pin through the hole).

Lifting of the trolleys may be performed by manpower. However, for a heavy trolley and/or a trolley comprising a (heavy) unit, preferably a lifting device is used. Lifting devices and especially lifting device commonly used in warehouses are known to the skilled person and may e g., comprise a forklift (truck), an electric or hydraulic lift, a crane, a stacker, an automated storage and retrieval system, a system with specific carriers or shuttles, etc., etc.. The lifting device may be part of an automated storage system, such as an automated warehouse handling and transport system To allow lifting the trolley with a lifting device, the trolley may comprise a lifting element. The lifting element may be a part of the frame of the trolley, configured for associating with the lifting device for lifting. Additionally or alternatively, the element may comprise (an) opening(s) for placing (a) fork(s) of e.g. a forklift. Yet, the lifting element may also comprise an opening or a lifting bracket. Essentially, the lifting element is configured for lifting the trolley by a lifting device, such as a forklift. Hence, in an embodiment, the trolley comprises a lifting support element configured for lifting and handling the trolley, especially comprising the unit, by a lifting device.

The term“a lifting element” may relate to more than one (different) lifting element. The trolley may, e.g., comprise a plurality of lifting brackets and further a strengthened part of the frame for associating with forks of a forklift and/or elements of another lifting device.

Thus, the trolley may comprise a trolley frame. The frame may especially comprise rectangular tubes. The frame not necessary needs to have a rectangular frame. In other embodiments, (the tubes of) the frame comprises a round frame or an oval frame. Especially, the frame comprises an at least partly hollow frame. In embodiments, the transport elements may partly be arranged in the frame, especially minimizing an overall size of the trolley Hence, in an embodiment, the trolley comprises a trolley frame, and the rotatable transport elements are partly enclosed by the trolley frame.

The trolley may further be configured for stacking a plurality of trolleys on top of each other. A further trolley may be stacked on top of a(n other) trolley. Especially, by stacking the trolleys, a plurality of trolleys may be stored. Additionally, a stack of trolleys may be stored at a guide, such as of the racking system described herein. The stack of trolleys may be transported along the guide. Hence, the unit (for transporting and storing) may comprise a plurality of trolleys. For transporting the stack of trolleys, it may be advantageous that the stack of trolleys does not fall apart when being moved. Especially, when one of the trolleys is forced to move, the complete stack of trolleys must move simultaneously. Therefore, in an embodiment the trolley further comprises transport element receivers configured for receiving the transport elements of the further trolley stacked on top of the trolley, wherein the transport element receivers are configured for detachable stacking the further trolley to, especially on top of, the trolley. Further trolleys may comprise dedicated stacking elements for stacking and holding the trolleys in place. The stacking elements may e.g. be comparable to the coupling elements and (also) comprise a pin and a hole. Hence, the trolleys may be (configured to be) stackable.

Advantageously, the trolley may comprise an alignment element, especially configured to align stacked trolleys. Such alignment element may be arranged at an outer circumference of the trolley, especially at the frame of the trolley. The alignment element may comprise a flat bar configured to guide and align the further trolley on top of the (first) trolley. In embodiments, the trolley comprises only one alignment element. In further embodiments, the trolley comprises a plurality of alignment elements, such as two, four or six or (even) more, especially arranged at opposite sides of the trolley. The alignment elements may especially be arranged at the sides of the trolley parallel to the center axis. The alignment element especially protrudes from the frame, especially in a direction substantially perpendicular to a plane of the trolley. Alternatively or additionally, the alignment element may function in aligning a unit at the trolley. Especially, the alignment elements protrude over a protruding length relative to the plane of the trolley. The plane of the trolley may be defined by the frame. The protmding length may in embodiments be selected from the range of 1-20 cm, such as 2- 10 cm. A width of the alignment element perpendicular to the protrusion length and especially in a direction parallel to the center axis may in embodiments be equal to a length of the side of the trolley (it is arranged at) In further embodiments, a ratio of the width over said length of the side is selected in the range of 0.25-0.75. Yet in further embodiments, the width is selected in the range of 0.5-10 cm. The alignment element may in embodiments (also) comprise the stacking element.

The trolley(s) may be transported along a guide of a racking system as described above. Therefore, the invention provides in a further aspect a racking system, especially configured for storing and transporting the trolley. The racking system especially comprises open frames comprising one or more of (i) a top guide through the open frames (and) configured for suspended transport of a unit by a trolley through the open frames and (ii) a bottom guide through the open frames for supported transport of a unit by the trolley through the open frames. Hence, the racking system may be configured for a support trolley (for supported transport of the unit) as described herein. Alternatively, the racking system may be configured for a suspend trolley (for suspended transport of the unit) as described herein. The racking system may be configured for a multi-association trolley, especially for suspended transport and for supported transport of the unit. In specific embodiments, the racking system comprises the top guide and the bottom guide

The racking system may be configured in a warehouse. The racking system or only at least one guide may also be configured in a transport unit, especially a mobile (or movable) transport unit. The mobile transport unit may e g. be selected from the group consisting of a transport vehicle, a taick, a container, a shipping container, a(n) automated) transport device for use in a warehouse for transporting a plurality of trolleys, etc., etc.. Moreover, also the trolley may be used in a transport unit for transporting the unit comprising or supporting the product, especial wherein the transport unit comprises one or more of (i) a top guide configured for suspended transport of the unit by a trolley in the transport unit and (ii) a bottom guide for supported transport of the unit by the trolley in the transport unit.

Advantageously, the racking system and the trolleys may be used to improve logistics in the complete supply chain. A plurality of trolleys each comprising a unit may e.g. be transported from one location to another location in a truck comprising the racking system. Successively a plurality of trolleys is unloaded in a warehouse from the truck and loaded at the (automated) transport device used in the warehouse and comprising the racking system. Next, the trolleys may be transported and stored in a racking system installed in the warehouse. The racking system may especially be installed in a warehouse.

Therefore, in a further aspect, the invention also provides a racking system unit, e.g. for building a racking system, especially wherein the racking system comprises a row of a plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units, and wherein the racking system unit comprises an open frame. The open frame may comprise one or more of (i) a top guide configured for suspended transport of a unit by the trolley, through the racking system unit and (ii) a bottom guide for supported transport of a unit by the trolley through the racking system unit. Especially, the open frame comprises the top guide and the bottom guide.

Especially, the top guide is configured for transport of a unit by the (suspend and multi-association) trolley described herein. Especially, the bottom guide is configured for transport of the (support and multi-association) trolley. The racking system unit may be configured for suspended transport and/or supported transport by the trolley described herein.

Essentially, the row of the plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units of the (built) racking system and the top guide and/or the bottom guide are arranged parallel to each other. The row may define a longitudinal axis of the racking system.

Hence, in an embodiment, the racking system unit is configured for suspended transport or supported transport by the trolley. Especially, in such embodiments the trolley comprises transport elements configured for transporting the trolley along one of the top guide and (/or) the bottom guide; coupling elements, configured for coupling a first side of a the trolley with a second side of a further trolley (la); one or more of (i) a connection element configured for attaching the unit at the trolley for suspended transport of the unit by the trolley and (ii) a support element configured for supporting the unit by the trolley for supported transport of the unit by the trolley. Note that the racking system unit or the racking system may also be configured for suspended transport and for supported transport by a trolley, though in general in a row transport (or storage) will be either suspended or supported.

The term“open frame” especially relates to a frame comprising an opening configured for transporting a trolley comprising a unit trough the opening. The opening comprises a height and a width of the opening defining the opening. A height of the open frame may be equal to the height of the opening. Likewise, a width of the open frame may be equal to the width of the opening. The open frame is especially configured for at least suspended transport of a big bag. Hence, the open frame especially has dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container Especially, the height of the open frame is not smaller than the height of the FIBC. The width of the open frame is especially not smaller than the width or diameter of the FIBC. In embodiments, the ratio of the height of the open frame to the height of the FIBC is at least 1.1. Especially, the frame may have the shape of a cube or a beam, i.e. a cuboid shape (including thus a cube) wherein the edges may define the frame. The volume, defined by the edges, may essentially be open, and may be available for one or more guides, for one or more trolleys, and for one or more units. In general, at least two (during use vertical) faces will be open, for access for a trolley, and often four (during use vertical) faces will be open.

A further embodiment may be configured for transporting and storing a supported unit and a suspended unit, and especially preventing them to contact each other. Such embodiment may require a larger open frame. Hence, in an embodiment the open frame has dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container in combination with supported transport of a further unit. Especially the ratio of the height of the open frame to the height of the FIBC is selected from the range of 1.1-2. Especially, the width of the open frame is at least 1 1 times, such as at least 1.2 times, the width or the diameter of the FIBC. In further embodiments, the open frame comprises a plurality of top guides and/or a plurality of bottom guides arranged to transport and store a plurality of trolleys next to each other. In such embodiments, the width of the open frame may be at least a multiple of the width or diameter of the FIBC.

Hence, the racking system according to the invention may comprise a row of a plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units according to the invention. The racking system may also be a“standard racking system” comprising a guide as described herein.

In embodiments, the racking system comprises a plurality of rows (of adjacently arranged racking system units). The rows may be arranged next to each other. Alternatively or additionally, the rows may be stacked on to each other. The rows, not necessarily have to be the same. Hence, in an embodiment, the racking system comprises a plurality of rows, wherein two or more rows are horizontally or vertically stacked. In embodiments, two rows are vertically stacked. In further embodiments, three or four or even more than four rows are vertically stacked. In embodiments, the rows are stacked horizontally and vertically. Advantageously the rows may be arranged next to each other at a very small distance, or even contacting each other. Because arranging a trolley at the guide in the racking system may be done from a head end of the racking system, no wide isles may be needed between adjacent rows. Therefore, the racking system may especially provide a very compact storage and handling system.

Especially, the rows may have the shape of a beam, i.e. a cuboid shape wherein the edges may define the cuboid. The volume, defined by the edges, may essentially be open, and may be available for one or more guides, for one or more trolleys, and for one or more units. In general, at least two (during use vertical) faces will be open, for access for a trolley, and often four (during use vertical) faces will be open.

Especially, the racking system according to the invention further may comprise a plurality of trolleys described herein.

The one or more guides of the racking system have in general lengths to guide a plurality of trolleys (such as a trolley train).

Especially, the top guide is configured for transport of a unit by the (suspend and multi-association) trolley described herein. Especially, the bottom guide is configured for transport of the (support and multi-association) trolley. The racking system unit may be configured for suspended transport and/or supported transport by the trolley described herein

Yet, in a further aspect, the invention also provides a method of handling, such as transporting and/or storing, a plurality of units in a racking system according to the invention. The method may comprise arranging sequentially a number of trolleys with the units into a first open frame of the racking system and connecting each sequential trolley with an earlier arranged trolley via coupling elements to provide a trolley train. While arranging a further trolley with a unit in the open frame (and connecting the trolley with the earlier arranged trolley), the trolley train may be transported (moved) further away from the first open frame. The first opening is especially arranged at a head end of the racking system. Thus, each sequential trolley may be arranged at the same location. It will be understood that the method may be applied in reverse order for removing a unit from a racking system, especially from a trolley train in the racking system. Such method of removing a unit from a racking system may comprise decoupling a trolley with a unit from a trolley train and removing the trolley from the racking system at the first open frame.

The invention also provides a method of handling (especially retrieving) a unit from a racking system as defined herein, the method comprising retrieving a trolley from an end of a trolley train (in a row of a racking system) by disconnecting the trolley from another trolley in the trolley train. This may be repeated until the desired number of trolleys has been retrieved, or the trolley train is completely removed from the row. The trolleys may comprise units, such as comprising big bags, or the trolleys may be the units themselves.

The invention thus also includes a method of handling (especially storing) a unit into a racking system as defined herein, the method comprising forming a trolley train of at least two trolleys in a row of a racking system) by connecting a trolley to another trolley (which is already in the row) to provide the trolley train (in the row of the racking system). This may be repeated until the desired number of trolleys has been connected to each other to provide the train, or the trolley train is complete and no more trolleys can be introduced into the row. The trolleys may comprise units, such as comprising big bags, or the trolleys may be the units themselves.

It is noted that the trolley according to the invention may alternatively be arranged at a guide installed in a drive-in racking system. The trolley does not need to be coupled to another trolley for storing and transporting a unit. The trolley may advantageously be applied for suspended storage of big bags, especially (also) in a drive- in racking system. For the purpose of storing a big bag suspendedly in a drive-in racking (system), the trolley may be configured rather simple, and does not need coupling elements or even transport elements.

In a further aspect, the invention also provides a storage system for handling a plurality of units comprising or supporting a product, the storage system comprising a racking system described herein and a plurality of trolleys described herein. In an embodiment, the racking system comprises a first end and a second end, especially (together) defining a storage space, wherein the storage space comprises one or more of (i) a top guide arranged in a longitudinal direction of the racking system and configured for suspended transport of a unit of the plurality of the units by a trolley of the plurality of trolleys along the top guide and (ii) a bottom guide arranged in a longitudinal direction of the racking system and configured for supported transport of a unit of the plurality of units by a trolley of the plurality of trolleys along the bottom guide. The storage space especially comprises a loading/unloading zone.

Especially, the loading/unloading zone is configured to arrange a trolley at one or more of the top guide and the bottom guide in the loading/unloading zone, thereby optionally coupling a first side of the trolley with a second side of a further trolley arranged at the respective guide in the loading/unloading zone and transporting (moving) the further trolley (along the guide) in the storage space away from the loading/unloading zone. The loading/unloading zone further, may be configured for removing a trolley arranged in the loading/unloading zone, thereby optionally transporting a further trolley coupled to the trolley (along the guide) into the loading/unloading zone and decoupling trolley from the further trolley. The loading/unloading zone especially comprises the first open frame. In a further embodiment, the storage system comprises a plurality of racking systems arranged on top of at each other, especially wherein all the loading/unloading zones of the racking systems are configured at the same side of the plurality of racking systems.

The storage system may advantageously be used for storing and handling of big bags.

The invention further comprises an (automated) storage system, comprising a racking system as defined herein, one or more trolleys, a carrying device to transport a trolley to or from a row of the racking system and to connect a trolley or to disconnect the trolley to or from another trolley, and a control system configured to control the carrying device. The term“automated” may refer to computer controlled. The methods as defined herein may be executed by the control system. The carrying device may be a motorized vehicle or a motorized system. Further, the carrying device may also be configured to lift the trolley. The carrying device may comprise the lifting device, and vice versa. The term“carrying device” may also refer to a plurality of (different) carrying devices.

The invention further provides a computer program enabled to carry out the method(s) as defined herein, for instance when loaded on a computer. In yet a further aspect, the invention provides a record carrier (or data carrier, such as a USB stick, a CD, DVD, etc.) storing a computer program according to claim. Hence, the computer program product, when running on a computer or loaded into a computer, brings about, or is capable of bringing about, the method as described herein.

The computer-readable medium and/or memory may be any recordable medium (e.g., RAM, ROM, removable memory, CD-ROM, hard drives, DVD, floppy disks or memory cards) or may be a transmission medium (e.g., a network comprising fiber- optics, the world-wide web, cables, and/or a wireless channel using, for example, time- division multiple access, code-division multiple access, or other wireless communication systems). Any medium known or developed that can store information suitable for use with a computer system may be used as the computer-readable medium and/or memory.

Additional memories may also be used. The memory may be a long-term, short term, or a combination of long- and-short term memories. The term memory may also refer to memories. The memory may configure the processor/controller to implement the methods, operational acts, and functions disclosed herein. The memory may be distributed or local and the processor, where additional processors may be provided, may be distributed or singular. The memory may be implemented as electrical, magnetic or optical memory, or any combination of these or other types of storage devices. Moreover, the term "memory" should be construed broadly enough to encompass any information able to be read from or written to an address in the addressable space accessed by a processor. With this definition, information on a network, such as the Internet, is still within memory, for instance, because the processor may retrieve the information from the network.

The controller/processor and the memory may be any type. The processor may be capable of performing the various described operations and executing instructions stored in the memory. The processor may be an application-specific or general-use integrated circuit(s). Further, the processor may be a dedicated processor for performing in accordance with the present system or may be a general-purpose processor wherein only one of many functions operates for performing in accordance with the present system. The processor may operate utilizing a program portion, multiple program segments, or may be a hardware device utilizing a dedicated or multi- purpose integrated circuit.

The term“substantially” herein, such as in“substantially consists”, will be understood by the person skilled in the art. The term“substantially” may also include embodiments with“entirely”, “completely”, “all”, etc. Hence, in embodiments the adjective substantially may also be removed. Where applicable, the term“substantially” may also relate to 90% or higher, such as 95% or higher, especially 99% or higher, even more especially 99.5% or higher, including 100%. The term“comprise” includes also embodiments wherein the term“comprises” means“consists of’. The term“and/or” especially relates to one or more of the items mentioned before and after“and/or”. For instance, a phrase“item 1 and/or item 2” and similar phrases may relate to one or more of item 1 and item 2. The term "comprising" may in an embodiment refer to "consisting of' but may in another embodiment also refer to "containing at least the defined species and optionally one or more other species"

Furthermore, the terms“first”,“second”,“third” and the like in the description and in the claims, are used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a sequential or chronological order. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable under appropriate circumstances and that the embodiments of the invention described herein are capable of operation in other sequences than described or illustrated herein. The devices herein are amongst others described during operation. As will be clear to the person skilled in the art, the invention is not limited to methods of operation or devices in operation.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned embodiments illustrate rather than limit the invention, and that those skilled in the art will be able to design many alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the appended claims. In the claims, any reference signs placed between parentheses shall not be construed as limiting the claim. Use of the verb "to comprise" and its conjugations does not exclude the presence of elements or steps other than those stated in a claim. The article "a" or "an" preceding an element does not exclude the presence of a plurality of such elements. The invention may be implemented by means of hardware comprising several distinct elements, and by means of a suitably programmed computer. In the device claim enumerating several means, several of these means may be embodied by one and the same item of hardware. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to an advantage.

The invention further applies to a device comprising one or more of the characterizing features described in the description and/or shown in the attached drawings The invention further pertains to a method or process comprising one or more of the characterizing features described in the description and/or shown in the attached drawings.

The various aspects discussed in this patent can be combined in order to provide additional advantages. Furthermore, some of the features can form the basis for one or more divisional applications.

Especially, advantageous embodiments of the device comprise options as described above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings in which corresponding reference symbols indicate corresponding parts, and in which:

Fig.1 schematically depicts an embodiment of a trolley according to the invention; Fig. 2 schematically depicts some aspects of trolley according to the invention; and

Fig. 3 schematically depicts an embodiment of a racking system and racking system unit according to the invention.

The schematic drawings are not necessarily on scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Fig. 1 depicts an embodiment of the trolley 1 of the invention. The embodiment comprises both a support element 40 as well as a connection element 30 and is herein also referred to as a multi-association trolley 1,10. Essentially the trolley 1, 10 according to the invention comprises an association element 5 configured for associating the unit 200 with the trolley 1, 10 for transport of the unit 200 by the trolley 1,10. The trolley 1, 10 is especially suitable for transporting and storing a unit 200. Such unit 200 may comprise a product 210 and/or support a product 210. See e.g. Fig. 3 showing examples of a (further) unit 200,200a In Fig. 3, the unit 200 is a flexible intermediate bulk container 250, or also named“FIBC” and also referred to as big bag herein, and the further unit 200a comprises a pallet.

Especially, the connection element) s) 30 i s/are configured for attaching the unit 200 to the trolley 1, 10 for suspended transport of the unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10. The support element(s) 40 is/are especially configured for supporting the unit 200 (or a further unit 200a) by the trolley 1, 10, especially for supported transport of the unit 200,200a by the trolley 1,10.

In embodiments, the association element 5 (only) comprises one or more support elements 40 and no connection elements 30. Such embodiment of the trolley 1 may be named '‘support trolley” 1. Other embodiments of the trolley 1 (only) comprise one or more connection elements 30 and may be referred to as suspend trolley 1,10.

Especially, the trolley 10 referred to with reference number 10 comprises at least a connection element 30 and may be used for suspended transport. Hence, trolley 10 may in embodiments comprise a suspend trolley 1, 10 and/or a multi-association trolleyl, l0. Especially, trolley 1 may in embodiments comprise a support trolley 1, a suspend trolley 1, 10 and/or a multi-association trolley 1, 10. Hence, trolley 10 may be a specific embodiment of trolley 1.

The trolley 1, 10 further comprises transport elements 20 configured for transporting the trolley 1, 10 along a guide 1550 of a racking system 1500. In the depicted embodiments the trolley 1, 10 comprises four transport elements 20, especially four rotatable transport elements 25 configured to run via the guide 1550 of the racking system 1500. The trolley 1 especially comprises a compact design. The rotatable transport elements 25 are partly enclosed by a trolley frame 90 of the trolley 1,10.

Advantageously, the trolleys 1,10 may be coupled to form a trolley train 100. Therefore, the trolley 1, 10 further comprises coupling elements 15 configured for coupling a first side 1 1 of the trolley 1, 10 with a second side 12 of a further trolley la, 10a.

In the depicted embodiment, the coupling elements 15 comprise respectively a pin 18 and a hole 19. In the embodiment, two pins 15 are arranged at the first side 11 of the trolley 1, 10 extending from the frame 90. Two openings or holes 19 are configured at the second side of the trolley in the frame 90, especially at the lower side of the trolley 1, 10 (and therefore not visible in the figure). The trolleys l, la, l0, l0a are especially configured for arranging the hole 19 of a first trolley la, 10a over the pin 18 of a further trolley 1, 10 for mutually coupling the trolleys 1, la, l0, l0a, see Fig. 2.

The trolleys 1, 10 may further be stacked on each other, see also Fig. 2. To prevent a stacked trolley la, 10a to slide from another trolley 1,10, the trolley 1, 10 may comprise transport element receivers 95 configured for receiving the transport elements 20 of the further trolley la, 10a stacked on top of the trolley 1,10. In the depicted embodiment, the trolley 1,10 e.g. comprises openings in the frame 90 of the trolley 1, 10 for receiving the rotatable transport elements 25 (wheels) of a further trolley la, l0a. The transport element receivers 95 are especially configured for detachable stacking the further trolley la, 10a to (on top of) the trolley 1, 10. To support stacking a further trolley la, 10a on a trolley 1, 10, the trolley 1, 10 may further comprise one or more alignment element 60, especially configured to align stacked trolleys 1, la 10, lOa. The alignment elements 60 may further function in aligning a unit 200 at the trolley 1, 10.

Fig. 3 schematically depicts an embodiment of a racking system 1500. The racking system 1500 comprises open frames 159 comprising a plurality of guides 1550, especially two top guides 151, and two bottom guide 152 through the open frames 159. The racking system 1500 comprises a plurality of trolleys 1,10 according to the invention. One trolley 1, 10 arranged at two bottom guides 151, and ten trolleys 1, 10, forming a trolley train 100, arranged at two top guides 151. The top guides 151 are configured for suspended transport of the unit 200 by a trolley 1, 10 through the open frames 159. The bottom guides 152 are configured for supported transport of the unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10 through the open frames 159.

Fig. 3 further illustrates that the racking system 1500 may comprise a row 1600 of a plurality of adjacently arranged racking system units 150 as described herein. Such racking system unit 150 is especially configured for building a racking system 1500 illustrated in Fig 3. As is demonstrated by the figure, also the racking system unit 150 comprises an open frame 159 comprising a top guide 151 configured for suspended transport of a unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10 through the racking system unit 150 and a bottom guide 152 for supported transport of a unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10 through the racking system unit 150. The racking system 1500 and the racking system unit 150 may especially be configured for suspended transport or supported transport by any trolley 1, 10 described herein.

In Fig. 3 big bags are stored hanging, herein the term“hanging” relates to the term“suspended” such as in suspended transport. Especially for allowing a big bag 250 (flexible intermediate bulk container 250 or FIBC 250) to hang, the trolley 1, 10 may comprise a plurality of connection elements 30. Each connection element 30 may comprise protrusions extending in a direction towards a center axis A of the trolley 1, 10, see Fig. 1. The protrusion 35 may be configured for holding a loop 255 of a big bag 250.

The racking system 1500 further comprises a trolley 1,10 (arranged at the bottom guide 152) comprising a supported unit 200, supporting a product 210; in the present example a pallet.

The racking system 1500 and racking system unit 150 may be used for storing and transporting a big bag 250. To allow transporting big bags 250, the open frame 159 has dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container 250. Hence, especially the dimensions of the open frame (height, length, width) are larger than the dimension of a (number of sequential) big bag(s) 250. To also allow for transporting further units 200a, the open frame 159 may (even) have dimensions for suspended transport of a flexible intermediate bulk container 250 in combination with supported transport of a further unit 200a.

The trolleys 1, 10 may be lifted in the racking system 1500. Therefore, the trolley may comprise one or more lifting support elements 70. The lifting support element 70 being configured for lifting and handling the trolley 1, 10 by the lifting device. The frame 90 may comprise the lifting support elements 70, see Fig. 1. The trolleys 1, 10, especially comprising a unit 200,200a may be stored according the method of the invention, especially the method of storing a plurality of units 200,200a in the racking system 1500. The method comprising arranging sequentially a number of trolleys 1, 10 with the units 200,200a into a first open frame 159 of the racking system 1500 and especially connecting each sequential trolley 1, 10 with an earlier arranged trolley 1, 10 via coupling elements 15 to provide a trolley train 100. The first open frame 159 is especially arranged at the extremes of racking system 1500, especially at the extremes of the row 1600 (depicted at the left side of the picture and the right side of the pictures). These extremes are herein also referred to with the term “head end”. In the depicted embodiment, the trolleys 1, 10 are successively arranged (loaded) at the head end depicted at the right side of the figure.

The trolley 1,10 may further be used in a transport unit comprising a top guide 151 configured for suspended transport of the unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10 in the transport unit, and/or comprising a bottom guide 152 for supported transport of the unit 200 by the trolley 1, 10 in the transport unit. Such transport unit may e.g. be a movable transport unit. Examples of such movable transport unit are transport vehicles, trucks, containers, and shipping containers. Another example of a transport unit is an (automated) transport device such as known for use in warehouses. Such device may also be dedicated for transporting a plurality of trolleys 1,10, and especially may be used to automate storage and handling of units 200.