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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SUITCASE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/162686
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A suitcase frame comprises a first pair of suitcase frame corner components and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components, a first horizontal support bar and a second horizontal support bar. The first horizontal support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the second horizontal support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components. The suitcase frame further comprises an integrated suitcase handle assembly, comprising at least one reinforcing bar, a first attachment section and a second attachment section. The first attachment section is directly connected to the first horizontal support bar, and the second attachment section is directly connected to the second horizontal support bar.

Inventors:
JUSTHAM, Christopher (16 Langfield Road, Knowle Solihull, West Midlands B93 9PN, B93 9PN, GB)
HOPWOOD, Philip (42 Sandown Road, Sunnybank, Bury BL9 8HW, BL9 8HW, GB)
ZHENG, Mao Jian (11B28, Shanghai Mart,2299 West Yan'an Road,Changning District, Shanghai 6, 200336, CN)
Application Number:
GB2019/050493
Publication Date:
August 29, 2019
Filing Date:
February 22, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ANTLER LTD. (Northdown House, 11-21 Northdown Street, London N1 9BN, N1 9BN, GB)
International Classes:
A45C13/04; A45C5/03; A45C5/14; A45C13/26
Foreign References:
US6131713A2000-10-17
US6357567B12002-03-19
EP2730189A12014-05-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRUNNER, John Michael Owen et al. (Carpmaels & Ransford LLP, One Southampton Row, London WC1B 5HA, WC1B 5HA, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A suitcase frame, comprising:

a first pair of suitcase frame corner components and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components;

a first cross support bar; and

a second cross support bar;

wherein the first cross support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the second cross support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components;

wherein the suitcase frame further comprises:

an integrated suitcase handle assembly, comprising;

at least one reinforcing bar;

a first attachment section; and

a second attachment section,

wherein the first attachment section is connected to the first cross support bar, and the second attachment section is connected to the second cross support bar.

2. The suitcase frame of claim 1 , wherein the first attachment section is positioned at a first end of the reinforcing bar, and the second attachment section is positioned at a second end of the reinforcing bar.

3. The suitcase frame of claim 1 or 2, further comprising at least one telescopic bar configured to telescope within the reinforcing bar, and extend or retract the length of the handle assembly.

4. The suitcase frame of any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the first and second attachment sections comprises a hook portion, wherein the hook portion is adapted to hook its respective attachment section onto its respective cross support bar, optionally wherein the hook portion comprises a latch adapted to snap fit onto its respective cross support bar.

5. The suitcase frame of any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the first and second attachment sections is connected to its respective cross support bar using a fastener, for example a screw, bolt, or rivet.

6. The suitcase frame of any preceding claim, further comprising a third cross support bar, a fourth cross support bar, and four side support bars, each side support bar having a first and a second end.

7. The suitcase frame of claim 6, wherein the third cross support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the fourth cross support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the first ends of two of the side support bars are connected to one of the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the first ends of the other two of the side support bars are connected to the other of the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the second ends of two of the side support bars are connected to one of the second pair of suitcase frame corner components and wherein the second ends of the other two of the side support bars are connected to the other of the second pair of suitcase frame corner components.

8. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 6 to 7, wherein one of the ends of at least one of the side support bars is connected to one of the suitcase frame corner components by resting freely within a hole in the suitcase frame corner component without the use of adhesive, screws or other fastening means.

9. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 6 to 8, wherein the side support bars are pultrusion rods, optionally wherein the pultrusion rods are made from glass fiber reinforced plastic.

10. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 6 to 9, wherein the cross support bars are E- beams.

11. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 6 to 10, wherein the cross support bars are formed from glass fiber reinforced plastic.

12. The suitcase frame of claim 11 , wherein the cross support bars are formed from compression formed glass fiber reinforced plastic.

13. The suitcase frame of any preceding claim, wherein the connection of the first attachment section to the first cross support bar and the connection of the second attachment section to the second cross support bar provide structural integrity to the suitcase frame.

14. A kit comprising parts for constructing the suitcase frame of any preceding claim.

15. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame of any preceding claim and a frame covering.

16. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 1 to 13, kit of claim 14 or suitcase of claim 15, further comprising a suitcase frame support component, the support component comprising: a body comprising a channel having first and second ends; and

a support rod having first and second ends,

wherein the length of the channel is greater than or equal to the length of the support rod and the first and second ends of the support rod are positioned within the channel, and wherein the walls of the channel are configured to grip the support rod along at least a part of the length of the support rod to retain the support rod within the channel.

17. The suitcase frame of any one of claims 1 to 13 or 16, the kit of claim 14 or claim 16 or the suitcase of claim 15 or claim 16, further comprising:

a suitcase frame component, the component comprising:

an attachment section for connecting the component to the suitcase frame;

wherein the attachment section comprises a hook portion;

wherein the hook portion is configured to hook the attachment section onto a first component of the suitcase frame, thereby connecting the component to the suitcase frame.

18. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame of any one of claims 1 to 13, 16 or 17, further comprising a suitcase frame covering for securing to a suitcase frame, the suitcase frame covering comprising:

a plurality of pieces of flexible material;

wherein the plurality of pieces are fixed together;

wherein the covering is configured so that when the plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar back section and a sidewall having a top and bottom edge, with the planar back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the sidewall, and the sidewall extending away from the planar back section in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section;

wherein the suitcase frame covering extends over the exterior of the frame.

19. The suitcase of claim 18, wherein the suitcase frame covering further comprises an internal cover formed from a second plurality of pieces of flexible material, wherein the internal cover is configured so that when the second plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar internal cover back section and an internal cover sidewall, with the internal cover back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the internal cover sidewall, and the internal cover sidewall extending away from the internal cover back section in a direction

perpendicular to the plane of the internal cover back section.

20. The suitcase of any one of claims 18 and 19, wherein the suitcase frame covering further comprises fastening means connected to an internal side of the sidewall or an internal face of the planar back section, wherein the fastening means is configured to secure the suitcase covering to the suitcase frame.

21. The suitcase of any one of claims 18 to 20, wherein the suitcase frame covering further comprises a handle hole positioned in the sidewall at the bottom edge of the sidewall, wherein the suitcase further comprises a suitcase handlebar, wherein the handle hole is dimensioned so that the suitcase handlebar can pass through the hole.

22. The suitcase of any one of claims 18 to 21 , wherein the suitcase frame covering and the suitcase frame are dimensioned so that the suitcase frame cover is held taught by the suitcase frame.

23. The suitcase of any one of claims 18 to 22, further comprising at least two wheels secured to the suitcase frame through respective holes in the suitcase frame covering.

24. A method of manufacturing a suitcase, comprising:

providing a single-piece suitcase frame covering, the suitcase frame covering comprising a plurality of pieces of flexible material, wherein the plurality of pieces are fixed together, wherein the covering is configured so that when the plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar back section and a sidewall having a top and bottom edge, with the planar back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the sidewall, and the sidewall extending away from the planar back section in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section;

assembling the suitcase frame of any one of claims 1 to 13, 16 or 17 independently of the suitcase frame covering; and

after the suitcase frame has been fully assembled, pulling the suitcase frame covering directly over the exterior of the suitcase frame to cover the suitcase frame and form a suitcase.

25. The method of claim 24, further comprising forming at least two holes in the suitcase frame covering, and connecting a respective wheel to the suitcase frame through each of the holes.

Description:
Suitcase

Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure relates generally to a suitcase, suitcase frame, and kits and components therefor, along with a method of manufacture. More particularly, the disclosure relates to ultralight suitcases having a frame and a suitcase frame covering, and methods of manufacturing such suitcases.

Background

In an increasingly connected and globalised world, travel is on the increase and the need to transport belongings for both business and leisure increases with it. On a personal level, this transport relies on suitcases, which are typically in the form of cuboidal bags with handles.

Suitcases often also comprise wheels to allow them to be rolled along the ground. Rather than doing work lifting a suitcase every time it needs to be moved, the weight of the suitcase can remain on the ground, and the user simply needs to overcome rolling friction to move the suitcase, which is typically a small fraction of the weight of the suitcase. Such suitcases usually comprise a telescopic handle assembly which allows a handlebar of the suitcase to be raised to a convenient for grasping by the hand of a user, while the suitcase can remain on the ground and utilise its wheels for rolling.

Despite the advantage provided by wheels, during travel heavy baggage will still need, on occasion, to be lifted off the ground, and this remains tiring and inconvenient for the traveller. Additionally, air travel is becoming more and more popular. Most airlines impose weight limits on suitcases, and many charge premiums to transport suitcases that are above a certain weight. It is therefore desirable to make suitcases as light as possible, while still being strong and robust enough to survive the often rough handling to which they are subjected.

On top of all of this, greater connectivity and globalisation opens up new manufacturing possibilities and increases competition. The ability to make use of new manufacturing possibilities would provide benefits in overcoming the cost pressures on the manufacturing of suitcases as well as other goods that such connectivity and globalisation imposes. Any advances in suitcase design must be considered in tandem with the need to minimise cost increases and enable simple manufacturing.

One way of reducing the weight of suitcases has been to use so called“soft-sided” suitcases assembled from fabric panels which have wire members stitched inside sections of fabric to support the shape of the panel. These stitching processes are extremely labour intensive, and require complex processing steps, which in turn leads to increased lead times and costs, as well as higher chances of manufacturing defects. Moreover, assembly of these panels into a suitcase requires further labour intensive stitching and the incorporation of boards or other supporting structures to provide shape to the suitcase. These boards and supporting structures add significant weight and significantly reduce the advantages of using soft-sided suitcases in the first place.

Summary of the Invention

The present invention is defined by the appendant claims.

The present invention provides a suitcase which is lightweight while being simple and easy to manufacture. The suitcase comprises a suitcase frame and a suitcase frame covering, wherein the suitcase frame covering extends over the suitcase frame. The suitcase frame may comprise a first pair of suitcase frame corner components and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components, and a first and second cross support bars. The first cross support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the second cross support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components. The suitcase frame further comprises an integrated suitcase handle assembly which comprises at least one reinforcing bar, a first attachment section and a second attachment section. The first attachment section is connected to the first cross support bar, and the second attachment section is connected to the second cross support bar. Such connections may be direct connections of juxtaposed portions of the attachment sections and support bars. The direct connections of the first and second attachment sections to the first and second cross support bars respectively allows the reinforcing bar to support the structural integrity of the frame and/or hold the frame together, which simplifies the frame assembly.

The end of at least one side support bar of the suitcase frame can be connected to one of the suitcase frame corner components by resting freely within a hole in the suitcase frame corner component without the use of adhesive, screws or other fastening means. This simplifies the assembly of the suitcase while not compromising the structural integrity of the suitcase, as the reinforcing bar can be relied upon to support the structural integrity of the frame and/or hold the frame together.

The cross support bars may be arranged perpendicularly to the side support bars. The side support bars may be parallel to the reinforcing bar.

The cross support bars may be horizontal support bars, i.e. extend horizontally with respect to the ground when wheels on the suitcase frame are located in use on the ground. In this scenario, the side support bars may additionally be vertical support bars, i.e. extend vertically with respect to the ground.

The integrated suitcase frame handle assembly can also comprise at least one telescopic bar configured to telescope within the reinforcing bar, the telescopic bar allowing the length of the handle assembly to be changed. This allows the handle assembly to function both as a telescopic handle and a reinforcing bar that supports the structural integrity of the frame and/or hold the frame together.

The suitcase frame corner components can be lightweight while still being strong and robust enough to survive rough handling. The corner components can comprise a body comprising a channel having first and second ends and a support rod having first and second ends. The length of the channel is greater than or equal to the length of the support rod and the first and second ends of the support rod are positioned within the channel. The walls of the channel are configured to grip the support rod along at least a part of the length of the support rod to retain the support rod within the channel. The support rod strengthens the suitcase frame corner component and gives it greater impact resistance. By having the first and second ends of the support rod positioned within the channel and gripping the support rod with the walls of the channel, the rod provides strength to the suitcase frame corner component, while not risking the ends of the support rod piercing the suitcase frame covering during severe impact events. A component having a channel and support rod in this manner can be used as a suitcase frame support component more generally, and can be used at different locations in the suitcase frame.

One of the first and second attachment sections of the suitcase handle assembly may comprise a hook portion, such as a hook. The hook connects its respective attachment section to the respective cross support bar, and may comprises a catch allowing the hook to snap fit to the cross support bar. This reduces the complexity of the assembly of the frame and speeds up the assembly process. Both the first and second attachment section may connect to their respective cross support bars using a hook or a plurality of hooks. Hooks can also be applied to other suitcase frame components, such as auxiliary support bars, and used to connect these other components to a suitcase frame.

The suitcase frame covering is suitable for securing to a suitcase frame. The covering comprises a plurality of pieces of flexible material, and the plurality of pieces are fixed together. The covering is configured so that when the plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar back section and a sidewall having a top and bottom edge, with the planar back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the sidewall, and the sidewall extending away from the planar back section in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section. The suitcase frame can be placed inside the suitcase frame covering in the semi-enclosed space formed by the planar back section and sidewall after the suitcase frame has been constructed, which simplifies manufacturing and reduces costs.

The suitcase frame covering and the suitcase frame may be dimensioned so that the suitcase frame covering is held taught by the suitcase frame. In this way the suitcase frame covering assists in holding the suitcase frame together. Furthermore, rippling of the flexible pieces of material of suitcase frame covering is prevented.

The suitcase frame covering may further comprise fastening means connected to an internal side of the sidewall or an internal face of the back section.

The suitcase frame covering may further comprise a handle hole positioned in the sidewall at the bottom edge of the sidewall. The handle hole allows each telescopic bar of the suitcase handle assembly, each of which is movable between a retracted and an extended position, to extend through the handle hole in its extended position. The handle hole allows the suitcase frame covering to be pulled over the suitcase frame to assemble the suitcase while the integrated suitcase handle assembly continues to be accessible.

The suitcase frame covering may further comprise at least one flap of flexible material, with each flap connected to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering adjacent the handle hole, and each flap having flap fastening means which are configured to connect the flap to another of the at least one flaps or to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering to form a handle hole inner cover which extends across a portion of the handle hole and which comprises at least one bar hole. The handle hole inner cover can be formed so that each telescopic bar extends through a respective bar hole formed by the handle hole inner cover. The handle hole inner cover allows access to a handlebar of the integrated suitcase handle assembly during use of the suitcase, while protecting and obscuring the remainder of the integrated suitcase handle assembly and suitcase frame.

The present invention also provides a method of manufacturing a suitcase, which comprises providing a single-piece suitcase frame covering, assembling a suitcase frame

independently of the suitcase frame covering, and after the suitcase frame has been fully assembled, pulling the suitcase frame covering directly over the exterior of the suitcase frame to form a suitcase. The suitcase frame may comprise an integrated handle assembly comprising at least one telescopic bar and a handlebar piece, and pulling the suitcase frame covering over the exterior of the suitcase frame may comprise pulling the suitcase frame covering over the entirety of the integrated handle assembly. The suitcase frame covering may comprise a handle hole which allows each telescopic bar and handlebar piece to extend out of the suitcase frame covering after the suitcase frame covering has been pulled over the suitcase frame. This method removes the necessity of fitting the handlebar or the entirety of the suitcase handle assembly to the suitcase after assembly as a separate processing step, or the cutting of holes in the external material of the suitcase after assembly. It also allows the suitcase frame to be manufactured and/or assembled independently of the suitcase frame covering.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The present invention is described in further detail below in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a suitcase according to the present invention.

Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the suitcase of Fig. 1 with the suitcase frame covering not shown. Fig. 3 is a second perspective view of the suitcase of Fig. 1 with the suitcase frame covering not shown.

Fig. 4 is a rear view of the suitcase of Fig. 1 with the suitcase frame covering not shown.

Fig. 5 is a top view of the suitcase of Fig. 1 with the suitcase frame covering not shown.

Fig. 6 is a bottom view of the suitcase of Fig. 1 with the suitcase frame covering not shown.

Figs. 7 to 9 are a views of a first attachment section of an integrated handle assembly of the present invention.

Figs. 10 to 12 are a views of a second attachment section of an integrated handle assembly according to the present invention.

Figs. 13 to 15 are views of a suitcase frame corner component of the present invention.

Figs. 16 to 18 are views of a suitcase frame corner component of the present invention.

Figs. 19 to 22 are views of an auxiliary support component of the present invention.

Fig. 23 is a view of a suitcase frame covering of the present invention.

Fig. 24 is an enlarged view of a part of the suitcase frame covering of Fig. 23.

Fig. 25 is a view of a suitcase frame covering of the present invention.

Detailed Description

In this specification and the claims which follow, spatial terms such as“vertical”,“horizontal”, “up”, and“down” may be used with respect to the drawings and normal orientation of the suitcase. For example, if the suitcase has wheels, then the normal orientation is with its wheels on the ground. However, in the context of the suitcase frame covering, and specifically the sidewall of this covering, the terms“top” and“bottom” are used with reference to the planar back section of this covering resting on the ground, as a suitcase conventionally would be during the process of packing the suitcase full of belongings, with the sidewall extending vertically upwards, as would be the case if a suitcase were to be rested on the ground on its back with the lid open. In any event, these terms are not intended to be limiting or absolute.

Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, the word“comprise” and variations such as“comprises” and“comprising”, will be understood to mean that the following integer, step, group of integers or group of steps is included but that other integers, steps, groups of integers or groups of steps are not excluded. By contrast, the word“consist” and variations such as“consists” and“consisting of”, will be understood to mean that the following integer, step, group of integers or group of steps is included and that other integers, steps, groups of integers or groups of steps are excluded.

A suitcase frame may be a structure made up of rigid, or substantially rigid, components which supports a suitcase. A suitcase frame may give shape to a suitcase. A suitcase frame may comprise all of the components that are required to give a suitcase its structural integrity. A suitcase frame may define a volume for storing belongings inside the suitcase. Indeed, a suitcase frame may comprise all of the components necessary for defining a volume for storing belongings inside the suitcase.

A suitcase frame may be constructed from components that are secured together so that no components will fall off the suitcase frame, and the suitcase frame will not fall apart, regardless of the orientation in which the suitcase frame is held. This may be true even if no suitcase frame covering is extending over the suitcase frame. Alternatively, some suitcase frames may require that a suitcase frame covering is applied over their exterior to prevent them from falling apart, and to prevent one or more components from falling off the suitcase frame.

A suitcase frame may not require a suitcase frame covering to be held together. That is, the suitcase frame may have structural integrity without a covering. Stated another way, the suitcase frame can be assembled independently of a suitcase frame covering.

A suitcase frame covering can be made from flexible material. A suitcase frame covering made of flexible material may be bent or folded up due to being made from flexible material. A suitcase frame covering may be made entirely from flexible material, other than some of the fastening means that may be attached to a suitcase frame covering.

A suitcase frame covering may extend over the entirety of the exterior of a suitcase frame apart from any wheels, and may enclose all the suitcase frame apart from any wheels. In this scenario the suitcase frame, apart from the wheels, is not visible from the exterior of the suitcase.

A single piece suitcase frame covering may be a single piece of material, which may nevertheless be made from multiple pieces of material which have been fixed together, which can be secured to a suitcase frame and extend over the entirety of the exterior of the suitcase frame apart from any wheels, and enclose all of the suitcase frame apart from any wheels. In this scenario, no further separate pieces of material are needed to enclose the suitcase frame in this manner.

Suitcase and Suitcase Frame Covering

Fig. 1 shows a perspective view of a suitcase 1 according to an embodiment of the present invention. Suitcase 1 is cuboidal in shape. Suitcase 1 comprises a suitcase frame 10 (not shown) and a suitcase frame covering 1000 extending over the exterior of the frame. Suitcase frame covering 1000 is secured to suitcase frame 10. Suitcase frame covering 1000 comprises a plurality of pieces of flexible material, including but not limited to pieces of flexible material 1001 , 1002, 1003, 1004 and 1005. The plurality of pieces of flexible material are fixed together, for example by stitching them together. Because the plurality of pieces of flexible material are flexible, suitcase frame covering 1000 can be bent or folded up, which may assist in storage or transport of covering 1000 if it is separate to suitcase frame 10. Other than some of the fastening means attached to suitcase frame covering 1000, as discussed below, suitcase frame covering 1000 may be made entirely of flexible material.

When the plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar back section 1200 and a sidewall 1100 having a top edge 1 120 and bottom edge 11 10. The planar back section 1200 is fixed around the entirety of its perimeter 1210 to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge 11 10 of the sidewall, and the sidewall extends away from the planar back section 1200 in a direction D perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section 1200. Suitcase frame 10 can be placed inside suitcase frame covering 1000 in the semi- enclosed space formed by the planar back section 1200 and sidewall 1 100.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 and suitcase frame 10 are dimensioned so that suitcase frame covering 1000 is held taught by suitcase frame 10. As such, suitcase frame covering 1000 assists in holding suitcase frame 10 together. Furthermore, rippling of the pieces of flexible material making up suitcase frame covering 1000 is prevented. Suitcase frame covering 1000 may further comprise a lid member 1300. Lid member 1300 may be flexible, or the lid may be reinforced with structural members such as wires or boards. Lid member 1300 is planar. Lid member 1300 has a perimeter 1310 extending around lid member 1300 and is fixed along a portion 1320 of the perimeter 1310 to a corresponding portion of top edge 1 120 of sidewall 1100. The portion 1320 of perimeter 1310 may be fixed to the corresponding portion of top edge 1 120 by stitching, for example. Lid member 1300 is fixed to sidewall 1100 in a manner which allows lid member 1300 to be rotated about sidewall 1 100, so that the interior of suitcase 10 can be accessed and belongings placed inside.

As mentioned above, a portion 1320 of the perimeter 1310 is fixed to a corresponding portion of top edge 1120 of sidewall 1 100. Lid member 1300 and sidewall 1100 comprise lid fastening means which are configured to removably connect the remainder of perimeter 1310 to the remainder of the top edge 1120 of sidewall 1100 to form an enclosed storage space within suitcase covering 1 100. The lid fastening means may comprise zip 1330, although other fastening means are possible.

Lid member 1300 may comprise at least one closeable pocket formed on the lid member. There may be a closeable pocket on the exterior face of lid member 1300, a closeable pocket on the interior face of lid member 1300, or closeable pockets on both the interior and exterior faces of lid member 1300. Each closeable pocket may be closeable by means of a zip, although other methods can be used.

The height of sidewall 1100, which can be defined as the distance which is perpendicular to the planar back section 1200 extending between bottom edge 1 110 and top edge 1120 of sidewall 1 100, is the same as the corresponding height of suitcase frame 10. The height of suitcase frame 10 can, in a similar way, be defined as the distance which is perpendicular to the plane of planar back section 1200 between a face of suitcase frame 10 which is in contact with the planar back section and the opposing face of suitcase frame 10. As such, the suitcase frame covering 1000 accurately fits and covers suitcase frame 10. See, for example, figs. 23 and 24. Of course, while the heights of sidewall 1100 and suitcase frame 10 are the same, the lid fastening means may protrude‘higher’ than sidewall 1 100, so that the lid fastening means protrude beyond the opposing face of suitcase frame 10, in order to facilitate attachment to lid member 1300 and the formation of the enclosed storage space. Suitcase 1 further comprises four wheels 500 connected to suitcase frame 10 through suitcase frame covering 1000, as will be described in more detail below. Each wheel 500 is positioned on a first exterior face of sidewall 1100 at a respective corner of the first exterior face. As well as rolling, each wheel 500 is capable of freely rotating about an axis perpendicular to the first exterior face to enable suitcase 10 to be easily steered during use. While suitcase 1 is illustrated as having four wheels, it is not necessary for suitcases of the present invention to have any wheels, and different numbers of wheels are possible. In particular, suitcases of the present invention may have two wheels and at least one support leg, with each wheel positioned on the first exterior face of sidewall 1100 at or adjacent the bottom edge 1 110.

Suitcase 1 comprises an integrated handle assembly 200, which is directly connected to support bars of suitcase frame 10 (see below). In particular, integrated handle assembly 200 comprises two reinforcing bars 250 (not shown) and two telescopic bars 270, each of which is configured to telescope within a respective one of the reinforcing bars 250. Each telescopic bar 270 allows the length of handle assembly 200 to be changed, so that handlebar 290 can be extended or retracted as necessary so that it is positioned at a convenient height for a user of suitcase 1 to grasp. Each telescopic bar 270 is movable between a retracted position and an extended position. Handlebar 290 may comprise a button 291 , which can be depressed to allow the length of handle assembly 200 to be changed. When the telescopic bars 270 are in their retracted positions, handlebar 290 is contained within sidewall 1100 and does not protrude beyond the edge of suitcase frame covering 1100.

Each telescopic bar 270 may itself contain further telescopic bars to allow a greater range of length for handle assembly 200, but this is not essential. Furthermore, integrated handle assembly 200 does not need to comprise two reinforcing bars 250. In particular, integrated handle assembly 200 may instead comprise one reinforcing bar, which may have or be connected to the other features described above.

As shown in Fig. 1 , suitcase frame covering 1000 comprises a handle hole 1 150 positioned in sidewall 1 100 at bottom edge 11 10 of sidewall 1100. Handle hole 1150 is dimensioned so that handlebar 290 and each telescopic bar 270 can pass through the hole. Handle hole 1150 may have a length of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 , 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 , 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 or 30 cm, depending on the size of handlebar 290. As shown in Fig. 1 , the two telescopic bars 270 extend through handle hole 1 150 and connect handlebar 290 to the two reinforcing bars (not shown). Suitcase frame covering 1000 further comprises handle hole cover 1 160 fixed to suitcase frame covering 1000. Handle hole cover 1 160 allows the handle hole to be closed when the telescopic bars 270 are in their retracted positions and handlebar 290 is within the sidewall 1 100 of suitcase frame covering 1000. Handle hole cover 1 160 comprises handle hole fastening means 1161 allowing the hand hole cover 1160 to removably close handle hole 1 150. Fastening means 1 161 may comprise a zip, for example. Handle hole cover 1160 protects handle assembly 200 during moments where suitcase 1 is likely to suffer particular rough handling, such as when passing through the baggage system of an airport, or when being loaded onto a luggage rack. Handle hole cover 1160 also reduces the risk of accidental deployment of the telescopic bars 270 and handlebar 290 in such situations where it could result in damage to or the breaking of handle assembly 200.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 also comprises a handle hole inner cover 1170. Handle hole inner cover 1170 comprises two flaps of flexible material 1 172 and 1 174. Each flap is connected to the internal side of suitcase frame covering 1000, either to sidewall 1100 or planar back section 1200. Each flap comprises flap fastening means which are configured to connect the two flaps 1 172 and 1174 together to form the handle hole inner cover 1 170. The handle hole inner cover 1170 extends across a portion of the handle hole and comprises two bar holes 1176.

Each bar hole 1176 is dimensioned to receive a respective one of the telescopic bars 270. Each bar hole 1 176 may be 0.5, 1 , 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 or 5 cm long. The flap fastening means comprise hook and loop fasteners. The hook and loop fasteners comprise a hook section and a loop section, and one of the flaps comprises the hook section while the other flap comprises the loop section.

After the suitcase frame covering 1000 has been applied to suitcase frame 10, telescopic bars 270 and handlebar 290 can be extended through hand hole 1 150. The two flaps 1172 and 1174 can then be connected together using the flap fastening means. Each telescopic bar 270 will then extend through its respective bar hole 1176. The remainder of handle hole 1150 is covered by handle hole inner cover 1 170, which protects the handle assembly 200 and suitcase frame 10 while also obscuring them from the view of the user.

Flaps 1172 and 1174 are sufficiently flexible and are dimensioned and positioned so that when handle hole inner cover 1170 is formed, it is still possible to return telescopic bars 270 to their retracted position and position handlebar 290 within sidewall 1 100 so that it does not protrude beyond the edge of suitcase frame covering 1000. Handle hole inner cover 1 170 and handle hole cover 1160 can form a handle cavity in which the handlebar 290 can rest when the handle hole cover is closed and when the telescopic bars 270 are in their retracted positions.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 further comprises two non-extensible handles 1500 to assist in lifting suitcase 1 if this is necessary. As shown in Fig. 1 each handle 1500 is connected to an exterior face of sidewall 1100. However, handles 1500 can be positioned in different locations or omitted entirely. There may be only one handle, or indeed there may be more than two handles.

As best shown by figs. 23 and 25, suitcase frame covering 1000 further comprises an internal cover 1600. Internal cover 1600 is formed from a second plurality of flexible pieces of material. The second plurality of pieces of flexible material are fixed together, for example by stitching them together. Because the second plurality of pieces of flexible material are flexible, the pieces of flexible material can be bent or folded up as required, which may assist in storage or transport of covering 1000 if it is separate to suitcase frame 10. The second plurality of pieces of flexible material are made from a fabric material.

When the second plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the internal cover 1600 has an internal cover back section 1610 and an inner sidewall 1650 having a top edge 1670 and bottom edge 1660. The planar back section 1610 is fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge 1660 of sidewall 1650, and sidewall 1650 extends away from the planar back section 1610 in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section 1610.

A portion 1680 of top edge 1670 of internal cover sidewall 1650 is fixed to top edge 1 120 of sidewall 1 100 along a corresponding portion of suitcase frame covering 1000. Internal cover 1600 and sidewall 1100 further comprise internal cover fastening means which are configured to connect the remainder of the perimeter of top edge 1670 of internal cover sidewall 1650 to the remainder of top edge 1 120 of sidewall 1100 in order to form an enclosed space within the suitcase frame covering 1000. As such, and as shown by Fig. 25 internal cover 1600 acts as a lining for suitcase 1 , and covers suitcase frame 10 from view when suitcase 1 is being used.

The internal cover fastening means comprise a zip 1690, although alternative fastening means can be used if desired. Internal cover sidewall 1650 has a height defined as the distance perpendicular to the plane of the internal cover back section 1610 between bottom edge 1660 and top edge 1670 of internal cover sidewall 1650. The height of internal cover sidewall 1650 is the same as the height of sidewall 1100 as defined above. In use, internal cover 1600 therefore rests against planar back section 1200 and integrated suitcase handle assembly 200, which allows efficient use of the space within suitcase frame covering 1000 while protecting suitcase frame 10 from objects placed in suitcase 1 and obscuring suitcase frame 10 from view.

When handle hole cover 1160 is closed, and either or both of lid member 1300 and internal cover 1600 are fully connected to top edge 1120 of sidewall 1 100, suitcase frame covering 1000 extends over the entirety of the exterior of suitcase frame 10, apart from wheels 500, and encloses all of suitcase frame 10 apart from wheels 500. In this scenario suitcase frame 10, apart from wheels 500, is not visible from the exterior of suitcase 1.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 can be described as“single-piece”. That is, while it is made up from a plurality of pieces of flexible material which have been fixed together, it is one combined piece that may be secured to and cover suitcase frame 10. Single-piece suitcase frame covering 1000 can be secured to suitcase frame 10 and extend over the entirety of the exterior of suitcase frame 10 apart from wheels 500 and enclose all of suitcase frame 10 apart from wheels 500 when handle hole cover 1160 is closed, and either or both of lid member 1300 and internal cover 1600 are fully connected to top edge 1120 of sidewall 1 100. No further separate pieces of material are needed to enclose suitcase frame 10 in this manner.

The flexible pieces of material, such as pieces of material 1001 , 1002, 1003, 1004 and 1005 making up suitcase frame covering 1000 can be made from a number of different materials. However, normally a fabric material is used, and in particular polyester, nylon, cotton, leather, vinyl and other fabrics that are lightweight, durable and flexible. It is particularly desirable for the flexible pieces of material to be made from ripstop fabric, such a nylon ripstop fabric, in order to increase durability.

Suitcase Frame

Figs. 2 to 6 show suitcase 1 with suitcase frame covering 1000 omitted, thereby better illustrating suitcase frame 10. As best shown by figs. 2 and 3, suitcase frame 10 comprises four suitcase frame corner components 100 in the form of a first pair of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104. Suitcase frame 10 further comprises horizontal support bars 300, specifically first horizontal support bar 301 and second horizontal support bar 302. Horizontal support bar 301 connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 together, and horizontal support bar 302 connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104 together. Specifically, as shown in figs. 2 to 4, horizontal support bars 301 and 302 are directly connected to both of the suitcase frame corner components in their respective pairs. Horizontal support bar 301 is therefore in physical contact with both suitcase frame corner component 101 and suitcase frame corner component 102, and horizontal support bar 302 is therefore in physical contact with both suitcase frame corner component 103 and suitcase frame corner component 104.

Suitcase frame 10 is a fully formed suitcase frame. It contains all the rigid, or substantially rigid, components necessary to support suitcase frame covering 1000 and give shape to suitcase 1. Suitcase frame 10 may comprise all of the components that are required to give a suitcase its structural integrity. Suitcase frame 10 defines a volume for storing belongings inside of suitcase 1.

Suitcase frame 10 has structural integrity. That is, suitcase frame 10 is made of components which are sufficiently secured together that no components will fall off suitcase frame 10, and the suitcase frame will not fall apart, regardless of the orientation in which the suitcase frame is held. This is true even if suitcase frame covering 1000 is not applied over the exterior of suitcase frame 10.

Indeed, some suitcase frames cannot be held together without a suitcase frame covering holding them together. These suitcase frame may be made of separate rigid, or substantially rigid components, which are not in contact with one another and which are only held together by the covering, or one or more portions of the covering. Suitcase frame 10 does not require suitcase frame covering 1000 to be held together. That is, suitcase frame 10 has structural integrity without covering 1000. Stated another way, suitcase frame 10 can be assembled independently of suitcase frame covering 1000.

Integrated Suitcase Handle Assembly

Suitcase frame 10 further comprises integrated suitcase handle assembly 200 as discussed above. As well as comprising the two reinforcing bars 250, suitcase handle assembly 200 comprises first attachment section 210 and second attachment section 230. First attachment section 210 is directly connected to first horizontal support bar 301 , and second attachment section 230 is directly connected to second horizontal support bar 302. That is, first attachment section 210 is in physical contact with horizontal support bar 301 , and second attachment section 230 is in physical contact with horizontal support bar 302.

As shown in figs. 2 to 4, suitcase handle assembly 200 is directly connected to first horizontal support bar 301 and second horizontal support bar 302 so that suitcase handle assembly 200 is positioned at the centre of both of horizontal support bars 301 and 302. As can be seen in figures 1 to 4, suitcase handle assembly 200 is positioned down a centreline of suitcase 1.

As best shown in figs. 2 to 4, first attachment section 210 is positioned at a first end of each reinforcing bar 250, and second attachment section 230 is positioned at a second end of each reinforcing bar 250. As best shown in figs. 2 and 3, reinforcing bars 250 are mounted within pockets 21 1 and 212 formed in first attachment section 210 and within pockets 231 and 232 formed in second attachment section 230, although alternative attachment mechanisms are possible. Pockets 211 and 212 comprise holes 213 and 214 respectively allowing each respective telescopic bar 270 to extend from its retracted position to its extended position while passing through the holes 213 and 214. As mentioned previously integrated handle assembly 200 may instead comprise one reinforcing bar, in which case first attachment section 210 would be positioned at the first end of the one reinforcing bar, and second attachment section 230 would be positioned at the second end of the one reinforcing bar.

As shown in figs. 3, 4 and 7 to 12, each attachment section 210 and 230 comprises a plurality of hooks 220 and 240 respectively. Hooks 220 hook attachment sections 210 onto horizontal support bar 301 , and hooks 240 hook attachment sections 230 onto horizontal support bar 302. As best shown in figs. 9 and 1 1 , first attachment section 210 comprises two hooks 220, and second attachment section 230 comprises three hooks 240. Each of hooks 220 comprise a latch 225 and each of hooks 240 comprise a latch 245. Latches 225 and 245 allow the hooks 220 and 240 respectively to snap fit onto their respective horizontal support bars. Latches 225 and 245 have an angled edge so that when hooks 220 and 240 are respectively hooked onto horizontal support bars 301 and 302, the horizontal support bars 301 and 302 contact the angled edge of the latches to deflect the hooks, which are made from resilient material, until the horizontal support bars are fully within the hooks. Latches 225 and 245 lack a second angled edge, so in order to remove the horizontal support bars, it is necessary to manually deflect the hooks to allow the horizontal support bars to pass by the latches. Each of hooks 220 and two of hooks 240 each further comprise a screw hole 221 or 241. A screw may be passed through each of screw hole 221 or 241 so that the hooks can be screwed onto the horizontal support bars once the hooks are hooked onto their respective bars. However, the screw holes can be omitted. Different fastening means can be used, such as bolts, rivets or adhesive, in addition to the hooks, in order to connect the first and second attachment sections 210 and 230 to the horizontal support bars 301 and 302.

Attachment sections 210 and 230 may comprise only one hook on each attachment section, a plurality of hooks on one attachment section and none on the other, or any other combination of hooks. Other fastening means, such as bolts, rivets screws or adhesive, can be provided in lieu of or in addition to hooks in order to connect the attachment sections 210 and 230 to the horizontal support bars 301 and 302. Alternatively, hooks 220 and 240 can be omitted, and such other fastening means used to connect the attachment sections 210 and 230 to the horizontal support bars 301 and 302.

Support Bars

The horizontal support bars 300 of suitcase frame 10 also include horizontal support bar 303 and horizontal support bar 304. Suitcase frame 10 further comprises four vertical support bars 400. Horizontal support bar 303 connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 together, and horizontal support bar 304 connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104 together. Specifically, as shown in figs. 2 and 3, horizontal support bars 303 and 304 are directly connected to both of the suitcase frame corner components in their respective pairs. Horizontal support bar 303 is therefore in physical contact with both suitcase frame corner component 101 and suitcase frame corner component 102, and horizontal support bar 304 is therefore in physical contact with both suitcase frame corner component 103 and suitcase frame corner component 104.

Horizontal support bars 300 are E-beams. That is, they have a cross section shaped like a letter Έ”. Consequently, hooks 220 and 240 have a rectangular shaped cross section to enable them to hook over and snuggly connect to horizontal support bars 300. See, for example, Fig. 3. Horizontal support bars 300 are made from compression formed glass fiber reinforced plastic. However, alternative materials can be used for horizontal support bars 300.

In addition to suitcase handle assembly 200, other components may comprise hooks for connecting the component to suitcase frame 10. For example, as shown in figs. 2 and 3, auxiliary component 600 is used to attach an auxiliary support bar 700 to suitcase frame 10. As best shown by figs. 19 to 22, auxiliary support component 600 comprises an attachment section for connecting the component to a suitcase frame. Attachment section comprises a hook 601 which hooks the attachment section onto horizontal support bar 304, thereby connecting component 600 to suitcase frame 10. Hook 601 comprises a latch 602. Latch 602 allows the hook 601 to snap fit onto horizontal support bar 304. Latch 602 has an angled edge so that when hook 601 is hooked onto horizontal support bars 304, the horizontal support bar 304 contact the angled edge of latches 602 to deflect the hook 601 , which is made from resilient material, until the horizontal support bar 304 is fully within hook 601. Latch 602 lacks a second angled edge, so in order to remove horizontal support bar 304, it is necessary to manually deflect hook 601 to allow the horizontal support bar 304 to pass by the latch. Component 600 also comprises a second attachment section which is a slot 605. A first end of auxiliary support bar 700 is received in slot 605 and thereby connected to suitcase frame 10. As shown in figs. 2 and 10, second attachment section comprises a slot 235 which receives a second end of auxiliary support bar 700. In the same manner as the horizontal support bars 300, auxiliary support bar 700 is an E-beam made from compression formed glass fiber reinforced plastic. Auxiliary support bar 700 and auxiliary component 600 thus connect horizontal support bar 302 and horizontal support bar 304 and provide additional strength to suitcase frame 10.

Auxiliary component 600 or modifications thereof can be used to attach further components to suitcase frame 10. Additional auxiliary support bars 700 could be connected to other parts of frame 10 using two auxiliary components 600. An auxiliary support component could comprise a screw hole to enable the auxiliary component to be screwed to the frame as well as hooked to the frame. The first attachment section of an auxiliary component could comprise a plurality of hooks and/or the second attachment section could comprise one or more hooks.

Vertical support bars 400 are each glass fiber reinforced plastic pultrusion rods, although different materials can be used for the vertical support bars 400. Each vertical support bar 400 has a first and second end. As shown in figs. 2 and 3, the first ends of two of the vertical support bars 400 connect to suitcase frame corner component 101 , and the second ends of the two of the vertical support bars connect to suitcase frame corner component 103. The first ends of the other two of the vertical support bars 400 connect to suitcase frame corner component 102 and the second ends of the other two of the vertical support bars connect to suitcase frame corner component 104. Specifically, each end of each of the vertical support bars 400 connects to its suitcase frame corner component through a hole 1 10 in each of the suitcase frame corner components 100. Each of the suitcase frame corner components 100 therefore has two holes 1 10 with each connecting to one of the two vertical support bars 400 to which each suitcase frame corner component 100 is connected.

Each end of each vertical support bar 400 rests within its respective hole 110 without using fastening means. The direct connection of suitcase handle assembly 200 to each of horizontal support bars 301 and 302 maintains the structural integrity of frame 10 and holds frame 10 together. Additionally, as mentioned previously, suitcase frame covering 1000 is pulled taught by suitcase frame 10 and assists in holding frame 10 together. The lack of fastening means between vertical support bars 400 to the suitcase frame corner components 100 ensures quick and easy manufacturing.

Alternatively, only some of, or none of, the ends of vertical support bars 400 rest freely within holes 1 10 of suitcase frame corner components 100. Fastening means such as adhesive can be used if this is desirable.

Suitcase Frame Corner Components

As described above and best illustrated by figures 2 and 3, suitcase frame 10 comprises four suitcase frame corner components 100 in the form of a first pair of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104.

Suitcase frame corner components 100 are lightweight while still being strong and robust enough to survive rough handling. As best shown by figs. 13 to 18, each suitcase frame corner component 100 comprises a body 130 comprising a channel 140 which comprises first end 141 and second end 142. A support rod 120 has first end 121 and second end 122. The length of channel 140 is greater than or equal to the length of support rod 120, and first and second end 121 and 122 of rod 120 are positioned within channel 140. The walls 150 of channel 140 are configured to grip support rod 120 along at least a part of the length of support rod 120 to retain support rod 120 within channel 140. Channel 140 is dimensioned so that walls 150 form an interference fit with the exterior surface of support rod 120 to grip the rod.

Support rod 120 of each of the suitcase frame corner components 100 is a glass fiber pultrusion rod. However, other materials can be used if this is desirable. Support rod 120 strengthens suitcase frame corner component 100 and gives it greater impact resistance. By having first and second ends 121 and 122 of support rod 120 positioned within channel 140 and gripping the support rod with the walls 150 of the channel, support rod 120 provides strength to suitcase frame corner component 100, while not risking the ends 121 and 122 of support rod 120 piercing suitcase frame covering 1000 during severe impact events.

First end 141 is a blind end. That is, channel 140 terminates in a wall across channel 140 at first end 141 inside body 130 without breaking out of body 130, and it is not possible for support rod 120 to be pushed through first end 141.

Second end 142 of suitcase frame corner component 100 is not a blind end, and allows the insertion of support rod 120 into channel 140. However, second end 142 can be a blind end if, for example, second end 142 is filled in after support rod 120 has been inserted.

Channel 140 has a first side and a second side. The walls 150 of the channel comprise a plurality of first wall sections 152 on the first side of the channel, and a plurality of second wall sections 154 on the second side of channel 140. As shown in figs. 14, 15, 17 and 18, the plurality of first wall sections 152 do not extend along the full length of the first side of the channel, and the plurality of second wall sections 154 do not extend along the full length of the second side of channel 140. As best shown by figs. 14 and 17, support component 100 further comprises a plurality of support ridges 160 which each form one of the plurality of second wall sections 154. The arrangement of support ridges 160 differs between first pair of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102, and second pair of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104. In suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104, support ridges 160 are connected together in a zigzag pattern, whereas in suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 each support ridge 160 is separate, and extends across channel 140 at right angles to the axis of channel 140. Other arrangements of support ridges are possible. For example, suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 may have support ridges 160 arranged in the same manner as suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104, or suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104 may have support ridges 160 arranged in the same manner as suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102.

The pluralities of first and second wall sections 152 and 154 are arranged so that along a central portion of channel 140, each portion of the first side of the central portion of the channel 140 along which one of the plurality of first wall sections extends is opposite a portion of the second side of the central portion along which one of the plurality of second wall sections does not extend, and each portion of the second side of the central portion of channel 140 along which one of the plurality of second wall sections extends is opposite a portion of the first side of the central portion along which one of the plurality of first wall sections does not extend. Stated differently, there are no points along the central portion of channel 140 where there is both one of the plurality of first wall sections on the first side and one of the plurality of second wall sections on the second side. The central portion of the channel may represent the middle 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90% or 95% of the length of the channel. This arrangement of wall sections facilitates the manufacturing of suitcase frame corner component 100 by injection molding, as it means that channel 140 and wall sections 152 and 154 do not from an undercut portion.

Alternatively, there may be no point along any of channel 140 along with there is both one of the plurality of first wall sections on the first side and one of the plurality of second wall sections on the second side. Additionally or alternatively, at all points along the length of channel 140, there is a wall section on at least one of the first aide of the channel or the second side of the channel. Furthermore, instead of comprising wall sections 152 and 154 along the first and second sides of the channel, channel 140 can be a hole through body 130.

Instead of a plurality of first and second wall sections, there could also instead be only one first wall section 152 on the first side of channel 140 or only one second wall section 154 on the second side of channel 140. There may be a plurality of first wall sections 152 and only one second wall section 154, or a plurality of second wall sections 154 and only one first wall section 152. In the same way as above, for each of these possible combinations, it may be the case that along a central portion of channel 140, each portion of the first side of the central portion of the channel 140 along which a first wall section extends is opposite a portion of the second side of the central portion along which a second wall section does not extend, and each portion of the second side of the central portion of channel 140 along which a second wall section extends is opposite a portion of the first side of the central portion along which a first wall section does not extend. For each of these options, there may be no point along any of channel 140 along with there is both a first wall section on the first side and a second wall section on the second side. Additionally or alternatively, at all points along the length of channel 140, there may be a wall section on at least one of the first aide of the channel or the second side of the channel.

Suitcase frame corner components 100 each have a first support component end 172 and a second support component end 174. First end 141 of channel 140 is located at first support component end 172 and second end 142 of channel 140 is located at second support component end 174.

Suitcase frame corner components 100 are injection molded. However, they can also be 3D printed or made by an alternative manufacturing technique if this is desirable.

The arrangement of suitcase frame corner component 100 which utilises support rod 120, channel 140 and walls 150 to grip the rod can be used in other support components of suitcase frame 10 that require strengthening. Any suitcase frame support component may comprise a body having a channel with first and second ends, and a support rod with first and second ends. The length of the channel may be greater than or equal to the length of the support channel, and the first and second ends of the support rod positioned within the channel. The walls of the channel may be configured to grip the support rod along at least a part of the length of the support rod to retain the support rod within the channel. Such a suitcase frame support component may also comprise any of the additional features noted above, such as blind end 141 and/or first and second wall sections 152 and 154.

As shown in figs. 13 to 18, body 130 of each suitcase frame corner component 100 comprises a first planar portion 182, a second planar portion 184, and an arcuate portion 186. Arcuate portion 186 extends between first planar portion 182 and second planar portion 184, and first and second planar portions 182 and 184 are at 90° to each other. As best shown in figs. 14 and 17, channel 140 extends along arcuate portion 186 in a direction parallel to the plane of first planar portion 182 and second planar portion 184. Planar portions 182 and 184 and arcuate portion 186 create a smooth exterior surface 188 on each the suitcase frame corner component 100. When suitcase frame covering 1000 is extended over the exterior of suitcase frame 10, the smooth exterior surface 188 of each suitcase corner component 100 is in contact with sidewall 1 100 of suitcase frame covering 1000 and assists in holding suitcase frame covering 1000 taught. The smooth nature of each exterior surface 188 further reduces the risk of piercing the suitcase frame covering 1000 during severe impact events and allows shocks to be better absorbed by the suitcase frame 10.

As mentioned previously and as best shown by figs. 14 and 17, each suitcase frame corner component 100 has two holes 1 10, each of which is connected to one of the vertical support bars 400. Each suitcase frame corner component also comprises two holes 115, into each of which one of the horizontal support bars 300 is inserted. As horizontal support bars 300 are E-beams, each hole 115 has an E-shaped cross section (cross section in the shape of a letter Έ”) in order to accommodate its respective horizontal support bar 300. Each suitcase frame corner component 100 may further comprise two screw holes 116, each of which intersects with a respective one of the holes 1 15. A screw can be passed through each of screw holes 1 16 and screwed into the horizontal support bar 300 which is inserted into hole 1 15 to better secure the horizontal support bar 300 to the suitcase frame corner component 100.

Of course, if horizontal support bars 300 were to use a different cross-section, each hole could have a different cross section to accommodate the horizontal support bars. Each hole 110 also has a cross section which is the same as the cross sectional shape of the vertical support bars 400. As shown in figs. 2, 3, 14 and 17, vertical support bars 400 have a circular cross section, and therefore holes 110 also have a circular cross section. Different cross-section shapes can be used for vertical support bars 400 and holes 1 10 if this is desired.

Holes 1 10 and 1 15 are arranged in suitcase frame corner components 100 so that channel 140 and support rod 120 extend in direction D, perpendicularly to planar back section 1200 of suitcase 1. See for example, figs. 1 , 2, 23 and 24. The support rods 120 therefore provide particular reinforcement along the height of sidewall 1 100 of suitcase 1 between top edge 1 120 and bottom edge 11 10 of sidewall 1100.

As best shown by figs. 14 and 15, each of suitcase frame corner components 101 and 102 further comprise two slits 190. A first of the two slits is positioned at the boundary of first planar portion 182 and arcuate portion 186, and a second of the two slits is positioned at the boundary of second planar portion 184 and arcuate portion 186. As described above and best illustrated by Fig. 23, suitcase frame covering 1000 comprises two straps 1710 which are connected to an internal side of sidewall 1 100 of suitcase frame covering 1000. A first one of the straps 1710 passes through both of slits 190 on suitcase frame corner component 101 , and a second one of the straps 1710 passes through both of slits 190 on suitcase frame corner component 102. An end of each strap 1710 is then tied to the strap itself, or the end of the first strap 1710 is tied to the end of the second strap 1710, in order to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10.

As best shown by Fig. 3, the wheels 500 of suitcase 1 are attached to suitcase components 103 and 104, and as best shown by figs. 17 and 18, each of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104 further comprise two wheel attachment sections 195. Each wheel attachment section 195 has four screw holes through which a screw is passed and screwed into a wheel mounting portion 501 of the wheel 500 connected to that wheel attachment section 195. Each screw passes through suitcase frame covering 1000, which extends over each suitcase frame corner component 100, in order to screw into wheel mounting portion 501. By firmly attaching each wheel mounting portion 501 to its respective suitcase frame corner component 103 or 104 to clamp down on suitcase frame covering 1000, and using ripstop fabric to manufacture suitcase frame covering 1000, these holes formed by the screws in the suitcase frame covering 1000 will not grow further during use of suitcase 1. Of course, in the event that suitcase 1 were to only have two wheels, only one wheel 500 would be connected to each of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104, and one of the wheel attachment sections 195 could be omitted from each of suitcase frame corner components 103 and 104.

Fastening Means

Figs. 23 and 24 shows a plurality of fastening means 1700 connected to the internal side of sidewall 1 100 and the internal side of planar back section 1200. Specifically, these fastening means comprise straps 1710, fabric pieces 1720, and hook and loop fasteners 1730. Fastening means 1700 secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 comprises two straps 1710 which are connected to an internal side of sidewall 1 100 of suitcase frame covering 1000. Straps 1710 can be used to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame corner components 100 (see above).

Suitcase frame covering 1000 also comprises a plurality of pairs of fabric pieces 1720 connected to top edge 1120 of sidewall 1 100. For each pair of fabric pieces 1720, the members of the pair are tied together around one of vertical support rods 400 or one of the horizontal support bars to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10. Each pair of fabric pieces can be formed from a single fabric strip connected to the internal side of the sidewall 1 100, with each end of the fabric strip forming one of the pair of fabric pieces 1720.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 also comprises a plurality of hook and loop fasteners 1730 connected to the internal side of planar back section 1200 and the internal side of the bottom edge 11 10 or sidewall 1 100. Each of hook and loop fasteners 1730 comprising a hook section and a loop section. The hook sections and loop sections of each hook and loop fastener are passed around a respective element of suitcase frame 10 to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10. Specifically, hook and loop fasteners 1730 are passed around horizontal support bars 301 and 302, and the two vertical support bars 400 which are adjacent to bottom edge 1 110 of suitcase frame covering 1000. See Fig. 24. A single hook and loop fastener 1730 may extend along virtually the full length of the two vertical support bars 400 which are adjacent to bottom edge 1 110 of suitcase frame covering 1000, such as along 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90% or 95% of the length of these vertical support bars 400.

Alternative fastening means 1700 can be used to secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10. For example, the same arrangement of hook and loop fasteners 1730 could be positioned along top edge 1120 of sidewall 1100 instead of or in addition to along bottom edge 1 110 of sidewall 1 100. For example, the same arrangement of pairs of fabric pieces 1720 could be positioned along bottom edge 1110 of sidewall 1 100 instead of or in addition to along top edge 1 120 of sidewall 1 100. Alternatively, fastening means 1700 can be omitted entirely, and the fact that suitcase frame covering 1000 is held taught by suitcase frame 10 and the presence of inner cover 1600 can be used to hold suitcase 1 together.

Method of Manufacture

The present invention also relates to a method of manufacturing a suitcase, such as suitcase 1.

The arrangement of suitcase frame covering 1000 and suitcase frame 10 described above greatly simplifies the manufacture of suitcase 1. Once covering 1000 has been produced, and the components making up frame 10 constructed, suitcase 1 can be assembled (and indeed disassembled) using only a screwdriver as a tool.

The method of manufacturing suitcase 1 comprises providing a single-piece suitcase frame covering 1000, and assembling suitcase frame 10. After suitcase frame 10 has been fully assembled, suitcase frame covering 1000 can be pulled directly over the exterior of suitcase frame 10 to cover the suitcase frame and form suitcase 1.

Suitcase frame covering 1000 is pulled taught by suitcase frame 10 when it is pulled over the exterior of suitcase frame 10. This prevents rippling of the flexible pieces of material making up suitcase frame covering 1000 and also assists in holding suitcase frame 10 together. Suitcase frame covering 1000 entirely covers the exterior of suitcase frame 10, apart from wheels 500. The provision of lid member 1300 allows access to the enclosed space within suitcase frame covering 1000.

As noted above, suitcase frame 10 comprises four suitcase frame corner components 100, four horizontal support bars 300, four vertical support bars 400, and integrated handle assembly 200. Suitcase frame 10 also comprises auxiliary support bar 700 and auxiliary component 600, although these are not essential to the suitcase frame 10 and can be omitted if desired.

Assembly of suitcase frame 10 is extremely simple, and the only tool required is a screwdriver. Each end of each horizontal support bars 300 can be inserted into its respective hole 1 15 in suitcase frame corner components 100. If desired, a screw can be placed in each screw hole 1 16 and screwed into the horizontal support bar 300 in each respective hole 1 15 in the suitcase frame corner components 100 to better secure the horizontal support bar 300 to suitcase frame corner components 100. Each end of vertical support bars 400 can then be placed into its respective hole 110 in suitcase frame corner components 100. Integrated suitcase frame handle assembly 200 can then be hooked onto horizontal support bars 301 and 302 using hooks 220 and 240. If desired a screw can be placed in each screw hole 221 and screwed into horizontal support bar 301 , and a screw can be placed in each screw hole 241 and screwed into horizontal support bar 302.

If desired, the first end of auxiliary support bar 700 can be inserted into slot 605 in auxiliary component 600, the second end of auxiliary support bar 700 inserted into slot 235 of second attachment section 230, and auxiliary component 600 can be hooked onto horizontal support bar 304.

After suitcase frame 10 has been assembled, suitcase frame covering 1000 can be pulled directly over the exterior of suitcase frame 10 to form suitcase 1. Suitcase frame 10 can be placed inside sidewall 1100 and pushed towards planar back section 1200 until it contacts planar back section 1200. Because the heights of sidewall 1 100 and suitcase frame 10 are the same, suitcase frame covering 1000 accurately fits and covers suitcase frame 10.

Pulling suitcase frame covering 1000 over suitcase frame 10 includes pulling suitcase frame covering 10 over the entirety of integrated handle assembly 10. Handle hole 1150 allows each telescopic bar 270 and handlebar piece 290 of handle assembly 200 to extend out of suitcase frame covering 1000 after suitcase frame covering 1000 has been pulled over suitcase frame 10. Once telescopic bars 270 and handlebar piece 290 have been extended, each flap 1 172 and 1174 can be connected together to form the handle hole inner cover 1 170. Each telescopic bar 270 will then extend through its respective bar hole 1 176, while the remainder of handle hole 1 150 is covered by handle hole inner cover 1170. After handle hole inner cover 1 170 has been formed, the telescopic bars 270 can be moved to their retracted position so that handlebar piece 290 is in its handle cavity, and handle hole cover 1 160 can be closed if desired.

Suitcase frame 10 can be better secured to suitcase frame covering 1000 using fastening means 1 170. Specifically, a first one of the straps 1710 can be passed through both of slits 190 on suitcase frame corner component 101 , and a second one of the straps 1710 passes through both of slits 190 on suitcase frame corner component 102. An end of each strap 1710 is then tied to the strap itself, or the end of the first strap 1710 is tied to the end of the second strap 1710, in order to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10. The members of each pair of fabric strips 1720 are tied together around one of vertical support rods 400 or horizontal support bars 300 to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10. The hook sections and loop sections of each hook and loop fastener 1730 are passed around one of the horizontal support bars 301 and 302, and the two vertical support bars 400 which are adjacent to bottom edge 11 10 of suitcase frame covering 1000 respectively to better secure suitcase frame covering 1000 to suitcase frame 10.

Each wheel 500 is then mounted to suitcase 1 by passing screws through the respective wheel attachment section 195, in the process making small holes in suitcase covering 1000, and into wheel mounting portion 501 into which the screw is screwed.

The internal cover fastening means are then used to complete the connection of the perimeter of top edge 1670 of internal cover sidewall 1650 to the top edge 1120 of sidewall 1100 in order to form an enclosed space within the suitcase frame covering 1000. Suitcase frame 10 is then obscured from view and protected from belongings places inside suitcase 10. Lid member 1300 can then be closed using the lid fastening means if this is desired.

The assembly and manufacture of suitcase 1 from suitcase frame 10 and suitcase frame covering 1000 is extremely simple and quick to complete. No specialist tools are required and only a screwdriver is needed. Suitcase 1 therefore permits“flat-packing” of a suitcase, where suitcase frame covering 1000 and all the components of suitcase frame 10 are manufactured in separate locations and shipped to an assembly site. As the components are in flat-pack form, the volume required is minimised and shipping costs can be reduced.

The invention therefore also pertains to a kit of parts for constructing suitcase frame 10, and also pertains to a kit of parts for constructing suitcase 1 which comprises the kit of parts for constructing suitcase frame 10 and suitcase frame covering 1000.

Disassembly of suitcase 1 is also possible, which allows components to be replaced if they are damaged during use and facilitates recycling of suitcase 1 at the end of the life of the suitcase. Suitcase 1 can be disassembled by following the steps described above in reverse.

Kits of Parts

The present invention also relates to a kit of parts for constructing a suitcase frame, such as suitcase frame 10. As noted above, due to the ease of constructing suitcase frame 10, the components of suitcase frame 10 can be shipped in flat-pack form and assembled later, even by the end user. A kit of parts for constructing a suitcase frame may comprise all of the components necessary to construct a structurally integral suitcase frame, or a suitcase frame where no components will fall off the suitcase frame, and the suitcase frame will not fall apart, regardless of the orientation in which the suitcase frame is held. The kit of parts can optionally comprise wheels for securing to the suitcase frame, and a suitcase frame covering for extending over the exterior of the frame.

A kit of parts for constructing suitcase frame 10 can comprise four suitcase frame corner components 100, namely one each of components 101 , 102, 103 and 104, four horizontal support bars 300, four vertical support bars 400, and integrated handle assembly 200, and four wheels 500. The kit of parts can optionally further comprise auxiliary support bar 700 and auxiliary component 600. The kit of parts can optionally further comprise suitcase frame covering 1000.

General Remarks

While the preceding description contains many specifics, these specifics should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but merely as examples of the preferred embodiments. Those skilled in the art will envision other possible variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the following claims. Glossary of Reference Numerals used in Figures

1 : Suitcase 213: Hole

10: Suitcase frame 214: Hole

100: Suitcase frame corner component 220: Hook

101 : Suitcase frame corner component 221 : Screw hole

102: Suitcase frame corner component 225: Latch

103: Suitcase frame corner component 230: Second attachment section

104: Suitcase frame corner component 231 : Pocket

110: Hole 232: Pocket

115: Hole 235: Slot

116: Screw hole 240: Hook

120: Support rod 241 : Screw hole

121 : Support rod first end 245: Latch

122: Support rod second end 250: Reinforcing bar

130: Body 270: Telescopic bar

140: Channel 290: Handlebar

141 : First end 291 : Button

142: Second end 300: Horizontal support bar

150: Channel walls 301 : Horizontal support bar

152: First wall section 302: Horizontal support bar

154: Second wall section 303: Horizontal support bar

160: Support Ridge 304: Horizontal support bar

172: First support component end 400: Vertical support bar

174: Second support component end 500: Wheel

182: First planar portion 501 : Wheel mounting portion

184: Second planar portion 600: Auxiliary component

186: Arcuate portion 601 : Hook

188: Smooth exterior surface 602: Latch

190: Slit 605: Slot

195: Wheel attachment section 700: Auxiliary support bar

200: Handle assembly 1000: Suitcase frame covering

210: First attachment section 1001 : Piece of flexible material

211 : Pocket 1002: Piece of flexible material

212: Pocket 1003: Piece of flexible material 1004: Piece of flexible material

1005: Piece of flexible material

1100: Sidewall

1110: Sidewall bottom edge

1120: Sidewall top edge

1150: Handle hole

1160: Handle hole cover

1161 : Handle hole fastening means

1170: Handle hole inner cover

1172: Flap

1174: Flap

1176: Bar hole

1200: Planar back section

1210: Planar back section perimeter

1300: Lid member

1310: Lid member perimeter

1320: Lid member portion

1330: Zip

1500: Handle

1600: Internal cover

1610: Internal cover back section

1650: Inner sidewall

1660: Inner sidewall bottom edge

1670: Inner sidewall top edge

1680: Inner sidewall top edge portion

1690: Zip

1700: Fastening means

1710: Strap

1720: Fabric piece

1730: Hook and loop fastener D: Direction D The following list of embodiments forms part of the description:

1. A suitcase frame, comprising:

a first pair of suitcase frame corner components and a second pair of suitcase frame corner components;

a first cross support bar; and

a second cross support bar;

wherein the first cross support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the second cross support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components;

wherein the suitcase frame further comprises:

an integrated suitcase handle assembly, comprising;

at least one reinforcing bar;

a first attachment section; and

a second attachment section,

wherein the first attachment section is connected to the first cross support bar, and the second attachment section is connected to the second cross support bar.

2. The suitcase frame of embodiment 1 , wherein the first attachment section is positioned at a first end of the reinforcing bar, and the second attachment section is positioned at a second end of the reinforcing bar.

3. The suitcase frame of embodiment 1 or 2, further comprising at least one telescopic bar configured to telescope within the reinforcing bar, and extend or retract the length of the handle assembly.

4. The suitcase frame of any preceding embodiment, wherein at least one of the first and second attachment sections comprises a hook portion, wherein the hook portion is adapted to hook its respective attachment section onto its respective cross support bar, optionally wherein the hook portion comprises a latch adapted to snap fit onto its respective cross support bar.

5. The suitcase frame of any preceding embodiment, wherein at least one of the first and second attachment sections is connected to its respective cross support bar using a fastener, for example a screw, bolt, or rivet. 6. The suitcase frame of any preceding embodiment, further comprising a third cross support bar, a fourth cross support bar, and four side support bars, each side support bar having a first and a second end.

7. The suitcase frame of embodiment 6, wherein the third cross support bar connects the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, and the fourth cross support bar connects the second pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the first ends of two of the side support bars are connected to one of the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the first ends of the other two of the side support bars are connected to the other of the first pair of suitcase frame corner components, wherein the second ends of two of the side support bars are connected to one of the second pair of suitcase frame corner components and wherein the second ends of the other two of the side support bars are connected to the other of the second pair of suitcase frame corner components.

8. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 6 to 7, wherein one of the ends of at least one of the side support bars is connected to one of the suitcase frame corner components by resting freely within a hole in the suitcase frame corner component without the use of adhesive, screws or other fastening means.

9. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 6 to 8, wherein the side support bars are pultrusion rods, optionally wherein the pultrusion rods are made from glass fiber reinforced plastic.

10. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 6 to 9, wherein the cross support bars are E-beams.

11. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 6 to 10, wherein the cross support bars are formed from glass fiber reinforced plastic.

12. The suitcase frame of embodiment 11 , wherein the cross support bars are formed from compression formed glass fiber reinforced plastic.

13. The suitcase frame of any preceding embodiment, wherein the connection of the first attachment section to the first cross support bar and the connection of the second

attachment section to the second cross support bar provide structural integrity to the suitcase frame. 14. A kit comprising parts for constructing the suitcase frame of any preceding

embodiment.

15. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame of any preceding embodiment and a frame covering.

16. A suitcase frame support component, comprising:

a body comprising a channel having first and second ends; and

a support rod having first and second ends,

wherein the length of the channel is greater than or equal to the length of the support rod and the first and second ends of the support rod are positioned within the channel, and wherein the walls of the channel are configured to grip the support rod along at least a part of the length of the support rod to retain the support rod within the channel.

17. The support component of embodiment 16, wherein the channel has a first side and a second side, wherein the walls of the channel comprise a plurality of first wall sections on the first side of the channel and a plurality of second wall sections on the second side of the channel, wherein the plurality of first wall sections do not extend along the full length of the first side of the channel, and the plurality of second wall sections do not extend along the full length of the second side of the channel.

18. The support component of embodiment 17, further comprising at least one support ridge, wherein each support ridge forms a second wall section.

19. The support component of embodiment 17 or embodiment 18, wherein along a central portion of the channel each portion of the first side along which one of the plurality of first wall sections extends is opposite a portion of the second side along which one of the plurality of second wall sections does not extend, and each portion of the second side along which one of the plurality of second wall sections extends is opposite a portion of the first side along which one of the plurality of first wall sections does not extend.

20. The support component of any one of embodiments 17 to 19, wherein at all points along the length of the channel there is a wall section on at least one of the first side of the channel and the second side of the channel.

21. The support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 20, wherein the support component has a first support component end and a second support component end, wherein the first end of the channel is located at the first support component end and the second end of the channel is located at the second support component end.

22. The support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 21 , wherein the body comprises a first planar portion, a second planar portion, and an arcuate portion extending between the first and second planar portion, wherein the first planar portion and the second planar portion are at 90° to each other, wherein the channel extends along the arcuate portion in a direction parallel to the plane of the first planar portion and the plane of the second planar portion.

23. The support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 22, wherein the support component further comprises at least one attachment point for a rod or bar, optionally wherein the support component comprises four attachment points for rods or bars.

24. The support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 23, wherein the support component is a suitcase frame corner component.

25. The support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 24, wherein the support rod is a glass fiber rod, optionally wherein the support rod is a pultrusion rod.

26. A kit of parts for constructing a suitcase frame, comprising at least one support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25.

27. The kit of parts of embodiment 14, further comprising at least one support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25.

28. A suitcase frame comprising at least one support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25.

29. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 1 to 13, further comprising a support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25.

30. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame of embodiment 29 or the support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25.

31. The suitcase of embodiment 15, further comprising at least one support component of any one of embodiments 16 to 25. 32. A suitcase frame component, comprising:

an attachment section for connecting the component to a suitcase frame;

wherein the attachment section comprises a hook portion;

wherein the hook portion is configured to hook the attachment section onto a first component of the suitcase frame, thereby connecting the component to the suitcase frame.

33. The component of embodiment 32, wherein the hook portion comprises a latch enabling the hook portion to snap-fit to the first component of the suitcase frame.

34. The component of embodiment 32 or embodiment 33, wherein the hook portion further comprises a fastener hole to enable the hook to be fastened to the first component of the suitcase frame.

35. The component of any one of embodiments 32 to 34, wherein the cross section bounded or formed by the hook portion is rectangular.

36. The component of any one of embodiments 32 to 35, wherein the attachment section comprises a plurality of hook portions.

37. The component of any one of embodiments 32 to 36, wherein the component comprises a second attachment section for connecting the component to the suitcase frame.

38. The component of embodiment 37, wherein the second attachment section comprises a second hook portion, wherein the second hook portion is configured to hook the second attachment section onto a second component of the suitcase frame.

39. The component of embodiment 38, wherein the second attachment section comprises a plurality of second hook portions.

40. A suitcase handle assembly comprising the component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39.

41. A suitcase handle assembly comprising the component of any one of embodiments 37 to 39, wherein the component further comprises a reinforcing bar, wherein the first attachment section is positioned at a first end of the reinforcing bar, wherein the second attachment section is positioned at a second end of the reinforcing bar. 42. The suitcase handle assembly of embodiment 41 , further comprising at least one telescopic bar configured to telescope within the reinforcing bar, the at least one telescopic bar allowing the length of the handle assembly to be changed.

43. A kit of parts for constructing a suitcase frame, comprising at least one component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39 or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of

embodiments 40 to 42.

44. The kit of parts of embodiments 14, 26 or 27, further comprising at least one component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39 or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of embodiments 40 to 42.

45. A suitcase frame comprising at least one component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39 or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of embodiments 40 to 42.

46. The suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 1 to 13, 28 or 29, further comprising at least one component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39 or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of embodiments 40 to 42.

47. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame 44, the component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39, or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of embodiments 40 to 42.

48. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 15, 30 or 31 , further comprising at least one component of any one of embodiments 32 to 39 or the suitcase handle assembly of any one of embodiments 40 to 42.

49. A suitcase frame covering for securing to a suitcase frame, comprising:

a plurality of pieces of flexible material;

wherein the plurality of pieces are fixed together;

wherein the covering is configured so that when the plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar back section and a sidewall having a top and bottom edge, with the planar back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the sidewall, and the sidewall extending away from the planar back section in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section. 50. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 49, further comprising a lid member.

51. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 50, wherein a portion of the perimeter of the lid member is fixed to the top edge of the sidewall along a corresponding portion of the top edge of the sidewall, and wherein the lid member and the sidewall further comprise lid fastening means which are configured to removably connect the remainder of the perimeter of the lid member to the remainder of the top edge of the sidewall in order to form an enclosed storage space within the suitcase frame covering, optionally wherein the lid fastening means is a zip.

52. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 50 or 51 , wherein the lid member further comprises at least one closable pocket formed on the lid member, wherein the closable pocket is closed by means of a zip.

53. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 52, further comprising an internal cover formed from a second plurality of pieces of flexible material, wherein the internal cover is configured so that when the second plurality of pieces of flexible material are pulled taught, the covering has a planar internal cover back section and an internal cover sidewall, with the internal cover back section fixed around the entirety of its perimeter to a corresponding perimeter of the bottom edge of the internal cover sidewall, and the internal cover sidewall extending away from the internal cover back section in a direction

perpendicular to the plane of the internal cover back section.

54. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 53, wherein a portion of the perimeter of the top edge of the internal cover sidewall is fixed to the top edge of the sidewall along a corresponding portion of the top edge of the sidewall, and wherein the internal cover and the sidewall further comprise internal cover fastening means which are configured to connect the remainder of the perimeter of the top edge of the internal cover sidewall to the remainder of the top edge of the sidewall in order to form an enclosed space within the suitcase frame covering.

55. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 54, wherein the internal cover fastening means is a zip.

56. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 54 or 55, wherein the sidewall has a height defined as the distance perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section between the bottom edge and the top edge of the sidewall, wherein the internal cover sidewall has a height defined as the distance perpendicular to the plane of the internal cover back section between the bottom edge and the top edge of the internal cover sidewall, wherein the height of the sidewall and the height of the internal cover sidewall are the same.

57. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 56, further comprising at least one handle on an exterior side of the sidewall.

58. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 57, further comprises fastening means connected to an internal side of the sidewall or an internal face of the planar back section.

59. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 58, wherein the fastening means is configured to secure the suitcase covering to a suitcase frame.

60. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 58 or 59, wherein the fastening means comprises at least one pair of fabric pieces, wherein the at least one pair of fabric pieces can be tied to each other.

61. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 58 to 60, wherein the fastening means comprises at least one hook and loop fastener, each of the at least one hook and loop fasteners comprising a hook section and a loop section, wherein each hook section can be removably affixed to its respective loop section.

62. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 61 , further comprising a handle hole positioned in the sidewall at the bottom edge of the sidewall.

63. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 62, wherein the handle hole is dimensioned so that a suitcase handlebar can pass through the hole.

64. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 62 to 63, further comprising a handle hole cover fixed to the suitcase frame covering.

65. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 64, wherein the handle hole cover comprises handle hole fastening means for allowing the handle hole cover to removably close the handle hole, optionally wherein the handle hole fastening means comprises a zip. 66. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 62 to 65, further comprising at least one flap of flexible material, wherein each flap is connected to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering adjacent the handle hole, wherein each flap comprises flap fastening means which are configured to connect the flap to another of the at least one flaps or to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering to form a handle hole inner cover which extends across a portion of the handle hole and which comprises at least one bar hole.

67. The suitcase frame covering of embodiment 66 when dependent on embodiment 64, wherein the handle hole inner cover and the handle hole cover form an handle cavity suitable for containing a suitcase handlebar.

68. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 67, wherein the plurality of pieces of flexible material are made from a fabric material, optionally wherein the plurality of pieces of flexible material are made from ripstop fabric.

69. The suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 68, wherein the suitcase frame covering is made entirely from flexible material, other than some or all of any fastening means attached to the suitcase frame covering.

70. A suitcase comprising a suitcase frame and the suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 69, wherein the suitcase frame covering extends over the exterior of the frame.

71. A suitcase comprising the suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 1 to 13, 28, 29, 45 or 46, further comprising the suitcase frame covering of anyone of embodiments 49 to 69, wherein the suitcase frame covering extends over the exterior of the frame

72. The suitcase of embodiment 70 or 71 , wherein the suitcase frame covering and the suitcase frame are dimensioned so that the suitcase frame cover is held taught by the suitcase frame.

73. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 72, wherein the sidewall has a height defined as the distance perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section between the bottom edge and the top edge of the sidewall, wherein the suitcase frame has a height defined as the distance perpendicular to the plane of the planar back section between a face of the suitcase frame which is in contact with the planar back section and an opposing face of the suitcase frame, wherein the height of the sidewall and the height of the internal cover sidewall are the same.

74. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 73 when dependent on embodiments any one of embodiments 7 to 9, wherein the top edge of the internal cover sidewall is removably connected to the top edge of the sidewall to form the enclosed space within the suitcase frame covering, and wherein the suitcase frame is contained within the enclosed space.

75. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 74, wherein the suitcase frame further comprises an integrated handle assembly connected to the suitcase frame, wherein the integrated handle assembly comprises:

at least one telescopic bar movable between a retracted position and an extended position; and

a handlebar piece.

76. The suitcase of embodiment 75 when dependent on any one of embodiments 62 to 69, wherein each telescopic bar of the integrated handle assembly extends through the handle hole in its extended position.

77. The suitcase of embodiment 76 when dependent on embodiment 66, wherein each telescopic bar extends through a respective bar hole formed by the handle hole inner cover.

78. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 76 to 77 when dependent on embodiment 67, wherein the handlebar piece is contained within the handle cavity when each telescopic bar is in its retracted position.

79. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 78 when dependent on any one of embodiments 58 to 61 , wherein the fastening means secure the suitcase frame covering to the suitcase frame.

80. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 79, further comprising at least two wheels secured to the suitcase frame through respective holes in the suitcase frame covering.

81. The suitcase of any one of embodiments 70 to 80, wherein the suitcase frame covering is configured to enclose the entirety of the suitcase frame, apart from any wheels. 82. A method of manufacturing a suitcase, comprising:

providing a single-piece suitcase frame covering;

assembling a suitcase frame independently of the suitcase frame covering; and after the suitcase frame has been fully assembled, pulling the suitcase frame covering directly over the exterior of the suitcase frame to cover the suitcase frame and form a suitcase.

83. The method of embodiment 82, wherein the suitcase frame comprises an integrated handle assembly comprising at least one telescopic bar and a handlebar piece, and pulling the suitcase frame covering over the exterior of the suitcase frame comprises pulling the suitcase frame covering over the entirety of the integrated handle assembly.

84. The method of embodiment 83, wherein the suitcase frame covering comprises a handle hole which allows each telescopic bar and handlebar piece to extend out of the suitcase frame covering after the suitcase frame covering has been pulled over the suitcase frame.

85. The method of embodiment 84, wherein the suitcase frame covering further comprises at least one flap of flexible material, wherein each flap comprises flap fastening means which can connect the flap to another of the at least one flaps or to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering to form a handle hole inner cover which extends across a portion of the handle hole and which comprises a bar hole for each of the telescopic bars, wherein the method further comprises extending each telescopic bar and handlebar piece out of the suitcase frame covering and connecting the flap to another of the at least one flaps or to the internal side of the suitcase frame covering so that each telescopic bar extends through a respective bar hole.

86. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 85, further comprising securing the suitcase frame covering to the suitcase frame using fastening means connected to the suitcase frame covering.

87. The method of embodiment 86, wherein the fastening means comprises a fabric piece, wherein the method further comprises passing the fabric piece around an element of the suitcase frame before tying the fabric piece to itself or to another fabric piece to fix the suitcase frame covering to the suitcase frame. 88. The method of any one of embodiments 86 to 87, wherein the fastening means comprises a hook and loop fastener which comprises a hook section and a loop section, wherein the method comprises passing the hook section and the loop section around an element of the suitcase frame before tying the fabric piece to itself or to another fabric piece.

89. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 88, wherein the suitcase frame covering further comprises an internal cover connected to the suitcase frame covering along a portion of a perimeter of the internal cover, and the method further comprises connecting the remainder of the perimeter of the internal cover to the suitcase frame covering to contain the suitcase frame within an enclosed space between the suitcase frame covering and the internal cover.

90. The method of embodiment 82 or 89, further comprising forming at least two holes in the suitcase frame covering, and connecting a respective wheel to the suitcase frame through each of the holes.

91. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 90, wherein the suitcase frame covering is pulled taught by the suitcase frame.

92. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 91 , wherein the suitcase frame covering is the suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 69.

93. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 92, wherein the suitcase is any one of embodiments 15, 30, 31 , 47, 48 or 70 to 81.

94. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 93, wherein the pulling the suitcase frame covering directly over the exterior of the suitcase frame to cover the suitcase frame and form a suitcase comprises pulling the suitcase frame covering directly over the entirety of the exterior of the suitcase frame, apart from any wheels.

95. The method of any one of embodiments 82 to 94, wherein the step of assembling comprises assembling the suitcase frame of any one of embodiments 1 to 13.

96. The kit of parts of any one of embodiments 14, 26, 27, 43 or 44, further comprising a suitcase frame covering. 97. The kit of parts of embodiment 95, wherein the suitcase frame covering is the suitcase frame covering of any one of embodiments 49 to 69.