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Title:
WINE BARREL STORAGE RACK
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2005/002395
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A barrel storage rack typically used for wine barrels includes a base frame and plurality of legs adapted to support said base frame. Each leg includes an upper end and a lower end, the upper end including rack locating lugs extending therefrom said lower end adapted to engage the rack locating lugs of a second wine barrel storage rack located there beneath, and wherein said locating lugs do not extend outwardly of said legs. The barrel storage racks may be used in multiple vertical stacking arrangements and are also suited for stacking for storage.

Inventors:
FALLAND KENNETH JOHN (AU)
Application Number:
PCT/AU2004/000853
Publication Date:
January 13, 2005
Filing Date:
June 29, 2004
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
FALLAND KENNETH JOHN (AU)
International Classes:
A47B81/00; A47B87/00; A47B87/02; (IPC1-7): A47B47/02; A47B81/00; F16B7/00; F16B12/40; F16B12/52
Foreign References:
AU724829B12000-09-28
DE29804826U11998-06-04
EP1036525B12003-04-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lesicar, Perrin (Adelaide, S.A. 5000, AU)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A barrel storage rack characterized in that it includes : a base frame and plurality of legs adapted to support said base frame; said plurality of legs including an upper end and a lower end, said upper end including rack locating lugs extending therefrom said lower end adapted to engage the rack locating lugs of a second wine barrel storage rack located there beneath, and wherein said locating lugs do not extend outwardly of said legs.
2. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that it includes at least four legs.
3. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1 or claim2, characterized in that said base frame is rectangular in plan view and includes at least one barrel locating lug on each elongate side of said rectangular frame said lug extending upwards therefrom and correspondingly shaped to house one end of a barrel and prevent movement of said end.
4. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said base frame includes two sets of opposed barrel locating lugs said opposed lugs adapted to maintain two barrels.
5. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said legs and base frame consist of hollow square crosssectional beams.
6. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said legs are located at the four apexes of said rectangular base frame.
7. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said locating lug includes at least one single rigid member bent into a substantially triangular shape that is open at its base whereby the two ends of said member extend downwards within said upper end of said leg such that they are housed in diagonally opposed apexes of said square crosssection of said leg and the apex of said triangle extends a distance above said upper end.
8. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said locating lug consists of two of said members, a first member whose two ends are housed in diagonally opposed apexes of said square crosssection and a second member whose two ends are housed in the adjacent diagonally opposed apexes of said square crosssection such that the triangle apex of said second member is positioned just below the triangle apex of said first member.
9. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that said ends of said locating lugs are welded within said upper ends of said legs.
10. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that when said lower ends of legs of a first rack engage the locating lugs on the upper ends of a second rack, the outer edge of the engaged legs of said first and second racks is flush.
11. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that a plurality of racks can be stacked one on top of the other.
12. A barrel storage rack according to claim 1, characterized in that, a plurality of racks can be alternately stacked when not in use.
Description:
Wine Barrel Storage Rack FIELD OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a wine barrel storage rack and, BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Cylindrical barrels have been used extensively throughout history for the storage and transportation of goods, and nowadays, are the preferred storage container for ageing wines and spirits. Generally, barrels containing the wines or spirits are stored horizontally, i. e. with their bases resting vertically. Various barrel storage racks have been proposed in an attempt to make the storage of barrels, and access to them, more efficient. These racks enable barrels to be stored in rows and also on top of one another in a vertical configuration thereby minimising the amount of warehouse space the barrels consume.

Prior racks have incorporated metal frames that include barrel locating lugs that restrict movement of the barrels, and spacer elements that ensure a clearance exists between each row of stacked barrels. This means that if an individual barrel needs to be accessed, there is no longer the need for unstacking the barrels directly above it. The racks also incorporate lifting means so that a forklift may easily engage the racks and transport them wherever required.

A problem that exists in known racks is the difficulty of stacking the racks one on top of the other. Forklift operators are required to firstly position the upper rack with the rack below. This is a difficult and often time-consuming task given that each of the four feet must be successfully positioned over each of the four legs before engagement of the racks can occur.

Furthermore, once the racks have been engaged there is no real indication as to whether each of the feet has successfully engaged each of the legs. Existing racks include feet that extend over the legs that essentially block the view of the forklift operator or other personnel in observing whether or not successful engagement has taken place. This is an important factor in that if the bottom racks of a plurality of vertically stacked racks are not properly engaged, there is the distinct possibility that this will affect the stability of the entire column.

As already mentioned, a factor to be considered is the storage requirement of a warehouse or other storage facility. In existing barrel storage racks it is not possible to stack a column such that the outer surfaces of engaged legs are flush. Therefore, when stacking columns of existing racks side-by-side, there will always exist a clearance between each column. Although initially, this clearance may seem trivial, in warehouses that extend for hundreds of metres, it has considerable effect on the space consumed.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to overcome at least some of the aforementioned problems or to provide the public with a useful alternative.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore in one form of the invention there is proposed barrel storage rack characterized in that it includes: - a base frame and plurality of legs adapted to support said base frame; - said plurality of legs including an upper end and a lower end, said upper end including rack locating lugs extending therefrom said lower end adapted to engage the rack locating lugs of a second wine barrel storage rack located there beneath, and wherein said locating lugs do not extend outwardly of said legs.

Preferably, the barrel storage rack is a wine barrel storage rack and includes Preferably said base frame is rectangular in plan view and includes at least one barrel locating lug on each elongate side of said rectangular frame said lug extending upwards therefrom and correspondingly shaped to house one end of a barrel and prevent movement of said end.

Preferably said base frame includes two sets of opposed barrel locating lugs said opposed lugs adapted to maintain two barrels.

Preferably said legs and base frame consist of hollow square cross-sectional beams.

Preferably said legs are located at the four apexes of said rectangular base frame.

Preferably said locating lug includes at least one single rigid member bent into a substantially triangular shape that is open at its base whereby the two ends of said member extend downwards within said upper end of said leg such that they are

housed in diagonally opposed apexes of said square cross-section of said leg and the apex of said triangle extends a distance above said upper end.

Preferably said locating lug consists of two of said members, a first member whose two ends are housed in diagonally opposed apexes of said square cross- section and a second member whose two ends are housed in the adjacent diagonally opposed apexes of said square cross-section such that the triangle apex of said second member is positioned just below the triangle apex of said first member.

Preferably said ends of said locating lugs are welded within said upper ends of said legs.

Preferably when said lower ends of legs of a first rack engage the locating lugs on the upper ends of a second rack, the outer edge of the engaged legs of said first and second racks is flush.

Preferably a plurality of racks can be stacked one on top of the other.

Preferably, a plurality of racks can be alternately stacked when not in use.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several implementations of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the advantages and principles of the invention.

In the drawings: Figure 1 is a perspective view illustrating the wine barrel storage rack in accordance with a first aspect of the present invention; Figure 2a is a front plan view of the wine barrel storage rack of Figure 1 including two barrels mounted thereon; Figure 2b is a top plan view of Fig 2a; Figure 2c is a side plan view of Fig 2a; Figure 3 is an enlarged perspective view of a rack-locating lug mounted within the leg of a rack of the present invention; Figure 4 is a front plan view of four rows of vertically stacked storage racks;

Figure 5 is a perspective view illustrating a second embodiment of the present invention; and Figure 6 is a perspective view of a plurality of storage racks stacked together when not in use.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The following detailed description of the invention refers to the accompanying drawings. Although the description includes exemplary embodiments, other embodiments are possible, and changes may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

The present invention discloses a storage rack 10 used to store barrels 12 and 14 such as those used to carry wine and spirits. The rack 10 includes rack locating lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 mounted at the upper ends of its legs 24,26, 28 and 30 respectively, which serve to simplify the process of stacking a plurality of such racks 32 one on top of the other. The stacking process is simplified in the fact that the lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 include tapered edges so that when a forklift operator (not shown) is lowering the four legs of a second rack 34 atop the lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 of the rack 10 beneath, quick and successful engagement of the two is virtually assured. Furthermore, engagement of the racks 10 and 34 results in a flush outer surface 36 which enables columns of racks to be stored side by side with minimal clearance between them. When the racks are not in use, they are designed to be vertically stacked in a configuration whereby each base frame of each rack lies substantially on top of the other thereby resulting in a compact stack of racks 38.

Figures 1 and 2a-2c illustrate the wine barrel storage rack 10 of the present invention. The storage rack 10 consists of a base frame of a rectangular plan view with elongate members 40 and 42 extending just beyond members 44 and 46 such that all members 40,42, 44 and 46 lie in the same horizontal plane substantially parallel with the ground. Connected at either ends of and perpendicular to elongate members 40 and 42 are vertical legs 24,26, 28 and 30 which extend a distance upwards approximately double the distance they extend downward relative to the base frame. All members of the base frame and legs are made up of square cross- sectional hollow beams.

The storage rack 10 further includes opposed barrel locating lugs extending upwards from elongate members 40 and 42 and adapted to maintain barrels in a

generally horizontal position such that their ends lie substantially vertical relative to the ground. The storage rack as illustrated is adapted to carry two barrels 12 and 14 such that barrel locating lugs 48,50, 52 and 54 maintain the position of one barrel 12 and barrel locating lugs 56, 58, 60 and 62 maintain the position of a second barrel 14. All eight lugs consist of tapered upper edges such that when a rounded barrel is placed on top of an opposed pairs of lugs, it makes contact with an area of the tapered edge of each lug, which is enough to secure the barrel in place.

Located beneath each pair of barrel locating lugs are forklift guides 64,66, 68 and 70. The guides 64 and 66 are oppositely aligned with guides 68 and 70 respectively. They each comprise extended C-section members that are attached at their ends to the underside of elongate beams 40 and 42. The positioning of the guides ensures that when transporting the racks using a forklift (not shown), the load across the forks is uniform.

Further to the barrel locating lugs are rack-locating lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 located at the upper ends of the four legs 24,26, 28 and 30 respectively. An enlarged illustration of lug 16 can be seen in Figure 3. Although the following description relates to lug 16 in particular, it is to be understood that lugs 18,20 and 22 are identical in nature. Rack locating lug 16 consists of two single rigid members 72 and 74 that have each been bent to form substantially triangular shapes with open ends 76,78, 84 and 86 extending outwards from the direction of their central apexes 92 and 94 of each triangle.

Each member 72 and 74 is housed at its ends within the upper hollow section of each leg such that ends 76 and 78 of member 72 fit snugly within diagonally opposed apexes 80 and 82 of the square cross-section of leg 24 while ends 84 and 86 of member 74 fit snugly within the adjacent diagonally opposed apexes 88 and 90 of the square cross-section of leg 24. Therefore members 72 and 74 form an X- configuration whereby apex 94 of member 74 is positioned just below apex 92 of member 72.

Therefore, when a forklift operator wishes to lower a second storage rack 34 atop storage rack 10 such that each leg of the second rack engages corresponding legs of rack 10, the outer tapered edges of the lug members 72 and 74 of each leg of rack 10 allow the operator to approximate the position of legs 24,26, 28 and 30 because the lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 will guide the upper legs into position. The hollow legs of rack 34 effectively enclose the lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 of rack 10 thereby

forming a flush engagement 36. This is advantageous in that the forklift operator does not have to spend substantial amounts of time aligning the legs of racks 10 and 34, which are required to be vertically stacked.

Further advantages of the described mechanism of engagement include : - When columns of vertically stacked storage racks are required, they may be stacked side by side with minimal clearance between the legs of adjoining columns. This is achieved by the fact that there are no outwardly protruding members required for engagement; and - Forklift operators can easily confirm by visible inspection that successful engagement of the legs has taken place. This is not always the case with existing rack engaging means incorporating lower legs that extend over the upper legs thereby blocking the view of the operator.

The present invention should not be limited to the barrel locating lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 consisting of two tapered members. This configuration was found to be the most effective, however, the lugs may well consist of only one member and still achieve the required guidance for the legs above. For example, lug 16 may simply consist of member 72 on its own. In addition, lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 may well include a plurality of members.

A vertically stacked column 32 of four storage racks can be viewed in Figure 4. Pre-existing racks simply rested on top of each barrel such that the barrel supported the rack resting above it. This may have been very efficient in the way space was conserved, however, if one wished to access a lower barrel of a column of vertically stacked barrels, then all of the barrels above would need to be lifted off.

The relevance of the heights of each rack 10 can now be realised. The heights of each leg 16,18, 20 and 22 are pre-determined to allow for a required clearance between the top and bottom of each barrel. This ensures that if a barrel at the bottom of a column needs to be accessed, that the racks above that barrel do not need to be lifted off in order to do so.

Figure 5 illustrates a second embodiment of the present invention including alternately shaped barrel locating lugs 96,98, 100 and 102. Each lug, rather than including two upwardly extending members, comprises a single upwardly extending member that is contoured to the rounded shape of the barrel. Therefore, instead of making contact with one area of each lug as in the first embodiment, the barrels

make contact with the entire upper edge of the lugs 96,98, 100 and 102. Opposed barrel locating lugs 96 and 100 are adapted to maintain one barrel while opposed barrel locating lugs 98 and 102 are adapted to maintain a second barrel.

When wine barrel storage racks are not in use, it is preferable that they are stacked and stored in an efficient and compact manner 38. Figure 6 illustrates the storage configuration of a plurality of wine barrel storage racks of the present invention when not in use. The illustration shows twelve racks being stacked above one central rack 104. It is to be understood that the base frames of each rack rest above and adjacent the base frames of the racks below. That is, the base frame of rack 106 rests above the base frame of rack 104 such that the legs of rack 106 are positioned at the right hand side of the legs of rack 104. Next, the base frame of rack 108 rests above the base frame of rack 106 such that the legs of rack 108 are positioned to the left hand side of the legs of rack 104. Then the process repeats itself whereby the base frame of rack 110 rests above the base frame of rack 108 such that the legs of rack 110 are positioned at the right hand side of the legs of rack 108, and the base frame of rack 112 rests above the base frame of rack 110 such that the legs of rack 112 are positioned to the left hand side of the legs of rack 108.

This process continues until twelve racks have been stacked on top of the first rack 104. This stacking configuration allows for the racks when not in use to be stored without consuming substantial amounts of space.

The wine barrel storage rack 10 is preferably constructed out of metal with all connections welded together. However, it is to be understood that the present invention should not be limited to the materials and connection means described herein. For example, wood may well be used for the construction of the rack whereby glue and nails are used for the connection of various members.

The present invention therefore discloses a storage rack 10, preferably for use in storing wine or spirit barrels. The storage racks include locating lugs 16,18, 20 and 22 at the upper ends of their legs thereby simplifying the lowering of a second rack 34 thereon. When two racks have successfully engaged at their legs, the result is a flush surface 36 at the conjoining ends of the legs which enables a plurality of columns of vertically stacked racks to be stored side by side without the need for a clearance between them. The resulting flush surfaces 36 also mean that forklift operators can visibly detect the effectiveness of engagement. Furthermore, the racks are designed to be stacked compactly, 38 and stored away when not in use.

Further advantages and improvements may very well be made to the present invention without deviating from its scope. Although the invention has been shown and described in what is conceived to be the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is recognized that departures may be made therefrom within the scope and spirit of the invention, which is not to be limited to the details disclosed herein but is to be accorded the full scope of the claims so as to embrace any and all equivalent devices and apparatus.