Patent for Sale:Breakthrough, Contractible Shipping Containers
This new, exciting technology was missed by everyone in the plastic container industry, but which is a very important and valuable methodology that will transform how containers are made, shipped and employed. Specifically, the technologies covers a wide spectrum of containers, such as closed-head contractible drums, totes and ultra-large containers.
The flexible shipping containers will change the entire shipping industry, affecting container manufacturers and user companies that ship and sell liquids, semi-viscous materials, grains and pellets, among other items. Furthermore, the advancements will affect the sales prospects of many different companies' products that employ these containers due to their lower cost.
The technology is based upon two novel concepts that have never been implemented previously on larger containers:
* multiple accordion folds run from the top, to the sides and to the bottom of containers, providing a 360º folding action, enabling them to expand and contract.
* a band system is deployed to inhibit or restrict the volume of the container
The significance of the system enables empty containers to be reduced in size to their 'restricted' minimal dimensions for return trips, instead of to their normal, empty full size, thereby saving significantly on transportation costs. More importantly, it represents a vast improvement over existing technologies.
Typically, any containers from 1 gallon on up are candidates for this compression / restriction system. The band system compresses and holds a container's size to a specified volume. Once materials are removed from containers, a 5 gallon container, for example, can be reduced to approximately 1.5 gallons for its return trip to the filler. Similarly, the accordion fold and band technologies enable a 55 gallon drum to contract to 15 gallons, which saves up to 70% on return empty shipping fees. Correspondingly, a 330 gallon tote can be reduced to a 110 gallon size.
The technology cuts down on all plastic container sizes when empty, and, as a result, its manufacturing design significantly reduces warehouse, shipping, labor and fuel costs over all present manufacturing methods. Perhaps, more importantly, it reduces the space required for landfills, making this an important ecological discovery.
Primary Application of the Technology
- Companies shipping water, beverages, soaps, powders, lotions detergents, grains, pellets, condiments, syrups, shampoo, ink, pastes, petroleum, chemicals, tar, pharma / nutraceuticals, paint, solvent, gel, adhesives, silicone, hazardous waste, and a myriad of other materials.
The Problem Solved by the Technology
* Containers create a sea-change in the container industry.
* Saves up to 70% in return shipping costs.
* Eliminates costly, leaky, and inefficient metal cages and knock-down crates.
* This flexible container construction significantly reduces the cost and frequency needed to recycle plastic drums.
* The only system covering accordion fold and band technologies for containers.
* The 'band' system, which runs horizontal on our containers, can allow one mold (ex. 55 gal.) To replace the cost of different-sized molds (ex. 15, 30, 55 gallons can be made from one mold).
* 330 gallon totes can also be made to accommodate as little 110 gallons.
* Multiple options are possible. These advantages are not available with any other containers, such as a knock-down crate.
* The contractible tote containers are more flexible than other containers and reduce the possibility of leakage compared to other rigid / non-rigid collapsible containers.
* The contractible tote containers are the only containers that can be reduced in size via vacuum or mechanical methods.
* The contractible tote containers are versatile so that they can be used with or without liners.
* The contractible tote containers are more durable because there are no mechanical parts to fail, compared to others.
* Other tote containers use hinges and bolts that can rust
* The flexible & contractible tote containers adjust more readily to expansion and contraction.
* The contractible tote containers float when empty.
* Band technology also allows for the shipping of increased volume in a rectangular drum, which covers the same given space as a standard, round 55 gallon drum (ex. Due to accordion folds, approx. 65 gallons can be placed in a rectangular drum due to usable space overlap vs. A 55 gallon round).
* The initial nominal increase in the cost of our larger containers is dwarfed by the enormous transportation cost savings that the accordion fold and band systems generate.
* Most cost-effective & environmentally friendly containers ever made.
How the Technology Solves the Problem
The company's accordion fold contractibility features can be implemented on all types, shapes and sizes of plastic containers from the smallest containers to the largest, including giant underground holding tanks. Containers, such as 5 gallon or 55 gallon drums, can be compressed up to 30% of their full size, resulting in even more savings.
As far as larger containers go, it has been estimated that a 40-foot container holds approximately 320 full-sized 55- gallon drums. Since our drums can be collapsed to 30% of their filled size (and can also be squared-off vs. made into round units), the same 40-foot container can now hold approximately 1500 contracted drums.
A lot of wasted space is picked up by squaring. Obviously, contractible drums substantially reduce fuel and transportation costs, allowing the users to reap major market advantages not possible with current technologies, and which will radically alter the sales and marketing dynamics unlike any container technologies before them.
The 'band' systems can be molded directly into containers or can be used in conjunction with a 'strap' systems, which hold containers in a compressed condition for efficient shipping or warehousing. For most applications, the band systems would be sufficient.
The technology also has benefits for retailers for sales of 3 gallon gas cans. Gas containers contract down to one gallon, enabling retail stores the option of using a one gallon footprint on store shelves versus carrying a full-sized 3 gallon container. This product has the built-in contraction device incorporated into the unit for easy, space saving contraction.
In addition, the company has produced a feasibility study concerning its 330 gallon container. The containers are designed for multi-trip, hazardous and nonhazardous lading applications, and meet UN Standard 21HA1 for liquids in packing groups II and III with specific gravities up to 1.9.
The 330 gallon containers are ISTA certified (International Safe Transit Authority) and NMFC (National Motor Freight Certified) for shipping nonhazardous liquids. The containers feature a one-way disposable tote solution that has a multilayered food grade bag liner that's easy to fill and assures users a clean, tamper evident package.
The liners are made from FDA approved material and are kosher & dairy certified. Totes are sold in sizes of 110 up to 330 gallons, and feature different valve options. Valve options are National Pipe Thread (NPT) or quick disconnect (cam-lock), and include different styles of valves by Schutz or Banjo to meet exact specifications.
In addition, companies still re-ship empty full-size containers back to the filler for filling, this costly process is reduced significantly by the patented technology.
Knock-down crates require extensive labor to assemble and dis-assemble them, while this flexible container remains intact and can be expanded / contracted via an efficient and quick vacuum system. In addition, our patent pending option calls for the containers to be contracted via a built-in, manual contraction device. Now, one individual can contract a 55 gallon drum or smaller drums via a simple device.
Metal cages, on the other hand, come into contact with the plastic gel liners and are known to leak, while the patented flexible containers are well constructed to make hundreds of return trips and won't leak.
The flexible container may cost more upfront, their amortized cost over the life of the product significantly reduces overall costs significantly.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: We have already produced a work-able, molded 20 ounce prototype bottle to prove viability. In addition, the company has consulted with plastics experts and an engineer, who confirm its functionality and capabilities. Furthermore, the company has engineers' drawings for producing 3, 55 and 330 gallon contractible containers, which constrict down to 1, 15 and 110 gallons respectively. And, it has container manufacturers that have interest in making containers.
Q: Why haven't these type of containers been done previously?
A: It was relatively recently that the plastics became available, that could produce these type of flexible containers. For whatever reasons, container manufacturers did not consider the possibilities. After doing our patent due diligence, the company determined that this situation warranted patent coverage.
Q: What is the difference between horizontal and vertical fold containers?
A: Horizontal accordion fold bottles have been in existence for years, but due to their structure, do not efficiently remove liquids or other materials. Accordion folds were made horizontal for ease of manufacturing. But, horizontal folds do not allow for advertising labels to be affixed. The company’s design puts the accordion folds on the either side of a rectangular bottle, which encompasses approximately 180 degrees from top to bottom of the bottle, which includes the bottom. The company’s bottle, on the other hand, was formatted with a vertical structure, which allows for the immediate removal of substances and proper advertising positioning on the front and back of the container.
Q: Are the contractible containers feasible to produce?
A: The company commissioned a feasibility study by a food packaging engineer for its 330 gallon contractible tote, they confirmed its feasibility. Its information also corroborates similar shipping savings for other sized containers.
In addition, the company has a quote from a drum manufacturer and from a plastics expert to produce 55 gallon containers. Furthermore, the company has interest from user and manufacturing companies in this technology.
Q: Has this technology impacted the marketplace yet?
A: The company was in talks with a major independent producer of 3 gallon gas cans, when it over-quoted on the manufacturing price after it learned that it was feasible to produce. The manufacturer merely wanted to confirm what our company was saying—-that it was feasible and viable to produce.
Unfortunately, this company didn’t want to upset its manufacturing and marketing gold mine with our technology at that particular point in time, as it didn’t want competition for its highly successful sales operation. However, it said it would manufacture the company’s 55 gallon contractible containers. Our company didn’t have the funds to commit to such a project, and needed a manufacturer and marketer of its products to co-op its costs to implement its product line.
The nominal increase in price for implementing the fold structure will take second place to the customers’ desires to save on transportation costs for containers.
In addition, our technology saves space for the filler, prior to filling, and saves space for the end user when they are done with the containers.
Q: Will these containers pass the drop test standards and U.N. and other packaging regulations?
A: Yes. These containers can be made to withstand and surpass any standards required. There are no restrictions with respect to this design. Due to the company’s recommended designs, the fold structure actually strengthens containers compared to current designs, allowing for a multitude of return trips, which is not possible with present container practices.
Q: Will expand-ability be beneficial for liquid / material transport?
When traveling from one part of the country to another, barometric pressure rises and lowers. Our technology covers all expansion rates for liquids, semi-viscous and granular materials, unlike most containers, which do not expand. In this manner, it prevents the containers from rupture or puncture due to its high expansion capability.
Class 220: Receptacles
Receptacles comprised of a peripheral wall with at least one closed end, and having an access opening which may be an open end of the receptacles, or which may be provided in the peripheral wall or closed end of the receptacle. Receptacles of this class type must function, by disclosure, to hold contents which in turn are to be eventually removed from the receptacle.Subclass 648: Circumferential band or belt
Subclass 666: Collapsible wall feature