Lox Container Technology AB (Stockholm, SE)

Method of a container corner lock and system to fasten a first container corner cast container , and the first corner cast of a vessel. The first container is positioned on the top of the second one. The corner lock for the container comprises the first protruding piece comprising a lock for fixing the protruding piece into the first recess; a second protruding portion, including an additional locking that fixes the second protruding part into the second recess; an electric motor configured to stop or open the movement of at least one of the locking devices and a first wireless transceiver; an electronic circuit that is configured to detect the signal of the wireless transceiver and generate an operation command to operate the electric motor and another wireless transceiver or transponder having a smaller distance than the first wireless transceiver.

For transporting goods across long distances on trains, ships and occasionally on truck, containers are typically employed. They are also known as intermodal containers (or shipping containers) or ISO containers. ISO is an abbreviation for International Organisation for Standardisation, which has determined a globally accepted standardised dimensions of the shipping containers of the discussed kind.

Steel is the material used to construct the containers. They can be loaded and unloaded, stacked, transported efficiently over long distances, and transferred from one mode of transport to another, e.g. container ships, rail transport flatcars semi-trailertrucks, with no need for being open. Each container is assigned an individual number that can be used to track it using computerised systems.

Standardised corner castings at the corners of containers enable you to stack and secure the containers in a safe manner, even when shipping in rough seas. The corner lock of a container can be placed and secured into the respective recess of each corner casting under the container once it is lifted from the ground, e.g. on a quay. It is then possible to lift the container with the help of a crane or forklift truck and then place it on top of another container aboard the ship. The cornerlocks of each corner beneath the top container is then fitted to a recess in the appropriate standardised corner casting on the roof of the lower container. To access the upper tiers of the container it is necessary to lock or unlock each cornerlock on the lower container. This can be accomplished with a ladder sticks, or any similar instrument.

If the containers aren’t closed in a secure manner, there may be severe accidents that may cause containers to be lost or shipwrecks crashing into rough seas.

Containers can be stacked on top of one another , in the same manner as described above, as many as nine containers each on an ocean vessel. The height of the average container is 8 feet, which corresponds to about 2.4 meters. The operator must climb or utilize a crane to secure the highest container. This is due to the windy, wet and swaying conditions typical on ships.

Operators locking and unlocking container corner locks can be extremely hazardous. Each year, there occur a lot of grave accidents that can lead to fatalities.

Additionally, locking/unlocking the corners lock of a container can be time-consuming and costly for ship-owners. This is due to the fact that many operators have to be hired, and secondly it can increase the time a ship is at port. This results in harbour charges and can delay the delivery of goods or containers.

Another problem with current corner locks for containers is the difficulty for the captain to verify and confirm that all corner locks for containers are locked properly. Container ships can contain more than 19 000 equivalent units (20 feet) However, containers stored under decks, which could comprise about 50% of all containers that are on board, are typically not locked. Moreover, around 75% of all containers can be categorized as 40-foot containers. Thus a 19 000 TEU maycomprise about 24000 locks.

The captain can’t double-check every container corner lock and verify that they’re locked properly therefore it’s impossible to do so. For instance, if the captain spends on average one minutechecking each container corner lock, which seems quite optimistic, and they work 24 hours a day, it would take around 17 days to confirm that all 24 000 corner locks are locked. Instead the captain has to rely on the accuracy of the operator, which could be dangerous, because the consequences of a single locked corner lock in a container could cause a catastrophe for the vessel. Alternatively, random checks may be carried out.

Due to the rough conditions in a maritime environment, the container corner locks sometimes malfunction due to corrosion, dirt, mechanical impact, lack of lubrication/maintenance etc. A damaged or malfunctioning lock for a container can be a serious security risk on the ship. organisations that establish and maintain technical standards for constructions/operations of ships and offshore structures) have established a requirement on the ship-ownerto maintain each individual container corner lock at a regular time interval. Insurance companies can also place this requirement on the ship’s owner.

There is currently no way to verify that the maintenance of the corner lock for containers program is being implemented.

It is important to increase the security of the containers transporting containers.

This invention aims to address at least one of these problems and enhance the security of container transport.

A container corner lock is used to fasten a first corner casting on a vessel and the second corner casting of another container. The first container is then stacked over the second. The corner lock for the container comprises a protruding portion that is intended to be placed into the recess first in the corner casting for the first container. There is a first locking mechanism that secures the protruding portion to the first recess. Further, the container corner lock has another protruding component, that is designed to be inserted into a second recess within the second container corner casting of the second container; wherein the second protruding part comprises a second locking means to secure the second protruding part into the second recess. The container corner lock furthermore includes an electric motor that can be configured to block or unblock the movement of at most one locking mechanisms between an open position and an unlocked position within the corresponding recess. In further addition the corner lock of the container includes two transceivers that are each configured to receive and transmit the wireless signal. The processing circuit also integrated into the corner of the container lock. It can receive and interpret wireless signals, and generate commands that operate the electricmotor according to the signals. An acknowledgement signal sent to the transceiver confirms that the actions have been performed.

A second aspect of the invention outlines an approach to fixing one container to another container. The system is comprised of a set container corner locks, according to the first aspect. They are paired with the first container. Further, the system also comprises at least one transceiver which is configured to communicate wireless signals with the respective transceivers in the set of container corner locks. Additionally, the system has a processing unit that interprets wireless signals from the corner locks of the container via the transceiver to produce information. In addition, the system includes a database that is configured to store information obtained from the set of corner locks. A second output unit is also integrated into the system, and can output information about the entire set of corner locks to the operator.

The third feature of the invention describes a method of stacking and fastening one container over another. The method involves fixing the protruding part of a cornerlock for a container according to the first aspect into the respective recess beneath each container corner casting. Furthermore, the method comprises the process of obtaining a unique identity reference for each container corner lock fixated in the corner of the container castings beneath the first container. The method further involves the process of affixing each of the corner locks’ unique identity reference with the identity reference unique for the first container. Furthermore, the method comprises storing the obtained unique identity references for the corner locks of the container that are associated with the unique identity reference for the first container in the database. Furthermore, the method comprisesstacking the first container over the second container, and a second protruding part of each container corner lock is put into a respective recess at every corner casting of the container at the top of the second container. The method also consists of the process of locking the corner locks in the container corner castings on top of the second container or by remote control of an electric motor of each container corner lock by a wireless signal transmittedfrom a processor via a transceiver or, in the event where the second locking device includes a spring-loaded self-locking mechanism, the locking of the container corner locks into the corner castings of the container could be achieved by inserting the respective secondprotruding portion of the corner castings into the recess in the second of the corner casting of the second container in order to engage the self-locking mechanism with springs.

It is possible to remotely control the corner locks of the container by using an electric motor that can be controlled remotely to move at least one locking mechanism between an open and locked position inside the recess for corner of the container.

This removes the requirement for the operators to climb on top of stack containers, which could be risky and take a long time. This also makes loading and unloading containers much faster, safer, and more affordable.

The following detailed description will reveal additional benefits and new features.

Click here to view the patent on USPTO website.

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