Alabama Patent of the Month – November 2021

ThermoPod, LLC designs innovative, eco-and-user-friendly products to advance the temperature-control and protective packaging markets. When shipping fragile or temperature-sensitive items, there are limited container options that can provide both insulation and cushioning. Most attempts at including both temperature control and shipping stability, they often require multi-piece packaging such as a container with ice packs and bubble wrap, or variations on this. ThermoPod, LLC has designed a simple, one-piece container that provides both cushioning and insulation. However – large-scale shippers often ship these containers in high volume. The company has designed an automated case erector which can erect these containers at a rate sufficient to meet the needs of these large-scale shippers.

The automated case erector can lift a one-piece container whose exterior is made from a case blank and insulation within the interior of the container. The insulation is secured to the flat case blank before being erected. The erector moves the container by simultaneously folding the case blank and insulation as a single unit into a 3-D container. The erector uses a case blank feeder to feed a series of flat case blanks onto a conveyor through an insulation securing station, and finally to a case erecting assembly which folds the portions into the desired shape. This robotic assembly of containers offers a cost-effective system that will speed up the shipping process. The automated assembly limits the chance of “edge effect” leaks which could compromise the cold chamber. This works best for large-scale shippers who fall prey to massive time and cost commitments to assembling the shipping containers.

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