Veterans Affairs

Casket transport vehicle

System provides the function of multiple processes in one easy to manage solution


The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking companies interested in commercializing a specialized vehicle that assists in the transportation and installation of caskets.

Transport system 10 comprises a housing 20 that is attached to a fixed frame 40 secured to a transport vehicle 160. The housing includes two doors 30 that that access the interior of the housing in which the fixed frame 40 is located. The housing 20 defines a storage area 22 that is configured to store the extension rails 50 during transport and any other time that the extension frame 55 is not set up. The extension frame comprises two rails and an extension end 60 that includes two extension feet 70.

Conventional approaches for transporting a casket to the burial site, positioning, and lowering the casket into the ground require at least four people to accomplish the task. During this procedure, the casket is transported by vehicle to a location near the gravesite and a metal frame with substantial ground supports is placed over the gravesite. Separately, a commercially available lowering device supporting the casket is manually carried from the transport vehicle and positioned on top of the metal frame. The casket is then removed from the transport vehicle and carried to the gravesite and placed on top of the lowering device. This three or four-step process is costly and time-consuming exposing pallbearers and funeral service personnel to substantial risk of injury.

The chief engineer of the National Cemetery Administration’s Pacific Division has developed a burial procedure and casket transport vehicle with an integrated lowering device as shown in the image. The mobile system includes a transportable frame with extendable rails configured to extend out over a gravesite. The system also includes a carriage that rolls along the extendable rails into a position directly over the top of the gravesite. The carriage supports a lowering device upon which the casket rests. When the carriage is positioned over the gravesite, the lowering device is also positioned to lower the casket into the grave.

The system is configured to enable one or two personnel to drive the transport vehicle to a location adjacent to the gravesite, rotate the fixed frame to align the casket with the gravesite, position the extension rails on each side of the gravesite, position the extension end on the far end of the gravesite, and roll the carriage comprising the lowering device and the casket over the top of the gravesite. The lowering device is then able to perform its function of lowering the casket into the gravesite.

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