Army

Shipping container lift and leveling system

System enables easy transport of the cargo box on a flatbed truck as well as leveling once placed on site

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Shipping containers usually require heavy equipment for lifting and positioning.

There are approximately 20 million shipping containers in the world and while the overwhelming majority are used for shipping, we are beginning to see alternative uses of these boxes. They are now being pressed into service as micro-homes, small restaurants, on-site storage, retail stores, and mobile or temporary medical units. As multi-functional as these containers are, they remain very difficult to handle individually. Sure, they have added incredible efficiencies to the global shipping industry but if you don’t have access to gantry cranes and large forklifts, moving one is a challenge.

Given the broader utility of shipping containers, and to meet a need in easing the individual handling of these boxes, Army engineers have developed a method and components to make them easy to load and offload from a flatbed truck. The system also provides a means to level the container once on the ground.

The system is composed of telescoping poles mounted on each corner of the container. The poles are hydraulically extended thereby lifting the container to a height sufficient for a flatbed truck to back underneath. Once properly positioned over the bed, the poles are retracted and the container is settled on the truck for transport. The process is reversed once the container-loaded truck is at the desired drop-off site. During transport, the poles are positioned flush against the container. During use, they are swung out from the side of the container for better clearance of the truck bed. A control unit manages the extension and retraction of the poles as well as leveling the container. The control unit and hydraulics are powered by onboard batteries and all control equipment is contained within the container.

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