(19)
(11)EP 2 428 330 A2

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
14.03.2012 Bulletin 2012/11

(21)Application number: 11183668.0

(22)Date of filing:  27.08.2010
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B25H 3/02  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME RS

(30)Priority: 17.08.2010 US 858376
01.09.2009 US 238937 P

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
10174339.1 / 2289671

(71)Applicant: The Stanley Works Israel Ltd.
48091 Rosh Ha'Ayin (IL)

(72)Inventors:
  • Bar-Erez, Sharon
    Kefar Sirkin (IL)
  • Vilkomirski, Gil
    Petach Tiqwa (IL)

(74)Representative: Shaya, Darrin Maurice et al
Black & Decker Europe 210 Bath Road
Slough, Berkshire SL1 3YD
Slough, Berkshire SL1 3YD (GB)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 03-10-2011 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)Rolling Container Assembly with Adjustable Storage Units


(57) An apparatus 10 for transporting articles between working locations. The apparatus includes wheels 12 mounted towards the bottom of the apparatus for rotation about an axis to provide rolling support for the apparatus and a manually engageable pulling handle 14. The pulling handle and the ground engaging wheels are arranged to enable a user to manually pull the pulling handle generally rearwardly so as to tilt the apparatus rearwardly to a tilted rolling movement position, thereby enabling the user to roll the apparatus to a desired location by pushing or pulling the pulling handle in a desired direction. The apparatus also includes a frame 16 and at least one or more mount structures 18 adjustably connected to the frame. The apparatus further includes a plurality of containers 20, 22, 24 connected to the mount structures. The apparatus includes attachment structures 28 for connecting the mount structures to the frame in an adjustable and/or removable manner.




Description


[0001] The present invention relates to a rolling container assembly according to the pre-characterising part of claim 1.

[0002] Rolling tool container assemblies are commonly used to carry a plurality of working tools to the working location. However, such tool container assemblies typically do not have adjustable mount structures that enable containers to be releasably mounted to the assembly. There is a need in the art for an improved storage system.

[0003] The present invention provides an apparatus for transporting articles between working locations. The apparatus includes one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels mounted towards the bottom of the apparatus for rotation about an axis to provide rolling support for the apparatus and a manually engageable pulling handle. The pulling handle and the one or more ground engaging wheels are arranged to enable a user to manually pull the pulling handle generally rearwardly so as to tilt the apparatus rearwardly to a tilted rolling movement position, thereby enabling a user to roll the apparatus to a desired location by pushing or pulling the pulling handle in a desired direction. The apparatus also includes a frame and at least one or more mount structures adjustably connected to the frame. The apparatus further includes a plurality of containers connected to the one or more mount structures, where at least one of the containers are of a different configuration from another one of the containers. The apparatus further includes a frame and a plurality of containers releasably connected to the frame, wherein each of the containers is independently mounted on the frame to enable removal of one of the containers without removal of any of the other containers.

[0004] US7,367,571 shows an example of a mobile machine tool stand and/or work bench according to the prior art. The product includes stackable task boxes 200,202 mounted on a trolley with a frame 130,132 movable on wheels 170.

[0005] EP1,424,170 shows a trolley with detachable cases 16,19. A frame 1 sits on wheels 2 for movement of the trolley by the user on movement of handle 4.

[0006] US2008/128,305 shows a trolley 100 with handle 112 mounted to a frame and moveable on wheels 114. A series of stackable boxes 118 are mounted on the frame and foldable panels 130 includes side pocket members 142 for holding tools. The present invention is characterised by including one or more attachment structures to connect the one or more mount structures to the frame and wherein the attachment structures enable the one or more mount structures to be adjusted on and/or removed from the frame.

[0007] The present invention will now be described, by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

Figure 1 is a perspective front view of a rolling storage assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the rolling storage assembly with containers mounted thereto in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 3 is a perspective view of a container being mounted to the rolling storage assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 4 is a perspective bottom view of a side handle of a container in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of a chassis of the rolling container assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 6 is a perspective view of the chassis of the rolling container assembly with mount structures folded in the storage position in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 7 is a perspective rear view of the rolling storage assembly with containers mounted thereto in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 8 is a perspective view of a mount structure and attachment structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 9a-9b are partial cross sectional views of a mount structure, mounting bar, and attachment structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 10a-10b are perspective views of a large container of the rolling storage assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 11a-11b are perspective views of a small container of the rolling storage assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 12a-12b are perspective views of a toolbox container of the rolling storage assembly in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 13 shows a front perspective view of the rolling container assembly in accordance with another embodiment;

Figure 14 shows a rear perspective view of the rolling container assembly of the embodiment of Figure 13;

Figure 15 shows the front perspective view of the chassis of the rolling container assembly of the embodiment of Figure 13;

Figure 16 shows a detailed view of the mount structure attached to the mounting bar in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 17A-17B show detailed perspective and partial cross-sectional views, respectively, of the mount structure in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 18A-18B show detailed perspective and partial cross-sectional views, respectively, of the mount structure in accordance with an embodiment;

Figure 19 shows a front perspective view of the chassis with folded mount structures in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 20A-20B show detailed views of a rear latching structure of the rolling container assembly in the unlatched and latched positions, respectively, in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 21A-21B show a first container of the rolling container assembly in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 22A-22B show a second container of the rolling container assembly in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 23A-23B show a third container of the rolling container assembly in accordance with an embodiment;

Figure 24 is a perspective view of the first, second, and third containers latched directly together in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 25A-25C are detailed views of side latch structures of the first container in accordance with an embodiment;

Figure 26 is a detailed view of a rear latching assembly in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 27A-27B are detailed views of the rear latching assembly attached to the chassis in accordance with an embodiment;

Figures 28A-28C are detailed views of a docking assembly in accordance with an embodiment; and

Figures 29A-29B are partial cross sectional views of a mount structure, mounting bar, and attachment structure in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.



[0008] Figure 1 shows an apparatus 10 for transporting articles between working locations. The apparatus 10 includes one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels 12 mounted towards the bottom of the apparatus 10 for rotation about an axis to provide rolling support for the apparatus 10 and a manually engageable pulling handle 14. The pulling handle 14 and the one or more ground engaging wheels 12 are arranged to enable a user to manually pull the pulling handle 14 generally rearwardly so as to tilt the apparatus 10 rearwardly to a tilted rolling movement position, thereby enabling a user to roll the apparatus 10 to a desired location by pushing or pulling the pulling handle 14 in a desired direction. The apparatus 10 may also include a chassis 17, which may comprise a frame 16 and at least one or more mount structures 18 adjustably connected to the frame 16. The apparatus 10 further includes a plurality of containers 20, 22, and 24 (see Figure 3) releasably connected to the mount structures 18. In one embodiment, at least two of the containers 20, 22, and 24 are of a different configuration from one another. The plurality of containers 20, 22, 24 may be releasably connected to the mount structures 18 such that each of the plurality of containers 20, 22, 24 may be independently removable from the mount structures 18 and the chassis 17. That is, each of the plurality of containers 20, 22, and 24 may be released and removed from their respective mount structures 18 and from the chassis 17 without releasing any of the other containers of the plurality of containers 20, 22, and 24. The plurality of containers 20, 22, 24 may also be releasably connected to the mount structures 18 and arranged such that the containers 20, 22, 24 are spaced from one another. In other words, the containers 20, 22, and 24 may be connected to the mount structures 18 and arranged on the chassis 17 such that each container 20, 22, 24 does not contact or rest on another container 20, 22, and 24. As such, a lower container 20, 22, 24 may be removed from the chassis 17 without having to remove a container 20, 22, 24 located above the lower container 20, 22, 24.

[0009] It is contemplated that the mount structures 18 are not limited to the configuration shown in the illustrated embodiment. The mount structures 18 may have any configuration that enables the containers 20, 22, 24 to be mounted thereon. The mount structures 18 may be, just for example, trays or hooks connected to the frame 16. In some embodiments, the mount structures 18 may be removed from the frame 16. Alternatively or additionally, in some embodiments, the mount structures 18 may also be optionally fixed to the frame 16.

[0010] As shown in Figure 1, the frame may comprise two vertically extending mounting bars 26. The mounting bars 26 may be configured and arranged to attach the mount structures 18 to the frame 16 using attachment structures 28 (see Figure 7). The attachment structures 28 may also be configured and arranged to enable the mount structures 18 to be adjusted on or removed from the frame 16. The attachment structures 28 will be described in detail later. The apparatus 10 may optionally have a rear member 30 secured to the frame 16. The rear member 30 may be made from suitably molded plastic, although it is contemplated that other materials known in the art may be used, such as, for example, metal or wood. The rear member 30 may be formed with ribs 29 (see Figure 5) that are deployed crosswise with respect to one another such that diamond and triangular shapes are formed. In this embodiment, the rear member 30 includes legs 32 (four are shown in Figure 6) and a base portion 34. The legs 32 may be constructed and arranged to extend from the base portion 34 and attach to the mounting bars 26 of the frame 16. The base portion 34 may have recesses 35 (see Figure 6) formed on the upper and lower halves of the base portion 34. The legs 32 may have recesses which may hold the mounting bars 26 therein. It is contemplated that the legs 32 may be attached to the mounting bars 26 using other attachment mechanisms, such as adhesive bonding, pins, clamps, screws, fasteners, or other attachment mechanisms known in the art. In this embodiment, the mount structures 18 extend forwardly of the mounting bars 26 to enable the containers 20, 22, or 24 to be mounted to the chassis 17. The mounting bars 26 may be made of metal, plastic, wood, or other materials known in the art. The containers 20, 22, and 24 may be made from plastic, although it is contemplated that other materials known in the art may be used, such as, for example, metal or wood, or a combination thereof.

[0011] As shown in Figure 1, the handle 14 may be a cylindrical rod extending between handle attachment members 36 on each side. The handle attachment members 36 are used to attach the handle 14 to the frame 16 of the chassis 17. In the embodiment shown in Figure 1, the L-shaped handle attachment members 36 has a main portion 38 and a ledge 40, and the handle 14 is horizontally displaced from the mounting bars 14 at a distance equal to the length of the ledge 40. This placement of the handle 14 relative to the rest of the chassis 17 facilitates access to the handle 14 and facilitates the pushing and pulling of the handle 14. The handle attachment members 36 may be hollow, thus enabling the handle attachment members 36 to receive the mounting bars 26 on one end (near the ledge 40) and the handle 14 on the other end (near the main portion 38). The handle 14 may be made of metal, plastic, wood, or other materials known in the art. In some embodiments, rubber or other anti-slip material may be provided on the surface of the handle 14 to facilitate the grasping of the handle 14. Although the handle 14 shown in Figure 1 is fixed relative to the chassis 17, it is contemplated that in some embodiments, the handle 14 may be constructed and arranged to be extendable. It is also contemplated that the handle 14 may have other configurations, shapes, and arrangements. For example, in the embodiment shown in Figure 7, the handle 14 may be pivotally attached to the chassis 17 via pivot pins 41. The handle 14 may be pivoted to a position wherein the handle 14 is generally perpendicular to the mounting bars 26 to facilitate the pulling and pushing of the apparatus 10. Alternatively, the handle 14 may be pivoted to the upright position for storage.

[0012] As shown in Figure 1, the ground engaging wheels 12 may be attached to the chassis 17. In other embodiments, the ground engaging wheels 12 may be attached to the container 20, 22, or 24 mounted towards the bottom of the apparatus 10. In one embodiment, each of the wheels 12 is a molded structure reinforced by a plurality of wheel ribs 42 and each wheel 12 is mounted on an end of an elongated axle 44 by two hubs 45 or other appropriate structure. The axle 44 may be an elongated cylindrical shaft that is snap fit into rotational engagement with a receiving structure of the container 20, 22, or 24 or the chassis 17 in conventional fashion. Alternatively, the axle 44 can be mounted to the apparatus 10 through a pair of axially aligned through-holes (not shown) formed in the container 20, 22, 24 or the chassis 17. The wheels 12 may have rubber treads or other anti-slip material provided on the surface to provide friction with the ground when the apparatus 10 is to be rolled from one location to another.

[0013] Figure 2 is a perspective view of the apparatus 10 with three containers 20, 22, and 24 mounted to the chassis 17. The containers 20, 22, and 24 may have coupling elements that provide releasable connection with the mount structures 18. In this embodiment, the coupling elements take the form of pairs of side handles 98, 100, or 102 on each side of the containers 20, 22, and 24. The side handles 98, 100, and 102 are constructed and arranged to clamp or otherwise engage or couple or latch or connect onto the mount structures 18 to enable the containers 20, 22, and 24 to be releasably or removably connected to the chassis 17. This embodiment is not intended to be limiting, and it is contemplated that the coupling elements may have a variety of configurations, locations, and arrangements in other embodiments. Just for example, in some embodiments, the coupling elements may be separate from the side handles 98, 100, and 102. Referring back to the embodiment shown in Fig. 2 the toolbox container 24 is mounted to the mount structures 18 via side handles 98. The small container 22 is releasably connected to the structures 18 via side handles 100. The large container 20 is releasably connected to the mount structures 18 via side handles 102. The words "small" and "large" are used here to relatively differentiate among the different containers shown in this embodiment and are not intended to be limiting. Thus, the small container 22 may be equal or larger in size than the large container 20 in some embodiments. The arrangement and location of the containers on the chassis 17 may vary and may be customized according to user preferences. The toolbox container 24, the small container 22, and the large container 20 will be described in detail later. It is contemplated that the number of mount structures 18 may vary, depending on the number of containers that the user would like to place on the chassis 17. It is also contemplated that different combinations of containers may be used. Just for example, there may be four toolbox containers 24 mounted to the chassis 17 or three large containers 20 mounted to the chassis 17. The apparatus 10 and the containers 20, 22, and 24 are generally rectangular in shape. However, any convenient shape may be used. In some embodiments, the containers 20, 22, 24 may be constructed and arranged such that the containers 20, 22, 24 may be placed in a stacked relation directly on top of one another without the use of the chassis 17.

[0014] In other embodiments, a structure different from (or in addition to) the handles 98, 100, and 102 may be used to latch the containers onto the mount structures 26. In one embodiment, a clamp separate from the handles 98, 100, and 102 may be used to latch the containers 20, 22, and 24 to the mount structures 18. In one embodiment, the mount structures 18 may include attachment members constructed and arranged to clamp or otherwise engage or couple or latch or connect onto mount structure engaging members on the containers 20, 22, and 24. For example, in one embodiment, the mount structures 18 may include a latching structure in the form of a clamp that engages with a portion of the containers 20, 22, and 24 to latch the containers 20, 22, and 24 to the mount structures 18. In one embodiment, the containers 20, 22, and 24 may include hooks to engage with the mount structures 18. In another embodiment, multiple mount structure engaging members may be provided on each of the containers 20, 22, and 24 at various locations such that the position of the containers 20, 22, 24 on the chassis 17 may be changed by engaging the mount structures 18 with different mount structure engaging members on each of the containers 20, 22, or 24. In yet another embodiment, the mount structures 18 may be integrally formed with the handles 98, 100, and 102 of the containers 20, 22, and 24 such that the position of the containers 20, 22, 24 on the chassis 17 may be changed by adjusting the mount structures 18 on the frame 16. The mount structures 18 may optionally be integrally formed with other parts of the containers 20, 22, and 24.

[0015] Figure 3 is a perspective view of the side handle member 100 of the small container 22. The small container 20 may have an upper depression 92 and a lower depression 94 on each of opposing side walls 60. The side handles 100 may be pivotally attached to each of the side walls 60 between the upper depression 92 and the lower depression 94. As shown in Figure 4, the side handle 100 may be attached to the container portion 52 using hinges 99 and pins 101, although it is contemplated that snap-fit connections, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms may be used. The side handle 100 may include springs 109 (one is shown in Figure 4) that biases the side handle 100 in the retaining position such that the side handle 100 is generally parallel with the side wall 60, as shown in Figure 2. The side handle 100 may be pivoted in a counterclockwise direction to a release position wherein the container 22 may be connected to or removed from the mount structures 18, as shown in Figure 3. In the release position, the side handle 100 may be generally perpendicular to the side wall 60. The side handle 100 may include a gripping portion 104 on an end opposite the end connected to the side wall 60. The gripping portion 104 may be constructed and arranged such that the gripping portion 104 contacts the surface of the lower depression 94 when the side handle 100 is in the retaining position. In this embodiment, the gripping portion 104 is made of rubber material with grooves formed therein to facilitate the grasping of the side handle 100. It is contemplated that the side handle 100 may be made of other materials, or may have other shapes or arrangements provided on the surface thereof. A recess 106 may be formed in the side handle 100 to facilitate grasping of the side handle 100. As shown in Figure 3, the lower depression 94 may create a ledge 96 that surrounds the depression 94. The ledge 96 may include a cutout 103 (see Figure 11a) formed near the rear wall 60 of the container portion 52. The cutout 103 may be sized and arranged so that the mount structures 18 may slide through the cutout 103 to be received in the depression 94 when the container 22 is mounted to the chassis 17.

[0016] As shown in Figure 3, when the container 22 is to be mounted to or removed from the chassis 17, the user may lift the container 22 by grasping the side handle members 100 of the container 22 so that the side handle members 100 are in the release position. The container 22 is then positioned such that the mount structures 18 may slide through the cutouts 103 to be received in the lower depressions 94. In this embodiment, when the container 22 is mounted to the chassis 17, the container 22 is supported by the mount structures 18, and an upper surface 108 of each mount structure 18 is disposed against an upper portion 110 of the ledge 96 of the container 22. The side handles 100 may then be released, whereby the spring 109 snaps the side handles 100 pivotally to the retaining position. The mount structures 18 may then be retained between the upper portion 110 of the ledge 96 and the gripping portion 104 of the side handles 100. The other containers, such as the toolbox container 24 and the large container 20, may be mounted to the chassis 17 in a similar manner. The side handles 98 of the toolbox container 24 and the side handles 102 of the large container 20 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as side handles 100.

[0017] As shown in Figures 5 and 6, the chassis 17 may also include a chassis support structure or frame 46 providing a generally downwardly facing fixed ground engaging surface, the ground engaging surface being located forwardly of said one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels 12 and being constructed and arranged to engage the ground. The chassis support structure 46 may comprise a middle portion 48 that extends from one mount structure, in this embodiment taking the form of the mounting bar 26, to another mount structure; two side portions 50 (one is shown in Figure 5) that extend generally perpendicularly from the middle portion 48; and a front portion 49 (see Figure 2) constructed and arranged to attach to the two side portions 50 and extend generally parallel to the middle portion 48. In some embodiments, the supporting frame 46 may have feet (not shown) attached to the bottom of the support structure 46 and constructed and arranged to engage the ground. The feet may be made of rubber or other anti-slip material to provide friction when engaged with the ground. The chassis support structure 46 may generally be made of plastic, although it is contemplated that other materials known in the art may be used. It is contemplated that in one embodiment, the chassis support structure 46 may be a frame including a platform 51 (as shown in Figure 7). The platform 51 may be used to carry a container 20, 22, 24 thereon.

[0018] As shown in Figure 5, the mount structures 18 may be in an extended position wherein the mount structures 18 extend generally perpendicularly from a plane defined by the mounting bars 26 and the rear member 30. When the mount structures 18 are in the extended position, containers 20, 22, and 24 may be releasably connected to the mount structures 18. Alternatively, the mount structures 18 may be folded towards the support structure 26 to a folded position for storage and portability, as shown in Figure 6. The attachment structures 28 for the mount structures 18 may be constructed and arranged to allow the mount structures 18 to be rotated to the folded position.

[0019] Figure 7 is a rear perspective view of the apparatus 10. In this embodiment, the apparatus 10 includes the attachment structures 28 for adjustably connecting the two pairs of mount structures 18b, and 18c to the frame. In this embodiment, the pair of mount structures 18a are not releasably connected to the mounting bars 26 via the attachment structures 28, although the mount structures 18a may be rotated around the mounting bars 26 for storage. In other embodiments, the mount structures 18a may be releasably connected to the mounting bars 26 using the attachment structures 28. Although wheels 12 are not shown in Figure 7, it is contemplated that the wheels 12 may be attached to the bottom portion of the chassis 17, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. In one embodiment, there may be side support structures 53 extending perpendicularly from the rear member 30. The side support structures 53 may be constructed and arranged to support the container 20, 22, or 24 that is disposed on the platform 51.

[0020] Figure 8 is a detailed view of the mount structure 18 and attachment structure 28 in accordance with the embodiment shown in Figure 7. In this embodiment, the mount structure 18 has strengthening ribs 112 deployed crosswise relative to one another across the inner surface to provide extra support for the mount structures 18 when the containers 20, 22, and 24 are releasably connected to the mount structures 18. The attachment portion 114 of the mount structure 18 may include a rotatable connection that enables the mount structure 18 to be rotated between the folded position and the extended position. In this embodiment, the rotatable connection takes the form of a groove 116 profile formed in the attachment portion 114 and an insertion ring 118. The groove 116 is constructed and arranged to receive the insertion ring 118 such that the groove 116 and the insertion ring 118 may be rotatably connected to one another. The insertion ring 118 may be constructed and arranged to remain stationary while the mount structure 18 is rotated between the extended and folded positions. In this embodiment, a recess 122 is formed in the insertion ring 116 and attachment portion 114 of the mount structure 18, and the recess 122 is constructed and arranged to receive the mounting bar 26.

[0021] As shown in Figure 8, the attachment structure 28 includes a pull member 112 that is constructed and arranged to release the attachment structure 28 from the mounting bar 26. The pull member 112 may be connected to an engaging member 124, in this embodiment taking the form of a finger 124, that is constructed and arranged to extend into the recess 122 when the pull member 112 is in a locked position (as shown in Figure 9a) wherein the position of the mount structure 28 on the mounting bar 26 may not be adjusted. The pull member may be pulled to an unlocked position (as shown in Figure 9b) wherein the position of the mount structure 28 on the mounting bar 26 may be adjusted. The attachment structure 28 may include a tension spring (not shown) that biases the pull member 112 in the locked position. Bolt nuts 126 may be used to attach the pull member 112 to the finger 124.

[0022] Figures 9a and 9b show the operation of the attachment structure 28 in accordance with the embodiment shown in Figures 7 and 8. Openings 128 may be provided along the length of the mounting bars 26 for the placement of the attachment structures 28. The openings 128 may be constructed and arranged to receive the finger 124 when the attachment structure 28 is in the locked position, as shown in Figure 9a. To move the attachment structure 28 to the unlocked position so that the finger 124 is no longer in the opening 128, the user may simply pull the pull member 112 in a direction away from the mounting bar 26, as shown in Figure 9b. When the finger 124 is outside of the opening 128, as shown in Figure 9b, the attachment structure 28 may be removed from the mounting bar 26 or adjusted to another position on the mounting bar 26. In this embodiment, the pulling of the pull member 112 away from the mounting bar 26 compresses the tension spring within the attachment structure 28. The tension spring is constructed and arranged to snap the finger 124 through the opening 128 when the finger 124 is aligned with the opening 128 and the pull member 112 is released. Thus, to lock the mount structure 18 to a position on the mounting bar 26, the user may simply align the finger 124 with an opening 128 and then release the pull member 112 so that the finger 124 may snap into the opening 128. The attachment structure 28 may have any construction or configuration, and the illustrated embodiment is not intended to be limiting.

[0023] In one embodiment, the containers 20, 22, and 24 may be constructed such that there is a common denominator among the vertical dimensions of the containers 20, 22, and 24. In other words, the containers 20, 22, 24 may be constructed with vertical dimensions having a common denominator. In one embodiment, the common denominator may be dependent on the spacing between the openings 128 on the mounting bar 26. For example, the spacing between each openings 128 may be a selected distance (X), and each of the containers 20, 22, 24 may have a vertical dimension a certain number (A, B, C) of times more than X, where A, B, C may represent different values. Thus, container 20 may have a vertical dimension of AX, container 22 may have a vertical dimension of BX, and container 24 may have a vertical dimension of CX. Just for example, in one embodiment, the mounting bar 26 has thirty-two openings 128 that are spaced at a distance of 25 mm (where X=25 mm) apart from one another. In this embodiment, the container 20 has a vertical distance of 150 mm (where A=6), the container 22 has a vertical dimension of 175 mm (where B=7), and the container 24 has a vertical dimension of 200 mm (where C=8). This example is not intended to be limiting and it is contemplated that the values of X, A, B, and C may vary in other embodiments. The configuration of the containers 20, 22, and 24 having a common denominator described above enables optimal arrangement of the containers 20, 22, 24 on the chassis. In other words, this configuration enables the user to arrange the containers 20, 22, 24 on the chassis 17a efficiently and with optimal use of space on the mounting bars 26.

[0024] As shown in Figure 10a, the large container 20 comprises a container portion 52 and a drawer portion 54 that is constructed and arranged so that it may be received within the container portion 52. In this embodiment, the container portion 52 has a top wall or side 56, two opposing side walls or sides 58, a rear wall or side 140, and a bottom wall or side 62 defining an interior space 63. The drawer portion 54 may be held inside the interior space 63. The container portion 52 has a forward facing front opening 64 into the interior space 63 that allows access to the drawer portion 54. The top wall 56 of the container portion 52 may have strengthening ribs (not shown) deployed across the inner surface of the top wall 56 facing the interior space 63. The strengthening ribs help support the top wall 56 so that the top wall 56 may provide a top working surface for placing and sorting tools or objects. A container handle 71 may be attached to the top wall 56 to facilitate the lifting of the container 26. The handle 71 may be pivotally attached to the top wall 56 of the container portion 52 using pivot pins (not shown), although it is contemplated that other attachment mechanisms, such as rivets, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms known in the art may be used. The container handle 71 may be disposed within a recess 69 (see Figure 10b) formed in the top wall 56 when the handle 71 is not in use and may be pivoted to an upright position when the handle 71 is in use. Grooves may be formed on the surface of the container handle 71 or rubber material or other anti-slip material may be provided on at least a portion of the container handle 71 to facilitate the grasping of the handle 71. It is contemplated that in some embodiments, the container handle 71 may be fixed such that the container handle 71 may not be movable from one position to another. The container portion 52 may generally be made of suitably molded plastic. It is contemplated that other materials may be used, such as, for example, wood, metal, or other materials known in the art.

[0025] Each of the two opposing side walls 140 of the container portion 52 may include an upper depression 61 and a lower depression 65. A cutout 67 may be formed in each of the lower depressions 65. As described previously with respect to the small container 22, the cutouts 67 and the side handles 100 of the large container 20 may be used to releasably connect the large container 20 to the mount structures 18 in a similar manner. The side handles 102 of the large container 20 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as the side handles 100 of the small container 22 to enable the large container 20 to be releasably connected to the mount structures 18.

[0026] In the embodiment shown in Figure 10a, the drawer portion 54 has a front wall or side 66, two opposing side walls 68, a rear wall (not shown), and a bottom wall or side 72 defining an upwardly facing opening 73 (see Figure 10b) into an interior space 75 (see Figure 10b). The drawer portion 54 may slide into and out of the container portion 52 between an open position wherein the contents of the drawer portion 54 may be accessed through the upwardly facing opening 73 and a closed position wherein the contents of the drawer may not be accessed through the upwardly facing opening 73. The drawer portion 54 may be locked to the container portion 52 using latches 77 when the drawer portion 54 is in the closed position. Details of the latches 77 will be described later.

[0027] At least portions of the large container 20, such as for example, the side handles 102 and latch 77, may be made of both metal and plastic. As shown in Figure 10b, the drawer portion 54 may slide into and out of the container portion 52 through the front opening 64 of the container portion 52. The large container 20 may have ball bearing slides 74 that enable the drawer portion 54 to be slideable relative to the container portion 52 so that the drawer portion 54 can slide between the closed position and the open position. When the drawer portion 54 is in the closed position, the opening 73 is disposed below the top wall 56 of the container portion 52. Each opposing side walls 68 of the drawer portion 54 has sliding members 76 of the ball bearing slides 74 located thereon. Their associated sliding members (not shown) are located on inner surfaces of the opposing side walls 58 of the container portion 52. The ball bearing slides 74 may have stop members (not shown) that limit the distance the drawer portion 54 may be pulled from the container portion 52, thus preventing the sliding members 76 from being dislocated from the sliding members attached to the container portion 52. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, other sliding mechanisms may be used instead of the ball bearing slides, such as guides or slide rails. The ball bearing slides may be attached to the drawer portion 54 and the container portion 52 using pins, screws, adhesive bonding, or other attachment mechanisms known in the art.

[0028] In the embodiment shown in Figure 10a, the front wall 66 comprises an upper section 78 and a lower section 80, the upper section 78 being pivotally connected to the lower section 80 using hinges 82. It is contemplated that other forms of connections may be used, such as pins, fasteners, or other connection mechanisms known in the art. The upper section 78 and the lower section 80 may be approximately the same size, although it is contemplated that the sizes of the upper section 78 and the lower section 80 may vary. In this embodiment, the lower section 80 remains fixed to the opposing side walls 68 and the bottom wall 72 of the drawer portion 54, while the upper section 78 is pivotally connected to the drawer portion 54 by the hinges 82. The upper section 78 may be pivoted in a downward direction and towards the lower section 80 so that the upper section 78 may be "folded down", as shown in Figure 10b. As such, a side facing opening 81 (see Figure 10b) in the drawer portion 54 is exposed and the contents of the drawer portion 54 may be accessed through the side facing opening 81 even when the drawer portion 54 is in the closed position relative to the container portion 52.

[0029] The hinges 82 may be located in a connection region 84 defined by a portion of the upper section 78 and a portion of the lower section 80. In this embodiment, a depression 86 (see Figure 10a) is formed in the proximate area where the upper section 78 and the lower section 80 are connected to each other. As shown in Figure 10b, when the lower section is "folded down", the depression 86 formed in the upper section 78 of the front wall 66 and in the lower section 80 of the front wall 66 define a recess 90 that provides a handgrip such that the user can insert fingers into the recess 90 and use the handgrip to pull the drawer portion 54 away from the container portion 52 to move the drawer portion 54 to the open position. The user may pull the drawer portion 54 away from the container portion 52 by placing fingers into the recess 90 and by pulling against the upper section 78 (see Figure 10b) near the recess 90 to slide the drawer portion 54 to the open position. Alternatively, the user may pull the drawer portion 54 to the open position by pulling against the lower section 80 without having to place fingers into the recess 90. Dividers and/or inserts (not shown) may optionally be placed into the drawer portion 54 to customize and divide the interior space 75 of the drawer portion 54.

[0030] The top portion 78 of the drawer portion 54 may include a latch handle 79. As shown in Figure 10a, the latch 77 used to latch the drawer portion 54 to the container portion 52 may include a latch protrusion 81 disposed on top of the latch handle 79. The latch protrusion 81 may be constructed and arranged to engage a latch engaging portion (not shown) disposed on the container portion 52 when the drawer portion 54 is locked to the container portion 52. The latch engaging portion may also be a protrusion or may be an aperture in which the protrusion 81 is received. The latch engaging portion may engage a portion of the protrusion 81 so that the drawer portion 54 is prevented from being pulled out of the container portion 52.

[0031] When the drawer portion 54 is being unlatched, the latch handle 79 is pulled so as to be pivoted in an upwards direction against the bias of an internal spring (not shown). The handle 79 may be attached via various mechanisms, such as, for example, screws, pins, bolts, fasteners, or any other mechanism or hinges as appreciated by one skilled in the art. In one embodiment, when the latch handle 79 is pulled upwards against the spring bias, the latch handle 79 pivots and the latch protrusion 81 of the handle 79 is disengaged from the latch engaging portion. The drawer portion 54 is thus able to be slid to the open position, as shown in Figure 10a. To once again close and lock drawer portion 54, drawer portion 54 is simply manually slid back towards the closed position. During this movement, the latch engaging portion may engage a cam surface on the protrusion 81. The latch engaging portion may engage and move the cam surface on the latch protrusion 81 against the bias of the internal handle spring so as to move the handle 79 in a pivotal direction (clockwise in Figures 10a) until the protrusion 81 engages with the latch engaging portion, whereupon the handle 62 springs back to the locked configuration with the latch protrusion 81 engaged to the latch engaging portion.

[0032] Figure 11 a shows an embodiment of the small container 22 of the present invention. The small container 22 may comprise a container portion 120, a drawer housing portion 130 (see Figure 11 b), and drawers 132a, 132b (two are shown in this embodiment). The container portion may include a top wall or side 138, two opposing side walls 60, a rear wall or side 142, and a bottom wall or side 144 defining an interior space 143 (see Figure 11b). As shown in Figure 11b, the drawer housing portion 130 may slide in and out of the interior space 143 through a front opening 144 to the interior space 143. The drawer housing portion may include two opposing side walls 146, a rear wall (not shown), and a bottom wall 148 defining an interior space 150. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, the number and arrangement of the drawers may vary. For example, in one embodiment, there may be three drawers arranged in a stacked relation. In another embodiment, there may be three drawers arranged in a horizontal row.

[0033] A container handle 121 may be attached to the top wall 138 to facilitate the lifting of the container 26. The handle 121 may be pivotally attached to the top wall 138 of the container portion 120 using pivot pins (not shown), although it is contemplated that other attachment mechanisms, such as rivets, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms known in the art may be used. The container handle 121 may be disposed within a recess 123 formed in the top wall 138 when the handle 121 is not in use and may be pivoted to an upright position when the handle 121 is in use. Grooves may be formed on the surface of the container handle 121 or rubber material or other anti-slip material may be provided on at least a portion of the container handle 121 to facilitate the grasping of the handle 121.

[0034] The top wall 138 of the container portion 120 may have strengthening ribs (not shown) deployed across the inner surface of the top wall 138 facing the interior space 143. The strengthening ribs help support the top wall 120 so that the top wall 138 may provide a top working surface for placing and sorting tools or objects. As previously described, the cutouts 103 and the side handles 100 may be used to mount the small container 22 to the mount structures 18.

[0035] As shown in Figure 11b, ball bearing slides 134 may be disposed on the drawer housing portion 130 and the inner surface of the container portion 120 to enable the drawer housing portion 130 to slide in and out of the container portion 120. Ball bearing slides 136 may also be disposed on the lower drawers 132b to enable the drawers to slide in and out of the drawer housing portion 130. The ball bearing slides 134, 136 may have stop members (not shown) that limit the distance the drawer housing portion 130 and the lower drawer 132b may be pulled from the container portion 52 and the drawer housing portion 130, respectively. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, other sliding mechanisms may be used instead of the ball bearing slides, such as guides or slide rails. The ball bearing slides 134, 136 may be attached to the drawer housing portion 130 and the lower drawer 132b using pins, screws, adhesive bonding, or other attachment mechanisms known in the art.

[0036] The upper drawer 132a may disposed within the drawer housing portion 130 such that the contents of the upper drawer 132a may be accessed when the drawer housing portion 130 is pulled out of the container portion 120 via the ball bearing slides 134, as shown in Figure 11b. In this embodiment, to access the contents of the lower drawer 132b, the lower drawer 132 must be pulled out of the drawer housing portion 130 via the ball bearing slides 136, as shown in Figure 11 b. However, the lower drawer 132b may optionally be pulled to the open position wherein the contents of the lower drawer 132b may be accessed even when the drawer housing portion 130 is not pulled out of the container portion 120. None, one, or both of the drawers 132a, 132b may optionally be in the open position at the same time.

[0037] Each of the drawers 132a, 132b may include a latch handle 152a, 152b. The latch handles 152a, 152b may include latch protrusions 154a, 154b that may be used to latch the drawer housing portion 130 to the container portion 120 and the lower drawer 152b to the drawer housing portion 130, respectively. The drawers 132a, 132b may be latched to latch engaging portions (not shown) in the same manner as described previously with respect to the drawer portion 54 of the large container 20. Inserts 156 may optionally be placed into the drawers 132a, 132b, and the inserts 156 may optionally be divided into various compartments.

[0038] As shown in Figure 12a, the toolbox container 24 may have a lid 158 and a handle 160 located on the lid 158. The handle 160 may be pivotally attached to the lid 158 using pivot pins (not shown), although it is contemplated that other attachment mechanisms, such as rivets, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms known in the art may be used. The container handle 160 may be disposed within a recess (not shown) formed in the lid 158 when the handle 160 is not in use and may be pivoted to an upright position when the handle 160 is in use. Grooves may be formed on the surface of the container handle 160 or rubber material or other anti-slip material may be provided on at least a portion of the container handle 160 to facilitate the grasping of the handle 160. It is contemplated that in some embodiments, the container handle 160 may be fixed such that the container handle 160 may not be movable from one position to another.

[0039] As shown in Figure 12a, the lid 158 may be pivotally connected to a container portion 162. The lid 158 can be latched onto the container portion 162 of the toolbox container 24 via latches 164. The container latches 164 may vary in numbers (there may be one or more) and may be pivotable latches, buckles, or any other latching mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The lid 158 may be pivotally connected to the container portion 162 using hinges, pins, screws, fastenings, bolts, or any other connection mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The lid 158 may also be a slide-on lid which is slid on to container portion 162 or a snap-on lid that is snapped on to the container portion 162. It is contemplated that the methods of mounting the lid 158 on to the container portion 162 may vary and the number of lids 158 may vary. For example, there may be two lids 158 pivotally connected to the container portion 162 wherein each lid 158 may be opened or closed independently of the other. The container portion may include two opposing side walls or sides 168, a front wall or side 170, a rear wall or side 172, and a bottom wall or side 174 defining an interior space 175 (see Figure 12b). A cutout 176 may be formed in each opposing side wall 168. The cutouts 176 and the side handles 98 may be used to releasably connect the toolbox container 24 to the mount structures 18 in the same manner described previously with respect to the small container 22. The side handles 98 of the toolbox container 24 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as the side handles 100 of the small container 22 to enable the toolbox container 24 to be releasably connected to the mount structures 18.

[0040] The latches 164 (or a single latch) of the toolbox container 24 may comprise latch members 166 that are constructed and arranged to engage with latch receiving portions (not shown) located on the lid 158. The latch members 166 may be pulled to disengage from latch engaging portions of the lid 158 so that the lid 158 may be opened to allow access to the contents of the toolbox container 24. In the embodiment shown in Figure 12b, the latch members 166 may be pulled upwards in the counterclockwise direction to engage the latch members 166 with the latch receiving portions.

[0041] As shown in Figure 12b, a removable tray 178 having a handle 180 may be carried within the toolbox container 24. The removable tray 178 may be held within the interior space 175 of the toolbox container 24 and may optionally be removed therefrom to be carried separately. A removable container 182 with partitions may also be held in the toolbox container 24. The removable container 182 with partitions may be constructed and arranged to hold various kinds of screwdrivers and other tools. In one embodiment, the width of the removable tray 178 may be two-thirds the width of the toolbox container 24. The removable tray 178 and the removable container 182 may be made of plastic, wood, metal, or other materials known in the art, or combinations thereof.

[0042] Fig. 13 shows another embodiment of the apparatus 10a for transporting articles between working locations. The apparatus 10a of Fig. 13 has similar components as apparatus 10 shown in and described with respect to Fig. 1, and the similar components of apparatus 10a will be labeled similarly as those of apparatus 10, but with an "a" appended thereto.

[0043] As shown in Fig. 13, the apparatus 10a includes the chassis 17a and the one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels 12a mounted toward the bottom of the apparatus 10a for rotation about an axis to provide rolling support for the apparatus 10. The wheels 12a may be molded structure reinforced by a plurality of wheel ribs 42a and each wheel 12a is mounted on an end of the elongated axle 44a of the chassis 17a by two hubs 45a or other appropriate structure. The chassis 17a also includes the manually engagable handle 14a that, when used with the ground engaging wheels 14, enable the user to manually pull the pulling handle 14a generally rearwardly so as to tilt the apparatus 10a rearwardly to a tilted rolling movement position. The handle 14a may be considered to be part of the chassis 17a or may be a separate component from the chassis 17a. The chassis 17a comprises the frame 16a and the at least one or more mount structures 18a adjustably connected to the frame 16a. The frame 16a also includes the vertically extending mounting bars 26 that are configured and arranged to attach the mount structures 18a to the frame 16a using the attachment structures 28a.

[0044] The handle 14a of the embodiment of the apparatus 10a shown in Fig. 13 is connected to the rest of the chassis 17a via an extending portion 198 that extends from a connecting portion 200, which may be connected to at least a portion of the mounting bar 26a of the chassis 17a. The handle 14a, the extending portion 198, and the connecting portion 200 may form a handle structure 201 of the apparatus 10a. The handle structure 201 may also include a rear portion 208 (see Fig. 14). Any combination of the extending portion 198, the connecting portion 200, and the handle 14a may be integrally formed. It should be appreciated, however, that any combination of the extending portion 198, connecting portion 200, and the handle 14a may be separate pieces.

[0045] The chassis 17a may optionally be provided with a docking assembly 404 (see Fig. 28a). The docking assembly 404 may be used to receive at least a portion of the handle 14a of the apparatus 10a. The base structure 406 of the docking assembly 404 may be attached to a surface, such as, just for example, a wall of a vehicle. The docking assembly 404 may be attached to the surface using bolts, screws, pins, clamps, or other attachment mechanisms. In one embodiment, the bolts or other attachments may be received in openings 405 provided on the base structure 406 to attach the docking assembly 404 to the vehicle or other surfaces. The docking assembly 404 may thus facilitate the transport or storage of the apparatus 10a.

[0046] In the embodiment shown in Fig. 28a, the docking assembly 404 includes a base structure 406 and a movable structure 408. The base structure 406 includes a receiving space 407 constructed and arranged to receive at least a portion of the movable structure 408. The movable structure 408 may be pivotally attached to the base structure 406 using pins, screws, or any other attachment mechanism. The base structure 406 also includes a recess 409 constructed and arranged to receive at least a portion of the handle 14a to retain the handle 14a therein. The movable structure 408 includes a handle portion 410 and a retaining portion 412 (see Fig. 28b). The movable structure 408 may be moved between a closed position wherein the handle 14a is prevented from being removed or inserted into the recess 409 and an open position wherein the handle is permitted to be removed or inserted into the recess 409. Thus, in the closed position, the retaining portion 412 of the movable structure 408 blocks the recess 409, as shown in Fig. 28b. In the open position, the retaining portion 412 is removed from the recess 409 and thus does not block the recess 409. The docking assembly 404 may be moved between the open and closed positions via the handle portion 410.

[0047] It is contemplated that the docking assembly 404 may also include an internal spring (not shown) constructed and arranged to bias the movable structure 408 either in the closed position or in the open position. For example, in one embodiment where the docking assembly 404 is biased in the closed position, the user may move the docking assembly 404 to the open position by pushing or pulling the handle portion 410 upwards until the retaining portion 412 is no longer blocking the recess 409, as shown in Fig. 28c. In such embodiment, the docking assembly 404 may be moved to the closed position by releasing the handle portion 412 such that the bias of the spring moves the movable structure 408 to the closed position and the retaining portion 412 blocks the recess 409, as shown in Fig. 28b. In embodiments without the internal spring that biases the docking assembly 404 in either the closed or open position, the user may simply push the handle portion 412 downwards to move the docking assembly 404 to the closed position (shown in Fig. 28b) or pull the handle portion 412 upwards to move the docking assembly 404 to the open position (shown in Fig. 28c). The docking assembly 404 may also optionally be provided with a lock (not shown) that locks the movable structure 408 either in the closed position or in the open position.

[0048] First, second, and third containers 113, 115, and 117 may be releasably mounted to the chassis 17a. Each of the containers 113, 115, and 117 has a pair of side handles 125, 127, 129 that are constructed and arranged to clamp or otherwise engage or couple or latch or connect onto the mount structures 18a to enable the containers 113, 115, and 117 to be releasably connected to the chassis 17a. The plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117 may be releasably connected to the mount structures 18a such that each of the plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117 may be independently removable from the mount structures 18a and the chassis 17a. That is, each of the plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117 may be released and removed from their respective mount structures 18a and from the chassis 17a without releasing any of the other containers of the plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117. The plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117 may also be releasably connected to the mount structures 18a and arranged such that the containers 113, 115, and 117 are spaced from one another. In other words, the containers 113, 115, and 117 may be connected to the mount structures 18a and arranged on the chassis 17a such each of the containers 20, 22, 24 does not contact or rest on another container 113, 115, and 117.

[0049] It is contemplated that the mount structures 18a are not limited to the configuration shown in the illustrated embodiment. The mount structures 18a may have any configuration that enables the containers 113, 115, and 117 to be mounted thereon. The mount structures 18a may be, just for example, trays or hooks connected to the frame 16a. In some embodiments, the mount structures 18a may be removed from the frame 16a. Alternatively or additionally, in some embodiments, the mount structures 18a may also be optionally fixed to the frame 16a.

[0050] In this embodiment, the third container 117 is mounted to the mount structures 115 via the side handles 129. The second container 115 is releasably connected to the structures 18a via the side handles 127. The first container 113 is releasably connected to the mount structures 18a via the side handles 125. However, as mentioned above, it is contemplated that the arrangement and location of the containers on the chassis 17a may vary and may be customized according to user preferences. The number and size of containers may also vary, and are not limited to the containers 113, 115, and 117 shown in Fig. 13. The handles 125, 127, and 129 may have similar configurations as handles 98, 100, and 102, and may be clamped to the mount structures 18a in a similar manner.

[0051] Fig. 14 shows a rear perspective view of the apparatus 10a. The apparatus 10a may optionally have the rear member 30a secured to the frame 16a and constructed and arranged to support the frame 16a. The rear member 30a is configured to be connected to the rear portions 208 of the handle structure 201. The apparatus 10a may also include a lower rear portion 210, which may also be constructed and arranged to support the frame 16a. The lower rear portion 210 may be operatively connected to the mounting bars 26a of the chassis 17a. The lower rear portion 210 may also be constructed and arranged to receive the elongated axle 44a on which the wheels 12a are attached. The lower rear portion 210 may be constructed and arranged to receive supporting bars 202 (two are shown in this embodiment). The supporting bars 202 may be connected to a rear extending portion 212 of the chassis 17a. The mounting bars 26a and the supporting bars 202 may be arranged to extend parallel to one another.

[0052] In the illustrated embodiment, the apparatus 10a may also include a rear latching assembly 203 having a latch bar 204 constructed and arranged to latch the containers 113, 115, and 117 to the chassis 17a when the containers 113, 115, 117 are mounted on the mount structures 18a. The latch bar 204 may be configured to extend parallel to the supporting bars 202. The rear latching assembly 203 may include a latch member 206. The latch bar 204 may be connected to the latch member 206 that is constructed and arranged to move the latch bar 204 from a latched position wherein the latch bar 204 is latched to the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 and an unlatched position wherein the latch bar 204 is not latched to the containers 113, 115, and/or 117. When the latch bar 204 is in the latched position, the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 are prevented from moving forward in the direction of A (away from latch bar 204). When the latch bar 204 is in the unlatched position, the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 are permitted to be moved forward away from the latch bar 204 to be removed from the chassis 17a.

[0053] Fig. 15 shows a front perspective view of the chassis 17a of the apparatus 10a with the containers 113, 115, and 117 removed. In this embodiment, the chassis 17a includes the support structure or platform 51 a. The support structure or platform 51 a may be connected to the rear extending portion 212 of the chassis 17a via screws. However, it is contemplated that the support structure 51a may be connected via pins, snap-fit connections, adhesives, welding, or other attachment mechanisms. The support structure or platform 51a may be used to support at least one of the containers 113, 115, and 117. It is contemplated that the support structure or platform 51 may be used with the chassis 17 to enable the chassis 17 to function as a trolley or a handcart. It is also contemplated that the support structure or platform 51a may be used with the chassis 17 to support and transport the stacked and connected containers 113, 115, and 117 shown in Fig. 24.

[0054] Fig. 16 shows a detailed view of the mount structures 18a attached to the mounting bars 26a of the apparatus 10a via the attachment structures 28a. The mounting bars 26a include the openings 128a provided along the length thereof. In this embodiment, each attachment structure 28a includes a pivoting portion 214, a receiving portion 216, and an attachment portion 218. The attachment portion 218 is constructed and arranged to attach the attachment structure 28a to the mounting bar 26a. The pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216 are constructed and arranged to be attached to an opening 128a in the mounting bars 26a. The pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216 may be generally curved, thus enabling a mounting bar 26a to be received therebetween. In one embodiment, the receiving portion 216 includes a screw 220 configured to be received in a receiving region 222 of the pivoting portion 214 so as to connect the receiving portion 216 and the pivoting portion 214 to retain the mount structure 18a at a selected location on the mounting bar 26a. However, it is contemplated that the receiving portion 216 and the pivoting portion 214 may be connected via other connecting mechanisms, such as, just for example, pins, rivets, or fasteners. In this embodiment, the pivoting portion 214 is provided with an insertion receiving structure 219 having an opening 217 that is constructed and arranged to receive an insertion structure 224 (see Fig. 17A), such as a pin, screw, or other attachment mechanisms. The insertion structure 224 is constructed and arranged to be inserted into one of the openings 128 of the mounting bar 26a to retain the mount structure 18a at a selected position on the mounting bar 26a.

[0055] As shown in Fig. 16, each of the mount structures 18a includes an elongated protrusion 207 provided thereon. The protrusion 207 may have a stop surface 209 provided on an end near the mounting bar 26a and may have a slanted surface 211 on the opposite end. The protrusion 207 may be constructed and arranged to retain the containers 113, 115, 117 and prevent the containers 113, 115, 117 from being moved forward or in the direction of A (see Fig. 14) when the side handles 125, 127, 129 of the containers 113, 115, 117 are clamped onto the mount structures 18a. For example, the side handles 125, 127, 129 of containers 113, 115, and 117 may have a similar construction and arrangement as the side handle 100 described above. Thus, the side handles 125, 127, 129 may each have a recess 106a (see Fig. 13) formed therein. When the containers 113, 115, 117 are mounted on the mount structures 18a, the elongated protrusion 207 may be received in the recesses 106a of the side handles 125, 127, 129, as shown in Fig. 13. Accordingly, in this embodiment, when the side handles 125, 127, 129 of the containers 113, 115, and 117 are clamped onto the mount structures 18a, abutment between the stop surface 209 and at least a portion of the side handles 125, 127, 129 prevents the movement of the containers 113, 115, 117 in the direction of A, thus preventing the containers 113, 115, 117 from sliding off of the mount structures 18a. In contrast, the slanted surface 211 of the protrusion 207 enables the side handles 125, 127, 129 of the containers 113, 115, 117 to slide onto the mount structures 18a without requiring movement of the side handles 125, 127, 129 to the release position. Accordingly, the containers 113, 115, 117 may be pushed onto the mount structures 18a such that the protrusion 207 is retained in the recesses 106a of the side handles 125, 127, 129.

[0056] Fig. 17A illustrates details of an embodiment of the mount structure 18a and the attachment structure 28a. In this embodiment, the mount structure 18a may have an inner surface 221 (see Fig. 17A) and an outer surface 223 (see Fig. 18A). The inner surface 221 of the mount structure 18a may be provided with a plurality of strengthening ribs 225 deployed crosswise relative to one another.

[0057] In the illustrated embodiment, the attachment structure 28a includes the insertion structure 224 constructed and arranged to be inserted into one of the openings 128 of the mounting bar 26a to retain the mount structure 18a at a selected position on the mounting bar 26a. The pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216 may be pivotally connected to each other via a pivot pin 228. The pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216 may thus be pivoted between an open position wherein the mounting bar 26a may be inserted or removed from between the pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216 and a closed position wherein the mounting bar 26a may not be inserted or removed from between the pivoting portion 214 and the receiving portion 216. The receiving portion 216 may be pivotally attached to the mount structure 18a via a pivot pin 230, although it is contemplated that other structures that enable pivotal or rotational movement may be used. The receiving portion 216 may have a front surface 226 configured to face in a direction away from the rear member 30a when the receiving portion 216 is attached to the mounting bar 26a. The attachment portion 218 may be configured to attach the receiving portion 216 to the mount structure 18a. The attachment portion 218 may be integral with the receiving portion 216 or may be separately attached to the receiving portion 216.

[0058] Fig. 17B illustrates a cross sectional view of the mount structure 18a. The attachment portion 218 of the attachment structure 28a may include an internal pin 232, or other structure, that is received in a receiving portion 234 of the mount structure 18a. The internal pin 232 may optionally extend or retract relative to the attachment portion 218 when the mount structure 18a is pivoted between an extended position (see Fig. 17A) and a folded position (see Fig. 18A). In one embodiment, when the mount structures 18a are in the extended position, the containers 113, 115, or 117 may be mounted on the mount structures 18a. In such embodiment, when the mount structures 18a are in the folded position, the containers 113, 115, or 117 may not be mounted thereon. However, moving the mount structures 18a to the folded position, as shown in Fig. 19, enables easy carrying and storage of the chassis 17a.

[0059] Fig. 18A shows a detailed view of the mount structure 18a and the attachment structure 28a in the folded position. In the illustrated embodiment, when the mount structure 18a is in the folded position, a portion of the inner surface 221 of the mount structure 18a is in front of or disposed against the front surface 226 of the receiving portion 216 of the attachment structure 28a. In this embodiment, when the mount structure 18a is moved to the folded position, an extension portion 236 of the attachment portion 218 of the attachment structure 28a is constructed and arranged to stay in place. That is, the extension portion 236 of the attachment portion 218 does not move with the attachment structure 28a. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the extension portion 236 may extend in a direction generally perpendicular to the direction that the mount structure 18a is extending when the mount structure 18a is in the folded position, as shown in Fig. 18A. In one embodiment, the extension portion 236 may act as a stop structure that limits the further movement of the mount structure 18a when the mount structure 18a is being moved to the extended position.

[0060] Fig. 18B shows a cross sectional view of the mount structure 18a when the mount structure 18a is in the folded position. In this embodiment, the inner surface 221 of the mount structure 18a is disposed against the front surface 226 of the receiving portion 216 of the attachment structure 28a, and the internal pin 232 is received in the receiving region 234 of the mount structure 18a. The mount structure 18a may be attached to the mounting bar 26a as follows in accordance with an embodiment. The user may select an opening 128 on the mounting bar 26a corresponding to a desired height of the mount structure 18a. The receiving portion 216 and the pivoting portion 214 may be in the open position wherein the mounting bar 26a may be inserted therebetween. The receiving portion 216 may be placed against the mounting bar 26a at the desired height, as shown in Fig. 16. After the insertion structure 224 has been aligned with an opening 128, the pivoting structure 214 may then be pivoted towards the closed position relative to the receiving portion 216. Accordingly, when the pivoting structure 214 is pivoted towards the receiving portion 216, the insertion structure 224 is inserted into the insertion receiving structure 219 and into the selected opening 128, as shown in Fig. 29A. In one embodiment, when the receiving portion 216 and the pivoting portion 214 are in the closed position, the screw 220 of the receiving portion 216 is received in the receiving region 222 of the pivoting portion 214. The screw 220 may be tightened to retain the attachment structure 28a at the selected position on the mounting bar 26a.

[0061] To detach the mount structure 18a to the mounting bar 26a, the screw 220 of the receiving portion 216 may be unscrewed from the receiving region 222 of the pivoting portion 214. The insertion structure 224 may also be removed from the opening 128 and the insertion receiving structure 219, as shown in Fig. 29B. After the screw 220 has been unscrewed, the pivoting portion 214 may be pivoted towards the open position relative to the receiving portion 216. Once the receiving portion 216 and the pivoting portion 214 are in the open position, for example as shown in Fig. 16, the attachment structure 28a may be removed from the mounting bar 26a.

[0062] In one embodiment, to move the mount structure 18a to the folded position from the extended position, the mount structure 18a may be rotated in the direction of B (see Fig. 17A) along the pin 230 until the mount structure 18a is in the position shown in Fig. 18A. In one embodiment, the direction that the mount structure 18a extends when the mount structure 18a is in the folded position (see Fig. 18A) is generally perpendicular to the direction in which the mount structure 18a extends when the mount structure 18a is in the extended position (see Fig. 17A). When the mount structure 18a is in the folded position, the front surface 226 of the receiving portion 216 of the attachment structure 28a prevents further movement of the mount structure 28a in the direction B. To move the mount structure 18a to the extended position from the folded position, the mount structure 18a may be rotated in the direction opposite of B along the pin 230 until the mount structure 18a is in the position shown in Fig. 17A. The extension portion 236 may prevent the further rotation of the mount structure 18a in the direction opposite of B. Thus, the extension portion 236 may help position the mount structure 28a in the extended position.

[0063] Fig. 20A shows the rear latching structure 203 of the apparatus 10 in accordance with an embodiment. The rear latching structure 203 includes the rear latch bar 204 and the latch member 206. The rear latch member 206 is constructed and arranged to be rotatable along point 238 to rotate the latch bar 204 between an unlatched position (see Fig. 20A) and a latched position (see Fig. 20B). Thus, when the latch member 206 is rotated, the latch bar 204 is also rotated. When the latch structure 203 is in the unlatched position, the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 are permitted to be moved forward in the direction of A (see Fig. 14). When the latch structure 203 is in the latched position, the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 are prevented from being moved forward in the direction of A. In other words, the latch structure 203 in the latched position locks the containers 113, 115, and 117 to the chassis 17a.

[0064] As shown in Fig. 20A, the latch member 206 may include an opening 244. A locking structure 246 may be attached to the chassis 17a, and an opening 248 may be provided in the locking structure 246. In one embodiment, the opening 244 of the latch member 206 is constructed and arranged to be aligned with the opening 248 of the locking structure 246 when the latch member 206 is in the latched position, as shown in Fig. 20B. A padlock, combination lock, a rod, or other locking mechanisms or structures may be inserted into the aligned openings 248 and 244 to lock the latch structure 203 in the latched position, thereby preventing removal of the containers 113, 115, 117 from the chassis 17a.

[0065] In the embodiment shown in Fig. 20A, the rear latching structure 203 includes a retaining portion 240. The retaining portion 240 may be generally arcuate and may be formed near one end of the latch member 206, opposite that of an actuating end 245 of the latch member 206. The opening 244 may be formed on or near the actuating end 245 of the latch member 206. In one embodiment, the pivot point 238 may be provided between the retaining portion 240 and the actuating end 245. The retaining portion 240 may be constructed and arranged to be latched with a rear receiving structure of the containers 113, 115, and 117, taking the form of a rear extension structure 242 in this embodiment. In one embodiment, the rear extension structure 242 may be generally L- shaped so as to be engageable with the retaining portion 240. Accordingly, when the rear extension structure 242 of the container 113, 115, or 117 is engaged with the retaining portion 240 of the rear latching structure 203, the rear latching structure 203 is in the latched position and the container 113, 115, or 117 is latched to the latch structure 203. In contrast, when the rear extension structure 242 of the container 113, 115, or 117 is not engaged with the retaining portion 240, the rear latching structure 203 is in the unlatched position and container 113, 115, or 117 is not latched to the latch structure 203.

[0066] In the embodiment shown in Fig. 20B, the latch bar 204 and the latch member 206 are integrally formed. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, the latch bar 204 and the latch member 206 may be separate components that are operatively connected to one another. In the illustrated embodiment, the latch bar 204 has a retaining side 250 and a third side 252 opposite the retaining side 250. A middle side 254 (see Fig. 20A) may also be provided and may be constructed and arranged to connect the retaining side 250 and the third side 252. The retaining side 250, the third side 252, and the middle side 254 may form a generally U-shaped configuration with an interior space 247 and an opening 249 thereto. The retaining side 250 is constructed and arranged to engage with the rear extension structure 242 of the container 113, 115, or 117 when the latch structure 203 is in the latched position (see Fig. 20B). When the latch structure 203 is in the unlatched position, the opening 247 is forward facing (e.g., in the direction of A of Fig. 14, towards the rear extension structure 242 of the container 113, 115, or 117). In such position, the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 and the retaining portion 240 are not engaged with the rear extension structures 242 of the containers 113, 115, or 117. In some embodiments, the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 and the retaining portion 240 are integrally formed and may be formed from one piece of material. In one embodiment, the retaining portion 240 may be separated from the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 by a recess 205, as shown in Fig. 15. In this embodiment, the recess 205 provided between the retaining portion 240 and the retaining side 250 is constructed and arranged to receive a portion of the rear portion 208 of the handle structure 201.

[0067] An embodiment of the rear latch assembly 203 can be seen in more detail in Fig. 26. As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the retaining side 250 may be provided along the length of the latch bar 204. Thus, the latch bar 204 may be used to retain a plurality of containers 113, 115, and 117 simultaneously.

[0068] As shown in Fig. 27a, the latch member 206 is connected to the latch bar 204 via a first pin 400. A second pin 402 may be provided on the opposite end of latch bar 204. In some embodiments, the first pin 400 and the second pin 402 may either be separate or integral. The first pin 400 may be attached to the latch member 206 and the latch bar 204 via welding, riveting, adhesives, screws, or any other attachment mechanisms. Similarly, the second pin 402 may be attached to the latch bar 204 via welding, riveting, adhesives, screws, or any other attachment mechanisms.

[0069] As shown in Fig. 27a, the pin 402 may be received in a portion of the latch member 206, in a portion of the handle 14a, and in a portion of the latch bar 204. This configuration enables the latch bar 204 and the latch member 206 to be pivotally retained on the chassis 17a. Fig. 27b shows the pin 402 also pivotally retaining the latch bar 204 on the chassis 17a. The pin 402 is received in another portion of the latch bar 204 and in the rear extending portion 212 of the chassis 17a.

[0070] An operation of latching the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 to the latch structure 203 in accordance with an embodiment will be described as follows. The latch structure 203 may initially be in the unlatched position, as shown in Fig. 20A. The containers 113, 115, and/or 117 may be mounted on the mount structures 18a. Each of the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 may have the rear extension structure 242. The user may push the actuating end 245 of the latch member 206 in the counterclockwise direction. The latch member 206 may then be rotated in the counterclockwise direction along the point 238. Accordingly, the latch bar 204, which is operatively attached to the latch member 206, is also rotated in the counterclockwise direction. Thus, the retaining portion 240 and the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 are rotated in the counterclockwise direction towards the rear extension structures 242 of the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 until the latch structure 203 is in the latched position, as shown in Fig. 20B. In such a position, the retaining portion 240 and the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 are engaged with the rear extension structures 242 of the containers 113, 115, and/or 117. Thus, the movement of the containers 113, 22, and/or 117 in the direction of A is prevented. As mentioned above, a padlock or rod may be inserted through the aligned openings 244 and 248 to retain the latch structure 203 in the latched position.

[0071] To unlatch the latch structure 203, the user may push the actuating end 245 of the latch member 136 in the clockwise direction away from the locking structure 246. The retaining portion 240 and the retaining side 250 of the latch bar 204 may thus be disengaged from the rear extension structures 242 of the containers 113, 115, and/or 117. The latch structure 203 may then be in the unlatched position. In such a position, the opening 247 of the latch bar 204 of the latch structure 203 may be facing generally in the direction of A. The containers 113, 115, and/or 117 may then be moved in the direction of A to be removed from the chassis 17a.

[0072] It is contemplated that the examples described are not limiting, and other structures or any combination of structures may be used to latch the containers 113, 115, and/or 117 to the latch bar 204. It is also contemplated that the number, location, and configuration of the latch bar(s) 204 may vary.

[0073] It is contemplated that the containers 113, 115, and 117 may be constructed with vertical dimensions having a common denominator as described above with respect to containers 20, 22, and 24. The mounting bar 26a may also be constructed similarly as mounting bar 26, described above. Thus, the containers 113, 115, and 117 may be constructed with vertical dimensions having a common denominator that is dependent on the spacing between the openings 128a.

[0074] Figs. 21A-21 B, 22A-22B, and 23A-23B illustrate various embodiments of the containers 113, 115, and 117. As shown in Figs. 21A-21 B, the container 117 may have a lid 258 and a container portion 260. The container portion may include a left side or wall 262, a right side or wall 264, a front side or wall 266, a rear side or wall 268, and a bottom side or wall 270 that define a storage space 270 (see Fig. 21 B) for storing items. The lid 258 may be pivotally connected to the container portion 260 and may be moved between a closed position preventing access to the storage space 270 and an open position permitting access to the storage space 270. The lid 258 can be latched onto the container portion 260 of the container 117 via latches 272. The container latches 272 may vary in numbers (there may be one or more) and may be pivotable latches, buckles, or any other latching mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The latches 272 (or a single latch) of the container 117 may comprise latch members 276 that are constructed and arranged to engage with latch receiving portions 278 (see Fig. 21 B) located on the lid 258. The latch members 276 may be pulled to disengage from latch engaging portions 278 of the lid 258 so that the lid 258 may be opened to allow access to the contents of the container 117. In the illustrated embodiment, the lid 258 is provided with a left side latching structure 263 and a right side latching structure 265 constructed and arranged to enable the containers 117 to be latched directly to other containers (see Fig. 24). The container 117 may also be provided with a left side receiving structure 267 and a right side receiving structure 269 (see Fig. 21 B) on the container portion 260. The side receiving structures 267, 269 are constructed and arranged to receive side latches of other containers. The side latches 263, 265 and the operation of latching the container 117 directly to other containers will be described in more detail later. It is contemplated that the number and location of the side latches 263, 265 and side receiving structures 267, 269 may vary.

[0075] The lid 258 may be pivotally connected to the container portion 260 using hinges, pins, screws, fastenings, bolts, or any other connection mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The lid 258 may also be a slide-on lid which is slid on to container portion 260 or a snap-on lid that is snapped on to the container portion 260. It is contemplated that the methods of mounting the lid 258 on to the container portion 260 may vary and the number of lids 258 may vary. A handle 261 may be pivotally attached to the container portion 260 using pivot pins (not shown), although it is contemplated that other attachment mechanisms, such as rivets, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms known in the art may be used. It is also contemplated that the handle 261 may be attached to the lid 258 of the container 117 in other embodiments. It is also contemplated that in some embodiments, the container handle 261 may be fixed such that the container handle 260 may not be movable from one position to another.

[0076] In the illustrated embodiment, the container 117 is provided with the side handles 129 on the left side 262 and the right side 264. The handles 129 may be used to releasably connect the container 117 to the mount structures 18a in the same manner as the side handles 98, 100, 102 of the containers 20, 22, and 24, which are described above. That is, the side handles 129 of the container 117 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as the side handles 100 of the small container 22 described above to enable the container 117 to be releasably connected to the mount structures 18a.

[0077] In the illustrated embodiment, the storage space 270 of the container 117 has a removable tray 280 disposed therein. The removable tray 280 is divided into a plurality of compartments 282. An upper tray 284 may also be provided and may be pivotally attached to the container portion 260 via attachment structures 286. The attachment structures 286 may pivot to enable the upper tray 284 to move upwards and to the right (as shown in Fig. 21 B) to enable access to the compartments 282 of the removable tray 280. The attachment structures 286 may also pivot to enable the upper tray 284 to be disposed on top of the removable tray 280 so as to prevent access to the compartments 282 thereof.

[0078] Figs. 22A-22B illustrate an embodiment of the container 115. In this embodiment, the container 115 includes a lid 288 and a handle 290 located on the lid 288. The handle 290 may be pivotally attached to the lid 288 using pivot pins (not shown), although it is contemplated that other attachment mechanisms, such as rivets, fasteners, and other attachment mechanisms known in the art may be used. The container handle 290 may be disposed within a recess (not shown) formed in the lid 288 when the handle 290 is not in use and may be pivoted to an upright position when the handle 290 is in use. It is contemplated that in some embodiments, the container handle 290 may be fixed such that the container handle 290 may not be movable from one position to another.

[0079] As shown in Figure 22A, the lid 288 may be pivotally connected to a container portion 292. The lid 288 can be latched onto the container portion 292 of the container 115 via latches 294. The container latches 294 may vary in numbers (there may be one or more) and may be pivotable latches, buckles, or any other latching mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The lid 288 may be pivotally connected to the container portion 292 using hinges, pins, screws, fastenings, bolts, or any other connection mechanism as would be appreciated by one skilled in the art. The lid 288 may also be a slide-on lid which is slid on to container portion 162 or a snap-on lid that is snapped on to the container portion 292. It is contemplated that the methods of mounting the lid 288 on to the container portion 292 may vary and the number of lids 288 may vary. The container portion 292 may include two opposing side walls or sides 296, 298, a front wall or side 300, a rear wall or side 302, and a bottom wall or side 304 defining an interior space 306 (see Figure 12b). The side handles 127 may be used to releasably connect the container 115 to the mount structures 18a in the same manner as the side handles 98, 100, 102 of the containers 20, 22, and 24 described above. That is, the side handles 127 of the container 115 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as the side handles 100 of the small container 22 described above with respect to Figs. 3-4 to enable the container 115 to be releasably connected to the mount structures 18a. The container 115 may also be provided with a left side latching structure 287 and a right side latching structure 289 constructed and arranged to enable the container 115 to be latched directly to other containers (see Fig. 24). The container 115 may also be provided with a left side receiving structure 291 and a right side receiving structure 293 (see Fig. 22B) on the container portion 292. The side receiving structures 291, 293 are constructed and arranged to receive side latches of other containers. The side latches 287, 289 and the operation of latching the container 115 directly to other containers will be described in more detail later. It is contemplated that the number and location of the side latches 287, 289 and side receiving structures 291, 293 may vary.

[0080] The latches 294 (or a single latch) of the container 115 may comprise latch members 308 that are constructed and arranged to engage with latch receiving portions 310 (see Fig. 22B) located on the lid 288. The latch members 308 may be pulled to disengage from latch engaging portions of the lid 288 so that the lid 288 may be opened to allow access to the contents of the container 115.

[0081] As shown in Figure 22B, a removable tray 312 having a handle 314 may be carried within the container 115. The removable tray 312 may be held within the interior space 306 of the container 115 and may optionally be removed therefrom to be carried separately. An inner container 316 with a plurality of partitions 318 may also be held in the container 115. The inner container 316 with partitions 318 may be constructed and arranged to hold various kinds of screwdrivers and other tools. In one embodiment, the partitions 318 may be provided with rubber or other memory retention material that facilitates the positioning and retention of screwdrivers and/or other tools in the partitions 318. The removable tray 312 and the inner container 316 may be made of plastic, wood, metal, or other materials known in the art, or combinations thereof.

[0082] Figs. 23A-23B show an embodiment of the first container 113. In this embodiment, the container 113 may have a similar configuration as container 115 described with respect to Figs. 22A-22B. However, the container 113 may be larger than the container 115. For example, the container 113 may include a lid 320 latched to a container portion 322 with latches 324. A handle 326 may be provided on the lid 320. In this embodiment, a left side latch 325 and a right side latch 327 are provided on the container 113 and are constructed and arranged to enable the container 113 to be latched directly to other containers (see Fig. 24). The container 113 may also be provided with a left side receiving structure 329 and a right side receiving structure 331 (see Fig. 23B) on the container portion 322. The side receiving structures 329, 331 are constructed and arranged to receive side latches of other containers. The side latches 325, 327 and the operation of latching the container 113 directly to other containers will be described in more detail later. It is contemplated that the number and location of the side latches 325, 327 and the side receiving structures 329, 331 may vary.

[0083] The container portion 322 may include two opposing side walls 326, 328, a front wall 330, a back wall 332, and a bottom wall 334 defining an interior space 335 (see Fig. 23B) for storing items. As shown in Fig. 23B, a removable tray 336 may be provided in the interior space 335. An inner container 338 with partitions 340 may also be provided in the interior space 335. The removable tray 336 and the inner container 338 may have similar configurations as the removable tray 312 and the inner container 316 of the container 115 shown in Figs. 22A-22B. The container 113 may also be provided with the side handles 125 that may be used to releasably connect the container 113 to the mount structures 18a in the same manner as the side handles 98, 100, 102 of the containers 20, 22, and 24 described above. That is, the side handles 125 of the container 115 may be constructed and arranged in a similar manner as the side handles 100 of the container 22 described above with respect to Figs. 3-4 to enable the container 113 to be releasably connected to the mount structures 18a.

[0084] In the embodiment of Fig. 24, the side latches 325 (obstructed from view in this embodiment) and side latch 327 can be moved between a latched position wherein the container 115 is prevented from being removed from the container 113 and an unlatched position wherein the container 115 is permitted to be removed from the container 113. Similarly, the side latch 287 (obstructed from view in this embodiment) and side latch 289 can be moved between a latched position wherein the container 117 is prevented from being removed from container 115 and an unlatched position wherein the container 117 is permitted to be removed from the container 115. In this embodiment, for the container 115 to be removable from container 113, both side latches 327, 329 should be in the unlatched position. For the container 117 to be removable from container 115, both side latches 325, 327 should be in the unlatched position. The latching of the containers 113, 115, and 117 shown in this embodiment is not intended to be limiting. For example, any combination and number of containers 113, 115, and 117 may be latched, and the containers 113, 115, and 117 may be latched in any order and are not limited to the configuration shown in Fig. 24.

[0085] The configuration and operation of the side latch 327 of the container 113 will be described with respect to Figs. 25A-25C. It is contemplated that the side latches 263, 265 of the container 117, the side latches 287, 289 of the container 115, and the side latch 325 of the container 113 may have similar configurations as the side latch 327 and may operate in a similar manner.

[0086] As shown in Fig. 25A, the latch 327 may include a middle portion 348 and two upper portions 350, 352 extending from the middle portion 348. The upper portions 350, 352 may facilitate the latching and unlatching of the latch structure 327. Grooves may be provided on the upper portions 350, 352 to facilitate the grasping of the upper portions 350, 352. An elongated protrusion 354 may be provided on the middle portion 348. The elongated protrusion 354 may have an elongated groove 353 disposed underneath thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, the elongated protrusion 354 is provided on the middle portion 348 near the upper portions 350, 352. The elongated protrusion 354 may be constructed and arranged to engage with the right side receiving structure 293 of the container 115. The container 113 may include a depression 349 formed on the lid 320. A bottom surface 351 may be formed in the depression 351. In one embodiment, the side latch structure 327 may be pivotally connected to the lid 320 near or in the depression 351. When the side latch structure 327 is not being used to latch container 113 to another container, the side latch structure 327 may be pivoted to a stored position (see Fig. 23A) in the depression 349 wherein the elongated protrusion 354 is facing or disposed against the bottom surface 351. It is contemplated that a biasing member, such as a spring, may be used to bias the side latch structure 327 towards the depression 349, or in any position.

[0087] In this embodiment, the right side receiving structure 293 is an elongated ridge provided in a depression 356 formed near the right wall 298 of the container 115. The right side receiving structure 293 may extend upwards from a bottom surface 358 of the depression 356. In one embodiment, the bottom surface 358 of the depression may be situated lower than the bottom wall 304 of the container 115. The containers 117 and 113 may also have a similar configuration. The side latch 327 may optionally be provided with a second elongated protrusion 360 disposed beneath the elongated protrusion 354.

[0088] The latch 327 of container 113 may be latched to the side receiving structure 293 of container 115 to latch container 113 and 115 in accordance with an embodiment as follows. Before the container 115 is stacked on container 113, the side latch 327 may be pivoted away from the stored position (see Fig. 23A) wherein the side latch 327 is disposed in the depression 349 to a position outside of the depression 349 (see Fig. 25A). As shown in Fig. 20A, the container 115 may then be stacked on top of container 113 such that the side latch 327 of container 113 is disposed beneath the side receiving structure 293 of container 115. The latch structure 327 may be pivoted upwards in the counterclockwise direction, as shown in Fig. 25B. The elongated protrusion 354 of the side latch 327 may be pushed against the side receiving structure 293 until the side receiving structure 293 is disposed in the groove 353 underneath the elongated protrusion 353 and a portion of the elongated protrusion 353 is disposed to the left of the side receiving structure 293, as shown in Fig. 25C. The elongated protrusion 354 and the side receiving structure 293 may have resilient properties that enable the elongated protrusion 354 to move over the side receiving structure 293 so that the side receiving structure 293 may be received in the groove 353. In this position, the latch 327 and the side receiving structure 293 are in the latched position that prevents container 115 from being removed from container 113.

[0089] To unlatch the side latch 327 from the side receiving structure 293, the user may pull on the upper portions 305, 352 of the latch 327 to move the latch 327 downward in the clockwise direction. The resilient properties of the elongated protrusion 354 and the side receiving structure 293 enables the side receiving structure 293 to move out of the groove 354 when sufficient force has been applied. The side latch 327 may then be pivoted downwards to the position shown in Fig. 25A so that the container 115 may be unlatched and removed from container 113. As mentioned above, for container 115 to be removed from container 113, the side latch 325 (see Fig. 23A) of container 113 should also be unlatched from the side receiving structure 291 of container 115. As also mentioned above, the side latches 263, 265 of the container 117, the side latches 287, 289 of the container 115, and the side latch 325 of the container 113 may have similar configurations as the side latch 327 and may operate in a similar manner. It should be appreciated that the configuration, location, and number of side latches and side receiving structures may vary in other embodiments.

[0090] Although the invention has been described in detail for the purpose of illustration based on what is currently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that such detail is solely for that purpose and that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, but, on the contrary, is intended to cover modifications and equivalent arrangements that are within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For example, it is to be understood that the present invention contemplates that, to the extent possible, one or more features of any embodiment may be combined with one or more features of any other embodiment.


Claims

1. An apparatus (10) for transporting articles between working locations, comprising:

one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels (12) mounted towards the bottom of the apparatus for rotation about an axis to provide rolling support for the apparatus;

a manually engageable pulling handle (14), the pulling handle and the one or more ground engaging wheels being arranged to enable a user to manually pull the pulling handle generally rearwardly so as to tilt the apparatus rearwardly to a tilted rolling movement position, thereby enabling the user to roll the apparatus to a desired location by pushing or pulling the pulling handle in a desired direction;

a frame (16);

one or more mount structures (18) adjustably connected to the frame; and

a plurality of containers (20, 22, 24) releasably connected to the one or more mount structures, the apparatus characterised by including one or more attachment structures (28) to connect the one or more mount structures to the frame and wherein the attachment structures enable the one or more mount structures to be adjusted on and/or removed from the frame.


 
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the plurality of containers comprise one or more coupling elements (94, 100), which provide releasable connections with the one or more mount structures and the one or more coupling elements are formed as part of respective handles on at least one of the plurality of containers.
 
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the apparatus comprises a support structure (46) providing a ground engaging surface, the ground engaging surface being located forwardly of said one or more rotatable ground engaging wheels and being constructed and arranged to engage the ground when the apparatus is in an upright position.
 
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the one or more mount structures are rotatable on the frame between a folded position and an extended position.
 
5. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the one or more coupling elements comprise a latch mechanism (94, 100) to latch the containers to the one or more mount structures and each of the plurality of containers comprise side handles, the side handles comprising the latch mechanism to latch the containers to the one or more mount structures.
 
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the containers comprises a container portion (52), a drawer housing portion (54) that is slideable relative to the container portion, and a drawer portion that is slideable relative to the drawer housing portion.
 
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein at least one of the containers comprises a drawer portion and a container portion, the drawer portion having an upwardly facing opening, and the drawer portion being movable to an open position wherein access to contents of the drawer portion is permitted when the container is connected to the one or more mount structures.
 
8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the drawer portion is slideable relative to the container portion between an open position to permit access to the contents of the drawer portion through the upwardly facing opening and a closed position to prevent access to the contents of the drawer portion through the upwardly facing opening.
 
9. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein a front portion of the drawer is pivotally movable to allow access to the contents of the drawer.
 
10. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein in the closed position, the upwardly facing opening of the drawer portion is disposed beneath the container portion.
 
11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein one of the plurality of containers comprises latches (325) constructed and arranged to latch the one of the plurality of containers directly to another one of the plurality of containers.
 
12. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the frame comprises a rear latching assembly constructed and arranged to latch the plurality of containers to the frame so as to prevent the removal of the plurality of containers therefrom.
 
13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the rear latching assembly comprises a pivotable latch bar and one of the plurality of containers comprises a receiving structure constructed and arranged to receive at least a portion of the latch bar.
 
14. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the containers is independently mounted on the frame to enable removal of one of the containers without removal of any of the other containers.
 
15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein each of the containers is independently mounted on the frame via one or more mount structures connected to the frame and wherein the one or more mount structures are adjustable on the frame.
 




Drawing























































































REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description