A container system for packing live lobsters and other crustaceans
has two sidewall components, and optional intermediate wall components,
with mating faces formed with uniformly spaced vertical pockets.
There may be a separable bottom component as well. The components
may be separately molded for interchangeable fit, or cut out from
a common core molding as a matched set. Together the y form an open
top box, with pockets aligned to form open top cells for holding
lobsters, tail first. A top is used to contain the live lobsters
under a cooling gel pack or layer of ice. The closed box may be
further enclosed in a sleeve and liner for additional security and
protection against leakage. The box can be opened one component
at a time, exposing only one layer of lobsters at a time, permitting
easy inspection and removal of each lobster.
1. A packing box for lobsters and other crustaceans, comprising:
at least two opposing side walls, each with a vertical mating face
and a lid mating face, each said vertical mating face formed with
at least one vertically elongate open top pocket; at least one cell
partition wall with two opposing said vertical mating faces, each
said vertical mating face likewise formed with at least one said
vertically elongate open top pocket, each said side wall component
being connectable to at least one said mating face of said cell
partition wall opposing said pockets aligned in pairs forming open
top vertical cells for said lobsters and other crustacens; wherein
all said walls are fabricated of insulating foam; and a lid, said
lid removably closable over the lid mating face of said open top
box so as to form a common headspace, said open top vertically elongate
pockets communicating with said common headspace.
2. A packing box for lobsters according to claim 1 said at least
one pocket being six pockets uniformly spaced along said mating
3. A packing box for lobsters according to claim 1 said vertical
mating faces being configured with a mating channel and flange structure
extending along the sides and bottom thereof.
4. A packing box for lobsters according to claim 1 said box fabricated
of molded polystyrene.
5. A packing container system for lobsters and other crustaceans,
comprising an open top box containing an array of open top vertical
cells and a matching box lid, said box and said lid being of molded
foam construction, said box consisting of two side wall parts and
at least one partition wall part cut along vertical cut lines from
a common molded foam component so as to expose vertical mating faces,
each said vertical mating face having at least one vertically elongate
open pocket, said pocket being a portion of a said open top vertical
cell divided by said vertical cut line, said parts being removably
connectable at said vertical mating faces with said pockets aligned
as said open top vertical cells, said lid being removably closable
on said box so as to form a common headspaee, said open top vertical
cells communicating with said common headspace.
6. A packing container system for lobsters according to claim 5
further comprising a bottom part cut along a horizontal line from
said common molded foam component so as to expose a horizontal mating
face on said bottom part and a bottom side mating face on each of
said wall parts.
7. A packing container system for lobsters according to claim 6
said bottom part comprising bottom surfaces of said cells.
8. A packing container system for lobsters according to claim 5
comprising a sealing flange around the topside perimeter of said
box and a mating scaling flanged around the underside perimeter
of said lid.
9. A packing container system for lobsters according to claim 5
said array of open top vertical cells being a four by six array.
10. A packing box for lobsters according to claim 5 said wall
parts having six said pockets uniformly distributed along each said
vertical mating face.
11. A packing container system according to claim 5 said box and
said lid constructed of molded polystyrene.
12. A packing container system according to claim 5 further comprising
an outer plastic scaling bag and a corrugated box enclosure for
said box and lid.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Technical Field of the Invention
This invention relates to containers for packing live lobsters
and crustaceans for shipment by carriers of all types; and in particular
to an insulated and compartmentalized container system for the orderly
packing, shipping, and unpacking of live lobsters.
2. Background Art
For many years there has been a large demand for live lobsters
at areas distant from where the lobsters are harvested. To satisfy
this demand, lobsters have been packaged and shipped great distances,
including shipment by air transport.
Initially lobsters were shipped in wooden crates and boxes. This
was changed to a less expensive means such as wax boxes or curtain
coated boxes. Eventually, boxes were produced of foamed polymers
such as polystyrene (Styrofoam.TM.) or similar low density, injection
molded plastic. At first, the foam plastic was used as an outer
wall or box, for its insulation value. Lobster are a live product,
and must be kept continuously cool from the time caught, through
initial processing, packing, shipment, retail handling and sale,
to final delivery to the consumer's kitchen. Mortality of the lobsters
while in the channel of distribution results from various problems,
most of which can be generally labeled as heat damage. The need
for effective insulation, in part, led to the development of a box
produced and distributed under the trademark, Cloud Pack.TM., a
mark and product with which this applicant is not associated.
The Cloud Pack.TM. box is a commercial embodiment of the design
disclosed in LaRosa's U.S. Pat. No. 5218923 issued Jun. 15 1993.
It is a foam plastic packing system in the form of a three piece
box; the preformed pieces consisting of a top section or cover,
an intermediate section with an open top and bottom and two longitudinal
partitions, and a lower section with vertically oriented, open top
compartments. The three sections are all made of Styrofoam, and
interlock with tongue and groove joints.
The top section dimensions are 141/2 inches wide, 25 inches long
and 3 inches high, with a 1 inch Styrofoam wall and top thickness,
providing about two inches of depth within the cover section. The
intermediate section dimensions are 141/2 wide, 25 inches long,
and 6 inches high with the two partitions about one quarter inch
thick running from end to end, and with about a one and one half
inch wall thickness around the sides. The bottom section dimensions
are 141/2 inches wide, 25 inches long, five inches high, with individual,
open top, vertically oriented, square cells that are about four
inches deep, suitable for tail first stuffing with a lobster of
suitable size. The number of cells varies between box models. There
are three types a 32 cell box, a 28 cell box, and a 21 cell box
known to the applicant, the numbers generally varying inversely
with the size of the lobster for which the box is intended.
Cell Size Lobster Size 20 cell 11/2 pound lobster 28 cell 11/4
pound lobster 32 cell 1 pound lobster
The Cloud Pack requires an aluminum jig fitting over the cell network
of the bottom section, as a further upward extending partition used
to keep the lobsters claws separated during the packing process.
If the jig is lifted prematurely, even a small amount, lobster parts
may spill underneath it and it will likely be impossible to reposition
the jig to complete the fill. So the box must be emptied, the jig
repositioned, and the box refilled again. When filled and closed,
the box is banded for shipment. Some freight carriers will accept
the box in this fashion; others require or prefer that it be enclosed
and sealed in an outer shipping carton, to reduce the likelihood
of leakage in transit.
When unloading the box at the retail end, after removal of the
cover, the refrigerator ice pack or ice and wet paper, and the intermediate
section of the box, the lobster's claws and head and upper body
are exposed. The user must carefully lift each lobster from its
individual compartment. If not done carefully claws can break away,
in part because even under the most careful removal technique, the
sharp edges of the lobster's tail may rake, rip and hold onto the
foam cell partition, resisting the tug on its claws. Even when successful,
the raking action is likely to cause small beads to break away and
fragment from the compartment partitioning structure. This foam
debris clings to the lobster, causing a further problem when the
lobster is put into a tank or container containing a filtration
system. The foam beads float on top of the water and tend to clog
filters and pumps.
The first Styrofoam boxes, intended mainly for their insulation
value, were open boxes into which the lobster were stacked horizontally,
as they had been in the earlier wooden crates. Lobsters were laid
down one on top of the other by various standard weights. Examples
are listed below:
Box Name Box Weight TP3 or TP30* 25 to 30 pound Styrofoam boxes
TP40 40 pounds TP50 or TP1 50 pounds *also known as the Canadian
The TP stands for Tech Pak which is a manufacturer of Styrofoam
boxes. There are other companies that make or distribute these boxes
using the initials of their company as the first two letters of
the box. An example is Arjay National, with its AN30 and AN40 boxes.
Other companies make other foam boxes with various shapes according
to their weight capacity, as an inner box component to their lobster
packing system. All generally use the foam box as an insulating
shell providing approximately 3/4 inch wall thickness for insulation
value. Once filled and closed, the foam boxes are inserted into
a corrugated cardboard carton as the outer layer of the shipping
Other prior art providing context for an understanding of the disclosure
that follows includes Flynn's U.S. Pat. No. 5555845 Container
and Method for Transporting Live Crustaceans, issued Sep. 17 1996;
Spiegel's U.S. Pat. No. 5390815 Container with Adjustable Compartments,
issued Feb. 21 1995; Doughty's U.S. Pat. No. 3958359 Sportsman's
Combination Receptacle and Ice Chest, issued May 25 1976; and Hisey's
U.S. Pat. No. 5050335 Minnow and Fish Preserving Container, issued
Sep. 24 1991.
Styrofoam boxes created a better packaging for the lobsters and
other crustaceans. However, mortality problems were still a significant
factor so alternative solutions were tried, cell packing probably
being the most significant. Inside the various boxes, there is a
celled partition system of squares, somewhat like a grid or honeycomb,
commonly a set of crisscrossing cardboard partitions that is inserted
into the box prior to filling. The partitioning system gives each
lobster its own individual compartment or cell, preventing the crushing
of lobsters by their collective weight and by jostling while in
transit, which causes damage and ultimately some degree of mortality.
This new partition packing arrangement has basically taken over
the packaging industry in specific areas such as loose freight or
individual store deliveries. It is mostly used to provide the customer
or end user a high quality live lobster. Further steps were taken
to make an even stronger sturdier box or series of boxes known as
the HDS series. Two of which are known as the HDS5 and HDS6. The
HDS5 is used mostly as a plain Styrofoam box shipped to Japan. Basically
it is the same as a TP40 except, slight different shape. Most importantly
a thicker foam wall providing more insulation value is still used
with a cell partition as is the HDS6.The HDS6 being a slightly taller
box used with a thick outer corrugated and a 24 cell partition.
Although these foam box systems provide more insulation value that
the older wooden crates, they still are not the ultimate solution
to the packing problems a lobster company faces. Styrofoam boxes
with cell partition seem to be the way to ship a better quality
lobster with lower mortality, but they need to be incorporated together
to provide even better shipping and greater ease of packing and
unpacking of the lobsters, and elimination of the foam debris. These
reasons will make the design of a new box more desirable for reasons
of labor costs, mortality, ease of manufacturing and better handling
at the retail end. Incorporating cell partitions and other benefits
of injection molded components into a single box system is what
the following design is all about.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the invention to provide a box for packing,
transporting, and unpacking live lobsters and other crustaceans,
consisting of at least two sidewall components, each with a mating
face, each mating face formed with at least one elongate, open top
pocket. The two sidewall components are removably connectable at
their mating faces to form an open top box, with the pockets aligned
so as to form open top cells into which lobsters can be inserted
tail first. There is also a top component which is removably connectable
to the topside of the box formed by the joining of the two sidewall
components face to face.
It is a further object of the invention to provide for the box
at least one cell partition component with two mating faces, where
each mating face is likewise formed with at least one elongate open
top pocket. Each of the sidewall components is connectable to at
least one mating face of the cell partition so as to have the assemblage
of all components form an open top box. The top component in this
case would be of a suitable size to fit the open top box with its
cell partition layer between the sidewall components.
It is a yet further object of the invention that the at least one
pocket on a mating face be four pockets uniformly distributed on
the mating face.
It is another object of the invention that it be deconstructable
during unloading so as to first remove the top, set the box on end,
and then remove the upper sidewall so as to split open a first row
of cells for inspection and removal of the first row lobsters, and
then to remove subsequent layers of the box, exposing subsequent
rows of lobsters for inspection and removal.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become
readily apparent to those skilled in this art from the following
detailed description, wherein we have shown and described only a
preferred embodiment of the invention, simply by way of illustration
of the best mode contemplated by us on carrying out our invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective, exploded view of a preferred embodiment
of the invention, utilizing reversible, common sidewalls, three
common cell partitions, and a top, to form a 16 cell packing box.
FIG. 2 is a split, top view of a pair of reversible sidewalls of
the invention, illustrating the alternating left side, right side
tongue and groove feature that permits use of a common sidewall.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a packing box sitting on one end,
from which the top and the other sidewall have been removed, illustrating
the unpacking order for exposing one row at a time for easy removal.
FIG. 4 is a top view of another preferred embodiment box of the
invention, illustrating a four by six array of cells.
FIG. 5 is a lengthwise cross section view of the box of FIG. 4
together with a matching top.
FIG. 6 is a spanwise cross section view of the box of FIG. 4 together
with the matching top of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a perspective, exploded view of the box of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring generally to FIGS. 1-3 a preferred embodiment of the
invention has a foam packing box component, consisting of eight
interlocking pieces which all join together in a tongue and groove
fashion. The assembled box is 22 inches wide, 153/4 inches long,
and 14 inches high, and contains cells for 24 lobsters. The pieces
are fabricated of polystyrene or other low density, injection molded
plastic foam. The design incorporates a honeycomb-like web of cell
partitions, which when the box is assembled, gives each lobster
its own molded foam sleeve.
The eight pieces of the preferred embodiment consist of only three
unique components: a side wall, of which two are used; a cell partition,
of which five are used; and a top, of which one is used. These components
are illustrated in FIG. 1 as side wall 10 cell partition 20 and
top 30. The FIG. 1 embodiment uses only three cell partitions 20
but the principle is the same. A side wall is a unitary block of
injection molded plastic four inches wide and 153/4 inches long,
with 4 half moon circles or semi-circular cylindrical sections formed
111/2 inches deep, open at the top and on a common face and narrowing
slightly as they go down. The FIG. 3 embodiment uses only three
cells 50 per row, but the principle is the same.
Illustrating the basic characteristics and flexibility inherent
in the component design, two of the side walls can be joined directly
together, face to face, the half cells of each face together forming
four circular cells 50 of about 3 inches top diameter, tapering
to about 21/2 inches diameter at the bottom, so as to have a 4 cell
box eight inches wide and 153/4 inches long. FIG. 2 illustrates
the coupling of a pair of side walls 10 face to face. There is
about one and one half inch of insulating foam underneath and on
all four sides of the network of cells. To complete this four cell
embodiment would require an eight by 153/4 inch formed top, not
part of the three component embodiment described but fully within
the scope of the invention as the third or a fourth component, enabling
the assembly of a four cell box when desired.
The cell partition component of the preferred embodiment is a unitary
block of injection molded material four inches wide and 153/4 inches
long, with mating tongue and groove features 40 on the side and
bottom of the two 153/4 inch faces for mating to the side walls,
each face further formed for cells with the same four semi-circular
cylinder openings running down on each side about 111/2 inches deep,
open on the top side with about a 3 inch diameter, open in cross
section on the face of the block, and tapering somewhat to about
a 21/2 inch diameter as you go from top to the closed bottom end.
The spacing and partition thickness between the cells is the same
as for the side walls; the insulating foam thickness at the four
inch walls is about one and one half inch, corresponding to that
of the side walls.
The tongue and groove interlocking detail 40 of the preferred embodiment,
evident in the details of FIG. 2 is configured to permit either
face of a cell partition component to mate with either face of another
cell partition component or to the mating face of a side wall component.
The common mating face scheme provides that the U shaped perimeter
of the mating face is divided left and right so as to have one side
configured with a tongue or male structure of the tongue and groove
scheme, and the other side configured with the mating groove structure
of the tongue and groove scheme. Either face of a cell partition
component will present the same orientation of alternating tongue
and groove to a side wall component or to another cell partition
One or more of the cell partitions, this particular embodiment
described as using five partitions, can be assembled between pairs
of side walls, forming boxes with increments of four cells, or such
number as is desirable, up to the weight and size limit of the design.
The top of the box for the preferred 24 cell embodiment, is one
and one half inches thick, 28 inches long, and 17 inches wide, with
a 21/2 inch height or lip which contributes to the common headspace
within the box required for the ice, a feature specific to the prior
art of lobster lacking boxes in this respect. After the open, 24
cell box has been assembled and filled with lobsters, and covered
with ice, the lop component is applied with a tongue and groove
feature 40 to enclose the lobsters within the assemblage of side
walls and cell partitions, creating a full, closed, foam lobster
packing box. The foam box is then inserted endwise into a thin corrugated
cardboard sleeve to keep the components locked together. The corrugated
sleeve box is configured with a plastic liner, which is sealed after
the foam box is in place, to avoid leakage.
It will be apparent that the lined sleeve and the foam top are
unique to each size of box that is desired. While a manufacturer
or distributor may produce and inventory a wide range of assembled
box sizes, users will likely select one or two sizes to inventory
at the local level.
As will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, the width
of the box, and the number and size of the cells in a row, and the
total number of rows can be increased or decreased from that of
the preferred embodiment. However, a limitation of the common mating
face approach of the preferred embodiment is that the pattern of
cells in system defined by one row of cells per reversible component,
is limited to a rectangular grid-like pattern. This is so that the
reversing of a cell partitioning section will retain the same positioning
of the cell pockets for proper match up to the cell pockets of the
mating component. An alternative scheme provides for unidirectional
tongue and groove mating components, and two different, alternating,
cell partitions so that a staggered row, more closely packed cell
pattern can be achieved. This and many other variations in the cell
distribution, partition layers and mating configurations, are within
the scope of the invention.
The basic components with various size tops and sleeves can be
inventoried and assembled for any size box within the scope of the
design, in increments of four cells or whatever standardized box
width and cell row count is selected as the basis for all the components.
However, the invention is novel and important in a number of additional
ways. You need no tools to pack the box, as it is normally supplied
to the lobster processor fully assembled, and has no separate cell
partition structure that must be installed or that might become
misaligned or lifted during packing. The cell partitioning is integral
to the box. This makes the box lighter, cheaper, and with the maximum
insulating value compared to other shell-type boxes with partition
But the most desirable reason for using the invention is the way
it unpacks. After taking off the cardboard sleeve and liner, then
removing the cover and the gel pack or ice and wet paper, the box
is turned up on one side wall and the box can be disassembled one
layer at a time, fully exposing each row of four lobsters, each
laid out it its own semi-circular cell pocket or trough for easy
inspection and removal. Each lobster is easily viewed and removed
from its pocket without risk of tearing off its claws or raking
foam debris off the cell wall as in the prior art case. FIG. 3 illustrates
Referring now to FIGS. 4-7 another preferred embodiment of the
invention has a foam packing box component, cast as one piece, and
hot wire sawn lengthwise into four interlocking partition pieces
and a bottom member, which are all kept mated together at their
sawn joints. The assembled box is about 22 inches wide, 15 inches
long, and 14 inches high, and contains rectangular cells for 24
lobsters. The cover is formed separately, with provision for tongue
and groove mating to the box component. As in the prior art and
in other embodiments of the invention, the cover and the box when
assembled provide a common headspaee 26 by which the cooling effects
of the ice pack are communicated to the vertically elongate open
top pockets or cells 24. Provisions for headspace 26 are clearly
illustrated in FIGS. 1 5 6 and 7. The pieces are fabricated of
polystyrene or other low density, injection molded plastic foam.
The design incorporates a honeycomb-like web of cell partitions,
which when the box is assembled, gives each lobster its own molded
The six pieces of this preferred embodiment consist of two side
walls; two partitions; and a bottom, which are formed in matched
sets from a common original one piece box, and the top member 31
an interchangeable piece similar to top 30 of the prior embodiment
FIG. 1. The sawn components are illustrated in FIG. 7 as side walls
41 and 45 cell partitions 42-44 and bottom 46. Referring to FIGS.
4-6 the box starts out as a unitary block of injection molded plastic,
with a four by six array of 24 square tubular, open top cells extending
about 111/2 inches deep, with generously rounded corners, in which
the lobsters are eventually stowed for shipment. The long wall partitions
47 spanning six rolls of cells, are of uniform height. The short
wall partitions 48 extending across four rows of cells, have about
a three inch deep notch from the top down, providing extra finger
or tool room for inserting and extracting lobsters.
The bottom 46 is sawn off as a complete panel along horizontal
cut line 50 side walls and partitions 41-45 are wire sawn along
generally vertical cutting line 51-54. Vertical cutting lines 51-54
are curved into slight arcs, providing a keyed aspect to the cut
line that facilitates alignment and avoids inadvertent misassemble.
Considered separately, the sawn components are readily identifiable
as analogous to the components of the first embodiment, with the
sidewalls and cell partitions having respective open side cell pockets
which when the parts are mated, form the open top cells described.
It should be noted that the sawn separate bottom panel of the second
embodiment is distinguished from the first embodiment wall panels
which have cell bottoms integral to the cell pockets of the cell
partition configuration, but these two features are interchangeable
at the design stage, and both are within the scope of the invention.
In other words, a variation of the first embodiment might have a
formed bottom component, and a variation of the second embodiment
might not require a sawn bottom component.
These parts are then bound together tightly at their respective
sawn joints by a plastic sheath into an integral box container.
The partition thickness is uniformly the same between cells. The
sawn joints have a non-slip interface characteristic that inhibits
any displacement of interior short wall sections within the box
as it is being filled, and retains its full insulating and protective
While the practice is that the sawn component parts be retained
as a matched set in the completed box, the precision with which
these parts are produced enables them to be interchanged with the
like parts from other boxes off the same production line. Hot wire
sawing is a commonly used technique for reducing and shaping larger
blocks of foam materials into desired sizes and shapes, but any
technique of cutting or sawing one block of material into two useable
pieces so as to produce a uniform joint line by which the two parts
can be easily mated, is within the scope of the invention.
After the open, 24 cell box has been assembled and filled with
lobsters, and covered with ice, the top component is applied with
a tongue and groove feature to enclose the lobsters within the assemblage
of side walls and cell partitions, creating a full, closed, foam
lobster packing box. The foam box is then inserted endwise into
a thin corrugated cardboard sleeve to keep the components locked
together. The corrugated sleeve box is configured with a plastic
liner, which is sealed after the foam box is in place, to avoid
As will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, the width
of the box, and the number and size of the cells in a row, and the
total number of rows can be increased or decreased from that of
the preferred embodiment. The limitation of the prior embodiment
to a rectangular grid of cells is not applicable here, where the
sawn components are retained in their original configuration for
the filling and shipping phases of box use. For example, there could
be a box with a single roll of cells, split once by a sawn joint
so as to be openable for presentation and selection of the lobsters
at the destination or place of retail distribution. Such a box might
have only two side wall panels. And whether there be one or more
rolls of cells, the bottom need not be sawn for separation in embodiments
where the wall members are sawn all the way through the bottom layer
of the box.
As in the prior embodiment, no tools are needed to pack the box
of this embodiment, as it is normally supplied to the lobster processor
fully assembled, and has no separate cell partition structure that
must be installed or that might become misaligned or lifted during
packing. The cell partitioning is integral to the box. This makes
the box lighter, cheaper, and with the maximum insulating value
compared to other shell-type boxes with partition inserts.
But again, in this and all embodiments, the most desirable reason
for using the invention is the way it unpacks. After taking off
the cardboard sleeve and liner, then removing the cover and the
gel pack or ice and wet paper, the box is turned up on one side
wall and the box can be disassembled one layer at a time, fully
exposing each row of six lobsters, each laid out it its own cell
pocket or trough for easy inspection and removal. Each lobster is
easily viewed and removed from its pocket without risk of tearing
off its claws or raking foam debris off the cell wall as in the
prior art case.
While the preferred embodiments presented are of molded foam construction,
preferably polystyrene, any other materials with adequate structural
and insulating qualities can be used, and other methods than molding
and cutting or hot wire sawing, including machining with hard tools
or lasers or the light or combinations thereof.
In summary, the invention provides a better packing system for
lobsters that permits the production of a range of box sizes utilizing
common principle components, a box with deeper cells that is more
easily loaded, a more substantial partition structure between cells,
and a row by row exposure of cells at unloading that splits the
cell lengthwise for horizontal display of the lobster and easy removal
without damage to the lobster and without the raking off and clinging
of cell wall material to the lobster.
Other examples of the invention will be readily apparent to those
skilled in the art for example, there is a packing box for lobsters
and other crustaceans, consisting of at least two side walls, each
with a vertical mating face and a top mating face, each vertical
mating face formed with at least one vertically elongate open top
pocket. The two side wall components are removably connectable at
the vertical mating face into an open top box with opposing pockets
aligned in pairs forming open top vertical cells for the lobsters
or other crustaceans.
There may be at least one cell partition wall with two opposing
vertical mating faces, where each vertical mating face is likewise
formed with at least one vertically elongate open top pocket, and
each side wall component is connectable to one of the mating faces
of the cell partition wall.
Of course, there will be a top that is removably closable over
the top mating face of the box. There may be six pockets, or more,
or less, uniformly spaced along each mating face. Also, the vertical
mating faces may be configured with a mating channel and flange
structure or configuration that extends along the sides and bottom
of each wall section so as to better align and seal them. And the
box may be fabricated of molded polystyrene.
As another example of the invention, there is a method for making
a packing box for lobsters and other crustaceans, that includes
the steps of forming a box with sides and a bottom and an integral
webwork of partitions that form a open top vertical cells, cutting
the box along a vertical cut line extending through the box from
one side to the other, into at least two wall parts where each part
contains at least one vertical pocket portion of at least one of
the vertical cells, and removably binding the parts together at
the vertical cut line such that parts may be later separated to
expose one row of lobsters or other crustaceans at a time for easy
inspection and removal.
There may be an array of vertical cells in the box. There may be
two side or outer wall parts and at least one cell partition wall
part, and preferably three cell partition wall parts.
The method may include a step for cutting a bottom panel or part
off the box along a horizontal cut line. The bottom panel may be
cut so as to contain the bottom portion or surface of the vertical
cells, or it might be cut lower for structural or other reasons
relating to the geometry of the design. Of course, the box may be
a foam box, and the cutting may be done by hot wire sawing techniques.
As yet another example of the invention, there is a packing container
system for lobsters and other crustaceans, that includes an open
top box containing an array of open top vertical cells and a matching
box top, where the box and top are of molded foam construction.
The box consists of two side wall parts and at least one partition
wall part cut along vertical cut lines from a common molded foam
component so as to expose vertical mating faces on each part. Each
vertical mating face has at least one vertically elongate open pocket,
where the pocket is a portion of an open top vertical cell as it
was divided by one of the vertical cut lines. The box parts are
removably connectable at their vertical mating faces with their
pockets aligned as to reform the open top vertical cells. And the
top is removably closable on the box.
There may be a bottom part cut along a horizontal line from the
common molded foam component so as to expose a horizontal mating
face on the bottom part and an opposing bottom side mating face
on each of the wall parts. The bottom part may contain the bottom
surfaces of the cells, depending on where the horizontal cut line
There may be a sealing flange around the topside perimeter of the
box and a mating sealing flange around the underside perimeter of
the top. The system may also include an outer plastic sealing bag
and a corrugated box enclosure to fully secure the box.
Other embodiments and variations within the scope of the specification,
figures and claims that follow, will be readily apparent to those
skilled in the art.