Patent application title: Method for packing easily breakable, product filled containers in unit loads
Rolf Miles Olsen (San Diego, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65B2704FI
Class name: Methods applying a partial cover partial covering of multiple cans, bottles (e.g., six-pack carrier)
Publication date: 2012-06-14
Patent application number: 20120144777
The invented method involves the formation of bundles of easily
breakable, load bearing product containers and the use of these to form
layers of product in shipping industry unit loads. The invented method is
intended to avoid the use of wine cases and similar boxes in unit loads.
1. A method of placing product in layers in unit loads, comprising:
having the product in b-containers; confining collections of two or more
product-filled b-containers to bundles bound by binding devices; placing
bound bundles of product filled b-containers on a substantially
horizontal surface which is either on top of the unit load's bottom
pallet or on top of already stacked product on said pallet; placing on
top of or to the side of a product layer of bundles of product filled
b-containers any other product needed to complete the stack of product in
the unit load, this may repeat the earlier steps of the method; and
unitization of the unit load.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 "Unit load" is a shipping industry term referring to goods or materials stacked on a shipping pallet which can be moved around storage areas, truck load beds etc. by forklift trucks and pallet jacks. Further, the collection of goods on the pallet needs to be packaged (with boxes, stretch wrap, strapping etc.) such that they act as a well bound unit that will stay intact as a unit during the bumps and jolts the unit may encounter in the journey from packing point to destination.
 Many unit loads, including the ones relevant here, are formed with stacks of normal box size, sub-units, like wine cases, that can each easily be picked up and moved by able-bodied adults. The sub-units need not be boxed, for example, some plastic bottled water ships on trays and is bound together with shrink-wrap plastic, while canned food is often shipped on cardboard trays with additional wrapping only going over several can-tray layers. These sub-units can be classified based on the load bearing ability of interior products: One type would have the box-size packaging bear the weight load of its contents and the weight of the sub-units stacked above it (for example, boxes containing bags of potato chips); another type uses the products, or their individual packaging, inside the sub-unit for load bearing (for example, the combination of water and water bottle in the trays of bottled water already mentioned); yet other sub-units use both the sub-unitizing packaging and the interior product to jointly carry the weight load of the sub-unit and sub-units stacked above (for example, a case of bananas).
 The history of the wine case long predates modern shipping techniques based on forklifts, pallets, unit loads and modern (truck-load size) containerization. Wine cases were being bumped next to travelers trunks on trains well before the spread of modern containerization. The old wine cases had to be tough to protect their wine from the rough transport conditions they endured. Even today, if they are shipped with mixed shipment mail and mail-like delivery services (by, for example, the US Postal Service or the United Parcel Service (UPS)), along with all manner of shapes of packages, through conveyor belt systems, mechanical sorting systems and several hand lifts, a wine case needs to be tough. However, the large majority of wine is now shipped using unit loads and modern shipping techniques that provide controlled and gentle shipping environments for wine.
 Beyond the physical functionality of protecting bottled wine and, perhaps, in part due to the old history, wine cases are now used widely in wine marketing. For example, it is common practice in supermarkets to stack wine cases in prominent positions to create feature displays to attract the attention of customers. These featured in-store wine displays (along with those of many other products) are usually topped with open trays, filled with wine-bottles, which have been formed by cutting off the top of an original wine case. The open tray both enhances the display by giving an open view of some of the wine bottles and makes it easy for customers to take a wine bottle for purchase. Although not usually done, it would be possible to maintain visual aspects of the display by just moving needed new stock into the open trays; however, common practice includes cutting down new display cases to form new open trays.
 Current life-cycles of corrugated fiberboard (cardboard) wine, spirit and bottled-water cases go as: (i) use as shipping containers from wineries, distilleries and other bottling/packing plants to store locations; (ii) then (often) use for in-store marketing display purposes; (iii) end-of-use and entry into the waste or recycling streams. This one-use life-cycle for corrugated cardboard cases is repeated for many other products and for cases made of materials other than corrugated fiberboard. Typically the corrugated fiberboard cases are in excellent condition up to the moment they are cut-up and/or deformed and sent into the waste or re-cycling streams. Since these cases are expensive (especially those used for display marketing purposes), significant cost reductions will be gained if the number of them paid for is significantly reduced.
 One possible approach to improve the expended costs in the current life-cycle is to attempt to return cases in excellent condition back to the packing plants to get more than one use out of them.
 Another possible approach is:  a) For the shipping (packing plant to store) stage of the life-cycle, use inexpensive minimal, containers capable of doing the shipping container function, rather than the relatively expensive ones currently used.  b) For in-store marketing display, and taking advantage of (a), change practices so that expensive cases used for display are less frequently put into the re-cycling stream. In particular, most of the time, re-stock feature display stacks with product taken from the minimal containers of (a) instead of the current practice of taking product out of a case in the in-store display stacks and terminating the display use of the case (or parts of it) by putting it in the waste re-recycling stream.  c) When wine cases are not used for in-store display purposes, the gain in reduced costs is very simple: The inexpensive minimal containers of (a) replace the expensive traditional cases in shipping for a straight, no extra steps, dollar saving and with less waste packaging to dispose of or to drive up the country's energy bill.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invented method involves the formation of bundles of load bearing product containers and the use of these to form a layer(s) of product in a unit load. The invented method is intended to avoid the use of wine cases and similar boxes in shipping industry unit loads.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
 FIG. 1 is a simplified top plan view of a bound bundle of seven b-containers to form a hexbind.
 FIG. 2 is a simplified top plan view of a bound bundle of six b-containers to form a 1-2-3 tribind.
 FIG. 3 is a simplified vertical section view, taken on line 3-3 of FIG. 1, showing binding devices around a hexbind and contact points between b-containers in the hexbind.
 FIG. 4 is a simplified vertical section view, taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 2, showing similarities in the vertical section 1-2-3 tribind to those of the vertical section of the hexbind shown in FIG. 3.
 FIG. 5 is a simplified plan view of a hexbind highlighting sections of the binding device that are (a) substantially co-linear with an encompassing regular hexagon and (b) in contact with similar binding device sections of neighboring hexbinds in a preferred embodiment honeycomb arrangement of hexbinds as shown in FIG. 8.
 FIG. 6 is a simplified plan view of a hexbind. It is in most respects identical to FIG. 5 but here the b-containers are substantially elliptical in horizontal section, rather than substantially circular, and it illustrates that the encompassing hexagon can be non-regular (not all hexagon edges are of the same length).
 FIG. 7 shows a non-exhaustive selection of bundle top plans likely to be practically functional, for bundles of between two and twelve b-containers (binding devices are omitted in FIG. 7).
 FIG. 8 is a simplified plan view of an arrangement of hexbinds in a horizontal layer of product in a palletized unit load. The arrangement shown is a preferred embodiment "honeycomb" arrangement for hexbinds.
 FIG. 9 is a simplified plan view of an arrangement of 1-2-3 tribinds in a horizontal layer of product in a palletized unit load. The arrangement shown is a preferred embodiment arrangement for 1-2-3 tribinds.
 FIG. 10 is a variation on FIG. 9 such that bundles have been removed relative to the FIG. 9 arrangement.
 FIG. 11 is a variation on FIG. 9 such that the layer of product of bundles of b-containers covers less than half the area of the pallet.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The detailed description starts with a lexicon for the remainder of the description and claims.
Normal, As-Designed Sense:
 In these definitions, description and claims, the general style is to take as understood and well defined phrases like "bottle bottom" and that the meaning of such a phrase is the commonly accepted meaning when the referenced bottle is being used normally as designed; even though, pedants might object that "bottle bottom" is ill-defined since, for example, a bottle can be laid on it's side or upside down (relative to it's as-designed, normal orientation) and in these other orientations different parts of the bottle are at it's bottom. In the following, whenever there is a single, under-normal-designed-for-conditions, commonly accepted meaning of an object or object element, then that is the intended meaning for this patent specification and claims.
Geometrical Terms and "Substantially":
 Many of the details of the method description and claims involve geometrical and space-describing terms. These terms are have been systematically prefaced with the word "substantially;" for example, "substantially elliptical" and "substantially co-linear." The intention of prefacing with "substantially" is to both avoid use of "elliptical", "co-linear" etc. in ways that mathematicians would precisely use them but also to use them in the sense that they are practical realizations that intend to and approximate the precise mathematical ideas. So, for example, our "substantially horizontal surface" is an intention toward and practical approximation of a mathematically horizontal surface in the same way a dining table table-top is a practical intention toward and approximation of a horizontal surface and the (substantially) circular plan of a wine bottle on the table-top is a practical intention toward and approximation of a mathematically precise circular plan.
 "Unit load" is a shipping industry term referring to goods or materials stacked on a shipping pallet which can be moved around storage areas, packing plant floors, beds of trucks and trains and the floors of large containers used in modern containerized shipping on ships, trucks, trains etc. by forklift trucks and pallet jacks. Further, the collection of goods on the pallet needs to be packaged/wrapped (with boxes, stretch wrap, strapping etc.), such that they (the collection of goods and the pallet) act as a well bound unit that will stay intact as a unit during the bumps and jolts the unit may encounter in a journey from packing point to destination (i.e. where the unit load is meant to be unwrapped/unstrapped to allow access to the packed products).
Unitization of the Unit Load:
 The process or the result of any standard shipping industry practice(s) that holds products stacked on top of a shipping pallet and the shipping pallet together as a unit load.
 Most glass bottles and jars found on supermarket shelves qualify as b-containers and b-containers are the product containers mentioned in the patent abstract. The definition of b-container has three main aspects, form/function, material and strength/breakability.
 As to form/function, all b-containers, including most common bottles, have bottoms on which they can stand up-right resting on substantially horizontal table-tops, shelves and storage surfaces and these bottoms allow them to remain stably up-right on these horizontal surfaces for a day and more, if left alone. B-containers have an opening at their tops, for allowing product, they can contain, in and out, and this opening can be closed by an opening sealer(s) including lids, corks, stoppers, plastic membranes or metal foils. During storage and transport, b-container top openings are sealed and closed and the opening sealers are considered integral parts of the b-container they close and seal. B-containers have top plans that are, at their outermost extremities, either substantially circular or substantially elliptical. Further, a b-container's top plan can be projected vertically down to coincide with two horizontal sections through the b-container which (a) have the same shape and size as the top plan periphery and, (b) they (the horizontal sections) are vertically separated from each other by at least one inch. In addition, optional, but common, formal elements of b-containers are applied informational and marketing, thin sheet labels.
 As to material, the main bodies (i.e. excluding opening sealer(s) and applied labels) of b-containers are made of crystalline ceramics or amorphous ceramics including: earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, bone china, soda-lime glass (a.k.a. soda-lime-silica glass, common glass or (just) glass), bakeware glass (tempered soda-lime glass) and borosilicate (laboratory-ware) glass and including all variants of these that employ/add coloring agents or thin film coatings for coloring effects and/or surface texture agents for surface texture effects.
 As to strength/breakability, b-container main body materials are hard, brittle, strong in compression but weak in tension and shearing. Given this, most containers made from these materials should bear a stable vertical load well and would break into shards when struck against other hard objects. All b-containers must be able to bear a stably applied, vertical load of three or more times their own water-filled weight for a 1 day test period. Further, identical copies (i.e. manufactured with the same materials, specifications and methods) of a b-container must break apart in tests where they are dropped onto a concrete floor capable of supporting warehouse forklift truck traffic, such that, (i) they (the b-container copies) are filled with water, (ii) they are sealed at their top opening, (iii) they first strike the concrete floor at points on their exterior surfaces coincident with vertical projections of their top plan views and (iv) the distance dropped by the centers of gravity of the water-filled, test b-containers between their drop release/start and moments of first strike on the concrete floor is between 3' and 3'6''. The "b" in b-container alludes to breakable.
 Bundle is sometimes, not here, applied to a group or couple of people held or bound together, probably physically but perhaps emotionally; the thing or device binding them together is usually rather complicated.
 Bundle is more often applied to a group of inanimate objects held together. The holding together is sometimes done by gravity as well as a floor or ground and perhaps a wall or walls; in such use bundle is synonymous with pile or stack. However, more common than the pile sense of bundle, is a meaning in which the grouped objects are held together by a binding device, such as a rope, strap or cloth sheet, which is used to hold the group of objects together in close proximity and which, most commonly, can be picked up together as a unit and easily moved or transported.
 Bundle is used here in a restricted version of the last sense. That is, here, bundles are groups of two or more b-containers held together in close proximity by binding devices (see definition just below) which can be picked up easily as units by an able bodied adult for movement of the bundles on and off shipping pallets, hand trucks and dollies. Further, the parts of these bundles must be arranged so that the bundle can be placed with bottoms of the bundle's b-containers resting on a substantially horizontal surface and so remain, unmoving, for a day or more, if left alone.
Binding Device (Functional Definition):
 When operating to bind, binding devices are closed loops for binding groups of two or more b-containers together into bundles. When not operating to bind, binding devices may or may not be closed loops.
Binding Device (Elaboration, Realizations):
 A binding device may be made from a flexible linear strip, sheet, belt or rope with ends that can pointed to overlap back on and be fixed to each other to form a closed loop that can form a bundle with a group of b-containers, for example: knotted rope, twine, textile strips or sheets; leather and other buckled belts; textile sheets/strips with edges sewn together to form loops/tubes; self adhesive tapes (for example paper backed, plastic backed tapes and filament reinforced variations of these); metal foils, paper or plastic sheets or tapes, with spot applied adhesive; plastic sheets, tapes or ropes with spot applied welds (for example, hot gas, speed tip, contact, hot plate, hot knife, high frequency, ultrasonic, friction, laser and solvent welds); also, metal straps or sheets with spot applied welds (for example, energy beam or ultrasonic welds), seal and notch joints, seal and crimp joints or seal-less, interlocking key methods.
 A binding device may also be made from an innately closed loop which can form a bundle with a group of b-containers. These innately closed loops can be formed using sheet cutting techniques (as in die-cast cutting to form gaskets), knitting techniques, perhaps also by complicated loom weaving techniques. Economical and useful innately closed loops can get manufactured from materials that can be molded as well as those that can be extruded into tubes followed by lateral tube slicing/cutting to form loops. Examples of these materials are plastics, especially thermoplastics, rubber (natural and synthetic, also both mixed with latex, and both vulcanized to various degrees) and metals and alloys. The ability to form these materials through extrusion, slicing and molding techniques, along with the wide range of Young's (axial elastic) modulus values achievable in this group of materials, allows great flexibility for finding economic solutions to making closed loops that can form bundles of common b-containers found in supermarkets. For example, low density polypropylene (LDPE), commonly used in the plastic yokes made to hold six packs of soda cans together, is likely to be both functionally sufficient and economically competitive for making closed loops that can make binding devices that satisfy their functional definition. Among the thermoplastics there are many other materials sufficient for making closed loop binding devices of bundles and at price points similar to LDPE, for example, HDPE (high density polypropylene), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), (unexpanded) polystyrene. There are many other capable thermoplastics, although some of these may be more expensive.
 A binding device may also be made from several pieces: Reusable binding devices could be made from multiple sections of pre-shaped and relatively stiff thermoplastics such that the multiple sections join together to form a closed loop capable of binding bundles of b-containers. The joins could be made with tongue and slot joints, slip-key joints or nob and clip couplings.
 Capable stiff thermoplastics include stiff polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polycarbonate. Although more expensive than polypropylene for one use, reuse might make these solutions price competitive.
 Note, important extensive elastic properties for functional binding can easily be adjusted by (a) varying the cross-sectional area of closed loops (easy to do with molding/extrusion loop forming methods) and/or (b) varying the number of closed loop binding devices used for a bundle; using two, widely spaced binding thin loops is likely to be a good solution for a wine bottle bundle.
End of Lexicon, Beginning of Main Description.
 Glass containers can quite easily break if they are allowed to jostle and jolt with neighbor glass containers. Current practice in shipping is to place glass containers into cardboard partition spaces; this reduces container breakage to acceptable levels by: (a) restricting the amount of space the glass containers can move around in, which consequently restricts the speeds they can attain before impacting a neighbor which, consequently, reduces the impact energies to levels well below those likely to cause breakage in most instances; (b) impact cushioning (impact energy absorption) by the partitioning cardboard that further reduces container impact energies.
 The preferred embodiments of the invention primarily work by restricting relative movement between b-containers in bundles even further than current fiberboard/cardboard partition methods with consequent lowering of (uncushioned) impact energies relative to current partition methods--this is the key physics as to why this bundle shipping method can work for breakable b-containers.
 In the preferred embodiments all the b-containers in any given bundle have the same shape and size (i.e. manufactured with the same shape and size specifications) as all the other b-containers within that bundle.
 The detailed description will focus on preferred embodiments with seven b-containers bound in each bundle such that each bundle's top-plan is closely related to a hexagon, see FIG. 1: A short name given for these seven b-container bundles is "hexbind." Due to their geometry, hexbinds are very stable which is the main reason for considering them in preferred embodiments. However, there are a number of other b-container bundle arrangements which are also very stable and likely to be satisfactorily stable in actual reductions to practice. Further, some of these other arrangements probably have other advantages over the hexbind arrangement that will quite likely make them preferable over the hexbind for commercial practice. For example, smaller two to four b-container bundles might be kept intact for placement on store shelves for marketing specials. However, a six b-container bundle with a 1-2-3 triangular top plan, see FIG. 2, would be excellent arrangement for everyday commercial practice, call it a "1-2-3 tribind." A physicist-inventor uses the hexbind in the best embodiment but a businessman-inventor uses the 1-2-3 tribind in the best embodiment.
 With the same shape and size condition, the points of contact between any two b-containers in a bundle will lie on points on their exterior surfaces coincident with a vertical projection of the b-containers' top plan views: For example, see top plan view FIG. 1 where a central b-container 107 has points of contact 141, 142, 143, 144, 145 and 146 with, respectively, b-containers 101, 102, 103, 104, 105 and 106. Again, in FIG. 1, each of the six non-central b-containers has 1 or more points of contact with 2 neighboring non-central b-containers; illustrated by points of contact 121 between b-containers 101 and 102, 122 between b-containers 102 and 103, 123 between b-containers 103 and 104, 124 between b-containers 104 and 105, 125 between b-containers 105 and 106, 126 between b-containers 106 and 101.
 Two b-containers can have more than 1 point of contact between them when these points of contact are arranged substantially vertically above and below each other: For example, points of contact 143 and 1143 between containers 103 and 107 in vertical section FIG. 3 and, also, points of contact 146 and 1146 between containers 106 and 107 in FIG. 3. Note, also all points of contact 143 and 1143, 146 and 1146 lie on points on the exterior surfaces of the contacting b-containers coincident with a vertical projection of these b-containers' top plan views. Also, the distance between the points of contact 143 and 1143 (also between 146 and 1146) must be at least 1 inch, under the definition for b-containers. Of course, the shapes of many b-containers, like many scotch and wine bottles, are such that the walls of the container run substantially straight down down between contact points 143 and 1143 so that, in these cases there are whole lines of contact between touching b-containers.
 Like, FIG. 1, FIG. 2, the 1-2-3 tribind top plan, could also be used to illustrate the coincidence of the b-container contact points with a vertical projection of the b-containers' top plan views. Again, the vertical arrangement of multiple points of contact or, commonly, substantially vertical lines of contact could also be illustrated using a vertical section through a 1-2-3 tribind such as FIG. 4 (with section plane indicated in FIG. 2). Further, both of these points about points of contact (or lines of contact) between b-containers in bundles could be made with bundles with top plan arrangements and numbers of b-containers different from those of hexbinds and 1-2-3 tribinds.
 In a bundle, the binding device 11 (FIG. 1) or combined binding devices 11 and 111 (FIG. 3)  1. Wraps around the outside of the b-containers (for example, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 and 107 in FIG. 1.) of a bundle in plan view;  2. Holds the b-containers in a compact collection (bundle);  3. It helps hold the shape of the bundle's top plan.
 Hexbinds should substantially conform to several geometric conditions, stated in the following . . .  Surrounding Hexagon: Referring to the plan view FIG. 5, and/or FIG. 6, the plan of a hexbind 10, in its binding device 11, is surrounded in a hexagon (i.e. no part of the hexbind's plan falls outside the hexagon) with vertices 161, 162, 163, 164, 165 and 166 such that sections of the binding device 11 are substantially co-linear with the edges of this hexagon. In particular, sections of the binding device 11 between points 1611 and 1612 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 161 and 162, sections of the binding device 11 between points 1621 and 1622 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 162 and 163, sections of the binding device 11 between points 1631 and 1632 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 163 and 164, sections of the binding device 11 between points 1641 and 1642 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 164 and 165, sections of the binding device 11 between points 1651 and 1652 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 165 and 166 and sections of the binding device 11 between points 1661 and 1662 are substantially co-linear with the hexagon edge between vertices 166 and 161.  Hexagon Opposite Edges are Parallel and of Equal Length: Referring to both plan views FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, the hexagon edge between vertices 161 and 162 should be substantially parallel to and the same length as the hexagon edge between vertices 164 and 165. The hexagon edge between vertices 162 and 163 should be substantially parallel to and the same length as the hexagon edge between vertices 165 and 166. The hexagon edge between vertices 163 and 164 should be substantially parallel to and the same length as the hexagon edge between vertices 166 and 161.  Symmetrical Hexagon: Referring to both plan views FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, the hexagon internal angles at the vertices 162, 163, 165 and 166 should be substantially equal. This condition, with the previous condition, ensures the hexagon with vertices 161, 162, 163, 164, 165 and 166 is substantially symmetric about the line joining vertices 161 and 164.
 Hexbinds with b-containers with substantially circular plans (like 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106 and 107 in FIG. 5) conform to an extra condition, the surrounding hexagon with vertices 161, 162, 163, 164, 165 and 166 is substantially a regular hexagon.
 The possible shapes/arrangements of a bundle's top plan are limited, to some extent, by the shape of the individual b-containers and the number of b-containers in the bundle; while the practical requirement that the bundle remains as a unit during packing plant, warehouse and store stockroom manipulations (like movement on and off pallets, hand trucks and dollies) further limits the number of practical bundle top plans. For bundles of between two and twelve b-containers, FIG. 7 shows a non-exhaustive selection of bundle top plans likely to be practically functional (binding devices are omitted in FIG. 7).
 Since hexbind plans are closely surrounded by symmetrical hexagons with many repeated features, it is easy to make a horizontal plan arrangement of many hexbinds such that the collection of hexbinds is closely packed and, hence, efficiently packed for shipping purposes. For arranging many hexbinds, illustrated in FIG. 8, on a substantially horizontal surface 21 the closely packed arrangement 20 is the method's preferred embodiment for hexbinds.
 To formalize the preferred embodiment horizontal arrangement of many hexbinds, referring to hexbinds 10, 12, 14 and 16 in FIG. 8 as having substantially the same plan and substantially the same plan as the detailed hexbind 10 plan given in FIG. 5, in the preferred embodiment the horizontal arrangement of many hexbinds has the following neighbor alignment relationships (illustrated in FIG. 8):  i The section of the binding device between points 1611 and 1612 of hexbind 10 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1642 and 1641, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 12.  ii The section of the binding device between points 1621 and 1622 of hexbind 10 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1652 and 1651, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 14.  iii The section of the binding device between points 1631 and 1632 of hexbind 10 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1662 and 1661, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 16.  iv The section of the binding device between points 1642 and 1641 of hexbind 12 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1611 and 1612, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 10.  v The section of the binding device between points 1652 and 1651 of hexbind 14 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1621 and 1622, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 10.  vi The section of the binding device between points 1662 and 1661 of hexbind 16 is either an open boundary of the collection of hexbinds or aligned next to a section, between points 1631 and 1632, of the binding device of a neighbor hexbind 10.
 In FIG. 8, the relative size of the hexbinds in the arrangement 20 and the substantially horizontal surface 21 is closely similar to the relative size of hexbinds made up from some commonly used wine bottles and the pallet most commonly used by the grocery trade in the United States (40''×48'').
 In one simple embodiment, the substantially horizontal surface 21, illustrated in FIG. 8 is made from a single sheet of corrugated fiberboard that is supported underneath either by the pallet at the base of the unit load or by the tops of the product containers in a similar, underlying layer of product. In another embodiment, the horizontal surface 21 may just be a surface in space, coincident with the corrugated fiberboard sheet of the previous embodiment.
 Many other plan arrangements of many b-container bundles are possible within the invented method, which differ from that illustrated in FIG. 8. These alternate product layer plan arrangements of many b-container bundles can be motivated by factors such as:  I differences in the top plan size of the pallet used for the given unit load;  II differences in the size and shape of the top plans of individual b-containers;  III differences in the size and shape of the top plans of individual bundles; see, for example, the selection of individual bundle plans in FIG. 7;
 The plan arrangement shown in FIG. 8 is almost completely determined by the following considerations:  a) an underlying pallet size of 40'' by 48'';  b) a top plan periphery for individual b-containers that is substantially circular with a diameter of 3'' (common for wine bottles);  c) (i) a restriction that all bundles contain the same number (7) of b-containers; (ii) that each bundle have substantially the same hexbind top plan;  d) a restriction that the number of b-containers in the product layer be maximized given considerations (a), (b), (c)(i) and (c)(ii).
 Another preferred embodiment product layer plan arrangement of bundles is shown in FIG. 9, where the determining considerations for the bundle arrangement are exactly the same as given for FIG. 8 except consideration (c) where, for FIG. 9, 1-2-3 tribinds are used in place of the hexbinds of FIG. 8.
 The maximization of the number of b-containers, with the given restrictions/considerations, leads to one hundred and seventy-five b-containers in the hexbind layer arrangement of FIG. 8 and one hundred and eighty b-containers in the 1-2-3 tribind layer arrangement of FIG. 9. These b-container numbers could be increased even further if (c) was loosened and the same product layer is allowed to have bundles on it with different numbers of b-containers. The invented method certainly allows individual product layers to contain bundles with differing numbers of b-containers relative to other bundles in the layer and, also, different b-containers in the layer.
 Although maximization of the number of b-containers in layers of product is likely to be attractive for commercial reductions to practice, this maximization condition is not a necessary part of the invented method. FIG. 10 illustrates one of many possible product layer plan arrangements of bundles which do not maximize the number of bundles that could be squeezed into the product layer. FIG. 10 is a variation on FIG. 9 such that bundles have been removed (relative to the FIG. 9 arrangement) at locations 181, 182 and 183.
 A layer of product of bundles of b-containers does not have to fill out the entire area of a pallet. So, for example, in FIG. 11 the layer of product of bundles of b-containers covers less than half the area of the pallet, leaving a pallet plan area 190 free to be stacked with any manner of goods and products and in any vertical arrangement over this pallet area 190. Further, the invented method does allow for different product layers of bundles of b-containers to cover different plan areas of a pallet at different vertical heights above the pallet.
 The invention is a method of combination. It takes advantage of the smooth shipping environment in unit loads in modern shipping based on forklifts, pallet jack and unit load; i.e. an environment where b-containers are kept at, or very near to, their as-designed-for vertical orientation at all times (except for catastrophic events, like accidental truck roll-overs, where shipping insurance would cover breakage and loss). The method uses easily breakable b-product containers made of amorphous and crystalline ceramics, like pottery and ordinary glass, for shipping product; with a b-container packing technique with no or minimal horizontal, inter-b-container cushioning (labels on b-containers afford a small amount of cushioning relative to bear ceramic) and which minimizes horizontal, inter-b-container impact energies with hard to notice restrictions of space. This combination's lack of required horizontal cushioning is combined with the use of the vertical load-bearing abilities of the product b-containers to enhance the efficient (lack) of use of vertically orientated packing materials.
 The containers for which this packaging/shipping method is intended, such as whiskey and wine bottles or jars of lotion, are currently shipped with packaging that uses a great deal of fiberboard cardboard and similar materials which are expensive. This expense is in large part due to the amount of energy required to transport and process the raw and re-cycled materials from which this packaging is made into their functioning ready-to-package state.
Patent applications by Rolf Miles Olsen, San Diego, CA US