Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unit Load Devices? Would they work?

The most promising idea thus far has been looking at the Unit Load Devices currently in mostly airline use. They are far smaller then the typical TEU container. And clearly would offer a dual plus of remaining usable in aviation as well as shipping. They also come in specialized versions for cold food or medical shipping.

 The problem then will be to identify which containers would offer the most benefit per size. Clearly if one is using Marine shipping, having the largest handy size is a must. And for ease of handling by ground crew and smaller aircraft, having a smaller unit in two weight ranges opens up flexibility. For the forseeable future I can not envision aviation not being the best choice for food and medical transport.

 Potentially I find most use for three different specific units. The LD-3. A smaller unit, likely more handy for use on smaller outport stops and also general jet aviation operations. The LD3-45. Which is a slightly lighter version of the same container. But carries less then the 3000 pound load common to many small STOL aircraft. And lastly the LD-11. The largest rectangular unit that conveys better then 6000 pounds payload.

 Mind you, I think it prudent that limited TEU container capability should still be called for. In both 20 and 40 foot sizes. But it should not be the only choice. I am thinking a ship carrying 4 to 8 40 footers at most. Plus at least a dozen 20 footers too. Apart from a bevy of all three types of LD container.

 In this way we are maximizing our investment in LD containers. Which could simply be handled with standard commercial fork lifts. And toss in a four wheel dolly and you could also tow them off with a normal pick up truck, large snow vehicle or tractor. With the added plus they are only 65 inches high. Meaning pulling one in a building would be easy if desired. Try that with a Sea-can.

A LD-11 dolly:

An LD-11 Diagram:

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