Skip to comments.Collapsible container could transform cargo trade
Posted on 12/09/2008 8:21:31 AM PST by Army Air Corps
A collapsible container designed by two professors from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, India, could revolutionize the marine cargo sector.
In less than four minutes, the container is collapsed hydraulically to one-quarter its original size. Kept together with a self-locking mechanism, four vertically stacked containers take up exactly the same space as a regular TEU.
More than 52 years ago, Malcom McLean, a North Carolina trucking entrepreneur, originally hatched the idea of using containers to carry cargo. He loaded 58 containers onto his ship, Ideal X, in Newark, N.J., and once the vessel reached Houston the uncrated containers were moved directly onto trucks and reusable rectangular boxes soon became the industry standard.
(Excerpt) Read more at pacificshipper.com ...
I have been following this for a few months now. This has been undergoing extensive testing by various cargo lines. It has the potential (seems to be coming true) of becoming the next big thing.
We should know how this shakes out within the next 12 months
Interesting. I have seen a hotel made from shipping containers. The containers are prepped and finished, transported to the building site, and slid into a metal framework; a new twist on modualr building techniques. I live in an area that is tornado prone, so using these to build a “Hobbit style” home is appealing. The containers are strong and can be rustproofed. I have even worked-out ways to make access to piping and wiring easier than a conventional home.
One cell carrier I did work for used them for cell site buildings. We built a couple hundred sites using shipping containers for buildings. Get ready to use a lot of tar if you decide to do this. Most of the ones I worked in leaked like a sieve. We had one 40' container in North Carolina that literally had a waterfall coming down one interior wall every time it rained until we bryed the roof.....
The leaking is probably the reason they were no longer in service for shipping.
My understanding at the time, circa mid 80's, was the ships return to China empty. The containers pile up and they gotta go. (nothing like a little trade deficit, huh?) Since the company was based in San Francisco, they obtained them dirt cheap from the port authority there. Not all of them leaked, but most did, especially the ones with sheetmetal sides. The ones with thicker, corregated sides didn't seem to leak as bad.
This idea addresses a shipping problem caused by a huge trade imbalance. I'd rather the next big thing be Chinese factory workers in robot form that could work in America 24 hours a day so there's no trade imbalance. The American jobs would be programming and maintaining the factory robots.
I guess that it depends on the quality of the container. I have known folks who use them as storage sheds and have not had problems with them. Regardless, I have thought of using several moisture barriers (chemical and physical) because I intend to build a partially buried structure.
Collapsing containers are not new.
I have heard that you can buy them in Jersey for ~$200 apiece.
Moving them is more expensive.
There are some folks here who sell them for $500 to $1,000 apiece depending on size and quality. I like the idea of making a home with a modular design out of these things. You can put any exterior you want on it an virtually no one will know that the home was made from a shipping container unless you tell them.
Wouldn’t mind having a couple myself, but the moving cost to where I need them is prohibitive.
Yeah, a good French drain, if possible, along with coating the containers with fibered tar or melted on bry, then wrapping with a couple of layers of 6 mil plastic around it would probably do it. We did a couple of buried vaults for the radio gear out of shipping containers when zoning became an issue. That method seemed to work well for at least a couple of years. Can't say much beyond that because I moved on to greener pastures.
My farm is in a narrow valley next to a river. Pretty much tornado alley. The house there doesn't have a basement, so I've thought of doing something similar for a storm shelter. One local guy here who makes concrete septic tanks also sells a storm shelter made from a 1000 gallon septic tank mold, only with a door on one end instead of in the top. Good and heavy, just what you want in a storm shelter....
Indeed. That is where knowing someone with the appropriate vehicle could help (or at least someone who can give you a break on transport).
If they can figure out how to make them waterproof it may work.
What about using sthe pray-on coating used to preserve aircraft in storage? That may work a one of the barriers. Regardless, in my plan, the container does not come in contact with the soil. Once on the foundation, a wall of cinderblocks is built around the cluster and earth is then filled-in against the outer cinderblock wall. I am working on what to use to cover the top of the cluster.
Either that, or maybe the white shrink wrap they put on high end boats and cars for transport. That stuff is really tough.
I think most important, though, is a good drain to allow the water to go somewhere besides into the structure. It's tough to make a below ground structure completely waterproof. My current home has a basement blasted into solid rock from 2' below the surface to the bottom of the footers. Before I built the house over the hole I had blasted I noticed that the water runs across the rock shelves and pours directly into the hole. I realized fairly quickly that a good drain would be essential to a dry basement. I put in extra large French drains and a lot of gravel to make sure the water had somewhere to go. Lots of fiber reinforced tar on the walls and then two sheets of plastic. I backfilled with chert, which is basically clay with some gravel in it, then compacted it using a plate compactor. I brought the fill up about a foot at a time, then compacted. The result is a bone dry basement, even in the wettest weather. It's still dry even now some 14 years later.
Look into a roofing product called "Sarnafil". It's a membrane roofing material that is used on commercial buildings. They roll it on and seal the seams with heat. I have this material on a commercial rental property I own in Florida and it's worked very well, even through huricane Ivan. My building took the right front eyewall and came away leak free.
Thanks for the info! I am still some years away from building my semi-buried home, but I do have some sketches for several designs and arrangements using containers. I have settled on a two-story design where the second floor is above ground while the bulk of the house is below ground.
My main question is what to use to make a roof. The top of the containers would form the ceiling and I am trying to figure out the best way to distribute that weight of about six inches of soil over the structure. This is important to me because this would a fairly sizable home with about 80% of it below ground.
A durable single-membrane roof can be done with DuPont Hypalon through one of its roofing buyers, in this case Conklin whose Hy-Crown we used on the 4,000-square foot Santa Fe Childrens Museum. Chlorsulfonated polyethylene, 40-mil, ten nylon threads in each direction per square inch.
The Childrens Museum roof has the breadloaf shape formed with sheathed trusses topped with rigid insulation.
Were you after the heat sink with the dirt roof. You could beat the weight with spray foam, the guys with the AB trucks, then coat with whatever they're using.
Good thread thanks. I have a very nice 20’ shipping container that I plan on using as a storm shelter someday. Perhaps we can all keep in touch and give each other more suggestions as our plans continue?
You’re most welcome. I am glad that I could offer a thread that sparked some good, informative discussion.
Count me in, too. I’ve been interested in building a mostly or completely underground dwelling for some years now, but the price of containers and hauling them to the site has been prohibitive.
I’ve got 5 wooded acres to use to bury them on and (possibly) connect to my existing 12X60 mobile. Was thinking of something like an iceberg, with only the mobile above ground but with one or two containers underground and connected to it. Been planning a lot in the head but not done much of getting it down on paper yet.
Must be awful to come up with a revolutionary product during a world wide recession.
Well, an idea like this is supposed to help shave costs, so it might be a winner.
That is the main idea for the area in which I live. The other consideration is reducing utility costs by using earth as an insulator.
My plans have been in two possible directions.
1 - build a house where 80% is underground and the remaining 20% is above ground (basically a two story structure with the second story above ground level).
2 - a buried structure built around a central sunken, lanscaped courtyard. Almost all the windows face the courtyard.
#1 is more like my idea. I want all the underground portion hidden, with the mobile on top. Access hidden inside the mobile or with 2ndary access available but hidden elsewhere. I’ve just figured that the shipping container idea is about the least cost method of doing it since they are already pre-built to withstand the stresses of ocean and truck transport. Modular so to speak- dig the hole, drop the container in and you’ve got most of the “construction” work done.
Running power and water wouldn’t be much problem as both are already underground now to the mobile. Heating/cooling bills drastically minimized as the earth doesn’t vary in temp much.
Lots of ideas, not much of anything planned yet. Last quote I got, quite a few years ago, was about $2800 for a 40 footer. Figured I could build it for that much. Now they may be down in a reasonable range if there’s going to be a surplus of them. Getting one trucked out into the boondocks will I’m at would probably cost more than the container.
Like I said, I’m collecting ideas right now.
Enormous thread; allow time for loading.
“The American jobs would be programming and maintaining the factory robots.”
To hell with robots, get your lazy butt to work, calouses,muscke, and sweat would do you good.
Of course you would havew to be taught to do something first!