Title:
Resilient loader attachment system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A resilient loader attachment system for allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area. The resilient loader attachment system includes an attachment structure for securing to a loader of a tractor, a frame extending from the attachment structure, a pair of upper guide plates and a pair of lower guide plates movably positioned within the frame in a vertical manner, a plurality of compression springs or dampener cylinders positioned between the frame and the guide plates, and an attachment device attached to the distal ends of the guide plates. The guide plates are able to move upwardly and downwardly, and rotate within the frame for reducing the effectively force of the loader and tractor during the usage of an attachment device such as but not limited to a concrete screed.



Inventors:
Otheim, Norman R. (Fargo, ND, US)
Application Number:
10/037388
Publication Date:
04/24/2003
Filing Date:
10/24/2001
Assignee:
OTHEIM NORMAN R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/34; E02F3/96; (IPC1-7): E02F3/76
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BATSON, VICTOR D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Michael S. Neustel (Suite No.4 2534 South University Drive, Fargo, ND, 58103, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A resilient loader attachment system, comprising: an attachment structure for attaching to a loader of a tractor; a frame extending from said attachment structure; a plurality of guide shafts extending vertically within said frame; at least one upper guide plate and at least one lower guide plate slidably positioned upon said plurality of guide shafts; and at least one upper arm and at least one lower arm extending from said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate respectively for receiving an attachment device.

2. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 1, including a means for applying a vertical force upon said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate.

3. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 2, wherein said means for applying a vertical force applies both an upward and a downward vertical force upon said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate.

4. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 3, wherein said at least one upper guide plate is comprised of a pair of upper guide plates and said at least one lower guide plate is comprised of a pair of lower guide plates.

5. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 4, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of dampener cylinders.

6. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 4, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of hydraulic cylinders.

7. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 4, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of compression springs.

8. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 7, including a plurality of threaded shafts extending through said compression springs with interiorly threaded nuts attached to the distal ends thereof for allowing adjustment of a vertical force applied by said compression springs.

9. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 1, wherein said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate each include at least one bushing for slidably surrounding said plurality of guide shafts.

10. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 9, wherein said plurality of guide shafts are comprised of a pair of guide shafts.

11. A resilient loader attachment system, comprising: an attachment structure for attaching to a loader of a tractor; a frame extending from said attachment structure, wherein said frame includes at least one upper plate, at least one middle plate, and at least one lower plate; a plurality of guide shafts extending vertically within said frame and pivotally attached to said at least one middle plate by a pivot bearing; at least one upper guide plate slidably positioned upon said plurality of guide shafts between said at least one upper plate and said at least one middle plate; at least one lower guide plate slidably positioned upon said plurality of guide shafts between said at least one lower plate and said at least one middle plate; and at least one upper arm and at least one lower arm extending from said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate respectively for receiving an attachment device.

12. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 11, including a means for applying a vertical force upon said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate.

13. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 12, wherein said means for applying a vertical force applies both an upward and a downward vertical force upon said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate.

14. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 13, wherein said at least one upper guide plate is comprised of a pair of upper guide plates and said at least one lower guide plate is comprised of a pair of lower guide plates.

15. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 14, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of dampener cylinders.

16. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 14, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of hydraulic cylinders.

17. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 14, wherein said means for applying a vertical force is comprised of a plurality of compression springs.

18. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 17, including a plurality of threaded shafts extending through said compression springs with interiorly threaded nuts attached to the distal ends thereof for allowing adjustment of a vertical force applied by said compression springs.

19. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 11, wherein said at least one upper guide plate and said at least one lower guide plate each include at least one bushing for slidably surrounding said plurality of guide shafts.

20. The resilient loader attachment system of claim 19, wherein said plurality of guide shafts are comprised of a pair of guide shafts.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to loader devices and more specifically it relates to a resilient loader attachment system for allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Tractor loaders have been in use for years. Typically, a conventional tractor loader is comprised of a pair of arms that are pivotally attached to the tractor frame and include a pair of hydraulic cylinders attached to the arms. The distal ends of the arms of the loader include a rigid attaching structure that allows for the attachment of various attachment devices such as buckets, brooms, augers, breakers, graders, dozer blades, forage mowers, rakes, sod layers, snow blowers, sweepers, rollers, landplanes, landscape rakes, ground leveling devices, and various other well-known items. Many of these devices are commonly utilized upon skid-steer loaders such as the BOBCAT.

[0005] The main problem with conventional loaders is that since the connection between the loader and the attachment device is rigid the entire weight of the loader and tractor is placed upon the attachment device. For example, when utilizing a screed device upon the loader of a tractor, it is desirable to reduce the pressure applied to the wet cement. Another problem with conventional loader devices is that vibrations and other impact forces are directly applied from the attachment device to the loader and the tractor thereby resulting in damage to both the loader and the tractor.

[0006] Examples of patented loader devices which are illustrative of such prior art include U.S. Pat. No. 3,158,944 to Rehberg et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 4,363,363 to Dyck; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,165,486 to Davidson.

[0007] While these devices may be suitable for the particular purpose to which they address, they are not as suitable for allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area. Conventional loaders only provide for direct and rigid attachment of attachment devices to the loader thereby decreasing the efficiency of working on a project and causing damage to the loader and tractor.

[0008] In these respects, the resilient loader attachment system according to the present invention substantially departs from the conventional concepts and designs of the prior art, and in so doing provides an apparatus primarily developed for the purpose of allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of loaders now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new resilient loader attachment system construction wherein the same can be utilized for allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area.

[0010] The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a new resilient loader attachment system that has many of the advantages of the loaders mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new resilient loader attachment system which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the prior art loaders, either alone or in any combination thereof.

[0011] To attain this, the present invention generally comprises an attachment structure for securing to a loader of a tractor, a frame extending from the attachment structure, a pair of upper guide plates and a pair of lower guide plates movably positioned within the frame in a vertical manner, a plurality of compression springs or dampener cylinders positioned between the frame and the guide plates, and an attachment device attached to the distal ends of the guide plates. The guide plates are able to move upwardly and downwardly, and rotate within the frame for reducing the effectively force of the loader and tractor during the usage of an attachment device such as but not limited to a concrete screed.

[0012] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and that will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0013] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of the description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0014] A primary object of the present invention is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that will overcome the shortcomings of the prior art devices.

[0015] A second object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system for allowing a loader attachment device to be utilized without the direct weight of the tractor placed upon a work area.

[0016] Another object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that can be utilized with various types of attachment devices that are attachable to conventional loaders.

[0017] An additional object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that reduces the weight placed upon a work area by the loader and tractor.

[0018] A further object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that allows an attachment device to “float” independently of the loader and tractor.

[0019] Another object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that reduces the impact of the tractor weight on a work area.

[0020] A further object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that allows for additional attachment devices to be created and utilized with a tractor loader system thereby allowing construction equipment and the like to be adapted to various uses.

[0021] A further object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that reduces the costs associated with various industries.

[0022] Another object is to provide a resilient loader attachment system that allows for the adjustment of the amount of force to be applied to the attachment device from the tractor and loader.

[0023] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become obvious to the reader and it is intended that these objects and advantages are within the scope of the present invention.

[0024] To the accomplishment of the above and related objects, this invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying drawings, attention being called to the fact, however, that the drawings are illustrative only, and that changes may be made in the specific construction illustrated and described within the scope of the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0025] Various other objects, features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become fully appreciated as the same becomes better understood when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference characters designate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and wherein:

[0026] FIG. 1 is a side view of the present invention attached to a loader of a tractor.

[0027] FIG. 2 is an upper perspective view of the present invention attached to the loader of a backhoe.

[0028] FIG. 3 is an upper perspective view of the present invention attached to a skid-steer loader.

[0029] FIG. 4 is a cutaway upper perspective view of the present invention.

[0030] FIG. 5 is a side view of the present invention.

[0031] FIG. 6 is an exploded upper perspective view of the present invention.

[0032] FIG. 7 is a top view of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0033] Turning now descriptively to the drawings, in which similar reference characters denote similar elements throughout the several views, FIGS. 1 through 7 illustrate a resilient loader attachment system 10, which comprises an attachment structure 20 for securing to a loader 14 of a tractor 12, a frame 30 extending from the attachment structure 20, a pair of upper guide plates 40 and a pair of lower guide plates 50 movably positioned within the frame 30 in a vertical manner, a plurality of compression springs 60 or dampener cylinders positioned between the frame 30 and the guide plates, and an attachment device 80 attached to the distal ends of the guide plates. The guide plates 40, 50 are able to move upwardly and downwardly within the frame 30 for reducing the effectively force of the loader 14 and tractor 12 during the usage of an attachment device 80 such as but not limited to a concrete screed. The attachment device 80 may be comprised of any device such as but not limited to buckets, brooms, augers, breakers, graders, dozer blades, forage mowers, rakes, sod layers, snow blowers, sweepers, rollers, landplanes, landscape rakes, cement screed, and ground leveling devices.

[0034] As shown in FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings, a tractor 12 may have various types of loaders 14 attached thereto. Most conventional tractors 12, such as skid-steer loaders 14, have a loader 14 comprised of a pair of arms pivotally extending from the tractor 12 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3 of the drawings. Backhoes and other tractors 12 may have only one arm extending from the tractor 12 as illustrated in FIG. 2 of the drawings. Various other structures and configurations may be utilized to construct the tractor 12 and loader 14 as can be appreciated by one skilled in the art.

[0035] As shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 of the drawings, an attachment structure 20 is provided that has a generally planar structure. The attachment structure 20 is configured by conventional rigid attachment means to be attachable to the loader 14 of a tractor 12. It can be appreciated that the attachment structure 20 may be attached to the loader 14 of the tractor 12 by various well-known means in the loader industry.

[0036] As further shown in FIGS. 1 through 7 of the drawings, a frame 30 extends outwardly from the attachment structure 20 opposite of the connection means for connecting to the loader 14 of the tractor 12. The frame 30 is generally comprised of a rear plate 32, a pair of upper plates 34, a pair of middle plates 36, and a pair of lower plates 38 as best illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings. The rear plate 32 is generally parallel to the attachment structure 20 and may be made integral to the attachment structure 20 thereby providing for the plates 34, 36, 38 to be basically directly attached to the attachment structure 20.

[0037] As shown in FIGS. 1 through 5 of the drawings, the plates 34, 36, 38 extend outwardly from the rear plate 32 substantially parallel to one another. It can be appreciated that the plates 34, 36, 38 may be secured to one another and that various other configurations may be utilized to increase the overall strength of the plates 34, 36, 38.

[0038] As best illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the plates 34, 36, 38 all have a center aperture extending through thereof that receive a pair of guide shafts 70. The guide shafts 70 each include a pivot bearing 76 that is attached to a center flange 72 that is rigidly secured to the middle plates 36 by a plurality of fasteners 74 as best illustrated in FIG. 6 of the drawings. The pivot bearings 76 allow the guide shafts 70 to pivot about the middle plates 36 to further increase the overall efficiency of the apparatus. The guide shafts 70 extend through the plates 34, 36, 38 in a vertical manner and slidably receive the upper guide plates 40 and lower guide plates 50.

[0039] As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, the upper guide plates 40 are positioned between the upper plates 34 and the middle plates 36 and are slidably positioned about the guide shafts 70 with an upper bushing 42. A pair of upper arms 44 extend outwardly from the upper guide plates 40 that are attached to the attachment device 80 as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings.

[0040] As best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, the lower guide plates 50 are positioned between the lower plates 38 and the middle plates 36 and are slidably positioned about the guide shafts 70 with a lower bushing 52. A pair of lower arms 54 extend outwardly substantially parallel to the upper arms 44 from the lower guide plates 50 that are attached to the attachment device 80 below the upper arms 44 as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings.

[0041] As best illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings, a plurality of threaded shafts 64 slidably extend through the outer portions of the guide plates 40, 50 and the middle plates 36. The threaded shafts 64 are preferably surrounded by a plurality of compression springs 60 that are positioned between the distal portions of the threaded shafts 64, the guide plates 40, 50 and the middle plates 36. As further shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, a pair of interiorly threaded nuts 66 are adjustably attached to opposing ends of the threaded shafts 64 to allow for adjustment of the spring tension to be applied to the attachment device 80. A plurality of washers 62 are preferably positioned between the compression springs 60 and the plates 36, 40, 50. It can be appreciated that other devices may be utilized in place of the compression springs 60 and threaded shafts 64 such as but not limited to dampener cylinders or hydraulic cylinders under low pressure.

[0042] In use, the user attaches the attachment structure 20 to the loader 14 of the tractor 12 as illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings. The user then selects and attaches the desired attachment device 80 to be attached to the arms 44, 54 or other attachment means. The user then operates the tractor 12, loader 14 and attachment device 80 in the appropriate manner. When the attachment device 80 is positioned against a work surface, the vertical downward force of the loader 14 and tractor 12 is absorbed by the compression springs 60 between the plates 36, 40, 50. In addition, the vertical upward force of the loader 14 may also be absorbed by the compression springs 60 between the plates 36, 40, 50. The guide plates 40, 50 move upwardly and downwardly upon the guide shafts 70 thereby reducing the direct vertical motion impacts of the loader 14 and tractor 12 upon the attachment device 80. The guide plates 40, 50 also rotate about a pair of pivot bearings 76 that create an improved range of motion. As can be appreciated, the horizontal control of the attachment device 80 is maintained while the vertical movement of the attachment device 80 is allowed to float during operation of the attachment device 80 which is desirable. If it is desired to have a more direct connection between the loader 14 and the attachment device 80 thereby reducing the floating of the attachment device 80, the user simply tightens the nuts 66 upon the threaded shafts 64 to apply an increased tension force upon the compression springs 60. If it is desired to have a less direct connection between the loader 14 and the attachment device 80 thereby increasing the floating of the attachment device 80, the user simply loosens the nuts 66 upon the threaded shafts 64 to apply an increased tension force upon the compression springs 60.

[0043] As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

[0044] With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed to be within the expertise of those skilled in the art, and all equivalent structural variations and relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

[0045] Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.