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The present invention deals with a portable means to roll up or retract load securing straps on a trailer of a tractor trailer rig or a flat bed truck, sometimes referred to as a stake bed truck. The current use of straps involves having the straps fixed to the trailer on one side and a fixed ratchet type tightener on the other side to which the loose end of the strap is connected once it is placed over the load and then tightened. The disadvantage of using the fixed straps and ratchets is that the straps must be stored in fixed locations along the trailer and usually exposed to the weather. This type of system limits the operator to the number of places and the location where he can store the straps and limits the number of straps. The present invention utilizes all the advantages of a flexible strap system with the additional feature of being portable, such that it can be used anywhere along the side of the trailer or flat bed truck to retract or roll up the straps. The present invention allows for storing the movable straps at any desired location when not in use.
The present invention is substantially comprised mainly of two elements which are utilized to roll up or retract a load securing strap. The first member is formed such that it can be located in a stake pocket or between the rub rail and the side of the trailer to hold the device in place. A second element located in the first element is a crank with an end through which one end of the strap is located and then the crank is turned, thus rolling up the strap for storage. This retractor means can be located anywhere along the side of the semi-trailer or flat bed truck. The present invention allows one to use straps that are not fixed to the trailer or truck bed and can be positioned at any location along the side thereof and then stored conveniently when not in use.
FIG. 1 is a side view of the present invention without the crank installed.
FIG. 2 is a front view of the present invention in a fully assembled condition.
FIG. 3 is a front view without the crank or tightening means shown in place.
The present invention is comprised primarily of two parts. The first part being the mounting bracket, comprises a base or mounting support 1, an extension arm 2 and a support arm 3. The extension arm 2 is attached to the top of the mounting support 1 and extends in a horizontal direction away from the mounting support 1. Support arm 3 is attached to the top of the extension arm 2 and extends a short distance past the end of the extension arm 2 in a direction opposite of the support 1. Support arm 3 is basically a U shape element that has holes 4 located in the end opposite its attachment to extension arm 2. The holes 4 in the support arm 3 are made and sized such that they receive the crank 5. The crank 5 consists of a handle 5a an attachment arm 5b and a rotating arm 5c. The handle 5a is attached to one end of the connecting arm 5b. The connecting arm 5b at the end opposite the handle 5a is connected to the rotating arm 5c. The rotating arm 5c at an end opposite its connection to the connecting arm 5b has attached a jaw member 6. The jaw member 6 is a U shaped element designed in size to receive the end of a load securing strap (not shown).
The present invention in use is utilized by placing the support mount 1 in a stake pocket on the side of a semi-trailer or flat bed truck upon which a load can be or has been secured. Once the support mount 1 is placed in the stake pocket, one end of the strap is placed in jaw member 6. Once the strap is in the jaw member 6, the crank 5 is then rotated in a manner to roll the strap around the jaw member 6 until it is fully wound onto the storage device. Once the strap is rolled up, it can then easily be slid off the jaw member 6 and stored in its rolled up condition. Once one strap is rolled up, slid offjaw member 6, and stored away, one end of the next strap is inserted in jaw 6 and rolled up. The present invention allows for quick and convenient roll up of unused straps and allows for their storage in a secure location.
The present invention, in the preferred embodiment, is made out of steel with the extension arm welded onto the support mount 1 and the support arm 3 is welded on top of the extension arm 2. The crank 5 is comprised of 2 pieces, one containing the handle 5a, the connecting arm 5b and the rotating arm 5c, formed as one member in an integral one piece construction, with the second member being the jaw member 6, which can be attached to the end of the arm 5c. In the preferred embodiment the arm 5c is placed in or through the holes 4 in the support arm 3. Once the arm 5c is slid through the holes 4, the jaw member 6 is attached to the end of the arm 5c. In the preferred embodiment, the jaw member 6 is welded onto the arm 5c and thus fixedly held in position. However, as is evident to one of ordinary skill in the art, various means and manners can be employed to attach the jaw member 6 to the arm 5c. One alternative method would be to have the end of 5c threaded such that the jaw member 6 can be threaded onto 5c, which would allow various jaw sizes to be utilized.
It is deemed to be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art that certain modifications can be made to the preferred embodiment of the present invention without deviating, or being patentably distinct, from the present invention. Certain modifications can be that the extension arm 2 and support arm 3 could be combined or made as a one piece item with the holes 4 located in one end thereof. Also, the material used to make the present invention could be comprised of aluminum or some other light weight material other than steel. Also, the materials utilized for the support bracket 1 as well as the extension arm 2 and support arm 3, need not be of the same material. Also, the present invention does not provide for bearings being placed in the holes 4 through which the handle 5 is placed. However, it would be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art, that bearings or bearing sleeves could be placed in the holes 4 to reduce the friction of turning the crank 5 and/or reducing the wear on the arm 5c. These modifications are deemed to be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art and contained within the scope of the present invention.
The importance of the present invention is to allow a truck driver to use load securing straps that are not fixed, to the truck or trailer, at predetermined locations, and still have the ease and convenience of having the ability to quickly roll up the straps and store them on the side of the truck or trailer. The use of movable straps allows a hauler to secure a load at the most advantageous and safe locations. This ease of securing the load increases safety by providing for more straps to the used and to be used exactly where they should be to secure a load properly and safely.
When not in use the straps must be stored somewhere for future use and out of the way. The present invention allows for the quick roll up and storing of the straps in a location out of the way, yet readily accessible when needed. When rolled up and stored by the present invention the straps remain untangled, ready for use, out of the weather and in a location convenient for the driver.