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Title:
E-TRACK CONNECTOR
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An improved e-track connector, or lockdown, is presented that can be installed in single locations instead of provided in tracks as in the industry. It also possesses a finished slot that accepts logistics straps buckles. The slot is a complete rectangle with no excess material folded under it and has been deburred and finished smooth. The device also possesses a drain slot along the side of the tang and drain holes in the buckle receiver such that liquid will drain out of the connector when it is mounted horizontally.


Inventors:
Neumann, Timothy (Ramona, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/427841
Publication Date:
07/01/2010
Filing Date:
04/22/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven, Webb W. (825 College Blvd., Suite 102620, Oceanside, CA, 92057, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An improved e-track connector, the improved e-track connector comprised of a single piece of material, the single piece of material in the shape of a long, flat rectangle, the single piece of material formed into a buckle receiver and a tang, the buckle receiver a long hump in the middle of the single piece of material, the hump formed by pressing or molding, the hump possessing a buckle receiver slot, the buckle receiver slot sized to accept an industry-standard buckle on a logistics strap, the edges of the buckle receiver slot finished smooth by deburring or other abrasive means, the edges of the buckle receiver slot trimmed of excess material such that the buckle receiver slot forms a rectangle, the buckle receiver possessing two drain holes extending from the interior of the buckle receiver to the exterior of the buckle receiver, one hole located at one end of the buckle receiver, the other hole located at the other end of the buckle receiver, the holes positioned so that fluid may low easily from the interior of the buckle receiver to the outside of the buckle receiver when the improved e-track connector is installed in a vertical orientation, the tang a rim of material surrounding the buckle receiver, the tang generally flat, the tang possessing a shallow curvature at its center in parallel with the buckle receiver, this curvature making a gap approximately 1/32 of an inch wide when the tang is pressed against a flat surface, this gap permitting liquid to flow out of the buckle receiver when the improved e-track connector is installed in a horizontal orientation.

2. The improved e-track connector of claim 1, where the single piece of material is selected from a list composed of mild steel, steel, aluminum, brass, titanium, and magnesium.

3. The improved e-track connector of claim 1, where the tang possesses a plurality of connector holes passing through the tang sized to fit industry-standard connector devices.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a Continuation-in-Part of application Ser. No. 11/544,212, currently co-pending and now abandoned.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to devices developed to secure logistics straps to load beds, dollies, or other cargo areas.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the fittings used in the transportation industry to secure flexible belts to load rails mounted on the sides of the containers. The straps are used for holding the objects in partially loaded containers so that they will not shift within the container and damage the goods by either striking the sides of the containers or other items within the container. The load rails are mounted in such containers as trucks, railroad cars, airplanes and ship containers.

The load rails are comprised of sequences of lock-down points. These points are fitted with connectors referred to as “e-track” connectors.

The e-track connectors accept an industry standard buckle on the end of canvas logistics straps, used to secure cargos. The straps are wrapped over and around cargo items and then buckled to the e-track connectors. The straps can then be tightened with attached winches.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The e-track connector is an industry-standard metal device that is shaped and cut to accept the buckle end of a standard logistics strap. The standard e-track connector is made of steel and is created by forming a steel plate into a rounded, humped structure and then punching a rectangular hole through the top such that the edges of the punched hole are forced inward. The connector is usually made in “tracks” consisting of a plurality of connectors formed from a single sheet of metal. The metal This leaves a relatively thin rectangular hole with straight edges along the ends that accepts the buckle of a logistics strap.

The hole is essentially unfinished and possesses metal burrs and irregularities, as well as folded metal extending into the humped structure along the long ends of the rectangle. The industry-standard e-track connector is inexpensive to manufacture because it is unfinished and untrimmed.

This invention consists of individually-manufactured and mounted e-track connectors that have been deburred and finished to remove sharp metal edges. The invention is a single connector with a plurality of connection means for securing it to the side of a container, such as an aircraft interior or truck bed. This individual connector, when attached to the side of a container, is stronger in terms of its holding capacity and easier to place in the container.

The e-track connector of this invention is bolted, glued, or welded onto a floor or other surface where a logistics strap can be secured. The invention possesses a technological improvement consisting of two drainage ports, a slot on the side of the connector and a pair of holes on the buckle receiver that permit fluid to drain from within the invention at any orientation.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of this invention to provide an inexpensive single placement e-track connector that is trimmed and deburred, improving user safety.

It is an additional object of this invention to make an single placement e-track connector that has a self-draining feature, permitting water and other liquids to drain out of the enclosure.

It is an additional object of this invention to make the present invention in a variety of metals, including mild and stainless steel, brass, aluminum and lighter metals to address multiple applications.

It is an additional object of this invention to allowing the user to place a single unit where an e-track will not fit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1. Perspective view of the invention with connector holes

FIG. 2. Perspective view of the invention suitable for welding

FIG. 3. Depiction of the invention used to secure logistics straps

FIG. 4. Top view of the invention

FIG. 5. Side view of the invention

FIG. 6. End view of the invention

FIG. 7. cross-section view of the invention

FIG. 8. Cross-section of standard e-track connector

FIG. 9. Side cross-section of standard e-track connector

FIG. 10. cross-section of two copies of invention attached back-to-back

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1, the invention 100 consists of a flat piece of metal pressed into a characteristic shape, consisting of a tang 101, a buckle receiver 102, a buckle receiver slot 103, and two connector holes 104. In FIG. 2, an alternate embodiment possesses a smaller welding tang 105 and no connector holes. The alternate embodiment would be attached to a surface by welding or gluing.

FIG. 3 shows the invention 100 bolted to the floor 111 and walls 112 of a storage area, with logistics straps 110 restraining a box 113. Each logistics strap 110 possesses a buckle 114 at each end that can be inserted into the buckle receiver slot 103 of the invention 100 and firmly connected.

Each embodiment of the invention possesses characteristic drain features, including a drain gap 107 on each side of the device which is approximately 1/32 of an inch in width when the invention 100 is bolted or welded down to a flat surface, and two drain holes 130,131. The drain gap 107 is sufficiently wide to allow water or other liquids to flow out of the buckle receiver 102 when the invention is placed horizontally on a surface and water cannot flow out of the buckle receiver slot 103. The drain holes 130,131 allow water to drain out of the buckle receiver 102 when the invention is installed in a vertical orientation.

As shown in FIG. 8, the industry-standard e-track connector 120 is manufactured by punching a slot 121 into the buckle receiver 122 like punching a hole in a can with a can opener. This process leaves folded-over metal remnants 123 lining the long side of the buckle receiver slot 121. The buckle receiver slot 121 is not finished and the edges are sharp and rough.

With the present invention, the long edges 106 of the buckle receiver slot 103 are trimmed of the excess metal and deburred. This makes a connector that is less likely to cut human hands or other equipment that come into contact with the buckle receiver slot 103.

As in FIG. 9, in a further alternate embodiment, two of the inventions 100 can be welded or bolted “back-to-back” 125, with the tangs 101 contacting each other. This embodiment permits logistics straps 110 to be extended by providing a “double-female” connector that accepts the “male” buckles of two straps.

This invention has other applications, potentially, and one skilled in the art could discover these. The explication of the features of this invention does not limit the claims of this application; other applications developed by those skilled in the art will be included in this invention.