Title:
Canopy Structure
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible canopy structure comprising, in an erected configuration, a roof area structure and sidewalls extending downwardly from the roof area structure, including a docking arrangement permitting a vehicle to be positioned at least partly docked entered into the interior of the canopy. The docking arrangement includes a magnetic securing system for securing the canopy to the vehicle and/or a fold-over section of the roof area structure of the canopy folded over from a stowed position to cover an upper portion of the vehicle.



Inventors:
Rolling, Melvin (Nottinghamshire, GB)
Application Number:
14/009826
Publication Date:
04/03/2014
Filing Date:
04/04/2012
Assignee:
Belron Hungary KFT-Zug Branch (Zug, CH)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/143
International Classes:
E04H15/06; E04H15/44
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON & JACOBSON, P.C. (60 LONG RIDGE ROAD SUITE 407 STAMFORD CT 06902)
Claims:
1. A collapsible canopy structure for a vehicle comprising: in an erected configuration, a roof area structure and sidewalls extending downwardly from the roof area structure, including a docking arrangement permitting the vehicle to be positioned at least partly inside the interior of the canopy; wherein the docking arrangement includes at least one of: i) magnetic securing means for securing the canopy to the vehicle; and ii) a fold-over section of the roof area structure of the canopy folded over from a stowed position to cover an upper portion of the vehicle.

2. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 1, wherein: the collapsible canopy structure is re-configurable from the erected configuration to a stowed configuration.

3. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 2, wherein: in the stowed configuration, the collapsible canopy structure is configured to be mounted on the roof of a vehicle for transportation.

4. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 1, wherein: the roof area structure includes a storage section arranged to store the fold-over section of the roof area structure in the stowed configuration.

5. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 4, wherein: the storage section comprises opposed end portions to which one or more frame members of the fold-over section of the roof area structure are pivotably mounted.

6. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 5, wherein: the opposed end portions are connected by a connecting portion.

7. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 5, wherein: the opposed portions are arranged to connect to support frame legs to support the canopy structure arrangement above the ground when in the erected configuration.

8. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 4, wherein: the storage section is arranged to be removably secured to the roof of a transportation vehicle.

9. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 1, wherein: one or more frame members of the fold-over section of the roof area structure are pivotably mounted to be movable from a laid flat stowed position, up and over to an erected configuration.

10. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 9, wherein: a plurality of frame members of the fold-over section of the roof area structure are pivotably mounted to be movable from the laid flat stowed position, up and over to the erected configuration.

11. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 9, wherein: in the erect configuration, a frame member of the fold-over section of the roof area structure is configured to extend upwardly above its stowed position.

12. A collapsible canopy structure according to claim 1, wherein: the magnetic securing means comprise magnetic strips for securing the canopy to the vehicle.

13. A method of working on a vehicle comprising: erecting a canopy structure into an erected configuration having is erected to have a roof area structure and sidewalls extending downwardly from the roof area structure, wherein the erected configuration of the canopy structure has a docking arrangement that permits the vehicle to positioned at least partly inside the interior of the canopy; with the canopy structure in the erected configuration, positioning a vehicle in relation to the docking arrangement such that the vehicle is positioned at least partly inside the interior of the canopy; and with the canopy structure in the erected configuration, securing the canopy structure along the roof and the sidewalls of the vehicle to provide a controlled working environment cut off from ambient external conditions.

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein: magnetic securing means is used to secure the canopy to the vehicle.

15. A method according to claim 13, wherein: the canopy structure is carried in a stowed configuration.

16. A method according to claim 13, wherein: a fume extraction apparatus is operated to extract fumes from the interior of the canopy structure.

17. A method according to claim 15, wherein: the canopy structure is carried in the stowed configuration on top of the roof of a transportation vehicle.

18. A method according to claim 13, wherein: in the erected configuration, a fold-over section of the roof area structure of the canopy is folded over from a stowed position to cover an upper portion of the vehicle.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from PCT/GB/2012/050755 filed on Apr. 4, 2012, and GB 1105665.2 filed on Apr. 4, 2011, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present invention relates to a collapsible canopy structure, and in particular to such a structure shaped and dimensioned to partially enclose a large vehicle in order to enable a portion of a vehicle to be sheltered.

2. State of the Art

GB2383351 discloses a collapsible canopy structure which can be mounted to the roof of a vehicle and moved to a location where it can be demounted end erected from a stowed configuration.

The canopy of GB2383351 is designed to completely enclose a vehicle and provide a controlled environment for conducting work on a vehicle. A fume extraction system is provided for the canopy.

SUMMARY

An improved arrangement has now been devised which enables work to be conducted on large vehicles such as trucks large vans, busses and the like.

According to a first aspect, the present invention provides a collapsible canopy structure comprising, in an erected configuration, a roof area structure and sidewalls extending downwardly from the roof area structure, including a docking arrangement permitting a vehicle to be positioned at least partly docked entered into the interior of the canopy; wherein the docking arrangement includes:

    • i) magnetic securing means for securing the canopy to the vehicle; and/or,
    • ii) a fold-over section of the roof area structure of the canopy folded over from a stowed position to cover an upper portion of the vehicle.

It is preferred that the structure is re-configurable from the erected configuration to a stowed configuration.

In the stowed configuration, it is preferred that the structure is configured to be mounted on the roof of a vehicle for transportation.

Beneficially, the roof area structure includes a storage section arrange to store the fold-over section of the roof area structure in the stowed configuration.

In one embodiment it may be preferred that the storage section comprises opposed end portions to which one or more frame members of the fold-over section of the roof area structure are pivotably mounted. The opposed end portions may be connected by a connecting portion.

In certain embodiments, it is preferred that the opposed end portions are arranged to connect to support frame legs to support the canopy arrangement above the ground when in the erected configuration.

Beneficially, the storage section is arranged to be de-mountably secured to the roof of a transportation vehicle.

In an embodiment, it is preferred that one or more frame members of the fold-over section of the roof area structure are pivotably mounted to be movable from a laid flat stowed position, up and over to an erected configuration.

Beneficially, a plurality of frame members can comprise the fold-over section of the roof area structure being pivotably mounted to be movable from a laid flat stowed position, up and over to an erected configuration.

In the erect configuration, it is preferred that at least one frame member of the fold-over section of the roof area structure is extends upwardly above its stowed position. This gives the erected structure increased height enabling use with high sided commercial vehicles.

It is preferred that the magnetic securing means comprise magnetic strips for securing the canopy to the vehicle sides and/or roof.

In one embodiment the magnetic strips may be separate from the canopy and for example used to sandwich the canopy between the magnetic strip and the vehicle sidewall or roof.

In an alternative embodiment, the magnetic strips may be secured to the canopy for example by being sewn into a hem or margin of the canopy.

By providing an elongate line of securing using magnetic strips an effective sealed or controlled environment can be provided in the interior of the controlled canopy zone.

According to an alternative aspect, the invention provides a method of working on a vehicle in which a canopy structure is erected to have a roof area structure and sidewalls extending downwardly from the roof area structure, a vehicle is docked with a docking arrangement permitting the vehicle to be positioned docked at least partly entered into the interior of the canopy; and wherein the canopy is secured along the roof and the sidewalls of the vehicle to provide a controlled working environment cut off from ambient external conditions.

It is preferred that magnetic securing means is used to secure the canopy to the vehicle.

It is preferred that a fold-over section of the roof area structure of the canopy is folded over from a stowed position to cover an upper portion of the vehicle.

The canopy structure is beneficially carried to the erection location mounted in a stowed configuration (preferably on top of the roof of a transportation vehicle).

Beneficially, fume extraction apparatus is operated to extract fumes from the interior of the canopy structure.

The invention will now be further described in a specific embodiment, by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of an exemplary canopy structure in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 2 is a view corresponding to the view of FIG. 1 with the canopy shown as removed from the underlying frame;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the roof area structure in the stowed configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings and initially to FIG. 1, there is shown a collapsible canopy structure 1 in an erected configuration. The canopy structure has a supporting framework comprising upright support frame legs 2 and longitudinally extending support frame members 3 covered with a fabric cover having a roof section 4 and side curtains 5 (only the one side curtain is shown in FIG. 1 for clarity of explanation).

The roof cover 4 forms part of the roof area structure 5 which is provided with three u-shaped frame members 6,7,8 which are pivotally mounted to a storage section 12 of the structure 1. The leg supports 2 are also supported from the storage section 12.

The arrangement is similar in many respects to the arrangement shown in GB2383351. As shown in FIG. 3, the storage section 12 is connected to a corresponding section 13 extending parallel to one-another and spaced apart. An interconnecting frame member 14 is provided at one side of the arrangement. The frame section comprising the elements 12, 13, 14 is fabricated as a unitary item which is arranged to be demountably secured to the roof of a transportation vehicle. Storage section 13 is provided toward the forward end of the roof of the transportation vehicle. Storage section 12 is provided to the rear end of the roof of the transportation vehicle and the interconnecting frame member 14 extends along the roof of the transportation vehicle between the storage sections 12, 13. The storage sections are provided on their respective undersides with means for clamping to roof bars or racks provided on the transportation vehicle.

The u-shaped frame elements 6,7,8 are stored as shown in FIG. 3 pivoted to lay flat nested one within another within the boundary defined by the storage sections 12,13, and frame member 14. The support frame legs 2 are pivotally mounted by extensions 27 to the respective storage sections 12 and 13 and pivot from the erected supporting configuration shown in the drawings, to be stored extending horizontally between the opposed storage sections 12, 13. The extensions 27 slide into the respective storage sections 12, 13, and lock for transportation in the stowed position. In the supporting position stays 25 hold the support frame legs 2 in their upright position. The longitudinally extending frame members 3 are demountable to be stored either internally of the vehicle or underslung below the support section 12, 13, 14 positioned on the roof of the vehicle.

In a similar manner to the arrangement of GB2383351 the support frame legs 2 are provided on rollers 15 and the support legs 2 are connected to the respective frame sections 12,13 enabling the whole arrangement to be lifted clear of the roof of the transportation vehicle.

From the position shown in FIG. 3, the roof area section is erected by pivoting the u-shaped frame members 6, 7, 8 about their pivotable connection to the respective sections 12, 13 such that they reach the configuration shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. By drawing the front frame member 6 from the stowed position, the connected canopy causes the adjacent frame members 7 and 8 also to be successively drawn from the stowed position.

The configuration shown in FIG. 2 corresponds to the arrangement shown in FIG. 1, however, in FIG. 2 the fabric canopy is not shown in the drawings.

As can be seen clearly from FIG. 1, the distal end 17 of the structure is closed by means of the fabric canopy attached to the frame elements 20 and 21. The proximal end 18 of the structure is rendered open and provides a docking opening enabling the front or rear end of a vehicle to be driven into the canopy arrangement. Because the roof area structure 5 is pivoted to extend upwardly from the stowed position shown in FIG. 3 to the erected position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, vehicles of height significantly greater than the height of the transportation vehicle can be accommodated for docking with the structure. In particular, because the front, middle and rear u-shaped pivotable support members 6,7,8 can be positionally adjusted, significantly different height vehicles can be accommodated in the docking area.

It is important to ensure that an effectively isolated environment is provided in the interior of the canopy to enable adequate repair conditions to exist and also fume extraction apparatus to be operated to effectively filter any particulates and harmful gases without allowing these to escape to the exterior of the canopy. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the docking end of the canopy within which the vehicle is positioned, is secured along the roof and side walls of the vehicle to a degree sufficient to provide a controlled working environment cut off from ambient external conditions. An absolute airtight seal is not required but the loose curtains of the canopy need to be held in some way against the side of the vehicle and the magnetic securing means achieves this well.

This is therefore conveniently achieved by means of the magnetic securing strips 22 which are used to secure the flexible material of the canopy to the sides and roof of the vehicle.

The magnetic securing strips may be provided free of the material of the canopy and simply positioned to sandwich the canopy material between the respective strips 22 and the vehicle. Flexible elongate magnetic strips are conveniently used.

Alternatively, it is possible that the strips 22 may be provided incorporated with the canopy material (for example, by stitching into a hem or fold of the material).

The invention provides a convenient and quickly erectable structure which can be transported conveniently to a location for use and readily erected into position. The arrangement enables vehicles of significant height to be partially enclosed and docked in a secure and sealed manner to enable an adequate environment for vehicle repair to be created around the respective end of side of vehicle that needs to be repaired. A working zone is provided about the end or side of the docked vehicle.

The canopy material of the roof area 5 frame members 6, 7, 8 remains attached to those frame members when the roof area structure is in the stowed or erected position. The remaining frame elements 2, 3, 20, 21 are removed from loops or sheaths provided on the canopy material and stowed otherwise. The canopy material is folded and stowed on top of the frame members 6,7,8 laying flat in their stowed position.

There have been described and illustrated herein several embodiments of a safety harness system and corresponding method of operation. While particular embodiments of the invention have been described, it is not intended that the invention be limited thereto, as it is intended that the invention be as broad in scope as the art will allow and that the specification be read likewise. It will therefore be appreciated by those skilled in the art that yet other modifications could be made to the provided invention without deviating from its spirit and scope as claimed.