Title:
BUCKET WITH QUICK ATTACH BLADE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A blade accessory for use with heavy equipment to permit changeability between a bucket and a grading blade, the blade accessory comprising a frame, means for mounting the frame to the vehicle, means for attaching a bucket to the frame to permit pivotal movement of the bucket with respect to the frame about a vertical axis along with means to pivotably move the bucket in a horizontal plane. Means to mount the blade member on the front of the bucket are such that the blade member may be angled when the bucket is moved in the horizontal plane.



Inventors:
Royer, Ronald (COCHRANE, CA)
Application Number:
09/265360
Publication Date:
11/08/2001
Filing Date:
03/10/1999
Assignee:
ROYER RONALD
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
37/903
International Classes:
E02F3/76; E02F3/96; (IPC1-7): E02F3/76; E02F3/96
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FLORIO, KRISTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD ROYER (COCHRANE, CA)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A blade accessory for attachment to a vehicle, the accessory comprising: a frame, means for mounting said frame to said vehicle; a bucket, means for attaching said bucket to said frame to permit pivotal movement of said bucket with respect to said frame about a vertical axis, means to pivotably move said bucket in a horizontal plane; a blade member and means to mount said blade member on a front face of said bucket such that said blade member is angled when said bucket is moved in said horizontal plane.

2. The blade accessory of claim 1 wherein said means to pivotably move said bucket in a horizontal plane comprises a cylinder assembly, said cylinder assembly comprising: a cylinder, said cylinder having a piston rod, first and second connecting rods, each of said connecting rods having a first end connected to a distal end of said piston rod, a second end of said first connecting rod being connected to said frame, and a second end of said second connecting rod being connected to said bucket, the arrangement being such that movement of said piston will cause said connecting rods to move apart to thereby cause said bucket to pivotably move with respect to said frame.

3. The blade accessory of claim 1 wherein said means for attaching said bucket to said frame includes a V-shaped member having first and second arms, a first end of said first and second arms being pivotably connected to a center connecting point on said frame, second ends of each of said first and second arms being connected to said bucket.

4. The blade accessory of claim 1 wherein said blade member includes a blade frame, said blade frame having a tongue portion extending through a rear wall of said bucket, said tongue portion being secured to said bucket rearwardly of said rear wall.

5. The blade accessory of claim 4 wherein said means for attaching said blade member to said bucket comprises a locking pin, said locking pin being pneumatically driven into and out of a locking position.

6. The blade accessory of claim 1 wherein said means to pivotably move said bucket in a horizontal plane comprises first and second cylinder assemblies, each of said cylinder assemblies comprising a cylinder, each of said cylinders having a piston rod, first and second connecting rods, each of said connecting rods having a first end connected to a distal end of said piston rod, a second end of said first connecting rod being connected to said frame, and a second end of said second connecting rod being connected to said bucket, the arrangement being such that movement of said piston will cause said connecting rods to move apart to thereby pivotably move said bucket with respect to said frame.

7. The blade accessory of claim 6 wherein each of said cylinders is generally vertically oriented.

8. The blade accessory of claim 4 wherein said blade frame fits within said bucket, said bucket including guide means to guide said blade frame into a desired position.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to heavy equipment and more particularly, relates to a blade accessory for attachment to heavy equipment.

[0002] The field of heavy equipment is replete with various types of graders and front end loaders. A grader usually comprises a tractor from which a generally vertically disposed blade extends downwardly. The blade includes a lower edge which is essentially linear and which is selectively positioned relative to the tractor. Graders are employed in a variety of situations to move materials including snow and also for contouring surfaces such as roads as well as for filling trenches. In the case of large construction projects, it is common practice to employ a first tractor fitted with a backhoe bucket to move bulk material followed by grading by a second tractor fitted with a pivotably adjustable grader blade.

[0003] However, for many smaller operations, two separate tractors can not be economically justified. Therefore, attempts have been made to removably attach adjustable grader blades to the bucket of a loader and/or backhoe. Such an attachment would permit an operator to use a single tractor for both grading and loading. In other circumstances, different types of equipment are used to expedite snow removal. The vehicles used include front end loaders and graders. Ownership of front end loaders is common since they are relatively simple and inexpensive. These front end loaders, however, while excellent for their intended purpose, are limited in their functions and it would therefore be useful to have a front end loader vehicle which could perform in a dual role—either as a front end loader for scooping up a load of material and lifting and depositing it on the truck or as a bulldozer or grader for either pushing large loads of heavy material or for grading a surface. Unfortunately, however, normal front end loaders are not properly equipped to permit them to function as a bulldozer.

[0004] Other types of snow removal equipment commonly used include snow plow implements having a hitch mechanism which couples the snow plow blade to smaller vehicles such as pick-up trucks. The main advantage of existing equipment is that considerable time and effort is typically required in order to connect the implement to the truck and to disconnect it therefrom. Prior art equipment is further characterized by excessive complexity which leads to high manufacturing costs and substantial maintenance problems.

[0005] In addition, the moldboards of existing grading equipment are susceptible to being damaged due to the manner in which they are mounted. The desirability of providing for the yielding of the moldboard when the blade strikes a stationary obstacle has been recognized. However, even the moldboards which are mounted for yieldable pivoting are permitted to pivot only in a relatively restricted manner. Consequently, the moldboards frequently pivot to such an extent that they bang against the pavement or against the portion of the pushframe, causing damage that requires costly repair or replacement of the moldboard.

[0006] The above mentioned graders are particularly well suited for their use but their construction does not allow for other applications. As a result, conventional graders have a low degree of utilization and frequently are idled over long periods of time.

[0007] Thus, conventional known machinery such as front end loaders, graders and grading implements specifically designed so as to be mounted on conventional small vehicles such as pick-up trucks, although quite useful for their intended purpose, suffer from a lack of versatility. Accordingly, there exists a need for a grader attachment that could allow for the conversion between graders and loader type vehicles. Such a need has been recognized in the past and there exists known grader blade attachments that may be used in conjunction with the buckets commonly employed on front end loaders, backhoes and the like to convert such vehicles into graders, snow plows or the like. However, such prior art attachments suffer from some drawbacks.

[0008] Indeed, much of the prior art in the field of grader attachments consists of devices that are quite cumbersome to use, structurally complex and that necessarily require a great deal of time to install. Some of the known grader blade attachment devices are intended to provide means that will avoid the necessity of having the vehicle driver dismount from the main vehicle for installation and removal. However, in using such devices, care must be taken in driving the bucket vehicle and the device has many small fitting spaces in which ice and snow and other debris can accumulate and from which such debris must be removed before the grader attachment can be connected to a bucket of the vehicle.

[0009] The grader attachment devices known in the past either have not provided for angulation of the blade with respect to the bucket on which it is mounted to permit changing of the angle of attack of the vehicle when used as a grader, or alternatively have not provided for easy changing of such blade angle. Furthermore, some of the prior art attachments are mounted directly on the lifting arms which are part of the machine and intended for various implements. The drawbacks of this type of attachment are, on one hand, that it is difficult to control and, on the other hand, that the lifting arms and their mountings have originally been dimensioned for quite different loads, loads of other magnitude and in other directions which may cause fatigue, buckling and fracture during use of the attachment.

[0010] Also, most known snow plow mounting attachments rigidly affix the plow to the loader. Accordingly, because the plow blade is well forward of the loader's wheel the blade does not efficiently track the vertical contours of the plowed surface. Additionally, current mounting attachments are not interchangeable between the wide variety of large highway plows, nearly all of which have standard mounting brackets.

[0011] Prior art attachments also suffer from the requirement of requiring either the provision of especially designed buckets or substantial modification to the existing bucket. In addition, prior art devices inherently require a substantial amount of time in mounting and dismounting the attachment. Also, flexibility of the loader equipment provided by the prior art attachments is somewhat negated by required permanent fixture and modifications to the equipment interfering with the normal use and performance of the loader equipment.

[0012] One of the most common problems associated with the prior art attachments is that they typically involve close tolerance securing mechanisms that include many moving parts. Experience has demonstrated that, under winter use conditions involving repeated exposure to snow, ice, sand and salt, such complicated mechanisms are subjected to jamming, freezing and rusting. Consequently, the moving parts often become inoperable, or, even worse, break under excess force applied in attempting to free them. As mentioned previously, many snow plow mounting attachments necessitate bolting or welding fixtures or making modifications to the loader's bucket to assist in securing the plow to the loader. Frequently, however, such changes to the loader will impair normal loader operation. Invariably, such changes involve significant cost both in manpower and equipment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a blade accessory for attachment to a bucket of the type commonly found in front end loaders, backhoes, and the like.

[0014] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a blade accessory which can be quickly and easily attached to a bucket vehicle and which can be angled in a horizontal direction.

[0015] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a blade accessory which can be connected to the bucket of equipment such as a front end loader or backhoe and wherein it may be attached without requiring the operator to come out of the cab.

[0016] According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a blade accessory for attachment to a vehicle, the accessory comprising a frame, means for mounting the frame to the vehicle, a bucket, means for attaching the bucket to the frame to permit pivotal movement of the bucket with respect to the frame about a vertical axis, and means to pivotably move the bucket in a horizontal plane, and a blade member, means to mount the blade member on a front face of the bucket such that the blade member is angled when the bucket is moved in the horizontal plane.

[0017] Preferably, the blade accessory includes at least one cylinder assembly for pivotably moving the bucket in the horizontal plane, the cylinder assembly comprising a cylinder having a piston rod, first and second connecting rods, each of the connecting rods having a first end connected to a distal end of the piston rod, a second end of the first connecting rod being connected to the frame, and a second end of the second connecting rod being connected to the bucket, the arrangement being such that movement of the piston will cause the connecting rods to move apart to thereby cause the bucket to pivotably move with respect to the frame.

[0018] In a particularly preferred embodiment, the cylinders are mounted vertically and are mounted to the frame with the piston rod extending downwardly and the connecting rods being in a V-shaped configuration. Utilizing two such cylinder assemblies, one secured to each end of the bucket, any movement of the bucket and accompanying blade may easily be controlled.

[0019] The means for attaching the bucket to the frame may include a V-shaped member having first and second arms. The V-shaped member interconnects the bucket and frame at an upper portion thereof with a first end of the first and second arms being pivotably connected to a center connecting point on the frame with second ends of each of the first and second arms being connected to the bucket.

[0020] The blade accessory, as aforementioned, has a blade member which includes a blade frame, the blade frame preferably having a tongue portion extending through a rear wall of the bucket, the arrangement being such that the tongue portion is secured to the bucket rearwardly of the rear wall. In this respect, the tongue portion may be secured to the bucket by means of a locking pin which is pneumatically driven into and out of a locking position. The blade frame may fit within the bucket and the bucket may include guide means to guide the blade frame into a desired position.

[0021] In a further aspect of the invention, one can incorporate a forklift assembly as will be discussed in greater detail hereinbelow.

[0022] The above arrangement permits use of the bucket either on its own or with the blade attached to the front of the bucket. The bucket alone or the bucket with blade may be angled for either grading or snow removal. The blade can be quickly connected to the bucket from the cab of the loader without the operator coming out. The system of attachment is designed such that there is no need to attach or detach any hydraulic lines.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0023] Having thus generally described the invention, reference will be made to the accompanying drawings illustrating embodiments of the invention, in which:

[0024] FIG. 1 is a front exploded view illustrating a bucket with a blade attachment in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 2 is a rear exploded view illustrating the bucket and blade attachment;

[0026] FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of the bucket;

[0027] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the blade attachment;

[0028] FIG. 5 is a front view of the bucket;

[0029] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the connecting frame;

[0030] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a connecting V-shaped bar;

[0031] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a knuckle pin part;

[0032] FIG. 9 is an exploded view illustrating one of the angle adjustment cylinders and associated linking components;

[0033] FIG. 10 is an exploded view illustrating a locking cylinder part;

[0034] FIG. 11 is a schematic diagram illustrating part of a hydraulic circuitry used for controlling a bucket/blade combination such as the one shown in FIGS. 1 and 2; and

[0035] FIG. 12 is a schematic side elevational view illustrating the use of other accessories.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0036] Referring to the drawings in greater detail and by reference characters thereto, there is illustrated in FIG. 1 the three main components which may be attached to a suitable vehicle. These comprise a blade assembly generally designated by reference numeral 10, a bucket generally designated by reference numeral 12, and a frame generally designated by reference numeral 14.

[0037] As the accessory is substantially symmetrical about a vertical plane passing through the center, similar reference numerals with a prime will be utilized for parts which are a mirror image of the parts on the other side.

[0038] Frame 14, as best seen in FIG. 6, includes a top wall 18 and a pair of side walls 20, 20′. Along top wall 18 there is a top wall lug 22 extending forwardly thereof and which lug 22 includes an aperture 24 therein.

[0039] Each side wall 20, 20′ has a pair of upper side wall lugs 26, 26′ respectively with apertures 28, 28′ formed therein. Similarly, at the lower end of each side wall 20, 20′ there are provided a set of lower side wall lugs 30, 30′ having respective apertures 32, 32′ therein.

[0040] As will be seen from FIG. 6, frame 14 also includes first and second lower ears 36, 36′ which are located exteriorly of lower side wall lugs 30, 30′ respectively. Lower ears 36, 36′ have apertures 38, 38′ respectively formed therein. As may be seen in FIG. 6, frame 14 includes ears 40 extending upwardly from the front and rear of bottom wall 41 and having a sleeve 42 extending therebetween. Extending upwardly from top wall 18 are mounting blocks 34, 34′.

[0041] Bucket 12, as best seen in FIGS. 3 and 5, includes side walls 44, 44′, upper rear wall 46, rear wall 47, and lower rear wall 49. Extending rearwardly of upper rear wall 46 are sets of lugs 48, 48′ each having apertures 50, 50′ respectively formed therein.

[0042] Also extending rearwardly from rear wall 47 are brackets 52, 52′ having apertures 54, 54′ respectively located therein. Ribs 56, 56′ are formed on the rear portion of bucket 12 and extend along upper rear wall 46 and rear wall 47. Extending between ribs 56, 56′ is a plate 58 on which there is provided an ear 60 having aperture 61 formed therein. Formed in rear wall 47 of bucket 12 is an opening 62 (FIG. 5) for reasons which will become apparent hereinbelow. A pair of guides 74, 74′ are located on the interior of side walls 44, 44′ respectively.

[0043] Blade assembly 10, as may be best seen in FIG. 4, includes a blade 64 having an A-frame generally designated by reference numeral 66. Mounted on the bottom of A-frame 66 are a pair of shoes 68, 68′ while at the apex of A-frame 66 there is provided a tongue 70 having an aperture 72 formed therein.

[0044] For connecting bucket 12 to frame 14, there is provided a V-bar 76 having a first arm 78 and a second arm 80. An aperture 82 is formed at the base of V-bar 76 and a pair of apertures 84 are provided at the distal ends of arms 78 and 80. Connecting pins 86 and 88 are provided for reasons which will be discussed hereinbelow.

[0045] An air cylinder 90 is provided for securing bucket 12 to frame 14 and includes a locking pin 92. There are also provided connecting pins 94 and 96.

[0046] A knuckle pin generally designated by reference numeral 102, as best seen in FIG. 8, has a shaft 104 with a distal end portion 106 designed to receive a nut 108. A pin 110 is utilized for connection purposes.

[0047] Movement of bucket 12 and blade assembly 10 is provided through means of cylinders 118, 118′ and reference will now be made to FIG. 9 illustrating cylinder 118. Cylinder 118 includes a cylinder mount 120 and a piston rod 122 extending out the opposite end with aperture 124 being formed therein. A first connecting rod 126 has apertures 128 and 130 at opposite ends thereof as does a connecting rod 132 with apertures 134 and 136. Connecting pins 138, 140 and 142 are utilized for connecting the components together as explained hereinbelow.

[0048] As aforementioned, blade 64 is secured to A-frame 66 and preferably shoes 68, 68′ are coated with a material such as TEFLON (trademark for polytetrafluroethylene). Shoes 68 support frame 66 within the bottom of bucket 12. A-frame 66 may be held in place by guides 74, 74′ on the inside of bucket 12. Tongue 70 extends through opening 62 formed in rear wall 47 and is locked in place by locking pin 92. Locking pin 92 is actuated by inner cylinder 90 which in turn is connected to bucket 12 at ear 60 through aperture 61.

[0049] Bucket 12 is mounted to frame 14 by means of V-bar 76 and knuckle pin 102. V-bar 76 attaches to bucket 12 through apertures 50, 50′ in lugs 48, 48′ respectively utilizing pins 88. Preferably, the V-bar ends contain self aligning bearings to allow some movement.

[0050] V-bar 76 is connected to frame 14 by means of pin 86 which extends through aperture 82 and aperture 24 in lug 22. Knuckle pin 102 provides a second attachment and is secured to bucket 12 by means of pin 96. The other end of knuckle pin 102 attaches to frame 14 by passing through sleeve 42 and being retained in place by means of nut 108.

[0051] Frame 14 attaches to the heavy equipment firstly by means of upper side wall lugs 26, 26′ by means of suitable pins (not shown). A second connection between them is provided using apertures 32, 32′ in lower side wall lugs 30, 30′. Pin 59 is used for the lower connection and at the same time, it also secures the lower end of connecting rod 132 through apertures 136.

[0052] Bucket 12 is angled by movement of cylinders 118, 118′ which push or pull on the connecting rods 126, 132, 126′, 132′. The rods, as may be seen in FIG. 9, will perform a scissor like movement which pulls the bucket 12 on one side while pushing it on the other. Cylinders 118, 118′ are connected at their cylinder mount 120, 120′ to mounting blocks 34, 34′ by pins 142, 142′. Preferably, the cylinder mount 120, 120′ contains a self-aligning bearing to allow movement in its operation. The piston rod 122 is secured through aperture 124 by means of pin 138 which extends through aperture 124, and aperture 128 of rod 126 and aperture 134 of rod 132. Connecting rod 132 attaches to the frame by means of a pin 49 which extends through apertures 136 and aperture 38 of lower ear 36. As in the other case described above, there is also preferably provided a self-aligning bearing. Connecting rod 126 is secured to bucket 12 by pin 140 which extends through aperture 130 and apertures 54 in bracket 52. A self-aligning bearing is also provided.

[0053] FIG. 11 illustrates the basic hydraulic schematic wherein there is provided a distribution block 144 operatively interconnected between a left cylinder 118 and a right cylinder 118′.

[0054] FIG. 13 illustrates, in schematic form, a slightly modified arrangement. In this arrangement, it will be seen that frame 14 is connected to loader boom 146 and to loader tilt 148. In this embodiment, intermediate bucket 12 and frame 14 there is provided a forklift structure generally designated by reference numeral 150. Forklift structure 150 is secured to cylinder 118 at attachment point 152 and includes forklift tines 154. In turn, forklift tines 154 can be designed to engage bucket 12 as is schematically shown in FIG. 13.

[0055] It will be understood that the above described embodiments are for purposes of illustration only and that changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.