Title:
Winch assembly with web strap storage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In a winch assembly utilizing a web strap for securing a load on a railroad car, a winch box and/or an alternative spool assembly are provided mounted at a side of the railroad car. The winch box has a winch mandrel with a winding axis extending parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car. An aperture in a side of the winch box facing away from the side of the railroad car is provided for receiving a slotted winding post of a crank. In a stored position, a first portion of the web strap is wound on the winch mandrel and a second portion of the web strap is wound in a roll on the winding past the crank. In the alternative embodiment, the spool assembly includes a spool tube with an adjacent winding mandrel. A first portion of the web is wound on the spool tube and a second portion is wound on the adjacent winding mandrel.



Inventors:
Tatina, Richard A. (Countryside, IL, US)
Application Number:
09/885618
Publication Date:
11/08/2001
Filing Date:
06/20/2001
Assignee:
TATINA RICHARD A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B60P7/08; B61D45/00; (IPC1-7): B61D45/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHIFF HARDIN, LLP - Chicago (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:

I claim as my invention:



1. A winch assembly with a web strap storage for securing a load with a web strap on a railroad car, comprising: a winch box mounted at a side of the railroad car; the winch box having a winch mandrel and a winding axis of the mandrel extending parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car; an aperture in a side of the winch box facing away from the side of the railroad car; and in a stored position, a first portion of the web strap being wound on the winch mandrel and a second portion of the web strap being wound in a roll which is stored adjacent to one end of the winch mandrel in said winch box such that a winding axis of the roll of the second portion of the web strap runs in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car.

2. The assembly of claim 1 wherein a swinging top cover is provided which in a closed position closes off a top of the winch box and in an open position is swung down to vertical position against the side wall of the winch box.

3. The assembly of claim 1 wherein one end of the web strap is fixed to the winch mandrel.

4. The winch assembly of claim 1 including a crank having a crank arm and a winding post with a slot in it and wherein a free end of the web strap is received in the slot and the web winding post being receivable in said aperture in said side of the winch box for winding said roll for said second portion of said web strap inside said winch box.

5. The assembly of claim 1 wherein said winch mandrel is fastened to a front wall of said winch box.

6. The winch assembly of claim 1 wherein the winch mandrel has a drive portion and a toothed wheel engageable with a pawl for locking in one direction of rotation of the winch mandrel and allowing free rotation in the opposite direction.

7. The winch assembly of claim 1 wherein a curved sliding surface is provided at a top of the winch box positioned for allowing the web strap to bear there against when the web strap secures the load.

8. The winch assembly according to claim 7 wherein the sliding surface and the top cover when it is closed form a slot for receiving the web strap therethrough.

9. The winch assembly according to claim 1 wherein the web strap has one end attached to the winch mandrel and, in a load securement position, wraps over the load without twists between the winch mandrel and the load.

10. The winch assembly according to claim 1 wherein the winch box at a top side thereof is lined up with a top surface of a platform of the railroad car.

11. A method for securing a load on a railroad car, comprising the steps of: providing a winch box at a side of the railroad car, said winch box having a winch mandrel having a winding axis running parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car; unwinding a web strap from the winch mandrel and securing the load with the web strap; and for storing the web strap when the load is no longer to be secured, winding a first portion of the web strap onto the winch mandrel and winding a second portion of the web strap into a roll received adjacent an end of the winch mandrel and stored in the winch box such that a winding axis of the second portion extends perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car.

12. The method according to claim 11 wherein a crank is provided having a crank arm and a slotted winding post received through an aperture in a side of the winch box facing away from the side of the railroad car; inserting the winding post through the aperture in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car; and placing an end of the web strap opposite an end connecting to the mandrel into the slot, and winding the winding post with the crank to form said roll of the second portion of the web assembly inside the winch box.

13. A method for storing a web strap used for securing a load on a railroad car, comprising the steps of: providing a winch box at a side of the railroad car, said winch box having a winch mandrel having a winding axis running parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car; and storing the web strap when the load is no longer to be secured by winding at least a portion of the web strap into a roll and storing the roll in the winch box adjacent an end of the winch mandrel, a winding axis of the roll extending perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car.

14. The method according to claim 13 including the step of winding the roll with in the winch box by inserting a crank having a crank arm and a slotted winding post received through an aperture in the side of the winch box facing away from the side of the railroad car, and then placing an end of the web strap opposite an end connecting to the mandrel into the slot, and then winding the strap with a crank arm to form the roll with the portion of the web strap inside the winch box.

15. The method according to claim 13 including the step of also winding another portion of the web strap onto the winch mandrel prior to winding the roll with the portion of the web strap.

16. The method according to claim 15 including the step of winding said another portion of the web strap onto the winch mandrel until a diameter of the another portion rolled on the winch mandrel is such that the roll created on the winch mandrel substantially fills portions of the winch box radially outwardly of the winch mandrel.

17. A method for securing a load, comprising the steps of: providing a winch box at a side of a platform to which the load is to be secured, said winch box having a winch mandrel having a winding axis aligned so that there are no twists in the web strap when it is securing the load; and for storing the web strap when the load is no longer to be secured, winding a portion of the web strap into a roll inside the winch box such that a winding axis of the roll extends perpendicular to the winch mandrel winding axis.

18. The method according to claim 17 wherein the roll is wound within the winch box by use of a crank having a slotted winding post received through an aperture in the side of the winch box facing away from the platform, and a crank arm connected to the winding post.

19. A winch assembly with a web strap storage for securing a load on a railroad car with a web strap, comprising: a winch box mounted at a side of a platform of the railroad car; the winch box having a winch mandrel and a winding axis extending in a direction so that no twists are provided in the strap when the strap secures the load; an aperture in a side of the winch box facing away from the platform; and in a stored position, a first portion of the web strap being wound on the winch mandrel and a second portion of the web strap being wound in a roll which is stored adjacent to one end of the winch mandrel in said winch box such that a winding axis of the roll of the second portion of the web strap runs in a direction perpendicular to the winding axis of the winch mandrel.

20. A web strap storage for a web strap which secures a load with the web strap on a railroad car, comprising: a box mounted at a side of the railroad car; the box having a mandrel and a winding axis of the mandrel extending parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car; in a stored position, a first portion of the web strap being wound on the mandrel and a second portion of the web strap being wound in a roll which is stored adjacent to one end of the mandrel in said box such that a winding axis of the roll of the second portion of the web strap runs in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car.

21. A method for storing a web strap used for securing a load on a railroad car, comprising the steps of: providing a box at a side of the railroad car, said box having a mandrel with a winding axis running parallel to a longitudinal extent of the railroad car; and storing the web strap when the load is no longer to be secured by winding at least a portion of the web strap into a roll and storing the roll in the box adjacent an end of the mandrel, a winding axis of the roll extending perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the railroad car.

22. A securement system for securing a load on a railroad car with a web strap, comprising: a web strap having a first end and a second end; a spool assembly mounted at one side of the railroad car containing a load, said first end being connected to said spool assembly; a winch assembly on an opposite side of the railroad car; said spool assembly including a spool compartment having a rotatable spool tube, and a storage compartment having a winding mandrel; in a web storage position a first portion of the web strap being coiled on the spool tube and a second portion of the web strap being coiled on the winding mandrel; and in a web use position, the first and second portion being unwound as to extend over and along sides of the load, the first end of the web strap being secured by said spool assembly, and the second end of the web strap being engaged to said winch assembly.

23. The securement assembly according to claim 22, wherein the storage compartment includes a swinging door to which said winding mandrel is mounted; and a winding axis of the winding mandrel extending perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the spool tube when the door is in a closed position.

24. The securement assembly according to claim 23, wherein the swinging door rotates around a hinge.

25. The securement assembly according to claim 22, wherein: the first end has a loop portion; the spool tube has a window for receiving the loop portion; and the spool assembly further comprising a pin, a retainer hub connected to the spool tube, said pin being inserted inside the spool tube through the loop portion of the web strap as to anchor the web strap to the spool assembly, said pin being retained at one end to the retainer hub, and having a head at the other end abutting a side wall part of the spool compartment.

26. The securement system according to claim 23, wherein the storage compartment is adjacent to the spool compartment

27. The securement system according to claim 23, wherein the swinging door maintains a closed position via a spring loaded door lock attached thereto.

28. A method for securing a load onto a railroad car, comprising the steps of: providing a web strap having a first end and a second end; providing a spool assembly mounted at a first side of the railroad car, and a winch at a second side of the railroad car; providing the spool assembly with a spool tube in a spool compartment and a storage compartment having a winding mandrel; when no load is being secured, storing the web by winding a first portion of the web strap on the spool and a second portion of the web strap on the winding mandrel, the first portion of the web being secured at said first end to the spool; when a load is being secured, then unwinding the first portion and the second portion of the web strap and extending it over and along sides of the load, engaging the second end of the web to the winch, and tightening the winch

29. A method according to claim 28, further comprising the steps of: when no load is being secured; coiling the first portion of the web strap on to the spool tube by rotating the spool tube with a tool; and; coiling the second portion of web strap on the winding mandrel by rotating the winding mandrel with a tool.

30. A method for securing a load onto a structure, comprising the steps of: providing a spool assembly with a winding mandrel at one side of the structure, said spool assembly also including a rotatable spool tube running parallel to a longitudinal extent of the structure; and when storing the web strap, winding a first portion of the web strap onto the spool tube and winding a second portion of the web strap on to the winding mandrel, a winding axis of the winding mandrel being perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the spool tube.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] The present application is a continuation-in-part of parent application Ser. No. 09/564,021, entitled “Winch Assembly With Web Strap Storage” filed May 4, 2000.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to load securement on rail cars or the like.

[0003] It is known in the prior art as illustrated in the fragmentary cross-sectional view of FIG. 1 to secure a load 13 on top of a riser 14 on a platform 9 of a rail car 11 by using a plurality of web straps 12. One end of these web straps 12 is each respectively wound around a strap winch mandrel 5 contained within a winch box 6 of a winch assembly 10. The other end of the web straps 12 is secured in stationary fashion on the opposite side of the platform in a variety of ways known in the prior art (not shown). The mandrel 5 is typically cranked such as by a crank tool not shown which engages with a crank engagement 4. Significantly, the longitudinal axis 5′ of the winch mandrel is perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the rail car. The reason for this is that the winch assembly 10 is mounted at the side sill 3 of the rail car 11. The railroad industry is subject to a railroad clearance side specification 14 defining a maximum extent of any lateral projection from the side of the rail cars. If, for example, 48 feet of web strap 12 is to be wound on the mandrel when the strap is not in use so that it can be stored in the winch assembly winch box 6, then the diameter of the fully wound strap on the mandrel becomes, for a typical polyester web strap, about 8¾ inch. If the axis of the mandrel were aligned parallel to the longitudinal extent of the rail car, then the fully wound coil of the web strap would project beyond the maximum railroad clearance specification as indicated at 14. Therefore, it is necessary to make the mandrel axis transverse to the longitudinal extent of the rail car. However, when this is done, the web strap 12 must be twisted 90° as shown at 100 as it exits the winch box. This condition causes unequal stresses on the web strap which is undesirable.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] It is an object of the invention to avoid the aforementioned twist in the web strap.

[0005] It is a further object of the invention to store the web strap out of sight to reduce damage and theft.

[0006] It is another object of the invention to solve the twist problem while still not exceeding the side projection railroad clearance specification.

[0007] According to the present invention, in a first embodiment an improved winch assembly is provided with web strap storage wherein the winding axis of the winch mandrel is parallel to the longitudinal extent of the rail car. After a certain portion of the web strap has been wound onto the mandrel of the winch, the remainder of the web strap is stored in a winch box of the winch assembly by providing a crank having a winding post with a slot wherein the winding post enters into the winch box through an aperture so that the winding axis of the winding post is perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the rail car. An opposite free end of the web strap, the end not attached to the winding mandrel, is then placed in the slot and the winding post of the crank is rotated so that the excess web strap is rolled on the winding post adjacent to an end of the winch mandrel. Thereafter the crank is removed. The winch box is preferably provided with a top cover so that when the web strap is fully stored as described above, then the top cover can be closed to conceal the stored web strap from view.

[0008] Also according to the present intention, in a second embodiment a spool assembly is mounted at one side of the rail car and a winch at an opposite side. The spool assembly includes a spool tube with a winding axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the rail road car. The spool assembly further includes a storage compartment with a winding mandrel having an axis perpendicular to the axis of the spool tube. In a web storage position, the total length of the web strap may be stored with a first portion on the spool tube and a second portion on the winding mandrel with one end of the web strap being anchored to the spool tube. In a web use position, the web is uncoiled from the winding mandrel and the spool tube. The other end of the unwound web strap is extended over the load to reach and be secured to the winch. The winch then tightens the web strap against the load.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a front fragmentary cross-sectional view of a portion of a rail car showing a prior art load securement method on a rail car;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a perspective fragmentary view of the winch assembly with web strap storage according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a fragmentary front cross-sectional view of the winch assembly of the invention shown in FIG. 2;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a top view illustrating a hand crank used in conjunction with the winch assembly method and apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a side view looking towards the side of the railroad car of the winch assembly of FIG. 2;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a front view showing a second embodiment of the invention in which a spool assembly of the invention is provided;

[0015] FIG. 7 is a fragmentary front cross-sectional view of the spool assembly according to the second embodiment of the present invention of FIG. 6;

[0016] FIG. 8 is a top view of the spool assembly of the second embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 6; and

[0017] FIG. 9 is a fragmentary cross-sectional side view of the spool assembly of the second embodiment of the invention as shown in FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0018] For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to two preferred embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, such alterations and further modifications in the illustrated devices and methods, and such further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein being contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.

[0019] The winch assembly with web strap storage according to a first embodiment of the present invention is shown in perspective at 15 in FIG. 2. The winch assembly is housed within a winch box 16 secured, such as by welding, onto the outside of the side sill 3 of the rail car 11 such as may be formed by an inwardly facing channel as shown just below the top surface of the rail car platform 9. The web strap 12 having a free end is paid out from the winch box 16 as indicated by dashed lines for securement of a load 13 on top of the riser 14, for example, with the free end connecting to a fixed restraint on the opposite side of the railcar platform 9 not shown by any of a number of well-known prior art restraints. The web strap 12 exits the winch box 16 at a slot 2 formed between a top cover 22 shown in its closed position in FIGS. 2 and 3 and a curved sliding surface 23 provided at the slot 2 against which the web strap 12 bears.

[0020] When the web strap 12 is fully stored in the winch box 16, a portion of the web strap is wound on a mandrel 17 as indicated at 25. This portion, for example, for a 48 foot web strap, could be for example, 12 feet of web strap which fills the width of the web strap box 16. The remaining 36 feet of the web strap is wound in a roll 18 (see FIGS. 4 and 5) as described hereafter and is positioned adjacent an axial end of the winding mandrel 17.

[0021] The winding mandrel 17 is fastened to a drive member 24 exteriorly of the winch box which engages with an appropriate web strap tightening crank not shown. It is important to note that the longitudinal axis of the web strap mandrel indicated by reference numeral 1 runs parallel to the longitudinal extent of the rail car as indicated at 101.

[0022] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the top cover 22 can be swung over and around a hinge 30 into a downward position 22′. A clearance cut out 32 is provided to permit access to aperture 19.

[0023] A toothed wheel 20 in conjunction with a pawl 21 is provided for securing the strap if not all of the strap is unwound from the mandrel. This, of course, can also be used to tighten the web strap.

[0024] Significantly, it can be seen that no twist is required for the web strap 12, unlike in the prior art as shown in FIG. 1. Thus, tension across the web strap is maintained substantially constant. It may also be appreciated that with the top cover closed, the web strap can be fully stored within the web box and concealed from view.

[0025] As illustrated in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, a side aperture 19 is provided in the side wall 31 of the winch box 16 through which may be received the winding post 27 having a slot 28 of the crank 26. This crank has a handle 29 for insertion of the winding post 27 through the aperture 19. When it is desired to store the web strap, the end of the web strap attached to the winch mandrel 17 is then wound onto the mandrel 17 until the diameter of the resulting rolled web strap substantially fills the width of the box. Thereafter, the remaining web strap is stored by taking the other free end of the web strap and inserting it into the slot 28. The crank arm 29 is then rotated to create a roll 18 of the remaining portion of the web strap filling the substantial portion of the remaining inside volume of the winch box. Thereafter, the top cover is swung from open position 22′ (FIG. 3) to the closed position 22.

[0026] FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of the second portion of the rolled web 18 and also the first portion of the rolled web 25.

[0027] In a second embodiment according to the present invention as shown in FIGS. 6-9, the winch assembly of the first embodiment is replaced with a retainer spool assembly 49 that includes a retainer spool mechanism 106 in a retainer spool compartment 78 and a storage compartment 80 with a winding mandrel 86 and a swinging door 92 with spring urged latch 94 having a latch element 93 which locks door 92 in a closed position (see FIGS. 8 and 9). As shown in the front view of a railcar 11′ in the fragmentary view in FIG. 6, the retainer spool assembly 49 is mounted at one side of the railcar 11′ on a side sill 200 of an outwardly facing member. One end of the web 12′ is secured as described hereafter in the retainer spool assembly 49 mounted on the side sill 300 of an outwardly facing channel and the opposite end is attached in any one of a variety of known prior art ways to a winch assembly 112 on the opposite side of the railcar 11′. The winch assembly 112 is then cranked to tighten strap 12′ to the load 13. In this embodiment, the winding mandrel 102 is part of a winch wheel 103 having winch teeth 104. The mandrel 102 has a winding axis which runs parallel to the longitudinal axis of the railcar. Thus, there is no twist on the web 12′ either on the left side of the railcar or the right side. In known prior art fashion, a pawl 105 engages the teeth 104 of the winch wheel 103.

[0028] When no load is being secured, i.e. in a web storage position, the web strap 12′ is stored by winding a first portion 61 on a spool tube 58 of the retainer spool mechanism 106 to which one end of the strap 12′ is already retained, and by winding a second portion 88 on the winding mandrel 86 with the swinging door 92 open (see FIG. 9).

[0029] As shown in FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 9, the retainer spool assembly 49 comprises the compartments 78 and 80, formed by side walls welded on to the side sill 200, just below the top surface of the rail car platform 9. The web strap 12′ exits the retainer spool compartment 78 at a slot 53 formed in the retainer spool compartment 78.

[0030] When the web strap 12′ is fully stored in the retainer spool compartment 78, a first portion of the web strap is wound on the spool tube 58 of the retainer spool mechanism 106 as indicated at 61. This first portion, for example, is a 20 foot length portion of the web strap and which fills the width of the retainer spool portion of compartment 78. The remaining 22 feet of the web strap is wound in a roll 88 in storage compartment 80 (see FIG. 9) as described hereafter and is positioned adjacent an axial end of the retainer spool mechanism 106 of the retainer spool assembly 49.

[0031] The winding mandrel 86 is connected to the swinging door 92 and a drive socket 82 exteriorly of the storage compartment 80. The drive socket 82 engages with an appropriate web strap tightening crank not shown. When the swinging door is in a closed position, the longitudinal axis 120 of the winding mandrel runs perpendicular to the longitudinal extent of the rail car 11′.

[0032] As illustrated in FIG. 7, the swinging door 92 can rotate around a hinge 90 into an open position.

[0033] When a load 13 is being secured (i.e. web use position), the swinging door 92 is opened by retracting the spring urged latch element 93 thus providing access to the coiled webbing 88 stored on winding mandrel 86. The coiled webbing 88 stored on the winding mandrel 86 is removed from winding mandrel 86 by pulling the coiled webbing 88 intact from the winding mandrel 86. The webbing 61 stored on the spool tube 58 is then unwound. The intact coiled webbing 88 is in a shape to be thrown over the top of the load 13 on railcar 11 without having to coil the webbing a second time. The other end of the webbing in the coiled webbing 88 thrown over the top is attached to the winch assembly 112.

[0034] At the side where the spool assembly 49 is located, the web strap 12′ is secured within the spool mechanism 106 by an anchor mechanism that anchors a loop shaped portion 64 located at the end of the web strap 12′ (see FIG. 7). The loop shaped portion 64 is anchored via a retainer pin 68 that is placed within the spool tube 58 and passes through the loop shaped portion 64.

[0035] The loop shaped portion 64 enters the spool tube 58 through a window 107 in the spool tube 58. The retainer pin 68 having a head portion 68A is then inserted into the spool tube 58 and passes through the loop shaped portion 64, thus trapping and retaining the web strap. One end of the retainer pin 68 engages in the retainer hub 74 in a cylindrical cavity 75. This end of the pin 68 contains a round hole 70 that is matched with an opening 72 of the retainer hub 74. A retainer bolt 60 is inserted into the opening 72 of the retainer hub and passes through the round hole 70 of pin 68, thus securing the retainer pin in position. The retainer bolt 60 is then fastened to the retainer hub 74 by a retainer nut 59.

[0036] With the spool assembly 49 on one side of the load 13 and the winch assembly 112 on the other side, the web strap is fully tightened and the tension across the web strap is maintained substantially constant.

[0037] When it is desired to store the web strap, the end of the web strap attached to the spool tube 58 is wound thereupon using a drive portion 73 of retainer 74 having a drive socket 71 (FIG. 9) until the diameter of the resulting rolled web strap substantially fills the width of the retainer spool compartment 78. Thereafter, the remaining web strap is stored by opening the swinging door 92 and taking the other free end of the web strap and inserting it into the slot 87 of mandrel 86. The winding mandrel is then being rotated to create a partial coil webbing 88 of the remaining portion of the web strap filling the substantial portion of the remaining inside volume of the storage compartment 80. The winding mandrel 86 can be wound when the swinging door is in an opened or closed position.

[0038] FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of the second portion of the rolled web 88 and also the first portion 61 of the rolled web.

[0039] While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.