Title:
Method and arrangement to close a bubble top for a chairlift
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method to close a bubble top (1) for a chairlift having a bubble top (1) that has two final position whereby one first position corresponds to the open position and whereby the other second position corresponds to the closed position. The bubble top (1) is driven to a third partially closed position (20) lying between the first and second position during departure of the chair from a station whereby the handle (5) to be actuated by the user (2) to close the bubble top (1) is moved essentially in front of the user's main body axis so that the user (2) may close the bubble top (1) from a more favorable position, physically.



Inventors:
Switzeny, Kurt (Brunnen, CH)
Application Number:
09/963586
Publication Date:
04/18/2002
Filing Date:
09/27/2001
Assignee:
GARAVENTA HOLDING AG
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61B12/00; (IPC1-7): A47C7/62; A47C29/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BARFIELD, ANTHONY DERRELL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUGHRUE, MION, ZINN, MACPEAK & SEAS, PLLC (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A method to close a bubble top (1) for a chairlift having a bubble top (1) that has two final positions (10, 30) whereby one first position corresponds to the open position (10) and whereby the other second position corresponds to the closed position (30), characterized in that said bubble top (1) is driven to a third partially closed position (20) lying between the first and second position during departure from a station, whereby the handle (5) to be actuated by the user (2) to close said bubble top (1) is moved essentially in front of said user's main body axis so that said user (2) may close said bubble top (1) from a more favorable position, physically.

2. An arrangement to execute the method according to claim 1, wherein an actuation device (8, 42) is provided on said bubble top (1) whereby one end (7) of said actuation device is hinged to said bubble top 1, and wherein said actuation device cooperates with a forcing guide (41) provided in a station to rotate said bubble top (1) from the open position (10) to the partially closed position (20).

3. An arrangement according to claim 2, wherein the forcing guide is a slanted rail (41) so that said bubble top (1) closes continuously up to a stop in the partially closed position (20).

4. An arrangement according to claim 3, wherein during empty running of the chairs, there is provided a second rail with a different inclination in place of said rail (41) with which the actuation device (8) continuously closes said bubble top (1) up to the closed position (30).

5. An arrangement according to claim 3, wherein the inclination of said rail (41) may be changed during empty running of chairs so that the actuation device (8) continuously closes said bubble top (1) up to the closed position (30).

Description:
[0001] The invention relates to a method and an arrangement to close a bubble top for a chairlift having a bubble top that has two final positions whereby one first position corresponds to the open position and whereby the other second position corresponds to the closed position.

[0002] Such bubble tops [shell-like enclosures] and arrangements are known from the state-of-the-art. Bubble tops are employed on chairlifts to protect the passengers against the elements during transportation, particularly against wind and precipitation, e.g. in the form of snow. Conventional bubble tops have thereby two positions. One position is the open position in which the bubble top is disposed essentially behind and above the chair assembly, and the other position is the closed position. These bubble tops have the disadvantage that it is difficult or impossible for small persons, in particular children, and persons with slightly restricted mobility, in particular older people, to move the relative heavy bubble top from the rear open position to the front closed position.

[0003] During empty running of the chairs, all operating permits require that vacant chairs may move only with the bubble closed and locked. Thus, there are devices provided at the stations with which the bubble tops are closed via a rod assembly upon detection of empty running [chairs].

[0004] Based on this state-of-the-art, the invention has the object to provide a method and an arrangement of the type mentioned in the beginning with which it is also easy for smaller persons and persons with restricted mobility to close a weather-protective bubble top.

[0005] This object is achieved according to the invention in that the bubble top is driven to a partially closed position during departure from a station whereby the handle to be actuated by the user to close the bubble top is moved to the front of the user's body so that the user may close the bubble top from a more favorable position, physically.

[0006] With the provision of an intermediate position in form of a partially closed position, which is set by an automatic mechanism directly after entering the chair by a person, it is made possible to close the bubble top in a simple manner also for the type of people mentioned above encountering unfavorable leverage conditions either because of their [small] size or their relative immobility.

[0007] In an arrangement to execute the method there is an actuation device provided on the bubble top whereby one end of said actuation device is hinged to the bubble top and whereby said actuation device cooperates with a forcing guide provided in a station to rotate the bubble top from the open position to the partially closed position.

[0008] In particular, this forcing guide may be a rail with an inclination that may be adjusted.

[0009] The invention is now explained with the aid of an embodiment example and accompanying drawings.

[0010] FIG. 1 shows a side view of a chair with a fully opened bubble top whereby the user of the chair attempts to close the bubble top according to the method in the state-of-the-art as an explanation of the problem.

[0011] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the chair according to FIG. 1 having a partially closed bubble top whereby the user of the chair attempts to close said bubble top according to the method of the invention as an explanation to the advantages of the invention.

[0012] FIG. 3 shows a side view of the chair according to FIG. 1 having a completely closed bubble top, which the user had closed according to the method of the invention.

[0013] FIG. 4 shows a side view of the suspension assembly of the chair according to FIG. 1 with a completely opened bubble top.

[0014] FIG. 5 shows a side view of the suspension assembly of the chair according to FIG. 2 with a partially closed bubble top.

[0015] FIG. 6 shows a side view of the suspension assembly of the chair according to FIG. 3 with a closed bubble top.

[0016] FIG. 1 shows a side view of a chair with a completely opened bubble top 1 whereby a user 2 of the chair 3 attempts to close said bubble top 1 according to the method of the state-of-the-art as an explanation of the problem. Said bubble top is in an open position 10. To close said bubble top, the user 2 grasps with one hand 4 a handle 5 that is attached to the bubble top 1 at the front and later at the lower section 6 thereof. It can be clearly seen that a specific arm length and mobility is necessary to pull said bubble top forward and to close it from this leverage, which is unfavorable for the person.

[0017] A toggle lever is identified with the reference number 7, which is fastened to a rod assembly 8 (illustrated only partially.) The rod assembly 8 extends along the suspension assembly 9 of the chair up to the area of attachment of the hauling cable 40. A rail 41 is provided there in a way known in the art into which there is pushed a roller 42 that is provided at the end of the rod assembly 8 to completely close said bubble top and to lock the same whenever the chair is running empty. Said rail 41 is arranged behind the entry zone in the direction of departure and has a specific length and inclination to continuously close the bubble top 1. Empty running chairs can be detected via a photoelectric barrier provided correspondingly in the entry area.

[0018] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the chair according to FIG. 1 having a partially closed bubble top 1 whereby the user 2 of the chair 3 attempts to close said bubble top according to the method of the invention as an explanation to the advantages of the invention. The position in FIG. 2, starting in FIG. 1, is reached in that another rail is positioned within the station opposite the roller of the rod assembly 8 whereby said other rail has less inclination, for example, at the same length, e.g. one third of the inclination, so that the bubble top 1 is partially closed. The chair is at this point at a stop whereby the bubble top 1 remains in the partially closed position—without action by the user—and after which the bubble top 1 is completely closed or completely opened depending on the action of the user. It is possible as well that only one single rail is provided for the automatic complete closing process whereby the inclination is correspondingly reduced in case of an occupied chair to drive said bubble top 1 to the partially closed position 20 after passing said rail.

[0019] FIG. 3 shows a side view of the chair according to FIG. 1 having a completely closed bubble top 1, which the user of the chair had closed according to the method of the invention.

[0020] FIG. 4 shows a side view of the suspension assembly of the chair according to FIG. 1 with a completely opened bubble top 1. The scale of FIG. 4 has been chosen thereby to be smaller so that the suspension assembly may be seen comprising grips 42 grasping the cable 40 (indicated schematically) and the cable 40 itself. The same applies for FIG. 5 and FIG. 6, which views correspond to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3. A profiled part 44 is added to the suspension assembly 9 whereby said profiled part 44 forms an axis 45 for the lever 46 onto which other end the roller 42 is rotatably mounted and onto which the end of the rod assembly is hinged. At the corresponding height of the roller 42 there is the rail 41 attached which is swivable about the axis 47. The end 48 of rail 41 is arranged deeply enough to allow contact of the roller 42 thereto. In prior art, the rail 41 is without function during movement of a chair assembly.

[0021] In FIG. 6, the function of rail 41 is shown as running empty. Rail 41 can be pivoted about the axis 47 via a pivoting device (not shown in the figures), which may also be realized by lifting the opposite end 49 of the rail 41. By the upward movement of the rail, which means by closing in on the cable 40, the roller 42 is lifted as well and the rod assembly 8 is pushed in the direction of said cable 40 so that the bubble top 1 is pivoted at the joint 7 and is completely closed thereby. Of course, roller 42 and rail 41 may also be arranged in such a manner that said rail 41 is lowered during forward movement of the chair assembly whereby the roller 42 is pushed down to close the bubble top 1.

[0022] FIG. 5 finally shows the adjustable intermediate position of rail 41, which is slanted, for example, approximately by half the angle relative to the angle between the rail 41 in FIG. 4 and FIG. 6 so that the rod assembly 8 is pulled up and across the forcing guide in the area of the roller 42 to such a degree that said bubble top will be partially closed thereby. The exact required inclination of rail 41 to reach the intermediate position 20 depends on the geometry of said bubble top and may be set by those skilled in the art. The joint or the toggle lever 7 allows the taking of two final positions 10 and 30 as wells as an intermediate position 20.