Title:
Sweeper bucket with rollers
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A loader bucket is adapted to mount a front rotary broom or brush, which is positioned ahead of a cutting edge of the bucket. The broom rotates to lift material over the broom and rearwardly to deposit material in the bucket. A pair of support rollers are mounted in recesses on the bottom wall of the bucket to support the front cutting edge of the bucket at a desired level relative to a supporting surface and prevent the edge from unintentionally engaging the surface. The rollers are made so that they will roll easily and slide on the surface and are positioned to permit tilting the bucket so that the front cutting edge of the bucket will engage the surface for scraping material from the surface, with the rollers remaining, if desired. The rollers are mounted in recessed chambers on the surface formed on the bottom side of the bottom wall by upwardly formed portions of the bottom wall of the bucket, the upwardly formed positions form a dam along and to the rear of the front cutting edge of the bucket.



Inventors:
Watts, Verne C. (Lisbon, ND, US)
Application Number:
10/162474
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
06/03/2002
Assignee:
WATTS VERNE C.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H1/04; (IPC1-7): E01H1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAHTA, ABRAHAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nickolas E. Westman (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A loader bucket for supporting a front mounted rotary sweeper, said bucket having an attachment member at the rear for attaching to a loader, the improvement comprising a bottom wall of the bucket having at least one raised section forming an upwardly extending wall portion adjacent a forward edge of the bucket, and a rearwardly tapering wall portion joining an upper edge of the upwardly tapering wall portion to form a recess on a bottom side of the bottom wall of the bucket.

2. The loader bucket of claim 1, wherein said wall portions extend laterally across the width of the bucket.

3. The loader bucket of claim 1, wherein said wall portions are secured to an end wall of the bucket.

4. The loader bucket of claim 1, wherein there are at least two rollers mounted in the recess formed on the bottom side of the bottom wall of the bucket, the rollers being adjacent to opposite ends of the bucket and rotatably mounted thereon with a portion of the rollers extending below a working plane of the bucket.

5. The loader bucket of claim 4, wherein said rollers have tapered ends.

6. The loader bucket of claim 3, wherein end walls of the bucket form side walls of the chamber on the bottom side of the bottom wall of the bucket, and gusset walls in the chamber secured to the wall portions and parallel to the end walls and spaced therefrom a selected distance, the rollers being positioned between respective end walls and a respective adjacent gusset wall.

7. A sweeper bucket adapted for use with a front mounted rotary broom, said loader bucket having a bottom wall with a forward edge, said rotary broom sweeping material from a surface into the bucket and mounted in a housing that overlies the broom, material swept moving rearwardly toward the bucket, said bucket having end walls, and a pair of rollers mounted below the bottom wall of the bucket and between the end walls, and having portions that extend below the forward edge of the bucket to support the forward edge at a height above the surface being swept.

8. The sweeper bucket of claim 7, wherein the bucket bottom wall is formed to have at least one downwardly opening recess, said rollers being mounted at least partially in the recess.

9. The sweeper bucket of claim 8, wherein the bottom wall is formed to have a raised laterally extending portion on an upper side and forming a downwardly opening recess extending transversely between the end walls of the bucket.

10. The sweeper bucket of claim 9, wherein said bottom wall has a raised portion adjacent the forward edge thereof, and forming the downwardly facing recess for receiving the rollers, said raised portion extending laterally between the end walls, and the broom depositing materials to a rear side of the raised portion, the raised portion thereby acting as a dam to retain material in the bucket.

11. The sweeper bucket of claim 10, wherein said raised portion comprises a generally planar upwardly inclined wall portion at a forward side of the raised portion, and a generally planar downwardly inclined and rearwardly extending portion joining the upwardly extending portion along a top edge of the raised portion.

12. A loader bucket adapted for mounting a sweeper, the loader bucket having a bottom wall, a rear wall, a forward edge, and end walls forming a bucket interior space, a pair of rollers mounted below the bottom wall of the bucket, and the bottom wall of the bucket having a raised transversely extending portion on the interior space that forms a downwardly facing recess for mounting the rollers, said rollers being positioned to space the bottom wall of the bucket from a surface supporting the rollers.

13. The loader bucket of claim 12, wherein said rollers are positioned more closely to the front edge than the rear wall.

14. The loader bucket of claim 13, wherein said rollers are plastic rollers, and said rollers are mounted on shafts that are fixed relative to the bucket.

15. The loader bucket of claim 14, wherein the rollers extend from the end walls a short distance, and gusset walls mounted on the bottom wall and forming end supports for the rollers.

16. The loader bucket of claim 13, wherein the bucket is attached to a loader for movement about a horizontal axis, the bucket being tiltable about the rollers where the rollers are supported on a surface being swept so the front edge engages the surface being swept.

17. The loader bucket of claim 12, wherein the bottom wall has front, rear and side edges defining a perimeter, and the rollers being entirely within the perimeter of the bottom wall.

Description:

[0001] This application refers to and claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/368,886 filed Mar. 29, 2002, the content of which is incorporated in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to a sweeper bucket that mounts on a loader, for example, and has a bottom wall that is formed to provide a downwardly opening recess in which to mount rollers on the bottom of the bucket. The rollers are positioned to hold the cutting edge slightly spaced from the surface being swept during normal operation to avoid scratching or gouging the surface being swept. The bottom wall forms a raised dirt dam immediately to the rear of the sweeper bucket cutting edge that helps retain material swept into the bucket.

[0003] Conventional sweepers have been mounted on buckets that have generally flat bottoms or floors, and the sweeping brush or broom is mounted on a forward housing that also overlies the front portion of the loader bucket. The broom is rotated so that it sweeps material into the bucket as the loader moves forwardly, or the brush can be rotated in opposite direction while the loader moves backward, with the cutting edge closer to the surface. The loader arms are used for raising and lowering the entire assembly. The buckets generally have a cutting edge or bar at the front edge, and if this cutting edge engages the surface that is being swept, it can leave gouges, or scratches, that are unsightly and undesirable. Prior art models of sweepers that used a loader for collecting the debris have been operated with the cutting edge slightly above the surface that was being swept, but it was very difficult to adjust and maintain this height. If the edge was too low, the cutting edge would wear out, and also mark the surface, as well as colliding with small variations or bumps in the surface. If the bucket edge is too high the bucket will lift the brush from the surface.

[0004] Other sweepers have used wheels on the front and rear of the sweeper to establish a proper sweeping height, but special mountings or brackets were required. Wheels in front and back will prevent scraping the surface, when that is needed f removing debris sticking.

[0005] The prior art also shows various loader mounted bucket sweepers, such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,895,476, as well as others. Adjusting and maintaining the height of the cutting edge at a level where the bucket will collect material but will not scrape, mar or gouge the surface that is being swept has been difficult.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention relates to a sweeper bucket that has a formed bottom surface that includes a transverse, upwardly inclined forward wall portion that joins a rearwardly tapering wall portion forming the bottom of the bucket. The enclosed walls form a dam on the upper side and leave a recess on the lower side of the bottom of the bucket. The recess is used for mounting a pair of guide rollers adjacent the opposite ends of the bucket which will roll on the surface being swept for controlling the spacing of the bucket bottom from the surface. The cutting edge of the bucket that is ahead of the support rollers can thus be held at a known relationship relative to the surface being swept.

[0007] The bucket is adapted to be mounted onto loader arms, and the rollers are positioned below the bottom wall in a recess and out of the way of debris that might be carried into the bucket, so that they are not subject to extra wear or damage from debris. The loader arms are positioned at the rear of the bucket and mounted on a horizontal pivot axis. By lifting the loader arm slightly, and using the tilt function of the bucket, the cutting edge of the bucket can be tilted about the surface contact line of the support rollers, so the cutting edge will touch the surface for scraping compacted or sticky materials from a surface being swept. The inclined raised wall sections that form the mounting housing or recess for the rollers also form a dam for material that is swept into the bucket.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a schematic side elevational view of a loader bucket made according to the present invention showing schematically a sweeping brush mounted on the forward edge thereof;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the bucket with the mounting housing and broom removed, to show the configuration of the bottom wall of the bucket;

[0010] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the bucket taken on line 33 in FIG. 2;

[0011] FIG. 4 is a bottom rear perspective view of the bucket showing guide rollers in place;

[0012] FIG. 5 is a perspective cross-sectional view of the bucket showing the bottom wall configuration; and

[0013] FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the bucket.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0014] Referring to FIG. 1, which is a schematic representation of the sweeper assembly including the bucket of the present invention, the sweeper indicated generally at 10 is mounted onto loader arms 12, of a loader 14 that is not shown in detail and is well known. The sweeper bucket of the present invention is shown generally at 16. Pivot pins 13 mount an attachment plates to the loader arms and the bucket is held on the attachment plate. The attachment plate is a conventional plate that can be tilted about the pins with a conventional tilt cylinder schematically shown at 17. FIG. 1 shows a top mounting housing 18 of conventional design illustrated in place on the bucket 16 for illustrative purposes. The top mounting housing 18 has side panels 20 on opposite sides, and is hinged as at 22 relative to the top rear portion of bucket 16. The housing 18 mounts a rotary sweeping broom or brush indicated at 24 that is supported on suitable bearings on the side members 20. The side members 20 support a top wall 26, that joins the side members and forms a housing for the brush or broom 24.

[0015] Schematically illustrated is a hydraulic motor 28 that is mounted onto one of the side panels 20, and utilizes a chain 30 for driving a sprocket 32 to power the brush 24 in a suitable direction indicated by the rotary broom arrow 25. The swept material is raised over the broom 24 and dropped in the bucket 16 to the rear of the front or cutting edge. The broom 24 normally is rotated in the direction shown by the arrow for sweeping a surface indicated at 32. The broom can be reversed in rotation and by tilting the cutting edge of the bucket down, material can be swept into the bucket with the broom rotating in reverse and the loader also backing up.

[0016] The hydraulic motor 28 is powered through suitable lines leading from a pump 34 that is actually mounted on the loader 14 and is part of the loader hydraulic system. The motor 28 is normally mounted on the inside of the side panel but is shown in solid lines on the outside for illustrative purposes.

[0017] Suitable lines 36 are used for carrying hydraulic fluid under pressure from the pump 34 to a valve on the loader 14 and then to the motor 28 in a normal manner.

[0018] Loader bucket 16 is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 2 through 6, and specifically in FIG. 2, the sweeper bucket 16 includes a rear wall 38, on which an attachment bracket 40 is mounted. The attachment bracket 40 is used for attaching the bucket to the loader arms 12 and loader 14. The bucket 16 also has end plates or end walls 42 and 44, and a bottom wall shown at 46 that joins the rear wall 38 and the end walls 42 and 44.

[0019] The bottom wall 46, as will be explained in more detail, is formed with a raised hump or dam on the top side, and this hump provides a recess forming mounting housings for a pair of support rollers 54, that are used for spacing the bottom of the bucket from surface 32. The bottom wall 46 also supports a front cutter bar or edge 48 that is conventional on loader and sweeper buckets, and is positioned just behind the broom 24.

[0020] As can be seen in FIG. 3, the bottom wall 46 includes, as can be seen in FIG. 3, a front horizontal portion 46A that mounts the front cutter bar 48, and then an upwardly inclined wall 46B that extends laterally between the end walls 42 and 44. A rearwardly and downwardly inclined wall section 46C join wall 46B along a ridge 46D and extends back to join the rear wall 38.

[0021] A recess 49 is formed on the underside of wall portions 46B and 46C and a pair of gussets are welded into the recess. The gussets are shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. A gusset 50 is spaced from the end wall 44, to form a roller pocket 52 (see FIG. 4) in which a first roller 54 is rotatably mounted. The first roller 54, as seen, can be a suitable plastic, such as ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, that has a cylindrical center section 54A and tapered ends 54B on opposite ends of the center section. The roller is rotatably mounted on a steel shaft 60, (FIG. 6) preferably stainless steel, that is held in place on the end walls of the pocket 52 with a suitable cap screw 56 at each end. The 60 shaft is held from rotating. As shown, the roller 54 will rotate on the shaft 60 so that there are no bearings required, although bushings or bearings can be provided.

[0022] On the opposite side of the bucket there is also a pocket 52 formed and a second roller 54 mounted between the end wall 42 and a gusset 58. A second roller 54 has a center section 54A and tapered end sections 54B as previously described, and the shaft 60 is held in place with cap screws 56 that thread into the end of the shaft as in FIGS. 1 and 6.

[0023] The raised, inclined forward wall portion 46B and the rearwardly tapering wall 46C of the bucket bottom wall 46 act to reinforce the bucket against flexing, and supports the end panels or walls 42 and 44 substantially.

[0024] It can be seen in FIG. 1 and in dotted lines in FIG. 3 for example, that any lifting or changing of the angle of the bucket by raising the loader arms and tilting the bucket about the pins 13 and the contact line of rollers 54, so that the cutting edge 48 can be adjusted in height relative to the supporting surface shown at 32, and held there. The cutting edge 48 can be used for scraping material off a surface if desired, in such a position. As shown, the rollers space the cutting edge about 0.75 to 1.0 inches from the surface with the lower edges of the side walls horizontal.

[0025] It should also be noted that there is a conventional stop assembly 64 for holding the housing 18 that supports the broom 24 in a desired position. This stops act between brackets 66 on the side walls 20, and brackets 68 on the end panels of the bucket.

[0026] Bottom wall 46 forms a raised dam that will tend to keep material in the rear portions of the bucket to prevent it from spilling out. As previously stated, the location of the rollers 54 reduces cutting edge wear in normal conditions, while allowing the cutting edge 48 to contact the surface for scraping if needed. The plastic rollers 60 do not mark the surface as steel rollers will, and the tapered end roller shape prevents the gouging if the rollers slide end wise, which eliminates the need for caster action when steering. The tapered ends of the rollers permit the rollers to slide.

[0027] No lubrication is necessary when a fixed shaft 60 is used on the interior of the plastic rollers, because the plastic acts as a lubricant itself.

[0028] The rollers do not add significant weight to the attachment, and so most loaders that can carry sweepers will be able to carry the bucket that has the rollers of the present invention.

[0029] Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.