Title:
Elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge and plow flap
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A plow edge and a plow flap, for example, a snow plow edge and a snow plow flap, having improved durability and performance compared to prior art metallic or elastomeric edges or flaps. The plow edge and plow flap are fabricated from an elastomeric material, for example, a cord-reinforced elastomeric material. According to one aspect of the invention, the cord-reinforced elastomeric materials are elongated members fabricated from tire parts, for example, used treads from pneumatic tires. Tire treads having integral reinforcing cords, for example, metallic or polymer cords or belts provide enhanced strength and durability. The plow edges and flaps may be used on plows for transferring many types of media along a surface, for example, gravel, sand, water, or other liquids, but in one aspect of the invention, the edges and flaps are used for snow plows.



Inventors:
Coffin, Jerry D. (San Clemente, CA, US)
Reynolds, Thomas J. (Canajoharie, NY, US)
Rhett, Troy A. (Albany, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/108042
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
03/27/2002
Assignee:
COFFIN JERRY D.
REYNOLDS THOMAS J.
RHETT TROY A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/06; (IPC1-7): E01H5/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BATSON, VICTOR D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HESLIN ROTHENBERG FARLEY & MESITI PC (ALBANY, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A plow edge comprising at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member fabricated from at least one pneumatic tire part.

2. The plow edge as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member comprises at least one elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced member or at least one elastomeric, fiber-cord-reinforced member.

3. The plow edge as recited in claim 2, wherein the at least one elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced member comprises at least one elastomeric, steel-belt-reinforced member.

4. The plow edge as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one pneumatic tire part comprises at least one used pneumatic tire part.

5. The plow edge as recited in claim 1, wherein the plow edge comprises a snow plow blade edge.

6. The plow edge as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one pneumatic tire part comprises at least one pneumatic tire tread.

7. The plow edge as recited in claim 6, wherein the at least one pneumatic tire tread comprises a plurality of pneumatic tire treads.

8. The plow edge as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member comprises a plurality of elastomeric, cord-reinforced members.

9. The plow edge as recited in claim 8, wherein the at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member comprises a plurality of elastomeric, metal cord-reinforced members.

10. The plow blade as recited in claim 8, wherein the plurality of elastomeric, cord-reinforced members comprise mating ends, wherein the mating ends have cooperating male and female constructions.

11. A method for replacing an existing plow edge with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising: removing the existing plow edge from the plow; and attaching the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge, the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member fabricated from at least one pneumatic tire part.

12. The method as recited in claim 11, wherein attaching the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprises positioning at least one rigid support plate adjacent the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge and fastening the support plate and the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge to the plow by means of fasteners.

13. The method as recited in claim 11, wherein the plow comprises an edge mounting surface, and wherein the method further comprises removing debris from the edge mounting surface.

14. The method as recited in claim 11 further comprising adjusting the alignment of the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge wherein the elastomer, cord-reinforced plow edge is mounted at an oblique angle.

15. A kit for replacing a plow edge with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge, the kit comprising: at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising at least one member fabricated from at least one part of a pneumatic tire; and a plurality of mechanical fasteners.

16. The kit as recited in claim 15, further comprising a metallic mounting plate having a plurality of through holes.

17. The kit as recited in claim 15, further comprising instructions for replacing a plow edge with the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge.

18. A plow flap mountable on a plow blade, the plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from at least one part of a pneumatic tire.

19. The plowflap as recited in claim 18 wherein the elastomeric, cord-reinforced material comprises an elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced material or an elastomeric, fiber-cord-reinforced material.

20. The plow flap as recited in claim 19 wherein the elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced material comprises an elastomeric, steel-belt-reinforced material.

21. The plow flap as recited in claim 18 wherein the plow flap is mountable on two plow blades.

22. The plow flap as recited in claim 18 further comprising means for mounting the resilient plow flap to one or more plow blades.

23. The plow flap as recited in claim 22 wherein the means for mounting the resilient plow flap comprises one or more through holes.

24. The plow flap as recited in claim 18 wherein the plow blade comprises a snow-plow blade.

25. A plow assembly, comprising: a plurality of plow blades mounted for relative movement about a common axis; at least one plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one plow flap to at least one of the plurality of plow blades.

26. The plow assembly as recited in claim 25, wherein the at least one plow flap comprises at least two plow flaps.

27. The plow assembly as recited in claim 25, wherein the plow assembly is a snow plow assembly.

28. The plow assembly as recited in claim 25, wherein the means for mounting the at least one plow flap comprises at least one mounting member and at least one threaded fastener.

29. The plow assembly as recited in claim 28, wherein the at least one mounting member comprises at least one mounting plate or at least one mounting bracket.

30. The plow assembly as recited in claim 57, wherein the plurality of plow blades each comprise a plow edge and wherein the means for mounting comprises means for mounting the at least one plow flap adjacent to at least one plow edge.

31. A kit for replacing an existing plow flap of a plow blade with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow flap, the kit comprising: at least one plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one resilient plow flap to the plow blade.

32. The kit as recited in claim 31 wherein the means for mounting comprises at least one mechanical fastener.

33. The kit as recited in claim 31 further comprising instructions for replacing an existing plow flap with at least one elastomeric, fiber-reinforced plow flap.

34. A plow assembly, comprising: a plow body; at least one plow edge comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one plow edge to the plow body.

35. The plow assembly as recited in claim 34, wherein the plow body comprises a lower edge and wherein the means for mounting the at least one plow edge comprises means for mounting the at least one plow edge adjacent the lower edge of the plow body.

36. The plow assembly as recited in claim 34, wherein the at least one plow edge comprises at least two plow edges.

37. The plow assembly as recited in claim 34, wherein the plow assembly is a snowplow assembly.

38. The plow assembly as recited in claim 34, wherein the means for mounting the at least one plow edge comprises at least one mounting member and at least one threaded fastener.

39. The plow assembly as recited in claim 38, wherein the at least one mounting member comprises at least one mounting plate.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates generally to devices for improving the durability and performance of plow blades. Specifically, the present invention provides improved plow blade edges and flaps, for example, snow plow edges and flaps fabricated from parts of pneumatic tires.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Rough terrain and cold weather conditions have caused problems for snow plow blades for as long as there have been snow plows. Although many modifications and alternative designs have been made to snow plow blades in attempts to improve the life and durability of snow plow blades, in particular, the life and durability of snow plow blade edges, most of these modifications and alterations did not provide sufficient durability to deal with, among other things, the rough terrain and cold weather that snow plow blades are typically exposed to. Typically, prior art snow plow edges are metallic, for example, steel, and are excessively damaged or even destroyed due to wear from to contact between the plow edge and the terrain and corrosion (which is exacerbated by road salt). Such prior art blade edges must frequently be repaired or replaced.

[0003] In addition, rigid prior art snow plow blade edges typically can damage the surface over which they are moved, for example, asphalt or concrete and, due to their rigidity, typically transmit loads, for example, shock loads, to the vehicle and vehicle mounting components to which the plow blade is attached. These loads can damage or incapacitate the vehicle or vehicle mounting components. Furthermore, metallic prior art blade edges are not effective in plowing fluid-like media, for example, slush, water, and other fluids or liquids. There is a need in the art to provide a snow plow blade edge which avoids these limitations of prior art plow blade edges, in particular, limitations in prior art snow plow blade edges.

[0004] In many plowing applications, for example, in snow plowing, the plow comprises a hinged or articulated plow, having two or more plow blade sections hinged on a common access. Such articulated plows, often referred to as “v-plows”, typically have some form of gap between the plow blades to accommodate the hinged mounting or independent movement of each of the blades. As a result, such plows typically have a gap or space between the plow blades that, for example, interrupts the surface that impacts the medium being plowed, for example, snow, sand, or gravel. Typically, in order to prevent the plowed medium from passing through this gap between the blades, at least one flexible flap or cover is mounted over the gap to prevent or minimize the passage of the plowed medium through the gap. Typically, in the prior art, this flap is a rubber flap, for example, an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber flap. Typically, at least one, sometimes two EPDM rubber flaps are mounted across the gap between the articulated plow blades.

[0005] However, conventional rubberflaps, such as EPDM rubberflaps, have limited strength and wear resistance. Under heavy loading and in harsh environments, for example, in highway snow plowing, conventional rubber plow flaps are prone to wear, tearing, splinting, “chunking”, and other forms of breakage due to impacts with the plowed surface and surface obstructions and typically must be replaced often. Thus, there is a need in the art for an elastomeric plow flap having improved strength, durability, and wear resistance compared to prior art plow flaps.

[0006] U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,096,772 of Snyder [attrny. ref. 1908.001] and 6,258,193 of Coffin [attrny. ref. 1908.004 C] and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/904,139 filed on Jul. 11, 2001[attrny. ref. 1908.002] (the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference herein) disclose an elastomeric construction material fabricated from pneumatic tire parts and methods for fabricating elastomeric construction materials from pneumatic tire parts. These construction materials are marketed under the name DURABOARD™ by Tire Conversion Technologies Inc. of Scotia, N.Y. As disclosed in these patents and application, tire treads are processed to fabricate strong, durable, and resilient construction materials for use in, for example, retaining walls and fencing, as well as other applications.

[0007] The inventors have found that the resilient construction material described in the above patents and application can be used to provide plow blade edges and plow flaps, in particular, snow-plow blade edges and snow-plow flaps, that overcome many of the limitations of the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention overcomes the limitations of prior art plow blade edge and plow flap construction, in particular, prior art snow-plow blade edge and snow-plow flap construction, to provide an improved blade and an improved flap which exhibit increased durability and reliability compared to the prior art. In addition, the present invention imparts less damage to the surface over which the edge or flap is used and transmits less loading upon the vehicle, the mounting components, and the vehicle operator. Though some aspects of the present invention are ideally suited for snow-plow blade applications, including Zamboni®-type vehicles and devices, many aspects of the present invention are not limited to snow-plow applications, but can be used on any type of plow. Aspects of the present invention are applicable, for example, to earth-moving plows, such as bulldozers and graders, and material handling plows, for example, plows used in the farming and food industry.

[0009] One aspect of the present invention is a plow edge comprising at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member fabricated from at least one pneumatic tire part, for example, at least one pneumatic tire tread. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one elastomeric, fiber-reinforced member comprises at least one elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced member, for example, a steel-belt-reinforced member, or at least one elastomeric, fiber-cord-reinforced member. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one pneumatic tire part comprises at least one used pneumatic tire part. In one aspect of the invention, the plow edge comprises a snow plow blade edge.

[0010] Another aspect of the present invention is a plow assembly, comprising: a plow body; at least one plow edge comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one plow edge to the plow body, for example, adjacent the lower edge of the plow body. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one plow edge comprises at least two plow edges. In one aspect of the invention, the plow assembly is a snow-plow assembly. In one aspect of the invention, the means for mounting the at least one plow edge comprises at least one mounting member and at least one threaded fastener. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one mounting member comprises at least one mounting plate.

[0011] Another aspect of the present invention is method for replacing an existing plow edge with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising: removing the existing plow edge from the plow; and attaching the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge, the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced member fabricated from at least one pneumatic tire part. Attaching the elastomeric, cord reinforced plow edge may comprise positioning at least one rigid support plate adjacent the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge and fastening the support plate and the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge to the plow by means of fasteners. In another aspect of the invention, the method may further include adjusting the alignment of the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge wherein the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge is mounted at an oblique angle.

[0012] Another aspect of the present invention is a kit for replacing a plow edge with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge. The kit may include at least one elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge comprising at least one member fabricated from at least one part of a pneumatic tire; and a plurality of mechanical fasteners, for example, nuts, bolts, and washers. In one aspect of the invention, the kit may include instructions for replacing a plow edge with the elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow edge.

[0013] A further aspect of the present invention is a plow flap mountable on a plow blade, the plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from at least one part of a pneumatic tire. Again, like the plow edge described above, in one aspect of the invention, the plow flap is made from an elastomeric, metal-cord-reinforced material, for example, an elastomeric, steel-belt-reinforced material, or an elastomeric, fiber-cord-reinforced material. In one aspect of the invention, the plow flap is mountable on two plow blades, for example, two plow blades of a “v-scoop”-type plow. In one aspect of the invention aspect, the plow blade comprises a snow-plow blade.

[0014] Still another aspect of the present invention is a plow assembly, comprising: a plurality of plow blades mounted for relative movement about a common axis; at least one plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one plow flap to at least one of the plurality of plow blades, for example, adjacent the common axis. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one plow flap comprises at least two plow flaps. In one aspect of the invention, the plow assembly is a snow-plow assembly. In one aspect of the invention, the means for mounting the at least one plow flap comprises at least one mounting member and at least one threaded fastener. In one aspect of the invention, the at least one mounting member comprises at least one mounting plate or at least one mounting bracket.

[0015] A further aspect of the invention is a kit for replacing an existing plow flap of a plow blade with an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow flap. The kit including at least one plow flap comprising an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from parts of one or more pneumatic tires; and means for mounting the at least one resilient plow flap to the plow blade. The means for mounting may comprise at least one mechanical fastener. The kit may also include instructions for replacing an existing plow flap with at least one elastomeric, fiber-reinforced plow flap.

[0016] These and other embodiments and aspects of the present invention will become more apparent upon review of the attached drawings, description below, and attached claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and method of practice, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following detailed descriptions of the preferred embodiments and the accompanying drawings in which:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a typical prior art plow blade.

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a typical plow blade according to one aspect of the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the section of the plow blade shown in FIG. 2.

[0021] FIG. 4 is a plan view of one aspect of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view taken along section lines 5-5 in FIG. 4.

[0023] FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of a prior art v-scoop plow.

[0024] FIG. 7 is a perspective of the prior art v-scoop plow shown in FIG. 6 as viewed from the direction of arrows 7-7 in FIG. 6.

[0025] FIG. 8 is a plan view of one aspect of the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view taken through lines 9-9 shown in FIG. 8.

[0027] FIG. 10 is a plan view of another aspect of the present invention

[0028] FIG. 11 is a partial front elevation view of a plow assembly according to one aspect of the present invention.

[0029] FIG. 12 is partial is a partial rear elevation view of a plow assembly according to one aspect of the present invention.

[0030] FIG. 13 is a view like FIG. 12 showing a plow assembly according to another aspect of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0031] FIG. 1 is an perspective view of a typical prior art plow assembly 10 over which one aspect of the present invention is an improvement. Prior art plow assembly 10 typically includes plow body 12 which is typically of hemispherical and funnel shape steel construction for deflecting snow or other media. Plow assembly 10 is typically the attached to a vehicle (not shown) by means of an appropriate frame or housing (also not shown). The vehicle may be any vehicle ranging from a standard car or pickup truck to a sand and salt-carrying dump truck to a road grader having a belly-mounted blade, to huge earth-moving or snow-moving plows. The means of attaching the body 12 to a vehicle may also typically include some form of hydraulic mechanism for positioning body 12 as desired, as is typical in the art. The prior art plow assembly 10 may also include one or more reinforcing members 14 (shown in phantom) to provide strength and rigidity to plow body 12. Reinforcing members 14 are typically standard structural angles which are attached to the back of plow body 12, for example, by means of welding.

[0032] Typical prior art plow assembly 10 includes at least one replaceable plow edge 16 mounted to the base of body 12 where edge 16 will contact the plowed surface, for example, a road surface. As noted above, plow edge 16 is typically replaceable since its rigid construction is typically prone to damage due abrasive contact with the surface being plowed or to obstacles, for example, trees, mail boxes, and the like, encountered while plowing. Plow edge 16 is typically of metallic construction, for example, steel construction, and is mounted to body 12 by a plurality of mechanical fasteners, for example, a plurality of nuts, bolts, and washers, 18. Prior art plow edges 16 typically included slotted perforations to allow for adjustment of the mounting of the plow edge 16 during initial installation or for adjustment of the mounting of the plow edge 16 after use and wear.

[0033] FIG. 2 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 1 of a typical plow assembly 20 according to one aspect of the present invention. An exploded view of plow construction 20 is shown in FIG. 3. According to this aspect of the invention, plow assembly 20 typically includes a plow body 12 and one or more reinforcing members 14 as in the prior art construction shown in FIG. 1. According to one aspect of the present invention, plow assembly 20 includes a plow edge 22 comprising a resilient material, for example, an elastomeric material having reinforcing cords, for example, non-metallic reinforcing chords or metallic reinforcing chords, for instance, metallic wires(See FIG. 5). In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises an elastomeric material having reinforcing cords, for example, steel reinforcing cords (specifically, ASTM 1070 steel wire); polymer reinforcing cords, for example, polyester or nylon cords; steel belts; polymer belts; or combinations thereof. In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from tires, for example, pneumatic tires. In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 is fabricated from the elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from tires as disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,096,772 or 6,258,193 or co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/904,139 (again, the disclosures of which are incorporated by reference herein). Typically, pneumatic tires, for example, biased or unbiased tires, or belted or unbelted tires, include some form of reinforcing elements, for example, chords, belts, plies, and the like, that provide added strength to the tire. According to one aspect of the present invention, parts of pneumatic tires, for example, scrap tires, are used to provide resilient plow-blade members having some form of reinforcing element.

[0034] According to one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 is attached to plow body 12 by means of mechanical fasteners, for example, a plurality of nuts 24, bolts 26, and washers 28 as shown in FIG. 3. In another aspect of the invention, plow edge 20 is attached to body 12 with a reinforcing plate 30, for example, a carbon steel or stainless steel reinforcing plate, to add rigidity and strength to the mounting of edge 22. The dimensions of reinforcing plate 30 will vary depending upon the size of plow edge 22 used, for example, the length of plate 30 is limitless, but reinforcing plate 30 typically will have a length between about 4 and 20 feet, for example, between about 4 feet and about 8 feet; the width of plate 30 may be between about 0.5 to about 24 inches, for example, between about 3 inches and about 12 inches; and the thickness of plate 30 may be between about 0.125 inches to about 4 inches, for example, between about 0.50 inches and about 1.0 inches. As in the prior art plow edge 16 shown in FIG. 1, plow edge 22 may also include slotted holes 32 to facilitate attachment and alignment of plow edge 22 on body 12.

[0035] FIG. 4 illustrates a detailed plan view of plow edge 22 according to one aspect of the invention. FIG. 5 illustrates a cross sectional view of plow edge 22 as viewed along section lines 5-5 of FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 5, plow edge 22 typically is comprised of at least one tire ply 34 fabricated according to the methods disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,096,772; 6,258,193; or co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/904,139. In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises at least 2 plies 34; in another aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises at least 3 plies 34. A third ply 34 is shown in phantom in FIG. 4. According to the present invention, one or more plies 34 include one or more reinforcing cords 35. Cords 35 may be metallic reinforcing cords, for example, steel reinforcing cords (specifically, ASTM 1070 steel wire); polymer reinforcing cords, for example, polyester or nylon cords; steel belts; polymer belts; or combinations thereof. In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material fabricated from tires, for example, pneumatic tires. Each ply 34 typically has a thickness of between about 0.25 inches to about 1 inch, for example, about ⅝ inches thick. Thus, the thickness T of plow edge 22 may vary from about 0.25 inches to about 3 inches or more, for example, 8 inches or more, depending upon the number of plies 34 used in its construction, but T is typically between about 0.25 inches and about 3 inches, for example, about 0.40 inches. The width of each ply 34 and thus the width W of edge 22 is typically between about 4 inches and about 12 inches, for example, about 8 inches wide. The length of each ply 34 and thus the length L of plow edge 22 is typically between about 2 feet and about 20 feet long, for example, between about 6 feet and about 12 feet long. The dimensions of plow edge 22 are typically dictated by the size of the plow body 12 onto which it is to be attached.

[0036] Plow edge 22 may comprise one or more assembles of plies 34. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, plow edge 22 may comprise at least a first section 36 and a second section 38, for example, as dictated by the length of plow body 12 of FIG. 2. In one aspect of the invention, plow edge 22 comprises at least two sections 36, 38 having corresponding mating faces 37 and 39 comprising means 40 for joining the two mating faces 37, 39. As shown in FIG. 4, means 40 may include one or more complimentary male projections 42 and female recesses 44 in mating faces 37 and 39, respectively. In one aspect of the invention, projection 42 and recess 44 are triangular in shape, though in other embodiments they may be rectangular or semicircular in shape, among other shapes. An adhesive may be applied to mating surfaces 37, 39, projection 42, and recess 44 to improve the integrity of the assembly, for example, a gum rubber cement produced by Patch Rubber Company of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., or its equivalent.

[0037] Plow edge 22 typically includes a plurality of slotted mounting holes 46 or a plurality of circular mounting holes 48. Circular holes 48 will typically have a diameter of between about 0.5 inches and about 2.0 inches. Slotted mounting holes 46 will typically have a width of between about 0.5 inches and about 3.5 inches and a length of between about 2 inches to about 6 inches. Circular mounting holes 48 and slotted mounting holes 48 are typically equally-spaced along plow edge 22, for example, equally-spaced on about 10-inch to about 14-inch centerlines, for instance, on about 12-inch centerlines.

[0038] FIG. 6 illustrates a partially-exploded, perspective view of another prior art plow assembly 50 over which one aspect of the present invention is an improvement. FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the prior art plow assembly 50 shown in FIG. 6 as viewed from the direction of arrows 7-7 in FIG. 6. Plow assembly 50 is what is known in the art as a “v-scoop” plow, that is, an articulating plow having at least two plow bodies 52 and 54 pivotably mounted on a common axis. Similar to plow body 12 shown in FIG. 2, plow bodies 52 and 56 typically include a plurality of reinforcing ribs 58, similar to ribs 14 shown in FIG. 2, and a plow edge 59, similar to plow edge 16 shown in FIG. 1. Under the influence of a motive force (not shown), for example, hydraulic actuators, plow bodies 52 and 54 pivotably rotate about axis 56 as indicated by double arrows 60, 62 to effect the preferred “v-shape” of the v-scoop plow. V-scoop plows provide added plowing versatility that is not provided by straight plows, for example, with a v-scoop plow the plow operator can direct the plowed material (for example, snow) to either side of the vehicle or push half of the material to each side of the vehicle.

[0039] In typical prior art v-scoop plows, due to the clearance required to allow plow bodies 52 and 54 to rotate about axis 56, plow edge 59 is typically interrupted in the vicinity of axis 56 and a void or opening 64 appears in the plow edge 59. In order to prevent the plowed medium, for example, snow or gravel, from passing through void 64, a plow flap 66 is mounted over void 64. Plow flap 66 is typically mounted to the bottom edges of plow bodies 52, 54 by means of mounting brackets 68 and mechanical fasteners (not shown). Since plow bodies 52 and 54 typically move relative to each other, plow flap 66 is typically made from an elastomeric material, for example, natural rubber, polyisoprene rubber, or ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber, among other materials. However, such prior art elastomeric materials are prone to wear, tearing, splinting, “chunking”, and other forms of breakage due to impacts with the plowed surface and surface obstructions, and typically must be replaced often.

[0040] Two plow flaps that overcome the limitations of prior art plow flaps 66, according to one aspect of the present invention, are shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10. FIG. 8 is a plan view of a plow flap 70 according one aspect of the present invention. Plow flap 70 may be mounted alone in void or gap 64 or may be mounted in tandem with a similar or identical plow flap 70 in void or gap 64. FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view taken through lines 9-9 shown in FIG. 8. Plow flap 70 may take any convenient shape in order to fill void or gap 64, for example, a rectangular shape, as shown in FIG. 9, a circular shape, or a triangular shape, among others. As shown in FIG. 9, and similar in the manner of construction and material of plow edge 22 shown in FIG. 5, plow flap 70 is comprised of at least one ply 72, preferably at least 2 plies 72 of an elastomeric, cord-reinforced material. A third ply 72 is shown in phantom in FIG. 9. According to the present invention, one or more plies 72 include one or more reinforcing cords 76, such as reinforcing cords 35 shown in FIG. 5. Each ply 72 typically has a thickness of between about 0.25 inches to about 1 inch, for example, about ⅝ inches thick. Thus, the thickness T of plow flap 70 may vary from about 0.25 inches to about 3 inches or more, for example, 8 inches or more, depending upon the number of plies 34 used in its construction, but T in FIG. 9 is typically between about 1 inch to about 3 inches. The width of each ply 72 and thus the width W of flap 70 is typically between about 4 inches and about 12 inches, for example, about 5 inches wide. The length of each ply 72 and thus the length L of plow flap 70 is typically between about 4 inches and about 12 inches, for example, about 8.5 inches long. The dimensions of plow flap 70 are typically dictated by the size of the plow bodies 52, 54 onto which plow flap 70 is mounted.

[0041] In one aspect of the invention, plow flap 70 includes one or more mounting holes 74 for mounting plow flap 70 to plow bodies 52, 54, for example, by means of mechanical fasteners. The size and location of mounting holes 74 in plow flap 70 will vary depending upon the size of the plow bodies upon which plow flap 70 is mounted, for example, mounting holes 74 may be offset as shown in FIG. 8 and have a diameter between about 0.25 to bout 2.0 inches, for example, a diameter of about 0.5 inches.

[0042] FIG. 10 is a plan view of plow flap 80 according to another aspect of the present invention. Plow flap 80 is similar in shape to prior art plow flap 66 shown in FIG. 6 and may be similarly mounted over gap or void 64 in FIG. 6. However, according to this aspect of the present invention, plow flap 80 is comprised of the same elastomeric, cord-reinforced material of plow flap 70 and plow edge 22. For example, FIG. 9 also represents a typical cross section taken through lines 9-9 shown in FIG. 10. Again, plow flap 80 may take any convenient shape in order to fill void or gap 64, for example, a rectangular shape with an upper boss 82 as shown in FIG. 10, a circular shape, or a triangular shape, among others. Plow flap 80 may comprise one or more plies 72 as shown in FIG. 9 and may have a similar thickness T as shown in FIG. 9, for example, a thickness between about 1 inch and about 3 inches. The width W of flap 80 is typically between about 2 inches and about 12 inches, for example, about 3 to about 4 inches wide. The length L of plow flap 80 is typically between about 6 inches and about 24 inches, for example, about 14.5 inches long. The upper boss 82 of plow flap 80 may have a length L1 between about 3 inches and about 18 inches, for example, about 5.5 inches in width. The upper boss 82 may have a transition radius R of between about 0.5 to about 5 inches, for example, about 3 inches. Again, the dimensions of plow flap 80 are typically dictated by the size of the plow bodies 52, 54 onto which plow flap 80 is mounted.

[0043] Similar to plow flap 70, in one aspect of the invention, plow flap 80 includes one or more mounting holes 84 for mounting plow flap 80 to plow bodies 52, 54, for example, by means of mechanical fasteners. The size and location of mounting holes 84 in plow flap 80 will vary depending upon the size of the plow bodies upon which plow flap 80 is mounted, for example, mounting holes 84 may be located as shown in FIG. 10 and have a diameter between about 0.25 to bout 2.0 inches, for example, a diameter of about 0.5 inches.

[0044] FIG. 11 is a partial front elevation view of a v-scoop plow assembly 90 according to one aspect of the present invention. In FIG. 11, two plow flaps 70 as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 are mounted on plow bodies 52 and 54 (which are pivotably mounted on axis 56) as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. As shown in FIG. 11, plow flaps 70 are mounted to plow blades 59 and 61 by means of mechanical fasteners, for example, a plurality of bolts 92, nuts 94, and washers 96, thought other types of mechanical fasteners may be used. As shown in FIG. 11, plow flaps 70 overlap to provide an obstruction in void 64. A rear view of the plow flap assembly 90 shown in FIG. 11 is shown in FIG. 12. As shown in this view, in this aspect of the invention, plow flaps 70 are mounted onto plow blades 59, 61 by means of mounting plates or mounting brackets 92, 94. Mounting plates 92, 94 may take any desirable shape to accommodate the plow blades 59, 61 and plow flaps 70 for which they are used. Mounting plates 92, 94 are typically metallic, for example, carbon steel or stainless, and have a thickness of between about 0.25 to about 2.0 inches. Mounting plates 92, 94 also include appropriate through holes to accommodate the mounting hardware, for example, bolts 92, nuts 94, and washers 96.

[0045] FIG. 13 is a view like FIG. 11 of a partial rear elevation view of a plow assembly 100 according to another aspect of the present invention. In FIG. 13, plow flap 80 as shown in FIG. 10 is mounted on plow bodies 52 and 54 (which are pivotably mounted on axis 56) as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. As shown in FIG. 13, plow flap 80 is mounted to plow blades 59 and 61 by means of mechanical fasteners, for example, a plurality of bolts 92, nuts 94, and washers 96, thought other types of mechanical fasteners may be used, to provide an obstruction in void 64. As shown in this view in this aspect of the invention, plow flap 80 is mounted onto plow blades 59, 61 by means of mounting plates or mounting brackets 96, 98, which are similar in size and material to mounting plates 92 and 94 shown in FIG. 12. Again, mounting plates 96 and 98 may take any desirable shape to accommodate the plow blades 59, 61 and plow flap 80 for which they are used. Also, mounting plates 96 and 98 also include appropriate through holes to accommodate mounting hardware, for example, bolts 92, nuts 94, and washers 96.

[0046] The present invention provides an elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow blade edge and elastomeric, cord-reinforced plow flaps for use in a plow on any form of media. The present inventions may be used for moving dirt, snow, slush, gravel, sand, blacktop, sawdust, manure, and fluids (including water, paint, petroleum-based fluids, food products, among other fluids), among other materials. The plow blade edge and plow flaps according to the present invention are more durable and less prone to damage and require less frequent replacement than prior art edges and flaps. The resilient construction of the present invention also transmits less load to vehicles, vehicle mounting equipment, and vehicle operators than prior art edges and flaps. In addition, the resilient plow blade edge and flaps according to the present invention are more effective when plowing non-rigid media, for example, slush and water, compared to rigid metallic prior art plow blade edges.

[0047] While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention described in the following claims.