Title:
Extendable plow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An extendable plow includes a first plow section having a first plowing surface and adapted to be supported by a vehicle wherein the plowing surface defines a first width, and a second plow section having a second plowing surface and slidably connected to the first plow section. The second plow section and the third plow section are slidable between a retracted position wherein the second plowing and the third plowing surface are substantially laterally aligned with the first plowing surface and an extended position wherein the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface extend laterally beyond the first plowing surface. The first plowing surface, second plowing surface and third plowing surface cooperate to form an uninterrupted total plowing surface defining a second width that is substantially double the first width when the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface are in the extended position.



Inventors:
Geerligs, Kirk A. (Hudsonville, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/164062
Publication Date:
12/11/2003
Filing Date:
06/05/2002
Assignee:
GEERLIGS KIRK A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/06; (IPC1-7): E01H5/06
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
TORRES, ALICIA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:

The invention claimed is:



1. An extendable plow, comprising: a first plow section having a first plowing surface and adapted to be supported by a vehicle, the first plowing surface defining a first width; a second plow section having a second plowing surface and slidably connected to the first plow section; and a third plow section having a third plowing surface and slidably connected to the first plow section; and wherein the second plow section and the third plow section are slidable between a retracted position wherein the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface are substantially laterally aligned with the first plowing surface, and an extended position wherein the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface extend laterally beyond the first plowing surface, and wherein the first plowing surface, the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface cooperate to form an uninterrupted total plowing surface defining a second width that is substantially double the first width when the second plow section and the third plow section are in the extended position.

2. The extendable plow of claim 1, wherein the total plowing surface as formed by the first, second and third plowing surface has a substantially concave cross-sectional configuration.

3. The extendable plow of claim 2, wherein the second and third plow sections are slidably connected to the first plow section by a sliding connector that includes a pair of spaced-apart, horizontally extending guideways affixed to the first plow section.

4. The extendable plow of claim 3, wherein the second plow section and the third plow section each include a pair of engagement members that are slidably received within the guideways.

5. The extendable plow of claim 4, wherein the first plow section is adapted to be supported from the vehicle via a bracket assembly, and wherein the bracket assembly is attached to the first plow section on a surface opposite the first plowing surface.

6. The extendable plow of claim 5, wherein the second and third plow sections are slidably moved between the retracted and extended positions via at least one hydraulic cylinder.

7. The extendable plow of claim 6, wherein the bracket assembly includes a downwardly opening, horizontally extending lip and at least one receiving notch each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface and wherein the lip is adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle and the receiving notch is adapted to receive an engagement arm attached to the vehicle.

8. The extendable plow of claim 6, wherein the bracket assembly includes at least one pair of engagement arms extending outward from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, cooperating to form a slot therebetween and adapted to receive a horizontally oriented plate portion of a bucket attached to the vehicle, and wherein the extendable plow further includes at least one eyelet attached to the first plow section and adapted to receive a chain extending therethrough and about the bucket, thereby securing the extendable plow to the vehicle.

9. The extendable plow of claim 6, wherein the bracket assembly includes a pair of downwardly opening hook-shaped members, and at least one engagement tab having an aperture extending therethrough each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, the hook-shaped member are adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle therein, and wherein the aperture of the at least one tab is adapted to receive an engagement pin therein, thereby supporting the extendable plow from the vehicle.

10. The extendable plow of claim 9, wherein the aperture within the at least one tab is horizontally oriented.

11. The extendable plow of claim 1, wherein the total plowing surface has a substantially concave cross-sectional configuration.

12. The extendable plow of claim 1, wherein the second plow section and the third plow section is slidably moved between the retracted position and the extended position via at least one hydraulic cylinder.

13. The extendable plow of claim 1, wherein the first plow section is adapted to be supported from the vehicle via a bracket assembly, and wherein the bracket assembly is attached to the first plow section on a surface opposite the first plowing surface.

14. The extendable plow of claim 13, wherein the bracket assembly includes a downwardly opening, horizontally extending lip and at least one receiving notch each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface and wherein the lip is adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle and the receiving notch is adapted to receive an engagement arm attached to the vehicle.

15. The extendable plow of claim 13, wherein the bracket assembly includes at least one pair of engagement arms extending outward from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, cooperating to form a slot therebetween and adapted to receive a horizontally oriented plate portion of a bucket attached to the vehicle, and wherein the extendable plow further includes at least one eyelet attached to the first plow section and adapted to receive a chain extending therethrough and about the bucket, thereby securing the extendable plow to the vehicle.

16. The extendable plow of claim 13, wherein the bracket assembly includes a pair of downwardly opening hook-shaped members, and at least one engagement tab having an aperture extending therethrough each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, the hook-shaped member are adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle therein, and wherein the aperture of the at least one tab is adapted to receive an engagement pin therein, thereby supporting the extendable plow from the vehicle.

17. The extendable plow of claim 16, wherein the aperture within the at least one tab is horizontally oriented.

18. The extendable plow of claim 1, wherein the extendable plow is adapted to be pushed.

19. An extendable plow, comprising: a first plow section having a first plowing surface and adapted to be supported by a vehicle; a second plow section having a second plowing surface; a third plow section having a third plowing surface; and a sliding connector slidably connecting the second and third plow section with the first plow section, the sliding connector including a pair of spaced-apart, horizontally extending guideways affixed to the first plow section, and a pair of engagement members affixed to the second and third plow sections and received by the guideways; wherein the second and third plow sections are slidable between a retracted position wherein the second and third plow sections are substantially laterally aligned with the first plow section, and an extended position wherein the second and third plow section extend laterally outward from the first plow section and the first, second and third plowing surfaces cooperate to define an uninterrupted total plowing surface.

20. The extendable plow of claim 19, wherein the first plowing surface defines a first width and the total plowing surface defines a second width, and wherein the second width is substantially double the first width.

21. The extendable plow of claim 20, wherein the first plow section is adapted to be supported from the vehicle via a bracket assembly, and wherein the bracket assembly is attached to the first plow section on a surface opposite the first plowing surface.

22. The extendable plow of claim 21, wherein the bracket assembly includes a downwardly opening, horizontally extending lip and at least one receiving notch each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface and wherein the lip is adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle and the receiving notch is adapted to receive an engagement arm attached to the vehicle.

23. The extendable plow of claim 21, wherein the bracket assembly includes at least one pair of engagement arms extending outward from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, cooperating to form a slot therebetween and adapted to receive a horizontally oriented plate portion of a bucket attached to the vehicle, and wherein the extendable plow further includes at least one eyelet attached to the first plow section and adapted to receive a chain extending therethrough and about the bucket, thereby securing the extendable plow to the vehicle.

24. The extendable plow of claim 21, wherein the bracket assembly includes a pair of downwardly opening hook-shaped members, and at least one engagement tab having an aperture extending therethrough each extending outwardly from the surface opposite the first plowing surface, the hook-shaped member are adapted to receive a support member attached to the vehicle therein, and wherein the aperture of the at least one tab is adapted to receive an engagement pin therein, thereby supporting the extendable plow from the vehicle.

25. The extendable plow of claim 24, wherein the aperture within the at least one tab is horizontally oriented.

26. The extendable plow of claim 19, wherein the extendable plow is adapted to be pushed.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to an extendable plow, and in particular to an extendable plow having an uninterrupted plowing surface.

[0002] Snow plowing in residential and commercial areas has become a large commercial industry, and is practiced by contractors on a seasonal or individual job basis. Plow assemblies are typically designed for attachment to standard vehicles, such as front end loaders and trucks. Lifting and positioning of the plow blade is usually done with hydraulic actuators operated on pressure, generated by a pump driven by the vehicle engine.

[0003] Drag plows are often mounted on the rear of an associated vehicle as a supplement to the action of a front-mounted principal plow. In the interest of saving time, these plows have been designed for lateral extension from a retracted central position to an extended position. The conditions under which these plows operate vary greatly, however most applications require simplicity and ruggedness. Further, many applications include snow removal from large areas such as industrial parking lots, multiple lane roads and driveways, etc. Heretofore, these plows have been limited by narrow plowing spans or widths, thereby requiring multiple passes to clear an area, resulting in a loss of productivity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] One aspect of the present invention is to provide an extendable plow that includes a first plow section having a first plowing surface and adapted to be supported by a vehicle, wherein the first plowing surface defines a first width, and second plow section having a second plowing surface and slidably connected to the first plow section. The second plow section and the third plow section are slidable between a retracted position wherein the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface are substantially laterally aligned with the first plowing surface, and an extended position wherein the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface extend laterally beyond the first plowing surface. The first plowing surface, the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface cooperate to form an uninterrupted total plowing surface defining a total width that is substantially double the first width when the second plowing surface and the third plowing surface are in the extended position.

[0005] Another aspect of the present invention is to provide an extendable plow that includes a first plow section having a first plowing surface and adapted to be supported by the vehicle, a second plow section having a second plowing surface, and a third plow section having a third plowing surface. The extendable plow also includes a sliding connector slidably connecting the second and third plow section with the first plow section, wherein the sliding connector includes a pair of spaced-apart, horizontally-extending guideways affixed to the first plow section, and a pair of engagement members affixed to the second and third plow sections and received by the guideways. The second and third plow sections are slidable between a retracted position wherein the second and third plow sections are substantially laterally aligned with the first plow section, and an extended position wherein the second and third plow sections extend laterally outward from the first plow section and the first, second and third plow surface cooperate to define an uninterrupted total plowing surface.

[0006] The present inventive expandable plow provides a more durable and efficient plow capable of a long operating life, and particularly well adapted for the proposed use. These and other advantages of the invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following written specification, claims and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1A is a front elevational view of an extendable plow embodying the present invention, wherein the plow is in the extended position;

[0008] FIG. 1B is a front elevational view of the extendable plow, wherein the plow is in a retracted position.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the extendable plow in the extended position and supported by a vehicle;

[0010] FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional side view of the extendable plow in a lowered position;

[0011] FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional side view of the extendable plow in a raised position;

[0012] FIG. 4 is an enlarged view, fragmentary cross-sectional side view of the extendable plow, taken along the line V-V, FIG. 1A;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the extendable plow in a partially extended position;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a rear perspective view of a first alternative embodiment of the extendable plow; and

[0015] FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of a second alternative embodiment of the extendable plow.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0016] For purposes of description herein, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “right,” “left,” “rear,” “front,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as oriented in FIG. 1A. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative orientations and step sequences, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification are exemplary embodiments of the inventive concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise.

[0017] The reference numeral 10 (FIGS. 1A and 1B) generally designates an extendable plow embodying the present invention. In the illustrated example, the extendable plow 10 includes a first plow section 12 having a first plowing surface 14 and that is adapted to be supported by a vehicle 16. The first plowing surface 14 defines a first width between a first end 13 (FIG. 2) and a second end 15. The extendable plow 10 also includes a second plow section 18 having a second plowing surface 20 and that is slidably connected to the first plow section 12 as described below. The second plowing surface 12 defines a second width between a first end 17 and a second end 19. The extendable plow 10 further includes a third plow section 22 having a third plowing surface 24 and that is slidably connected to the first plow section 12, as described below. The third plowing surface 24 defines a third width between a first end 21 and a second end 23. The second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22 are each slidable in a direction as indicted by directional arrow 26 between a retracted position, wherein the second plowing surface 20 and the third plowing surface 24 are substantially laterally aligned with the first plowing surface 14, as shown in FIG. 1B, and an extended position, wherein the second plowing surface 20 and the third plowing surface 24 extend laterally beyond the first plowing surface 14, as shown in FIG. 1A. The first plowing surface 14, the second plowing surface 20 and the third plowing surface 24 cooperate to form an uninterrupted total plowing surface defining a total width that is substantially double the first width when the second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22 are in the extended position.

[0018] The first or central plow section 12 includes a plate 28 (FIGS. 3A and 3B) having a bend 30 located at a midpoint along the height thereof, thereby providing first plowing surface 14 with a forwardly facing, concave cross-sectional configuration. The plate 28 includes the first plowing surface 14 and a rear surface 32. The first plow section 12 also includes a support bracket assembly 34 adapted to support the first plow section 12 from the vehicle 16 and connected to the rear surface 32 of the plate 28 via welding, riveting, and the like. The support bracket assembly 34 includes a pair of support housings 36 extending rearwardly from the rear surface 32 of the plate 28, and a pair of vertically extending L-shaped brackets 38 attached to an outer surface of the support housings 36. The support bracket assembly 34 also includes an upper support bracket 40 extending between the brackets 38, and angularly and rearwardly from the support housings 36 and forming a gap 42 therewith. The support bracket assembly 34 further includes a lower support bracket 44 extending between the brackets 38 and including a plurality of apertures 46 spaced therealong.

[0019] In the illustrated example, the vehicle 16 is provided with a lifting assembly 48 that includes a pair of lift arms 50 and a pair of hydraulic actuators or cylinders 52. The lift arms 50 are connected to the first plow section 12 at a pivot point 54, while the cylinders 52 are connected to an engagement mechanism 56 of lifting assembly 48 at a pivot point 58. The opposite end of each cylinder 52 is pivotally attached to a respective lift arm 50 at a pivot point 60.

[0020] In operation, an engagement bracket 62 of the lifting assembly 48 is engaged within the gap 42 beneath the upper support bracket 40, while a lower portion of the lifting assembly 48 engages apertures 46 within lower support bracket 44, thereby attaching the first plow section 12 with the lifting assembly 48 of the vehicle 16. The extendable plow 10 is operated in a path as illustrated by directional arrow 64 between a lowered position, as illustrated in FIG. 3A, and a raised position, as illustrated in FIG. 3B, by operation of the cylinders 52.

[0021] The first plow section 12 further includes guideways 66, 68, 70 and 72 affixed to the first plowing surface 14. Guideways 66, 68, 70 and 72 are each provided with a square, cross-sectional configuration and include a longitudinally extending, forwardly facing slot 74. The guideways 66-72 are arranged in upper and lower pairs, wherein the guideways 66-72 of each pair extend in opposite directions.

[0022] The second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22 are similar in construction and operation, therefore, a description of the second plow section 18 should be considered descriptive of both the second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22. The second plow section 18 includes a plate 76 that includes the second plowing surface 20 and a rear surface 78. The plate 76 is provided with a bend 80 located at a midpoint along the height thereof, thereby providing the second plowing surface 76 with a forwardly facing, concave cross-sectional configuration. The second plow section also 18 includes a pair of followers 82 and 84, each provided with a square-shaped, cross-sectional configuration, constructed of steel, and slidably received within the guideways 68 and 70, respectively. The second plow section 18 further includes a pair of webs 86 that extend through slots 74 of guideways 66 and 70 and are connected to the rear surface of 78 of plate 76 and the followers 82 and 84, respectively. The second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22 are each provided with end plates 98 to prevent the accumulation of snow in front of plowing surfaces 14, 20 and 24 from moving around the ends of the extendable plow 10. Angled reinforcement plates 100 are welded to the end plates 98 as well as respective plowing surfaces 20 and 24, thereby structurally reinforcing the end plates 98.

[0023] The extendable plow 10 further includes a pair of coaxial hydraulic actuators 88 and 90 that are mounted between the guideway pairs, and thus provide for a balance of the resistant forces in the guideways 66-72 on the opposite sides of the thrust axis provided by the actuators 88 and 90. The hydraulic actuators 88 and 90 and preferably attached at their opposite ends to tabs 92. The ends of cylinders 88 and 90 are attached to tabs 92 via bolts extending therethrough, thereby allowing separation of the second plow section 18 and the third plow section 22 from the first plow section 12 when required.

[0024] In operation, the hydraulic actuators 88 and 90 are utilized to move the second and third plow sections 18 and 22, respectively, between the retracted position and the extended position. The first, second and third plowing surfaces 14, 20 and 24, respectively cooperate to form an uninterrupted total plowing surface when in the extended position. Further, the first, second and third width of the first, second, and third plowing surfaces 14, 20 and 24, respectively, cooperate to form a total plowing width that is substantially double the first width of the first plowing surface 14.

[0025] As best illustrated in FIG. 4, the lower portion of each of the plow sections 12, 18 and 22 are defined by elongated rubber blocks 94. The blocks 94 are secured to the respective plow sections 12, 18 and 22 by nut, bolt and washer arrangements 96. The arrangement of plow sections 12, 18 and 22 above a rough ground surface is thus given a more effective sweeping action, as well as considerably reducing the level of sound generated by the operation of extendable plow 10.

[0026] The reference numeral 10a (FIG. 6) generally designates another embodiment of the present invention, having an alternative support assembly 102. Since the extendable plow 10a is similar to the previously described extendable plow 10, similar parts appearing in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 respectively are represented by the same, corresponding reference numeral, except for the suffix “a” in the numerals of the latter. In the illustrated example, the extendable plow 10a includes a plurality of upper support bars 104 and a plurality of lower support bars 106 paired therewith and providing a gap 108 therebetween. Each of the upper support bars 104 and lower support bars 106 extend rearwardly from and are affixed to the rear surface 32a of the first plow section 12a. A plurality of angled support beams 110 extend between the rear surface 32a and an upper surface of each of the upper support bars 104, thereby providing structural reinforcement thereto. In operation, the tongue of a bucket of a loader (not shown) is placed within the gap 108 between the upper support bars 104 and the lower support bars 106. A pair of chains 112 connected to a pair of hooks 114 attached to and extending rearwardly from rear surface 32a extend about the bucket, thereby securing the bucket to the extendable plow 10a.

[0027] The reference numeral 10b (FIG. 7) generally designates another embodiment of the present invention, having an alternative support assembly 116. Since the extendable plow 10b is similar to the previously described extendable plow 10, similar parts appearing in FIG. 5 and FIG. 7 respectively are represented by the same, corresponding reference numeral, except for the suffix “b” in the numerals of the latter. In the illustrated, the support assembly 116 includes a pair of rearwardly extending downwardly opening hooks 118 affixed to and located near a top portion of rear surface 32. The support assembly 116 further includes a pair of rearwardly extending tabs 120 located near a lower portion and attached to rear surface 32b. Each tab 120 includes a horizontally extending aperture 122 extending therethrough. In operation, a lifting assembly (not shown) of a vehicle is connected with the support assembly 116 by inserting a support mechanism beneath hooks 118 and connected with tabs 120 by extending movable pins into apertures 122. It should be noted that the tabs 120 and the associated apertures 122 may be provided at different orientations.

[0028] In the foregoing description, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the concepts disclosed herein. Such modifications are to be considered as included in the following claims, unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.