Title:
Wear protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Work tools, such as buckets of earthmoving machines, have a high wear rate from moving material or other activities. It is advantageous to provide replaceable wear protectors that are sacrificed to reduce or eliminate the need to repair or rebuild the work tools themselves. It is also important to provide a wear protector that is readily installed at the job site and can be securely, but simply retained in place. And the wear protector should not overly affect the operation of the work tool, such as through excess weight, resistance to material penetration or the like. Provided is a wear protector utilizing a connector element fastened to the work tool and a protector slidably engageable with the connector element. A simplified retainer assembly holds the protector in place on the connector element. The wear protector accommodates a compact design to address the problems described.



Inventors:
Livesay, Richard E. (Peoria, IL, US)
Application Number:
10/302816
Publication Date:
05/27/2004
Filing Date:
11/22/2002
Assignee:
LIVESAY RICHARD E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F9/28; (IPC1-7): E02F9/28
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PETRAVICK, MEREDITH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Caterpillar Inc. (PEORIA, IL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A work tool, comprising: a working portion having a side having an elongated surface; a protector having a mounting element and a working element, the working element having an outer surface; a connector element being fastened along the surface of the working portion and slidably engaged with the mounting element of the protector in a manner sufficient to hold the protector from movement in a direction away from the side; and a retainer assembly having a retainer removably positioned in an upright orientation to the surface of the working portion through the outer surface and holding the protector from sliding relative to the connector element in a direction along the surface.

2. The work tool, as set forth in claim 1, wherein: the mounting element of the protector has an inner surface defining a “T” shaped opening; and the connector element is “T” shaped and of a size sufficient to mate with the “T” shaped opening of the mounting element.

3. The work tool, as set forth in claim 2, wherein: the connector element has first and second end portions and a center portion; the mounting element has two end portions, each end portion associated with one of the ends of the connector element and representing a portion of the “T” shaped opening of the mounting element; and the retainer is positioned between the first and second end portions in the center portion.

4. The work tool of claim 3, wherein: each of the “T” shaped parts of the end portions of the mounting element is of substantially equal length; and the center portion of the connector element is at least as long as the “T” shaped parts of the end portions of the mounting element.

5. The work tool of claim 1, wherein: the surface of the working portion has a width; and the protector has a width substantially equal to the width of the surface of the working portion.

6. The work tool of claim 1, wherein: the retainer assembly further includes a barrel engaged with the retainer and positioned beneath the opening in the outer surface of the protector.

7. The work tool of claim 6, wherein: the retainer has a head portion and a threaded bottom portion; the barrel is substantially constrained from movement relative to the connector element and the protector and has a threaded portion; the threaded barrel portion is engaged with the threaded bottom portion of the retainer; and the head portion of the retainer interferes with the sliding movement of the protector.

8. A protector for a work tool, comprising: a working element having an outer surface, the outer surface having an opening there through; and a mounting element having first and second end portions and a center portion, each of said end portions having a length substantially equal to one another and a lengthwise “T” shaped opening, the “T” shaped opening defining a length, the center portion being free of a “T” shaped opening, having a length at least as great as the length of the “T” shaped openings in the end portions and defining a cavity into which the opening in the outer surface opens, the cavity defining, in cross-section, a profile larger than the “T” shaped openings.

9. The protector of claim 8 wherein the cavity of the center portion is defined by a surface, the surface further including a step adjacent the opening through the outer surface of the working element.

10. A side protector for a side of a work tool, the side having a surface and a width, the surface having a connector element extending outwardly from the surface, the connector element having an opening, comprising: a working element having a width and an outer surface, the width being substantially equal to the width of the surface of the side; a mounting element slidably engageable with the connector element; and a retaining element having an opening alignable with the opening of the connector element when the mounting element is slidably engaged with the connector element.

11. The side protector of claim 10, wherein: the mounting element has first and second end portions, each of the portions having a “T” shape; and the retaining element is positioned between the first and second end portions of the mounting element.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The invention relates to wear protectors for work tools, and more particularly to removable wear protectors for the edge portions of work tools.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Work tools for earthmoving and other jobs have a high wear rate because of the environments in which they work. One example is with respect to buckets on shovels or loaders. The buckets are used to dig and move many different types of materials that abrade even the toughest steels used to make the buckets. Buckets, as well as other work tools, will often have removable ground engaging portions so that high wear parts of the buckets can be protected with replaceable parts. It is economical to do this compared to the cost of replacing or substantially rebuilding a bucket or other work tool.

[0003] One of the high wear areas of a work tool, such as a bucket, is on the sides. As the bucket digs into material, the side plates or bars penetrate the material and are subject to wear. Replaceable protectors are useful to protect the sides themselves and avoid costly wear or damage to the bucket. U.S. Pat. No. 5,088,214, issued to Jones on Feb. 18, 1992 discloses a wing protector removably attached to the bucket to protect it. U.S. Pat. No. 5,852,888, issued Dec. 29, 1998, to Cornelius, discloses another embodiment of such a guard.

[0004] Because of the harsh environment in which such protectors operate, and the need to reduce weight and increase bucket penetration to optimize work efficiency, protector design is important. It is also important to control cost by simplifying design and reducing the time it takes to remove worn protectors and install replacements. The present invention is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] In one aspect of the present invention, a work tool has an elongated surface. A protector has a mounting element and a work element. A connector element is fastened along the surface of the working portion and is slidably engaged with the mounting portion. A retainer assembly has a retainer positioned upright to the edge portion through an outer surface of the work element. The retainer assembly holds the protector from sliding relative to the connector element.

[0006] In another aspect of the present invention, a protector has a working element and a mounting element. The working element has an outer surface with an opening. The mounting element has first and second end portions and a central portion. Each of the end portions has a substantially equal length and a lengthwise “T” shaped opening. The central portion has a length at least as great as the length of the end portions. The central portion also defines a cavity that, in cross-section, has a profile larger than the “T” shaped openings.

[0007] In yet another aspect of the present invention, a side protector for a side of a work tool has a working element, a mounting element and a retaining element. The working element has a width substantially equal to a width of a top surface of the side. The mounting element is slidably engageable with a connector element of the side protector. The retaining element has an opening alignable with an opening of the connector when the mounting element is slidably engaged with the connector element.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a three quarter view of an illustrative work tool having an embodiment of the present invention installed on the work tool.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a longitudinal, cross-sectional view along liens A-A of FIG. 1.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view along lines B-B of FIG. 2.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view along lines C-C of FIG. 2.

[0012] FIG. 5 is top view of a connector element of the embodiment of FIG. 1 shown mounted to a side of the work tool.

[0013] FIG. 6 is three-quarter view of an exemplary retainer assembly for the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines C-C of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0015] Referring to FIG. 1, a work tool 10 is shown for a work machine (not shown). In the example to be illustrated, the work tool 10 is a bucket 12. The bucket 12 is configured for use on, for example, a shovel for mining. It should be understood that the following example with respect to the bucket 12 is for illustration only. The principles of the present invention may be used with respect to a variety of tools and on a variety of machines.

[0016] The bucket 12 has a bottom element 14, a top element 16 and a back element 18. A pair of sides 20, 22 join the bottom element 14 and top element 16, as well as the back element 18. Depending upon the design and construction of the bucket 12, the top, bottom and back elements 14, 16, 18 may be formed of a single piece or may be separately welded portions. In any event, the elements 14, 16, 18 and sides 20, 22 together form an enclosure or working portion 24 of bucket 12. The bucket 12 is capable of penetrating material to be loaded through initial engagement of its bottom element 14. Material is loaded into and held for dumping with the working portion 24. Teeth 28 and edge protectors 30 assist in the ability to penetrate the material and are replaceable when they are worn. The bucket 12 is connectable to the work machine through arm or linkage mounts 32.

[0017] Thus, each side 20 or 22 encloses one end 34 or 36 of the bucket 12. For convenience further reference will be made principally to the one (first) side 20 of the sides 20, 22 at end 34. It should be understood that the other (second) side 22 of the bucket 12 will have similar construction and elements. To the extent such elements of side 22 are illustrated in the figures, each element will have a corresponding reference numeral to that of the first side 20, but with an “a” following the reference numeral.

[0018] The first side 20 has a side bar 38 that reinforces the side 20 and defines an edge portion 40 of the side 20. The second side 22 has an associated side bar 38a and edge portion 40a. The side bar 38 is of thicker material to offer additional protection from wear for edge portion 40 and adjacent parts of the side 20 which would otherwise be formed of the thinner material forming the rest of side 20. In one example, the side bars 38, 38a may be steel of 60 mm in width, whereas the thinner material of the remainder of sides 20, 22 may be 20 mm width steel. Side bars 38, 38a are typically welded in place as part of the sides 20, 22. More specifically, in the embodiment shown, each of the side bars 38, 38a is butt welded to a surface 42, 42a on the thinner material of side 20,22. A pair of protectors 44, 44a, each called a side protector or side bar protector in the embodiment shown, is further provided. Each side bar protector 44, 44a is associated with a respective side 20, 22.

[0019] Referring now to FIGS. 2-6, an embodiment of the side bar protector 44 with reference to the first side 20 is shown. In FIG. 2, the side bar protector 44 is shown in cross-section along line A-A of FIG. 1. The side bar 38 is shown in elevation. Side bar protector 44 is shown removably attached to edge portion 40 on a surface 46. The side bar protector 44 has a mounting element 48 and a working element 50. The mounting element 48 includes first and second end portions 51, 52 and a center portion 53. A connector element 54 is fastened or mounted to the side bar 38. These will be more fully explained through reference to FIGS. 3, 4 and 5.

[0020] Referring to FIG. 3, a cut-a-way portion of the side bar 38 is shown. Side bar 38 has a width 56 of the edge portion 40 at surface 46 defined between the walls 57′, 57″ of the side bar 38. The surface 46 is elongated, generally extending along the length of side 20 (best seen in FIG. 2). With respect to the side 20, the surface 46 first engages material when the bucket 12 is in use. The connector element 54 is attached or fastened lengthwise along the surface 46 of the side bar 38. Preferably this attachment is permanent in the sense that it is not readily displaced in order to withstand the punishment of earthmoving or other harsh environments. The attachment may, for example, be accomplished by welds 58. The construction of the connector element 54 provides for welding in a cutout or opening 60 (shown in detail in FIG. 5). The cutout is shown in two parts 60′ and 60″, the reason for which will be explained later. In cross-section in FIG. 3, the connector element 54 is “T” shaped or in the form of a dovetail. The “T” 62 has a lower end 64 and an upper end 66. The lower end 64 has a width that is less than the width of the upper end 66.

[0021] Referring now to the side bar protector 44, the working element 50 has an outer surface 70 and a width 72. The working element 50 engages material during bucket 12 use. The width 72 represents the overall width of the side bar protector 44. This width 72 is preferably substantially the same as the width 56 of the side bar 38. The outer surface 70 is preferably curvilinear across most of its section, with ends 74′, 74″ truncated. The overall shape of the outer surface 70 and size of the working element 68 facilitates the function of the side bar protector 44, as will be explained.

[0022] The mounting element 48 is of a construction or shape sufficient to be slidably engageable with the connector element 54. The protector 44 has an inner surface 76 that helps define the shape of the mounting element 48 for such engagement. Referring more particularly to FIG. 2, the first and second end portions 50, 51 are at least partly formed in a “T” or dovetail 82 complementary to the shape of the “T” 62. The “T” 82 is defined by a part 76′ of the inner surface 76, as are two end surfaces 80′, 80″. When protector 44 is in position, the end surfaces 80′, 80″ will be immediately adjacent or touching the surface 46 of the side bar 38. Thus, the complementary “T” or dovetail also has lower 84 and upper 86 ends formed by the inner surface 76. Stress relievers 87′, 87″ are also shown formed by the inner surface 76. Inner surface 76 further defines a cone shaped void 88.

[0023] When assembled, the side bar protector 44 is slidably engaged with the connector element 54 through mating of the “T” configurations 62, 82. This mating and the complementary construction of the “T” configurations 62, 82 is in a manner sufficient to hold the protector 44 from movement relative to the connector element 54 in a direction 89 away from the sides 57′, 57″ (that is, not lengthwise to surface 42). It will be appreciated that this movement away from the sides 57′, 57″ is generally initiated in response to a force component on the protector 44 that is perpendicular to protector 44.

[0024] Now referring to FIG. 4, a retainer assembly 90 is shown. The retainer assembly 90 provides means for restraining the protector 44 with respect to the side bar 38. In this case, retention refers to restraining the movement of the side bar protector 44 relative to the connector element 54 (and thus the side bar 38) in a direction 91 (FIG. 2) along the surface 42. In FIG. 4, this lengthwise direction 91 is in and out of the page. The retainer assembly 90 includes a barrel 92 and a retainer, shown as a stud, 94. The retainer assembly 90 is associated with a retainer portion 95 of the protector 44 when the protector 44 is assembled on side 20.

[0025] The center portion 53 can be seen in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4 to be free of any “T” shaped opening that will engage with the “T” 62 of connector element 54. An opening 96 extends through the working element 50 from the outer surface 70 to a second part or portion 76″ of the inner surface 76. Opening 96 opens into cavity 97 defined in and by center portion 53, in particular by part 76″ of the inner surface 76. Extending inwardly from the outer surface 70, the opening 96 is shown with cylindrical walls 98. The opening 96 and cavity 97 together represent retainer portion 95 to facilitate lengthwise retention of the connector element 54 with protector 44. In other embodiments, the opening 96 may be tapered inwardly to permit easier clean out of material that becomes packed in the opening 96 during use of the bucket 12. Other configurations may also be used. Adjacent the inner surface portion 76″, the opening 96 opens up to accommodate the barrel 92. In this embodiment, the inner surface portion 76″ adjacent opening 96 has step 100 defining a diameter larger than that of opening 96 and then continues with cylindrical walls 102 to an inner end portion 104. Cylindrical walls 102 define a larger diameter than cylindrical walls 98 and step 100.

[0026] The cavity 97, in the cross-section of FIG. 4, defines a profile or area larger than the “T” 82 of the connector element 54. Thus, the profile of the cavity will typically also be greater than the profile of the “T” 62 (shown in FIG. 3). Additionally, the cavity 97 profile is increased by the area defined by step 100 (shown in two parts, 100′, 100″). The “enlarged” profile provides the situation where the retainer element 95 will be free of any engagement or interference with the “T” 82 of the connector element 82 when the protector 44 may be slid across the connector element 54.

[0027] Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, the retainer assembly 90 is shown in more detail. Stud 94 has a head portion 106 that has walls 108 defining a lesser diameter than walls 98 of opening 96. The stud 94 tapers at a middle portion 110 and has a threaded bottom portion 112. In other embodiments, the stud 94 may use a retention means other than threads, so long as it is able to engage with barrel 92. The head portion 106 shown has a socket portion 113 to fasten or unfasten the stud 94. Different shapes may include a hex head or other structure by which to engage the stud. The stud 94 may also be of different shapes, such as a single diameter head portion.

[0028] The barrel 92 has an opening 114 of a shape or construction sufficient for stud 94 to seat or mate and to limit further movement of the stud 94 into the barrel 92. Thus, barrel 92 will have walls 116 that have the same taper as the middle portion 110 of the stud 94. The barrel 92 also has a threaded portion 118 to threadably engage with bottom portion 112 of stud 98. A complementary step 119 to step 100 is also shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The step 119 is divided into two step portions 119′, 119″ that are parallel to one another on opposite sides of barrel 92.

[0029] Referring now particularly to FIGS. 2 and 5, the preferred arrangement of the connector element 54 and protector 44 will be further discussed. In FIG. 5, the connector element 54 is shown in top view on the surface 46 of side bar 38. The connector element 54 has two identical portions 54′, 54″ that are connected along a central axis 120. In this embodiment, the identical portions 54′, 54″ are castings welded together. The connector element 54 is also symmetrical about a longitudinal axis 122 oriented lengthwise down surface 46. Located at the intersection of the central and longitudinal axes 120, 122 is an opening 124 sized to receive barrel 92. The opening 124 passes through the full width of connector element 54 and, when the connector element 54 is welded to the side bar 38, opens onto the surface 42. Opening 124 and opening 96 are positioned in the connector element 54 and protector 44, respectively, so as to be alignable one with the other when the connector element 54 and protector 44 are assembled.

[0030] Connector element 54 further has the previously described opening 60. The opening 60 is in two parts 60′, 60″, one each being located in the identical side portions 54′, 54″. The openings 60′, 60″ provide a space for welding the connector element 54 to the side bar 38. As shown, welds 58′, 58″ are made along edges 126′, 126″ of the openings 60′, 60″ and on the surface 42 of the side bar 38.

[0031] The dovetail or “T” 62 is also shown in two parts 62′, 62″ in first and second end portions 128′, 128″ of connector element 54. Each part 62′, 62″ extends an equal length “L” in its respective end portion 128′, 128″ of the connector element 54. As discussed, a portion 130 (length L′) of the connector element 54 is free from having the dovetail or “T” configuration. In FIG. 2, it can be seen that the dovetail or “T” 82 of the side bar protector 44 is similarly in two parts 82′, 82″. These parts 82′, 82″ (in effect, openings) represent a portion of “T” 82 and each have a length L″ sufficient to permit them to engage with the parts 62′, 62″, respectively. Engagement of the parts 82′, 82″ is preferably substantially along the entire length L of parts 62′, 62″. Thus length L is preferably substantially equal to length L″.

[0032] Industrial Applicability

[0033] The side bar protector 44 or 44a provides substantial protection to the side bar 38 or 38a and is replaceable when worn. This is preferable to replacing a work tool 10 such as a bucket 12 or rebuilding the work tool 10 to repair worn sides 20, 22. In the embodiments illustrated, the use of connector element 44 or 44a, as well as the other aspects described, provide for a side bar protector 54 or 54a that is of substantially equal width to the side bar 38. This provides weight reduction and less resistance of the bucket 12 when digging into material.

[0034] To assemble, the side bar protector 44 is mounted to the connector element 54 previously welded to the side bar 38. This is accomplished by placing one of the parts 82′ or 82″ of “T” 82 over the center portion 130 of the connector element 54. In other words, one of the parts 82′, 82″ of “T” 82 is placed in the central portion 130. Prior to this, however, barrel 92 is placed in opening 96. Opening 96 restrains barrel 92 in position while the side protector 44 is mounted. When positioning barrel 92, steps 19′, 119″ are aligned parallel with longitudinal axis 122.

[0035] With one part 82′, 82″ in position in central portion 130, the side bar protector 44 is then slid along the connector element 54 to engage with and along the dovetail or “T” parts 62′, 62″ to interlock the “T” 82, 82″ parts therewith. The side bar protector 44 is slid until opening 96 aligns with opening 114 in barrel 92. With the steps 119′, 119″ aligned along axis 122, the dovetail 82 of the side bar protector 44 slides without interference across or over barrel 92. It will be appreciated that the length L′ of central portion 130 is at least as long as length L″ of the dovetail of the side bar protector 44. Preferably it is slightly longer to permit one of the dovetail parts 62′ or 62″ to be easily placed over portion 130 to initiate mounting.

[0036] Referring to FIG. 2, the preferred assembly accommodates a weld joint (such as at 132) made when fabricating side 20. Because the connector element 54 and protector 44 do not extend down the side 20 beyond surface 42, this arrangement tends to eliminate interference such a weld joint might otherwise cause.

[0037] Once the connector element 54 and side bar protector 44 are in the proper position relative to one another, stud 94 is positioned in opening 114 of the barrel 92 and tightened. Thus, stud 94 as configured assumes an upright or a generally perpendicular orientation to surface 42 through engagement with barrel 92. The barrel 92 is constrained from rotation and from removal through opening 96 by interference of steps 119′, 119″ with inner surface 76 at step 100. Stud 94 further constrains the relative movement of side bar protector 44 relative to connector element 54 in direction 89. This occurs through interference of head portion 106 of stud 94 with walls 98 of opening 96 in side bar protector 44.

[0038] The symmetrical construction of the side bar protectors 44, 44a and connector elements 54, 54a provide significant benefit. Typically, the bottom one-third to one-half of a side bar protector 44 that is closest to the bottom element 14 will have the highest wear. When worn, the stud 94 can be removed. The side bar protector 44 is then removed, turned around, and installed with the opposite unworn or lesser worn portion 128′ or 128″ re-installed toward the bottom element 14. The use of two separate, but identical parts 54′, 54″ (such as illustrated in FIG. 5) to construct the connector element 54 also reduces cost in manufacture. Similarly the side bar protectors 44, 44a could be so constructed. Of course, constructions other than the symmetrical or “two part” part embodiment illustrated may be used.

[0039] From FIG. 1 it can be seen that the side bar 38 is essentially straight. This accommodates easier fabrication and mounting of the side bar protector 44. However, the side bar 38 may also be curvilinear. In such instances, the connector element 54 and protector 44 would preferably have a similar curvilinear shape. In practice, a tolerance of about 0.7 mm between the dovetail elements of the protector 44 and connector element 54 has proven adequate. Depending upon the application, construction of the particular embodiment of the side bar protector for that application, and other needs, the tolerance may need to be changed. Other constructions and orientations may be used.

[0040] The embodiments illustrated above and in the drawings have been shown by way of example. There is no intent to limit the invention to the exemplary forms disclosed. All modifications, equivalents and alternatives falling within scope of the appended claims are intended to be covered.