Title:
Module cradle for vehicle bed
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for supporting and retaining a concrete building module on a vehicle bed includes a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface extending to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least two stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure. The apparatus may additionally include a module strap assembly for securing the module onto the supporting structure and thus onto the vehicle bed. The supporting structure preferably is an elongate member for placement onto a vehicle bed.



Inventors:
Sanger, Wallace D. (Wellington, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/334156
Publication Date:
07/01/2004
Filing Date:
12/30/2002
Assignee:
SANGER WALLACE D.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B62D25/20; (IPC1-7): B61D45/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20130336754Stowage Of Cargo For TransportationDecember, 2013Strang et al.
20040240958Side rack rod for motor vehicleDecember, 2004Yang
20060104738Motorcycle transport rackMay, 2006Nolasco et al.
20080193248Load Lashing DeviceAugust, 2008Lindblad
20100104391AUTO-RACK RAILROAD CAR VEHICLE POSITIONING AND DAMAGE PREVENTION SYSTEMApril, 2010Anderson
20110176904Method of transportation for wind turbine towerJuly, 2011Stiesdal
20060204347Method and device for stabilizing a vehicle combinationSeptember, 2006Waldbauer et al.
20110142564DEVICE FOR SECURING CARGO LOAD LOCKS AND A METHOD OF SECURING LOAD LOCKSJune, 2011Kaburick
20030175089Transport container for wind turbine bladesSeptember, 2003Almind
20090175699Cobweb Cargo RestraintJuly, 2009Stanley
20010000719Dunnage material and processMay, 2001Lerner et al.



Primary Examiner:
GUTMAN, HILARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FRANK L. KUBLER (Miramar, FL, US)
Claims:

I claim as my invention:



1. An apparatus for supporting and retaining a concrete building module on a vehicle bed, comprising: a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface extending to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, additionally comprising a module strap assembly for securing the module onto said supporting structure and thus onto the vehicle bed.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said supporting structure comprises an elongate member for placement onto a vehicle bed.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said supporting structure comprises an I-beam having an I-web portion interconnecting two spaced apart I-end portions for orientation on a vehicle bed having a vehicle bed upper surface such that said I-web portion is substantially parallel to the vehicle bed upper surface, and such that said I-end portions extend substantially upright from the vehicle bed.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said supporting structure additionally comprises a cushion layer secured along the length of said I-beam and against said I-end portions for providing a cushion between said I-beam and a building module resting on said supporting structure.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said stop structures each comprise an end portion plate secured to one of said I-beam longitudinal ends such that each said stop structure extends upwardly above said I-beam and upwardly above said cushion layer.

7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein said I-beam has a length substantially matching the lateral extent of a module to be transported.

8. The apparatus of claim 6, additionally comprising cushion layer mounting means for mounting said cushion layer onto said I-beam, said cushion layer mounting means comprising at least one cushion layer mounting strut secured between said I-end portions generally parallel to said I-web portion, registering holes in said cushion layer and said at least one cushion layer mounting strut, a cushion layer bolt extending through the registering holes and thereby fastening said cushion layer to said I-beam.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein said I-beam, said end portion plates and said mounting strut are formed of steel and said end portion plates and said mounting strut are secured to said I-beam with welds.

10. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said cushion layer comprises a wooden plank.

11. A module transport apparatus for transporting a concrete building module, comprising: a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

12. The apparatus of claim 11, additionally comprising a module strap assembly for securing the module onto said supporting structure and thus onto the vehicle bed.

13. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said supporting structure comprises an elongate member for placement onto a vehicle bed.

14. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein said supporting structure comprises an I-beam having an I-web portion interconnecting two spaced apart I-end portions for orientation on a vehicle bed having a vehicle bed upper surface such that said I-web portion is substantially parallel to the vehicle bed upper surface, and such that said I-end portions extend substantially upright from the vehicle bed.

15. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said supporting structure additionally comprises a cushion layer secured along the length of said I-beam and against said I-end portions for providing a cushion between said I-beam and a building module resting on said supporting structure.

16. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said stop structures each comprise an end portion plate secured to one of said I-beam longitudinal ends such that each said stop structure extends upwardly above said I-beam and upwardly above said cushion layer.

17. The apparatus of claim 14, wherein said I-beam has a length substantially matching the lateral extent of a module to be transported.

18. The apparatus of claim 15, additionally comprising cushion layer mounting means for mounting said cushion layer onto said I-beam, said cushion layer mounting means comprising at least one cushion layer mounting strut secured between said I-end portions generally parallel to said I-web portion, registering holes in said cushion layer and said at least one cushion layer mounting strut, a cushion layer bolt extending through the registering holes and thereby fastening said cushion layer to said I-beam.

19. The apparatus of claim 18, wherein said I-beam, said end portion plates and said mounting strut are formed of steel and said end portion plates and said mounting strut are secured to said I-beam with welds.

19. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein said cushion layer comprises a wooden plank.

20. A module transport apparatus, comprising: a concrete building module; a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least one stop structure extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to an upright module surface for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

21. A module transport apparatus, comprising: a concrete building module; a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least two stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to the field of building module construction and transport. More specifically the present invention relates to a module retaining and supporting cradle apparatus for placement between a concrete building module defining either a complete or partial building onto a vehicle bed such as that of a tractor trailer or railroad car so that the module is retained against laterally sliding off the vehicle bed during transport and is supported along its entire width. The cradle apparatus includes a module supporting structure for placing laterally across a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the lateral extent of the module across the vehicle bed for full module support, stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure for abutting the upright module lateral surfaces and retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure lateral ends, and includes a module strap assembly for securing the module onto the supporting structure and the vehicle bed. The supporting structure preferably is a steel I-beam with a plank on top for cushioning the module and the stop structures preferably are steel plates welded to the I-beam longitudinal ends to extend upwardly above the I-beam and the plank.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Concrete building modules have been transported on tractor trailer flat beds from forming sites to construction sites. Typically these modules have rested directly on the trailer bed and have been secured with straps. A problem with this prior approach has been that the module is not well anchored to the trailer bed, and because of the weight inherent in such a large concrete structure the modules have tended to shift, often dangerously, on the trailer bed. Another problem has been that lateral ends of the modules extend well beyond the trailer bed sides without support.

[0005] It is thus an object of the present invention to provide a building module retaining and supporting cradle apparatus for mounting a building module onto a vehicle flat bed so that the module is braced against movement laterally across the vehicle bed.

[0006] It is another object of the present invention to provide such a cradle apparatus which supports module lateral ends extending beyond the lateral edges of the vehicle bed.

[0007] It is still another object of the present invention to provide such a cradle apparatus which can be provided in selectable numbers and spacing along the vehicle bed to support modules of different dimensions along the vehicle bed length and to support modules of different weights, and which can be constructed in several apparatus sizes corresponding to typical module lateral extents for convenient selection to match the given module to be transported.

[0008] It is finally an object of the present invention to provide such a cradle apparatus which is highly inexpensive and easy to manufacture, and which is sturdy, reliable and durable for repeated use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention accomplishes the above-stated objectives, as well as others, as may be determined by a fair reading and interpretation of the entire specification.

[0010] An apparatus is provided for supporting and retaining a concrete building module on a vehicle bed, including a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface extending to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least two stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

[0011] The apparatus preferably additionally includes a module strap assembly for securing the module onto the supporting structure and thus onto the vehicle bed. The supporting structure preferably includes an elongate member for placement onto a vehicle bed.

[0012] The supporting structure preferably includes an I-beam having an I-web portion interconnecting two spaced apart I-end portions for orientation on a vehicle bed having a vehicle bed upper surface so that the I-web portion is substantially parallel to the vehicle bed upper surface, and so that the I-end portions extend substantially upright from the vehicle bed. The supporting structure preferably additionally includes a cushion layer secured along the length of the I-beam and against the I-end portions for providing a cushion between the I-beam and a building module resting on the supporting structure. The stop structures preferably each include an end portion plate secured to one of the I-beam longitudinal ends so that each stop structure extends upwardly above the I-beam and upwardly above the cushion layer. The I-beam preferably has a length substantially matching the lateral extent of a module to be transported. The apparatus preferably additionally includes a cushion layer mounting structure for mounting the cushion layer onto the I-beam, the cushion layer mounting structure including at least one cushion layer mounting strut secured between the I-end portions generally parallel to the I-web portion, registering holes in the cushion layer and the at least one cushion layer mounting strut, a cushion layer bolt extending through the registering holes and thereby fastening the cushion layer to the I-beam. The I-beam, the end portion plates and the mounting strut preferably are formed of steel and the end portion plates and the mounting strut preferably are secured to the I-beam with welds. The cushion layer preferably includes a wooden plank.

[0013] A module transport apparatus is provided for transporting a concrete building module, including a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least two stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

[0014] A module transport apparatus is further provided, including a concrete building module; a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least one stop structure extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to an upright module surface for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

[0015] A module transport apparatus is yet further provided, including a concrete building module; a vehicle having a vehicle bed; a module supporting structure for placing onto a vehicle bed upper surface to at least the extent of the module over the vehicle bed for supporting the module; and at least two stop structures extending upwardly from the module supporting structure substantially adjacent to upright module surfaces for retaining and obstructing movement of the module off the supporting structure.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] Various other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following discussion taken in conjunction with the following drawings, in which:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional view of a vehicle bed, in this instance of a truck bed, showing one embodiment of the module retaining and supporting cradle apparatus resting on the bed upper surface and retaining and supporting a building module, indicated in broken lines.

[0018] FIG. 2 is broken away perspective view of a vehicle bed on which two of the cradle apparatus rest in spaced apart relation as would be typical in supporting a building module.

[0019] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a vehicle bed and the rear portion of a vehicle towing the vehicle bed, and of two of the cradle apparatus retaining and supporting a module on the vehicle bed.

[0020] FIG. 4 is a perspective exploded view of the cradle apparatus showing the various elements making up the preferred embodiment.

[0021] FIG. 5 is a view generally as in FIG. 4 except that the apparatus is assembled except for attachment of the wood plank cushion layer.

[0022] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the cradle apparatus of FIG. 4 fully assembled.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0023] As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure.

[0024] Reference is now made to the drawings, wherein like characteristics and features of the present invention shown in the various FIGURES are designated by the same reference numerals.

First Preferred Embodiment

[0025] Referring to FIGS. 1-6, a module retaining and supporting cradle apparatus 10 is disclosed for placing across the vehicle bed 100 of a vehicle 110, such as of a tractor trailer or of a railroad flat car, so that a concrete building module 200 is supported along its entire width and does not slide off the vehicle bed 100 during transport. The cradle apparatus 10 includes a module supporting structure 20 for placing across or along a vehicle bed 100 upper surface to at least the lateral or longitudinal extent of the module 200 across or along the vehicle bed 100 for fully supporting the module 200, at least two stop structures 40 extending upwardly from the module supporting structure 20 adjacent to and preferably abutting upright module lateral surfaces 202 for retaining and obstructing movement of the module 200 off the supporting structure 20 lateral or longitudinal ends, and includes a module strap assembly 60 of conventional design including retaining straps or cables 62 and tightening and release means 64 for securing the module 200 onto the supporting structure 20 and thus onto the vehicle bed 100.

[0026] The supporting structure 20 preferably includes an elongate member including an I-beam 22 formed of steel and having a length substantially matching the lateral or longitudinal extent of the module 200. Supporting structure 20 is preferably oriented on the vehicle bed 100 so that the I-web portion 24 of I-beam 22 interconnecting the I-end portions 26 is substantially parallel to the vehicle bed 100, and so that the I-end portions 26 rest on and extend substantially upright from the vehicle bed 100 to provide double support for at least a portion of the weight of the module 200. Supporting structure 20 preferably further includes a cushion layer 30 secured along the length of the I-beam 22 and extending across the tops of I-end portions 26 to provide a cushion effect between the I-beam 22 and the module 200, the cushion layer 30 preferably taking the form of a plank of wood or other material of similar mechanical characteristics. The stop structures 40 preferably are steel plates welded to the I-beam 22 longitudinal ends to extend upwardly above the I-beam 22 and above the cushion layer 30. The cushion layer 30 preferably is mounted to the I-beam 22 by a cushion layer mounting structure 32 including metal cushion layer mounting struts 34 welded between the I-end portions 26 generally parallel to the I-web portion 24, registering holes 36 in the cushion layer 30 and struts 34, and cushion layer bolts 38 extending through the registering holes 36 and thereby fastening cushion layer 30 to I-beam 32. Support structure 20 optionally includes bed abutment stop structures 42 as shown in FIG. 1 protruding downwardly adjacent either opposing side of the vehicle bed 100 to brace the support structure 20 against sliding relative to the vehicle bed 100, although friction alone is normally sufficient without bed abutment stop structures 42.

[0027] At least two spaced apart cradle apparatus 10 of this embodiment typically would be used to support module 200, although a larger number of apparatus 10 preferably are used for support larger or heavier modules 200. Other supporting structure 20 configurations are contemplated, such as one which extends both laterally and longitudinally to forward and rearward upright module 100 surfaces. It is contemplated that items other than building modules 200 may be transported using one or more of the cradle apparatus 10 on a vehicle bed 100.

[0028] While the invention has been described, disclosed, illustrated and shown in various terms or certain embodiments or modifications which it has assumed in practice, the scope of the invention is not intended to be, nor should it be deemed to be, limited thereby and such other modifications or embodiments as may be suggested by the teachings herein are particularly reserved especially as they fall within the breadth and scope of the claims here appended.