Title:
Self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier, comprising a main frame, a pair of side frame members, a pair of transversely adjustable end wall frame members and detachable attachable extension structure members. A cat-walk, hand rails, access ladders and safety rails. A pair of adjustable hydraulic wheel track assemblies mounted along the two sides, supporting the apparatus, and allowing the trench box carrier to be propelled along the ground. A pair of detachable attachable extension structure members, for adjusting the width of the trench box carrier, to accommodate different widths of a trench. Adjustable wheel track connectors are detachably attached with an extension axle, to increase the overall wheel base of a trench box carrier for work on oversize trenches. A plurality of hydraulic cable wenches for controlling a trench shield. A main engine power supply for operating a self-propelled all terrain trench box carrier.



Inventors:
Lane, Ty Dwain (Lubbock, TX, US)
Young, Carl Jason (Lubbock, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/455761
Publication Date:
12/09/2004
Filing Date:
06/06/2003
Assignee:
LANE TY DWAIN
YOUNG CARL JASON
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
37/353, 405/282
International Classes:
E02D17/08; E02F5/10; (IPC1-7): E02D3/02; E02F3/08
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LEE, JONG SUK
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ty D. Lane (Wolfforth, TX, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier comprising: a main frame having first and second spaced apart longitudinally extending side walls, and a first and second spaced apart, transversely interconnecting extending adjustable opposite end structure member walls joining said side walls; a hydraulic track assembly (adjustable) attached along the side wall frames and supporting the main frame; a cat-walk assembly attached atop the main frame; a safety rail assembly attached atop the main frame; a main engine power supply; a plurality of hydraulic cable wenches; and a hydraulic system for operating, propelling and controlling the trench box carrier.

2. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein the drive tracks are individually driven by transmission of a pressurized hydraulic fluid generated by the pump to perspective hydraulic motors which propel the drive tracks forward or backward.

3. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having means of increasing the wheel base width of the above stated main frame, said means comprising a detachably attachable frame extension structure member attached between the above stated transversely extending adjustable end wall structure members.

4. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having additional means of extending the wheel track base of the above stated track assembly, said means comprising a detachably attachable extension axle member attached between a main frame wheel connector and a wheel track hub connector.

5. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having a cat-walk structure means, said means comprising a cat-walk structure frame attached atop the main frame of the trench box carrier, and a cat-walk deck attached to the cat-walk structure frame.

6. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, and claim 5, wherein the cat-walk of claim 5, having access means to said cat-walk deck, said means comprising a plurality of access ladders and hand rails.

7. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having a safety rail means, said safety rail means comprising a double safety rail, one to the inside of the cat-walk and one to the outside of the cat-walk of claim 1, 5 and 6, said safety rails attached to the main frame.

8. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having a main engine power supply means for powering the hydraulics of the trench box carrier.

9. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having a plurality of hydraulic cable wench means for connecting, lowering, raising, controlling and leveling a trench shield.

10. The self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier of claim 1, wherein having a hydraulic system comprising, a main engine power supply, hydraulic track motors, hydraulic cable wenches and individual hydraulic controls, for operating, propelling and controlling a trench box carrier and powering the hydraulic wenches.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to trench boxes used for preventing broken material from falling inside working areas of trenches, and more particularly to a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Trenches or ditches are commonly excavated so that pipe, cable, or other materials can be installed underground. When digging trenches and working within trenches, a difficulty arises with respect to supporting the sidewalls of the trench so that debris and other loose material does not fall into a working area of the trench. There are also problems with respect to safety of workers within the trench where falling material may strike the persons working within the trench.

[0003] Stationary trench boxes have traditionally been used within trenches to provide a secure working area for workers. The trench boxes are typically employed after a backhoe or other excavating device digs the trench. The primary purposes of the trench boxes include preventing loose or broken material from falling into the working area of the trench and injuring workers within the trench, and to simply maintain the working area free of such loose or broken material. Traditional trench boxes do not perform excavating functions, since their primary purpose is to provide a partitioned working area.

[0004] A traditional trench box comprises two sidewalls and interconnecting structural members. It is generally desirable to leave as much space as possible within the two side panels to allow the workers to move about within the trench box while laying pipe, cable, or performing repair work.

[0005] Traditional trench boxes have traditionally been moved by a crane or another lifting mechanism by lowering the trench box into the trench. Once in the trench, they have traditionally been moved back and forth in the trench by a backhoe that has dug the trench or another separate piece of machinery. In the case of the backhoe, it is required to perform a double duty: dig the trench and move the trench box back and forth within the trench. This, of course, slows down the efficiency and speed of work that can be performed within the trench.

[0006] Because of the traditional bulkiness of equipment needed to move a large piece of equipment such as a trench box, a means for propelling a trench box has not been suitably provided in prior trench boxes because of the amount of space the drive means would require within the trench box.

[0007] Some prior self-propelled excavating equipment have included various types of trench-shoring structures. However, such excavating devices cannot be suitably employed as trench boxes because of the lack of working space inside these devices. The inside working area of many such traditional excavating machines having trench shoring features are overly cluttered with structures and other machinery, which deprives the workers of a suitable amount of area within the trench box for performing their work.

PRIOR ART

[0008] In the art of trench shoring, U.S. Pat. No. 3,159,978 to De Lillo discloses a sheathing system in which slat-like shields are telescoped to cover the walls of a trench at selectable depth. The shields are suspended from cross beams that are transverse to the trench and carry longitudinal bridging beams whose width can be adjusted on the cross beams. This shoring system is not mobile and requires a crane to lift its components from the trench.

[0009] U.S. Pat. No. 3,541,799 to Jost et al discloses a shoring system in which rails are placed on either side of a ditch, and a car rolls on the rails. The car supports bracing walls that are of endless design and are free to roll over the ditch walls as the car progresses. The car is pulled by a separate tractor, and this pulling, in turn, causes the bracing walls to roll over the ditch walls.

[0010] U.S. Pat. No. 3,820,345 to Brecht discloses a self-propelled shoring machine in which the rear wall is composed of pushing members that advance the machine in the trench by pushing against the fill dirt behind the machine. The pushing members also can compact the fill dirt when the side, shoring plates are hydraulically spread to hold the machine in a fixed location. A conveyor carries dirt from the front to the rear. It is proposed that this machine rides on wheels against the bottom of the trench, which can be impractical. This shoring machine must be installed and removed by separate means, such as a crane, and it is evident that the side plates cannot be easily raised or lowered to fit the requirements of each particular trench.

[0011] U.S. Pat. No. 4,002,035 to Wright discloses a mobile frame that can carry a plurality of vertically slidable shoring plates. The frame is mounted on tracks or wheels, and the sides of the frame and wheels can be separated to accommodate different width trenches. The shoring plates are separated by hydraulic cylinders.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 4,421,440 to Scheeplers discloses a shoring system in which several plates are located one above the other, and the system contemplates a removal technique in which the lower plates is withdrawn toward the center of the trench and then raised.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 4,521,137 to Brecht discloses a moveable shoring system in which upper and lower sections of a framework move longitudinally so as to push the framework forward by pressure against the backfill.

[0014] U.S. Pat. No. 4,874,271 to Arnold discloses a self-propelled trench shoring machine, wherein a main frame carries top and bottom shoring plates, with the top plates supported on pivoted brackets so that they can be tilted for leveling purposes. The main frame is supported on driven, independently steered wheels that can be shifted between various lateral spacings to keep weight away from the sides of a trench. This machine could perform well under the right conditions, such as, dry, level ground. However on slopes, hillsides and with incumbent weather conditions, such as, ice, snow, rain or mud, the use of this type wheeled machine could be severally hampered.

[0015] U.S. Pat. No. 5,336,023 to Burdine discloses a self-propelled trench box that includes a pair of side panel enclosures and respective drive tracks mounted within the enclosures. The drive tracks are powered by a compact hydraulic drive mechanism mounted within the trench box to move the trench box in either direction within the trench. Like most trench box machines, this machine has to be lifted by crane, backhoe or other lifting apparatus and installed into a trench. It could also be dangerous, restrictive and impractical in many trenches, such as burying cable, fiber optics, electric cable or phone lines.

[0016] Accordingly, there is a need to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier that is capable of moving a trench box within the trench. There is also a need to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier that is capable of providing sufficient power and traction for moving a trench box within a trench. There is also a need to provide such a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier without including excessive equipment and structures inside the trench box area so that there remains sufficient room for workers to move about within the trench box. There is a further need to develop a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box which is easily and universally adaptable to different trench widths, that is stable, powerful and durable for industrial use. Additionally providing a safe and secure cat-walk attached atop a trench box carrier, above the trench work area for access to the trench and safely inspecting the work area by the operator or work crew.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0017] It is an object of the present invention to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier apparatus comprising a pair of spaced apart longitudinally side frame members, a pair of transversely adjustable spaced apart end frame members joining said side frame members, a pair of adjustable hydraulic track wheel assembles are mounted along the two side frame members, supporting the apparatus and enabling the apparatus to be propelled along the ground, a cat-walk, hand rails, cat-walk access ladders, safety rails, hydraulic wenches for lifting, lowering and controlling trench shields, a main engine power supply for powering the hydraulics and hydraulic controls.

[0018] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier for use with trench shields in order to advance a trench shield expeditiously along a trench while positioned therein.

[0019] A further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier having multiple hydraulic powered cable wenches for lifting, lowering and holding a trench shield with a combined lifting power of over 62,000 pounds.

[0020] Another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with tracks for increased traction, stability, control and power.

[0021] And yet another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with tracks for increased weight distribution.

[0022] A still further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with tracks which may be removed, repaired, replaced and maintained easily.

[0023] And yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with tracks which be removed when transporting a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier from a first job site to a second job site.

[0024] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier whereas the tracks may be expanded in length or width.

[0025] A further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier having an adjustable main frame and wheel base thereby adjusting to accommodate widths corresponding to different trench widths.

[0026] Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier whereon a wheel track hub is detachably attached to a main frame track wheel connector and may be extended with an extension axle, thereby extending the overall wheelbase for added safety and stability when working on oversize trenches.

[0027] Additionally another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with detachably attached end extension structure member, thereby extending the overall wheel base of a self-propelled all terrain trench box carrier, extension structure members may be exchanged and customized in length to accommodate different widths of a trench.

[0028] And yet another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier with a cat-walk and safety rails for safe and easy access to the work area and overall site inspection by the operator and work crew.

[0029] Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier having multiple hand-grip ladder access entries and exits to and from the cat-walk deck thereby providing a safe way for workers to transverse a trench.

[0030] An additional object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier which may be safely and easily separated into two parts for transporting from a first job site to a second job site.

[0031] Another object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier which is easy to service and maintain by design.

[0032] A still further object of the present invention is to provide a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier which by comparison is economical to manufacture, safe and easy to operate, is low maintenance, versatile by design, dependable, rugged and durable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0033] FIG. 1 is a perspective representational view of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier;

[0034] FIG. 2 is a top plan representational view of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier;

[0035] FIG. 3 is a side plan representational elevation view of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier;

[0036] FIG. 4 is an end representational elevation view of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier illustrating the detachably attached extension structure member installed;

[0037] FIG. 5 is an end representational elevation view of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier illustrating the transversely adjustable end frame members interconnected, without the extension structure member;

[0038] FIG. 6 is a cut away representational view of main frame track wheel connector on a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier; and

[0039] FIG. 7 is a cut away representational view of an extension axle member connected between a main frame track wheel connector and a wheel track hub connector on a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier.

REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS

[0040] 10 . . . a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier

[0041] 12 . . . a hydraulic wheel track assembly

[0042] 14 . . . a cat-walk

[0043] 16 . . . a safety rail

[0044] 18 . . . an interconnecting end structure member

[0045] 20 . . . an extension structure member

[0046] 22 . . . a main frame track wheel connector

[0047] 24 . . . an extension axle member

[0048] 26 . . . a wheel track hub connector

[0049] 28 . . . a hydraulic control station

[0050] 30 . . . a main engine power supply

[0051] 32 . . . a cat-walk support frame

[0052] 34 . . . a cat-walk access ladder

[0053] 36 . . . a safety hand rail

[0054] 38 . . . a typical trench shield

[0055] 40 . . . a hydraulic cable wench

[0056] 42 . . . a trench shield shoring brace

[0057] 50 . . . an oversize trench

[0058] 52 . . . a trench

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0059] With reference to FIG. 1, illustrates the present invention involves a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, shown to have a main frame of generally rectangular design, having two side walls and two adjustable end wall interconnecting structure members 18, detailed in drawing FIG. 5. A pair of adjustable hydraulic track wheel assemblies 12 attached to the side walls. A main engine power supply 30, mounted atop a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10. A plurality of hydraulic cable wenches 40, attached adjacent the inside corners of the main frame of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10. A cat-walk structure support frame 34, fabricated and attached atop the main frame of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, and a cat-walk deck 14, fabricated and attached to the cat-walk frame 34. A safety rail 16, fabricated and attached to a main frame of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10. Cat-walk access ladders 34, fabricated and attached to a main frame of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, and hand rails 36, fabricated and attached onto a safety rail 16. A hydraulic control station 28, fabricated and attached atop a cat-walk 14, and attached to a safety rail 16. A typical trench shield 38, suspended in a trench, connected to and controlled by a hydraulic cable wench 40. FIG. 2 illustrates a plan top view of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, showing a pair of adjustable hydraulic track wheel assemblies 12, a cat-walk 14, four individual hydraulic cable wenches 40, and typical trench shields 38. FIG. 3 illustrates a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, a hydraulic control station 28, a main engine power supply 30, a safety rail 16, cat-walk access ladders 34, and typical trench shields 38, connected to, supported and controlled by the hydraulic cable wenches 40. FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective representational end view of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, positioned over an oversized trench 50, showing a main engine power supply 30, a hydraulic control station 28, a safety rail 16, a pair of hydraulic wheel track assemblies 12, a pair of interconnecting end wall structure members 18, connected by an extension structure member 20. A hydraulic cable wench 40, connected to, supporting and controlling a typical trench shield 38 and, a typical trench shields shoring brace members 42. FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective representational end view of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, located over a trench 52, showing a main engine power supply 30, a hydraulic control station 28, a safety rail 16, a pair of adjustable hydraulic wheel track assemblies 12, a pair of interconnecting end wall structure members 18 directly connected one to the other. A plurality of hydraulic cable wenches 40, connected to, supporting and controlling typical trench shields 38 in a trench 52 and, the trench shields shoring brace members 42. FIG. 6 illustrates a representational cut-away view of an adjustable hydraulic track wheel assembly 12, of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, a main frame track wheel connector 22, of an adjustable hydraulic track wheel assembly 12, connected to a side main frame of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10. FIG. 7 illustrates a representational cut-away view of an adjustable hydraulic track wheel assembly 12, of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, showing an extension axle member 24, connected on one end to a main frame track wheel connector 22, and connected on the opposite end to a wheel track hub connector 26, thereby extending the over all track wheel base of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, further distributing the weight of a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, thereby providing greater traction, stability and a safer work environment when working over wide trenches.

[0060] The operation of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10 is shown in FIG. 1, wherein a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, supported by a pair of custom fabricated over sized adjustable hydraulic wheel track assemblies 12, attached along each side of the main frame of the self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, thus providing greater weight distribution and increased traction. A pair of transversely adjustable end frame members, attached to the said side members, additionally, an extension structure member 20, shown in FIG. 4 may be installed between the end wall interconnecting structure members 18, thereby increasing the overall wheel base and providing further weight distribution, stability, safety and traction when working on an oversize trench. And further addition, an extension axle member 24, of drawing FIG. 6, may be installed between a main frame track wheel connector 22, and wheel track hub connector 26, thereby extending the overall track wheel base on a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, providing even greater distribution of the weight adding stability and safety for work over an oversized trench. A cat-walk 14, and access ladders 34, safety rails 16 and hand rails 36 provide a safe hand hold, for balance and a safe walk- way completely around the parameter of the trench box work area for the operator or work crew while operating the trench box carrier. Another safety feature of the present invention, is the cat-walk 14 and access ladders 34, the safety rails 16 and hand rails 36, providing easy on and easy off access to the cat-walk and a safe and quick way of crossing a trench. Until the present invention, the only options of crossing an open trench by the crew or operator, was to walk around the end of a trench (often times a great distance), or climbing down one side of a trench on a ladder, and up the opposite side of the trench on a ladder, or dangerously climbing across a trench box carrier, with the stated advantages of the present invention, crossing a trench by the crew or operator may be done safely and quickly by way of the cat-walk. A main engine hydraulic power supply 30, is provided, as to individually power the adjustable hydraulic wheel track assemblies 12, and move a trench box carrier in a forward or backward direction, a hydraulic control station 28, and individual hydraulic controls are provided for each of the adjustable hydraulic wheel track assemblies 12. Additionally all hydraulic cable wenches 40, are individually controlled and, have a lifting capacity of 15,200 pounds each, for a total lifting capacity 60,800 pounds. The hydraulic cable wenches 40, are attached to and supported by the main frame of the self-propelled track driven trench box carrier 10, and when connected to a typical trench shield 38, each end of a trench shield is individually controlled and leveled in a trench for maximum stability and safety. FIG. 1 illustrates a self-propelled all terrain track driven trench box carrier 10, which may separated, by disconnecting the end wall interconnecting structure members, into two parts for transporting from a first job site to a second job site. And, an adjustable hydraulic wheel track assembly 12, which may be removed, repaired or replaced easily and quickly.

[0061] Having thus described the present invention with some degree of particularity directed to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be appreciated by one skilled in the art that various modifications can be made in the fabrication, materials, arrangements and operation, without departing from the spirit of the invention.