Title:
Towable compacting roller with remotely powered hydraulic vibrator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A towable roller assembly for removable operable attachment to a prime mover, such as a tractor. The towable roller assembly includes a frame with a hitch portion for attachment to the prime mover and roller rotatably attached to the frame through an axle and bearing assembly for compaction of surfaces by rolling. A vibrator located within the roller may be engaged to cause the roller to vibrate to facilitate compaction of the surface under treatment. The vibrator is powered by motor of the prime mover, as through connection by hydraulic lines to the hydraulic system of the prime mover.



Inventors:
Miskin, Mark (Alta, WY, US)
Application Number:
10/966366
Publication Date:
07/07/2005
Filing Date:
10/15/2004
Assignee:
MISKIN MARK
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01C19/28; (IPC1-7): E01C19/38
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TRASKBRITT, P.C. (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
1. A vibratory compaction roller comprising: a frame adapted for releasable attachment to a prime mover; a roller wheel disposed on the frame; a vibratory assembly for vibrating the roller wheel, disposed in the roller wheel; at least one connection line for releasably coupling the vibratory assembly to the prime mover to power the vibratory assembly from the prime mover motor.

2. The vibratory compacting roller of claim 1, wherein the at least one connection line for releasably coupling the vibratory assembly to the prime mover to power the vibratory assembly from the prime mover motor comprises at least one hydraulic connection line for releasably coupling the vibratory assembly to the hydraulic system of the prime mover.

3. The vibratory compacting roller of claim 1, wherein the frame adapted for releasable attachment to a prime mover comprises a front member; two side members extending perpendicular to the front member at either end thereof, allowing the roller wheel to be rotatably attached therebetween; and a connection member extending perpendicularly from the front member in a direction opposite to the two side members, a distal end of the connection member configured for towable attachment to the prime mover.

4. A method of compacting a surface using a vibratory compacting roller, the method comprising: connecting a compacting roller implement designed for operation with a prime mover to a prime mover allowing it to be towed thereby; connecting a connection line from the compacting roller to a connection point on the prime mover in order to provide power to operate a vibrator assembly located in a roller wheel of the compacting roller; and moving the compacting roller over the surface by towing to roll over the surface with the roller wheel while vibrating the roller wheel with the vibrator assembly.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein connecting a connection line from the compacting roller to a connection point on the prime mover in order to provide power to operate a vibrator assembly located in a roller wheel of the compacting roller comprises connecting a hydraulic line in communication with the vibratory assembly to a hydraulic system of the prime mover.

6. A towable soil compacting roller assembly comprising: a roller including an internal vibrator, the vibrator powered from a power source remote from the roller assembly.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

Claim of Priority: Pursuant to the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 119(e), this application claims the benefit of the filing date of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/511,478, filed Oct. 15, 2003, for “TOWABLE COMPACTING ROLLER WITH REMOTELY POWERED HYDRAULIC VIBRATOR,” the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for compacting and leveling the earth's surface. More specifically, the present invention relates to a compacting apparatus including a vibratory compacting roller that is operated by a separate prime mover, such as a tractor.

BACKGROUND

Vibratory rollers are used for compacting or tamping ground surfaces at a large number of construction sites, including for paving, settling of ground prior to foundation formation and settling earth that has been recently landscaped. Construction rollers, such as road rollers, may typically include a compacting roller as a wheel of a vehicle. One example of such a construction roller is provided in U.S. Pat. No. 4,367,054 to Salani, et al., the entirety of the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. Such roller vehicles are thus a single use device and can represent a significant amount of capital investment that lays idle during other phases of a project.

In order to address this issue, compacting rollers have been developed that are independent implements that may be removably attached to, and operated from, a separate prime mover, such as a skid steer or a tractor. The prime mover may then be used to direct the compacting roller in tamping. Examples of such roller implements include U.S. Pat. No. 4,098,344 to Johnson, the entirety of which is incorporated by reference herein, which attaches to the front loading arms of a skid steer. Towed rollers are commercially available as well, such as the VIBROMAX 651 roller available from Vibromax and the YZT20 and YZT22 rollers available from XCMG. Such rollers may be used with a separate prime mover, allowing the prime mover to be used with other implements for other purposes, when roller compaction is not needed. Such a roller is typically less expensive than a roller including a prime mover.

Some current towed compacting rollers lack a vibrator and rely solely on only the weight of the roller to achieve compaction. Others include a motor mounted on the roller frame which drives a vibrator in the frame, or within the roller, to further compact the soil. Operation of a motor (and sometimes the vibrator) on the frame can transmit vibrations across the attachment to the prime mover making operation of the roller uncomfortable for the driver of the prime mover and shortening the useful life of the prime mover. With designs where a vibrator in the roller itself is powered by a frame mounted motor, the vibrations of the roller maybe transmitted through the axle to the frame and the vibrations of the motor (which may be unsynchronized thereto) are transmitted through the frame to the roller. This places undue stress on the roller bearings and can shorten the useful life of various parts of the roller assembly through metal fatigue.

Accordingly, a towable compacting roller that included a vibrator not requiring a motor on the roller assembly would be an improvement in the art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a towable roller assembly for removable operable attachment to a prime mover, such as a tractor. The towable roller assembly includes a frame with a hitch portion for attachment to the prime mover and roller rotatably attached to the frame through an axle and bearing assembly for compaction of surfaces by rolling. A vibrator located within the roller may be engaged to cause the roller to vibrate to facilitate compaction of the surface under treatment. The vibrator is powered by a motor of the prime mover, as through connection by hydraulic lines to the hydraulic system of the prime mover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, which depict the best mode presently known for carrying out the invention:

FIG. 1 is a partial cutaway perspective view showing one embodiment of a towable compaction roller assembly in accordance with the teachings of the present invention, in relation to a prime mover.

FIG. 2 is a partial cutaway top view of a towable compaction roller assembly in accordance with the present invention, showing some components thereof in greater detail.

FIG. 3 is a photograph of another embodiment of a towable compaction roller including a pad foot design on the roller wheel.

FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of the drum, vibrator and vibration absorbing block of the embodiment of FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention provides a towable vibratory compacting roller assembly for compacting and tamping surfaces, such as soil at construction sites, and methods and processes for creating and using such apparatus and systems. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the embodiments herein described, while illustrating certain specific and exemplary embodiments, are not intended to limit the invention or the scope of the appended claims. Those of ordinary skill in the art will also understand that various combinations or modifications of the disclosed embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

FIG. 1 depicts a partial cutaway perspective view of a towable compacting roller assembly 10 shown in connection with a prime mover, such as a tractor 100. Assembly 10 includes a frame 12 which supports and connects the various components of the assembly. A tongue 18 may extend out from the frame 12 to provide for connection to a prime mover. A distal end of the tongue 18 includes a connection element, such as a tow hitch 20, which may be a tow ring, a fifth wheel receiver, a ball receiver, or any other tow hitch known to those of ordinary skill in the art. The connection element allows the assembly 10 to be towed by and operated from a prime mover.

The tongue 18 attaches to frame 12 at its proximal end, against a front cross member 14 running perpendicular thereto. At either end of the front cross member 14 a side member 16 may extend perpendicularly out from the front cross member 14 in the direction opposite the tongue 18. where appropriate to the design a rear cross member 20 may be connected to the ends of the side member 16 to add additional strength and rigidity to the frame 12, as well as additional weight to the assembly 10 to facilitate compaction.

A roller wheel 30 is disposed between lateral side members 16 and maybe rotatably attached thereto, as discussed further herein. Roller wheel 30 may be formed as a single continuous wheel that contacts the surface under treatment, compacting it by the rolling of the roller wheel 30 as the assembly 10 is moved. Roller wheel 30 may be formed as a hollow single axle wheel by forming a surface of the wheel from a metal skin placed over a cylindrical framework 33. Alternatively, the wheel may be formed as a semi-solid cylinder with an aperture for an axle and a cavity for containing a vibrator assembly for vibrating the roller 30. Roller wheel 30 may have a smooth surface as depicted in FIG. 1, may have a pad foot or textured surface similar to that depicted in FIG. 4. It will be appreciated that where the roller whell 30 surface s textured, any desired design, such a pad foot design, a sheep's-foot design, or other compaction textures known to those of ordinary skill in the art. In some embodiments, roller wheel 30 may be formed as a hollow air tight tank, which is filled with a liquid, such as hydraulic oil, water or calcium chloride solution, to provide weight for compaction.

As depicted in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the roller wheel 30 may be rotatably attached to the frame 12 by an axle 31 extending from the roller wheel 30 to the frame 12. Axle 31 may be joined to a bearing assembly (shown as 34B) disposed in side member 16, allowing axle 31 to rotate with wheel 30. In some alternative embodiments, the axle 31 may be fixedly attached to the frame 12 with a bearing assembly (also depicted in FIG. 2 as 34A) located in roller wheel 30. Axle 31 maybe a single axle extending through the entire roller wheel 30 and attaching to the frame 12 at either side. In other embodiments, two short individual axles on either side may extend from the frame 12 to the roller wheel 30.

A shock absorbing assembly 36, such as a shock absorbing spring, a compressed air shock absorber, a block of a resilient material (rubber or rubberized compound), a pneumatic suspension system, a spring and block arrangement, and so forth may be used to isolate vibration of the roller wheel 30 from the frame 12. One example of a shock absorbing assembly is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,019,825 to Berrange, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. Of course, it will be appreciated that any shock absorbing system in use on currently available vibratory compacting rollers may be used and is within the scope of the present invention. Another shock absorbing assembly, made of rubber absorbing blocks that attach the roller wheel 30 to the frame 12, isolating the frame 12 from the vibration. Where used, about 8 or so rubber blocks may be placed on each side, to attach the vibrating drum to the frame support (the frame support is part of the frame 12), as depicted in FIG. 4. The bearings and motors may vibrate with the roller wheel 30, and are not attached to the frame. This configuration provides an advantage over vibrating the entire main frame (instead of just the motor and bearings).

A vibrator assembly 40 is disposed within the roller wheel 30 for vibrating the roller wheel 30 to aid in the compaction. Vibrator assembly 40 may be a centrifugal vibrating mechanism, utilizing a centrifugal force to impart vibrations to the drum. One example of a suitable vibration assembly 40 is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,618,133, entitled Vibrating Mechanism and Apparatus for Generating Vibrations for a Vibration Compacting Roller with Variable Amplitude, issued to Mitsui et al, Apr. 8, 1997, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Other suitable vibrator assemblies include unbalanced masses arranged to be driven around the roller axle 31, or a counterweight assembly, located in the roller frame. Where the roller wheel 30 is formed as a tank for liquid filling, the vibrator may be configured to vibrate the liquid filling the wheel 30. Examples of vibration assemblies provided in reference already incorporated by reference herein may be used, as may any suitable vibrator assembly known to those or ordinary skill in the art. Another embodiment of a suitable vibrator assembly is schematically depicted in FIG. 4, and includes a centrifugal counterweight assembly on either side of the roller wheel, driven by a drive shaft therebetween. Short axles may be used on either side, rather than a single axle 31 spanning the entire roller wheel 30.

When the prime mover 100 is attached to the roller assembly 10, vibrator assembly 40 is powered by a motor or engine of prime mover 100. Power may be provided through one or more connection lines 42 coupling the vibrator assembly 40 to a power source on the prime mover 100.for example, a hydraulically powered vibrator assembly 40, using hydraulic flow to create centrifugal force, or drive a counterweight assembly may be powered by coupling of hydraulic lines 42A and 42B to a corresponding hydraulic ports 102A and 102B on the prime mover, allowing the hydraulic system of the prime mover 100 to flow hydraulic fluid to and from the vibrator assembly 40. Control of the vibrator assembly 40 in such embodiments may be effectuated through the prime mover hydraulic controls. In other embodiments, the vibrator assembly 40 may be electrically powered. With such embodiments, the connection lines 42 maybe used to provide electrical power to, and for controlling, the vibrator assembly. It will be appreciated that where desired, a drive motor maybe included in the in the roller wheel 30 for imparting a rotational force to the wheel to assist in moving and controlling the movement of the wheel on the surface under compaction. Such embodiments, including the necessary structures for hydraulic gear drive or an electric motor drive are within the scope of the present invention.

The present invention also includes a method of adapting a vibratory compacting roller for use in accordance with the present invention. A towed compacting roller including a motor mounted on the roller frame which drives a vibrator mounted within the roller is obtained. Examples of such rollers include the VIBROMAX 651 roller available from Vibromax and the YZT20 and YZT22 rollers available from XCMG. The frame mounted motor is then removed from the roller. Alternatively, such a roller may be constructed, as known to those of ordinary skill in the art, and the frame mounted motor omitted from the construction. Elongated connection lines are attached to the vibrator assembly located in the roller wheel of the roller, at the connection points which would normally attach to frame mounted motor. The distal end of the connection lines may be adapted for releasable attachment to the hydraulic system of a prime mover, by placing connection nozzles thereon. The weight of the roller may be increased by adding additional material to the frame where the motor was removed.

The present invention further includes methods of compacting a surface, by providing a roller assembly adapted for operative connection to a prime mover. The roller assembly may then be releasably attached to a prime mover such as a tractor, and a vibrator assembly located in a roller wheel of the roller assembly operatively coupled to a hydraulic system of the prime mover through one or more connection lines. The hydraulic system of the prime mover may then be used to power and operate the vibrator assembly while moving the assembly with the prime mover to compact a surface by rolling.

It will be apparent that details of the apparatus, processes, and methods herein described can be varied considerably without departing from the concept and scope of the invention. The claims alone define the scope of the invention as conceived and as described herein.