Title:
Access platform
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An access platform that is suitable for use with a hydraulic arm of a standard digger or excavator is described. The access platform comprises a connection means, a telescopic ram and a platform, all of which are mounted on a base plate suitable for anchoring the platform on the ground. The design of the apparatus permits the platform to be moved in a vertical plane without any corresponding movement in a horizontal plane. Therefore, the access platform takes advantage of the manoeuvrability of standard diggers or excavators while allowing for accurate positioning of the platform.



Inventors:
Maciver, Ian (Stornway, GB)
Application Number:
10/506130
Publication Date:
09/29/2005
Filing Date:
02/28/2003
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B66F11/04; E02F3/96; (IPC1-7): E02F3/96
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BEACH, THOMAS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RATNERPRESTIA (King of Prussia, PA, US)
Claims:
1. An access platform, suitable for use with a hydraulic arm of a standard excavator or digger comprising a connection means, a telescopic ram and a platform wherein the connections means connects the access platform to the hydraulic arm so orientating the telescopic ram substantially perpendicular to an area of ground such that the operation of the telescopic ram acts to move the platform in a substantially vertical plane.

2. An access platform as claimed in claim 1 further comprising a base plate wherein when the access platform is connected to the hydraulic arm and the base plate acts to anchor the platform on the ground.

3. An access platform as claimed in claim 1 wherein the connection means is suitable for connecting to a standard attachment system associated with the hydraulic arm of an excavator or digger.

4. An access platform as claimed in claim 3 wherein the standard attachment system comprises a quick hitch attachment.

5. An access platform as claimed in claim 1 wherein the telescopic ram comprises one or more connectors suitable for attachment to one or more hydraulic fluid supply pipes associated with the excavator or digger.

6. An access platform as claimed in claim 5 wherein the telescopic ram moves between a contracted position and an extended position under the control of a hydraulic pressure provided by the hydraulic fluid supply pipes.

7. An access platform as claimed in claim 2 further comprising a pivot means and a hydraulic arm wherein the base plate is attached to the telescopic ram via the pivot means such that the operation of the hydraulic arm allows the telescopic ram to be rotated away from the substantially perpendicular orientation.

8. An access platform as claimed in claim 7 wherein the platform comprises a slewing basket such that the slewing basket pivots in response to the rotation of the telescopic ram so as to maintain the slewing basket in a substantially horizontal orientation.

Description:

The present invention relates to an access platform and in particular to an access platform that is suitable for use with a standard digger or excavator.

Access platforms are employed when there is a requirement to provide an adaptable, portable and secure means for providing access for a user to carry out work at a specific height above ground level. Such platforms are often employed for access purposes within building sites or to aid in the instalment and repair of telephone and power lines.

The Prior Art teaches of separate mobile units designed for such purposes, referred to as “cherry pickers”. These units incorporate hydraulic arms so as to move the access platform into the required position. However, such units are expensive and exhibit inherently slow transport speeds. In addition, they are often rendered redundant on building sites as they quickly become bogged down on soft ground.

Alternative access platform units described in the Prior Art are designed so as to enable incorporation with standard excavators or digger units. Such units normally employ quick hitch coupling attachments and therefore allow for the associated buckets to be quickly interchanged with other attachments, for example a hammer attachment.

The employment of these designs of access platforms results in the position of the access platform being controlled directly by the position of the end of the hydraulic arm of the excavators or digger units. Thus a major drawback of this design is that it is not possible for a user to manoeuvre the access platform directly in the vertical plane without significant related movement occurring in the horizontal plane. Therefore, to manoeuvre the access platform for user access at different heights requires the entire associated excavator or digger unit to be repositioned.

A further disadvantage of such access platform designs is the fact that they tend to suffer problems of poor stability, particularly when used in times of bad weather.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an access platform, suitable for use with a standard excavator or digger, wherein the vertical position of access platform is not directly dependent upon the position of a hydraulic arm associated with the excavator or digger.

A further object of the present invention is to provide an access platform, suitable for use with a standard excavator or digger, that is capable of being manoeuvred in the vertical plane without any significant associated movement in the horizontal plane.

According to the present invention there is provided an access platform, suitable for use with a hydraulic arm of a standard excavator or digger comprising a connection means, a telescopic ram and a platform wherein the connections means connects the access platform to a hydraulic arm so orientating the telescopic ram substantially perpendicular to an area of ground such that the operation of the telescopic ram acts to move the platform in a substantially vertical plane.

Most preferably the access platform further comprises a base plate wherein when the access platform is connected to the hydraulic arm the base plate acts to anchor the platform on the ground.

Preferably the connection means is suitable for connecting to a standard attachment system associated with the hydraulic arm of an excavator or digger.

Preferably the standard attachment system comprises a quick hitch attachment means.

Preferably the telescopic arm comprises one or more connectors suitable for attachment to one or more hydraulic fluid supply pipes associated with the excavator or digger.

Most preferably the telescopic arm moves between a contracted position and an extended position under the control of a hydraulic pressure provided by the hydraulic fluid supply pipes.

Optionally the access platform further comprises a pivot means and a hydraulic arm wherein the base plate is attached to the telescopic arm via the pivot means such that the operation of the hydraulic arm allows the telescopic arm to be rotated away from the substantially perpendicular orientation.

Optionally the platform comprises a slewing basket wherein the slewing basket pivots in response to the rotation of the telescopic ram so as to maintain the slewing basket in a substantially horizontal orientation.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying Figures, in which:

FIG. 1 presents a side view of an access platform in situ with the hydraulic arm of an excavator or digger, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 presents a top view of the access platform of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 presents a side view of the access platform of FIG. 1 manoeuvred to a position above ground level.

FIG. 1 presents an access platform 1, in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, in situ with the hydraulic arm 2 of an excavator. The access platform 1 can be seen to comprise a base plate 3, a connection means 4, a telescopic ram 5 and a platform basket 6 that is attached to one end of the telescopic ram 5.

In order to deploy the access platform 1 the connection means 4 is attached to the hydraulic arm 2 via a standard quick hitch attachment 7. As well as providing a mechanical connection, the quick hitch attachment 7 also acts to secure the base plate 3 in position on the ground. Thereafter, pipes 8 normally employed to provide hydraulic fluid to a hammer attachment, as known to those skilled in the art, are fixed to the telescopic ram 5 via connectors (not shown). These pipes 8 provide a hydraulic fluid supply to the telescopic ram 5 so enabling it to contract and extend as appropriate. The contraction and extension of the telescopic ram 5 allows the platform basket 6 to be manoeuvred in the vertical plane, as required.

In an alternative embodiment (not shown) the telescopic ram 5 may be attached to the base plate 3 by a pivot means. In such an embodiment the platform basket 6 would be replaced by a slewing basket. An additional hydraulic arm could then be employed to rotate the telescopic ram about the horizontal plane so as to provide a degree of controllable movement of the access platform in the horizontal plane. The employment of the stewing basket would provide the user with a horizontal platform from which to work even when the telescopic ram is tilted.

By employing the telescopic ram 5 of the present invention the access platform 1 is capable of extending to greater heights that those systems presently described in the Prior Art. It is envisaged that the vertical range offered by the telescopic ram 5 would be pre-selected, as appropriate, for a particular user.

Attaching the access platform 1 to the excavator can be achieved in a matter of minutes. Therefore, it can be quickly connected when required and thereafter removed when the user requires alternative attachments for the excavator.

As the access platform 1 is a separate unit capable of employment with a standard excavator or digger it provides is far more cost effective access means than the cherry picker designs taught in the Prior Art. In addition the access platform 1 can be transported at the speed of the excavator or digger themselves which tend to have significantly higher speeds than the standard cherry picker vehicles.

Transportation of the access platform 1, via the excavator or digger, exhibits further advantages in that these vehicles are far more suited for use on building site terrain where the grounds can be very soft. Therefore, the access platform can be deployed on terrain that is effectively inaccessible to the cherry picker vehicles.

Furthermore, the access platform 1 of the present invention also exhibits major advantages over the Prior Art designs that teach of platforms whose position is directly controlled by the position of the end of the hydraulic arm 2 associated with the excavator or digger. Once deployed the present invention allows the platform 1 to be moved to different heights without any significant movement in the horizontal plane. The absence of such horizontal movement removes any requirement on a user to reposition the associated excavator or digger so as to allow access at the new vertical level. In an alternative embodiment a controllable horizontal adjustment may be achieved through the tilting of the telescopic arm about a pivot means.

Employing the quick release attachment 7 to secure the position of the base plate 3 provides the present invention with a further advantage over the Prior Art. Such a design significantly improves the overall stability of the access platform 1 relative to those platforms taught of in the Prior Art.

Although an exemplary embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described, it will be apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art that a number of changes, modifications or alterations to the invention described herein may be made, none of which depart from the invention as defined in the appended claims. All such changes, modifications, and alterations should therefore be seen as being within the scope of the present invention.