Title:
Clamp device for securement of scaffolding to large-girth structures
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Clamp device (10) for attaching scaffolding or the like apparatus to a large-girth structure (LDP). An elongated base (18) is positioned transversely across the girth. It carries stand-offs (22a, 22b) for spacing the base from the girth. Attachments (46a, 46b) for the scaffolding are at opposite ends of the base. Length-adjustable securement members (24a, 24b) are carried near opposite ends of the base. A flexible elongated girth-encircling member (44), such as a high-strength chain, is extended around the girth, with length adequate for connection to the second securement members which are selectively adjustable in length from the base to cinch the girth-encircling member into tensile condition securely gripping to the girth by tightening adjustment. These adjustable members swing relative to the base so that during their tightening, portions of the length of the girth-encircling member become tangent to points on the girth.



Inventors:
White, Michael A. (Ballwin, MO, US)
Todd, Eric D. (Corpus Christi, TX, US)
Theriot, Derek Jean (Bay Town, TX, US)
Mendez Jr., Enrique (Robstown, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/189518
Publication Date:
02/02/2006
Filing Date:
07/26/2005
Assignee:
Brand Service, Inc. (Chesterfield, MO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04G3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080041661Retractable horizontal lifeline assemblyFebruary, 2008Meillet et al.
20010040069Equipment support leg and leveler with retractable castorNovember, 2001Trovato et al.
20060102422Portable rescue hoistMay, 2006Loayza
20090159367Side-Security-LadderJune, 2009Ortiz Perez
20060283664Extension ladder apparatusDecember, 2006Yao
20100059314Inspection PlatformMarch, 2010Haines
20010020559Equipment support systemsSeptember, 2001Mccracken
20060131107Suspended cable scaffold assemblyJune, 2006Duguay
20070246299Safety barrier stanchionOctober, 2007Wright et al.
20040154864Scaffold bracket attachment systemAugust, 2004Wagner
20090038885VEHICLE ACCESS SYSTEMFebruary, 2009Ellement



Primary Examiner:
CHAVCHAVADZE, COLLEEN MARGARET
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENSFELDER HEMKER & GALE PC (ST LOUIS, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clamp device for temporary clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus to one of possible large-girth structures having a girth which could vary over a substantially great range and having an orientation which also could vary, comprising: a linearly elongated rigid support base f or being positioned in proximity to such a large-girth structure in generally perpendicular relation thereto; a stand-off carried by the base for contacting at least two spaced points around the girth of such large-girth structure for spacing the base from said girth in proximity to a preselected location on said girth at which said apparatus is desired to be attached; attachment means carried at opposite locations along the base proximate opposite ends thereof for attachment of said apparatus; first and second elongated length-adjustable securement members carried by the base at opposite positions along an axis of elongation of the base proximate opposite ends of the base; at least a first flexible elongated girth-encircling member for extension around said girth at said preselected location in gripping relation to said girth, the girth-encircling member having a length adequate for affixment of portions thereof at opposite ends to the first and second securement members to provide encircling gripping relation to said girth; the first and second securement members being selectively adjustable in length relative to the base by adjustment at the base for cinching the girth-encircling member into tightness to secure said gripping relation to the girth by tightening adjustment in their length; the first and second securement members each being swingably affixed to the base to permit each to swing in a plane which includes the axis of elongation of the base such that during said tightening adjustment of the first and second securement members, portions of the length of the girth-encircling member come into tangency with the girth; whereby the clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus to such large-girth structure is reliably secure and safe for worker use.

2. A clamp device for attaching scaffolding, support, or access apparatus to a large-girth structure, the device comprising: a base is positioned transversely across the girth, stand-off means carried by the base for spacing the base from the girth, means carried at opposite locations on the base for attachment to said apparatus, length-adjustable securement members are also at opposite points of the base, a flexible elongated girth-encircling member to be extended around the girth, with length adequate for connection to the securement members which are selectively adjustable in length from the base so as to cinch the girth-encircling member into tensile condition securely gripping to the girth by tightening adjustment. the length-adjustable securement members being movable by pivoted movement relative to the base so that during tightening, portions of the length of the girth-encircling member become tangent to points on the girth.

3. A clamp device for attachment of scaffolding or other apparatus to one of possible large-girth structures having a girth which could vary over a substantially great range and having an orientation which also could vary, comprising: a linearly elongated rigid support base for being positioned in proximity to such a large-girth structure in generally perpendicular relation thereto. stand-off carried by the base and contacting points partly around the girth of such large-girth structure for spacing the base from said girth in proximity to a preselected location on said girth, attachment points carried by the base at opposite locations along the base proximate opposite ends thereof for attachment of said apparatus, first and second elongated length-adjustable securement members carried by the base at opposite positions along an axis of elongation of the base proximate opposite ends of the base, at least one flexible elongated girth-encircling tensile gripping member for extension around said girth at said preselected location in gripping relation to said girth, and having a length adequate for affixment of portions thereof at opposite ends to the first and second securement members to provide encircling gripping relation to said girth, the securement members being selectively adjustable in length relative to the base for cinching the girth-encircling member or members into tensile condition for securing said gripping relation to the girth by tightening adjustment in their length, the securement members being pivotal relative to the base to allow them to swing such that during their tightening adjustment such that portions of the length of the girth-encircling member, when in tensile, gripping relation to the girth, become tangent to locations of said girth, whereby the clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus to such large-girth structure is reliably secure and safe for worker use.

4. A clamp device as set forth in claim 3, the securement members each being swingably affixed by being pivotally carried by the base to the base to permit each to move swingably in a plane which includes the axis of elongation of the base.

5. A clamp device as set forth in claim 4, the securement members each being constituted by a tightening rod which includes a threaded portion which extends into a corresponding bar carried by the base, and a tightening device engaging the threaded portion to permit selective tightening of the rod relative to the base by drawing the rod threaded portion toward the base.

6. A clamp device as set forth in claim 3, each tightening rod having a rod end portion carrying threads which extend above the base to allow allows convenient and safe tightening of the assembly by an installation worker.

7. A clamp device as set forth in claim 6, wherein the tightening device is a nut threaded onto the rod threads above the base so as to be accessible by such installation worker for tightening of the nut.

8. A clamp device as set forth in claim 5, wherein such large-girth structure has an structure axis of elongation, and wherein each corresponding bar is axially elongated and includes a bar axis parallel to the structure axis of elongation.

9. A clamp device as set forth in claim 5, wherein the base has an axis of elongation and each corresponding bar is slotted by elongation along the base axis of elongation so as to allow swinging, pivoted, movement of the respective tightening rod through a substantial angle of at least through 90 degrees.

10. A clamp device as set forth in claim 3 wherein the tensile gripping member is carried by and extends the securement members and comprises high-strength chain.

11. A clamp device as set forth in claim 3 wherein the chain is grade 80.

12. A clamp device as set forth in claim 3 wherein the tensile gripping member is carried by and extends the securement members and comprises high-strength chain, wire cable or rope assemblies consisting of numerous strands of cabling, or combinations of the foregoing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/592,576, filed Jul. 30, 2004, entitled CLAMP DEVICE FOR SECUREMENT OF SCAFFOLDING TO LARGE-GIRTH STRUCTURES.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to scaffolding and related structures and, more particularly, to apparatus for securement of scaffolding, walkways and other scaffolding and other access components or apparatus to large-girth structures such as large diameter pipes, columns and other structural components used for example in oil rigs and platforms.

Off shore oil rigs and platforms are of immense size and height, being typically enormous structures of steel or concrete members standing on the sea floor, or in some cases, floating rigs or structures held in place by cables attached to a sea floor or otherwise anchored. These structures often include steel pipes or tubes having diameters up to several feet in diameter (e.g. up to 12 feet). It is desired to be able to provide scaffolding on or around the large structural members, sometimes at dangerous heights far above ground or water level. These structural members may be vertical, horizontal, sloping, oblique, or otherwise variably oriented, providing an extreme challenge for the typically temporary securement of the scaffolding or walkways on or around them. The large-girth tubular structures can be referred to herein simply as large diameter pipes (LDPs). Their girth, like their orientation, is subject to great variation. For example, diameters of such LDPs may vary from several inches to many inches or to several feet, e.g. to as much as 12 ft., implying a girth of nearly some 40 ft. In some cases, LDPs may be tapered, so their diameter may vary over portions of their lengths.

Heretofore, securement of scaffolding or walkways on or in proximity to an LDP often involved the need to weld brackets or scaffolding securement components to the LDPs. This is, to say the least, very time consuming and expensive. It also typically means that when scaffolding is to be removed the bracket or other components welded to an LDP must be cut free, as by using a cutting torch. Then, the location of the bracket or component must be resurfaced by grinder followed by application of paint or other protective coating. Risk to workers is involved in such operations.

What has instead long been needed, a need which has long been unfilled, is a safe and easy-to-use clamp arrangement, a clamp device, for quick securement of scaffolding or other access apparatus (e.g., ladders or walkways) on or around LDPs or other large-girth structural members, such as the LDPs used for off shore oil rigs, and which will allow scaffolding or other access apparatus to be quickly and securely attached without damage to the LDP or other tubular structure, and avoiding the need for welding or otherwise altering an LDP or comparable structure, as well as allowing quick removal. Yet also, and most importantly, there has been a need to provide such a clamp arrangement which gives an ample human safety factor in use, and so allow workers to climb safely on or around the scaffolding while providing easy and safe access to the LDP or other large-girth structure.

Safety is a critically important issue in the matter of using scaffolding and access structures on immense LDPs of the type used in oil rigs, where workers may find themselves 200 feet or even 300 feet above sea level or other surfaces.

For convenience, in this description, the term LDP is used to refer to any large-girth structure to which the presently disclosed inventive apparatus may be secured. For purposes of the present disclosure, such an LDP may be solid, tubular, man-made or natural, and may include structures such as beams of concrete or composite materials, columns (e.g., of rock or masonry or metals), and even organic structures such as trees. So also, for convenience, the presently inventive apparatus may be referred to sometimes as a large diameter pipe clamp (“LDPC”) or simply as a “clamp.”

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, among objects of the invention are to provide a clamp for typically temporary securement of scaffolding or other access apparatus to an LDP quickly and easily, and with a high degree of safety; which allows such a construction to be removed without damage to an LDP; which can be installed and removed easily; which can be used for various orientation of the LDP, whether vertical, horizontal or oblique; and no matter whether the LDP pipe or other structure is tapered, irregularly shaped, varying in diameter, or of circular solid or tubular section, or otherwise having different geometry, but otherwise providing a large girth; and which can be installed also on columns, beams and unusually-shaped structures, such as non-tubular structures, including also bridge elements, concrete columns, rock columns, industrial chimneys, and various man-made structures, as well as possibly also natural structures such as stone or large trees; and which in general provides safe and easy installation regardless of the surface or varying shape of LDPs.

Among other objects of the invention may be noted the provision of such a clamp which can be used for purposes for other than securement of scaffolding, such as for example, the securement of walkways, ladders, auxiliary apparatus and devices, to an LDP, whether used as a single clamp or as used in multiple or tandem clamp installations.

Briefly, a clamp or clamp device of the invention is provided for attaching scaffolding or the like apparatus to any of such various large-girth structures (LDP). An elongated base is positioned transversely across the girth. It carries stand-offs for spacing the base at least a small distance from a portion of the girth. Attachments for the scaffolding are provided at opposite ends of the base. Length-adjustable securement members, accessible to an installing worker inwardly of the scaffolding attachments, are carried also near opposite ends of the base. A flexible elongated girth-encircling member, such as very high-strength chain, is extended around the girth in encircling relation, having length adequate for connection to the securement members which are selectively adjustable in length from the base by an installer so as to cinch the girth-encircling member into tensile condition securely gripping the girth by tightening adjustment. These adjustable members can each swing relative to the base so that during tightening, portions of the length of the girth-encircling member become tangent to points on the girth.

More specifically, the clamp or clamp device of the invention provides typically temporary clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus to any one of possible large-girth structures (LDPs) having a girth which could vary over a substantially great range and having an orientation which also could vary, comprises a linearly elongated rigid support base for being positioned in proximity to such a large-girth structure in generally perpendicular relation thereto. A stand-off contacts points partly around the girth of such large-girth structure for spacing the base from said girth in proximity to a preselected location on said girth. Attachments are carried at opposite locations along the base proximate opposite ends thereof for attachment of said apparatus, as for coupling to scaffolding members. First and second elongated length-adjustable securement members are carried by the base at opposite positions along an axis of elongation of the base proximate opposite ends of the base. At least one flexible elongated girth-encircling tensile gripping member is provided. It is used by extension around said girth at said preselected location in gripping relation to said girth, and it has a length adequate for affixment of portions thereof at opposite ends to the first and second securement members to provide encircling gripping relation to said girth. The securement members are selectively adjustable in length relative to the base. They allow cinching the girth-encircling member or members into tightness, i.e., tensile condition, to secure said gripping relation to the girth by tightening adjustment in length. The securement members are pivotally carried by the base, each being swingably affixed to the base to permit each of them to swing such that during their tightening adjustment, portions of the length of the girth-encircling member when in tensile, gripping relation to the girth, come into tangency with the girth.

The new clamp thereby provides clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus to such large-girth structure reliably securely and safely for worker use.

Other objects and features will be apparent or will be understood from the following description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a clamp device in accordance with and embodying the present invention, and depicting its use for clamping engagement of any of several possible large-girth structures, or LDPs.

FIG. 2 is an end view of portions of a base of the clamp device.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the base.

FIG. 4 is an assembly drawings, in side elevation, of a disassembled length-adjustable securement member, being one of a pair such members pivotally carried by a base of the clamp device.

FIG. 5 shows multiple use of clamp device of the invention positioned about LDPs.

FIG. 6 shows installation of clamp device of the invention on LDP portions of a rig before it is lifted into position.

FIG. 7 shows multiple installation of the new clamp devices for horizontal LDP installation to support access walkway.

FIG. 8 shows the inventive clamp devices high aloft rig members having LDPS, supporting scaffolding in place as interconnected LDPs as part of a rig are lifted into position.

FIG. 9 shows a rig unit consisting of interconnected LDPs including a scaffolding assembly supported by a clamp device of the invention.

FIG. 10 is a view, on the ground, of a base of clamp device of the invention, resting on a pallet, to show components.

Corresponding characters indicate corresponding elements in the views of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF A PRACTICAL EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the drawings, particularly the FIG. 1, the new clamp device is designated generally 10. It is here shown as it may be attached to one of several large-girth structures (LDPs). For example, a 30-in. pipe (where the dimension refers to the diameter) is designated at 12, a 7 ft. diameter pipe is 14 and a 12 ft. diameter pipe is at 16. Clamp 10 can be used with any of such large-girth structures for temporary clamping attachment of scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus (such as catwalks, access ladders, and various possible devices and structures) to any one of possible such LDPs, where the girth could vary over substantially great range such as from a few feet to more than 40 feet, if not greater, and where the orientation of such a structure could also vary, as for example, being vertical, horizontal or oblique, or where the diameter may vary from one end to the other as in a tapered LDP. Therefore, it will be understood that the variety of large-girth structures with which the new clamp device can be used is almost unlimited in scope, and may include objects and structures which are not necessarily tubular, or not pipes, or are not necessarily circular in shape, but instead irregularly shaped, and otherwise of different geometry, but in any event having a large girth such as typical of big columns, large pipes, structural beams and even unusually-shaped structures such as bridge elements, concrete columns, rock columns, chimneys as well as natural formations and various manmade structures.

The new device is provided with a linearly elongated rigid support base generally designated 18 and which is formed, as seen in FIG. 2 compared with FIG. 1, of a steel channel member 18 which opens downwardly with a rectangular configuration, and so provides an LDP-engaging support surface. Channel 18 may be several inches in width, and 6 inch width is preferred. The axis elongation of channel member 18 in intended to be located in general perpendicular relation to the large-girth structure or LDP. That is, as seen in FIG. 1, it will extend across a side service, in lateral relation, to the LDP. Provided at the lower edge of the U-shaped channel member 18 are a pair of tubular members 22a, 22b as stand-offs carried by the base for contacting at least two spaced points around the girth of the LDP for spacing the base at least slightly from the girth in proximity to a pre-selected location on the girth at which a scaffolding apparatus or other access apparatus (or device) is desired to be attached in clamped relationship. These stand-offs 22a, 22b, as seen in FIG. 2, may be transversely-oriented lengths of steel scaffold tubing. They may be, for example, about 1 ft. in length to provide a stable lateral support surface for contacting the referenced points on the girth of the LDP. The stand-offs may instead be various other spacing structures and of various materials, including metals and nonmetals suitable for engaging the LDP to maintain proper spacing and contact.

As shown in FIG. 1, the stand-offs bring the base 18 in close proximity to the LDP but provide a at least small clearance, as may be sufficient and useful to allow wires, lines, cables, conduits, transmission lines or small pipes, hoses or tubing to run along the length of the LDP beneath the base without requiring their relocation during work while clamp 10 remains attached.

Base 10 is to be secured in relation to an LDP by a pair of elongated length-adjustable securement assemblies 24a, 24b which are formed, as seen in FIG. 4, by a threaded rod end 28 in which a double clevis link 26 is attached to the eye end by a pin or bolted securement. Further, the double clevis link 26 is attached to a chain hook 32 by a pin or bolted securement. The upper end of the rod end 28 is threaded at its upper end which engages a relatively large diameter (e.g., 2 in.) length of bar stock 36 which may have a length of several inches. It is center bored to accept the upper end of threaded rod end 28 and a nut 38 and beneath a washer 39. Since rod end 28 extends above the base, the exposed head or nut 38 allows convenient and safe tightening of the assembly by an installation worker at base 18, and so allow the respective members 24a, 24b to be adjusted in length. Members 24a, 24b extend through apertures of 40a, 40b as seen in FIG. 3, provided in bracket assemblies 49a, 49b which are located toward the opposite outer ends of base 18. Apertures 40a, 40b may be loosely slotted by elongation along the base axis so as to allow swinging, pivoted, movement of assemblies 24a, 24b to a substantial angle such as preferably at least through 90 degrees, or even 120 degrees, generally as can be appreciated from FIG. 1. These first and second elongated length-adjustable securement members allow tensioning of a very high strength chain designated generally at 44 which is intended to be passed around the girth of the large-girth LDP such as that illustrated at 12, 14 or 16, and with the length of the chain being dependant upon the diameter of the LDP and/or its girth. For example, a chain length of 12.5 ft. fits a pipe diameter in the range of 30 in. to 4 ft., a chain length of 22 ft. accommodates a pipe diameter of 5-7 ft. and a chain length of 40 ft. accommodates the girth of a LDP of pipe diameter 8-12 ft. The opposite ends will be carried by the respective hooks at the lower ends of the length-adjustable members 24a, 24b.

These members 24a, 24b will be adjusted by a user during installation of the new pipe clamp to bring chain 44 into tensile, gripping relation with the LDP girth of the LDP to tightly clamp base 18 to the LDP for the purpose of carrying scaffolding structure or other access apparatus or devices, such as walkways and the like. For that purpose, lengths of scaffold tubing are shown at 46a, 46b, and they extend in perpendicular relation upwards from the main component of base 18. They are securely welded and strengthened by webs or gussets as at 48.

The new pipe clamp may be installed on an LDP which is part of a rig as it is assembled on the ground, or it may be installed in the air, high aloft in a oil well rig, being both easily installed as well as easily removed by adjustment of the first and second length-adjustable securement members 24a, 24b.

It is to be understood that as the nut head 38 of each such tightening assembly is tightened during installation, e.g., to a torque of most preferably 120 foot-pounds, chain 44 comes into tightly-gripping relationship about the girth of an LDP. As the tightening takes place, these adjustment assemblies are free to pivot about head 36, until end portions of chain 44 come into tangency with points on the surface of the LDP girth; and each head is very securely maintained in stable longitudinal position on base by L-shaped angle brackets as at 49a, 49b welded in place.

The high strength of chain 44 can best be obtained by specifying chain grade 80, heat treated alloy steel chain, rated for overhead use, the chain having a typical minimum tensile strength or capacity of 12,000 lbs. which will be found adequate for LDP diameter ranges here mentioned. So also, other hardware components of the new clamp device or assembly are preferred or specified to be grade 80 or better; with all steel components grade A36 or better, and all welds to specification of AWS D1.1. It is preferably to be specified that all parts except the chain should be hot dip galvanized.

The manner of using the new clamp device is illustrated in FIGS. 5-9.

FIG. 5 shows an LDP 50 having a main end diameter but larger diameter 51 and with multiple clamp devices 10 positioned about the lower main portion, and carrying a scaffold assembly 52.

FIG. 6 demonstrates the applicability of a clamp device of the invention applied to such LDP 50 while the LDP is horizontal and at ground level, and with the scaffolding 52 in place about LDP 50 provided by clamp device 10, in readiness for lifting of the LDP as part of a rig.

FIG. 7 illustrates a horizontal LDP 54 of substantially constant diameter provided with a pair of clamp devices 10 of the invention, and supporting a ladder walkway 56 including scaffolding members and supported by both clamp devices 10.

FIG. 8 demonstrates the application of a clamp device 10 high aloft rig members having LDPs, and with scaffolding 62 in place as interconnected LDPs as part of a rig are lifted into position, and illustrating use thereby of the new clamp device with scaffolding to form a hanging platform.

FIG. 9 illustrates a rig unit consisting of interconnected LDPs including a scaffolding assembly 66 supported by a clamp device of the invention about an LDP 68, and the rig being shown as it is lifted into intended position.

FIG. 10 illustrates the simplicity of the base 18 including the pivot assemblies 36 and threaded rod members 38 extending from the base, and showing the relative motion provided by base 18 or pivotal movement of the pivoted extendable length members.

It should be understood that instead of chain 44, a clamp device of the invention can be secured by various possible alternative flexible elongated girth-encircling members, such as multiple lengths of high-strength chain, wire cable or rope assemblies consisting of numerous strands of cabling, and/or combinations of the foregoing, as may be desired for engagement of the girth of an LDP or other large-girth structure so as to provide a secure encircling gripping relation to the girth.

As various modifications could be made in the constructions herein described and illustrated without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative rather than limiting. Thus, the breadth and scope of the present invention should be defined only in accordance with the following claims and their equivalents.