Title:
Cargo strap hook with magnet and cargo strap assembly comprising same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cargo strap hook comprises a hook body and a magnet. The hook body includes means for enabling a cargo strap to be attached thereto and a hook portion configured for enabling the hook body to be mechanically engaged with a tie-down structure. The magnet is fixedly attached to the hook body for enabling the hook body to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure.



Inventors:
Blosser, Jeremy (New Lexington, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/054215
Publication Date:
08/10/2006
Filing Date:
02/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D45/00
View Patent Images:
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20070269285Self-tensioning tie down systemNovember, 2007Leggett
20040265085Cargo restraint deviceDecember, 2004Mayer et al.



Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Raymond M. Galasso (Austin, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A cargo strap hook, comprising: a hook body including means for enabling a cargo strap to be attached thereto and a hook portion configured for enabling the hook body to be mechanically engaged with a tie-down structure; and a magnet fixedly attached to the hook body for enabling the hook body to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure.

2. The cargo strap hook of claim 1 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion.

3. The cargo strap hook of claim 1 wherein: the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein; and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

4. The cargo strap hook of claim 1 wherein the hook body includes means configured for enabling a strap to be attached to the hook body.

5. The cargo strap hook of claim 1 wherein said means configured for enabling the strap to be attached to the hook body includes a passage through the hook body.

6. The cargo strap hook of claim 1 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion; the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein; the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body; and the hook body includes means configured for enabling a strap to be attached to the hook body.

7. A cargo strap assembly, comprising: a cargo strap hook including an integral magnet; and a cargo strap attached to the cargo strap hook.

8. The cargo strap assembly of claim 7, further comprising, a winch assembly attached to the cargo strap and configured for applying tension to the cargo strap.

9. The cargo strap assembly of claim 7 wherein: the cargo strap hook includes a hook body; the hook body including means for enabling a cargo strap to be attached thereto and a hook portion configured for enabling the hook body to be mechanically engaged with a tie-down structure; and the magnet is fixedly attached to the hook body for enabling the hook body to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure.

10. The cargo strap assembly of claim 9 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion.

11. The cargo strap assembly of claim 9 wherein: the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein; and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

12. The cargo strap assembly of claim 9 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion; and the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

13. The cargo strap assembly of claim 7, further comprising, a winch assembly attached to the cargo strap and configured for applying tension to the cargo strap, wherein the cargo strap hook includes a hook body and a magnet, wherein the hook body including means for enabling a cargo strap to be attached thereto and a hook portion for mechanically engaging the hook body with a tie-down structure and wherein the magnet is fixedly attached to the hook body for enabling the hook body to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure.

14. The cargo strap assembly of claim 13 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion.

15. The cargo strap assembly of claim 13 wherein: the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein; and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

16. The cargo strap assembly of claim 13 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion; and the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

17. The cargo strap assembly of claim 13 wherein: at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion; the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein; the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body; at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion; and the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

Description:

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosures made herein relate generally to tie-down strap assemblies and, more particularly, to cargo strap hooks for cargo strap assemblies.

BACKGROUND

Cargo is typically tied down to truck and trailer deck surfaces with conventional cargo strap assemblies. These conventional assemblies include a cargo strap-having a cargo strap hook attached at a first end of the cargo strap. The strap assembly is positioned over cargo located on the deck surface. The cargo strap hook is engaged with a deck rail on a first side of the deck surface and the strap is tightened by pulling the second end of the strap via a particular mechanism on the second side of the deck surface. One such mechanism is a winch assembly attached to a deck rail on the second side of the deck surface. Another such mechanism is a winch assembly attached to the cargo strap and a winch hook engaged with the deck rail on the second side of the deck surface.

A common problem with securing cargo using such a conventional cargo strap assembly is that the cargo strap hook unintentionally disengages from the deck rail while the cargo strap is being positioned or tightened. Quite often, a first person holds the cargo strap hook in place while a second person positions and tightens the cargo strap, which makes securing cargo a two-person job. Otherwise, when a single person is attempting to tie down cargo, tension from the cargo strap (e.g., associated with the weight of the cargo strap dangling over the cargo) is used to initially engage the cargo strap hook with the deck rail until tension can be mechanically applied. However, it is not uncommon for the cargo strap hook to unintentionally become disengaged from the deck rail during positioning/repositioned of the cargo strap or when tension on cargo strap is momentarily released during tensioning. This unintentional disengagement often requires the person (i.e., single person tie-down process) to make several trips to re-position and/or re-engaged the cargo strap hook. Regardless of whether one person or a plurality of persons are involved with securing the cargo straps, the limitations and drawbacks associated with conventional cargo strap hooks result in frustration and lost productivity. Accordingly, a cargo strap hook that overcomes the limitations and drawbacks of conventional cargo strap hooks is novel, useful and advantageous.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Cargo strap hooks in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein assist in the process of tying down cargo or securing a specific area on a truck or trailer from movement. Generally, a truck operator uses a tie-down strap or buckle-down type of strap to perform these tasks. Cargo strap hooks in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein include a magnet, which allows the cargo strap hook to be magnetically engaged with a deck rail of a truck or trailer until the cargo strap is positioned as desired and tension is mechanically applied to the cargo strap. By magnetically securing the cargo strap hook to the deck rail, the need for multiple people to install cargo straps and the need for multiple trips to reposition the cargo strap hook by a single installer is eliminated. Once the cargo strap hook is positioned as desired, it stays in position until repositioned or removed. By allowing one person to quickly, simply and reliably install a tie-down strap, cargo strap hooks in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein simplify the process of securing cargo, save energy and reduce time, whereby productivity and profitability are increased.

In one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a cargo strap hook comprises a hook body and a magnet. The hook body includes means for enabling a cargo strap to be attached thereto and a hook portion configured for enabling the hook body to be mechanically engaged with a tie-down structure. The magnet is fixedly attached to the hook body for enabling the hook body to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure.

In another embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a cargo strap assembly comprises a cargo strap hook and a cargo strap attached to the cargo strap hook. The cargo strap hook includes an integral magnet.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, at least a portion of the magnet is positioned within a channel defined by the hook portion.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the hook body includes a magnet-receiving opening therein and the magnet is secured within the magnet-receiving opening whereby the magnet is exposed at front and rear faces of the hook body.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the hook body includes means configured for enabling a strap to be attached to the hook body.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, the means configured for enabling the strap to be attached to the hook body includes a passage through the hook body.

In at least one embodiment of the inventive disclosures made herein, a winch assembly is attached to the cargo strap and is configured for applying tension to the cargo strap.

These and other objects and embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of a cargo strap assembly in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein.

FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view taken along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 depicts the cargo strap assembly of FIG. 1 magnetically engaged with a deck rail.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 and 2 depict an embodiment of a cargo strap assembly 10 in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein. The cargo strap assembly 10 includes a cargo strap hook 12 and a cargo strap 14 attached to the cargo strap hook 12. The cargo strap hook 10 includes a hook body 16 and a magnet 18 fixedly attached to the hook body 16. The cargo strap 14 passes through a passage 20 (e.g., a slot) in the hook body 16 and is secured in a manner whereby the cargo strap hook 12 is fixedly attached to the cargo strap 14 (e.g., the cargo strap 14 passing through the passage 20 and being sew or heat staked to itself). The passage 20 is an example of a means configured for enabling the cargo strap 14 to be attached to the hook body 16.

The hook body 16 includes a hook portion 22 configured for enabling the hook body 16 to be mechanically engaged with a tie-down structure (e.g., a steel deck rail of a truck or trailer). The magnet 18 is fixedly attached to the hook body 16 for enabling the hook body 16 to be magnetically secured to the tie-down structure. Preferably, but not necessarily, at least a portion of the magnet 18 is positioned within a channel 24 defined by the hook portion 22 of the hook body 16.

The hook body 16 includes a magnet-receiving opening 26. The magnet 18 is secured within the magnet-receiving opening 26 by a means such as, for example, a snap-in configuration, being bonded with an adhesive or being mechanically attached with a mechanical fastener (e.g., rivet, screw, etc). Accordingly, the magnet 18 is exposed at a front face 28 and a rear face 30 of the hook body 16. Alternately, with the magnet-receiving opening 26 being omitted, the magnet 18 may be attached to the front face 28 of the hook body 16 by means such as being bonded with an adhesive and being mechanically attached with a mechanical fastener (e.g., rivet, screw, etc).

In some embodiments, the cargo strap assembly 10 includes a winch assembly (not specifically shown) attached to the cargo strap 14. The winch assembly is configured for applying tension to the cargo strap 14. In this manner, the cargo strap 14 may be tightened to secure cargo on a cargo deck of a truck or trailer.

Preferably, but not necessarily, the hook body 16 is made from steel and is treated to be corrosion-resistant. Optionally, the hook body may be made from a polymeric material, aluminium or other material. Examples of techniques for forming the hook body include, but are not limited to, stamping, bending, casting, machining, injection molding and/or die casting. Examples of treatments for making the hook-body corrosion-resistant include, but are not limited to, plating, painting, anodizing, epoxy coating and/or powder coating.

Referring now to FIG. 3, the cargo strap hook 12 of the cargo strap assembly 10 is magnetically engaged with a deck rail 32 of a truck or trailer. Advantageously; the magnet 32 allows the cargo strap hook 12 to be secured in engagement with the deck rail 32. This functionality is advantageous because it allows a single person to secure cargo. With the cargo strap hook 12 magnetically held in place, the person may position the cargo strap 14 as needed over the cargo and then tighten (i.e., tension) the cargo strap 14. Once sufficient tension is applied, the hook portion 22 of the cargo strap hook 12 will be pulled into mechanical engagement with the deck rail 32. Accordingly, by allowing one person to quickly, simply and reliably install a tie-down strap, cargo strap hooks in accordance with the inventive disclosures made herein simplify the process of securing cargo, save energy and reduce time, whereby productivity and profitability are increased.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants thereof, have been described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice embodiments of the inventive disclosures made herein. It is to be understood that other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical, mechanical, chemical and electrical changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of such inventive disclosures. To avoid unnecessary detail, the description omits certain information known to those skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description is, therefore, not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as can be reasonably included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.