Title:
ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT COIL DISPENSER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An adjustable height coil dispenser includes a carriage assembly having a plurality of wheels, a vertical frame mounted to the carriage assembly, a vertically adjustable forks assembly movably mounted to the frame, a platform mounted to the forks assembly, the frame and the forks assemblies designed to raise and lower the platform, a hydraulic lifting assembly mounted to the carriage assembly, and a coil dispenser device integrated on the platform. In operation, the adjustable height coil dispenser is maneuvered up against a skid of stacked coiled material. The platform is raised to a level just below the top coil on the skid. The top coil of the skid is slid into the dispenser. The dispenser is lowered and the coil is transported to the desired machinery. The height of the coil dispenser device is adjusted as necessary for the particular machinery and the coiled material is fed through the feeding chute into the machinery.



Inventors:
Shetler, Daniel R. (Venetia, PA, US)
Application Number:
11/424443
Publication Date:
10/05/2006
Filing Date:
06/15/2006
Assignee:
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS, INC. (Glenview, IL, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/02; B21D5/08
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Primary Examiner:
DONDERO, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC (Signode Ind. Group LLC) (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable height coil dispenser for dispensing a coiled material comprising: a carriage assembly; a vertical frame mounted to the carriage assembly; a vertically adjustable forks assembly movably mounted to the vertical frame; a coil dispenser device mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly; and a lifting assembly mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly for raising and lowing the vertically adjustable forks assembly along the vertical frame.

2. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the carriage assembly comprises a plurality of wheels mounted on the carriage assembly.

3. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 2 wherein the plurality of wheels includes two front wheels mounted on a pair of arms of the carriage assembly.

4. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 2 wherein the plurality of wheels includes two rear wheels swivel-mounted to the carriage assembly.

5. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 4 wherein the two rear wheels swivel-mounted to the carriage assembly further include caster brakes.

6. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the vertical frame further comprises a handle for maneuvering the adjustable height coil dispenser.

7. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the vertical frame further comprises at least one horizontal support cross bar.

8. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the vertically adjustable forks assembly comprises a pair of arms.

9. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the vertically adjustable forks assembly comprises a pair of opposing rollers slidably engaged with the vertical frame.

10. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the coil dispenser device includes a tray for holding the coiled material.

11. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 10 wherein the coil dispenser device further includes a coil retention bracket removably connected to the tray.

12. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the coil dispenser device includes a feeding chute.

13. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 wherein the lifting assembly comprises a hydraulic foot pump having a cylinder and a piston disposed in the cylinder, at least one pulley mounted to the piston, at least one chain having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the chain is mounted to the vertical frame and the second end of the chain is mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly, and wherein the at least one chain is matingly engaged with the at least one pulley.

14. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 13 wherein the hydraulic foot pump includes a foot pump pedal and a one-way valve for permitting air to enter the cylinder.

15. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 13 wherein the hydraulic foot pump includes a release knob and a release valve for permitting air to exit the cylinder.

16. The adjustable height coil dispenser of claim 1 further comprising a platform mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly, wherein the coil dispenser device is mounted to the platform.

17. An adjustable height coil dispenser for dispensing a coiled material comprising: a carriage assembly having a plurality of wheels; a vertical frame mounted to the carriage assembly, the vertical frame comprising a plurality of vertical tubular posts; a vertically adjustable forks assembly movably mounted to at least two of the plurality of vertical tubular posts of the vertical frame using at least two pairs of opposing rollers; a platform mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly; a coil dispenser device mounted to the platform, the coil dispenser comprising a tray, a coil retention bracket and a feeding chute; and a lifting assembly mounted to the vertical frame, the carriage assembly and the vertically adjustable forks assembly for raising and lowing the vertically adjustable forks assembly along the at least two of the plurality of vertical tubular posts of the vertical frame, the lifting assembly comprising a hydraulic foot pump having a cylinder and a piston disposed in the cylinder, a first pulley and a second pulley mounted both to the piston, a first chain having a first end and a second end and a second chain having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the first chain and the first end of the second chain are mounted to the vertical frame and the second end of the first chain and the second end of the second chain are mounted to the vertically adjustable forks assembly, and wherein the first chain is matingly engaged with the first pulley and the second chain is matingly engaged with the second pulley.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention pertains to a coil dispenser device. More particularly, the invention pertains to an adjustable height coil dispenser device for loading, transporting and dispensing coiled materials.

Many materials are supplied in coiled form. For example, strapping material, such as plastic or steel strap for use in a strapping machine (or “strapper”), often is supplied in coiled form on, for example, a spool or spindle. Such strapping material generally is coiled in a mill wound or a ribbon wound manner. In a mill wind, the strapping material is coiled onto itself, or onto a spool, in a uniformly oscillating manner (although sometimes in a random manner) without a subseque nt wind necessarily overlying a previous wind. In a ribbon wind, the strapping material is positioned to fully overlap or overlie a previous layer so that the coil has the same width as the material.

Coiled strapping material, such as that designed for use in a strapper, typically is dispensed through coil dispensers. Coil dispensers are well known in the prior art and include, by way of example, Model DF-34-114 manufactured by ITW Signode in Glenview, Ill. for ribbon wound strapping, and Model DF-23 (also manufactured by ITW Signode) for mill wound strapping. While many coil dispensers are stationary devices located in close proximity a strapper, some prior art coil dispensers are designed to be mobile to permit transport of the dispenser between strappers and between a coil storage area and a packing area.

For coils that are dispensed in a horizontal configuration (such that the coil lies generally horizontally on its side and the coil's longitudinal axis is generally vertically oriented), such coil dispensers generally are comprised of a tray within which the coil lies, a means to secure the coil within the tray and to prevent the coil from being pulled out of the tray while the strapping material is being dispensed, and a guide through which the strapping material is fed to the strapper.

Coiled strapping material often is quite heavy and can be bulky, vis-á-vis storage and handling. Many such coils can weigh as much as one hundred pounds or more. Moreover, many such coils are shipped and stored on skids comprised of as many as twelve or more vertically-stacked coils. Such skids generally are stored in a warehouse or storeroom area, a distance away from the packaging area where strappers often are found. In many cases, workplace safety regulations, and the physical limitations of individual workers, restrict the ability to transport such coils between the storage area and the packaging area.

It often is difficult to transport and load a coil into its position on a coil dispenser device. Typically, the coil must be manually handled and manipulated to remove it from the stack of coils on the skid, manually transported to the packaging room, and manually loaded and positioned on to the coil dispensing device. When coils are stacked high upon one another on a full skid, the difficulty and danger in handling and manipulating the coil are exacerbated.

Coil grasping, manipulating and transporting devices are well known in the prior art. One such device is disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 6,840,731 for a “Coil Handler Device.” However, many of these devices are large, motorized equipment items akin to a vehicle. Because of the overall sizes of such devices, their respective costs likewise are high, thus limiting the ability of a small volume user to justify purchase and use of such a handling device. Moreover, while many such devices assist with the removal of a coil from the top of a stack of coils on a skid, for example, the removed coil still must be transported to the packaging area, lowered into place on a coil dispenser and mounted on the dispenser. This process adds considerable time and overhead to the strapping process and, thus, ultimately increases cost.

Also known in the prior art are hydraulic lifting devices, such as the Hcfti-Lift Model HYD-10 manufactured by Vestil Manufacturing Company. Such devices typically are non-motorized and have a design that combines the general features of a forklift with those of a hand truck. For example, such lifting devices generally include a wheeled frame with a platform mounted on a fork assembly. The fork assembly is height adjustable through the use of a hydraulic piston that permits the vertical movement of heavy objects with minimal physical exertion by the user. The device is manually operated, typically utilizing a foot pedal to operate the hydraulic piston and having a walk-behind design with swive-mounted wheels to allow the user to push and steer the device as desired. However, such devices are not specifically designed for use with coils. While such a device in theory may be used to help retrieve a coil from a stack and transport it to a strapper, the same inefficiencies exist in terms of loading the retrieved coil into a coil dispenser.

Accordingly, there exists a need for an adjustable height dispenser that combines the benefits of a coil manipulating and transporting device with the advantages of an integrated coil dispenser. Such an adjustable height dispenser permits easy retrieving, manipulating and transporting of stacked coils while simultaneously loading such coils into a coil dispenser. Desirably, such a device is configured so that it can be adjustably raised and lowered to a height just beneath the level of the coil to be loaded into the dispenser, to allow for the coil to be easily slid into the dispenser. More desirably, such an adjustable height dispenser uses a hydraulic lifting assembly to raise and lower the coil with minimal physical exertion by the user. Most desirably, such a device permits the loaded coil to be transported from a storage area directly to the packaging area, and permits the coil to be properly positioned and oriented with respect to the machinery with which the coiled material is used, such as a strapper in the case of coiled strapping materials.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An adjustable height coil dispenser includes a carriage assembly having a plurality of wheels, a vertical frame mounted to the carriage assembly, a vertically adjustable forks assembly movably mounted to the frame, a platform mounted to the forks assembly, the frame and the forks assemblies designed to raise and lower the platform, a hydraulic lifting assembly mounted to the carriage assembly, and a coil dispenser device integrated on the platform.

The carriage assembly preferably includes four wheels, two of which are swivel-mounted to allow the device to be steered. More preferably, the two swivel-mounted wheels include a locking mechanism, such as a caster brake, to prevent the device from moving during coil loading and dispensing.

The vertical frame is designed with a handle for pushing, pulling and steering the device. The frame further includes at least one horizontal support cross bar for stabilizing and strengthening the frame, and for mounting the hydraulic lifting assembly.

The vertically adjustable forks assembly comprises a pair of arms upon which the platform is mounted, along with a pair of opposing roller mechanisms slidably engaged with the vertical members of the frame to permit the forks assembly to move vertically along the vertical members of the frame.

The hydraulic lifting assembly comprises a hydraulic foot pump. The hydraulic foot pump includes a cylinder with an enclosed piston. The cylinder is vertically mounted to the carriage assembly and to the horizontal support cross bar of the frame. The telescoping end of the piston is mounted to at least one pulley.

The hydraulic lifting assembly further comprises at least one chain mounted to the forks assembly, on the one end, and mounted to the horizontal support cross bar of the frame on the other end. The chain is disposed in an engaging relationship with the pulley such that the chain is retained in a channel formed in the pulley and is permitted to slidably travel within the channel.

The hydraulic foot pump is of the type well known in the prior art, and is controlled through a means well known in the prior art. Specifically, operation of the piston is accomplished by using the foot pump to force air into the cylinder through a one-way valve, thereby forcing the piston upwards. When the piston exerts an upward force against the pulley, the chain exerts a complementary upward force on the forks assembly causing the forks assembly to slidably rise along the vertical members of the frame with which it is engaged. The forks assembly correspondingly raises the platform upon which the coil dispenser device is mounted.

To lower the forks assembly, and therefore, the coil dispenser device, the hydraulic foot pump further comprises a release knob assembly. The release knob assembly controls a valve that, when opened allows the air in the cylinder to be released. The release of air in the cylinder allows the piston to retract back into the cylinder and, in turn, allows the forks assembly, platform and coil dispenser to slidably lower along the vertical members of the frame. The hydraulic lifting assembly accordingly allows for infinite adjustment of the height of the coil dispenser device.

The coil dispenser device consists of a tray for holding a coiled material and a removable coil retention bracket having an integrated coiled material feeding chute.

In operation, the adjustable height coil dispenser of the present invention is maneuvered up against a skid of stacked coiled strapping material. The platform is raised to a level just below the top coil on the skid. The top coil of the skid is slid into the dispenser. The dispenser is lowered and the coil is transported to the desired strapper. The height of the coil dispenser device is adjusted as necessary for the particular strapper and the strapping material is fed through the feeding chute into the strapper intake.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description and drawings in conjunction with the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The benefits and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the relevant art after reviewing the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the adjustable height coil dispenser embodying the principles of the present invention, the coil dispenser being shown in a lowered position;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the adjustable height coil dispenser embodying the principles of the present invention, the coil dispenser being shown in a lowered position;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective exploded view of the hydraulic foot pump embodying the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial perspective view of the view similar to FIG. 3 showing the base of the hydraulic foot pump embodying the principles of the present invention with the foot pedal and other elements removed; and

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 the adjustable height coil dispenser 1 in the preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a carriage assembly 2, a vertical frame 3 mounted to the carriage assembly 2, a vertically adjustable forks assembly 4 movably mounted to the frame, a platform 5 mounted to the forks assembly 4, a hydraulic lifting assembly 6 mounted to the carriage assembly 2, and a coil dispenser device 7 integrated on the platform 5.

Carriage assembly 2 comprises a frame upon which a plurality of wheels are affixed. In the preferred embodiment, the frame of carriage assembly 2 includes two arms, 8 and 9, extending outwardly from vertical frame 3. Arms 8 and 9 include front wheels 10 and 11 at the distal end of arms 8 and 9, respectively. Rear wheels 12 and 13 are mounted to the rear of carriage assembly 2. Rear wheels 12 and 13 in the preferred embodiment are swivel-mounted to carriage assembly 2 to allow the adjustable height coil dispenser 1 to be steered. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, the two swivel-mounted rear wheels 12 and 13 include locking mechanisms, namely caster brakes 14 and 15, respectively, to prevent the adjustable height coil dispenser 1 from moving during coil loading and dispensing. It will be appreciated, however, that other comparable wheel locking mechanisms may be used without departing from the scope of this invention.

Vertical frame 3 is comprised of a plurality of vertical tubular posts. In the preferred embodiment, four vertical tubular posts, 16, 17, 18 and 10 comprise vertical frame 3. Vertical frame 3 further includes handle 20 designed for pushing, pulling and steering the adjustable height coil dispenser 1.

In the preferred embodiment, along with a handle 16, vertical frame 3 also includes a lower horizontal support cross bar 21 and an upper horizontal support cross bar 22. Both lower horizontal support cross bar 21 and upper horizontal support cross bar 22 are designed to stabilize and strengthen vertical frame 3. Additionally, lower horizontal support cross bar 21 further serves as a mounting location for components of the hydraulic lifting assembly, as further discussed below.

As further shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, vertically adjustable forks assembly 4 comprises a comprises a base 23 from which two forks 24 and 25 extend outwardly from base 23 and vertical frame 3. A platform 5 is mounted on forks 24 and 25.

Base 23 of vertically adjustable forks assembly 4 further comprises a plurality of opposing roller mechanisms slidably engaged with the vertical tubular posts 17 and 18. In the preferred embodiment, the roller mechanisms are comprised of four wheels, 26, 27, 28 and 29, rotatably mounted on base 23. Wheels 26 and 29 are slidably engaged with a front surface of vertical tubular posts 17 and 18, respectively, while wheels 27 and 28 are opposingly engaged with a rear surface of vertical tubular posts 17 and 18, respectively. In this manner, wheels 26, 27, 28 and 29 permit vertically adjustable forks assembly 4 to traverse vertically along vertical tubular posts 17 and 18, while permitting forks 24 and 25, and, therefore, platform 5, to remain in a generally perpendicular relationship with vertical frame 3.

Hydraulic lifting assembly 6 is designed to raise and lower vertically adjustable forks assembly 4, thereby raising and lowering platform 5 and coil dispenser device 7. As shown in FIGS. 2-4, hydraulic lifting assembly 6 comprises a hydraulic foot pump 30. Hydraulic foot pump 30 is well known in the prior art and includes a cylinder 31 with an enclosed piston 32. Cylinder 31 is vertically mounted parallel to vertical frame 3. The base 32 of hydraulic foot pump 30 is mounted to carriage assembly 2 and the cylinder 31 of hydraulic foot pump 30 is mounted to horizontal support bar 21 of vertical frame 3.

The telescoping end of piston 32 is mounted to at least one pulley. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, piston 32 is mounted to two pulleys 33 and 34.

Hydraulic lifting assembly 6 further comprises at least one chain mounted to base 23 of vertically adjustable forks assembly 4, on the one end, and mounted to the horizontal support bar 21 of vertical frame 3 on the other end. The preferred embodiment of the present invention uses two chains, 35 and 36. Chains 35 and 36 are disposed in an engaging relationship with the pulleys 33 and 34, respectively, such that chains 35 and 36 are retained in the channels formed in pulleys 33 and 34 and are permitted to slidably travel within the channels formed in pulleys 33 and 34. It will be appreciated that, without departing from the scope of this invention, pulleys 33 and 34 may be replaced by sprockets or similarly designed devices to matingly engage chains 35 and 36. Similarly, chains 35 and 36 may be replaced by ropes (including steel braided ropes and the like) of comparable durability and strength.

As shown particularly in FIGS. 3 and 4, hydraulic foot pump 30 is of the type well known in the prior art, and is controlled through a means well known in the prior art. Specifically, operation of piston 32 is accomplished by using the foot pump pedal 37 to force air into cylinder 31 through a one-way valve assembly 38.

Forcing air into cylinder 31 forces piston 32 upwards. When piston 32 transfers the resulting upward force of piston 32 against to pulleys 33 and 34, the chains 35 and 36 exerts a complementary upward force on forks assembly 4, causing the forks assembly 4 to slidably traverse vertically upwards along vertical tubular posts 17 and 18 of vertical frame 3. Forks assembly 4 correspondingly raises platform 5 upon which coil dispenser device 7 is mounted.

To lower forks assembly 4 and, therefore, coil dispenser device 7, hydraulic foot pump 30 further comprises a release knob 37. The release knob 37 controls a release valve 39 that, when opened, allows the air in cylinder 31 to be released. The release of air in cylinder 31 allows piston 32 to retract back into cylinder 31 and, in turn, allows forks assembly 4, platform 5 and coil dispenser device 7 to traverse vertically downwards along vertical tubular posts 17 and 18 of vertical frame 3. The design of the hydraulic lifting assembly 6 of the present invention accordingly allows for infinite adjustment of the height of the coil dispenser device 7.

The coil dispenser device 7 consists of a tray 40 for holding a coil 41 of material, strapping material in the preferred embodiment of the present invention. Tray 40 typically is circular and is designed of sufficient size as to accommodate the coil to be dispensed.

Coil dispenser device 7 further includes a removable coil retention bracket 42 having an integrated coiled material feeding chute 43. The removable coil retention bracket 42 is removably connected to tray 40 by a plurality of bolts 44, 45 and 46 in the preferred embodiment. Further, in the preferred embodiment, removable coil retention bracket 42 is generally T-shaped and is designed to hold coil 41 in tray 40 during dispensing of coil 41.

Feeding chute 43 is a tubular member having an entrance 47 and exit 48 designed to accept coil 41 at entrance 47 and dispense coil 41 at exit 48.

In operation, the adjustable height coil dispenser 1 of the present invention is maneuvered up against a skid of stacked coiled material, such as coiled strapping material. Preferably, caster brakes 14 and 15 on rear wheels 12 and 13 are set to prevent the adjustable height coil dispenser from moving. Coil retention bracket 42 then is removed from tray 40.

Using foot pump pedal 37, platform 5 is raised to a level such that tray 40 is disposed just below the top coil on the skid. The top coil 41 of the skid then is slid into tray 40. Platform 5 then is lowered, using release knob 37, and coil retention bracket 42 is reinstalled on tray 40.

Caster brakes 14 and 15 are released and the adjustable height coil dispenser 1 is transported using handle 20 to the machinery requiring the coil 41, such as a strapper in the preferred embodiment. Once appropriately positioned in proximity to the machinery requiring the coil 41, caster brakes 14 and 15 again are set and platform 5 then is raised or lowered, in the same manner as discussed above, as necessary such that the exit 48 of feeding chute 43 is at an appropriate height for particular strapper. The coil 41 then is fed into the entrance 47 of the feeding chute 43 and guided through feeding chute 43 until it exits at exit 48 to be fed into the strapper intake.

From the foregoing it will be observed that numerous modifications and variations can be effectuated without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concepts of the present invention. It is to be understood that no limitation with respect to the specific embodiments illustrated is intended or should be inferred. The disclosure is intended to cover by the appended claims all such modifications as fall within the scope of the claims.

All patents referred to herein, are hereby incorporated herein by reference, whether or not specifically done so within the text of this disclosure.

In the present disclosure, the words “a” or “an” are to be taken to include both the singular and the plural. Conversely, any reference to plural items shall, where appropriate, include the singular.