Title:
Tire chain assembly having a tension adjustment function
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tire chain assembly includes a chain body having a first side having a first end provided with a first snapping member and a second end provided with a second snapping member detachably engaged with the first snapping member. The chain body has a second side having a first end provided with a rack and a second end provided with an adjustment locking mechanism detachably engaged with the rack. Thus, the adjustment locking mechanism is adjustably movable on the rack to change the relative position between the adjustment locking mechanism and the rack so as to adjust the tension of the chain body so that the tire chain assembly is available for tires of different sizes.



Inventors:
Fu, Yang-chen (Taipei, TW)
Application Number:
11/100822
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
04/07/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B11/25
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Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mayer & Williams, P.C. (Morristown, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A tire chain assembly, comprising: a chain body having a first side having a first end provided with a first snapping member and a second end provided with a second snapping member detachably engaged with the first snapping member; the chain body having a second side having a first end provided with a rack and a second end provided with an adjustment locking mechanism detachably engaged with the rack; wherein the rack has a plurality of engaging teeth; the adjustment locking mechanism includes: a support base attached to the chain body to allow insertion of the rack; a locking member pivotally mounted on the support base and engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack to lock the rack on the support base so as to lock the rack on the adjustment locking mechanism; a driving handle pivotally mounted on the support base and detachably engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack to drive the rack to move toward the locking member.

2. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the driving handle of the adjustment locking mechanism has an end portion formed with a plurality of ratchet pawls engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack to drive the rack to move toward the locking member.

3. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the locking member of the adjustment locking mechanism has a first end formed with a locking portion engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack.

4. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 3, wherein the locking member of the adjustment locking mechanism has a second end protruding outward from an opening of the driving handle.

5. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the driving handle of the adjustment locking mechanism has a mediate portion formed with an opening to allow passage of the locking member.

6. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the support base of the adjustment locking mechanism has two side plates each having a first end formed with a guide slot, a mediate portion formed with a recess and a protrusion protruding from the recess and a second end formed with a through hole.

7. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 6, wherein the guide slot of the support base is substantially arc-shaped.

8. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 6, wherein the driving handle of the adjustment locking mechanism has an end portion having two opposite sides each formed with a pivot hole, and the adjustment locking mechanism further includes a first restoring spring mounted in the driving handle and biased between the end portion of the driving handle and the support base to push the end portion of the driving handle outward from the rack to disengage the ratchet pawls of the driving handle from the engaging teeth of the rack normally, and a first pivot shaft extended through the guide slots of the support base, the pivot holes of the driving handle and the first restoring spring.

9. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 8, wherein the first restoring spring has an extension end rested on the respective protrusion of the support base.

10. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 6, wherein the locking member of the adjustment locking mechanism has a mediate portion formed with pivot hole, and the adjustment locking mechanism further includes a second restoring spring mounted on a side of the locking member and biased between the locking member and the support base to push the locking portion of the locking member toward the rack to engage the locking portion with the engaging teeth of the rack normally, and a second pivot shaft extended through the through holes of the support base, the pivot hole of the locking member and the second restoring spring.

11. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 10, wherein the second restoring spring has an extension end rested on the respective recess of the support base.

12. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the chain body including a plurality of net-shaped plates connected with each other.

13. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 12, wherein the net-shaped plates are connected with each other by a plurality of connecting members.

14. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 13, wherein the each of the net-shaped plates includes a net body having a plurality of extension arms, and a plurality of connecting arms each having a first end pivotally connected with a respective one of the extension arms of the net body and a second end pivotally connected with a respective one of the connecting members.

15. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the second side of the chain body has a separated mediate portion having a first section provided with the rack and a second section provided with the adjustment locking mechanism.

16. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the adjustment locking mechanism is adjustably movable on the rack to change a relative position between the adjustment locking mechanism and the rack so as to adjust a tension of the chain body.

17. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the rack is movable relative to the adjustment locking mechanism by driving the driving handle.

18. The tire chain assembly in accordance with claim 1, wherein the rack is detached from the adjustment locking mechanism by pressing the locking member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a tire chain assembly, and more particularly to a tire chain assembly having a tension and length adjustment function so as to fit tires of different sizes.

2. Description of the Related Art

As shown in FIGS. 10-18, a conventional tire chain assembly in accordance with the prior art is disclosed in the applicant's Taiwanese Patent Publication No. 474275 and comprises a cable 10 having a first end provided with a socket 12 and a second end provided with a plug 11 inserted into the socket 12, a plurality of flexible wires 14 located parallel with the cable 10 and connected by a plurality of snap rings 15 and a plurality of connecting snaps 20, and a plurality of chains 13 each having a first end attached to the cable 10 and a second end attached to the flexible wires 14.

Each of the connecting snaps 20 includes a main body 26 having two ends each formed with a pivot hole 28 and a through hole 22, a protruding block 21 mounted on a mediate portion of the main body 26 and located between the through holes 22, and two hooks 16 each having a first end pivotally mounted in the respective pivot hole 28 of the main body 26 and a second end pivotally mounted in the respective flexible wire 14. The main body 26 of each of the connecting snaps 20 has a side formed with a catch block 23 to stop the hooks 16. The main body 26 of each of the connecting snaps 20 has a periphery formed with two recesses 24.

As shown in FIG. 11, a drive handle 17 is mounted on each of the connecting snaps 20 for rotating each of the connecting snaps 20 and has two drive rods 18 each inserted into the respective through hole 22 of the main body 26 for rotating the main body 26.

When the tire chain assembly is mounted on a tire 1 as shown in FIG. 17, the plug 11 of the cable 10 is inserted into the socket 12 so that the cable 10 forms a circle. Then, each of the connecting snaps 20 is rotated by the drive handle 17 to in turn move from the position as shown in FIG. 13, through the positions as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15 to the position as shown in FIG. 16 to reduce the distance between two adjacent flexible wires 14, thereby tightening the flexible wires 14, so that the tire 1 is tightened.

As shown in FIG. 13, when each of the connecting snaps 20 is extended, the distance between the two adjacent flexible wires 14 is equal to “L1”, and the distance between the two the pivot holes 28 is equal to “L2”. As shown in FIG. 16, when each of the connecting snaps 20 is tightened, the distance between the two adjacent flexible wires 14 is equal to “L3”, wherein L3=L1−L2−L2. Thus, when each of the connecting snaps 20 is tightened, the distance between the two adjacent flexible wires 14 is reduced so that the tire 1 is tightened.

On the contrary, each of the connecting snaps 20 is rotated by the drive handle 17 in the opposite direction to detach the hooks 16 from the catch block 23 so as to expand each of the connecting snaps 20, thereby releasing the flexible wires 14 from the tire 1 so as to detach the tire chain assembly from the tire 1.

However, the length of the flexible wires 14 is reduced in a fixed manner, so that the tire chain assembly is only available the tire 1 having a fixed size and cannot be used for tiers of different sizes, thereby limiting the versatility of the conventional tire chain assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a tire chain assembly, comprising a chain body having a first side having a first end provided with a first snapping member and a second end provided with a second snapping member detachably engaged with the first snapping member. The chain body has a second side having a first end provided with a rack and a second end provided with an adjustment locking mechanism detachably engaged with the rack. The rack has a plurality of engaging teeth.

The adjustment locking mechanism includes a support base attached to the chain body to allow insertion of the rack, a locking member pivotally mounted on the support base and engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack to lock the rack on the support base so as to lock the rack on the adjustment locking mechanism, and a driving handle pivotally mounted on the support base and detachably engaged with the engaging teeth of the rack to drive the rack to move toward the locking member.

The primary objective of the present invention is to provide a tire chain assembly having a tension and length adjustment function so as to fit tires of different sizes.

Another objective of the present invention is to provide a tire chain assembly, wherein the adjustment locking mechanism is adjustably movable on the rack to change the relative position between the adjustment locking mechanism and the rack so as to adjust the tension of the chain body so that the tire chain assembly is available for tires of different sizes.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a tire chain assembly, wherein the rack is movable relative to the adjustment locking mechanism by driving the driving handle, so that the tension of the chain body can be adjusted easily and conveniently, thereby facilitating a user adjusting the tension of the tire chain assembly.

A further objective of the present invention is to provide a tire chain assembly, wherein the rack is easily detached from the adjustment locking mechanism by pressing the locking member, so that the chain body is detached rapidly, thereby facilitating the user detaching the tire chain assembly.

Further benefits and advantages of the present invention will become apparent after a careful reading of the detailed description with appropriate reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a tire chain assembly in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a partially exploded perspective view showing a first snapping member and a second snapping member of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partially exploded perspective view showing a rack and an adjustment locking mechanism of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of the adjustment locking mechanism of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a driving handle of the adjustment locking mechanism of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a schematic operational view of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a schematic operational view of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a schematic operational view of the tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a conventional tire chain assembly in accordance with the prior art;

FIG. 11 is a partially exploded perspective view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a partially perspective cross-sectional view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a partially plan view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is a schematic operational view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a schematic operational view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a schematic operational view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view showing the conventional tire chain assembly being mounted on a tire; and

FIG. 18 is a locally perspective enlarged view of the conventional tire chain assembly as shown in FIG. 17.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings and initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, a tire chain assembly in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a chain body 3 including a plurality of net-shaped plates 30 connected with each other. The net-shaped plates 30 are connected with each other by a plurality of connecting members 34. Each of the net-shaped plates 30 includes a net body 31 having a plurality of extension arms 32, and a plurality of connecting arms 33 each having a first end pivotally connected with a respective one of the extension arms 32 of the net body 31 and a second end pivotally connected with a respective one of the connecting members 34.

The chain body 3 has a first side having a first end provided with a first snapping member 35 and a second end provided with a second snapping member 36 detachably engaged with the first snapping member 35. The chain body 3 has a second side having a first end provided with a rack 5 and a second end provided with an adjustment locking mechanism 4 detachably engaged with the rack 5. The second side of the chain body 3 has a separated mediate portion having a first section provided with the rack 5 and a second section provided with the adjustment locking mechanism 4.

Referring to FIGS. 1-5, the rack 5 has a plurality of engaging teeth 51. The adjustment locking mechanism 4 includes a support base 40 attached to the chain body 3 to allow insertion of the rack 5, a locking member 42 pivotally mounted on the support base 40 and engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 to lock the rack 5 on the support base 40 so as to lock the rack 5 on the adjustment locking mechanism 4, and a driving handle 41 pivotally mounted on the support base 40 and detachably engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 to drive the rack 5 to move toward the locking member 42.

The support base 40 of the adjustment locking mechanism 4 has two side plates 401 each having a first end formed with an arc-shaped guide slot 402, a mediate portion formed with a recess 403 and a protrusion 404 protruding from the recess 403 and a second end formed with a through hole 405.

The driving handle 41 of the adjustment locking mechanism 4 has a mediate portion formed with an opening 415 to allow passage of the locking member 42 and has an end portion 411 formed with a plurality of ratchet pawls 412 engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 to drive the rack 5 to move toward the locking member 42. The end portion 411 of the driving handle 41 has two opposite sides each formed with a pivot hole 413.

The adjustment locking mechanism 4 further includes a first restoring spring 414 mounted in the driving handle 41 and biased between the end portion 411 of the driving handle 41 and the support base 40 to push the end portion 411 of the driving handle 41 outward from the rack 5 to disengage the ratchet pawls 412 of the driving handle 41 from the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 normally, and a first pivot shaft 62 extended through the guide slots 402 of the support base 40, the pivot holes 413 of the driving handle 41 and the first restoring spring 414. The first restoring spring 414 has an extension end 4141 rested on the respective protrusion 404 of the support base 40.

The locking member 42 of the adjustment locking mechanism 4 has a first end formed with a locking portion 421 engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5, a mediate portion formed with pivot hole 422 and a second end protruding outward from the opening 415 of the driving handle 41.

The adjustment locking mechanism 4 further includes a second restoring spring 423 mounted on a side of the locking member 42 and biased between the locking member 42 and the support base 40 to push the locking portion 421 of the locking member 42 toward the rack 5 to engage the locking portion 421 with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 normally, and a second pivot shaft 61 extended through the through holes 405 of the support base 40, the pivot hole 422 of the locking member 42 and the second restoring spring 423. The second restoring spring 423 has an extension end 4231 rested on the respective recess 403 of the support base 40.

In operation, referring to FIGS. 6-9, with reference to FIGS. 1-5, when the chain body 3 is mounted on a tire, the second snapping member 36 of the first side of the chain body 3 is engaged with the first snapping member 35 as shown in FIG. 2 so that the first side of the chain body 3 forms a circular shape. Then, the adjustment locking mechanism 4 of the second side of the chain body 3 is locked on the rack 5 so that the second side of the chain body 3 forms a circular shape, thereby mounting the chain body 3 on the tire.

Thus, the adjustment locking mechanism 4 is adjustably movable on the rack 5 to change the relative position between the adjustment locking mechanism 4 and the rack 5 so as to adjust the tension of the chain body 3 so that the tire chain assembly is available for tires of different sizes.

As shown in FIG. 6, the rack 5 is moved toward the adjustment locking mechanism 4.

As shown in FIG. 7, the rack 5 is inserted into the support base 40 of the adjustment locking mechanism 4, and the ratchet pawls 412 of the driving handle 41 are engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5.

As shown in FIG. 8, the driving handle 41 is pivoted upward relative to the support base 40 to drive the end portion 411 of the driving handle 41 to move downward so that the ratchet pawls 412 of the driving handle 41 are rotated to drive the rack 5 to move toward and pass through the locking member 42.

At this time, the driving handle 41 is returned to the original position by the restoring force of the first restoring spring 414. Thus, when the driving handle 41 is driven to pivot on the support base 40 continuously, the rack 5 is moved forward successively relative to the adjustment locking mechanism 4 to reduce the distance between the adjustment locking mechanism 4 and the rack 5 so as to adjust the tension of the chain body 3 so as to fit tires of different sizes.

In addition, the locking portion 421 of the locking member 42 is normally engaged with the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5 by the elastic force of the second restoring spring 423 during the forward movement of the rack 5, thereby preventing the rack 5 from being pulled to move backward, so that the rack 5 is moved forward successively and cannot be moved backward by action of the second restoring spring 423.

As shown in FIG. 9, when the second end of the locking member 42 is pressed downward to overcome the elastic force of the second restoring spring 423, the locking member 42 is pivoted upward to disengage the locking portion 421 from the engaging teeth 51 of the rack 5, thereby releasing the rack 5 from the adjustment locking mechanism 4, so that the rack 5 can be pulled outward to detach from the adjustment locking mechanism 4 so as to detach the chain body 3.

Accordingly, the adjustment locking mechanism 4 is adjustably movable on the rack 5 to change the relative position between the adjustment locking mechanism 4 and the rack 5 so as to adjust the tension of the chain body 3 so that the tire chain assembly is available for tires of different sizes. In addition, the rack 5 is movable relative to the adjustment locking mechanism 4 by driving the driving handle 41, so that the tension of the chain body 3 can be adjusted easily and conveniently, thereby facilitating a user adjusting the tension of the tire chain assembly. Further, the rack 5 is detached from the adjustment locking mechanism 4 by pressing the locking member 42, so that the chain body 3 is detached easily and rapidly, thereby facilitating the user detaching the tire chain assembly.

Although the invention has been explained in relation to its preferred embodiment(s) as mentioned above, it is to be understood that many other possible modifications and variations can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claim or claims will cover such modifications and variations that fall within the true scope of the invention.





 
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