Title:
Actuating assembly for actuating a chute of a snowblower, snowblower including the same and method of operating associated thereto
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An actuating assembly for actuating a chute of a snowblower having a frame. The actuating assembly includes a first gear, a second gear and a driving mechanism. The first gear is pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis, said first gear being configured for operatively receiving thereon the chute of the snowblower. The second gear is pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first gear, the second gear being operatively interconnectable with the first gear so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa. The driving mechanism is used for driving the second gear in rotation so as to in turn drive the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate.



Inventors:
Champagne, Christian (St-Tite, CA)
Pronovost, Rejean (St-Tite, CA)
Audy, Sebastien (St-Thecle, CA)
Application Number:
11/389715
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
03/27/2006
Assignee:
LES MACHINERIES PRONOVOST INC. (St-Tite, CA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/09
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
RISIC, ABIGAIL ANNE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MERCHANT & GOULD P.C. (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
1. An actuating assembly for actuating a chute of snowblower having a frame, the actuating assembly comprising: a first gear pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis, said first gear being configured for operatively receiving thereon the chute of the snowblower; a second gear mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first gear, the second gear being operatively interconnectable with the first gear so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa; a driving mechanism for driving the second gear in rotation so as to in turn drive the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate.

2. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the driving mechanism comprises a cylinder having first and second ends, the first end of the cylinder being mountable about the frame of the snowblower and the second end of the cylinder being displaceable with respect to the first end thereof, between retracted and extended configurations, the second end of the cylinder being pivotably mountable via a link about an anchoring point on the second gear so that an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations causes the second gear to rotate about its pivot axis, and in turn causes the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate about its pivot axis.

3. An actuating assembly according to claim 2, wherein the actuating assembly comprises a shearing bolt operatively connectable between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force operatively transmitted between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

4. An actuating assembly according to claim 2, wherein the link has a first extremity pivotably mountable about the pivot axis of the second gear and a second extremity pivotably mountable about the second end of the cylinder, said second extremity of the link being operatively secured to the anchoring point on the second gear.

5. An actuating assembly according to claim 2, wherein the link is shaped, positioned and sized so as to act as a lever mechanism between the second end of the cylinder and the anchoring point of the second gear, for rotating said second gear about its pivot axis via an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations.

6. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the link is a substantially L-shaped link having a corner and a pair of ends, the corner of the link being pivotably mountable about the pivot axis of the second gear, a first end of the link being pivotably mountable about the second end of the cylinder, and the other end of the link being secured to the second gear by means of a shearing bolt, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force transmitted between the link and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

7. An actuating assembly according to claim 2, wherein the actuating assembly comprises a shearing bolt operatively connectable between the link and the second gear, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force transmitted between the link and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

8. An actuating assembly according to claim 2, wherein the first end of the cylinder is pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower.

9. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, and wherein the first and second gears extend substantially within a same plane.

10. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the second gear is a half-moon gear and is provided with guiding supports mountable onto the frame of the snowblower for guiding an interaction of the second gear with the first gear.

11. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the actuating assembly comprises a third gear, and a smaller fourth gear securely mountable onto the third gear, said third and fourth gears being mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and both being rotatable about a same pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first and second gears, the third gear being operatively interconnectable with the first gear, and the fourth gear being operatively interconnectable with the second gear, so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa, via said third and fourth gears.

12. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the driving mechanism comprises an elongated rod pivotably mountable about the frame of the snowblower and having first and second extremities, the first extremity of the rod being provided with the second gear operatively interconnectable with the first gear, and the second extremity of the rod being provided with a crank for rotating the rod so that a rotation of the second gear via the rod causes in turn a rotation of the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon.

13. An actuating assembly according to claim 1, wherein the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, and wherein the second gear is positionable at about 90 degrees from the first gear.

14. A snowblower having a frame and a chute rotatable thereabout, the snowblower being provided with an actuating assembly for actuating the chute, the actuating assembly comprising: a first gear pivotably mounted onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis, said first gear being configured for operatively receiving thereon the chute of the snowblower; a second gear mounted onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first gear, the second gear being operatively interconnected with the first gear so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa; a driving mechanism for driving the second gear in rotation so as to in turn drive the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate.

15. A snowblower according to claim 14, wherein the driving mechanism comprises a cylinder having first and second ends, the first end of the cylinder being mounted about the frame of the snowblower and the second end of the cylinder being displaceable with respect to the first end thereof, between retracted and extended configurations, the second end of the cylinder being pivotably mounted via a link about an anchoring point on the second gear so that an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations causes the second gear to rotate about its pivot axis, and in turn causes the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate about its pivot axis.

16. A snowblower according to claim 15, wherein the actuating assembly comprises a shearing bolt operatively connected between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force operatively transmitted between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold, wherein the link has a first extremity pivotably mounted about the pivot axis of the second gear and a second extremity pivotably mounted about the second end of the cylinder, said second extremity of the link being operatively secured to the anchoring point on the second gear, wherein the link is shaped, positioned and sized so as to act as a lever mechanism between the second end of the cylinder and the anchoring point of the second gear, for rotating said second gear about its pivot axis via an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations, wherein the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, wherein the first and second gears extend substantially within a same plane, and wherein the second gear is a half-moon gear and is provided with guiding supports mounted onto the frame of the snowblower for guiding an interaction of the second gear with the first gear.

17. A snowblower according to claim 15, wherein the link is a substantially L-shaped link having a corner and a pair of ends, the corner of the link being pivotably mounted about the pivot axis of the second gear, a first end of the link being pivotably mounted about the second end of the cylinder, and the other end of the link being secured to the second gear by means of a shearing bolt, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force transmitted between the link and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold, wherein the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, wherein the first and second gears extend substantially within a same plane, and wherein the second gear is a half-moon gear.

18. A snowblower according to claim 14, wherein the actuating assembly comprises a third gear, and a smaller fourth gear securely mounted onto the third gear, said third and fourth gears being mounted onto the frame of the snowblower and both being rotatable about a same pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first and second gears, the third gear being operatively interconnected with the first gear, and the fourth gear being operatively interconnected with the second gear, so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa, via said third and fourth gears.

19. A snowblower according to claim 14, wherein the driving mechanism comprises an elongated rod pivotably mounted about the frame of the snowblower and having first and second extremities, the first extremity of the rod being provided with the second gear operatively interconnected with the first gear, and the second extremity of the rod being provided with a crank for rotating the rod so that a rotation of the second gear via the rod causes in turn a rotation of the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon, and wherein the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, and wherein the second gear is positioned at about 90 degrees from the first gear.

20. A method of operating an actuating assembly for actuating a chute of a snowblower having a frame, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing onto the snowblower an actuating assembly according to claim 1; b) driving the second gear of the assembly via the driving mechanism so as to in turn drive the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an actuating assembly, also known as a driving or a rotating system. More particularly, in its preferred intended use, the present invention relates to an actuating assembly for actuating (e.g. rotating) a chute of a snowblower, and also relates to a snowblower including the same and to a method of operating associated thereto. The present application claims priority of U.S. provisional applications Nos. 60/664,969 (Mar. 25, 2005) and 60/669,398 (Apr. 8, 2005), the contents of which are both incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Snowblowers are well known in the art. Also well known in the art are the different actuating or rotation systems comprising hydraulic cylinders and the like which are typically used for rotating a chute of a given snowblower.

For example, a system relying on the rotation of a chute with a steel cable is generally assembled onto a rod and a straight crank. The steel cable is generally attached on the tube and is then typically wound a few turns about the same in a clockwise direction, then goes around the chute and is finally fixed preferably at mid-point about the chute with the aid of a cable clamp, so as to after have the cable come roll itself once again on the tube in the anticlockwise direction for attachment thereon. The extremity of the tube is generally provided with a crank and when the latter is activated, the chute turns about itself.

Also known in the art are essentially five (5) other main types of conventional actuating or driving systems used for rotating the chute of a snowblower.

The first main type of system essentially consists in a rotation with a steel cable assembled to a pivoting half-moon. Typically, the steel cable is attached on a left edge of the half-moon, comes about the quadrant of the half-moon, goes around the chute in an anticlockwise direction, then comes to cross the quadrant of the half-moon and is attached onto a right edge of the half-moon. Typically also, when the hydraulic cylinder actuates the half-moon in order to rotate it, the chute turns about itself.

The second main type of system essentially consists in a rotation with a steel cable assembled to a pivoting straight bar. This principle is similar to the first one described above but instead of using a half-moon, the cable is rather connected at each edge of the straight bar. Generally, a pulley is installed on each edge of the straight bar and the cable attaches itself onto a third point.

The third main type of system essentially consists in a rotation with a tie. Typically, the cylinder activates a lever arm that drives a tie which in turn rotates the chute.

The fourth main type of system essentially consists of a gear driven by an hydraulic motor or manual action, as is known in the art.

The fifth main type of system essentially consists of a worm gear driven by an hydraulic motor or manual action, as also known in the art.

Also known in the art are the following U.S. patents and patent applications which describe other various systems used for actuating, driving and/or rotating chutes of snowblowers and the like: U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,509,977; 3,570,641; 3,726,029; 3,879,866; 4,033,628; 4,184,274; 4,391,052; 4,409,748; 5,177,888; 5,315,771; 5,444,927; 6,499,238 B2; 6,578,694 B2; 2003/0033736 A1; 2003/0177669 A1; 2004/0148819 A1; and 2004/0255493 A1.

However, some systems are not considered optimal for certain applications, as is also well known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,879,866 granted on Apr. 29, 1975 to GUNDERSON describes a system where the rotation is carried out by a flat gear (driving component) which is perpendicular to a perforated wheel (driven component). Thus, a universal joint system must be added to the crank in order to allow an access to the operator above the same. The use of universal joint systems is not only elaborate in terms of assembling and the like, but as a result thereof, can result to be cost-ineffective.

Hence, in light of the aforementioned, there is a need for an improved system which would be able to overcome or remedy some of the aforementioned known prior art problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide an actuating assembly which, by virtue of its design and components, satisfies some of the above-mentioned needs and which is thus an improvement over other related devices, systems and/or methods known in the prior art.

In accordance with the present invention, the above object is achieved, as will be easily understood from the present description, with an actuating assembly such as the one briefly described herein and such as the one exemplified in the accompanying drawings.

According to the present invention, there is provided an actuating assembly for actuating a chute of snowblower having a frame, the actuating assembly comprising:

    • a first gear pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis, said first gear being configured for operatively receiving thereon the chute of the snowblower;
    • a second gear mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and rotatable about a pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first gear, the second gear being operatively interconnectable with the first gear so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa;
    • a driving mechanism for driving the second gear in rotation so as to in turn drive the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate.

Preferably, the driving mechanism comprises a cylinder having first and second ends, the first end of the cylinder being mountable about the frame of the snowblower and the second end of the cylinder being displaceable with respect to the first end thereof, between retracted and extended configurations, the second end of the cylinder being pivotably mountable via a link about an anchoring point on the second gear so that an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations causes the second gear to rotate about its pivot axis, and in turn causes the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon to rotate about its pivot axis.

Preferably also, the actuating assembly comprises a shearing bolt operatively connectable between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force operatively transmitted between the second end of the cylinder and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

Preferably also, the link has a first extremity pivotably mountable about the pivot axis of the second gear and a second extremity pivotably mountable about the second end of the cylinder, said second extremity of the link being operatively secured to the anchoring point on the second gear.

Preferably also, the link is shaped, positioned and sized so as to act as a lever mechanism between the second end of the cylinder and the anchoring point of the second gear, for rotating said second gear about its pivot axis via an actuation of the second end of the cylinder between the retracted and extended configurations.

Preferably also, the link is a substantially L-shaped link having a corner and a pair of ends, the corner of the link being pivotably mountable about the pivot axis of the second gear, a first end of the link being pivotably mountable about the second end of the cylinder, and the other end of the link being secured to the second gear by means of a shearing bolt, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force transmitted between the link and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

Preferably also, the actuating assembly comprises a shearing bolt operatively connectable between the link and the second gear, the shearing bolt being made of a specific material being breakable when the force transmitted between the link and the second gear has reached a predetermined threshold.

Preferably also, the first end of the cylinder is pivotably mountable onto the frame of the snowblower.

Preferably also, the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, and the first and second gears extend substantially within a same plane.

Preferably also, the second gear is a half-moon gear and is provided with guiding supports mountable onto the frame of the snowblower for guiding an interaction of the second gear with the first gear.

Preferably also, the actuating assembly comprises a third gear, and a smaller fourth gear securely mountable onto the third gear, said third and fourth gears being mountable onto the frame of the snowblower and both being rotatable about a same pivot axis different from the pivot axis of the first and second gears, the third gear being operatively interconnectable with the first gear, and the fourth gear being operatively interconnectable with the second gear, so that a rotation of the second gear is transmitted to the first gear and vice versa, via said third and fourth gears.

Preferably also, the driving mechanism comprises an elongated rod pivotably mountable about the frame of the snowblower and having first and second extremities, the first extremity of the rod being provided with the second gear operatively interconnectable with the first gear, and the second extremity of the rod being provided with a crank for rotating the rod so that a rotation of the second gear via the rod causes in turn a rotation of the first gear and corresponding chute operatively mounted thereon.

Preferably also, the first gear has teeth meshed with teeth of the second gear, and the second gear is positionable at about 90 degrees from the first gear.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is also provided a vehicle provided with the above-mentioned assembly and corresponding chute. Preferably, the vehicle is a snowblower.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is also provided a method of operating the above-mentioned actuating assembly, chute, and/or vehicle.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is also provided a method of securing/mounting the above-mentioned actuating assembly onto a chute and/or vehicle.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is also provided a kit for assembling the above-mentioned actuating assembly, chute, and/or vehicle.

The objects, advantages, and other features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of preferred embodiments thereof, given for the purpose of exemplification only, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an actuating assembly according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention, the assembly being shown mounted onto and cooperating with certain components of a snowblower.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of what is shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of an actuating assembly for actuating a chute (not shown) of a vehicle (not shown) according to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an apparatus provided with an actuating assembly according to a third preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a portion of what is shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a side view of a driving gear shown in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a front view of what is shown in FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a sectional view of the driving gear taken along line B-B shown in FIG. 7.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, the same numerical references refer to similar elements. The embodiments shown in the figures are preferred, for exemplification purposes only.

Moreover, although the present invention was primarily designed for use with a snowblower, and particularly for use with a chute thereof through which snow and others are projected and may be re-directed, it may be used with other objects and/or other types of vehicles and/or objects, and in others fields, such as agriculture, forestry, lawn mowing and the like, as apparent to a person skilled in the art. For this reason, expressions such as “snowblower”, “chute”, “snow”, “vehicle”, etc., used herein should not be taken so as to limit the scope of the present invention and include all other kinds of objects and/or applications with which the present invention could be used and may be useful.

Moreover, in the context of the present invention, the expressions “assembly”, “system”, “device”, “apparatus”, “gear”, as well as any other equivalent expressions and/or compound words thereof, may be used interchangeably. The same applies for any other mutually equivalent expressions, such as “vehicle” and “snowblower” for example, as well as “snow” and “material”, and “actuating”, “driving” and “rotating”, as also apparent to a person skilled in the art.

In addition, although the preferred embodiments of the present invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings comprise various components, and although the preferred embodiments of the actuating assembly and corresponding parts as shown consist of certain geometrical configurations as explained and illustrated herein, not all of these components and geometries are essential to the invention and thus should not be taken in their restrictive sense, i.e. should not be taken so as to limit the scope of the present invention. It is to be understood, as also apparent to a person skilled in the art, that other suitable components and cooperations thereinbetween, as well as other suitable geometrical configurations may be used for the actuating assembly and corresponding parts according to the present invention, as will be briefly explained herein and as can be easily inferred herefrom by a person skilled in the art, without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Broadly described, the actuating assembly (referred herein also as a “driving system” or a “rotating system”) according to the present invention, is an actuating assembly adapted to be assembled/secured/mounted onto a vehicle, such as snowblowers and the like, and/or any other suitable apparatus (e.g. vehicle) requiring a chute to be actuated, driven or rotated in order to evacuate material being treated by the apparatus, whether that material be snow, grass, granular material, and any other type of suitable material being treated by the vehicle and evacuated through its chute requiring an actuation (e.g. rotation), as will be easily understood from the present description by a person skilled in the art.

According to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention, as better shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the rotation system used for rotating a chute of a snowblower 116 is preferably activated by a simple hydraulic cylinder 101. The chute 110 is preferably maintained in place by the system which enables it to rotate freely about its center 109. A gear 108 is preferably fixed onto the base of the chute 110, in a suitable manner, as is known in the art. The bottom portion of the cylinder 112 is preferably fixed to a rotation support 102 which is in turn preferably fixed to the frame of the snowblower 116. The actuating end 105 of the cylinder 101 is preferably attached to a pivoting axis 107 which displaces itself about and has a certain distance from the central pivot axis 103 of a geared or “toothed” half-moon 106. The central pivot axis 103 of this toothed half-moon 106 is preferably fixed to the same rotating support 102 as that of the actuating end of the cylinder 112. The teeth of the toothed half-moon 106 are preferably directly in contact with the teeth of the gear 108 which is preferably fixed to the base of the chute 110. The distance between the pivoting axis 107 of the actuating end 105 of the cylinder 101 and the central pivoting axis 103 of the toothed half-moon 106 will affect the angle of rotation of the chute 110, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art when referring to FIGS. 1 and 2. On the other end, the diameter of the toothed half-moon 106 will affect in itself the angle of rotation of the chute 110, as can also be easily understood by a person skilled in the art when referring to said corresponding FIGS. 1 and 2. As better shown in FIG. 2, the toothed half-moon 106 is preferably provided with a pair of round rods 113 which are preferably arced and positioned above and below the teeth so as to guide the latter onto the teeth of the gear 108 of the chute 110. Hence, as can be easily understood by the above description and in reference to the accompanying drawings, the present system transforms a linear movement into a rotating movement and allows the possibility of modifying the span rotation of the chute depending on the dimensions of the corresponding gears being used, as apparent to a person skilled in the art. Thus, for a given application, different components of the system, such as the driving mechanism, the link, the gears, and the like, can be easily interchanged for varying the configuration of the system and consequently the desired end results to be obtained. Preferably also, a shearing bolt 104 is also added close to the central pivoting axis 103 of the toothed half-moon 106 in order to secure the present system, in the manner described herein, and as also apparent to a person skilled in the art.

According to a second preferred embodiment of the present invention, and as better illustrated in FIG. 3, the driving or rotation system used for rotating a chute of a snowblower is also preferably activated by a simple hydraulic cylinder 213. The chute (not shown) is preferably maintained in place by the system which enables it to rotate freely about its center 211. A gear 212 is preferably fixed onto the base of this chute. The bottom portion of the cylinder 202 is preferably fixed to the frame 201 of the snowblower (also not shown) or bracket mounting kit. The actuating end 203 of the cylinder is preferably fixed to a lever arm 205 which is maintained by a pivot axis 206. The lever arm 205 rotates about its pivot 206, and thus drives a second lever arm 214 which is preferably fixed to a rack 207 by a shearing bolt 215. This rack 207 is preferably maintained by the same pivot axis 206 as that of the lever arm 205. The main function of the first part of the mechanism is to increase the movement of displacement 216 produced by the cylinder 213 and to offer a security feature (e.g. shearing bolt 215) in case where the effort applied by the cylinder 213 would exceed the mechanical capacities of the system, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. Subsequently, the toothed half-moon gear enters in contact with a small gear 208 which is preferably maintained by a pivot 210. The small gear 208 is preferably fixed to a larger gear 209 which multiples once again the displacement. The larger gear 209 is finally in contact with the gear 212 of the chute for driving (i.e. rotating) the same. Hence, once again, the present system transforms a linear movement 216 into a rotating movement 217 and also allows the possibility of modifying the span rotation of the chute depending on the dimensions of the corresponding gears and the like being used, as apparent to a person skilled in the art.

According to a third preferred embodiment of the present invention, and as better illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the rotation or driving system used for rotating a chute of a snowblower 306 can also be preferably activated by a simple manual crank 311. The chute 305 is preferably maintained in place by a system which enables it to rotate freely about its center 308. A toothed wheel 304 is preferably fixed to the base of the chute 305. Preferably also, a rod 302 which is, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, made of a round tube 302, is provided at its upper extremity with a crank and at its lower extremity with a gear 301 positioned, shaped, and sized, so that the teeth be at about 90 degrees from one another, as better shown in FIGS. 5-8. This rod 302 is preferably held in place by a corresponding support 303 which enables the rod or “tube” 302 to pivot about itself. The support 303 preferably maintains the bottom portion of the rod 302 by means of a pin 309 which preferably enters inside a portion of the round tube and for its upper portion, the rod preferably passes through the inside of a hole. According to the present invention, the provision of a gear 301 positioned, shaped and sized so as to enable to incline the crank upwardly by about 45 degrees with respect to ground level without the use of a universal joint system is particularly advantageous, in that, for example, complicated assembling procedures are no longer required, and the number of components to be assembled and mounted is considerably reduced, thereby enabling a much more simpler and cost-effective design, as well as easier interchangeability, maintenance, repairs, etc. Furthermore, the positioning of the crank is important in that it enables the operator to reach the crank from a corresponding location, such as for example, the tractor seat of the vehicle. Thus, preferably in an ergonomic and very comfortable manner, an operator of the vehicle according to the present invention may operate the crank, and thus via the present system, in turn rotate the chute of the vehicle, in a very direct, straightforward, easy and effortless manner.

Thus, as may now be better appreciated, a main advantage which results from the above-described system is the substantial reduction in costs with respect to other similar systems because of the simplified design, a reduction in the number of pieces and components to be mounted and assembled, and also, in that it enables for a same given chute, to be provided with a rotating system such as the one described hereinabove, or easily interchanged with another system.

As can also be easily understood from the present invention, the rotating system and the various components thereof, are preferably made of a suitable material, such as steel and the like, providing suitable structural soundness, while enabling the system to be produced/manufactured/assembled according to a suitable process, and in a cost-effective manner, while being structurally rigid enough to carry out its proper functions, and withstand adverse operating/loading conditions. Other suitable materials may be used according to the present invention, as also apparent to a person skilled in the art.

According to the present invention, the rotating system and corresponding parts may be shaped and sized so as to accommodate different types of vehicles or snowblowers. Thus, it could be easily understood that several components and features may be added or modified to the body and corresponding supporting members of the system without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As may now be better appreciated, the present invention, by virtue of its design and components, as briefly described hereinabove, is a substantial improvement over other related devices and/or methods known in the prior art, in that, it is a much more simpler and efficient way of rotating a chute of a vehicle, such as that of a snowblower and other like apparatuses, and has preferably integrated safety features, such as the shearing bolt, for preventing adverse results which otherwise could be expected with conventional systems known in the prior art.

Of course, numerous modifications could be made to the above-described embodiments without departing from the scope of the present invention, as defined in the appended claims.