Title:
Plastic guy wire marker apparatus, bulk guy marker material, bulk guy marker dispenser system, and tool for installing a guy marker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A guy marker apparatus for use on an associated guy wire includes a substantial rectangular body member having opposite parallel first and second edges and is foldable along a longitudinal axis parallel with the first and second edges. First and second connection portions are disposed at the first and second edges, respectively, for selectively interlocking the edges in slidable abutment to hold the main body member in a folded tubular conformation and selectively in a helical conformation. A tool for applying a guy marker apparatus onto an associated guy wire includes a main body member, an alignment portion adapted to guide the guy marker in an unlocked state relative to the main body member, and a production portion adapted to guide the marker in a self-locked state out from the main body member. A forming wall disposed between the alignment and production portions moves. the marker material between the unlocked and self-locked state based on relative movement between the tool and the guy marker material. A dispensing system for a bulk roll of coiled guy marker material includes a housing having a cavity adapted to hold the coil of guy marker material having a shape memory. The housing includes an outlet opening whereby desired lengths of guy marker material may be drawn. The bulk roll includes coiled flattened layers of plastic guy wire marker material having an inherent shape memory characteristic.



Inventors:
Grubish, Christopher (Solon, OH, US)
Cloud, Randy (Mentor, OH, US)
Khoury, Bass (Brecksville, OH, US)
Zaleski, Garry (Eastlake, OH, US)
Peterson, Robert (Chardon, OH, US)
Hornsby, John L. (Ravenna, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/508528
Publication Date:
03/01/2007
Filing Date:
08/23/2006
Assignee:
Preformed Line Products Company
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H12/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HERRING, BRENT W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FAY SHARPE LLP (Cleveland, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A guy marker apparatus for use on an associated guy wire, comprising: a substantially rectangular main body member having opposite parallel first and second edges, the main body member being foldable along a longitudinal axis parallel with said first and second edges; a first connection portion at the first edge of the main body member; and, a second connection portion at the second edge of the main body member, the first and second connection portions being selectively interlockable to hold the main body member in a folded tubular conformation surrounding the associated guy wire.

2. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: the first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable to hold the main body member in a non-overlapping tubular conformation.

3. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: the first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable to hold the main body member in said folded tubular conformation with said first edge overlapping said second edge.

4. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 1, wherein: said first connection portion is formed continuously along said first edge of the main body member; and, said second connection portion is formed continuously along said second edge of the main body member.

5. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: the first and second connection portions are defined by respective first and second edges of the main body member.

6. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 5 wherein: the first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable into a locked condition to hold the main body in a tubular conformation with the first and second edges in locked slidable abutment.

7. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 6 wherein: the first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable into said locked condition to hold the main body in said tubular conformation with the first and second edges in said locked slidable abutment and defining a helix at an interface between the first and second edges.

8. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 1 wherein: the main body member is a resilient plastic sheet having opposite first and second surfaces and is bendable between said folded tubular conformation and a substantially planar conformation.

9. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 8 wherein: said first connection portion is carried on the first surface of the plastic sheet; and, said second connection portion is carried on the first surface of the plastic sheet.

10. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 9 wherein: the first and second connection portions extend from the first surface of the sheet substantially in parallel when the sheet is disposed in said substantially planar conformation.

11. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 8 wherein: said first connection portion is carried on the first surface of the plastic sheet; and, said second connection portion is carried on the second surface of the plastic sheet.

12. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 11 wherein: the first and second connection portions extend from the first and second surfaces of the sheet, respectively, substantially in parallel opposite directions when the sheet is disposed in said substantially planar conformation.

13. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 8 wherein: at least one of said first and second connection portions extends outwardly from a respective first and second edge of said sheet; and, the other of said first and second connection portions extends from at least one of said first and second surfaces of said sheet when the sheet is disposed in said substantially planar conformation.

14. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 8 wherein: the plastic sheet defines at least one ridge area extending along said longitudinal axis between said first and second connection portions.

15. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 8 wherein: the first connection portion includes a tapered head member; and, the second connection portion includes a region of said sheet defining an opening adapted to receive the tapered head member.

16. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 15 wherein: the second connection portion includes a U-shaped attachment member extending from the sheet for receiving said tapered head member.

17. The guy marker apparatus according to claim 16 wherein each of the tapered head member and the U-shaped attachment member carry at least one barb.

18. A dispensing system for a coil of guy marker material comprising: a housing defining a cavity; a bulk roll of guy marker material in said housing; and, means defining an outlet opening in said housing for paying out selected lengths of said guy marker material from said housing.

19. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said bulk roll of guy marker material includes coiled flattened layers of said bulk guy marker material disposed within said cavity.

20. The dispensing system according to claim 19, wherein said guy marker material has a shape memory characteristic whereby the material is self biased to return to a curled shape from said flattened layered conformation.

21. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said guy marker materials includes opposite mutually interlocking edges.

22. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said housing includes a first portion releasably engagable with a second portion.

23. The dispensing system according to claim 22, wherein said first portion of said housing includes a first peripheral side wall and a first sleeve, said first sleeve including a circumferential terminal edge distal to said first side wall, said first sleeve defining a first opening therethrough.

24. The dispensing system according to claim 23, wherein said second portion of said housing includes a second peripheral side wall and a second sleeve, said second sleeve including a circumferential terminal edge distal to said second wall, said second sleeve defining a second opening therethrough.

25. The dispensing system according to claim 24, wherein said first portion and said second portion form an outer wall in a generally circular shape in said engaged position.

26. The dispensing system according to claim 25, wherein said outer wall includes at least one flattened section.

27. The dispensing system according to claim 26, wherein said outer wall defines a handle integral with said housing.

28. The dispensing system according to claim 27, wherein said first portion includes a peripheral side wall with at least a first cut-out for viewing and accessing said bulk roll.

29. The dispensing system according to claim 22, wherein said second portion includes a peripheral side wall with at least a second cut-out for viewing and accessing said coil.

30. The dispensing system according to claim 24, further including: a capsule defining a cylindrical wall with a fixed butt cap at one end and a removable top cap at another end.

31. The dispensing system according to claim 30 wherein said housing is configured to receive said capsule within said first and second openings.

32. The dispensing system according to claim 39, wherein said cylindrical wall includes a groove around the exterior.

33. The dispensing system according to claim 32, wherein said groove frictionally engages a hub formed between said terminal edge of said first sleeve and said terminal edge of said second sleeve when said first half and said second half are in the engaged position.

34. The dispensing system according to claim 31, wherein said capsule defines a chamber adapted to hold a plurality of fastening components.

35. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said housing includes a first half hinged with a second half.

36. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said housing includes a clear plastic configuration.

37. The dispensing system according to claim 18, wherein said guy marker material may be drawn from said housing and cut to any desired length.

38. The dispensing system according to claim 37, wherein the desired length of said guy marker material assumes said memory characteristic.

39. A tool for manipulating an associated self-locking article between unlocked and self-locked states, the tool comprising: a main body member; an alignment portion on the main body member adapted to guide the associated article in said unlocked state relative to the main body member; a production portion on the main body member adapted to guide the associated article in said self-locked state relative to the main body member; and, a forming wall between the alignment portion and the production portion, the forming wall being adapted to move the associated article between said unlocked state and said self-locked state based on relative movement between the associated article and the main body member.

40. The tool according to claim 39 wherein: the main body member includes a substantially cylindrical housing defining a longitudinal passageway therethrough, the passageway being adapted to receive the associated article therethrough and permit relative movement between the tool and the associated housing.

41. The tool according to claim 40 wherein: the forming wall is tapered to urge opposite edges of the associated article into mutual abutment based on relative movement between the housing and the associated article received therethrough.

42. The tool according to claim 41 wherein: the housing includes a longitudinal slot opening into said passageway and an inwardly extending longitudinal wall adapted to engage a first edge of the associated article to permit relative rotational movement between the tool and the associated article during relative longitudinal movement between the tool and the associated article.

43. The tool according to claim 42 wherein said tapered forming wall narrows from said alignment portion to said production portion.

44. An article of manufacture comprising: a holder member; and, bulk guy marker material held in a coil by said holder, the bulk guy marker material being selectively unrolled from said coil and cut into sections at desired length for placement onto an associated guy wire.

45. The article of manufacture according to claim 44 wherein said bulk guy marker material is an elongate strip of plastic material defining opposite outer mutually lockable edges.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present application relates to methods, systems and apparatus providing markers, guards, and the like on guy wires. More particularly, this application is directed to guy marker devices, bulk guy wire marker articles of manufacture, a method of dispensing guy markers, a manual tool for installing guy markers, and further to a dispenser for storing the bulk marker and enabling payout of the bulk marker for cutting into selected lengths for installation onto associated guy wires.

2. Description of Related Art

Typically, guy markers are used for visually identifying down guys or other wire and cable installations where anchoring devices in the ground are exposed to pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic. Guy markers are usually manufactured from plastic and sold as individual rigid elongate tubes, typically having a longitudinal slit or opening. In practice, bundles of these devices are carried to the job site in large boxes and selectively applied onto down guys or other wires and/or cables as necessary. Difficulties exist related to the handling and storage requirements owing to the awkwardness of these devices and to the bulky volume occupied by bundled markers. Simply, they do not stack or transport well. Also, typically, all of the bundled guy markers are of like size. This limits the range of applications and often forces modifications in the field when the length of the standard guy marker does not match the application need.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,135,336 to Bogese, III describes a method for manufacturing and installing a rigid plastic guy wire guard on a guy wire. In particular, that patent describes a plastic guy wire guard having an enlarged first end shaped to surround and protect anchor assemblies, and a narrow second end adapted to encompass the relatively small diameter guy wire therein. The guy wire guard is formed of plastic and is manufactured using extrusion, casting or molding techniques to first form tubes having a diameter sufficient to accommodate guy wire cables. The plastic is heated to a melt temperature, agitated and extruded through a suitably shaped die to form round, uniform cross-section tubing. The tubing is immediately quenched in a cooling liquid, such as water, and is cut to desired lengths to form a plurality of tubular members. The tube is then cut longitudinally so as to form a slit comprised of a pair of opposed and adjacent edges. The basic function of the slit is to create an opening for later installation of the tube about a guy wire.

The above-described initial forming step imparts an inherent memory characteristic in the tube. That is, after the plastic has been melted and cooled to room temperature, the tube has the ability to maintain or “remember” its basic shape as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the '336 patent, and will tend to return to that basic shape even if subsequently deformed.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 of the '336 patent, upon installation, the larger diameter portion contracts owing to the shape memory characteristic to secure the guard to an anchor. According to the patent, however, the desired contraction requires the application of heat, either via the sun or a portable source.

Further, the markers/guards described in the '336 patent are cut to a single common length during manufacture and prior to transport to the application site. They are thus handled in bundles by the relevant technicians.

There remains a need, therefore, for providing plastic wire guy markers and a dispenser system therefor which alleviates the problems related to handling and storage requirements owing to the volume occupied by bundles of manufactured guy wires prior to their installation onto associated guy wire cables.

There is also a need for a plastic guy marker which is easy to manufacture, transport, and install.

A need also exists for an installation tool for manually applying the marker onto the associated guy wire.

Further, there remains a need to provide a dispenser system for storing multiple plastic guy wire markers in bulk on a spool prior to installation onto associated guy wire cables.

SUMMARY

The present application provides novel and unique guy markers, tools for installing the guy markers, a dispenser therefor, and methods for manufacture and use of the guy markers, which overcome all of the deficiencies noted above and others with respect to the prior art devices.

In accordance with one aspect of the present application, a guy marker apparatus is provided for use on an associated guy wire. The guy marker apparatus includes a substantially rectangular main body member having opposite parallel first and second edges extending along a longitudinal axis of the main body member, with a first connection portion on the first edge and a second connection portion on the second edge. The first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable to hold the main body member in a folded or curled tubular conformation surrounding the associated guy wire.

In accordance with a further aspect of the guy marker apparatus, the first and second connection portions are selectively interlockable and slidable to hold the main body member in the folded conformation with the first and second edges extending along the longitudinal axis of the main body member and, thereafter, for holding the main body member in a spiraled conformation wherein the first and second connection portions intermate at a three-dimensional curve that turns around an axis defined by the associated guy wire at a substantially constant distance while moving parallel to the axis defined by the guy wire. Essentially, a helix is defined thereby.

In accordance with another aspect of the present application, a dispensing system is provided for use with a bulk coil of guy marker material having either the preferred foldable tube construction or the shape memory characteristic as desired. The dispensing system includes a housing defining a cavity adapted to hold the guy marker material in a tight coiled configuration. An outlet opening is provided at a suitable location on the housing so that the bulk guy marker material can be payed out as desired and cut into selected lengths. The guy marker material includes coiled flattened layers within the cavity. The guy marker material is a flat sheet rolled into the coil and, selectively, may be imparted with a memory characteristic. The memory characteristic includes a tubular shape.

In accordance with yet a further aspect of the present application, a hand tool is provided for manipulating an associated self-locking article such as a guy marker between unlocked and self-locked states. The tool is particularly useful with articles foldable from a substantially flat state to a rolled or curled state. In that regard, the tool includes a main body member, an alignment portion adapted to guide the associated article in its unlocked state relative to the main body member, a production portion adapted to guide the associated article in a self-locked state relative to the main body member, and a forming wall formed between the alignment portion and the production portion. The forming wall is shaped with a contour adapted to move the associated article between its unlocked state and its self-locked state based on relative movement between the associated article and the main body member.

In accordance with yet another aspect of the present application, a method of forming a guy wire guard from a roll of bulk guy marker material is provided. The method includes the steps of providing a guy marker material, rolling flattened layers of the guy marker material and, placing the coiled guy marker material into a dispenser. The preferred dispenser includes a resilient outer housing defining a cavity adapted to surround the coil. The method further includes the step of drawing the guy marker material from the housing and cutting the material to desired lengths. In one embodiment, opposite edges of the bulk marker material are connected together to form the guy marker around the associated guy wire. In another embodiment, a shape memory characteristic is imparted to the marker material prior to the coiling or rolling step causing the cut guy material to curl into a tubular shape onto the associated guy wire making use of the tool somewhat easier. Additionally, the method further includes the step of wrapping the guy material around a guy wire to form the guy wire guard.

In accordance with yet a further aspect of the present application, an article of manufacture is provided including a holder member and a bulk guy marker material held in a coil by the holder. The bulk guy marker material is selectively unrolled from the coil and selectively cut into sections of desired length for placement onto an associated guy wire. In its preferred form, the bulk guy marker material is plastic and includes mutually lockable outer edges having connection portions disposed therealong. Preferably, the mutually lockable outer edges are slidably lockable to permit relative movement between the edges along a line defined at the connection portions. In another embodiment, the bulk guy marker material has a shape memory is adapted to self curl after removal from the holder member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing advantages, and others, will in part be obvious and in part pointed out more fully hereinafter in conjunction with the description of the preferred embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view which illustrates the guy marker apparatus in accordance with an embodiment of the invention shown partially applied onto an associated guy wire;

FIG. 1a is a perspective view of the guy marker apparatus of FIG. 1 applied onto the associated guy wire in a spiral or helix conformation;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the guy marker apparatus in accordance with the present application shown in an unwrapped state;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the guy maker apparatus of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3;

FIG. 3a is an enlarged view of area A illustrating a connection area of the guy marker apparatus of FIG. 3;

FIG. 3b is an enlarged view of areas B of FIG. 3 illustrating a crease or ridge formed in the guy marker apparatus of FIG. 3;

FIG. 3c is an enlarged view of area C of a second connection area of the guy marker apparatus of FIG. 3;

FIG. 4a is a first perspective view of a tool for manipulating the guy marker apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3 onto an associated guy marker;

FIG. 4b is a second perspective view of the tool of FIG. 4a;

FIG. 4c is an end view of the tool of FIGS. 4a and 4b;

FIG. 4d is a perspective view of another preferred form of a tool for manipulating the guy marker apparatus of FIGS. 2 and 3 onto an associated guy marker;

FIGS. 5a-5d are schematic illustrations of alternative preferred embodiments of connecting opposite edges of the flat guy marker material of FIG. 2 into a folded or curled shape in accordance with the present application;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a guy marker dispenser system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the guy marker dispenser system and guy material in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the guy marker dispenser system shown in FIG. 7; and,

FIG. 9 is a front elevational view of the guy marker dispenser system of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings, wherein the showings are for the purpose of illustrating preferred embodiments of the invention only, and not for the purpose of limiting same, FIG. 1 illustrates a guy marker apparatus 10 formed in accordance with the present application in a condition partially installed on an associated guy wire 1 using a tool 100 provided in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention. As illustrated, the guy marker apparatus 10 has a first section 12 arranged in a tubular conformation surrounding the associated guy wire 1 and a second section 14 disposed in a substantially open conformation prior to installation on the guy wire 1 using the tool 100. Essentially, as will be described in greater detail below, the guy marker apparatus 10 includes opposite edges carrying mutually interlockable connection regions whereby, using the tool 100 by sliding the tool in a direction marked A in the Figure, the edges are brought together in an interlocked condition as illustrated in FIG. 1 at the first section 12 of the guy marker. In its preferred form, the tool 100 is formed of a light weight material such as plastic, for example, making it light weight and easy to use by hand. A technician simply positions the tool over the guy marker material and slides the tool in the direction marked A in the drawing figure causing the marker material to curl and mutually interlock along the edges thereof.

FIG. 1a shows the guy marker apparatus 10 in a condition completely installed onto the associated guy wire 1 using the tool 100 described above. However, in accordance with one aspect of the present application, the guy marker apparatus 10 is adapted to be shaped onto the associated guy wire 1 in a helical pattern 11 by twisting opposite ends of the guy marker in opposite directions. As shown in FIG. 1a, after the edges of the guy marker are brought together in the interlocked condition a shown in the first section 12 in FIG. 1, the guy marker device is twisted so that the opposite interlocked edges trace a helix 11 along the longitudinal length of the guy marker apparatus 10. This is particularly useful when a reflective tape or the like is applied along a surface of the guy marker material. In the linear installation shown in FIG. 1, the reflective material might be randomly oriented in a direction opposite from the field of view of an observer. However, in the twisted or helical conformation illustrated in FIG. 1a, the reflective material is observable from any perspective thus rendering the guy marker more visible. Preferably, the edges of the guy marker material have connection portions which are slidably engageable in a manner to be described in greater detail below to enable the twisting of the guy marker material after the connection portions have been mutually interengaged.

FIG. 2 shows the guy marker apparatus 10 of the present application in an opened conformation. As illustrated, the preferred guy marker includes a substantially rectangular main body member 20 having opposite parallel first and second edges 22, 24. The main body member 20 is preferably formed by extruding a plastic or other suitable material from a die having a cross-section as illustrated in FIG. 3. However, the main body member can be molded or press rolled into the desired shape illustrated. In addition, the main body member 20 is preferably foldable along a longitudinal axis 26 which, in its preferred form, is arranged to extend in a substantially parallel relationship relative to the first and second edges 22, 24. In its preferred form, the guy marker has a thickness of about 0.045 in. This helps to enable the helical conformation installation shown in FIG. 1a.

With continued reference to FIG. 2 but with additional reference to FIG. 3, the first edge 22 carries a first connection portion 30 therealong and the second edge 24 carries a second connection portion 40. It is to be appreciated that, in accordance with the present application, the first and second connection portions 30, 40 are selectively interlockable to hold the main body member 20 in a folded or curled tubular conformation such as illustrated at the first section 12 of the guy marker apparatus 10 in FIG. 1. In addition to the above, it is to be appreciated that the first and second connection portions 30, 40 are interlockable in slidable abutment to hold the main body member 20 in the spiral orientation shown in FIG. 1a wherein the line 35 defined at the interface between the connection portions 30, 40 traces a helix 37 around the guy wire 1.

In addition to the above, it is to be further appreciated that the orientation of the first and second connection portions 30, 40 disposed along the first and second edges 22, 24, respectively, can take on any form but, preferably, are oriented as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. To that end, the main body member 20 is preferably formed of a suitable resilient material such as plastic in the form of a flat sheet 50 having opposite first and second surfaces 52, 54, respectively. The sheet 50 is bendable and therefore can be manipulated between a substantially planar conformation 14 (FIG. 1) and a folded linear conformation 12 (FIG. 1) or a folded helical/spiral conformation 11 (FIG. 1a). Portions of the length of the guy marker can remain opened and other portions can be interconnected as necessary or desired.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the first connection portion 30 is carried on the sheet and is oriented in a direction extending substantially perpendicular with the first surface 52 of the plastic sheet 50. As well, the second connection portion 40 is carried on the first surface 52 of the sheet 50 and extends perpendicularly therefrom. In that way, when the first and second connection portions are brought together into their mutually interlocked position, a substantially oval-shaped guy marker apparatus is created having the general shape as illustrated schematically in FIG. 5a. That is, the sheet 50 is folded onto itself with the first surface 52 in a face-to-face opposed relationship. It is to be appreciated that the connection portions 30, 40 are slidable relative to each other after they are mutually connected. This, together with the properties of the marker material identified above, enables the helical conformation of the marker device 10 onto the guy wire 1 as shown in FIG. 1a.

In addition to orientation of the first and second connection portions 30, 40 described above, other arrangements of the connection portions on respective first and second edges of the sheet are possible as well. To that end, FIG. 5b shows, in schematic form, a generic, first connection portion 30′ arranged on a first surface 52′ of the sheet 50′ and a second connection portion 4′ arranged on the second surface 54′ of the sheet 50′. FIG. 5c shows a first connection portion 30′ arranged on a first surface 52′ of the sheet 50′ and a second connection portion 40′ on an edge or in the plane of the sheet 50′. Lastly, in FIG. 5d, the first and second connection portions 30′ and 40′ are arranged on opposite first and second edges of the sheet 50′. The arrangement shown in FIG. 5a provides a substantially oval or “tear-drop” shape to the guy marker apparatus when formed. FIGS. 5b and 5d provide a substantially circular general shape to the guy marker apparatus when formed. In FIG. 5b, the sheet is overlapped at its ends. The sheet is disposed in a non-overlapping state in FIG. 5d, however. Lastly, in FIG. 5c, a near circle is formed as at least one of the first and second connection portions are on the first surface and the other of the first and second connection portions are oriented in the plane of the sheet 50.

With reference once again to FIGS. 2 and 3, FIG. 3a shows a preferred form of the first connection portion 30. To that end, a substantially U-shaped member 32 is formed on the first surface 52 of the sheet 50 as illustrated. The U-shaped member 32 includes a pair of opposed outwardly extending walls 34, each wall preferably carrying an inwardly oriented barb 36. On the second edge 24 opposite the first edge 22, the second connection portion 40 includes a tapered head member 42 as illustrated best in FIG. 3c. The tapered head member 42 includes a wall 44 extending from the first surface 52 substantially as shown. The wall 44 carries a pair of outwardly extending barbs 46 which, as will be appreciated, interlock with the corresponding set of barbs 36 carried on the wall 34 of the U-shaped member 32 in the first connection portion 30.

With continued reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, FIG. 3b shows a ridge portion 60 defined in the sheet 50 for purposes of enhancing rigidity of the overall structure. Preferably, the ridge portion 60 is defined along the length of the sheet 50 and in parallel with the longitudinal axis 26 defined by the main body member 20. As illustrated, preferably, a pair or ridge portions 62, 64 are provided in a spaced-apart relationship, both being disposed along said longitudinal axis 26.

Turning now to FIGS. 4 and 4a-4d, a set of tools 100 and 100′ for manipulating the main body member 20 between an unlocked and a self-locked state is illustrated. FIGS. 4 and 4a-4c illustrate a first embodiment of the tool 100 and FIG. 4d illustrates a second embodiment of the tool 100′. As shown first in FIGS. 4, 4a-4c, the tool 100 includes a main body member 102 having an alignment portion 104, a production portion 108, and a forming wall 106. The alignment portion is adapted to guide the main body member 20 in an unlocked state relative to the main body member 102. Similarly, the production portion is adapted to guide the main body member 20 in a self-locked state relative to the main body member 102. The self-locked state is illustrated at 12 in FIG. 1. Lastly, the forming wall is disposed between the alignment portion and the production portion and is adapted to move the main body member between the unlocked state 14 and the self-locked state 12 based on relative movement between the main body member 20 and the tool 100.

Overall, the tool body member includes a substantially cylindrical housing 110 defining a longitudinal passageway 112 therethrough. The longitudinal passageway 112 is adapted to receive the guy marker body member therethrough and permit relative movement between the tool 100 and the marker body member 20. As illustrated, the preferred form of the forming wall 106 includes a taper to urge the opposite edges of the guy marker body member into mutual abutment based on relative movement between the housing 110 and the guy marker body member 120 received in the tool. The alignment portion 104 has a D-shaped entranceway or opening adapted to receive the guy marker body member in an opened condition prior to an interlocked state between the first and second connection portions 30, 40.

Further, the housing 110 includes a longitudinal slot 120 opening into the passageway 112. An inwardly extending longitudinal wall 122 is formed substantially along the slot and is provided to engage a first edge 22 of the guy marker body member 20 during relative movement of the tool during installation of the guy marker onto the associated guy wire. The taper provided in the tool essentially compresses the top sheet 50 into the closed condition shown schematically in FIG. 5a.

Turning next to FIG. 4d, a second embodiment of the tool 100′ is illustrated for manipulating the main body member 20 of the guy marker material between the unlocked and self-locked states. The tool 100′ is substantially identical to the first embodiment of the tool 100 shown in FIGS. 4 and 4a-4c but with the addition of an enlarged lip portion 101 defined at the alignment portion 104′ of the tool 100′. The enlarged lip portion 101 is substantially in the shape of a “D” to help facilitate feeding the guy marker material into the tool 100′. Again, the second embodiment tool 100′ is formed substantially similar to the tool 100 described above and, to that end, includes a main body member 102′ having an alignment portion 104′, a production portion 108′, and a forming wall 106′. The alignment portion is adapted to guide the main body member 20 in an unlocked state relative to the main body member 102′. Similarly, the production portion is adapted to guide the main body member 20 in a self-locked state relative to the main body member 102′. The self-locked state is illustrated at 12 in FIG. 1. Lastly, the forming wall 106′ is disposed between the alignment portion 104′ and the production portion 108′ and is adapted to move the main body member between the unlocked state 14 and the self-locked state 12 based on relative movement between the main body member 20 and the tool 100′.

Overall, the tool body member 102′ includes a substantially cylindrical housing 110′ defining a longitudinal passageway 112′ therethrough. The longitudinal passageway 112′ is adapted to receive the guy marker body therethrough and permit relative movement between the tool 100′ and the marker body member 20′. As shown, the alignment portion 104′ has an overall “D-shaped” entranceway or opening with a superimposed “D-shaped” lip portion 101 defined therein. In that, the entranceway is adapted to receive the guy maker body member in an opened but nearly folded condition prior to an interlocked state between the first and second connection portions 30, 40.

Lastly with regard to the embodiment shown in FIG. 4d, the tool 100′ includes structure 120 defining intelligible information for use by an operator using the tool. More particularly, the structure 120 includes a first label 122 defining a first end of the tool as an entrance point and a second label 124 defining the opposite end of the tool as the exit end thereof. In addition, a third label 126 provides information on a feed direction of the guy marker material relative to the main tool body member 102′. Lastly, a fourth label 128 includes a schematic representation of the manner in which the guy marker material is to be fed into the alignment portion 104′ of the main body member 102′ along the longitudinal passageway 112′ thereof. Preferably, the structure 120 is molded directly into the main body member 102′ and forms a part thereof. However, as would be understood by those skilled in the art, the labels 122-128 can be provided on the main body member using other means such as, for example, stickers, ink, or the like.

FIGS. 6-9 illustrate a dispenser system 310 formed according to the preferred embodiment of the invention. The dispenser system 310 includes a housing 312 having a first half 314 and a complementary opposed second half 316. A handle 320 is provided to ease the task of carrying the dispenser 310. To that end, preferably, the first half 314 of the housing includes an integrated first portion 322 configured to engage a correspondingly formed second portion 324 provided by the second half 316. In the assembled or closed arrangement illustrated, the first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 are connected at the outer peripheral ridge of the housing. The second 324 and first 322 portions of the handle 320 are similarly connected. An opening 326 is formed for grasping by an operator to ease handling of the dispenser 310.

The dispenser 310 as shown in its preferred form is generally shaped in a circular configuration with a flat section 330 defined along a portion of the outside wall 332 of the dispenser 310. The flattened section 330 is preferably arranged distal relative to the handle 320 as shown in FIGS. 1-3. This enables the dispenser 310 to stand on end on the flattened section 330 with the handle 20 oriented upwardly for easy access.

A cavity 340 is formed within the first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 and comprises a ring-like configuration, to be more fully described hereinafter. An opening 342 is defined through the first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 and is arranged to receive a capsule 346 therein for storage of tie wraps 348 or other fastening components.

The housing 312 may be formed from any of a number of suitable rigid plastic materials, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, or ethylene copolymers. It is to be appreciated that the housing 312 may also be formed in a clam shell design, whereby the two halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 are hingedly connected using suitable means (not shown). Additionally, it is to be appreciated that the housing 312 may consist of a clear plastic construction or include a clear portion, such as a clear “stripe”, for viewing the contents of the housing.

FIG. 7 shows the second half 316 and the first half 314 of the housing 312 separated and the capsule 346 removed from the housing 312. A bulk roll 352 of coiled guy marker material 354 is displayed between the second and first halves 316, 314 of the housing 312 to illustrate the relationship between the components of the subject system and to demonstrate the large bulk marker capacity advantageously accommodated. Preferably, about one-hundred (100) ten foot (10′) guy markers can be carried on a single bulk-roll 352 within the system 310.

It is to be appreciated that the guy marker material 354 is preferably manufactured in a continuous process which imparts a shape memory characteristic to the material 354 and then coils the material 354 into flattened layers to form the bulk roll 352 illustrated. The material 354 may be formed by any well-known extrusion, casting, or molding method. The material 354 may be impact modified, UV stabilized, and/or weather-screened as desired to withstand the elements associated with outdoor use. Preferably, the plastic used is thermoplastic having other characteristics, namely, a color concentrate additive.

The first half 314 of the housing 312 includes a set of access holes 360 which are provided to assist with manual rotation of the bulk roll 352 of guy marker material 354. Similarly, the second half 316 of the housing 312 is provided with a corresponding set of access holes 362. Preferably, the set of access holes 360 in the first half 314 of the housing 312 overlie the set of access holes 362 in the second half 316 of the housing 312 when the housing halves are brought together in a closed relationship.

The second half 316 of the housing 312 defines a substantially planar side wall 366 and a central sleeve member 368 projecting upwardly from the side wall 366. The central sleeve member 368 includes a circumferential terminal edge 370 distal to the wall 366. The sleeve 368 defines a portion 342a of the opening 342 therethrough. Similarly, the first half 314 of the housing 312 defines a substantially planar side wall 374 in which the respective access holes 360 are formed. The wall 374 also includes a central sleeve 376 projecting downwardly from the wall 374 and includes a circumferential terminal edge 378 distal to the plate 374. The second sleeve 376 defines a portion 342b of the opening 342 therethrough. It is to be appreciated that the cavity 340 formed by the first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 generally defines a ring-like space around the sleeves 368, 376 and between the side walls 366, 374. Accordingly, the bulk roll 352 of coiled guy marker material 354 is suitably arranged in the ring-like cavity 340 around the sleeves 368, 376.

The first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 further include flattened sections 330a, 330b, respectively. The flattened sections 30 are distal to the handle 320 and collectively provide a means for enabling the dispenser 310 to stand upright on a planar surface. The second half 316 of the housing 312 includes a peripheral wall 317 with a suitable opening 382 provided at one end of the flattened section 330b. Similarly, the first half 314 of the housing 312 includes a peripheral wall 315 provided with an opening 384 at one end of the flattened section 330a. In the assembled position, the openings 382, 384 in the peripheral walls 317, 315 of the second and first halves 316, 314 of the housing 312 cooperatively form an outlet to rotatably guide the guy marker material 354 from the dispenser 310.

Referring now to FIG. 8, the capsule 346 is shown spaced apart from the housing. The capsule 346 includes a removable top cap 388 at one end and a fixed butt cap 390 at the other end. The capsule 346 includes a generally cylindrical wall 392 with a continuous groove 394 extending on an outer surface thereof. A cylindrical chamber 396 is formed by the cylindrical wall 392 of the capsule 346 and can be used for storing items as desired such as tie wraps 348 or other fastening components. In the assembled configuration shown in FIG. 3, the first and second halves 314, 316 of the housing 312 form a hub 3100 between the terminal edge 370 of the first sleeve 368 and the terminal edge 378 of sleeve 376. The groove 394 in the exterior perimeter of the capsule cylindrical wall 392 is configured to frictionally engage the hub 3100 formed between the terminal edges 370, 378.

The guy marker material 354, as discussed, can be drawn from the housing 312 at any desired length. After paying out the desired length, the guy marker material 354 may be cut using any suitable associated tool. After the guy marker material 354 is cut and severed from the coil 52, the shape memory characteristic previously imparted during manufacture thereof causes the material to curl and form into a desired tubular shape 355. It will be appreciated that the tubular shape 355 includes a slit 356 running longitudinally along the guy marker material 354. This slit 356 provides the opening by which an operator may expand the opening to slip over a guy wire (not shown) in order to install the marker to visually identify downed guys or other wire installations to pedestrians or vehicular traffic.

The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Obviously, modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding of this specification. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims and the equivalents thereof.