Title:
Rear end finisher and method of smoothing an outdoor surface
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a rear finisher for smoothing an outer surface, which is attached in the forward direction behind a device for outdoor preparation and particularly for snow piste preparation. In order to allow a uniform appearance of the piste surface, the rear finisher has a guide device, which is applied so that the material to be prepared is guided in front of the bottom of the rear finisher and subsequently smoothed thereby. Furthermore, the present invention relates to a method for smoothing an outdoor surface, in which the outer surface to be smoothed is smoothed by two different oscillating means guided one after another on the outdoor surface.



Inventors:
Kuerten, Hans-werner (Goedenroth, DE)
Erdmann, Peter (Emmelshausen, DE)
Laugwitz, Niels (Koblenz, DE)
Application Number:
11/584004
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/20/2006
Assignee:
BOMAG GmbH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A rear finisher for smoothing an outer surface, which is attached as an auxiliary device in the forward. direction behind a device for outdoor preparation, particularly behind a device for snow piste preparation, comprising: a guide device along a front side of the finisher, which is placed so that the material to be prepared is guided in front of the bottom of the rear finisher.

2. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the guide device is a guide plate.

3. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the guide device has a catch strip.

4. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the rear finisher is elastically connected to the device for outdoor preparation.

5. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the rear finisher is mounted on the device for outdoor preparation so it is capable of oscillation.

6. The rear finisher according to claim 5, wherein the mounting capable of oscillation has a spring element.

7. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the device for outdoor preparation connected to the rear finisher is a vibration plate.

8. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the vibrations of the vibration plate are transmitted to the rear finisher by support elements.

9. The rear finisher according to claim 1, wherein the rear finisher has means, which apply vibrations to the rear finisher independently of the device for outdoor preparation.

10. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the oscillations of the vibration plate are transmitted damped to the rear finisher.

11. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the oscillation behavior of the rear finisher is set by ballasting.

12. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the oscillation behavior of the rear finisher is set by tuning the mounting capable of oscillation.

13. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the mounting capable of oscillation is selected so that the rear finisher oscillates in its natural frequency.

14. The rear finisher according to claim 7, wherein the ballasting is selected so that the rear finisher oscillates in its natural frequency.

15. A method for smoothing an outer surface, comprising: smoothing the outdoor surface to be smoothed using two different oscillating means guided one after another on the outdoor surface.

Description:

The present invention relates to a rear finisher for smoothing an outdoor surface, which is attached in the forward direction behind a device for outdoor preparation, particularly behind a device for snow piste preparation. Furthermore, the present invention relates to a method for smoothing an outdoor surface.

Outdoor surfaces for sport and recreation uses, for example, beach strips and ski pistes, are prepared by special devices. The term preparation is understood to include work such as loosening, compacting, screening, turning over, etc., of outdoor material. This work is typically made possible by devices such as mowers, rollers, vibrating plates. etc., which are moved for this purpose over the outdoor surface to be prepared. A homogeneous appearance of the prepared outdoor surface is desired. High requirements arc placed on ski pistes in this context in particular, to ensure the safety of the skiers through a uniform piste surface, for example. Therefore, a smoothing unit is typically situated behind the device for outdoor preparation, also referred to in short in the following as a VGP. The term “smooth surface” refers in this case both to planar outdoor surfaces and also the outdoor surfaces provided with regular profiles which are typical in this context. A device composite made of VGP and downstream smoothing unit, disclosed, inter alia, in DE 29600905 U1, is attached behind a tractor in the travel direction and moved over the outdoor surface. In particular, rolls and mats are used for smoothing the outdoor surface. The smoothing unit, referred to in the following as a rear finisher, directly adjoins the VGP.

Tractors and crawler vehicles are used to move the VGPs over the outdoor surface, for example. The traveling tractors fling significant quantities of the outdoor material to be prepared to the rear onto the top of the device composite made of VGP and rear finisher or over it as they move forward, however, and this material lies loosely on the freshly prepared outdoor surface. This effect is problematic in the preparation of snow pistes, cross-country skiing course, fun parks, etc. in particular, since the piste surface, which is accordingly implemented unevenly, represents a significant risk of accidents for the skiers.

The present invention is therefore based on the object of specifying a rear finisher which improves the uniform and reliable smoothing of an outdoor surface. In addition, it is an object of the present invention to specify a method for smoothing an outdoor surface.

The objects are achieved by a rear finisher and a method for smoothing an outdoor surface according to the independent claims. Advantageous refinements are described in the dependent claims.

According to the present invention, guide devices are attached to the rear finisher, which receive the outdoor material pieces thrown up by the tractor and/or fallen off of the rear of the VGP and guide them in front of the bottom of the rear finisher. Guide devices of this type are, for example, grooves, channels, or recesses.

A gap is preferably implemented between the VGP and the rear finisher, which runs transversely to the forward direction of the VGP and along the entire width and is delimited at the rear by a guide plate. This gap allows thrown-up outdoor material to fall back to the outdoor surface behind the VGP and before the guide plate and/or to be conducted by the guide plate in front of the bottom of the rear finisher and subsequently be incorporated by the trailing rear finisher into the outdoor surface. Because the thrown-up outdoor material falls back to the outdoor surface before the rear finisher has smoothed the outdoor surface, it is ensured that loose outdoor material pieces no longer lie behind the device composite made of VGP and rear finisher on the outdoor surface, For this purpose, the gap width, i.e. the minimum distance between the VGP and the rear finisher, is dimensioned in such a way that the outdoor material clumps do not jam between the rear finisher and the VGP. Furthermore, the gap is implemented as V-shaped and/or funnel-shaped by the guide plate. Through this special arrangement, the possible capture width of the gap for catching outdoor material is significantly increased without enlarging the distance between the rear finisher itself and the VGP. The capture width is expediently dimensioned in such a way that all thrown-up outdoor material pieces arc caught.

In addition, the guide plate may be designed in such a way that the upper edge of the guide plate projects beyond the surface of the VGP. Through an arrangement of this type, the catching task of the guide plate is strengthened further, since even outdoor material pieces flung up very high impact against the guide wall and are conducted into the gap.

In addition to a guide unit, the rear finisher also has at least one smoothing means, preferably a compaction plate. A compaction plate of this type extends along the gap and is slanted diagonally downward at the rear. The compaction plate preferably also terminates flush with the guide plate. The lateral edges of the guide plate in the forward direction and the surface of the outdoor run together to a point in the rear. Outdoor material pieces falling down from the surface of the VGP may thus he engaged by the bottom of the compaction plate during a forward movement of the device composite, partially crushed, and continuously compacted more and more. The rear lower edge of the compaction plate of the rear finisher typically rests on the outdoor surface.

The rear finisher is preferably connected to the VGP. Preferably, support elements, such as support arms, connect the rear finisher to the VGP for the attachment of the rear finisher to a VGP. The gap width between the guide plate and the VGP may be set through the length of the support elements. The rear finisher is connected to the VGP via at least one, preferably two or more such support elements. A connection of the rear finisher to the VGP via two or more support elements of this type has the advantage that lateral wobbling of the rear finisher in the forward direction is prevented. This effect may be reinforced if at least two support elements are situated diametrically opposite, one in each of the two lateral boundary areas of the rear finisher. In addition, it is advantageous to connect the rear finisher elastically to the VGP. The rear finisher is guided more evenly along the outdoor surface by an elastic or spring-loaded connection, so that a significantly more uniform appearance of the outdoor surface may be produced. Suitable spring elements may be coiled springs or rubber disks, for example, which are preferably positioned between the carrier element and retention means attached to the rear finisher.

The rear finisher according to the present invention is particularly provided for combination with a vibration plate according to WO 2004/053232 A1 as the VGP for care and preparation of snow pistes. A vibration-transmitting connection between the parts of the vibration plate set into oscillation by the vibration exciter and the rear finisher is advantageous in particular for the configuration described. This special embodiment allows the rear finisher to be set into oscillation intentionally using these vibrations, without a separate vibration exciter being necessary for the rear finisher.

In addition to undamped relaying of the vibrations of the vibration plate to the rear finisher, damped transmission of vibrations from the vibration plate to the rear finisher is also possible. The targeted use and modification of the spring elements already cited suggests itself in particular for this purpose. Through a systematic variation of the physical characteristics of the means responsible for the oscillating mounting of the rear finisher on the vibration plate, such as the elasticity of the spring elements, the vibrations resulting on the rear finisher may be regulated and/or tailored to the vibrations of the vibration plate and, inter alia, set for the particular outdoor substrate.

It is also possible to provide the rear finisher with means which apply vibrations to the rear finisher independently of the VGP. This is particularly advantageous when the VGP is a device which does not vibrate itself. For this purpose, all typical configurations are suitable for vibration excitation in principle, such as eccentric vibration exciters. The vibration-generating means may be operated by suitable autonomous drive devices on the rear finisher itself, or may be connected via corresponding connections to drive devices of the VGP or the tractor.

It is additionally possible to control the oscillation relationship between the vibration plate and the rear finisher through ballasting elements, which are attached to the vibration plate and/or the rear finisher. Any typical means such as weights, bulk good units, liquids, etc. are suitable for this purpose as ballasting means. Furthermore, special devices may be provided on the rear finisher, such as holes, troughs, rails, boxes, etc., which are used for receiving and/or attaching the ballasting elements.

In addition, the ballasting and/or the mounting capable of oscillation may be selected in such a way that the rear finisher oscillates in its natural frequency. In this case, the vibrating rear finisher reaches its maximum amplitude, through which the surface action of the bottom of the rear finisher may be significantly increased. The oscillation behavior of the rear finisher may thus be influenced and regulated via a characteristic of the mounting capable of oscillation, the spring elements, and/or the ballasting of rear finisher and/or vibration plate.

The rear finisher is preferably attached pivotably to the VGP, in such a way that the rear finisher may be folded down or up as needed. It is thus possible to operate the VGP without subsequent smoothing of the outdoor surface by the rear finisher for the case in which the rear finisher is folded up. In the folded-down position of the rear finisher, in contrast, the rear finisher is drawn behind the VGP over the outdoor surface and finally causes a reliable and uniform smoothing. Folding the rear finisher up and down may be performed manually for this purpose, or may also be mediated via hydraulic, mechanical, or electrical aids. Furthermore, joints may be attached to the support elements to allow the pivotability of the rear finisher in relation to the VGP.

In order to enlarge the pivot radius of a rear finisher of this type having a height-extending guide plate, in addition, the upper part of an extending guide plate, also referred to as a catch strip in the following, may be folded forward or to the rear, through which an area of the guide plate angled to the rear and/or to the VGP is formed. The catch strip is typically at least parallel to the outdoor surface in the folded-down state of the rear finisher, but expediently and preferably situated running diagonally downward toward the gap, so that the outdoor material components incident on the catch strip in the forward direction of the VGP are guided by the catch strip toward the gap and fall therein. This configuration has the advantage that the pivot radius of the rear finisher is not restricted by the catch strip. The catch area of the catch strip may thus be varied by the variation of the angle of inclination between catch strip and guide plate and tailored to the particular requirements. Comparably to the extending guide plate already cited, the inclined catch strip also allows an enlargement of the catch area of flung-up outdoor material components. A catch strip of this type may also be connected as a separate component to the guide plate in a typical way, such as welding, screwing, bolting gluing, etc. Furthermore, it is possible to provide an optional catch strip which may be plugged or pushed onto the rear finisher.

The VGP carrying the rear finisher may typically be lifted by the tractor to allow transport over outdoor surfaces which are not to be prepared, for example. In this case, it is desirable that the rear finisher also no longer has contact to the outdoor surface and/or does not have to be folded up separately each time. For this purpose, pivot limiters are attached to the rear finisher and preferably to the support elements, which limit uncontrolled folding down of the rear finisher.

The operating efficiency of the VGP is typically increased by a lateral array of multiple VGPs, which are drawn together by a tractor. Because of the construction, flaws arise in the travel direction between the individual VGPs, which interfere with a homogeneous appearance of the outdoor surface. It has therefore been shown to be advantageous to attach the individual rear finishers offset to the VGPs and/or to vary the operating width of the rear finishers, i.e., the width of the area running transversely to the forward direction within which the outdoor surface is processed, in comparison to the operating width of the VGPs. It suggests itself that the total operating width, i.e., the sum of the individual operating widths, of the rear finisher be at least precisely as large as the total operating width of the VGPs. The presence of a continuous operating area of the rear finisher in the area of a flaw is decisive for the configuration. The flaws resulting between the individual VGPs are thus passed over and smoothed by a continuous face of the particular corresponding rear finisher. Typically, two vibration plates are provided with a total of three rear finishers for this purpose, so that the middle rear finisher engages and equalizes the flaws resulting between the two vibration plates. For this purpose, of course, other possible configurations and combinations are also possible. Thus, for example, a single rear finisher may alternatively be attached over the entire operating width of the VGPs.

Depending on the equipment of the rear finisher, the compaction plate, the guide plate, the catch strip, and the support strip of the rear finisher are especially preferably produced from a single part by bending a metal sheet, for example. In addition to the especially cost-effective production of a rear finisher of this type, additional connection points between individual plates and strips, such as weld seams or screws, may thus be dispensed with.

Furthermore, the object is achieved by a method for smoothing an outdoor surface, in which the outdoor surface to be smoothed is produced by two differently oscillating means guided one behind another on the outdoor surface.

In the following, the present invention is explained further on the basis of two exemplary embodiments illustrated in figures.

FIG. 1 shows a folded-down rear finisher having a profiled metal strip on a vibration plate (diagonal view from rear) according to a first embodiment,

FIG. 2 shows a folded-up rear finisher having an elastomer mat on a vibration plate (diagonal view from rear) according to a second embodiment, and

FIG. 3 shows the folded-up rear finisher from FIG. 2 having an elastomer mat on a vibration plate (diagonal view from front).

The first rear finisher 1 shown in FIG. 1 is attached to a vibration plate 2, which is particularly provided for preparing snow pistes, cross-country skiing courses, fun parks. etc. For this purpose, the vibration plate 2 is connected to a tractor (not shown here), typically a snow groomer, via the mounting 3 to the rear of the snow groomer and is drawn thereby over the snow surface to be prepared. The arrow indicates the forward direction. In the embodiment shown, the top of the vibration plate 2 is closed by cover sheets and/or a cap. Furthermore, a laterally extending guide gap 4, implemented like a funnel, is provided between the rear finisher 1 attached transversely to the forward direction and the vibration plate 2, which extends from the upper edge of the rear finisher 1 downward to the outdoor surface. Outdoor material may fall down from the top to the bottom through this guide gap 4.

Basically, the rear finisher 1 shown in FIG. 1 comprises four adjoining functional areas. The guide device of the rear finisher 1 is the guide plate 5 running transversely to the forward direction in the embodiment shown. The guide plate 5 guides outdoor material in front of the rear finisher 1 to the outdoor surface, so that the outdoor material may subsequently be engaged by the bottom of the rear finisher 1. The guide plate 5 of the rear finisher 1 is preferably situated in relation to the rear wall of the vibration plate 2 in such a way that the guide gap 4 is implemented in a funnel-shape or V-shape horizontally transversely to the forward direction.

In order to further enlarge the catch area of the rear finisher 1, the first rear finisher 1 has a catch plate 6 running along the upper edge of the guide plate 5, which significantly increases the efficiency of the rear finisher 1. Thus, outdoor material pieces which jump away to the rear from the top 7 of the vibration plate 2 or are thrown up relatively high by a tractor impact against the catch strip 6 situated in the upper area of the rear finisher 1. In order that the outdoor material pieces caught by the catch strip 6 in the forward direction reach the guide gap 4, the catch strip 6 is inclined downward toward the guide gap 4 and terminates flush with the upper edge of the guide plate 5.

A compaction plate 8 adjoins the bottom edge of the guide plate 5 toward the snow piste surface, which drops downward to the rear to the snow piste surface, so that the snow piste surface and the compaction plate 8 run together to the rear and/or the vertical distance between the bottom of the compaction plate 8 and the snow piste surface is reduced opposite to the forward direction. It is thus ensured that even coarser outdoor material pieces such as ice clumps do not remain continuously in the guide gap 4 and roll therein along the snow piste surface, but rather may be engaged by the bottom of the compaction plate 8. These clumps are subsequently squeezed further and crushed and finally essentially incorporated uniformly into the snow piste surface by the reduction of the vertical distance. The compaction plate 8 thus has the object, in addition to the compacting and smoothing function, of crushing large outdoor material pieces by squeezing and/or rubbing.

In order to increase the resistance ability of a snow piste surface, a profile is typically incorporated into the snow piste surface. To attach profiling means of this type, the rear finisher 1 has a support strip 9, which adjoins the compaction plate 8 to the rear. The profiled metal strip 10 is attached to the support strip 9 of the first rear finisher 1 for this purpose in FIG. 1, while in FIGS. 2 and 3, in contrast, a second embodiment of the rear finisher 1′ has a profiled elastomer mat 11 on the rear finisher 1.

The support elements 12 are attached to the rear finisher 1 shown in FIG. 1 to fasten the first rear finisher 1 to the vibration plate 2, each two parallel support elements, which are situated congruent to one another in the forward direction, forming a fastening unit and the rear finisher 1 from FIG. 1 being connected to the vibration plate 2 via two such fastening units. The two support elements 12 are connected at their end at the vibration plate via a joint 13 to the vibration plate 2, which allows the rear finisher 1 to be folded up and down on the vibration plate 2. Furthermore, the support elements have extensions in the direction of the vibration plate 2, which extend beyond the joint 13 and stop at a rear, horizontally running edge. The stop 17 on the vibration plate the limits the pivot radius of the rear finisher.

Furthermore, in FIG. 1 the support elements 12 are connected to the rear finisher 1 via rotationally-elastic disk-shaped spring elements 14, which are attached via two connection screws to retention means 15 located on the rear finisher 1. The spring elements 14 comprise rubber disks in this embodiment. Two retention means 15 are provided for each fastening unit on the rear finisher 1. A spring element 14 is attached to each retention element 15, in such a way that the area of the disk-shaped spring elements 14 runs in the forward direction and the rubber disks are situated coaxially to one another. A retention means 15 is attached via two connection elements in each case to the outwardly facing circular faces of the spring elements 14, which are situated on straight lines running through a center point of the circular face. In contrast, the support elements 12 are attached to the two circular faces of the spring elements 14 facing toward one another, the connection screws of the support elements 12 being situated radially offset to the connection screws of the retention means 15, so that the spring elements 14 may transmit torsion forces arising to the rear finisher. The configuration of the fastening unit shown transmits vibrations from the vibration plate 2 to the rear finisher 1 via the support elements 12 and spring elements 14 especially well. The rear finisher 1 shown is thus mounted on the vibration plate 2 so it is capable of oscillation.

FIG. 1 shows a detail of an intended device composite made of rear finisher 1 and vibration plate 2. In the exemplary embodiment shown of the rear finisher 1, two vibration plates 2 are situated laterally neighboring one another. In FIG. 1, only one of the two vibration plates 2 is shown in each case for the sake of clarity. Only the lateral side wall 2′ of the neighboring vibration plate is indicated. In addition, a total of three rear finishers 1 according to the present invention are attached laterally neighboring one another in the forward direction to the two vibration plates 2, of which only one rear finisher 1, the one lying outside on the right in the forward direction, again being shown in FIG. 1. The vibration plates 2 and the rear finisher 1 have their dimensions designed so that the total operating width of the vibration plates 2 running transversely to the forward direction essentially corresponds to the total operating width of the rear finishers 1 running parallel thereto. Thus, for the embodiment shown, the operating width of a single vibration plate is greater than the operating width of a single rear finisher.

The “middle” rear finisher (not shown), which adjoins the rear finisher 1 shown on the left in the forward direction, is therefore attached to the two vibration plates 2 and passes over and smoothes the flaw on the snow surface resulting because of the gap 16 between the two vibration plates 2 required by the construction.

The second rear finisher 1′ shown in the folded-opposition on the vibration plate 2 in FIG. 2 has an elastomer mat 11, in contrast to the embodiment of the rear finisher 1 from FIG. 1. In this position, the vibration plate 2 may be used for piste preparation without rear finisher, without the rear finisher 1′ previously having to be dismounted. To fold up the rear finisher 1′ on the vibration plate 2, levers 18 having springs for inclination setting are provided in the embodiment shown.

FIG. 3 shows the rear finisher 1′ shown in FIG. 2 in a diagonal view from the front. In order to prevent damage to the rear of the vibration plate 2 and/or to elements of the rear finisher 1′ as the rear finisher 1′ is folded up, a stopper 19 attached in the middle of the metal strip is provided in the embodiment shown, which stops on the vibration plate 2 as the rear finisher 1′ is raised. An alternative construction of the fastening units to FIG. 1 is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The two support elements 12 of a fastening unit each engage around the lateral outsides of the retention means 15 running vertically in the forward direction on the rear finisher 1′. Furthermore, a screw, which runs horizontally through the retention means 15 and the two support elements 12, is provided for connection to the retention means 15 of the rear finisher 1′.





 
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