Title:
CARGO RESTRAINING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cargo restraining device including two rails mounted in a cargo storage area. Mounted on the rails are two U-shaped structures, each of which includes two arms and a crossbar. Attached between the two U shaped structures are two elongate bars. The U-shaped structures may be rotationally positioned using rotation adjustable clamps such that the cross bars are positioned against two sides of a cargo container. The elongate bars may be positioned against two other sides of the cargo, holding it in place.



Inventors:
Smits, Hans P. (Prunedale, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/745588
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
05/08/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D45/00; B60P7/08; B60P7/15; B60R11/00; B60R11/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Thomas Schneck (SAN JOSE, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A device for securing cargo in a cargo area during transport, said cargo area including a set of sides and a top edge, said cargo area further including a tail gate, comprising: a set of u-shaped attachment structures, said u-shaped attachment structures including a set of parallel arms and a crossbar connecting a first u-shaped attachment structure to a second u-shaped attachment structure; a first set of rotation adjustable clamps configured to position said first u-shaped attachment structure in a first angle to said top edge, said first set of rotation adjustable clamps further positioned on said top edge; a second set of rotation adjustable clamps configured to position said second u-shaped attachment structure in a second angle to said top edge, said second set of rotation adjustable clamps further positioned on said top edge; a set of elongated bars coupling said first u-shaped attachment structure and said second u-shaped attachment structure.

2. The device of claim 1, further including a deformable padding substantially covering said set of elongated bars.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said crossbar is adjustably positionable along said set of parallel arms.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein said crossbar is attached to said set of parallel arms by a set of mechanically securable clamps.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein said top edge includes a set of rails, wherein a mechanically securable clamp of said set of mechanically securable clamps is attached to at least one of said set rails.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein each of said set of mechanically securable clamps is configured to be selectively positioned along at least one of said set rails.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is a divisional application of pending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/126,423, filed May 11, 2005.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present device relates to articles to secure cargo during transport.

BACKGROUND ART

Securing cargo during transport is needed to prevent damage or even loss of the cargo during transport. In addition, it is possible to damage the transport vehicle if the cargo tips and falls into a cargo carrying area. In addition, if the cargo area is open, such as in the back of a pick up truck, the unsecured cargo can fall into a roadway, possibly causing accidents or traffic delay.

One solution to this problem is to use ropes or cables to secure a load. However, securing the cargo is then time consuming, requires ropes or cables to be available, and may be difficult to secure for those not proficient in tying knots. In addition for a large, tall item (such as a refrigerator) in the back of a truck bed, it is difficult with ropes or cables to secure an relatively heavy item with a high center of gravity into a truck bed. It is also very difficult with ropes or cables to secure a load that is below the level of the bed. For example, in pickup trucks, the tie locations are at the corners of the bed, near the top edge. Ropes tied between these tie locations would be at the level of the truck bed, and are little use for securing items below this level.

A number of attachment devices are available that are designed to secure specific items. For example, bicycle or motorcycle racks are available that mount onto a truck bed and allow fixing the tire by positioning the wheel within a confining track and securing a bar over the rim of the wheel. Such devices are limited to allowing transport of a specific item.

An alternative device that is able to provide a simple means for securing cargo would be useful.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

A cargo restraining device has been developed that includes two rails mounted onto the sides of a cargo area, for example, the sides of the bed of a pickup truck. Mounted on each rail are rotation adjustable clamps, with a front and a rear clamp attached to each of the rails. The clamps allow attachments of arms such that the arms can be positioned in three ways. First, location of the arm held by the clamp may be adjusted. Second, the rotational position of the arm may be adjusted. Third the clamp may be moved on the rail moving the arm along the rail. The front clamp on each rail will hold a front arm on each rail. These two arms (the two front arms held on the first and second rail by a clamp) are linked by a cross bar extending between the arms to form a U-shaped structure. Likewise, the back arms are also mounted on the back clamps on each rail and are also connected by a cross bar to form a back U-shaped retaining structure. Two longitudinal bars are clamped onto the crossbars of each U-shaped retaining structure such that the longitudinal bars may be selectively positioned on the crossbars.

To secure cargo, first the longitudinal bars could be removed leaving the two (front and rear) U-shaped retaining structures. Then the arms and crossbars that form the U-shaped structure would be positioned such that at least one and usually both crossbars were proximate to the sides of cargo being transported. For example, the crossbars would be positioned proximate to the front and back sides of a crate to be transported. The elongate bars would then be adjusted such that they are positioned against the sides of the cargo (e.g. the left and right sides of a crate being transported). In this manner the cargo of various sizes and shapes could be secured.

The present device is able to retain cargo in a transport vehicle by adjusting to a range of different positions to securely hold cargo in place. Such a device could be used in trucks, vans, trailers, airplanes, railroad cars, carts or any other cargo transport. The following illustrations describe an embodiment of the device used with a pickup truck.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a pickup truck outfitted with an embodiment of the cargo restraining device.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the arm adjustment clamp, arm and rail as shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3a is a side view of an embodiment of the cargo restraining device as used with cargo that is lower than the edge of a pickup truck bed.

FIG. 3b is a side view of an embodiment of the cargo restraining device as used with cargo that is taller than the bed of a pickup truck.

FIG. 3c is a side view of an embodiment of the cargo restraining device as used with cargo that is both taller and longer than the bed of a pickup truck.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the rotation adjustable clamp.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the slide adjustable clamp for joining together two elongate sections.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a rail that is configured to be secured along the upper edge of the sidewalls.

FIG. 7 is a side view of a rotation adjustable clamp.

FIG. 8 is a side view of a load-bearing version of an embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a side view of an embodiment in which a boat is securely positioned.

FIG. 10 is a side view of a mount for retaining the end of an arm in mount.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present device is able to retain cargo in a transport vehicle by adjusting to a range of different positions to securely hold cargo in place. Such a device could be used in trucks, vans, trailers, airplanes, railroad cars, carts or any other cargo transport. The following illustrations describe an embodiment of the device used with a pickup truck.

With reference to FIG. 1, a pickup truck 10 includes a bed area 12, defined by a tail gate 14, and front wall 16 and side walls 18a, 18b. Mounted to the top of side walls 18a, 18b are rails 4a, 4b. The rails 4a, 4b are mounted (e.g., bolted) on the inside of the upper edge of the sidewalls of the truck bed.

With reference to FIG. 6, the rail 50, may be secured to rail mount bars 51a, 51b by bolts 53 and bolts 57a, 57b respectively. Attached to mount bars 51a, 51b are brackets 54a, 54b by bolts 56. Brackets 54a, 54b are secured to bars 54a, 54b. The combination of bracket and fitting may be secured onto a mount opening on the side wall of a pickup truck, thereby securing the rail to the truck.

Alternatively the elongate rail sections are secured by bolts and nuts along the length to the upper edge of the side walls. The rails could also be clamped into place or secured by other means.

Mounted on rails 4a, 4b are a number of rotation adjustable clamps. On first side rail 4a are mounted front rotation adjustable clamp 3a and rear rotation adjustable clamp 3b. On second side rail 4b are mounted front rotation adjustable clamp 3c and rear rotation adjustable clamp 3d.

With reference to FIG. 4, each rotation adjustable clamp includes a tube section 20. Lever handle 22 is joined to said tube section 20 such that locking down handle 22 constricts tube section 20. When an elongate tube section (such as one of the arms of the device shown in FIG. 1) is placed through tube section 20, depressing lever handle 22 constricts tube section 20. The constricted tube section 20 holds a elongate tube section firmly in place.

Tube section 20 and lever handle 22 are fixedly mounted on wheel 24. Wheel 24 is mounted on an axle that extends through mount 32. Mount 32 is then mounted on one of the rails shown in FIG. 7. Also extending through the mount is a spring plunger 26. Spring plunger 26 extends through mount 32, such that end 28 of spring plunger 26 extends through one of the holes 30 on wheel 24. This spring plunger 26 may be pulled back, the wheel rotated and the end 28 inserted through a different hole on the edge of wheel 24. In this manner the arm held by this rotation adjustable clamp may be both rotated into a selected angular position, and have a length adjustment to adjust the length of the arm extending from the clamp to a distal end.

With reference to FIG. 2, the adjustment of the rotation adjustable clamp 3 is illustrated. An arm 2 is secured in the clamp. The clamp is mounted on rail 4. Clamp 3 holds the arm 2 by a releasable lever such that the arm 2 may be positioned in the directions of arrows A. In addition, the arms may be rotated in the direction of arrows B by clamp 3. This allows clamp 3 to selectively position the arms and the arm ends relative to the cargo in a vehicle cargo holding area. In addition, clamp 3 may be selectively positioned on rail 4.

Returning to FIG. 1, held in each of rotation adjustable clamps 3a, 3b, 3c, and 3d are arms 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d. As explained in conjunction with FIG. 4, arms 2a-2d, may be both selectively secured along a length, and selectively rotated by clamps 3a-3d to a selected angular position.

Spanning arms 2a and 2c is a crossbar 1a. Slide adjustable clamp 9a, 9c secures the arms 2a, 2c respectively to crossbar 1a.

With respect to FIG. 5, a slide adjustable clamp is shown. This clamp includes a tube section 40 and gripping jaws 42, 44. Actuation of lever handle 46 both constricts tube section 40 and closes together jaws 42, 44. In this manner elongate tube sections 41 and 43 may be securely held by jaws 42, 44 and tube section 40 respectively.

Returning to FIG. 1, the arms 2a, 2c, and cross bar 1a joined by clamp 9a, 9c form a first U-shaped structure for securing cargo. In a similar manner, the arms 2b, 2d and cross bar 1b joined by clamps 9b, 9d form a second U-shaped structure located behind the first structure. Each of these structures can be adjusted in a number of ways, including rotational adjustment of the arms, positioning of the arms on the rotating clamps, and locating the crossbar at a position on the length of the arm. Regardless of the position of the crossbar, for the present disclosure any combination of the two arms and a crossbar will be considered a U-shaped structure.

Extending between crossbars 1a, and 1b are elongate (longitudinal) bars 5a, 5b, secured by clamps 6a, 6b, 6c, 6d. The design of the clamps allows for quick and simplified removal of the longitudinal bars. The longitudinal bars 5a, 5b include two telescoping members that expand to the full length of the truck bed. The telescoping members in one embodiment are two tubes, with a narrower diameter tube inside a larger diameter tube. For example, a 32 mm outer diameter tube having a 2.5 mm thick wall may be used with an 26 mm outer diameter inner tube. One location on each of the inner and outer tubes is held by a clamp, securing the elongate bar into place.

Using a device having the disclosed configuration, practically any cargo that can fit into the cargo area may be secured. With reference to FIG. 3a, a cargo container 70 is held by the cargo restraining device. The front and back of cargo 70 are held by cross bars 1a, 1b of the device. The device has been adjusted such that these sidebars are pressed against the sides of cargo 70. Longitudinal bar 5a is also moved into a position such that it is against one of the sides of the cargo 70. This positioning of the crossbars is effected by rotation and/or extension of the arms 2a, 2b into a position such that the bars are resting against the front and back sides of the cargo 70. Longitudinal bar 5 is then positioned against one of the other sides of the crate, while a second longitudinal bar (not shown) rests against another side, such that four elongate bars retain the cargo in a selected position. The bars are all adjustably clamped into place, so positioning of the bars is relatively simple. The two arms 2a, 2b are rotated into place, positioning the cross bars to brace two sides of the cargo. The longitudinal bar is then secured into place. It is relatively simple using the clamp of FIG. 5, to detach the bar, adjust the arm, and reattach the bar.

In a similar manner, FIG. 3B shows the device securing cargo 72, which extends above the edges of cargo holding area 12. Again arms 2a, 2b are positioned such that cross bars 1a, 1b are positioned in front of and behind the front and back of cargo 72. Longitudinal bar 5 restricts one side of the cargo from moving.

FIG. 3c illustrates another oversize cargo 74 held in a cargo holding area 12. In this instance, arms 2a and 2b are adjusted so that crossbars 1a, 1b are in front of the front and over the top of cargo 74 respectively. Arm 2a is sufficiently long that it is able to extend beyond tailgate 14. Longitudinal bar 5 extends at an angle from crossbar 1b to crossbar 1a, securing a corner of cargo 74.

It is preferred that the device be of sturdy construction and durable. The rails, arms, crossbars, and longitudinal bars would all be made of steel. If desired, the steel could be chrome plated, painted or otherwise designed to enhance the appearance of the device and make it corrosion resistant. It is also possible to make some or all components of lighter weight materials, but this is presently not preferred. The arms may be elongate bars with a 32 mm outer diameter and a wall thickness of 2.5 mm. The device preferably is sufficiently rigid and sturdy such that it does not bend or twist during transport or usage. The crossbars and/or the longitudinal bars may include padding such that transported cargo is not damaged. For example, if the cargo is a motorcycle, the longitudinal bars could be positioned below the handle bars of the motorcycle, and extend along the sides of the motorcycle. Foam padding or other slightly deformable padding on the longitudinal bars would prevent the bar from scratching the paint or chrome of the motorcycle.

The design of this cargo constraint device is modular. Additional parts can be added, substituted or removed from a basic system, depending on the needs of the user. For example, more than two U-shaped retaining structures may be used on a cargo restraining device. This may be useful in a cargo compartment which is substantially longer than a truck bed. Additional elongate bars may be used. For example, if the cargo is motorcycles or bicycles, additional elongate bars secured with clamps between the crossbars could allow additional bicycles or motorcycles to be secured in the cargo area of the vehicle.

A number of variants of the cargo restraining systems are contemplated. These include:

1. Overhead Storage

With respect to FIG. 8, a load-bearing version of the device is shown. With fairly minor adjustments, the device can be adapted to be not just a cargo carrying device, but also an overhead rack. In FIG. 8, arms 2a and 2b are positioned to extend from a pickup truck bed. As shown, the arms are vertical. Crossbar 1 extends between arms 2a, 2b. A modified clamp 110 replaces the clamp of FIG. 4. In this type of clamp, two joined constricting tube sections are used. Arm section 112 includes a plurality of through holes 114. The tubular clamp section also includes a through hole. A pin 116 may be fitted through the hole on the clamp, through a hole on each side of the arm tube and then be secured by a cotter pin or other similar securing means. The crossbar 1 may be secured by pin 118 in a similar manner. This modification of the clamp allows the U-shaped structure to bear an overhead load without the clamps slipping. The lumber 115 may be held between two crossbars, as would be the case in a welded overhead rack. One crossbar is shown in FIG. 8.

This idea may be modified to adapt to transport of other items. In FIG. 9, the cargo retaining device is shown holding a boat on the overhead racks. The arm 2 and crossbar 1 are attached by a clamp 110 as shown in FIG. 8. The elongate bars 5a, 5b flank the sides of the boat 125 and extend between the crossbars. A resilient cushion 122 on crossbar 1 prevents damage to the surface of the boat that rests on the cushion. A strap 120 secures the boat 125 to the elongate bars 5a, 5b.

With respect to FIG. 10, a mount for retaining the end of an arm in a mount could be used for adapting the device to carrying overhead loads. A footing 130 mounted on the truck bed would receive an end of one arm. A plurality of holes 132 on mounting 130 would receive a pin which would be placed through the holes on the mounting, through holes spaced along the end of the arm, and back through the mounting, where the pin would be secured by a nut, cotter pin, or other means. This would prevent the arm from slipping or changing position to a new angular position. In addition, this would transfer the overhead load to the bed of the truck, preventing stress on the rail and on the mounting of the angular adjustment clamps. The combination of the footing and the modified clamp should allow for adaptation of the cargo restraining device to a very secure overhead rack.

2. Tent

The cargo restraining device could also be modified to act as a frame for turning the bed of a truck onto a tented area. If the arms were raised to a position above the bed of the truck, a sheet of material could be draped over the cross bars such that the exposed sides of the truck were covered. This material could be secured to the tubes by a simple resilient clamp that would flex fit over a short section of an arm or elongate bar to retain the material.

3. Motorized Device

One of skill in the art would be able to adapt the present invention to an automatic device by adding a motor at location 32 in FIG. 4. That was able to automatically advance the position of the rotationally adjustable clamp.

4. Locking Device

It would also be fairly simple to adapt the present device such that the arms could be locked into place such that the cargo in the storage bed could be secured. Lever handles 21, 22 could be fitted with lock means, such as a hole to receive a padlock, which would be secured onto the clamp. It would also be possible to manufacture a hole in the arms to which lever handles 21, 22 are attached such that a padlock bar or other lock bar could pass through each arm and a hole 30 on wheel 24, securing both the handles and the wheel.