Title:
Scraper attachment for skid steer vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention includes a scraper attachment for a skid steer vehicle. The scraper attachment includes a frame for attachment to a fixed boom mechanism of the skid steer vehicle and an articulated blade. The articulated blade has first and second portions mounted on the frame for pivoting about a substantially horizontal axis transverse to the articulated blade. Each of the first and second portions of the articulated blade is adapted for pivotable movement about a common pivot between a raised position, substantially above a home position, a home position, which is substantially horizontal, and a lowered position, substantially below the home position. Each portion is also independently positionable in at least one position between the raised position and the lowered position. The articulated blade is positionable for engagement with the friable material as the vehicle travels over the friable material for moving a part of the friable material to shape the friable material in accordance with a pre-determined design. A leveling device attached to each of the first and second portions of the articulated blade is also included to provide an operator with a visual indication of the respective position of each of the first and second portions of the articulated blade.



Inventors:
Huehnergard, Mark (Kitchener, CA)
Austin, Lloyd (Palm Coast, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/369909
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/07/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TROUTMAN, MATTHEW D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARLSON, GASKEY & OLDS, P.C. (BIRMINGHAM, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A scraper for moving friable material, the scraper comprising: a frame adapted for attachment to a skid steer vehicle; an articulated blade having first and second portions mounted on the frame, wherein the articulated blade is pivotable about a first axis substantially horizontal and transverse to the articulated blade, and wherein the first and second portions are pivotable about a second axis substantially horizontal and substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

2. The scraper as recited in claim 1, wherein the first and the second portions are pivotable from a home position to a raised position.

3. The scraper as recited in claim 2, wherein the first and second portions are operable to form a substantially flat surface in the friable material when in the home position.

4. The scraper as recited in claim 2, wherein the first and second portions are operable to form a concave surface in the friable material when in the raised position.

5. The scraper as recited in claim 2, wherein the first and second portions are pivotable independently of one another.

6. The scraper as recited in claim 2, wherein the first and second portions are further pivotable to a lowered position.

7. The scraper as recited in claim 6, wherein the first and second portions are operable to form a convex surface in the friable material when in the lowered position.

8. The scraper as recited in claim 7, further including a first leveling device attached to the first portion and a second leveling device attached to the second portion.

9. The scraper as recited in claim 8, wherein a position of the first and second leveling devices relative to one another is visible to an operator during operation.

10. The scraper as recited in claim 9, wherein the first and the second leveling devices are in a first position relative to one another when the first and second portions are in the raised position.

11. The scraper as recited in claim 10, wherein when the first and second leveling devices are in the first position, the first and second leveling devices are pointing inward toward a center of the skid steer vehicle in relation to one another.

12. The scraper as recited in claim 9, wherein the first and second leveling devices are in a second position relative to one another when the first and second portions are in the home position.

13. The scraper as recited in claim 12, wherein when the first and second leveling devices are in the second position, the first and second leveling devices are substantially parallel to one another.

14. The scraper as recited in claim 9, wherein the first and second leveling devices are in a third position relative to one another when the first and second portions are in the lowered position.

15. The scraper as recited in claim 14, wherein when the first and second leveling devices are in the third position, the first and second leveling devices are pointing outward from a center of the skid steer vehicle in relation to one another.

16. The scraper as recited in claim 1, wherein the skid steer vehicle includes a fixed boom lift mechanism and the frame is attached to the fixed boom mechanism.

17. A scraper for moving friable material, the scraper comprising: a frame adapted for attachment to a fixed boom mechanism; and an articulated blade having first and second portions mounted on the frame, wherein the articulated blade is pivotable about a first axis substantially horizontal and transverse to the articulated blade; and wherein the first and second portions are pivotable about a second axis substantially horizontal and substantially perpendicular to the first axis.

18. The scraper as recited in claim 17, further including the fixed boom mechanism.

19. The scraper as recited in claim 18, wherein the fixed boom mechanism includes a pair of arms pivotably mounted to either side of a skid steer vehicle.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to scrapers for moving friable material, and more particularly, to a scraper attachment with an articulated blade having independently movable left and right portions with an extended range of motion, which is adapted for attachment to a skid steer vehicle.

Devices for shaping and configuring friable material such as soil are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,980,569 (Molstad) discloses an articulated dozer blade system for performing dozing operations using an articulated blade. However, the articulated dozer blade disclosed in Molstad can only pivot about an axis that is vertical, or substantially vertical, thereby limiting the applications in which this dozer blade system can be used.

Other known devices, such as an adjustable grader-spreader bar disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,308,785 (Rhoden) and a snowplow disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 1,517,016 (Relien), include features that permit adjustment of a blade in a restricted manner. For instance, the grader-spreader bar disclosed in Rhoden has a blade frame assembly including a plurality of blade frames. The blade frames are slideably connected so that they have an adjustable overlap. Actuating devices are used to extend or retract the blade frames, resulting in adjustments to the width of the grader-spreader bar. Ground-engaging skids are attached to each side of the blade frame assembly, and the vertical position of each ground-engaging skid is adjustable. It appears that the vertical positions of the ground-engaging skids are adjustable to only a limited extent, however, so that the blade frame assembly can be positioned within a somewhat limited range of angles to the horizontal.

As another example of the prior art, the snowplow disclosed in Relien includes two blades (10, 11) and a backbone (12) having a pair of plates (14, 15). A second plate (i.e., plate 15) is positioned higher than a first plate (i.e., plate 14), and the second plate is pivotally attached to the first plate, such that the second plate can be tilted relative to the first plate. Also, the blade (11) attached to the second plate tilts in conjunction with the second plate because the blade (11) is rigidly attached to the second plate. However, it appears that the snowplow disclosed in Relien permits only one of two blades to be tilted, i.e., to be raised at one end thereof in a vertical plane.

As yet another example of the prior art, the scraper disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,843,001 (Jenne) includes an articulated blade (106) having left and right portions (108, 110) mounted on a frame (102) for attachment preferably to a back end (120) of a vehicle (104). The vehicle (104) shown is a tractor including a 3-point hitch assembly at the back end (120) to which the frame (102) is attached. Further, each of the left and right portions (108, 110) are adapted for pivotable movement about an axis (112) from a lowered position (FIG. 2), which is substantially horizontal, and a raised position (FIG. 4). As such, the limited adjustability of the left and right portions (108, 110) of the articulated blade (106) are only suitable for creating a horizontal surface or a concave surface, such as a swale. In addition, because the scraper of Jenne is designed for attachment to a back end of a tractor, its use is limited to larger scale applications that can accommodate the bulk of a traditional tractor. Further, tractors are inherently more difficult to maneuver than other types of equipment, such as a skid steer vehicle.

Because of the limits on adjustability of the blades in the known devices and the types of vehicles to which they can be attached, the known devices are not suitable for use in certain applications. For example, it is often not only desirable to form a relatively shallow depression, or swale, in landscaping but also to form a convex surface, or crown. Both a swale and a crown are often needed for controlling drainage, especially at or near property boundaries or between adjacent buildings. Further, the landscaping may be conducted not only at or around larger residential or commercial premises but also smaller residential or commercial premises. Finally, known devices are designed to be attached to vehicles, such as a tractor, which are not typically found on smaller worksites and, as such, which must be brought in as special equipment, resulting in additional expense. Therefore, known devices are not suitable for making swales and crowns in a relatively limited area and to the specifications required, due to the limitations of known devices, as described above.

As such, there is a need for a scraper attachment with an articulated blade having independently movable left and right portions with an extended range of motion, which is adapted for attachment to a skid steer vehicle.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a scraper attachment for moving friable material that is adapted for attachment for a skid steer vehicle. The scraper attachment includes a frame structure and an articulated blade. The frame structure is adapted for attachment to a fixed boom mechanism associated with the skid steer vehicle. The fixed boom mechanism includes arms that are hydraulically controlled and operated by an operator seated in or on the skid steer vehicle. The articulated blade is pivotable about a first axis that is substantially horizontal and transverse to the articulated blade itself. In addition, the articulated blade includes first and second portions that are independently pivotable along a second axis that is substantially perpendicular to the first axis and about a common pivot to form various geometries in the friable material. Positions of the first and second portions of the articulated blade are also hydraulically controlled and operated by the operator located within the cabin of the skid steer vehicle.

In one embodiment, the first and second portions of the articulated blade are pivotable from a raised position, in which concave geometries can be formed in the friable material, to a home position in which substantially flat surfaces can be formed in the friable material.

In another embodiment, the first and second portions of the articulated blade are pivotable from the raised position, to a home position, as in the first embodiment, and further to a lowered position, in which convex geometries can be formed in the friable material. In this embodiment, leveling devices, which are visible by the operator, are also included on the first and second portions to provide the operator with a visual indication of the position associated with each of the first and second portions during operation.

These and other features of the present invention can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a skid steer vehicle including a scraper attachment according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a detailed top view of a scraper attachment according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a front view of a skid steer vehicle including a scraper attachment according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a front view of a skid steer vehicle including a scraper attachment according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of a skid steer vehicle 10 including a scraper attachment 12 according to one embodiment of the present invention. The scraper attachment 12 is located at a front end of the skid steer vehicle 10, where the scraper attachment 12 is attached to a fixed boom mechanism that includes arms 14A, 14B pivotable mounted on either side of the skid steer vehicle 10. The skid steer vehicle includes a cabin 16 for an operator (not shown). The cabin 16 includes controls (not shown) that are operable to control both the motion of the skid steer vehicle 10 and a hydraulic system 18, which is operable to control the scraper attachment 12. The skid steer vehicle 10 also includes a pair of tracks 19 that control the motion of the skid steer vehicle 10.

FIG. 2 is a detailed top view of a scraper attachment 12 according to one embodiment of the present invention. A scraper attachment 12 includes an articulated blade 20 mounted to a frame structure 22. The articulated blade 20 includes a first portion 20A and a second portion 20B and the frame structure 22 is mounted to a mounting plate 24. The frame structure 22 includes an upper mounting structure 26, which is fixedly attached to the mounting plate 24. The frame structure 22 further includes a first lower mounting structure 28A and a second lower mounting structure 28B, which are pivotably mounted to the mounting plate 24 at a common pivot point 30. The first lower mounting structure 28A is further fixedly attached to a rear surface 32A of the first portion 20A. The second lower mounting structure 28B is further fixedly attached to a rear surface 32B of the second portion 20B.

A first end of each hydraulic cylinder 34A, 34B is pivotably mounted to the upper mounting structure 26 respectively at first and second upper pivot points 36A, 36B. A second end of the hydraulic cylinder 34A is pivotably mounted to the first portion 20A of the articulated blade 20 at a first lower pivot point 38A. A second end of the hydraulic cylinder 34B is pivotable mounted to the second portion 20B of the articulated blade at a second lower pivot point 38B.

The scraper attachment 12 is hydraulically controlled by a central hydraulic system 16 (FIG. 1). The central hydraulic system 16 responds to signals generated when an operator (not shown) activates a scraper control (not shown) located in the cabin 14 (FIG. 1) of the skid steer vehicle 10. The central hydraulic system 16 is attached to the scraper attachment 12 by a main hydraulic line 40. The main hydraulic line 40 feeds a plurality of hydraulic feed lines 42 attached to the hydraulic cylinders 38A, 38B to actuate the hydraulic cylinders 38A, 38B. By activating the controls, the operator can independently control upward and downward rotation of the first and second portions 20A, 20B of the articulated blade 20 about the common pivot point 30 from inside the cabin 14.

FIG. 3 illustrates one embodiment of a scraper attachment 12 of the present invention. The scraper attachment (shown generally as 12) includes an articulated blade 20 mounted to a frame structure 22. The articulated blade 20 includes a first portion 20A and a second portion 20B. The first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are pivotably mounted to the frame structure 22 and pivotable about a common pivot point 30. The scraper attachment 12 also includes a backing plate 50 that is mounted to the frame structure 22 as a location behind the articulated blade 20 and in front of the skid steer vehicle 10.

In the illustrated embodiment, the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are shown in a raised position A1, B1, and a home position A2, B2. Hydraulic cylinders 34A, 34B are operable to hydraulically control a rotation of the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B from the raised position A1, B1, to the home position A2, B2 about the common pivot point 30. When the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the raised position A1, B1, the backing plate 50 is exposed such that in the raised position A1, B1, a bottom edge 52A1, 52B1, 52C of the first portion 20A, the second portion 20B, and the backing plate 50 respectively form a substantially convex surface 52A1B1C. As such, in the raised position A1, B1, when the substantially convex surface 52A1B1C of the articulated blade 20 engages a friable material, a substantially concave surface, or swale, is formed in the friable material.

When the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the home position A2, B2, the backing plate 50 is hidden behind the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B. In the home position A2, B2, a side edge 54A of the first portion 20A contacts a side edge 54B of the second portion 20B preventing further downward rotation such that a bottom edge 52A2, 52B2 of the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B form a substantially flat surface 52A2B2. As such, in the home position A2, B2, when the substantially flat surface 52A2B2 of the articulated blade 20 engages a friable material, a substantially level surface is formed in the friable material.

FIG. 4 illustrates another embodiment of a scraper attachment 12 of the present invention. This embodiment is similar to the embodiment described above in FIG. 3 except that the articulated blade 20 of the scraper attachment 12 incorporates a greater range of travel. That is, the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are operable to travel not only from the raised position A1, B1, to the home position A2, B2, as illustrated in FIG. 3, but further around the common pivot point 30 to a lowered position A3, B3.

In this embodiment, side edges 54A1, 54B1 of the first portion 20A and second portion 20B respectively do not contact one another as in FIG. 3, instead, one of the side edges 54A1, 54B1 of the first portion 20A and second portion 20B, are allowed to pass behind the other of the side edges 54A1, 54B1. In the lowered position A3, B3, bottom edges 52A3, 52B3 of the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B respectively to form a substantially concave surface 52A3B3. As such, in the lowered position A3, B3, when the substantially concave surface 52A3B3 of the articulated blade 20 engages a friable material, a substantially convex surface, or crown, is formed in the friable material.

Further, because this embodiment allows a greater range of travel that includes three distinct positions, i.e. the raised position A1, B1, the home position A2, B2, and the lowered position A3, B3, leveling devices 56A, 56B are attached to the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B respectively to provide the operator with a visual indication of an actual position the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B. The leveling devices 56A, 56B are attached to and extend upward from top edges 58A, 58B of the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B respectively.

When the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the raised position A1, B1, the leveling indicators 56A1, 56B1, point inward toward a center of the skid steer vehicle 10, intersecting one another.

When the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the home position A2, B2, the leveling indicators 56A2, 56B2, point substantially upward from the top edges 58A2, 58B2 of the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B, such that the leveling indicators 56A2, 56B2, are substantially parallel to one another.

When the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the lowered position A3, B3, the leveling indicators 56A3, 56B3, point outward from the center of the skid steer vehicle 10 away from one another.

Alternatively, the leveling indicators 56A1, 56B1 are arranged such that they extend at an angle inward toward one another, such that their tips substantially meet when the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the home position A2, B2. This provides a precise indication of when the first portion 20A and the second portion 20B are in the home position A2, B2. The leveling indicators 56A1, 56B1 may be in slightly different planes, or alternatively, they could deflect and slide past one another as necessary.

Although preferred embodiments of this invention have been disclosed, a worker of ordinary skill in this art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this invention. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the true scope and content of this invention.





 
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