Title:
Knockdown reel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A knockdown reel is designed to be readily and swiftly assembled out of five or six components, all but two of which can be fabricated of plywood, composite board and/or cardboard. An annular fastener secures the components so as to withstand stresses associated with transport and handling, as well as stresses associated with the winding and unwinding process.



Inventors:
Manzo, Louis (Bedminster, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/405441
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
04/18/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
242/609.1, 242/610.1, 242/610.4, 242/613
International Classes:
B65H75/22
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DONDERO, WILLIAM E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMAS J. GERMINARIO, ESQ. (CHESTER, NJ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A knockdown reel comprising: (a) a barrel comprising a cylindrical tubular core having at either end an annular collar containing multiple apertures; (b) a pair of flanges fabricated of disc-shaped panels, each flange having an inner surface and an outer surface, and each flange having an axial opening at its center, through which axial opening a shaft can be extended to support the reel, and each flange having multiple fastening holes, which are equal in number to and alignable with the apertures in the collar; (c) one or more pairs of fasteners which, when the fastening holes and apertures are aligned, can be driven or inserted through the fastening holes in the flanges and into the apertures in the collars, thereby securely attaching the flanges to either end of the barrel.

2. A knockdown reel comprising: (a) a barrel comprising a pair of semi-cylindrical tubular half-cores, which half-cores can be joined together to form a cylindrical tube, each half-core having at either end an arcuate collar containing multiple apertures; (b) a pair of flanges fabricated of disc-shaped panels, each flange having an inner surface and an outer surface, and each flange having an axial opening at its center, through which axial opening a shaft can be extended to support the reel, and each flange having multiple fastening holes, which are equal in number to and alignable with the apertures in the pair of half-cores when the half-cores are joined together to form a cylindrical tube. (c) one or more pairs of fasteners which, when the fastening holes and apertures are aligned, can be driven or inserted through the fastening holes in the flanges and into the apertures in the collars, thereby securely attaching the flanges to either end of the barrel.

3. The knockdown reel according to claim 1, wherein the fastener is an annular fastener made of rigid metal or plastic, and wherein the annular fastener comprises a flat ring to which are riveted multiple projecting fingers, which fingers have a tip and a base, and which fingers are equal in number to and alignable with the fastening holes in one of the flanges, and which fingers have a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes.

4. The knockdown reel according to claim 2, wherein the fastener is an annular fastener made of rigid metal or plastic, and the annular fastener comprises a flat ring to which are riveted multiple projecting fingers, which fingers have a tip and a base, and which fingers are equal in number to and alignable with the fastening holes in one of the flanges, and which fingers have a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes.

5. The knockdown reel according to claim 3, wherein the inner surface of each flange has an interior routing into which the core snuggly fits.

6. The knockdown reel according to claim 4, wherein the inner surface of each flange has an interior annular routing into which the pair of half-cores snuggly fit.

7. The knockdown reel according to claim 5, wherein the outer surface of each flange has an exterior annular routing into which the ring of the annular fastener snuggly fits.

8. The knockdown reel according to claim 6, wherein the outer surface of each flange has an exterior annular routing into which the ring of the annular fastener snuggly fits.

9. The knockdown reel according to claim 7, wherein the fingers comprise multiple segments having cylindrical or frustrum shapes.

10. The knockdown reel according to claim 8, wherein the fingers comprise multiple segments having cylindrical or frustrum shapes.

11. The knockdown reel according to claim 9, wherein the segments all have equal dimensions.

12. The knockdown reel according to claim 10, wherein the segments all have equal dimensions.

13. The knockdown reel according to claim 9, wherein the segments have a stepped diameter that decreases from the base to the tip of each finger, such that the segment at the tip of each finger has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes.

14. The knockdown reel according to claim 10, wherein the segments have a stepped diameter that decreases from the base to the tip of each finger, such that the segment at the tip of each finger has a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes.

15. The knockdown reel according to claim 11, wherein at either end of the core the collar is recessed within the core at the same depth as the interior annular routing.

16. The knockdown reel according to claim 12, wherein at either end of the half-core the collar is recessed within the half-core at the same depth as the interior annular routing.

17. The knockdown reel according to claim 13, wherein at either end of the core the collar is recessed within the core at the same depth as the interior annular routing.

18. The knockdown reel according to claim 14, wherein at either end of the half-core the collar is recessed within the half-core at the same depth as the interior annular routing.

19. The knockdown reel according to claim 15, wherein one of the fingers of the annular fastener is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide for aligning the fastening holes of the flange with the apertures of the collar.

20. The knockdown reel according to claim 16, wherein one of the fingers of the annular fastener is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide for aligning the fastening holes of the flange with the apertures of the collar.

21. The knockdown reel according to claim 17, wherein one of the fingers of the annular fastener is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide for aligning the fastening holes of the flange with the apertures of the collar.

22. The knockdown reel according to claim 18, wherein one of the fingers of the annular fastener is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide for aligning the fastening holes of the flange with the apertures of the collar.

23. The knockdown reel according to claim 19, in which a plastic sleeve is inserted into each aperture in the collar, which plastic sleeve extends into the corresponding fastening hole in the flange when the flange is attached to the barrel, and which plastic sleeve has an interior configuration corresponding conjugately to the profile of the segments comprising the finger.

24. The knockdown reel according to claim 20, in which a plastic sleeve is inserted into each aperture in the collar, which plastic sleeve extends into the corresponding fastening hole in the flange when the flange is attached to the barrel, and which plastic sleeve has an interior configuration corresponding conjugately to the profile of the segments comprising the finger.

25. The knockdown reel according to claim 21, in which a plastic sleeve is inserted into each aperture in the collar, which plastic sleeve extends into the corresponding fastening hole in the flange when the flange is attached to the barrel, and which plastic sleeve has an interior configuration corresponding conjugately to the profile of the segments comprising the finger.

26. The knockdown reel according to claim 22, in which a plastic sleeve is inserted into each aperture in the collar, which plastic sleeve extends into the corresponding fastening hole in the flange when the flange is attached to the barrel, and which plastic sleeve has an interior configuration corresponding conjugately to the profile of the segments comprising the finger.

27. The knockdown reel according to any of claims 1 through 26, wherein the tubular core or the pair of tubular half-cores is fabricated from cardboard, wherein the collars are fabricated from a material selected from the group consisting of laminated cardboard, plywood and fiberboard, and wherein the flanges are fabricated from a material selected from the group consisting of plywood, fiberboard and oriented strand board.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Reels or spools of various sizes and configurations are used for storing and transporting flexible materials of the type that can be wound around a cylindrical core. In the industrial setting, reels are used to store wire and cable product of various gauges. Such reels typically comprise a cylindrical core, commonly referred to as a barrel or drum, about which the product is coiled. To protect the product during shipment and handling, the barrel is attached at either end to a disc-shaped flange.

In order to reduce shipping costs, reels are commonly transported in the form of their disassembled components, i.e., detached barrels and flanges. Reels that can be readily assembled from their components are known as “knockdown” reels. Knockdown reels must be capable of being assembled from their components quickly and easily, yet such reels must also have the structural strength to withstand several different types of stress.

Since the product stored on a reel is often heavy and bulky, it exerts considerable axial force outward on the flanges. Reels are often lifted by one of the flanges, so the connections between the flange and the barrel must be able to support the full weight of the loaded reel. When the wire or cable is being wound or unwound on the reel, it exerts a large centripetal/centrifugal force on the barrel, tending to collapse the barrel during the winding process and tending to split the barrel open during the unwinding process. When a reel is dropped during transport or handling, a sudden inward axial force can impinge upon one or both of its flanges, as well as upon the flange-barrel connections.

In addition to these daunting structural challenges, marketplace realities dictate that reels be made of the least expensive materials available. It is a great advantage, therefore, to retain the option of fabricating a reel using a variety of materials, and to thereby be able to select the least expensive materials based on prevailing market conditions.

When one surveys the prior art in this field, however, one does not find a design which addresses each of the three identified requisites for an optimal knockdown reel: (a) rapidly assemblable from its components, (b) structural strength to withstand lifting, winding/unwinding and/or dropping, (c) flexibility in selection of component materials.

In the prior art, we find two basic types of knockdown reels. The first type are those that are designed to be fabricated exclusively or primarily with plastic and/or metal components. In these designs, the attachment of the barrel to the flanges is secured by locking mechanisms consisting of a flexible male member which temporarily bends or deforms to fit into a conjugate female member. In order to lock into place within the female member, the male member must be made of a resilient material which, after deformation within a certain range, will resume its original configuration.

In the prior art, there are several examples of knockdown reels utilizing resilient locking mechanisms: Hacker, U.S. Pat. No. 3,552,677 (flexible “stems” #52 projecting from barrel ends snap into “apertures” #56 in flanges, FIGS. 3 and 6); Crellin, U.S. Pat. No. 3,785,584 (yieldable “projections” #42 from barrel ends engage resilient “tongues” #22 in flanges, FIGS. 3 and 4); Campbell, U.S. Pat. No. 3,822,841 (flexing “latch members” #24 from barrel ends insert into “openings” #40 in flanges, FIGS. 3, 5, 6 and 12); McCaffrey, U.S. Pat. No. 4,903,913 (yielding “detents” #80-85 from barrel ends fit into “openings” #70-74 in flanges, FIGS. 4 and 5); Campbell, U.S. Pat. No. 5,575,437 (flexing “latch fingers” #24 from barrel ends snap into “openings” #40 in flanges, FIGS. 2, 8 and 10).

Leunig, U.S. Pat. No. 4,471,919, uses flexible barrel halves (#18 and 20) with a resilient hinge #22 to interlock with a camming element #52 in the flange (FIG. 2-4). In Bulman, U.S. Pat. No. 5,743,486, the barrel threads into the flange and is locked in place by mating resilient annular locking rings in the barrel #14 and flange #19 (FIGS. 6 and 7).

All of the foregoing knockdown reel designs depend on the resilient qualities of plastic or metal components which yieldingly fit together. This presents an economic disadvantage insofar as the use of less expensive wooden, composite board and/or cardboard components is thereby precluded. Another disadvantage of these designs is their vulnerability to inward axial stress on the flanges, such as occurs when a reel is dropped. Such inward forces will tend to compress the flange against the end of the barrel, potentially causing the resilient plastic/metal male member of the locking mechanism to deform and relax its grip within the female member. To the extent such designs have segmented flexible barrels using resilient interlocks (e.g., Leunig, FIG. 3, #30 and 32), they are also vulnerable to outward radial stress on the barrel during the unwinding process.

While there are knockdown reel designs that avoid the need for a resilient locking mechanism, e.g., Campbell, U.S. Pat. No. 3,940,085, and Witwer et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,806,788, they depend upon threaded bolts (Campbell #32, FIG. 2; Witwer #54, FIG. 2) to attach the barrel to the flanges, thus making the assembly process excessively laborious and time consuming.

Therefore, the prior art falls short of fulfilling the three criteria for an optimal breakdown reel design, with respect to economical selectability of the most component materials, structural integrity under inward axial and outward radial stresses, and speed of assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention represents a significant improvement over the prior art with respect to its ability to use inexpensive wooden, composite board and/or cardboard components. A pair of flanges which are disc-shaped with an inner surface and an outer surface are fabricated of plywood or any other strong, durable composite board, such as hardboard or oriented strand board. A barrel can be either an integral barrel or a split-barrel. The integral barrel comprises one cylindrical core, while the split-barrel comprises two semi-cylindrical half-cores. In either mode, the barrel is made of cardboard tubing reinforced at either end by collars made of plywood, composite board or laminated cardboard. In the preferred embodiment, each collar fits within interior annular routing on the inner surface of the corresponding flanges. Alternately, the collar may be recessed within the barrel, such that only the cardboard tubing fits within the interior annular routing. Multiple apertures in the collar are aligned with matching fastening holes within the interior annular routing in the flange. The fastening holes extend through the flange to the outer surface of the flange, where the fastening holes emerge within exterior annular routing.

The exterior annual routing of the flange is formed to accept an annular fastener, which is made of rigid metal or plastic. The annular fastener comprises a flat annular ring to which are riveted, at equally spaced intervals around the ring, multiple projecting fingers, each having a tip and a base. The number of fingers corresponds to the number of fastening holes in the flange. Each finger comprises a composite of multiple segments, which are cylindrical or frustrum-shaped. In the preferred embodiment, the segments all have the same diameter, which is slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes in the flange. Alternately the segments can decrease in diameter from the base to the tip of the finger, with the segment at the tip of each finger having a diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes in the flange. In another alternate embodiment, one of the fingers is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide in aligning the fastening holes of the flange with the apertures of the collar.

A knockdown reel according to the present invention can be quickly assembled by attaching one flange to each end of the barrel. The flanges are attached to the barrel one at a time by first inserting the collar (in the case of the integral barrel) or collars (in the case of the split barrel) into the interior annular routing and aligning the apertures of the collar(s) with the fastening holes. The fingers of the annular fastener are then inserted into the fastening holes through the exterior annular routing, and pressure is applied to the ring to drive the fingers through the flange and into the apertures of the collar(s). Upon the completion of this operation, the ring is secured within the exterior annular routing, and the collar(s) of the barrel are secured within the interior annular routing.

Since the annular fastener is inserted through the outer surface of the flange, it is relatively invulnerable to loosening by inward axial forces on the flange, such as occur when the reel is dropped. Due to the configuration of the segments comprising the fingers of the annular fastener, the fingers are retained tightly within the collar(s) of the barrel and can withstand outward axial forces on the flange, such as occur when the reel is lifted. Because the ring of the annular fastener interconnects all of the fingers, the fingers serve to reinforce the barrel with respect to centripetal radial stresses tending to collapse its core, as well as centrifugal radial stresses tending to open its core (in the case of the integral barrel) or separate its half-cores (in the case of the split barrel).

Therefore, the present invention fulfills the three identified objectives with respect to an optimal breakdown reel. It retains the optional economical use of multiple component materials; it is easily and quickly assembled; and it is structurally sound under the four probable stress modes: axial inward, axial outward, radial centripetal and radial centrifugal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of the disassembled components of a knockdown reel having a split-barrel configuration.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of one of the two half-cores of a split-barrel.

FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of a flange.

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of an annular fastener.

FIG. 5 is a rear elevation and cross-sectional view of a flange and an annular fastener.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of the attachment of a split-barrel to one flange.

FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of the attachment of a split-barrel to a second flange.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIG. 1, a breakdown reel 10 having the features of the present invention comprises a barrel 11 and two flanges 12. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the reel has a split-barrel comprising two semi-cylindrical half-cores 13. Alternately, the reel 10 can have an integral barrel comprising one cylindrical core (not shown).

As shown in FIG. 2, one of the half-cores 13 comprises semi-cylindrical tubing 14 reinforced at either end by two arcuate collars 15. Drilled through each of the collars are multiple apertures 16. In the preferred embodiment, the tubing 14 is made of cardboard and the collars of plywood, composite board or laminated cardboard. In the alternative integral barrel configuration (not shown), the core is reinforced at either end by two annular collars also having multiple aperatures drilled through them.

The flanges are disc-shaped panels preferably having a thickness of 5/16″ to ⅜″. The flanges are fabricated of plywood or any other strong, durable composite board, such as hardboard or oriented strand board. As shown in FIG. 1, each of the flanges 12 comprises an inner surface 17 and an outer surface 18. In the center of the flange is an axial opening 19, through which a shaft (not shown) can be extended to support the reel 10 during the winding/unwinding process. On the inner surface 17 of the flange 12, concentrically disposed about the axial opening 19, is an interior annular routing 20.

Referring to FIG. 3, the interior annular routing 20 has an outer diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the barrel 11 and an inner diameter slightly less than the inner diameter of the collar(s), such that the end of the joined half-cores 13 of the split-barrel 11, or alternately the end of the core of the integral barrel (not shown), fits snugly within the interior annular routing 20. In the preferred embodiment, the interior annular routing 20 has a depth of ⅛″.

In an alternate embodiment, the collar(s) 15 are recessed within the barrel 11 at the same depth as the depth of the interior annular routing 20, such that only the tubing 14 fits within the interior annular routing 20, while the collar(s) 15 engage the inner surface 17 of the flange 12 within the inner diameter of the interior annular routing 20.

As shown in FIG. 3, drilled through the flange 12 within the interior annular routing 20 are multiple fastening holes 21. The fastening holes 21 are distributed uniformly around the interior annular routing 20 and are alignable with the apertures 16 in the collar(s) 15 of the barrel 11. The fastening holes and the apertures have the same diameter, preferably ¼″.

As shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 5, on the outer surface 18 of the flange 12, concentrically disposed about the axial opening 19, is an exterior annular routing 22. The exterior annular routing 22 has an outer diameter equal to the outer diameter of the interior annular routing 20. Distributed uniformly around the exterior annular routing 22 are the fastening holes 21. The exterior annular routing is formed to accept an annular fastener 23 made of rigid metal or plastic.

Referring to FIG. 4, the annular fastener 23 comprises a flat ring 24 to which are riveted at uniform intervals multiple projecting fingers 25, each of which has a tip 26 and a base 27. Each finger 25 comprises a composite of multiple segments 28, which are cylindrical or frustrum-shaped. In the preferred embodiment, the segments all have the same outer diameter, which is slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes 21 in the flange 12. Alternately, as shown in FIG. 4, the segments can have a stepped diameter which decreases from the base 27 to the tip 26, with the segment at the tip having an outer diameter slightly less than the diameter of the fastening holes 21 in the flange 12.

The ring 24 of the annular fastener 23 is dimensioned to fit snuggly within the exterior annular routing 22. In the preferred embodiment, the ring 24 is 1/32″ thick and the exterior annular routing is 1/16″ deep.

In an alternate embodiment, the exterior annular routing 22 is not present, and the annular fastener 23 engages the outer surface 18 of the flange 12 with the fingers 25 projecting into the fastening holes 21. In another alternate embodiment, one of the fingers 25 is longer than the others in order to serve as a guide for aligning the fastening holes 21 with the apertures 16 of the collar(s) 15. In yet another alternate embodiment, plastic sleeves (not shown) are inserted into the apertures 16 such that, when the flange 12 is attached to the barrel 11, the plastic sleeves extend into the fastening holes 21. The interior of each of the sleeves is formed to correspond conjugately to the profile of the segments 28 of each finger 22 of the annular fastener 23, such that when the finger is inserted into the sleeve, the sleeve expands within the fastening hole 21 and the aperture 16 and thereby locks the annular fastener in place.

As shown in FIG. 6, to assemble the knockdown reel 10, the flanges 12 are attached to the barrel 11 one at a time. For the split-barrel configuration, the two half-cores 13 are joined together and the collars 15 are inserted into the interior annular routing 20 of the flange 12 with the apertures 16 aligned with the fastener holes 21. Then the annular fastener 23 is inserted into the exterior annular routing 22 such that the fingers 25 penetrate the fastener holes 21. Pressure is then applied to the annular fastener 23 so as to force the fingers 25 through the flange 12 and into the apertures 16 of the collars 15. When this operation is complete, the ring 24 is secured within the exterior annular routing 22 and the collars 15 are secured within the interior annular routing. As depicted in FIG. 7, the same process is then repeated to attach the second flange 12 to the other end of the barrel 11.

The present invention, therefore, is readily and speedily assemblable from five or six component parts which can be fabricated of plywood, composite board and/or cardboard, except in the annular fastener 23. The annular fastener 23 provides structural strength under both inward and outward axial stresses on the flanges 12, as well as under both centripetal and centrifugal radial stresses on the barrel 11.

While the current invention has been described in some detail with reference to certain currently preferred embodiments, other embodiments are feasible and will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims are not limited to the description of the preferred embodiments contained herein.