Title:
SNOWPLOW FORMED OF THERMOPLASTIC
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A snowplow assembly may include a snowplow mechanism having a mold board, a structural frame and a scraper blade all formed substantially of a thermoplastic. The mold board and structural frame may be molded together. An alternate snowplow assembly may include a mount assembly having a blade mount assembly, where the mold board, structural frame and blade mount assembly are all formed substantially of a thermoplastic. The mold board, the structural frame and the blade mount assembly may be molded together.



Inventors:
Kost, James A. (Cleveland, OH, US)
Potak, Robert L. (Strongsville, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/858967
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
09/21/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01H5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUCK, MATTHEW R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Emerson, Thomson & Bennett, LLC (Akron, OH, US)
Claims:
I/We claim:

1. A snowplow assembly comprising: a snowplow mechanism having a mold board, a structural frame and a scraper blade all formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

2. The snowplow assembly of claim 1 wherein the mold board and structural frame are molded together.

3. The snowplow assembly of claim 2 further comprising: a deflector flap formed substantially of a thermoplastic, wherein the mold board, the structural frame and the deflector flap are molded together.

4. The snowplow assembly of claim 3 wherein the mold board, the structural frame and the deflector flap are formed substantially of CURV®.

5. A snowplow assembly comprising: a snowplow mechanism having a mold board and a structural frame; and a mount assembly having a blade mount assembly, wherein the structural frame and the blade mount assembly are formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

6. The snowplow assembly of claim 5 wherein the mold board is formed substantially of a metal.

7. The snowplow assembly of claim 5 wherein the mold board is formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

8. The snowplow assembly of claim 7 wherein the mold board, the structural frame, and the blade mount assembly are formed substantially of CURV®.

9. The snowplow assembly of claim 5 wherein the blade mount assembly is detachably connected to the structural frame.

10. The snowplow assembly of claim 5 wherein the structural frame and the blade mount assembly are molded together.

11. The snowplow assembly of claim 10 wherein the structural frame and the blade mount are formed substantially of CURV®.

12. The snowplow assembly of claim 5 wherein the mount assembly further comprises: a support assembly formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

13. The snowplow assembly of claim 12 wherein the support assembly is detachably connected to the blade mount assembly.

14. The snowplow assembly of claim 12 wherein the mount assembly further comprises: a lift mount assembly formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

15. The snowplow assembly of claim 14 wherein the support assembly and lift mount assembly are molded together.

16. The snowplow assembly of claim 14 wherein the mount assembly further comprises: a housing mount adapted to be secured to a vehicle and formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

17. A snowplow assembly comprising: a mount assembly having a support assembly, a housing mount, and a lift mount assembly, wherein the support assembly, the housing mount, and the lift mount assembly are formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

18. The snowplow assembly of claim 17 wherein the support assembly is detachably connected to the housing mount.

19. The snowplow assembly of claim 17 wherein the support assembly and the housing mount are molded together.

20. The snowplow assembly of claim 19 wherein the support assembly and the housing mount are formed substantially of CURV®.

Description:

This application claims priority to U.S. Ser. No. 60/826,444, entitled SNOWPLOW FORMED OF THERMOPLASTIC, filed Sep. 21, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference.

I. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of Invention

This invention pertains to the art of methods and apparatuses for snowplows and more particularly a manner of forming snowplow assembly components substantially of thermoplastic.

B. Description of the Related Art

It is known in the art to include a snowplow on the front of a vehicle for displacing snow, sleet, ice and the like along a roadway, driveway or other paved surface. Generally, a snowplow assembly will include a snowplow mechanism including a curved mold board that is used to contact the snow and a mount assembly that is used to mount the snowplow mechanism to the vehicle. It is known to form mold boards of a plastic material and to form some components, such as scraper blades, of rubber. Typically, however, the majority of snow components are formed of metal due to the heavy loads and general wear and tear endured by their use in snow removal. Such known snowplow assemblies work well for their intended purpose. A known problem, however, is that known snowplow assemblies are relatively heavy and thus not suitable for light vehicles such as automobiles, mini-vans and support utility vehicles (SUVs). What is needed is a snowplow assembly that can withstand the loads required to remove snow and yet is light enough to be canned by a light vehicle.

II. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a snowplow assembly includes a snowplow mechanism having a mold board, a structural frame, and a scraper blade all formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a snowplow assembly includes a snowplow mechanism having a mold board and a structural frame, and a mount assembly having a blade mount assembly, wherein the structural frame and the blade mount assembly are formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a snowplow assembly includes a mount assembly having a support assembly, a housing mount, and a lift mount assembly, wherein the support assembly, the housing mount, and the lift mount assembly are formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

One advantage of this invention is that the snowplow assembly can be formed substantially of thermoplastic material and thus it is light enough to be carried by a light vehicle.

Another advantage of this invention is that the snowplow assembly can be formed easily and efficiently.

Further, another advantage of this invention is that components of the snowplow assembly can be formed substantially of a thermoplastic and molded together.

Still other benefits and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains upon a reading and understanding of the following detailed specification.

III. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may take physical form in certain parts and arrangement of parts, embodiments of which will be described in detail in this specification and illustrated in the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a snowplow assembly according to one embodiment of this invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the snowplow assembly illustrated in FIG. 1 but showing the blade mount assembly detached from the support assembly.

FIG. 3 is a side view of the snowplow assembly illustrated in FIG. 1 but showing the support assembly detached from the housing mount.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged side view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 1 and showing the reattachment of the support assembly to the housing mount.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along lines 5-5 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a fragmental side view of the snowplow assembly illustrating the stand on the blade mount assembly in a support position.

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 6 showing the stand on the blade mount assembly in a retracted position.

FIG. 8 is a detached front perspective view of the housing mount.

FIG. 9 is a further detached exploded front perspective view of the support assembly and housing mount.

FIG. 10 is a still further detached from perspective view of the blade mount assembly without the snowplow mechanism.

IV. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings wherein the showings are for purposes of illustrating embodiments of the invention only and not for purposes of limiting the same, FIG. 1 shows a vehicle 30 equipped with the inventive snowplow assembly 10 of this invention. The snowplow assembly 10 may be used for snow removal operations such as those encountered in plowing driveways, parking lots, roads, etc. It should be noted that while the snowplow assembly 10 of this invention is much lighter in weight than previously known snowplow assemblies and thus especially useful for relatively light vehicles 30 such as automobiles, mini-vans and support utility vehicles (SUVs), it can be used with any vehicle 30 including trucks, tractors or the like.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the snowplow assembly 10 may include a snowplow mechanism 12 having an inwardly curved mold board 46, a generally longitudinally extending structural frame 42, a scraper blade 44 which may be attached to the bottom of structural frame 42 and a deflector flap 140 which may be attached to the top of the mold board 46. The snowplow assembly 10 may also include a mount assembly 20 that is used to mount the snowplow mechanism 12 to the vehicle 30. The mount assembly 20 may be made up of four principal components, namely a housing mount 200, which is secured to the frame members 32 of the vehicle 30 (it may be positioned under and rearwardly of the vehicle bumper 34, as shown), a support assembly 250 secured to the housing mount 200, a blade mount assembly 40 secured to the snowplow mechanism 12 and to the support assembly 250 and a lift mount assembly 310 which is also secured to the support assembly 250.

In order to reduce the overall weight of the snowplow assembly 10, applicants have discovered that many of the components described in the last paragraph, as well as all the components discussed below and other components as well, can be formed substantially of a thermoplastic. By “formed substantially of a thermoplastic” it is meant that the particular component is formed primarily of a thermoplastic but that relatively small portions of the component may be formed of another material. As one non-limiting example, the housing mount 200 may be formed of a thermoplastic and yet include one or more openings with metal ferrules inserted into the openings to permit bolts or other fasteners to be used to attach the housing mount 200 to the frame members 32 of the vehicle 30 in a known manner. Such a housing mount 200 would be formed substantially of a thermoplastic according to this invention. If the proper thermoplastic is used, then the snowplow assembly components will function very well and yet will provide a net weight loss—making the snowplow assembly 10 well suited for use on light vehicles. By “light vehicles” it is meant vehicles not previously thought to be appropriate for snowplow assemblies such as automobiles, mini-vans and SUVs.

While the particular thermoplastic used to form the snowplow assembly components can be any chosen with sound engineering judgment, in one embodiment the thermoplastic is formed in a process whereby highly drawn thermoplastic fibers are heat treated to selectively melt every surface of the fibers. The melted material bonds the fibers together to give a single material type with molecular continuity between phases. In one embodiment the thermoplastic material is sold under the trademark CURV® which is owned by Propex Fabrics GMBH, Corporation of Germany, Düppelstrasse 16 Gronau, Germany 48599.

In one embodiment, the structural frame 42 of the snowplow mechanism 12 may be detachably secured or attached to the A-frame 50 of blade mount assembly 40. In another embodiment, both the structural frame 42 and the blade mount assembly 40 are formed of a thermoplastic. In yet another embodiment, the structural frame 42 and the blade mount assembly 40 are molded of a thermoplastic together. In yet another embodiment, both the structural frame 42 and the blade mount assembly 40 are formed substantially of CURV®. In yet another embodiment, the mold board 46, the structural frame 42 and the blade mount assembly 40 are all molded of a thermoplastic together. In still yet another embodiment, the mold board 46, the structural frame 42 and the blade mount assembly 40 are all formed substantially of CURV®. The A-frame 50 is best shown in FIG. 10. The A-frame 50 includes a support cross-over arm 51 having journals 52 connected to the two ends of the cross-over arm 51. The two journals 52 include journal holes 54 for securing the A-frame 50 to the support assembly 250. The A-frame 50 also includes two struts 56 which are connected at one end to the cross-over arm 51 and at the other end to a mount plate 58. Mount plate 58 includes a lift bracket 60 having bracket holes 62. The bracket holes 62 are designed to receive a rope or chain so that the blade mount assembly 40 can be lifted and/or lowered by the lift mount assembly 310. Mount plate 58 includes an upper portion 64 and a lower portion 68, each of which include aligned openings 66, 70 respectively.

With reference now to FIGS. 1-4, an arcuate bar 150 is used to interconnect the snowplow mechanism 12 to mount plate 58. Arcuate bar 150 includes an arcuate shaped top portion 152 and two leg portions 154 attached to the top portion and extending outwardly therefrom. A support bar 156 is secured between the two leg portions 154 to provide structural integrity to the arcuate bar 150. The arcuate bar 150 also includes a mount landing 158 having an opening. The mount landing 158 is designed to be inserted between upper portion 64 and lower portion 68 of mount plate 58. The arcuate bar 150 is connected to the mount plate 58 by aligning openings 66, 70 in mount plate 58 with opening in mount landing 158 and then inserting a bolt 162 through the holes. This connection allows the snowplow mechanism 12 to pivot about the openings 66, 70.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4, the top portion 152 of arcuate bar 150 is held in a downward position by top plate 76. Top plate 76 is secured to mid-brace 74. Top plate 76 allows the arcuate bar 150 to pivot from side to side about openings 66, 70. The back end of struts 56 include cylinder brackets 102 for mounting a cylinder 100 in bracket openings 106 by a bracket bolt 104. The other end of cylinder 100 is secured to cylinder brackets 168 that are connected to leg portions 154 of arcuate bar 150. The cylinders 100, which are mounted on each side of the A-frame 50, permit angling of the snowplow mechanism 12 about openings 66, 70 so that the latitude of the snowplow mechanism 12 relative to the vehicle 30 can be skewed to discharge snow from one side or the other of the snowplow mechanism 12.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-4, arcuate bar 150 is connected to snowplow mechanism 12 to allow the snowplow mechanism 12 to also rotate in a forward and backward direction. At each end of leg portions 154 is a pivot opening 164 which pivotally connects to pivot trunnions 49 that are connected to the back face of the snowplow mechanism 12. Acurate bar 150 includes two trunnions 160 connected to each leg portion 154. Each trunnion 160 has a trunnion opening 162. Snowplow mechanism 12 also includes two trunnions 170 secured to the structural frame 42 and/or curved braces 118. Trunnions 160, 170 provide for the mounting of spring 172 which maintains the snowplow mechanism 12 in an upward position. When scraper blade 44 engages an obstacle in the roadway, snowplow mechanism 12 pivots about arcuate bar 150 against the action of the two springs 172, which returns the snowplow mechanism 12 to its normal position after passing over the obstacle. The tension of springs 172 is adjusted to a conventional manner by adjustable arms 174 threaded to trunnion 170.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4, the structural frame 42 of the snowplow mechanism 12 may include a longitudinally extending top mounting member 110 which extends the length of the mold board 46, a longitudinally extending bottom mounting member 114 which similarly extends the length of the mold board 46, and a plurality of transversely spaced inwardly curved braces 118 which extend between and are secured to the top and bottom mounting members 110, 114. Both mounting members 110 and 114 include mounting holes 112, 116 respectively to enable the mounting members to be secured by mount bolts 120 to mold board 46 of snowplow mechanism 12. In practice, mounting members 110 and 114 are L-shaped structures which include one leg radially extending from back surface of snowplow mechanism 12. Braces 118 are also structurally angled components which are oriented to have an L-shaped or V-shaped cross-sectional configuration. The braces are commonly welded to both the mounting members 110 and 114.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4, the mold board 46 may be formed from a thermoplastic material into a curvilinear shape. In another embodiment, the mold board may also be formed from metal. The scraper blade 44 has a bottom edge which is designed to contact the roadway to picking up snow in a known manner and is secured to curve braces 118 and/or bottom mounting member 114 by a scraper bracket 43. Scraper blade 44 commonly extends on the complete longitudinal length of the bottom edge of the snowplow mechanism 12. The mold board 46, structural frame 42 and the scraper blade 44 may be formed substantially of a thermoplastic material and, in one embodiment, the mold board 46 and structural frame 42 are molded together. In another embodiment, the mold board 46, structural frame 42 and the scraper blade 44 may be formed substantially of CURV®. The mold board 46 may be formed to have an arcuate segment having a radius which is dependent on the size of the snowplow mechanism 12. As best shown in FIG. 1, the top edge of snowplow mechanism 12 extends beyond the top mounting member 110 of structural frame 42 until the plane of the inside surface of the plow blade is or is closely parallel to the ground surface G.

Still referring to FIGS. 1-4 attached to the top edge of snowplow mechanism 12 is a deflector flap 140. Deflector flap 140 extends downwardly from the top edge of snowplow mechanism 12 and functions as a barrier to snow and other debris which are traveling along the upper inner surface of snowplow mechanism 12 during snowplow operation and prevents such snow and debris from being propelled from snowplow mechanism 12 at high velocities. Deflector flap 140, in one embodiment, is secured to flap bracket 142 which in turn is secured to the top edge of snowplow mechanism 12. Flap bracket 142 may include bracket openings 144 to allow bracket bolts 146 to secure the deflector flap 140 to the flap bracket 142 and to secure flap bracket 142 to the top edge of snowplow mechanism 12. In another embodiment, the deflector flap 140 may be formed substantially of a thermoplastic. In another embodiment, the deflector flap 140 along with the mold board and structural frame are molded of a thermoplastic together. In yet another embodiment, the deflector flap 140, the mold board and the structural frame are formed substantially of CURV®. A skid bracket 130 having a threaded bore 132 for adjustably receiving a skid plate 134 may be secured to the bottom mounting member 114.

Referring now to FIGS. 6, 7 and 10, the A-frame 50 may include a stand 90 which is mounted between two parallel positioned stand flanges 80. Stand flanges 80 are secured at one end to support cross-over arm 51. The other ends of the two stand flanges 80 are connected to flange braces 82 which are in turn are connected to struts 56. A flange plate 84 secures the top end edges of the stand flanges 80 together. Each stand flange include three flange openings 86 which are aligned to one another and are designed to mount stand 90 in a support position and a retracted position. Stand 90 includes a stand shoe 94 and a plurality of stand openings 92 to adjustably secure stand 90 to stand flange 80. A stand pin 96 is used to secure stand 90 to stand flange 80 and a pin clip 98 is designed to be positioned in a pin opening 99 for securing stand pin 96 in a secured or locked position. Referring specifically to FIG. 6, stand 90 is in a support position whereby stand shoe 94 engages the ground surface G and elevates the back end of the A-frame 50 from the ground surface G. Stand 90 is positioned in the support position when the blade mount assembly 40 is to be attached and/or detached from support assembly 250, and/or when support assembly 250 is to be attached and/or detached from the housing mount 200. FIG. 7 illustrates the stand 90 in the retracted position and is maintained in such position when the snowplow assembly 10 is in use. As can be appreciated, holes 86 are positioned in such a manner that stand pin 96 can be used to mount the stand 90 in the support position and in the retracted position. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2-4, stand 90, when used in conjunction with skid plate 134 supports both ends of the A-frame 50 and the snowplow mechanism 12 in an elevated position so that the blade mount assembly 40 and/or support assembly 250 can be easily attached to and/or detached from the housing mount 200. In one embodiment the stand 90 and stand flange 80 are formed substantially of a thermoplastic.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 8, the housing mount 200 is shown as being secured to the underside of the vehicle 30. As shown in FIG. 1, two support struts 202 are attached at one end to the vehicle frame members 32 and the other end of support strut 202 is secured to bracket plate 218 and is secured by bolts secured within plate opening 219. The housing mount 200 also includes a frame plate 204 which is secured by plate bolts 206 to frame members 32. The frame plate 204 and support struts 202 rigidly secure mounting bracket 210 to frame members 32 and rearwardly of bumper 34. Referring specifically to FIG. 8, the two mounting brackets 210 are secured together by bracket brace 216, arm bracket 226, and bracket plate 218. These three structures maintain the rigidity of the mounting brackets 210 while supporting the other members of the mount assembly 20. In one embodiment, housing mount 200 is formed substantially of a thermoplastic. In another embodiment, housing mount 200 is formed substantially of CURV®.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-5 and 8-9, secured to the inside surface of each of the mounting brackets 210 is a landing 220 having a C-shaped structure. Landing 220 is designed to receive a portion of the support assembly 250 as will be described below. Landing 220 includes a lower lip 222 which angles downwardly from landing 220. Landing 220 also includes an arm bracket which extends from the upper edge of the landing and angles upwardly from landing 220. Extension arm 224 is supported in position by arm bracket 226. Both arm bracket 226 and bracket plate 218 have an L-shaped configuration to provide additional rigidity to the housing mount 200. The bracket brace 216, landing 220, lip 222 extension arm 224, arm bracket 226, and bracket plate 218 may be welded or molded to the inner surface of the two mounting brackets 210. Mounting bracket 210 also includes support openings 230 and 232. Support opening 230 is designed to align with an opening in a portion of the support assembly 250 to thereby secure the support assembly 250 to landing 220. Support opening 232 is designed to align with another opening in the support assembly 250 to rigidly secure the support assembly 250 to the housing mount 200. Support opening 232 may include opening supports 234 on both sides of the opening to reinforce the opening and reduce the amount of wear within the opening.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-5 and 8-9, support assembly 250 may include a pair of inner legs 260 and a pair of outer legs 262. The inner legs 260 and outer legs 262 may be laterally spaced apart. A leg brace 264 may secure each pair of inner legs 260 and outer legs 262 together. A leg flange 272 may be secured to the inner side of each of the inner legs by a leg flange 272 which in turn is connected to a leg bar 274. Leg flange 272 may be welded or molded to the inner side of the leg and leg bar 274 may be welded or molded to the inner side of leg flange 272. Inner legs 260 and outer legs 262 include a plurality of openings for securing the support assembly 250 to the housing mount 200 and to connect other components of the mount assembly 20 to the support assembly 250. At one end of the inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 is a landing opening 266. Spaced from landing opening 266 is journal opening 268. Spaced from journal opening 268 is an upper support opening 270. Connected to the exterior side of outer leg 262 is a pin housing 280, 282 and 284. Pin housing 280 includes housing openings 286 which are aligned with landing opening 266. Pin housing 282 includes housing openings 286 which are aligned with journal opening 268. Pin housing 284 includes housing openings 286 which are aligned with upper support openings 270. Pin housings 280, 282, and 284 are designed to maintain a pin 290 within the pin housing. Pin 290 includes a pin stop 292 radially extending from the surface of the pin 290. Pin 290 also includes a pin opening 296 to receive a pin clip 294. Pin stop 292 limits the movement of pin 290 within pin housings 280, 282, and 284 so as to prevent the pin 290 from being completely removed from the pin housing. Pin clip 294 is designed to secure pin 290 in the extended position whereby the end of the pin extends into landing opening 266, journal opening 268 and/or upper support opening 270. The positioning of pin 290 within the pin housing is best illustrated in FIG. 5. In one embodiment, the support assembly 250 may be formed substantially of a thermoplastic. In another embodiment, the support assembly 250 may be formed substantially of CURV®.

Referring now to FIGS. 1-4 and 9, the lift mount assembly 310 also may be formed substantially of a thermoplastic. The lift mount assembly 310 may include a pair of lift legs 312 laterally spaced from one another. A support bar 314 may secured between the two lift legs 312 which in turn secures the lift legs 312 to the inner leg and outer leg 260, 262 of the support assembly 250. As illustrated in FIG. 9, lift leg 312 may be an extension of inner leg 260 of support assembly 250. In an alternate embodiment, not shown, lift leg 312 is a separate component from inner leg 260. As can be appreciated, when lift legs 312 are separate components from inner leg 260, lift legs 312 can be mounted to support bar 314 in a manner that the lift legs 312 are permanently affixed to support bar 314 with respect to inner legs 260 of the support assembly 250, or can be adjustably positioned with respect to the inner legs 260 so that the angular position of the lift mount assembly 310 with respect to the vehicle 30 and with respect to the support assembly 250 can be adjusted. In one embodiment, the support assembly 250 and the lift mount assembly 310 are molded of a thermoplastic together. In another embodiment, the support assembly 250 and the lift mount assembly 310 are formed substantially of CURV®.

With continuing reference to FIGS. 1-4 and 9, lift legs 312 have a plurality of leg openings 313. Secured to one set of leg openings is a lift bar 320. Lift bar 320 includes a pair of bar brackets 322 laterally spaced from one another. Each of the bar brackets 322 may have a bracket opening 324. As shown in FIGS. 1-4, an actuator 330 may be secured to the lift mount assembly 310. A pair of actuator brackets 316 pivotally secure the base of the actuator 330 to support bar 314. The piston 332 of actuator 330 is secured to lift arm 340 within bracket openings 322 by a pin, bolt or the like secured through bracket openings 324 and mount opening 346. The end of lift arm 340 may include a lift hook 342 to secure to a rope or chain 360.

One operation of the snowplow assembly 10 will now be described. As illustrated in FIG. 1, support assembly 250 is secured to housing mount 200. Connected to the support assembly 250 are blade mount assembly 40 and lift mount assembly 310. As previously discussed, housing mount 200 may be permanently affixed to frame members 32 of vehicle 30. The housing mount 200 may be positioned on frame members 32 such that all of the components of housing mount 200 are positioned below and rearwardly of the front end of bumper 34. Consequently, when support assembly 250 is removed from housing mount 200, the components of housing mount 200 cannot be seen by an individual unless the individual looks under the vehicle 30. Therefore, during non snowplowing months, the original aesthetic qualities of the vehicle 30 are retained when support assembly 250 is removed from housing mount 200.

The snowplow assembly 10 is designed so that the components of the mount assembly 20 can be easily attached and/or detached from the vehicle 30 in a multitude of ways. As shown in FIG. 1, support assembly 250 may be secured in housing mount 200. Support assembly 250 may be simply secured to housing mount 200 by positioning the end of inner leg 260 onto landing 220 until landing opening 266 in inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 are aligned with support opening 230. Once these openings are aligned, pin 290 is moved in pin housing 280 and is inserted through all the openings. Pin clip 294 may then be inserted through pin opening 296 to secure the pin 290 in position. This procedure is repeated on the other set of inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 of support assembly 250. Support assembly 250 is then rigidly secured to the housing mount 200 by aligning upper support opening 230 on inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 with support opening 232 on mounting bracket 210. Once the openings are aligned, pin 290 in pin housing 284 is moved through all the openings and pin clip 294 is used to secure pin 290 in position. Once this procedure is repeated on the other set of inner leg 260 and outer leg 262, the support assembly 250 is rigidly secured to housing mount 200. As can be appreciated, support assembly 250 can be easily removed from housing mount 200 by repositioning the four pins 290 in their respective pin housings of support assembly 250 thereby releasing the support assembly 250 from housing mount 200.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, lift mount assembly 310 may be permanently secured to support assembly 250 due to the end of inner leg 260 of support assembly 250 being uniformly formed with the ends of lift legs 312 of lift mount assembly 310. Consequently, when support assembly 250 is rigidly secured to housing mount 200, the securing of the support assembly 250 also results in the securing of the lift mount assembly 310 to the vehicle 30.

With reference to FIGS. 1-4, the blade mount assembly 40 is shown to be secured to support assembly 250 at a single location on each set of inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 of the support assembly 250. Support assembly 250 may be detachably connected to blade mount assembly 40. In one embodiment, blade mount assembly 40 is simply secured to support assembly 250 by aligning the journal holes 54 in journals 52 with journal openings 268 in inner leg 260 and outer leg arm. Once these openings are aligned with one another, pin 290 in pin housing 282 is moved so as to pass through all the openings. Once the pin has been properly positioned, pin clip 294 is secured into pin opening 296 to secure blade mount assembly 40 to support assembly 250. As can be appreciated, this mounting arrangement of blade mount assembly 40 to support assembly 250 allows the blade mount assembly 40 to pivot upwardly and downwardly about journal openings 268 to thereby allow the snowplow mechanism 12 to be lifted and lowered by lift mount assembly 310. When the blade mount assembly 40 is to be detached from support assembly 250, the two pins 290 are repositioned in pin housing 282 thereby releasing journal 52 from inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 of support assembly 250. After support assembly 250 is secured to housing mount 200 and blade mount assembly 40 is secured to the support assembly 250, lift mount assembly 310 raises blade mount assembly 40 in the desired position so that snowplow mechanism 12 can effectively remove snow and other debris from a ground surface G.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, in one embodiment, the design of the snowplow assembly 10 allows for one or more of the components of the mount assembly 20 to be removed and/or secured to the vehicle 30. As shown in FIG. 2, blade mount assembly 40 is detached from the vehicle 30 while support assembly 250 and lift mount assembly 310 remain secured to the vehicle 30. This arrangement may be desirable when the snowplow mechanism 12 needs to be repaired, or if the vehicle 30 is to be used for purposes other than snowplowing. When the blade mount assembly 40 is the only component which is to be removed from the vehicle 30, stand 90 is positioned in the support position so that stand shoe 94 engages ground surface G. The stand 90 is then secured in position by inserting stand pin 96 through stand opening 92 and pin clip 98 is then secured into pin openings 99 to secure the stand pin 96 within the stand opening 92. As can be appreciated, when stand 90 is positioned in the support position, blade mount assembly 40 is secured in a rested position since the two slid plates 134 support the front of the blade mount assembly 40 and stand 90 supports the rear of the blade mount assembly 40. As can be appreciated, skid plates 134 and stand 90 reduce and/or relieve the stress on pin 290 which secures journal 52 on inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 of support assembly 250. As a result of the reduction or removal of stress, pin 290 can be easily repositioned within pin housing 282 thereby easily attaching and/or detaching journals 52 from support assembly 250. Once pin 290 is repositioned within pin housing 282 and withdrawn from the openings, vehicle 30 can be backed up thereby separating blade mount assembly 40 from support assembly 250. As can be appreciated, when blade mount assembly 40 needs to be reattached to support assembly 250, the vehicle 30 is moved toward the two journals 52 on blade mount assembly 40 until support journals 52 are aligned with openings in inner leg 260 and outer leg 262. Once pin 290 is positioned through the openings, stand 90 is repositioned in the retracted position and the snowplow mechanism 12 can once again be used for removal of snow and debris from the ground surface G.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the support assembly 250 is shown as being detached from housing mount 200. As shown in FIG. 3, support assembly 250 has been detached from housing mount 200 but remains attached to blade mount assembly 40. As previously discussed, support assembly 250 can be simply removed from housing mount 200 by repositioning the four pins 290 within pin housing 280, 284. Once the pins 290 have been repositioned, the vehicle 30 can be backed up thereby causing the ends of inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 to be released from mounting bracket 210. When support assembly 250 is completely released from housing mount 200, rest bolt 302 on support assembly 250 engages the top of blade mount assembly 40 thereby supporting the support assembly 250 and lift mount assembly 310 on the top of blade mount assembly 40. As discussed above, when blade mount assembly 40 is to be detached from the vehicle 30, stand 90 is repositioned in the support position. As can be appreciated, when stand 90 is positioned in the support position, the stresses on pins 290 and support openings 230 and 232 of housing mount 200 are reduced or removed thereby allowing pins 290 to be easily retracted within pin housing 280 and 284 thus simplifying the detachment of support assembly 250 from housing mount 200.

Referring now to FIG. 4, the configuration of landing 220, lip 222 and extension arm 224 facilitate in the attachment and/or detachment of support assembly 250 from housing mount 200. As shown in FIG. 4, when support assembly 250 is to be reconnected to housing mount 200, vehicle 30 is moved toward the ends of inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 on support assembly 250. As the vehicle 30 is moved forward, the bottom edge of extension arm 224 engages the top edge of inner leg 260. As the vehicle 30 continues to move forward, extension arm 224 slowly guides the ends of inner leg 260 toward alignment with support openings 230 and 232 and mounting bracket 210. As inner leg 260 moves into contact with landing 220, support assembly 250 pivots about journal hole 54 and journals 52 of blade mount assembly 40 so as to simultaneously move support assembly 250 and lift mount assembly 310 in the proper positions. Lip 222 helps to guide the bottom edge of inner leg 260 onto the landing. Once landing opening 266 is aligned with support opening 230, pin 290 within pin housing 280 is moved into position to thereby secure outer leg 262 and inner leg 260 on mounting bracket 210. The upper support opening 270 on inner leg 260 and outer leg 262 will now be in alignment or in close alignment with support opening 232 so as to allow pin 290 in pin housing 284 to be easily repositioned with little or no further repositioning of support assembly 250 within housing mount 200. Once the four pins 290 are secured in position, support assembly 250, lift mount assembly 310, and snowplow mechanism 12 are once again secured to the vehicle 30 for snowplow operations. The stand 90 is then repositioned in the retracted position prior to snowplow operation. In one embodiment, support assembly 250, housing mount 200, and lift mount assembly 310 are all formed substantially of a thermoplastic. In another embodiment, support assembly 250 and housing mount 200 are molded of a thermoplastic together. In yet another embodiment, support assembly 250, housing mount 200, and lift mount assembly 310 are all formed substantially of CURV®.

Multiple embodiments have been described, hereinabove. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the above methods and apparatuses may incorporate changes and modifications without departing from the general scope of this invention. It is intended to include all such modifications and alterations in so far as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof.