Title:
Securing device for chains for use on flatbed trucks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A securing device for chains used on flatbed trucks comprises an electric pneumatic system with a piston set partially inside a slit and which pushes the chain out. Instead of attaching the chain to a lever arm, the chain is passed through a loop attached to a small piece of chain, which in fact replaces where the lever arm would normally be. Once the chain is passed through the loop, it continues its course over to a slit at which point the user pulls on the chain and introduces the chain links into a slit in order to secure it tightly. In order to remove the links of the chain from the slit, a piston pushes the chain from the slit. The piston which is pneumatic hydraulic or electric is remotely actuated by an electric switch which can be situated in the truck's cabin so as to insure that no one is near the chain when it is released. The slit and piston arrangement are designed to fit into a single compact package.



Inventors:
Fortin, Jacques (St-Edmond, CA)
Application Number:
11/644479
Publication Date:
06/26/2008
Filing Date:
12/22/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61D45/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090297288RESTRAINT CHAIN STORAGEDecember, 2009Metz et al.
20050180835Tie down harnessAugust, 2005Schneider
20090252569System for securing containers with multiple embodimentsOctober, 2009Walker
20080112771Shipping decks for transporting cargoMay, 2008Barney et al.
20080206010Cargo Anchoring SystemAugust, 2008Fa-kouri
20080193247MOVABLE STORAGE RACKS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF GOODSAugust, 2008Zupancich et al.
20060104739Removable pickup truck bed tie downMay, 2006Hamper
20090047091RETRACTABLE TIE DOWN DEVICEFebruary, 2009Huck
20070269283Chassis rackNovember, 2007Klestoff et al.
20080317562Aircraft Payload Retention System For Interior LoadsDecember, 2008Stille
20040265086Device at a cargo supportDecember, 2004Dahlstrom et al.



Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Jacques Fortin (Montreal, QC, CA)
Claims:
1. A securing device for chains comprising a box-like container being securedly and fixedly mechanically fastened underneath a side guard post located on a flatbed of a vehicle and comprising: a chain having links passing over a load and said chain being passed through a loop; said loop being fixedly attached to a small segment of chain; a pushing means encased within said box-like container; said pushing means moving a piston linearly so as to push a U-shaped rod connected to said piston, by way of a connnector; said U-shaped rod moving linearly across and through a slit; said slit being located on a slit plate; said pushing means being fixedly attached to the inside of said box-like container by mechnical means; said connector and said piston passing through a cavity made into a front wall of said box-like container; a conduit input situated onto said pushing means to provide for the actuation of said pushing means; said slit plate and said box-like container being positioned proximal each other and securedly and fixedly attached underneath a guide post of a truck.

2. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said actuating means being selected from the group comprised of hydraulic, pneumatic or electrical means.

3. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said conduit being selected from the group comprised of pneumatic hose, hydraulic hose or electrical cable.

4. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said mechanical means for said pushing means being mechnical means such as welding, mechanical fasteners, adhesive means and any combination thereof.

5. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said mechanical means for said pushing means being a combination nuts and bolts using holes.

6. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said connector being bolted into said U-shaped rod by way of a bolt hole into which is threadably inserted a U-shaped rod bolt.

7. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said slit plate being connected to said box-like container by way of a connector plate.

8. A securing device for chains as in claim 7 wherein: said connector plate being welded to both said slit plate and said box-like container, or otherwise mechanically fixedly attached.

9. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: said slit made into said slit plate being generally horizontally offset upwardly towards an open end so as to keep said chain inside said slit when installing said chain inside said slit.

10. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 wherein: a connector plate welded or otherwise mechanically fixedly attached to both said slit plate and said box-like container to connect together said slit plate and said box-like container proximal each other.

11. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 having a mode of operation comprising the steps of: when moving within the space occupied by said slit, said U-shaped rod pushes out said chain having been previously put inside said slit.

12. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 having a method of use comprising the steps of: having said U-shaped rod retracted away from an open end of said slit; setting up said chain over the load; using said small segment of chain with a loop to pass said chain through said loop; pulling onto said chain so as to tighten said chain; said chain, being taught, is inserted into said slit so that said links from said chain hold said chain in place within said slit;

13. A securing device for chains as in claim 1 having a method of use comprising the steps of: actuating a switch to slacken said chain; said actuated switch actuating said U-spaped rod; said U-spaped rod pushing said chain outside of said slit.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the general field of vehicle accessories and is particularly concerned with a device used for securing chains used for tying down lumber logs carried on a flatbed truck.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Flatbed trucks used in the transport of timber require the logs to be well secured. Usually, side guard posts can hold the logs relatively well but because trucks move, all kinds of longitudinal and lateral forces are applied to the load as well as upper and downward forces. Over the course of a run, the logs can shift in positon to the point that some could slip in between the guard posts, that is why chains or straps are used tu further tie down the logs to prevent any movements of the logs.

Over time, truckers have used chains so as to tie down the logs in a pretty standardized fashion which is to have a chain, attached to one side of the flatbed, passing over the load and dropping on the opposite side of the flatbed so as to wrap the load. In order to secure the chain tightly, the end of the chain is hooked onto a hook attached to a lever arm or tackle of sort which creates the necessary tension. This part of the process is relatively easy and safe but releasing the chain afterwards can be a daunting task fraught with possible injury as a tight chain let loose can whip into an unwary trucker or passerby, in fact, just the mere action of releasing the lever arm can hit the face or body of the user.

There are currently no devices to make the operation of removing tight chains safe, secure and easy. Accordingly, there exists a need for improvement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing lack of known devices in the prior art, the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide objects and advantages which are:

To have a simple device that safely releases a chain tied around a load.

To have a device that can be actuated remotely so as to eliminate the risk of having someone nearby be injured.

To have a device which allows a trucker to put his attention on the surroundings to secure the area rather than be concentrated on untying chains.

To attain these ends, the present invention generally comprises an electric pneumatic system with a piston set partially inside a slit and which pushes the chain out. Instead of attaching the chain to a lever arm, the chain is passed through a loop attached to a small piece of chain, which in fact replaces where the lever arm would normally be. Once the chain is passed through the loop, it continues its course over to a slit at which point the user pulls on the chain and introduces the chain links into a slit in order to secure it tightly. In order to remove the links of the chain from the slit, a piston pushes the chain from the slit. The piston which is pneumatic hydraulic or electric is remotely actuated by an electric switch which can be situated in the truck's cabin so as to insure that no one is near the chain when it is released. The slit and piston arrangement are designed to fit into a single compact package. Because trucks already have a pneumatic system as part of their standard equipment, the use of an electrically actuated pneumatic piston appears to be the most practical, reliable and economical system to use. Trucks also have pneumatically assisted hydraulic system which makes the use of hydraulic systems equally feasible for use as part of this invention. However, to simplify matters, the system will be described as a pushing means which can also include electrically actuated worm screws among other such mechanically equivalent means.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there is illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIGS. 1a-d Isometric view of the container and top views of the pushing means, C-shaped rod, and side view of the slit plate, respectively.

FIGS. 2a-c Front, side and top view, respectively, of the device.

FIG. 3 Side view of the device in context on a flatbed seen across its side.

FIG. 4 Front view of the device in context on a flatbed seen across its length.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A securing device for chains (10) generally comprises a chain (22) passing over a load, as is known in the art, but with the difference that the chain (22) is passed through a loop (26) fixedly attached to a small segment of chain (24), which in fact replaces where the lever arm (not shown) would normally be. Once the chain is passed through the loop (26), it continues its course over to a slit (18) at which point the user pulls on the chain (22) and introduces the chain links (28) into the slit (18) in order to secure it tightly. A pushing means (12) encased within a box-like container (14) moves a piston (21) linearly so as to push a U-shaped rod (16) connected to it, by way of a connnector (15), across and through the slit (18) made into a slit plate (20). By moving within the space occupied by the slit (18), the U-shaped rod (16) can push out the chain (22) previously put inside the slit (18). The pushing means (12), can be any one of known means such as a pneumatiuc apparatus, a hydraulic apparatus, or even an electrically actuated worm screw apparatus, all of which being able to move a piston over a linear course. These means, being well known in the art won't be further discussed. The pushing means (12) is fixedly attached to the inside of the box-like container (14) by any of a variety of mechnical means such as welding, mechanical fasteners, adhesive means and any combination thereof. For example, a combination nuts and bolts (13) using holes (19). A conduit input (11) situated onto the pushing means (12) provides for the actuation of the pushing means (12). The conduit input (11) can be a pneumatic hose, a hydraulic hose or an electrical cable depending upon the nature of the pushing means (12), whether pneumatic, hydraulic or electric.

The connector (15) is bolted into the U-shaped rod (16) by way of a bolt hole (23) into which is threadably inserted a U-shaped rod bolt (13′). Of course, any mechanical equivalent can be used for fixedly attaching the connector (15) to the U-shaped rod (16). The connector (15) forms an integral extension of the piston (21). The connector (15) and piston (21) pass through a cavity (25) made into a front wall (27) of the box-like container (14).

The slit plate (20) and the box-like container (14) are positioned proximal each other and securedly and fixedly attached underneath a guide post (30) of a truck. Alternatively, an optional connector plate (29) welded or otherwise mechanically fixedly attached to both the slit plate (20) and the box-like container (14) can be used for easier on-site installation. The slit (18) made into the slit plate (20) is generally horizontally offset upwardly towards an open end (23) so as to help in keeping the chain (22) inside the slit (18) when installing it in. There can of course be more than one securing device for chains (10) per truck (40).

In order to use the securing device for chains (10), with the U-shaped rod (16) being retracted, that is, away from the open end (23), a user sets up the chain (22) over the load as is known in the art, and then uses the small segment of chain (24) terminating with a loop (26) to pass the chain (22) through the loop (26), the chain (22) is then pulled hard so as to tighten it and while taught, the chain (22) is inserted into the slit (18) so that the links (28) hold the chain (22) in place within the slit (18).

When the user wants to slacken the chain (22), such as when arriving at the unloading site, the user will actuate a switch (not shown) of some kind which is set some distance away from the securing device for chains (10) to actuate the U-spaped rod (16) which pushes the chain (22) outside the slit (18). For example, the switch (not shown) can be inside the truck' cab (not shown). The details of the connection between the switch (not shown) and the securing device for chains (10) need not be explained here since they are obvious to those versed in the art.

As to a further discussion of the manner of usage and operation of the present invention, the same should be apparent from the above description. Accordingly, no further discussion relating to the manner of usage and operation will be provided.

With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention. Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention. For example, welding can be replaced with bolting or glueing or any suitable fastening means.