Title:
ROPE TIGHTENER AND STRAPPING ATTACHMENT FOR A MECHANICAL CARDBOARD BALER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cardboard baler compacts a bundle of material by drawing the cardboard upwardly towards a compacting bearing member supported by the frame of the baler. The baler is provided with a string, cord or rope tightening mechanism which relies on a hand-actuated ratchet-like mechanism to draw two portions of the rope towards each other so that the rope may be tied to secure a bundle of cardboard. The rope tightening mechanism is supported by the frame of the cardboard baler when it is in use.



Inventors:
Xue, Guanghui (Gatineau, CA)
Application Number:
12/035023
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
02/21/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
24/68D
International Classes:
B65B13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, JIMMY T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Miltons IP/p.i. (Ottawa, ON, CA)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A baling device for compacting an amount of material into a bundle comprising: a) a rack frame having a base end; b) a compacting bearing member carried by the rack frame; c) a movable compacting platform slideably connected to the rack frame for sliding within the rack frame towards the compacting bearing member; and d) a winch carried by the rack frame and connected to the compacting platform through a flexible linkage, the winch being positioned to wind the flexible linkage about an axle mounted therein in order to move said movable compacting plane upwardly towards the compacting bearing member.

2. The baling device as in claim 1 comprising an inclined rack plane along which the compacting platform moves wherein the rack plane is inclined from the vertical, extending upwardly from the front side of the base end of the rack frame and inwardly towards the winch carried within the rack frame and wherein the rack plane is delimited by a pair of parallel guide members which carry the compacting platform.

3. The baling device as in claim 2 wherein the pair of parallel guide members are U-shaped channels in cross-section.

4. The baling device as in claim 2 comprising: a) a pair of upright frame members extending from the bottom of the rack frame to connect respectively with one of the guide members at a respective upper apex, and b) a pair of lateral bracing members extending respectively between one of the upright frame members and a guide member to support or serve as at least a portion of the bearing member.

5. The baling device as in claim 1 comprising a rope tightening mechanism coupled to said rack frame, the rope tightening mechanism being positioned for drawing two portions of a rope, enveloping a compacted bundle, towards each other so that the rope may be tied to secure the bundle.

6. The baling device as in claim 5 wherein said rope tightening mechanism comprises: a) first and second rope anchors for detachably engaging first and second portions of the rope; b) the first, fixed, rope anchor being carried by the rack frame or by a ratchet mechanism carried by the rack frame in a fixed relationship to the rack frame, and c) the second, displaceable, rope anchor being carried by the ratchet mechanism, the ratchet mechanism being positioned for drawing the first and second anchors, with rope engaged thereto, towards each other.

7. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 6 wherein at least one of the anchors has a slot formed therein shaped to retain a knotted portion of the rope with a loop present beyond such knotted portion of the rope.

8. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism in claim 6 wherein at least one of the anchors comprises a rope clamp to engage one of the portions of the rope, the rope clamp being in the form of an eccentrically mounted cylinder with a rope-engaging cylindrical surface positioned adjacent to an anvil whereby a portion of the rope may be positioned between the cylinder and the anvil and held in place by rotation of the cylinder until the rope is pinched between the cylinder and the anvil.

9. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 6 wherein the ratchet mechanism comprises: a) a rod having at least one anchor affixed thereto, and wherein the rope tightening mechanism is mounted adjacent to and outboard of the side of the bearing member so as to align the rod across the outer surface of the material to be compacted.

10. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 9 wherein the ratchet mechanism comprises: a) first and second wedge plates each mounted on the rod, each wedge plate being dimensioned for sliding engagement along the rod when oriented in a plane extending outwardly in a perpendicular direction to the length of the rod, and being dimensioned for jamming engagement with the rod when the respective wedge plate is canted at an angle from such perpendicular direction and an attempt is made to move such wedge plate with respect to the rod in a direction that will increase its canting angle, and b) a handgrip coupled to the rod and connected to effect engagement with the rod through the first wedge plate whereby, upon activation of the handgrip, the rod is advanced with respect to the handgrip and, upon deactivation of the handgrip, the second wedge plate resists movement of the rod in the reverse direction.

11. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 9 wherein the side of the bearing member along which the rope tightening mechanism is mounted is provided with a groove and the anchor mounted on the rod includes a protruding guide that slides within the groove, stabilizing the anchor against rotation on the rod.

12. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 11 wherein the anchor carried on the rod is the anchor which comprises a rope clamp in the form of an eccentrically mounted cylinder with a rope-engaging cylindrical surface positioned adjacent to an anvil whereby a portion of the rope may be positioned between the cylinder and the anvil and held in place by rotation of the cylinder until the rope is pinched between the cylinder and the anvil.

13. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 12 wherein the other anchor has a slot formed therein shaped to retain a knotted portion of the rope with a loop present beyond such knotted portion of the rope.

14. The baling device and rope tightening mechanism as in claim 13 wherein the other anchor with a slot formed therein is supported in place by the rack frame at a location on or adjacent to such rod.

Description:

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/443,523 filed on May 31, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for strapping and bundling material such as cardboard with string, cord or rope. In particular, it addresses a rope tightening mechanism for use in conjunction with a cardboard baler used to compact cardboard before it is tied to the bundle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus for strapping and bundling material such as cardboard with string, cord or rope that includes a rope tightening mechanism. More specifically, it relates to an alternative strapping attachment to that described in Canadian patent application No. 2,481,782, published Apr. 7, 2006, and corresponding US application 2007/0277684 published Dec. 6, 2007, both originating from the present inventor and both directed to an apparatus for bundling and compressing cardboard.

Devices that allow motion, be it linear or rotary, in only one direction, while actively preventing motion in the opposite direction, are very useful for a wide variety of applications. Such mechanisms, which may be referred to as “ratchet-like”, have been used in the past for separating parts or drawing parts together. An example of such a mechanism based upon teeth engaged by a ratchet is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,705,581 to Drake. Alternately, more recent ratchet-type mechanisms have been based on the interactive canting plate one-way locking system described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,929,253 issued Aug. 16, 2005, or U.S. Pat. No. 6,386,530 issued May 14, 2002, both issued to Marks, both directed to a bar clamp. All of such latter US prior art references by third parties are adopted herein by reference.

In these ratchet-based devices, a rod or bar moves in respect of a trigger handle mounted within a body through which the rod or bar passes. Such rod or bar can, on actuation of the ratchet mechanism, carry a component away from the handle as in the case of a caulking gun. Or actuation of the mechanism may draw a component towards the handle, as in the case of a compression bar clamp. In either case, a racket mechanism operates to produce the relative displacement between components and prevents a subsequent movement that will undo the displacement that has been achieved.

It would be desirable to provide a rope tightener for use in conjunction with a cardboard baler wherein the rope tightener operates on the basis of a ratchet mechanism and enables rope to be firmly fastened around a bundle of cardboard, securing it tightly. This invention addresses such an objective.

The invention in its general form will first be described, and then its implementation in terms of specific embodiments will be detailed with reference to the drawings following hereafter. These embodiments are intended to demonstrate the principle of the invention, and the manner of its implementation. The invention in its broadest and more specific forms will then be described, and defined, in each of the individual claims which conclude this Specification.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the invention in one aspect, a string, cord or rope tightening mechanism relies on a hand-actuated ratchet mechanism to draw two portions of a string, cord, rope, wire, plastic band or the like (hereafter “rope”) towards each other so that the rope may be tied to secure a bundle. The tightening mechanism used to draw near the two ends of an enveloping rope is particularly adapted for securing a compacted bundle of materials such as cardboard which has previously been compacted by a compaction apparatus.

The tightening mechanism of the invention operates on the basis of drawing one portion of a rope towards another portion of the rope and maintaining the rope under tension while such portions of the rope are tied together, binding the bundle of material tightly. For this purpose, one portion or end of the rope is hooked, clamped or otherwise fastened to an anchor point to restrain the rope, and another portion of the rope is drawn towards the first portion by the rope tightening mechanism. Once tightening is completed, the two portions of the rope are joined as by a knot to secure the bundle. These anchor points are intended to engage the rope temporarily and allow detachment of the rope from the tightening mechanism once the ends or portions of the rope have been tied to each other.

The rope tightening mechanism of the invention is intended for use with baling device for compacting an amount of material into a bundle. Such a baling device preferably includes:

a) a rack frame having a base end;

b) a compacting bearing member carried by the rack frame, preferably in the form of a peripheral frame, but optionally in the form of a solid plate;

c) a movable compacting platform also preferably in the form of a peripheral frame, but optionally in the form of a solid plate, having an upper side dimensioned to receive and carry sheets of cardboard, and slideably connected to the rack frame for sliding within the rack frame towards the compacting bearing member; and

d) a winch carried by the rack frame and connected to the compacting platform through a flexible linkage, the winch being positioned to wind the flexible linkage about an axle mounted therein in order to draw the movable compacting plane upwardly towards the compacting bearing member.

In the preferred baling device the compacting platform moves upwardly along an inclined rack plane while cardboard is being compacted. This plane of motion is preferably inclined from the vertical, extending upwardly from the front side of the base end of the rack frame and inclined inwardly towards the winch carried within the rack frame. Preferably the rack plane is delimited by a pair of parallel guide members which carry the compacting platform. More preferably the pair of parallel guide members are U-shaped channels in cross-section and embrace guide pins that extend outwardly from the compacting platform.

A further preferred configuration for the baling device is based upon a rack frame that includes a pair of rearwardly positioned upright frame members that extend from the bottom of the rack frame to connect respectively with one of the compacting platform guide members at a respective upper apex. This forms an “A” frame in profile. The central cross portion of the “A” is provided by a pair of lateral bracing members that extend respectively between one of the upright frame members and an inclined guide member and then extend further outwardly to provide portions of the bearing member or to provide support for the bearing member.

A spool of rope can be mounted within the rack frame to provide the necessary length of rope for enveloping the cardboard and tightening by the rope tightening mechanism. The rope tightening mechanism is coupled to the frame, positioned for drawing together the two portions of the rope which will envelop a bundle of cardboard. For this purpose, the rope tightening mechanism is preferably positioned so that it will be aligned for drawing rope across the outer surface of the material being compacted, at a location just adjacent to and outboard of the side of the bearing member and compacting platform, near where the cardboard is most compacted.

In order to hold the rope portions, the rope tightening mechanism includes first and second rope anchors for detachably engaging first and second portions of the rope. A first fixed rope anchor may be carried by the rack frame or by a fixed portion of the ratchet mechanism which is part of the rope tightener carried by the rack frame. A second displaceable rope anchor is then carried by the ratchet mechanism. The ratchet mechanism is, of course, positioned for drawing the first and second anchors, with rope engaged thereto, towards each other in order to tightened the rope about the bundle of material.

Optionally one of the anchors may have a slot formed therein, shaped to retain a knotted portion of the rope with a loop present beyond such knotted portion of the rope. Preferably, this is an anchor which is fixed in respect to the rack frame. The other of the anchors may be in the form of a releasable rope clamp, optionally but preferably carried by the ratchet mechanism, to effect closing of the gap between the two rope portions.

A preferred form of releasable rope clamp operates on the basis of an eccentrically mounted cylinder with a rope-engaging cylindrical surface positioned adjacent to an anvil whereby a portion of the rope may be positioned between the cylinder and the anvil and held in place by rotation of the cylinder until the rope is pinched between the cylinder and the anvil. Both the off-centered axle for rotation of the cylinder and the anvil surface are mounted in a rigid relationship to each other to sustain this pinching action.

While the fixed anchor has been described as connected to the rack frame and the releasable anchor described as being displaceable by the ratchet mechanism, the locations of these preferred forms of anchors may be reversed.

Any form of ratchet mechanism which will cause one end of the rope to advance towards the other may be used as the basis of the rope tightening mechanism. A preferred form of ratchet mechanism is based upon a displaceable rod which can slide in respect of a body that is fixed to the rack frame. The rope anchor which is to be displaced is affixed to this rod. Preferably this is a detachable rope anchor such as one based on the design of an eccentrically rotating cylinder as described previously. When the rope tightening mechanism is mounted along one of the pair of lateral bracing members, it is this rod which is positioned adjacent to and outboard of the side of the bearing member so as to align the rod across the outer surface of the material to be compacted.

The ratchet mechanism may be based on a toothed rod which is advanced by a reciprocating pawl, of the type as described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,705,581 to Drake. A preferred form of ratchet mechanism comprises:

a) first and second wedge plates each mounted on the rod, each wedge plate being dimensioned for sliding engagement along the rod when oriented in a plane extending outwardly in a perpendicular direction to the length of the rod, and being dimensioned for jamming engagement with the rod when the respective wedge plate is canted at an angle from such perpendicular direction and an attempt is made to move such wedge plate with respect to the rod in a direction that will increase its canting angle, and
b) a handgrip coupled to the rod and connected to effect engagement with the rod through the first wedge plate.

On activation of the handgrip, the rod is advanced with respect to the handgrip through the engagement effected by the first wedge plate; and, upon deactivation of the handgrip, the second wedge plate, which is coupled to the rack frame, resists movement of the rod in the reverse direction. This is the direction that would cause an increase in the separation between the rope ends. Spring elements may be employed to bias the wedge plate towards a jamming engagement and thereby initiate the jamming effect.

Such a mechanism may then be employed to slide the rod with respect to the handgrip which is mounted in a body coupled to the rack frame. As indicated earlier, it is preferable for this coupling to place the rod alongside one portion of the bearing member, or alongside one of the lateral members that extend to form part of or supports the bearing member. This allows the rope to be tightened in an alignment which is close to its final alignment once the rope ends have been joined together. In this way minimal slack will be created when the rope is removed from the rope tightener.

While the handgrip can be positioned remotely from the “A” frame portion of the rack, it is preferable for the handgrip to be located at the lower end of the lateral member, adjacent to the “A” frame itself. In this location the handle is at a lower position and is easier to activate. In this position, actuation of the handle can draw the rod, and the displaceable anchor mounted thereon, towards the handle and the fixed anchor. Or the rod can be advanced upwardly away from the handle, carrying the displaceable anchor with it and towards the fixed anchor which is then mounted remotely from the handle.

While the displaceable anchor is, in one configuration, to be carried by the rod, the fixed anchor, as indicated previously, may be fastened to any component which is rigidly connected to the rack frame. Optionally, the fixed anchor may be fastened to the body of the handgrip, and may even be positioned so that it slidably embraces the rod. In this latter case, the fixed anchor may be fastened to the bearing member or the side of the protruding lateral member adjacent to or by means of attachment to the groove.

It is also possible, if the rod is fixed to the rack frame, for the handle to be displaceable, in which case the handle will carry the displaceable anchor.

While reference has been made to the presence of a rod, its function may also be effected by use of a bar or shaft, all of which are equivalent.

While the rope tightening mechanism of the invention may be used independently of a cardboard baling mechanism apparatus, it is preferably used in conjunction with such apparatus. In particular, when used in conjunction with a cardboard baler, and particularly the mechanical cardboard baler described in Canadian patent application No. 2,481,782, and corresponding US application 2007/0277684, hereafter described in greater detail, the rope tightening mechanism is preferably supported by the frame of the cardboard baler when it is in use. While the use of the single rope tightening mechanism has been described, two similar rope tightening mechanisms may be mounted on respective borders of the bearing frame.

The foregoing summarizes the principal features of the invention and some of its optional aspects. The invention may be further understood by the description of the preferred embodiments, in conjunction with the drawings, which now follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings, which form a part of this specification:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a mechanical cardboard baler with a clamp-type rope tying mechanism.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the baler of FIG. 1 showing the bearing frame and compacting platform.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the baler of FIG. 1 showing the winch and flexible linkage extending to the compacting platform.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the baler of FIG. 1, showing the apparatus loaded with loose cardboard before the process of baling, as well as a rope extending from a second rope winch which is wrapped around the loose material and held by the clamp.

FIG. 5 is a side view of the baler of FIG. 4 showing the apparatus in the baling position compressing cardboard into a compacted form, as well as a rope which has been tightened around the compacted cardboard.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of one variant of a new ratchet-based rope tightening means positioned for serving as strapping attachment in a cardboard baler according to the invention.

FIG. 7 is an side plan view of the strapping attachment of FIG. 6 showing the mechanical cardboard baler loaded with a stack of compressed cardboard, and a length of a rope wound around a stack of cardboard with two ends of the rope anchored to anchors within the rope tightening means before the rope is fully tightened.

FIG. 8 is a side plan view of the strapping attachment of FIG. 7 after the rope has been tightened.

FIG. 9 is an aerial perspective view of the strapping attachment of FIG. 6 showing the moveable rope-engaging anchor and a hook-shape sliding guide moving along a rail that is located on the side of the mechanical cardboard baler.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the strapping attachment of FIG. 6 mounted on the frame of a mechanical cardboard baler in accordance with FIG. 1 with the ratchet handle positioned remotely from the baler frame.

FIG. 11 is a side view of the mechanical cardboard baler of the type of FIG. 1, showing a strapping attachment as in FIG. 6 with the ratchet handle positioned adjacent to the baler frame.

FIG. 12 is a top perspective view of the mechanical cardboard baler of the type of FIG. 1, showing a strapping attachment as in FIG. 6 with the ratchet handle positioned adjacent to the baler frame.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an alternate variant ratchet-based rope tightening mechanism to that of FIG. 6.

FIG. 14 depicts the rope tightening the mechanism of FIG. 13 with a bundle of untied but compacted cardboard in position beneath the rope tightener, before the tightening process has been concluded.

FIG. 15 depicts the rope tightening mechanism of FIG. 14 after the rope tightening process has been effected.

FIG. 16A is a side view of an eccentric cylinder rope anchor prior to the pinching of rope positioned therein.

FIG. 16B is a side view of an eccentric cylinder rope anchor of FIG. 16A after the pinching of rope positioned therein.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the eccentric cylinder rope anchor of FIG. 16A mounted on a rope tightener rod and provided with a stabilizing pin protruding from the side of the anchor.

FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional side view of the cylindrical rope anchor of FIG. 17 with the stabilizing pin extending into a groove formed on side of the lateral bracing member forming a lateral thinking.

FIG. 19 is a cross-sectional side view of grooved rope anchor for attaching a knotted rope end, slideably mounted on the ratchet mechanism rod and also provided with a stabilizing pin extending into the groove formed on side of the lateral bracing member or bearing frame member.

FIG. 20 is a front view of the grooved rope anchor for attaching a knotted rope end, showing the stabilizing pin(s).

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With respect to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a mechanical cardboard baler includes a rack frame 10 or “rack” 10, delimited by an inclined rack plane 11 and three vertical planes on the left, 12; the right, 13; and the rear side, 14. These planes may, but do not necessarily, consist of a flat surface; optionally they may instead consist only of the side members such as is evident in FIG. 1 on the right vertical plane 13 that is delimited by side members 17 and 18. Cardboard may be placed between a moveable compacting platform 26, which may be in the form of a simple frame, and a compacting bearing frame 25, both of which extend generally in a perpendicular direction with respect to the inclined plane 11. Four wheels 16 may be optionally installed under the base end 70 of the rack 10, so that the baler may be easy to displace.

A commercially available hand winch 21 is located at the top of the rack 10 at the upper end of the rear side plane 14, serving as a compacting winch. While a hand winch 21 is shown, an electrically operated winch may also be substituted. The compacting winch 21 is connected to the moveable compacting platform 26 via a strap 28, so that the platform 26 can be drawn upwardly along the inclined plane 11. On loosening the winch, the platform 26 can slide back down under its own weight. A compacted baled cardboard is formed when loose cardboard is placed upon the platform 26 and the compacting winch 21 is used to pull the platform 26 upwardly towards the bearing frame 25.

In the cardboard baler embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the rope tightening mechanism to tighten a rope around a bale of cardboard relies upon a rope retracting winch with ratchet gear 31 that turns a rope retracting shaft 32 fitted in two shaft brackets 33. At the each end of the rope retracting shaft 32, a rope retracting roller 36 with a pair of rope locking pins 39 provides anchor points for attaching rope which encircles the material being compacted just outside the edges of the compacting platform and bearing frame.

A rope toggle clamp 35 can be mounted on each outer side of the compacting bearing frame 25. On one side of the toggle clamp 35 towards the rope retracting shaft 32, there may be a rope hook pin 37. On the other side of the toggle clamp 35 away from the rope retracting shaft 32, there may be a rope guide 38.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the inclined plane 11 is bounded by two parallel guide members 22 which guide the compacting platform 26 in its motion up and down. Pins extend from the compacting platform 26 to rest against the guide members 22 which may be formed of simple angle iron but are preferably channels which are U-shaped in cross-section and serve to confine the compacting platform pins.

FIGS. 4 and 5 depict flattened, loose cardboard 40 positioned between the moveable compacting platform 26 and the compacting bearing frame 25. The handle of the winch 21 is turned to retract strap 28 which pulls the moveable platform 26 in an upwards direction. This compresses the loose cardboard 40, thereby forming a tight cardboard bale 50, as depicted in FIG. 5.

To bind the bundle of compacted cardboard 50 using a length of rope 60, an end loop at one end is first made. The end loop may be placed on the rope hook pin 37 and the other portion of the rope 60 to be connected to the rope winch 30 may be wound around the flattened, loose cardboard 40 just outboard of the compacting platform and bearing frame as shown in FIG. 4; or the bale of compacted cardboard 50 as in FIG. 5. The rope 60 may be placed along the rope guide 38, aligning the rope 60 with the rope toggle clamp 35. Then the free end 62 of rope 60 may be wound onto the rope locking pin 39 and the rope friction pin 39 may be screwed down in order to hold the end of the rope 60 fixed to the rope retracting roller 36.

Now the handle of the rope retracting winch with ratchet gear 31 may be turned, which tightens the rope 60 until the rope reaches an optimum or desired tightness. The toggle clamp 35 may then be clamped down to hold tight the portion of the rope 60 passing therethrough. With the rope held tightly in place around the bundle, the rope locking pin 39 may be released and the freed end portion of the rope used to form a knot by tying together the free end of the rope 60 and the end loop on the rope hook pin 37. Tying of this knot is facilitated by the rope 60 being held tight by the toggle clamp 35. The compacting winch's 21 handle may then be turned to release strap 28, lowering the movable compacting frame 26, and allowing the tied compacted cardboard 50 to be removed from the baler. This completes a preferred working cycle of the baler.

FIGS. 6 through 11 depict a further variant of a rope tightener for tightening a bale of cardboard. With reference to FIGS. 6, 7, 8 and 9, a strapping attachment for a mechanical cardboard baler in accordance with the present invention comprises a hand-actuated ratchet-like mechanism 100 to draw two portions of a rope towards each other, so that the rope may be tied to secure a bundle that will have been previously compacted by a compaction apparatus. The mechanism 100 includes an extended shaft 120 carrying a moveable rope-engaging displaceable anchor 110 and a stationary, fixed rope-engaging anchor 111.

A handle 112 mounted in a body carrying a ratchet mechanism is attached to a side rail 130 which in turn is fastened to the rack frame of a baler. The body for the ratchet mechanism 100 is provided with a bore so that the mechanism 100 may be threaded onto an extended shaft or rod 120. Upon actuation of the ratchet-like mechanism 100, the extended rod 120 is pulled through the bore, thereby initiating the rope tightening effect.

First 111 and second 110 rope anchors for detachably engaging first and second portions of the rope are provided. The first, fixed, rope anchor 111 in this variant is carried by the side rail, but positioned in line with the rod 120 which passes slidingly therethrough. The second, displaceable, rope anchor 110 is carried by the rod 120 to which it is affixed. A stabilizing plate 131, best shown in FIG. 9, extends between the second displaceable rope anchor 110 and the side rail to keep the parts aligned.

One stationary anchored end 212 of a length of rope 60 is anchored onto the fixed rope-engaging means 111. The rope 60 is then wound around the bale of compacted cardboard 50, until the free end of the rope 60 reaches the displaceable rope-engaging anchor 110. With a displaceable rope portion 213 leading up to the free end anchored at the displaceable rope-engaging anchor 110, the two ends of the rope, 212, 213 may eventually be tied together using the extending free end.

Initially the rope-engaging anchors 110 and 111 are substantially separated from each other before the ratchet-like mechanism 100 of the rope tightening mechanism is actuated. As the ratchet-like mechanism 100 is actuated, the engaged rope portions 213 and 212 are drawn close, with the portion 213 being drawn towards the portion 212 since portion 213 is anchored at the displaceable rope-engaging anchor 110.

Once the rope 60 has been tightened around the bundle to be bound, the extending portion(s) of the rope 60 may be used to tie the two ends together. Thereafter, the portions of the rope 60 held by the rope-engaging means are disengaged from the rope-engaging means. As an alternative to using an extension of the rope 60, a separate piece of rope can be used to tie the closing portions of the rope 60 together.

The ratchet-like mechanism 100 may comprise a wedge plate 104 that, when it is substantially perpendicular to the extended shaft 120, allows the rod to slide; and when the wedge plate 104 is canted at an angle from the perpendicular, the mechanism will jam and the wedge plate 104 will engage with the extended rod 120 when an attempt is made to move the wedge plate in a direction that would increase its canting angle. This is typically the direction that would cause an increase in the separation between the rope-engaging means 110 and 111. A brake spring 141 may be employed to bias the wedge plate 104 towards a jamming engagement and thereby initiate the jamming effect.

In this type of ratchet mechanism, two first and second wedge plates respectively mounted on the rod are required. When the handgrip is actuated the first wedge plate engages with the rod and causes the rod to shift with respect to the handgrip and its body. Upon deactivation of the handgrip, the second wedge plate resists movement of the rod in the reverse direction.

In FIG. 10 the strapping attachment of FIG. 6 is mounted along the lateral side the bearing frame through the side rail. As depicted the ratchet handle is positioned remotely from the baler frame. In FIGS. 11 and 12 the ratchet-like mechanism 100 is placed adjacent to of the compacting frame 25, near the junction of the frame 25 and the inclined plane 11, on the side plane. As depicted, the ratchet-like mechanism 100 is placed on the right plane 13, but the strapping attachment may be equivalently located on the left plane 12. Optionally, strapping attachments may be provided at both locations.

FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 depict a rope tightener mounted along the side of one of the lateral bracing members which, in turn, defines a portion of the bearing frame 25. FIG. 14 depicts a bundle of untied but compacted cardboard in position beneath the rope tightener, before the tightening process has been concluded. FIG. 15 depicts the rope tightening mechanism of FIG. 14 after the rope tightening process has been effected.

In FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 alternate rope anchors are depicted. In such figures, one of the rope anchors, preferably the moveable rope anchor 110, is based on an eccentrically rotating cylinder 220 which can be rotated to releasably pinch a portion of the rope 60 against an anvil surface 221. This action is shown in greater detail in FIGS. 16 and 16B. Both the off-centered axle for rotation of the cylinder 220 and the anvil surface 221 are mounted in a rigid relationship to each other. In the case of a displaceable anchor, such anchor is carried on the rod 120 to which it is affixed. In the case of a fixed anchor, which is carried on the rod 120, a pin 250 may be threaded on the rod to ensure that the anchor in question does not move as the rod moves when the ratchet-like mechanism is actuated. This is better described in FIG. 20.

The angle of engagement at the point of pinching between the rotating cylinder 220 and the anvil surface 221 where the rope portion has been placed should be sufficient to temporarily jam the rope portion in place, but not so severe as to make it difficult to allow disengagement, e.g. by manually rotating the cylinder 220 in the opposite direction to release the pinched rope portion once tying is completed, or by laterally pulling the rope 60 out from between the cylinder 220 and anvil surface 221. The surface of the rotating cylinder 220 is also preferably textured, e.g., as like the teeth of a file, or by transverse grooves, so as to have a suitably roughened surface that will raise the coefficient of static friction. This serves to reduce the tendency for the rope 60 to slip within the clamp while not increasing the difficulty for manually releasing the pinched rope. The rope 60 is prevented from coming loose on its own, since as the tension in the rope increases, the pinching force between the rotating cylinder 220 with a textured surface and the anvil surface 221 will increase.

With the rod 120 of the ratchet mechanism 100 positioned along the side member of the bearing frame, such bearing member or the side of the protruding lateral member may be provided with a groove. The displaceable anchor mounted on the rod may then be stabilized by providing it with a protruding guide pin 222 or guide as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 that slides within the groove 230, constraining the anchor against rotation on the rod 120.

FIG. 19 depicts a grooved rope anchor for anchoring a knotted rope end. The slot in this rope anchor is smaller than a knot to be formed in the rope and therefore shaped to retain a knotted portion of the rope in place. This grooved rope anchor, when serving as the fixed rope anchor 111 as shown in FIG. 15, is preferably slideably mounted on the rod of the ratchet mechanism. This allows such anchor 111 to closely align the rope with the cardboard to be bundled. To prevent rotation of the grooved rope anchor on the rod, a stabilizing pin 223 extends into the groove 230 formed on side of the lateral bracing member or bearing frame member. However the stabilizing pin 223, as seen in FIG. 19, does not penetrate through to the rod 120. This is what allows the stationary rope anchor 111 to remain fixed while the rod 120 is moved whenever the ratchet-like mechanism 100 is actuated. A loop may extend beyond such knotted portion of the rope.

FIG. 20 is a front view of FIG. 19 of the grooved rope anchor for anchoring a knotted rope end. On both sides of the rope anchor 110 are located two pins 250 that may help to impede the motion of the grooved rope anchor. In the case of a fixed anchor, which is carried on the rod 120, a pin 250 with a bore may be threaded on the rod to ensure that the anchor in question does not move as the rod moves when the ratchet-like mechanism is actuated. Optionally, this can be done with only one such pin as seen in FIGS. 13 through 15, providing that the pin remaining in place serves to impede the motion of the fixed anchor as the ratchet-like mechanism is actuated. The pin may be then welded or otherwise affixed to the frame in the channel.

CONCLUSION

The foregoing has constituted a description of specific embodiments showing how the invention may be applied and put into use. These embodiments are only exemplary. The invention in its broadest, and more specific aspects, is further described and defined in the claims which now follow.

These claims, and the language used therein, are to be understood in terms of the variants of the invention which have been described. They are not to be restricted to such variants, but are to be read as covering the full scope of the invention as is implicit within the invention and the disclosure that has been provided herein.





 
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