Title:
Cable Reel Holder
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cable reel holder (1) for use with a cable reel (13) having a hollow cable spool (14). The holder comprises a head unit and a base unit (2) which are releasably connectable via a spindle (5, 10) upon which, in use, the cable spool (14) is mounted. Tho spindle is comprised of a first member defined by the base unit and a second member defined by the head unit, with the first member being releasably connectable to the second member. The first and second members are releasably connectable by a screw connection (6, 11). The spindle is preferably upright during use of the holder. The screw connection between the first and second members is preferably arranged such that, as cable is drawn from a cable reel mounted on the spindle, the screw connection is caused to tighten.



Inventors:
Pemberton, Gary (Derbyshire, GB)
Higgins, Paul (Manchester, GB)
Application Number:
11/814264
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
01/17/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H49/32; B65H49/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLP (Mke) (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A cable reel holder for use with a cable reel having a hollow cable spool, said holder comprising a head unit and a base unit which are releasably connectable via a spindle upon which, in use, said cable spool is mounted, said spindle being comprised of a first member defined by said base unit and a second member defined by said head unit, said first member being releasably connectable to said second member, wherein said first and second members define complementary first and second threaded regions respectively such that said first and second members are releasably connectable by a screw connection.

2. A holder according to claim 1, wherein, in use, said spindle is substantially upright.

3. A holder according to claim 1, wherein one of said first and second members defines a bore for receipt of at least a part of the other of said members.

4. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said first threaded region is defined by an outer surface of said first member and said second threaded region is defined by an inner surface of said second member.

5. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said complementary threaded portions are configured such that, in use, drawing cable from said cable reel when mounted on said spindle causes said screw connection to tighten.

6. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said base and head units define respective first and second generally parallel surfaces between which said cable reel is to be located.

7. A holder according to claim 6, wherein, in use, said first and second surfaces are substantially horizontal.

8. A holder according to claim 6, wherein at least one of said first and second surfaces has a larger diameter than a diameter of a flange forming part of said cable reel.

9. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said base unit has a greater mass than said head unit.

10. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said head unit defines a formation adapted for engagement by a hand of a user.

11. A holder according to claim 10, wherein said formation comprises at least one annular projection.

12. A holder according to claim 10, wherein said formation comprises a plurality of concentric annular projections.

13. A holder according to claim 1, wherein at least one of said head and base units is formed from a plastics material.

14. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said first member is formed integrally with said base unit.

15. A holder according to claim 1, wherein said second member is formed integrally with said head unit.

16. (canceled)

17. A kit of parts to be assembled to provide a cable reel holder for use with a cable reel having a hollow cable spool, said holder comprising a head unit and a base unit which are releasably connectable via a spindle upon which, in use, said cable spool is mounted, said spindle being comprised of a first member defined by said base unit and a second member defined by said head unit, said first member being releasably connectable to said second member, wherein said first and second members define complementary first and second threaded regions respectively such that said first and second members are releasably connectable by a screw connection.

18. (canceled)

19. A cable reel assembly comprising a cable reel having a hollow cable spool mounted on a cable reel holder according to claim 1.

20. (canceled)

21. A kit of parts to be assembled to provide a cable reel assembly comprising a cable reel having a hollow cable spool mounted on a cable reel holder according to claim 1.

22. (canceled)

Description:

The present invention relates to a cable reel holder for use with a cable reel having a hollow cable spool.

Electrical cable and the like is usually stored on a cable reel comprising a hollow metallic spindle interposed between a pair of cardboard flanges. To dispense cable the reel is typically placed on the floor and cable drawn from the reel as desired.

Safety regulations prohibit the use of cable drawn from a reel that is damaged in any way. Thus it is important to ensure that cable reels are stored and used in the correct manner to avoid damaging the reel and/or cable. Unfortunately, in order to reduce costs, the cardboard flanges provided on a reel are becoming progressively thinner and weaker resulting in an increased risk of causing damage to them and possibly the cable and/or spindle. It is also common for the cardboard flanges to be exposed to damp or wet conditions leading to water damage which can cause the reel and the associated cable to be unsuitable for use.

An object of the present invention is to obviate or mitigate the aforementioned problems.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a cable reel holder for use with a cable reel having a hollow cable spool, said holder comprising a head unit and a base unit which are releasably connectable via a spindle upon which, in use, said cable spool is mounted, said spindle being comprised of a first member defined by said base unit and a second member defined by said head unit, said first member being releasably connectable to said second member, wherein said first and second members define complementary first and second threaded regions respectively such that said first and second members are releasably connectable by a screw connection.

The present invention therefore provides a simple means for storing and deploying cable wound on a reel which significantly reduces the risk of damaging the various components making up a cable reel, which might otherwise render the cable unusable. Use of the holder of the present invention should therefore avoid undesirable financial losses and reduce waste.

In a preferred embodiment of this aspect of the present invention, in use, said spindle is substantially upright. The base unit is designed such that, in use, it can rest stably on a floor and the head unit is designed to be releasably connectable to the base unit by connection of the second member to the first member.

Preferably one of said first and second members defines a bore for receipt of at least a part of the other of said members.

Conveniently, said first threaded region is defined by an outer surface of said first member and said second threaded region is defined by an inner surface of said second member. Preferably said complementary threaded portions are configured such that, in use, drawing cable from said cable reel when mounted on said spindle causes said screw connection to tighten.

It is preferred that said base and head units define respective first and second generally parallel surfaces to act as protective flanges between which said cable reel is to be located. Additionally, in use, said first and second surfaces are preferably substantially horizontal. Preferably at least one of said first and second surfaces has a larger diameter than a diameter of a guide plate forming part of said cable reel. The flanges defined by the base and head units are arranged to protect the cardboard flanges of the cable reel from damage, thus, reducing waste and therefore costs.

Said base unit may have a greater mass than said head unit.

Preferably said head unit defines a formation adapted for engagement by a hand of a user, e.g. a handle or a recessed formation approximately complementary to the fingers of a user's hand. Said formation may comprise at least one annular projection and more preferably comprises a plurality of concentric annular projections. A particularly appropriate number of annular projections is two or three, although any desirable number may be used. The centre of the head unit may define a circular aperture within the centremost annular projection. The aperture may extend at least partially into the connecting member along an axis defined by the connecting member.

It is preferred that at least one of said head and base units is formed from a plastics material.

Appropriately said first member is formed integrally with said base unit. Moreover, said second member may be formed integrally with said head unit.

A second aspect of the present invention provides a kit of parts to be assembled to provide a cable reel holder for use with a cable reel having a hollow cable spool, said holder comprising a head unit and a base unit which are releasably connectable via a spindle upon which, in use, said cable spool is mounted, said spindle being comprised of a first member defined by said base unit and a second member defined by said head unit, said first member being releasably connectable to said second member, wherein said first and second members define complementary first and second threaded regions respectively such that said first and second members are releasably connectable by a screw connection.

A third aspect of the present invention provides a cable reel assembly comprising a cable reel having a hollow cable spool mounted on a cable reel holder according to the first aspect of the present invention.

A fourth aspect of the present invention provides a kit of parts to be assembled to provide a cable reel assembly comprising a cable reel having a hollow cable spool mounted on a cable reel holder according to the first aspect of the present invention.

Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side view of a cable reel holder in accordance with a first embodiment of an aspect of the present invention shown disassembled;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the cable reel holder of FIG. 1 shown part assembled with a cable reel;

FIG. 3 is a perspective underside view of a head unit of a cable reel holder in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective top view of the head unit of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a sectioned view of the head unit of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a perspective sectioned view of the head unit of FIG. 3; and

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a base unit for assembly with the head unit of FIG. 3 to form the second embodiment of a cable reel holder in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 1 shows a cable reel holder 1 in accordance with an aspect of the present invention comprising a base unit 2 and a head unit 3 which are releasably connectable to one another. The base unit 2 incorporates a generally flat relatively heavy lower flange 4 which is integrally formed with an upright cylindrical supporting member 5. A thread 6 is defined by an outer surface of the member 5. The head unit 3 incorporates an upper flange plate 7 with a domed upper surface 8 and a generally flat lower surface 9. The upper plate 7 is formed integrally with a downwardly extending hollow cylindrical connecting member 10. A thread 11 (shown as a series of dashed lines) is defined by an inner surface of the connecting member 10 which is complementary to the thread 6 defined by the outer surface of the supporting member 5. In this way, the base and head units 2, 3 can be reversibly screwed together. The domed upper surface 8 defines a formation 12 which is suitable to be grasped by a user (not shown) to lift the head unit 3 (and the base unit 2 if connected to the head unit 3).

In FIG. 2, a cable reel 13 comprising a hollow metallic spool 14 interposed between a pair of cardboard flanges 15, is shown located above the supporting member 5 of the base unit 2. A length of cable 16 is wound around the hollow spool 14. A bore (not shown) defined by the hollow spool 14 is aligned with the supporting member 5 to enable the reel 13 to be mounted on the supporting member 5 by insertion of the supporting member 5 in to the bore. Once the reel 13 has been mounted on the supporting member 5, the connecting member 10 of the head unit 3 is then aligned with the supporting member 5 and screwed in place. In this way, the supporting member 5 and the connecting member 10 together define a spindle upon which the cable reel 13 is rotatably mounted. Cable 16 can then be drawn from the reel 13 in the usual way. Drawing cable 16 from the reel 13 causes the reel 13 to rotate on the spindle. The threads 6, 11 defined by surfaces of the supporting and connecting members 5, 10 are arranged such that the supporting and connecting members 5, 10 are screwed together by clockwise rotation of the head unit 3 relative to the base unit 2. In this way, clockwise rotation of the cable reel 13 as cable 16 is dispensed tightens (or at least does not loosen) the screw connection between the base and head units 2, 3.

Following use, the cable reel holder 1 can then be disassembled simply by unscrewing the head unit 3 from the base unit 2 and the used reel 13 then lifted off the supporting member 5.

The upper and lower flanges 7, 4 provided outboard of the cardboard flanges 15 of the reel 13 protect the cardboard plates 15 from damage which might reduce the structural integrity of the cardboard flanges 15 and, in turn, the reel 13 and associated cable 16. Repeated use of the holder 1 of the present invention should therefore lower costs and reduce waste caused by discarding unusable cable.

Referring now to FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6 which show a second embodiment of a head unit 17 forming part of a cable reel holder according to an aspect of the present invention, the head unit 17 has a domed upper surface 18 which has been moulded so as to define a series of concentric annular formations 19 projecting upwardly from the domed upper surface 18 and are separated by concentric annular recesses 20 so as to define a simple and convenient formation for grasping by a user of the cable reel holder. The upper surface 18 of the head unit 17 is formed so as to further define a central circular opening 21 within the innermost annular projection 19 which extends through a cylindrical connecting member 21. An advantage provided by this embodiment is that whilst the formation still enables the holder to be securely grasped and carried by the user, the holder can also be rotated about an axis defined by the connecting member 22 whilst being held by the user. FIG. 3 shows a plurality of strengthening ribs 23 which are provided between the connecting member 22 and an underside surface 24 of the head unit 17. In a similar way to which threads 11 were defined by an inner surface of the connecting member 10 of the first embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, threads 25 are defined by an inner surface of the connecting member 22.

In FIG. 7, there is shown a base unit 26 to be threadedly connected to the head unit 17 depicted in FIGS. 3 to 6. The base unit 26 comprises a generally flat relatively heavy lower flange 27 and an upright cylindrical supporting member 28. The outer surface of the supporting member 28 defines a thread 29 which is configured for threaded engagement with the thread 25 defined by the inner surface of the connecting member 22 of the head unit 17.

It will be understood that numerous modifications can be made to the embodiment of the invention described above without departing from the underlying inventive concept and that these modifications are intended to be included within the scope of the invention. For example, the size and shape of the base and head units can be selected to suit any particular application. It is envisaged that the upper and lower flanges forming integral parts of the head and base units may be generally circular with a diameter similar to or slightly larger than that of the cardboard flanges of a cable reel mounted on the holder. However, the upper and lower flanges may take any desirable size or shape. The upper surface of the head unit does not have to be domed but, instead, may possess any appropriate form. Moreover, grasping of the head unit by a user may be facilitated simply by the provision of a handle upstanding from the upper surface of the head unit rather than some form of moulded recessed formation. Furthermore, the head and/or base unit may be opaque or transparent any may be any desirable colour.

It is foreseen that in certain applications it would be particularly advantageous to make the base unit dimensionally larger and/or heavier than the head unit to provide a degree of stability to the holder during assembly/disassembly and deployment of cable from a reel mounted on the holder. The head and base units can be formed from the same material or different materials although it is envisaged that both units will be formed from plastics materials. The spindle formed by connection of the supporting member to connecting member can be of any appropriate length and diameter although it is preferred that the spindle will be appropriately dimensioned to accommodate all standard size cable reels so that the holder functions as a universal cable reel holder. In the foregoing example, the spindle is formed by screwing a hollow cylindrical connecting member down over an upstanding cylindrical supporting member. The two components making up the spindle may, however, take any convenient form and may connect to one another in any desirable fashion, such as a snap fit or a friction fit. In the above specific embodiment the supporting and connecting members both extend across substantially the whole distance separating the head and base units when assembled. However, one of the spindle components may extend across a majority of the distance separating the head and base units when assembled or, alternatively, each component may extend over approximately half of the assembled separation between the head and base units.