Title:
Multiple surface moldboard fabricated from a one-piece blank
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A one-piece blank for a multiple surface moldboard having a top edge, a bottom edge, an upper portion, and a lower portion is disclosed. The stamped one-piece blank has a central body section, and two opposed outer wing sections disposed at right and left ends of the central body section. First and second notches or cutouts are provided, and define the two opposed outer wing sections. The first and second notches are oriented vertically and are generally inverted v-shaped. A rolling operation forms the lower portion of the moldboard into a uniform curved radius, which occurs simultaneously in one operation. A bending operation creates an approximate 30-degree angle (into the curvature), along the top edge of the moldboard, bringing opposing radial lines together. A second bending operation creates a similar approximate 30-degree angle (into the curvature) along the top edge of the moldboard. The one-piece moldboard is finalized by welding the gaps remaining between the moldboard wings and the center section.



Inventors:
May, Michael P. (Wamego, KS, US)
Application Number:
11/821125
Publication Date:
12/25/2008
Filing Date:
06/22/2007
Assignee:
Caterpillar Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02F3/815
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Caterpillar Inc. (PEORIA, IL, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A multi-surface moldboard for a dozer U-blade fabricated from a one-piece blank, said one-piece blank having a top edge, a bottom edge, an upper portion, and a lower portion, comprising: a central body section, two opposed outer wing sections disposed at right and left ends of said central body section, said two opposed outer wing sections defined by first and second notches, said notches generally oriented vertically.

2. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein said upper and lower portions run substantially horizontally across the entire length of said one-piece blank, whereby the top of said notches define a break line between said upper and lower portions.

3. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein said first and second notches each have left and right curved edges, said left curved edge of said first notch being symmetrically opposed to said right curved edge of said second notch, and said right curved edge of said first notch being symmetrically opposed to said left curved edge of said second notch.

4. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein the single sheet includes curved and straight sections substantially across an entire length of the sheet.

5. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein said upper portion is substantially flat and said lower portion is curved, said flat and curved sections are oriented substantially across the entire length of the blank.

6. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein said entire curved lower portion is rolled simultaneously in a moldboard radius-forming operation.

7. The one-piece blank of claim 4, wherein said entire curved lower portion is created simultaneously in a brake press operation.

8. The one-piece blank of claim 4, wherein said entire curved lower portion is created simultaneously in a rolled press operation.

9. The one-piece blank of claim 1, where said one of said two opposing outer wing sections is bent inward approximately 30 degrees from the flat state, such that the final angle between the backside of the center section and the backside of the wing is approximately 210 degrees.

10. The one-piece blank of claim 9, wherein a second vertically directed approximately 30-degree angle is created along said flat upper portion, concavely directed into the curvature of said lower portion of said blank, by a wing-forming operation, thereby bringing the opposing radial lines of said second notch in proximal vicinity.

11. The one-piece blank of claim 9, wherein said first and second vertically directed approximately 30-degree angles are created simultaneously.

12. The one-piece blank of claim 1, wherein one-piece moldboard is finalized by bevel welding the interface remaining between the moldboard wings and the center section

13. A method of manufacture of the multi-surface moldboard fabricated from a one-piece blank of claim 1, comprising the steps of: flame-cutting a one-piece blank, said blank having a top edge, a bottom edge, a upper portion, and a lower portion, a central body section, two opposed outer wing sections disposed at right and left ends of said central body section, said opposed outer wing sections defined by first and second notches generally oriented vertically, said upper and lower portions running substantially horizontally across the entire length of said one piece blank; press braking said lower curved portion of said one-piece blank simultaneously; bending an approximate 30-degree angle from the remaining flat surface along the top edge of the moldboard, thereby bringing the opposing radial edges of each of said notches together; and welding the interface remaining between the moldboard wings and the center section.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the bending step bending both wings inward occurs simultaneously.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to a blade, and more particularly to a multiple surface moldboard blade fabricated from a one piece blank.

BACKGROUND

Machines such as, for example, dozers, may be used in earth leveling applications such as road maintenance or surface contouring. Dozers have a power source driven traction device section and a front implement section. The front implement section may include a moldboard blade that performs various operations.

Typical moldboards generally consist of multiple vertical sections or panels, each section typically having a curved portion and a flat portion. The various moldboard sections are typically formed independently and then welded together along their entire lengths. Moldboard sections include left and right wing sections, and one or more center sections. Each moldboard section is generally fabricated separately, roll formed separately, and then permanently joined by way of welding along the entire vertical seams.

While the typical moldboard design and method of manufacture may be adequate, the assembly can be complex and costly to fabricate. For example, the numerous sections required for assembly of the moldboard may be expensive to produce and maintain. The typical moldboard requires extensive welding of the numerous individual sections, which increases labor and manufacturing costs. In addition, the time required to produce a typical moldboard may be extensive because of the increased manufacturing and labor steps involved in the formation and assembly processes.

The present disclosure is directed to overcoming one or more of the problems set forth above.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the present disclosure is directed to a multi-surface moldboard for a dozer U-blade fabricated from a one-piece blank having a top edge, a bottom edge, an upper portion, and a lower portion. The one piece blank includes a central body section and two opposed outer wing sections disposed at right and left ends of the central body section. First and second notches define the two opposed outer wing sections, and the notches are generally oriented vertically.

In another aspect, the present disclosure is directed to a work machine that includes a front section having at least one traction device. The work machine also includes a rear section having a power source supported by at least one traction device. The work machine further includes a main frame operatively connecting the front section to the rear section through a single formed beam. The work machine additionally includes an operator station connected to the main frame.

In such a moldboard structure, a significant reduction in the number of separate parts can be achieved, with a resultant saving in cost, without compromising the strength of the assembly. The moldboard of the present disclosure would be stronger, lower in cost, and geometrically more accurate from which to manufacture dozer u-blades.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic illustration of a machine according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic illustration of a prior art moldboard blade assembly of a machine;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic illustration of a moldboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic illustration of a moldboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure following a rolling operation;

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic illustration of a moldboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure following a bending operation;

FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic illustration of a moldboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure following an optional second bending operation; and

FIG. 7 is a diagrammatic illustration of a moldboard according to an exemplary embodiment of the present disclosure following a welding operation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Throughout this specification the term moldboard shall be taken to be the major earthmoving component included in such blades as are fitted to any machine for the purposes of earth moving and which are supported from the machine to extend transversely on the machine with the blade (or moldboard) being directed substantially upwardly. Such blades (moldboards) typically extend transversely to the usual direction of travel of the machine, to push earth or the like, or to level the earth, for example.

Turning now to FIG. 1, which illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a machine 10 having a power source driven traction device section 12 and a front implement section 14. The front implement section 14 may include a blade (moldboard) 30 that performs various operations.

FIG. 2 shows a typical prior art moldboard blade 30 having a plurality of individual moldboard panel sections. Typical moldboard panel sections include a left wing section 32, a right wing section 34, and one or more center sections 36. Each of the individual moldboard sections 32, 34 and 36 consists of a flat area and a curved area (not shown). In a typical blade 30, a rolling operation creates a curved area on a lower portion of each moldboard panel section. The rolling operation may be done in a press brake operation or in a roller press operation. Each of the lower portions of each individual moldboard panel section is curved in separate rolling operations, each formed to the same radius. Following the rolling operation, each of the individual sections is aligned, welded together along their entire lengths, and additional blade hardware is attached, as is well known in the art.

Observing FIG. 3, an embodiment of the present disclosure is shown. A one-piece blank 40 having a top edge 42, a bottom edge 44, an upper portion 46, and a lower portion 48 is disclosed. The flame cut (burned) one-piece blank 40 has a central body section 50, and two opposed outer wing sections 52, 53 disposed at left and right ends (not shown) of the central body section 50. First and second notches or cutouts 56, 57 are provided, and substantially define the two opposed outer wing sections 52, 53. The first and second notches 56, 57 are oriented vertically and are generally inverted v-shaped. Additionally, the one-piece blank 50 may be stamped, as would be understood in the art. The moldboard 40 of the present disclosure is fabricated from a single sheet of any suitable high strength metal material.

The upper and lower portions 46, 48 of the one-piece blank 50 extend substantially horizontally across the entire length of the blank 50. Further, the top of the notches 56, 57 essentially defines a break line 60 between said upper and lower portions 46, 48.

The first and second notches 56, 57 each have left and right edges 58, 59, which form the generally inverted v-shape of the notches 56, 57. The left and right edges 58, 59 extend radially outward from each other from the top of the inverted v-shaped notch. That is, the left radial edge 58 of the first notch 56 may have the same length and curved radius as the symmetrically opposed right radial edge 59 of the second notch 57. Likewise, the right radial edge 59 of the first notch 56 may similarly be symmetrically opposed to the left radial edge 59 of the second notch 57.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a rolling or moldboard radius-forming operation forms the lower portion of the moldboard into a uniformly curved portion below the break line 60. The lower portion 48 may be formed in a press brake, roller press, or the like. The moldboard radius forming operation of the center 50 and wing sections 52, 53 occurs simultaneously in one operation, creating a more accurate moldboard radius. The moldboard geometry, with the flat and curved portions, may be manipulated by varying the geometry of the notched portions as a potential aid in preventing the spillage of the earth material over the top edge of the moldboard blade, as would be understood by one skilled in the art.

Each of the wing sections 52 and 53 are bent in a wing-forming operation. The wings 52, 53 are bent inward approximately 30 degrees from the remaining flat upper portion of the moldboard section so that the final angle between the backside of the center section 50 and the backside of the wing is approximately 210 degrees. The approximate 30-degree angle from the flat upper portion effectively brings the left and right radial edges of each notch 56, 57 together, as shown in FIGS. 5-6. The described bending operation may occur in succession, either angle being formed first, or the two bends may occur simultaneously. The bend is created in a vertical direction across the flat upper section of the moldboard about a line extending upward from the top of the notches 56, 57. Therefore, in an optional two-step bending arrangement, a second bending operation may create a similar approximate 30-degree angle from the flat portion, along the top edge of the moldboard 40. The bend is created similarly in a vertical direction across the flat upper portion 46 of the moldboard about a line extending upward from the top of the other of the two notches.

Fabrication of the one-piece moldboard 40 is finalized by welding the closed joints remaining between the moldboard wings 52, 53and the center section 50, as illustrated in FIG. 7. The welding operation is preferably completed by bevel welding, using any appropriate means of permanent attachment of the wing sections, such as arc welding, spot welding, seam welding, friction stir welding, fusion welding, or the like.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The disclosed multiple surface moldboard fabricated from a one-piece blank may be applicable to any machine having a power source driven traction device section and a front implement section. The moldboard 40 of this disclosure may be particularly beneficial in a dozer application.

It will be appreciated that the foregoing description provides examples of the disclosed method. However, it is contemplated that other implementations of the disclosure may differ in detail from the foregoing examples. All references to the disclosure or examples thereof are intended to reference the particular example being discussed at that point and are not intended to imply any limitation as to the scope of the disclosure more generally. All language of distinction and disparagement with respect to certain features is intended to indicate a lack of preference for those features, but not to exclude such from the scope of the disclosure entirely, unless otherwise indicated.

Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.

Accordingly, this disclosure includes all modifications and equivalents of subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the disclosure unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.