Title:
Paver hopper flap suspension system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A paver hopper flap suspension system has a number flaps attached to the hopper frame. A cable restraint line is attached to the flaps. A tensioning system is attached to the cable restraint line. The tensioning system allows the flaps to distort as the loading truck body engages the hopper entrance. Once the truck exits the hopper entrance the hopper flap suspension system causes the flaps to spring back to their original shape. The suspension system may include a torsion spring biasing the flaps into a vertical position. The tensioning system may include a tension adjuster. Using this system the flaps are not torn and hold the asphalt in place as the loading trucks dump asphalt into the hopper.



Inventors:
Mayer, Siegfried (Colorado Springs, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/077265
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/21/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
404/108
International Classes:
E01C19/18
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF DALE B. HALLING (COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hopper flap suspension system, comprising: a plurality of flaps attached to a hopper frame of a paver; a cable restraint line attached to each of the plurality of flaps; and a tensioning system attached to the cable restraint line.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of flaps are made of a stiff rubbery material.

3. The system of claim 1, further including a torsion spring attached to the hopper frame and biasing one of the plurality of flaps in a predetermined position.

4. The system of claim 2, wherein the cable restraint line is attached to a top portion of the plurality of flaps.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the tensioning system is attached to the hopper frame.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the tensioning system has a tension adjuster.

7. A hopper flap suspension system, comprising: a flap attached to a hopper frame; and a flap biasing system biasing the flap into a predetermined position.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the flap is made of a stiff rubbery material.

9. The system of claim 7, wherein the flap biasing system includes a cable restraint line attached to the flap.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the flap biasing system includes a cable tensioner attached to the cable restrain line.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the cable tensioner includes a tension adjuster.

12. The system of claim 10, wherein the flap biasing system includes a torsion spring attached to the hopper frame and biasing one of the plurality of flaps in a predetermined position.

13. A paver, comprising: a chassis; a hopper frame attached to the chassis; a flap suspension system attached to the hopper frame.

14. The paver of claim 13, wherein the flap suspension system comprises: a plurality of flaps attached to a hopper frame of a paver; a cable restraint line attached to each of the plurality of flaps; and a tensioning system attached to the cable restraint line.

15. The paver of claim 14, further including a torsion spring attached to the hopper frame and biasing one of the plurality of flaps in a predetermined position.

16. The paver of claim 14, wherein the cable restraint line is attached to a top portion of the plurality of flaps.

17. The paver of claim 14, wherein the tensioning system is attached to the hopper frame.

18. The paver of claim 17, wherein the tensioning system has a tension adjuster.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to asphalt paving machines or pavers. Presently all asphalt pavers have stiff rubber flaps that are bolted to the sides of the entrance of the hopper box. The entrance of the hopper box is where the paver is loaded with asphalt. The trucks carrying the hot asphalt from the asphalt plant to the paver have dump beds that vary in height and width and have differing angles of dump that engage the hopper entrance. This variability results in harsh contact with the hopper flaps that are intended to retain the asphalt in the hopper and prevent spillage out of the hopper. As a result, within the first 100 hours of operation of a new paver with new flaps, the flaps get ripped off the hopper frame, or are folded over into the hopper or sag forward out of the hopper. This results in the flaps failing in their intended purpose of retaining the mix in the hopper. The result is that the asphalt now spills out the sides and out the bottom without restraint and creates piles of mix on the ground in front of the paver tracks-wheels. This causes the paver to roll up on the piles and thus changes the paver angle, disturbing the grading plain of the finish mat. All of these variations in the pavement have to fixed costing time and money.

Thus there exists a need for a paver with a hopper flap system that lasts longer and does not allow the asphalt to fall out of the hopper as the hopper is being loaded.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

A paver hopper flap suspension system that overcomes these and other problems has a number of flaps attached to the hopper frame. A cable restraint line is attached to the flaps. A tensioning system is attached to the cable restraint line. The tensioning system allows the flaps to distort as the loading truck body engages the hopper entrance. Once the truck exits the hopper entrance the hopper flap suspension system causes the flaps to spring back to their original shape. The suspension system may include a torsion spring biasing the flaps into a vertical position. The tensioning system may include a tension adjuster.

Using this system the flaps are not torn and hold the asphalt in place as the loading trucks dump asphalt into the hopper. As a result, the hopper flap system lasts longer and does not allow the asphalt to fall out of the hopper as the hopper is being loaded.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a paver in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a hopper entrance in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 3 is a cutaway side view of the hopper entrance in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The paver hopper flap suspension system of the present invention has a number of flaps attached to the hopper frame. A cable restraint line is attached to the flaps. A tensioning system is attached to the cable restraint line. The tensioning system allows the flaps to distort as the loading truck body engages the hopper entrance. Once the truck exits the hopper entrance the hopper flap suspension system causes the flaps to spring back to their original shape. The suspension system may include a torsion spring biasing the flaps into a vertical position. The tensioning system may include a tension adjuster. Using this system the flaps are not torn and hold the asphalt in place as the loading trucks dump asphalt into the hopper.

FIG. 1 is a side view of a paver 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The paver 10 has a chassis 12 that moves on tracked wheels 14 over the ground 16. A hopper 18 is attached to the chassis 12. The hopper 18 holds the asphalt 20. The paver 10 requires the hopper 18 to be filled with asphalt 20 by trucks. The trucks load the asphalt into a hopper entrance of the hopper 18. The hopper entrance can be either on the side of the hopper or on the end of the hopper.

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of a hopper entrance 30 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The hopper entrance 30 is defined by the hopper frame 32. The flaps 34, 36, 38 are attached to the hopper frame 32. The center flap 36 may be bolted 40 to the hopper frame 32. The outer to flaps 34 &38 are attached to the hopper frame. The torsion springs 42 bias the flaps into a vertical or predetermined position. As shown herein the center flap 36 is in front of the two outer flaps 34 &38. The flaps 34, 36, 38 are commonly made of a stiff rubbery material. A cable restraint line 44 is attached to the tops of flaps 34, 36, 38. The restraint line 44 is a steel cable in one embodiment and may be attached by U-bolts or may be threaded through the flaps 34, 36, 38. A tensioning system 46 tensions the cable restraint line 44. The tensioning system housing 48 is attached to the hopper frame 32. Note that the flaps are not connected on their sides to the sides of the hopper frame 32.

FIG. 3 is a cutaway side view of the hopper entrance in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The cable tensioning system 46 has a cable guide 50 for holding the cable 44. A tensioning device 52 is attached to cable 44. The tensioning device 52 may be a spring (passive system) or hydraulic-pneumatic ram (active user system). A tension adjuster 54 is attached to the (passive) tensioning device 52. In one embodiment, the torsion spring 52 is replaced by a hydraulic or pneumatic ram (active system) system. An active system allows the operator to change the amount of tension on the cable 44 to fit the operator's particular need.

In operation, when a truck dumps its load of asphalt the bed of the truck engages the flaps 34, 36, 38. The cable restraint line 44 plays out and allows the flaps 34, 36, 38 to fold and bend, since they are not attached at the sides to the hopper frame. When the bed of the truck releases from the flaps the cable restraint line 44 is pulled back in by the tensioning system, which causes the flaps 34, 36, 38 to rebound to their original position. Because the flaps 34, 36, 38 are allowed to bend and fold when a truck applies pressure to them and still return to their original position, the flaps are not destroyed. In addition, the flaps restrain the asphalt from falling out of the hopper bed. This save time and money in wasted rework caused by asphalt spills.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alterations, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alterations, modifications, and variations in the appended claims.