Title:
TIE-DOWN DISPENSER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for unrolling a coil of flexible material such as wire, cable, strap, belt, rope and other such tie-down material directionally and accurately. The apparatus includes a cradle being arcuate in shape and a handle. The bed of the cradle is capable of holding and supporting coiled tie-down material typically used in the transport industry to secure cargo. A method for using the same is disclosed.



Inventors:
Lampman, Tracy Eugene (Torrington, WY, US)
Application Number:
12/184954
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
08/01/2008
Assignee:
TNT DIVERSIFIED, LLC (Torrington, WY, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
410/98
International Classes:
B61D45/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDON, STEPHEN T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PETER J. TIMBERS (CASPER, WY, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus for directing and unrolling a coil of flexible tie-down material having a loose end and an interior end over cargo to be bound thereby, comprising: a cradle having a front end and a rear end, and an arcuate bed disposed between the front end and the rear end thereof capable of receiving the coil of flexible material; means for attaching the loose end of said coil to said cradle in the vicinity of the rear end thereof; a handle; and means for attaching said handle to said cradle.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cradle further comprises one or more support pieces connecting the front end and the rear end.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the one or more support pieces extend to the bed of the cradle.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the cradle further comprises an inside surface, an outside surface, and a midpoint, the midpoint located between the front end and the rear end.

5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the handle is attached to the outside surface of the cradle.

6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the handle is attached to the outside surface of the cradle between the midpoint and the front end of the cradle.

7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle is hingedly attached to the cradle.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle is telescopic.

9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the front end of the cradle further comprises two guides extending from the front end.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the rear end of the cradle further comprises two guides extending from the rear end.

11. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the means for attaching the loose end of said coil to said cradle comprises a slot.

12. A method for directing and unrolling a coil of flexible tie-down material having a loose end, the method comprising: placing the coil of flexible tie-down material in a cradle; attaching the loose end to the cradle; moving the cradle toward the cargo; and stopping the cradle such that the coil of flexible tie-down material is rolled, ejected, flung or thrown from the front end of the cradle while the loose end of the tie-down material remains attached to the cradle.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to binding, banding, tying down, or securing cargo to a support.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Hauling, carrying or transporting cargo safely and securely often requires binding, banding, or tying down such cargo. Typically, this may not be an easy task due to the height or width of the cargo. In order to secure such cargo, a coiled strap or belt is often tossed or flung over the cargo to be secured to the means of transport.

Often the tossed or flung strap or belt does not go across the cargo with a proper trajectory to enable secure attachment of the cargo to the support. Consequently, the strap or belt must be coiled and tossed again in the hope that the next such attempt is accurate enough to securely apply the strap or belt over the cargo and to the support.

This overall process may require several attempts, which is highly inefficient, is a loss of time and creates frustration. Additionally, improperly secured cargo is a considerable safety hazard. Requirements for securing cargo can be found in state and federal regulations, including 49 CFR§§393.100-114.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One object of the present invention is to provide a strap or belt dispenser that allows a coiled strap, belt, wire, rope, cable or other flexible tie-down material to be directionally unrolled and follow an accurate trajectory from a dispenser thereof over cargo loaded on a support for transportation. After the strap, belt, wire, rope, cable or other flexible tie-down material is unrolled, the cargo may be securely attached to the transportation support via the tie-down material.

Additional objects, advantages and novel features of the invention will be set forth in part in the description which follows, and in part will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon examination of the following or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and attained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

One embodiment of the present apparatus for directing and unrolling a coil of flexible tie-down material having a loose end and an interior end over cargo to be bound thereby, includes: a cradle having a front end and a rear end, and an arcuate bed between the front end and the rear end thereof capable of receiving the coil of flexible tie-down material; means for attaching the loose end of the coil to the cradle in the vicinity of the rear end thereof; a handle; and means for attaching the handle to the cradle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be best understood by those having ordinary skill in the art by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective side view of one embodiment of the cradle and includes a coil of flexible tie-down material disposed in the cradle, wherein the flexible material has a metal flat hook on both the loose end and the interior end of the material.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 of the present invention showing the flexible tie-down material as it is being ejected out of the cradle with the loose end of the tie-down material remaining attached to the cradle by its flat hook.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective rear view of another embodiment of the cradle.

FIG. 4A illustrates a side view of a telescopic handle wherein the handle segments are screwed together.

FIG. 4B illustrates a side view of a telescopic handle wherein the handle segments are unscrewed and separated from each other.

FIG. 5 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the cradle having a hinge connecting the handle and cradle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Throughout the following detailed description, the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements in all figures.

Referring to FIG. 1, a perspective side view of one embodiment of the present invention is shown. The tie-down dispenser 10 includes a cradle 20 and a handle 30. The cradle 20 has a midpoint 40, a front end 50, a rear end 60, and an arcuate bed 90. In this embodiment, the handle 30 is located between the front end 50 and the midpoint 40 and attached to the outer surface 150. The rear end 60 has a slot 70 (not visible in this figure), which receives a flat hook 80, which is attached to a coiled material 110. The coiled material can be a conventional strap and belt typically found in the transport industry. Because FIG. 1 is a perspective side view, the tie-down dispenser shown in FIG. 1 displays only one support piece 100 connecting the rear end 60 and the front end 50. Typically, the strap, belt, or other flexible coiled material 110, lies in the bed 90 of the cradle 20 between the front end 50, the rear end 60 and two support pieces until the tie-down material is ejected, flung, thrown or rolled out of the cradle. Typically the support pieces 100 are on each side of the cradle 90 connecting the front end 50 and the rear end 60.

Referring to FIG. 2, a perspective side view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the coil of flexible tie-down material 110 being rolling out of the front end 50 of the cradle 20. The metal flat hook 80 remains attached to the rear end 60 of the cradle 20 via the slot 70 (not shown) as the coiled material 110 exits the cradle with the desired trajectory.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a perspective rear view of another embodiment of the present invention is shown. The cradle's front end 50 is the location from which the coiled flexible material is rolled, ejected, flung, or thrown from the cradle 20. The rear end 60 and slot 70 are shown. The inner surface 140 of the cradle 20 is shown. The outer surface 150 of the cradle 20 is shown, although the attachment of the handle 30 to outer surface 150 is not depicted in this figure. FIG. 3 includes two support pieces 100A and 100B on either side of the cradle 20. In this embodiment, the support pieces 100A and 100B extend to the bottom of the cradle 20. Additionally, FIG. 3 shows two guides 130A and 130B extending from either side of the front end 50. In other embodiments of the present invention, which are not depicted, the guides may be attached to the rear end of the cradle. The guides are useful in helping correct placement of the material after the material has been unrolled, flung, ejected or thrown from the front end of the cradle.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the handle 30 may be telescopic. FIG. 4A shows a handle 30 that has been elongated by attaching an additional handle component 30A to handle 30. The resulting handle has additional length. Likewise, FIG. 4B shows two additional handle components, 30B, attachable to handle 30, and 30C, attachable to handle component 30B. Handle 30 and handle components 30B and 30C may be screwed together to form a single elongated telescopic handle. These examples of telescopic handles elevate the cradle 20 and aid in tying down cargo that is taller. Numerous handle components may be used to reach a desired height, Numerous other types of telescopic handles that are well known in the art of providing for telescopic reach may be used to elevate the cradle to a desired height.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the handle 30 may be hingedly attached to the cradle 20. FIG. 5 shows a hinge 140 connecting the handle to the cradle. The hinge provides for additional momentum for the ejected coiled flexible material. Other hinge mechanisms are well known in the art and may be similarly employed. The handle 30 may be attached to the cradle 20 by screwing, welding or other suitable fastening procedures known in the art.

The present invention also includes a method for directing and unrolling a coil of flexible tie-down material having a loose end, the method including: placing the coil of flexible tie-down material in a cradle; attaching the loose end of the coil to the cradle; moving the cradle toward the cargo; and stopping the cradle such that the coil of flexible tie-down material is rolled, ejected, flung or thrown from the front end of the cradle while the loose end of the tie-down material remains attached to the cradle.

It is believed that the apparatus of the present invention, and many of its attendant advantages will be understood by the foregoing description. It is also believed that it will be apparent that various changes may be made in the form, construction, and arrangement of the components thereof without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention or without sacrificing all of its material advantages. The form herein before described, being merely exemplary and explanatory embodiment thereof. It is the intention of the following claims to encompass and include such changes.