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Publication numberUS20030059269 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/255,038
Publication dateMar 27, 2003
Filing dateSep 24, 2002
Priority dateSep 24, 2001
Publication number10255038, 255038, US 2003/0059269 A1, US 2003/059269 A1, US 20030059269 A1, US 20030059269A1, US 2003059269 A1, US 2003059269A1, US-A1-20030059269, US-A1-2003059269, US2003/0059269A1, US2003/059269A1, US20030059269 A1, US20030059269A1, US2003059269 A1, US2003059269A1
InventorsJames Bosley
Original AssigneeBosley James Michael
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cargo restraint apparatus
US 20030059269 A1
Abstract
A cargo restraint apparatus for use to secure a load on a vehicle. The apparatus includes a frame assembly, a reel, and an elongated strap. The frame assembly is mountable to the vehicle, and the reel is rotatably mounted on the frame assembly. The elongated strap has a first end and a second end with the second end of the elongated strap being connectable to the vehicle. The elongated strap is adapted to be wound about and withdrawn from the reel. The reel is biased so that the strap is maintained in a wound position on the reel. The reel is lockingly engaged so as to restrict withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel while permitting automatic retraction of the elongated strap onto the reel.
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Claims(12)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus in combination with a vehicle for restraining the movement of a cargo of the vehicle, the apparatus comprising:
a frame assembly connected to the vehicle;
a reel rotatably mounted on the frame assembly;
an elongated strap having a first end and a second end, the first end of the elongated strap connected to the reel and the second end of the elongated strap attached to the cargo, the elongated strap adapted to be wound about and withdrawn from the reel;
means for biasing the reel in a strap winding position; and
means for locking the reel at a selected position to prevent withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel while permitting automatic retraction of the elongated strap onto the reel thereby maintaining the strap in a taut condition to restrain movement of the cargo.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising adjustment means attached to the elongated strap for cinching the elongated strap into the taut condition when the reel is locked.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the adjustment means comprises:
a buckle slidably connected to the second end of the elongated strap; and
an extension strap having one end connected to the buckle and another end connected to the cargo.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the adjustment means further comprises a hook attached to the extension strap for connecting the extension strap to the cargo.
5. An apparatus in combination with a vehicle for restraining the movement of a cargo of the vehicle, the apparatus comprising:
a frame assembly connected to the vehicle;
a reel rotatably mounted on the frame assembly;
an elongated strap having a first end and a second end, the first end of the elongated strap connected to the reel and the second end of the elongated strap attached to the vehicle with the elongated strap positioned over the cargo, the elongated strap adapted to be wound about and withdrawn from the reel;
means for biasing the reel in a strap winding position;
means for locking the reel at a selected position to prevent withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel while permitting automatic retraction of the elongated strap onto the reel; and
adjustment means attached to the elongated strap for cinching the elongated strap into a taut condition to restrain movement of the cargo.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the adjustment means comprises:
a buckle slidably connected to the second end of the elongated strap; and
an extension strap having one end connected to the buckle and another end connected to the vehicle.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the adjustment means further comprises a hook attached to the extension strap for connecting the extension strap to the vehicle.
8. A cargo restraint apparatus, comprising:
a frame assembly connectable to a support surface;
a reel rotatably mounted on the frame assembly;
an elongated strap having a first end and a second end, the first end of the elongated strap connected to the reel and the second end of the elongated strap attachable to the support surface with the elongated strap positioned over the cargo, the elongated strap adapted to be wound and withdrawn from the reel;
means for biasing the reel in a strap winding position;
means for locking the reel at a selected position to prevent withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel while permitting automatic retraction of the elongated strap onto the reel; and
adjustment means attached to the elongated strap for cinching the elongated strap into a taut condition to restrain movement of the cargo.
9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the adjustment means comprises:
a buckle slidably connected to the second end of the elongated strap; and
an extension strap having one end connected to the buckle and another end connected to the support surface.
10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the adjustment means further comprises a hook attached to the extension strap for connecting the extension strap to the support surface.
11. A method of restraining the movement of cargo in a vehicle, the method comprising:
connecting a frame assembly to the vehicle;
withdrawing an elongated strap from a reel rotatably mounted on the frame assembly, one end of the elongated strap being connected to the reel;
positioning the elongated strap about the cargo;
attaching the elongated strap to the vehicle;
pulling the elongated strap sharply in the direction away from the reel so that the reel locks at a selected position to prevent withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel; and
cinching the elongated strap into a taut condition when the reel is locked to restrain movement of the cargo.
12. A method of restraining the movement of cargo in a vehicle, the method comprising:
connecting a frame assembly to the vehicle;
withdrawing an elongated strap from a reel rotatably mounted on the frame assembly, one end of the elongated strap being connected to the reel;
positioning the elongated strap about the cargo;
attaching the elongated strap to the cargo;
pulling the elongated strap sharply in the direction away from the reel so that the reel locks at a selected position to prevent withdrawal of the elongated strap from the reel; and
cinching the elongated strap into a taut condition when the reel is locked to restrain movement of the cargo.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/324,293, filed Sep. 24, 2001, entitled “RETRACTABLE AND LOCKING SECURING APPARATUS AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF,” the contents of which is incorporated herein in its entirety.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. Field of the Invention

[0004] The present invention relates generally to a cargo restraint apparatus for securing cargo, and more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to an improved cargo restraint apparatus having a locking mechanism.

[0005] 2. Brief Description of the Related Art

[0006] Straps, belts, ropes, cables, and other devices have generally been used to secure a cargo to a vehicle. The conventional practice has been to employ tie-down straps or elastic cords having a hook at each end to secure the cargo to a variety of vehicles, such as a truck bed, a golf cart, or a sport-utility-vehicle (“SUV”) cargo compartment. Other securing devices for use as seat belts employ a retractable strap apparatus with an elongated strap positionable about individuals in the vehicle.

[0007] One type of retractable strap apparatus employed as a seat belt is known as an automatic locking retractor (ALR). The ALR is constructed so that if the elongated strap is retracted slightly after having been pulled out to an arbitrary length, further withdrawal of the elongated strap is automatically prevented and the withdrawal prevention state of the elongated strap is released by the elongated strap being substantially retracted to its full length, so that withdrawal of the elongated strap is allowed again.

[0008] One of the problems associated with using the ALR is that the ALR has a tendency to lock prematurely. The ALR can be troublesome if it locks while withdrawing the elongated strap. The elongated strap must then be fully retracted to be able to withdraw the elongated strap, thus adding time and frustration to the process of securing cargo.

[0009] To this end, a need exists for a cargo restraint apparatus for use with a vehicle that permits the cargo to be efficiently and effectively secured and stores itself by retracting the full length of the webbing when not in use. It is to such a cargo restraint apparatus that the present invention is directed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

[0010]FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a truck bed carrying a cargo which is secured in position by a pair of cargo restraint apparatuses constructed in accordance with the present invention.

[0011]FIG. 2 is a perspective representation of a cargo restraint apparatus shown constructed in accordance with the present invention in an extended position.

[0012]FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the cargo restraint apparatus of FIG. 2.

[0013]FIG. 4 is an exploded, perspective view of the cargo restraint apparatus of FIG. 2.

[0014]FIG. 5 is an elevational, cross-sectional view of the cargo restraint apparatus illustrating a locking assembly in an unlocked position.

[0015]FIG. 6 is an elevational, cross-sectional view of the locking assembly of the cargo restraint apparatus in a locked position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0016] Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to FIG. 1, a pair of cargo restraint apparatuses 10 and 12 constructed in accordance with the present invention is shown employed in a truck bed 14 of a vehicle to support a motorcycle 16 in an upright position. It should be understood that though a truck bed 14 is shown supporting the motorcycle 16, any suitable mounting surface of a vehicle, including a trailer, may be used to secure and transport the motorcycle 16. In addition, though a motorcycle 16 is shown as the object being transported by a vehicle, it should be understood that the cargo restraint apparatus 10 is not limited to use with a vehicle, but may be used to secure cargo, loads, or other equipment to other structures, such as shelving, in accordance with the present invention.

[0017] Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, the cargo restraint apparatus 10 includes a retractor assembly 22 and a strap assembly 24. The retractor assembly 22 includes a frame assembly 26, a biasing assembly 28, and a locking assembly 30. A suitable retractor assembly 22 for the cargo restraint apparatus 10, as shown in FIG. 4 and described hereinafter, is commercially available from Klippan Safety AB, Type 23, Part No. 59921. However, it should be understood that other retractor assemblies may be used in accordance with the present invention. For example, the retractor disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,817,885, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0018] The frame assembly 26 includes a frame 32, a shaft 34, and a reel 36. The frame 32 has a front end 38, a rear end 40, a first side 42, and a second side 44. As shown in FIG. 3, the rear end 40 of the frame 32 is provided with an opening 46 which allows the frame 32 of the frame assembly 26 to be mounted to a vehicle permanently by a threaded nut and bolt arrangement (not shown) or to be mounted with a snap hook (not shown) allowing for a quick connection and disconnection of the frame assembly 26 from the vehicle. It should be understood that any suitable attachment of the frame 32 to the vehicle may be used. The frame 32 is preferably constructed from stainless steel, but may also be constructed from a polymeric material or another suitable, rigid material.

[0019] Referring now to FIG. 4, the shaft 34 of the frame assembly 26 has a first end 48, a second end 50, and an elongated opening 52 extending therebetween. The shaft 32 may be constructed from any rigid, durable material, such as steel, or a polymer, such as polyethylene or polypropylene. The shaft 34 is positioned between the front end 38 and the rear end 40 of the frame 32 so that the first end 48 and the second end 50 of the shaft 34 each extend outwardly from the first side 42 and the second side 44 of the frame 32, respectively.

[0020] The reel 36 of the frame assembly 26 has a first end 54, a second end 56, and an elongated tubular hub portion 58 extending therebetween. The hub portion 58 is provided with an elongated opening 60. The reel 36 is positioned between the first side 42 and the second side 44 of the frame 32 so as to be rotatably mounted on the shaft 34.

[0021] The biasing assembly 28 includes a rotor 62, a spring bearing subassembly 64, a spring 66, and a spring cover 68. The rotor 62 provides a connection between the shaft 34 and the spring 66 so that as the shaft 34 is rotated, the rotor 62 and the spring 66 rotate in the same direction as the shaft 34 is moved. The spring 66 is positioned between the spring-bearing sub-assembly 64 and the spring cover 68 in a coiled, stored position. The spring cover 68 is connected to the spring-bearing sub-assembly 64 and the frame 32 by screws 74 and 76. However, it should be understood that any suitable fastener may be used in connecting the spring cover 68 and the spring-bearing sub-assembly 64 to hold the coiled spring 66.

[0022] The locking assembly 30 has a front cover 78 and a rear cover 80. The rear cover 80 is provided with an opening 82 so that the first end 48 of the shaft 34 is disposed through the opening 82. The rear cover 80 is disposed against an inner surface 87 of the frame assembly 26 and positioned so as to face the first end 54 of the reel 36. A locking wheel 88 is provided with a plurality of teeth 90 along an outer edge 92 and a central opening 94. The locking wheel 88 is mounted on the first end 48 of the shaft 34 so that the first end 48 of the shaft 34 is disposed through the opening 94 of the locking wheel 88. The locking wheel 88 is positioned against the rear cover 80. A rotor 98 is attached to the first end 48 of the shaft 34 so as to rotate in the same direction as the shaft 34 is moved. In addition, a support member 96 is attached inside the rear cover 80 to provide a filler between the front and rear covers 78 and 80.

[0023] The locking assembly 30 further includes a pair of locking bars 100 and 102 which are each positioned through separate openings 104 and 106 in the frame 32. A guide disc 108 is attached to the frame 32. The guide disc 108 is provided with a pair of openings 112 and 114 and has an inner surface 111 provided with teeth-like indentations. The locking bars 100 and 102 are positioned in the openings 112 and 114 of the guide disc 108. Each opening 112 and 114 includes a guiding member 116 and 117, shown in FIGS. 4-6, for guiding the locking bars 100 and 102 into the openings 112 and 114. The guide disc 108 is further provided with an elongated member 118 that extends past the frame 32 into the rear cover 80. A spring 119 is provided in the rear cover 80 to bias the elongated member 118 of the guide disc 108.

[0024] The shaft 34 and rotor 98 are positioned so as to extend into the guide disc 108. A locking wheel 120 having a plurality of teeth 122 around an outer edge 124 of the locking wheel 120 is mounted on the shaft 34 so as to rotate in the same direction as the shaft 34. A bushing 126 is provided having an opening 127. The rotor 98 is positioned in the opening 127. A circular inertia mass 128 is positioned in a ratchet wheel 130. The ratchet wheel 130 is provided with a plurality of teeth 131 along its outer edge 132. The bushing 126 is connected to the ratchet wheel 130. The circular inertia mass 128 provides weight to the bushing 126 and the ratchet wheel 130. A pivoting lever 133 is attached to the ratchet wheel 130 and is maintained in place by a spring 134. The ratchet wheel 130, circular inertia mass 128 and the bushing 126 all rotate together in the same direction as the attached rotor 98.

[0025] The strap assembly 24 includes an elongated strap 136, a strap tensioning assembly 137, and a fastener 138. The elongated strap 136 may be composed of any natural or synthetic material strong enough to be used in the present invention. The elongated strap 136 has a first end 139 and a second end 140. The first end 139 of the elongated strap 136 is disposed through the elongated opening 60 of the reel 36 for securing the first end 139 of the elongated strap 136 to the reel 36. The first end 139 of the elongated strap 136 is provided with a loop 142. A pin 144 is provided and is slid through the loop 142 at the first end 139 of the elongated strap 136, so as to be disposed within the elongated opening 60 of the reel 36 thus connecting the elongated strap 136 to the reel 36. The elongated strap 136 is adapted to be wound about and withdrawn from the reel 36.

[0026] As shown in FIGS. 2-4, the strap tensioning assembly 137 has a buckle or inline adjuster 146 slidingly attached to the elongated strap 136. The second end 140 of the elongated strap 136 is provided with a handle 148 to facilitate tightening of the elongated strap 136 about a load. The buckle 146 is also provided with a handle 152 to loosen the elongated strap 136 from about the load. An extension strap 154 is attached to the buckle 146 and is attached to the fastener 138 for attaching the elongated strap 136 to the object, vehicle, or load. The fastener 138 is shown to be a hook with a general S-configuration.

[0027] In use, the frame assembly 26 is connected to the vehicle. The elongated strap 136 is withdrawn from the reel 36 and positioned about the cargo. The shaft 34 and the reel 36 interconnect with the biasing assembly 28 and the locking assembly 30 so that the entire locking assembly 30 rotates against the spring 66 of the biasing assembly 28 as the elongated strap 136 is withdrawn from the reel 36. The fastener 138 of the strap assembly 24 is then attached to the cargo or the vehicle.

[0028] As the reel 36 moves slowly, the lever 133 mounted to the ratchet wheel 130 is maintained in a stationary condition by the spring 134. The elongated strap 136 is allowed to be pulled back onto the reel 36 thereby providing a loose tension on the elongated strap 136. In order to lock the reel 36, the elongated strap 136 is pulled sharply in a direction generally away from the reel 36. When the elongated strap 136 is pulled sharply the reel 36 is caused to move quickly, as is the shaft 34. Centrifugal force drives the pivoting lever 133 to engage the teeth-like indentations on the inner surface 111 of the guide disc 108. The lever 133 pushes the guide disc 108 which in turn causes the guiding members 116 and 117 to guide the locking bars 100 and 102 into the openings 112 and 114, thus locking the guide disc 108. The movement of the locking bars 100 and 102 into the openings 112 and 114, also causes the locking bars 100 and 102 to engage the plurality of teeth 90 and 122 of the rotating locking wheels 88 and 120, respectively, attached to the shaft 34, thus locking the reel 36 and preventing rotation and the withdrawal of the elongated strap 136 (FIG. 6).

[0029] Once the reel 36 is locked into place, the handle 148 of the elongated strap 136 is grasped and the elongated strap 136 is cinched so as to remove any additional slack in the elongated strap 136, thus securing the load on the vehicle.

[0030] To remove the elongated strap 136 from the cargo, the strap 150 is grasped and pulled sharply in a direction generally away from the reel-36, thus releasing the tension on and creating slack in the elongated strap 136. The lever 133 is disengaged from the teeth-like indentation on the inner surface 111 of the guide disc 108 allowing the guide disc 108 to move so that the locking bars 100 and 102 disengage the plurality of teeth 90 and 122 of the rotating locking wheels 88 and 120, thus unlocking the reel 36 (FIG. 5).

[0031] The slack in the elongated strap 136 allows the fastener 138 to be unattached from the cargo or vehicle. The bias of the spring 66 rotates the reel 36 so as to wind and draw the elongated strap 136 back into its coiled, stored position. The reel 36 freely rotates so as to permit the winding and withdrawal of the elongated strap 136.

[0032] From the above description, it is clear that the present invention is well adapted to carry out the objects and to attain the advantages mentioned herein as well as those inherent in the invention. While presently preferred embodiments of the invention have been described for purposes of this disclosure, it will be understood that numerous changes may be made which will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and which are accomplished within the spirit of the invention disclosed and as defined in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6705811 *Dec 31, 2002Mar 16, 2004Keeper CorporationSoft loop tie-down assembly
US6805522 *Sep 10, 2002Oct 19, 2004Ring ProductsMotorcycle and all-terrain vehicle mounted tie down bracket
US6929438 *Mar 26, 2004Aug 16, 2005Robinson Industries, Inc.Cargo restraint apparatus
US7416373Mar 3, 2006Aug 26, 2008Mock Stephen WMotorcycle tie down/lock down system
US7806441 *Jun 28, 2006Oct 5, 2010David Louis MottoSnowboard support system
US7832710Jul 14, 2006Nov 16, 2010Giuseppe PelliccioniDevice for tensioning belts and the like
US7946458 *Sep 14, 2007May 24, 2011Honda Motor Co., Ltd.Cargo rack assemblies and vehicles having cargo rack assemblies
US8458859 *Oct 8, 2004Jun 11, 2013Wolfcraft GmbhStrap tensioner and associated gripping jaws
US8469329 *Mar 31, 2009Jun 25, 2013Tygard Machine & Manufacturing CompanyMerchandise pallet
US8678726Oct 26, 2012Mar 25, 2014Kent A. StubbsAnchoring system
US20090263228 *Mar 31, 2009Oct 22, 2009Edward TygardMerchandise pallet
US20110088226 *Oct 8, 2004Apr 21, 2011Klemens DegenStrap Tensioner and Associated Gripping Jaws
WO2005039923A2 *Oct 8, 2004May 6, 2005Degen KlemensStrip clamping device and associated clamping jaws
WO2007007181A1 *Jul 14, 2006Jan 18, 2007Giuseppe PelliccioniDevice for tensioning belts and the like
Classifications
U.S. Classification410/100
International ClassificationB60P7/08, B61D45/00
Cooperative ClassificationB61D45/001, B60P7/083
European ClassificationB61D45/00B, B60P7/08C1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 24, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: BEAM S INDUSTRIES, INC., OKLAHOMA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOSLEY, JAMES MICHAEL;REEL/FRAME:013341/0582
Effective date: 20020924