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Publication numberUS20040178301 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/387,333
Publication dateSep 16, 2004
Filing dateMar 12, 2003
Priority dateMar 12, 2003
Publication number10387333, 387333, US 2004/0178301 A1, US 2004/178301 A1, US 20040178301 A1, US 20040178301A1, US 2004178301 A1, US 2004178301A1, US-A1-20040178301, US-A1-2004178301, US2004/0178301A1, US2004/178301A1, US20040178301 A1, US20040178301A1, US2004178301 A1, US2004178301A1
InventorsCarl Wampler, James Goyer, Norman Hageman
Original AssigneeCarl Wampler, Goyer James D., Hageman Norman U.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable conduit reel and removable divider
US 20040178301 A1
Abstract
An adjustable reel for spooling conduit includes a pair of wheels, where each wheel includes a plurality of spokes that run from a center of the wheel to an outer perimeter of the wheel. A plurality of traverses couple between the spokes of a first wheel of the pair of wheels to the spokes of a second wheel of the pair of wheels, where the traverses have a perpendicular orientation relative to the spokes of the first and second wheels, and the traverses collectively form a hub of the reel. The diameter of the hub of the reel is adjustable by varying a placement of the plurality of traverses along the spokes of the first and second wheels to accommodate various diameters of conduit.
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Claims(38)
What is claimed:
1. A reel for accommodating conduit thereon, comprising:
a pair of wheels, wherein each wheel includes a plurality of spokes that run from a center of the wheel to an outer perimeter of the wheel; and
a plurality of traverses that couple between the spokes of a first wheel of the pair of wheels to the spokes of a second wheel of the pair of wheels, the traverses having a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the spokes of the first and second wheels, and the traverses collectively forming a hub of the reel; and
wherein a diameter of the hub of the reel is adjustable by varying a placement of the plurality of traverses along the spokes of the first and second wheels.
2. The reel of claim 1, wherein the diameter of the hub is increased as the placement of the plurality of traverses along the spokes of the first and second wheels becomes closer to the outer perimeter of the first and second wheels.
3. The reel of claim 1, wherein the diameter of the hub is decreased as the placement of the plurality of traverses along the spokes of the first and second wheels becomes closer to the center of the first and second wheels.
4. The reel of claim 1, wherein the plurality of traverses have a bracket formed on each end thereof, and wherein the bracket is capable of engaging the spokes of the first and second wheels at varying positions along the spokes from the center to the outer perimeter of the first and second wheels.
5. The reel of claim 4, wherein the bracket formed on each end of the plurality of traverses comprises a u-shaped bracket.
6. The reel of claim 1, wherein the spokes of the first and second wheels include holes formed within the spokes, and the holes are spaced apart along the spokes by a predetermined separation distance.
7. The reel of claim 6, wherein the plurality of traverses have a pin formed on each end thereof, and wherein the pin is received within one of the holes formed within the spokes.
8. The reel of claim 1, further comprising:
a plurality of dividers having a perpendicular orientation to the plurality of traverses, and wherein the plurality of dividers divide the hub of the reel into at least two compartmentalized areas.
9. The reel of claim 8, wherein the plurality of dividers comprise dividing rods that perpendicularly bisect the plurality of traverses and extend vertically from the traverses towards the outer perimeter of the first and second wheels.
10. The reel of claim 9, wherein the plurality of dividing rods extend from one of a plurality of cross-supports that couple between the spokes of the first and second wheels, the cross-supports being positioned on the spokes between the center of the first and second wheels and the traverses.
11. The reel of claim 10, wherein the cross-supports comprise at least one socket formed thereon for receiving one of the plurality of dividing rods.
12. The reel of claim 10, wherein the plurality of cross-supports have a bracket formed on each end thereof, and wherein the bracket engages the spokes of the first and second wheels at a position along the spokes between the center of the first and second wheels to the position of the traverses.
13. The reel of claim 12, wherein the bracket formed on each end of the plurality of cross-supports comprises a u-shaped bracket.
14. The reel of claim 10, wherein the spokes of the first and second wheels include holes formed within the spokes, and the holes are spaced apart along the spokes by a predetermined separation distance.
15. The reel of claim 14, wherein the plurality of cross-supports have a pin formed on each end thereof, and wherein the pin is received within one of the holes formed within the spokes.
16. The reel of claim 10, wherein the plurality of cross-supports each comprise an expansion and contraction member to permit lateral expansion and contraction of the cross-support.
17. The reel of claim 10, wherein the plurality of cross-supports and dividing rods are removed from the reel once the conduit is wound around the hub of the reel.
18. A reel for coiling a wire or cable thereon, comprising:
a pair of circular frames, wherein each circular frame includes a plurality of spokes that run from an outer perimeter of the circular frame and converge at a center thereof; and
a plurality of rods that couple between the spokes of one circular frame to the spokes of another circular frame; and
wherein a placement of the rods is adjustable along the spokes of the pair of circular frames.
19. The reel of claim 18, wherein the plurality of rods have a bracket formed on each end thereof, and wherein the bracket engages the spokes at varying positions along the spokes from the center to the outer perimeter of the pair of circular frames.
20. The reel of claim 19, wherein the bracket formed on each end of the plurality of rods comprises a u-shaped bracket.
21. The reel of claim 18, wherein the spokes of the pair of circular frames include holes formed within the spokes, and the holes are spaced apart along the spokes by a predetermined separation distance.
22. The reel of claim 21, wherein the plurality of rods have a pin formed on each end thereof, and wherein the pin is received within one of the holes formed within the spokes.
23. The reel of claim 18, further comprising:
a plurality of dividing bars having a perpendicular orientation to the plurality of rods, and wherein the plurality of dividing bars divide the rods coupling the pair of circular frames into at least two compartmentalized areas.
24. The reel of claim 23, wherein the plurality of dividing bars perpendicularly bisect the plurality of rods and extend vertically from the rods towards the outer perimeter of the pair of circular frames.
25. The reel of claim 23, wherein the plurality of dividing bars extend from one of a plurality of cross-supports that couple between the spokes of the pair of circular frames, the cross-supports being positioned on the spokes between the center of the pair of circular frames and the rods.
26. The reel of claim 25, wherein the cross-supports comprise at least one socket formed thereon for receiving one of the plurality of dividing bars.
27. The reel of claim 25, wherein the plurality of cross-supports have a bracket formed on each end thereof, and wherein the bracket engages the spokes of the pair of circular frames at a position along the spokes between the center of the circular frames to the position of the rods.
28. The reel of claim 27, wherein the bracket formed on each end of the plurality of cross-supports comprises a u-shaped bracket.
29. The reel of claim 25, wherein the spokes of the pair of circular frames include holes formed within the spokes, and the holes are spaced apart along the spokes by a predetermined separation distance.
30. The reel of claim 29, wherein the plurality of cross-supports have a pin formed on each end thereof, and wherein the pin is received within one of the holes formed within the spokes.
31. The reel of claim 25, wherein the plurality of cross-supports each comprise an expansion and contraction member to permit lateral expansion and contraction of the cross-support.
32. The reel of claim 25, wherein the plurality of cross-supports and dividing bars are removed from the reel once the wire or cable is wound around the rods of the reel.
33. A method for forming a reel for coiling a wire or cable thereon, comprising:
providing a pair of circular frames, where each circular frame includes a plurality of spokes that run from an outer perimeter of the circular frame and converge at a center thereof; and
providing a plurality of rods that couple between the spokes of one circular frame to the spokes of another circular frame, where a placement of the rods is adjustable along the spokes of the pair of circular frames.
34. The method of claim 33, further comprising:
providing a plurality of dividing bars having a perpendicular orientation to the plurality of rods, where the plurality of dividing bars perpendicularly bisect the rods coupling the pair of circular frames into at least two compartmentalized areas.
35. The method of claim 34, further comprising:
providing a plurality of cross-supports that couple between the spokes of the pair of circular frames, the cross-supports being positioned on the spokes between the center of the pair of circular frames and the rods, where the plurality of dividing bars extend from the cross-supports.
36. The method of claim 33, further comprising:
forming a bracket on each end of the plurality of rods, where the bracket engages the spokes at varying positions along the spokes from the center to the outer perimeter of the pair of circular frames.
37. The method of claim 33, further comprising:
forming a plurality of holes within the spokes, the holes being spaced apart along the spokes by a predetermined separation distance.
38. The method of claim 37, further comprising:
forming a pin on each end of the rods, where the pin is received within one of the holes formed within the spokes.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to conduit reels, and, more particularly, to an adjustable conduit reel with a removable divider option.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    Typically, reeling devices are used to wind long lengths of conduit thereon to facilitate transporting the conduit from one location to another and/or for storing the conduit. When coiling the conduit on the reel, the amount of conduit that may fit on the reel usually depends on several factors including the reel diameter, the hub diameter, the inside width of the reel, and the diameter as well as the thickness of the conduit that is wound around the reel. Typically, varying diameters of conduit have a corresponding minimum hub diameter that may be utilized to ensure that the conduit is not overly stressed to the point that the conduit becomes malformed and/or damaged when being spooled on the reel. The thickness of the conduit may add further restrictions on the hub diameter, but usually is not a limiting factor.
  • [0005]
    To accommodate the various diameters of conduit, the conduit supplier usually keeps varying reel sizes on hand and selects a reel having a hub diameter that is appropriate for the particular diameter of conduit that is to be spooled thereon. That is, the conduit reels are preconfigured to a particular size, and the conduit supplier needs to keep these varying conduit reel sizes readily available for winding an appropriately sized conduit around the reel that has a corresponding hub diameter to accommodate a particular conduit thickness. However, keeping a wide range of conduit reel sizes on hand is expensive to the conduit supplier, and, furthermore, takes up considerable space to store the varying conduit reel sizes.
  • [0006]
    To conserve the number of reels used for transporting conduit to a customer, sometimes it is desirable for the conduit manufacturer to spool two or more types of conduit having differing color codes or thicknesses on the same sized reel providing that the hub diameter of the reel is appropriately sized to accommodate the differing color codes or thicknesses. Generally, these conduits are differentiated from one another by having different colors on the outer sheath of the conduit. When the different color-coded conduits are wound around the same reel, the conduits may undesirably become “cross-wound” on the reel (i.e., one type of conduit may be at least partially wound over the other type of conduit on the reel causing an overlapping of the conduits). Such overlapping of the different conduit types on the same reel, however, may cause the conduits to become tangled or snagged when unraveling the conduits from the reel, which may undesirably damage the conduits and/or require additional time and expense for the conduit installer to separate the conduits. Additionally, if the different conduits do not unspool with even tension, the slack may get caught in the installation equipment causing damage to the conduit and interrupting the installation process.
  • [0007]
    The present invention eliminates, or at least reduces the effects of, the aforementioned problems.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    In one aspect of the present invention, a reel for accommodating conduit thereon is provided. The reel comprises a pair of wheels, where each wheel includes a plurality of spokes that run from a center of the wheel to an outer perimeter of the wheel. The reel further includes a plurality of traverses that couple between the spokes of a first wheel of the pair of wheels to the spokes of a second wheel of the pair of wheels. The traverses have a substantially perpendicular orientation relative to the spokes of the first and second wheels, and the traverses collectively form a hub of the reel. The diameter of the hub of the reel is adjustable by varying a placement of the plurality of traverses along the spokes of the first and second wheels.
  • [0009]
    In another aspect of the present invention, a reel is provided for coiling a wire or cable thereon. The reel comprises a pair of circular frames, wherein each circular frame includes a plurality of spokes that run from an outer perimeter of the circular frame and converge at a center thereof. The reel further comprises a plurality of rods that couple between the spokes of one circular frame to the spokes of another circular frame. The placement of the rods is adjustable along the spokes of the pair of circular frames.
  • [0010]
    In another aspect of the invention, a method is provided for forming a reel for coiling a wire or cable thereon. The method comprises providing a pair of circular frames, where each circular frame includes a plurality of spokes that run from an outer perimeter of the circular frame and converge at a center thereof. The method further comprises providing a plurality of rods that couple between the spokes of one circular frame to the spokes of another circular frame, where a placement of the rods is adjustable along the spokes of the pair of circular frames.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    Further features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals generally refer to the same parts, elements or functions throughout the figures, and in which:
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 1 illustrates an adjustable conduit reel having a pair of wheels with a plurality of traverses coupling the spokes of the wheel in accordance with one illustrative embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 2 provides a more detailed representation of one of the pair of wheels of the adjustable conduit reel of FIG. 1;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 3 provides a more detailed representation of the center of the wheel of FIG. 2 where the spokes converge and are coupled between two parallel plates;
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 4 provides a more detailed representation of the traverse that couples the spokes of the pair of wheels;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 5 provides a detailed perspective of a u-shaped bracket that is coupled to the ends of the traverse of FIG. 4;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 6 illustrates the adjustable conduit reel with a plurality of removable dividers according to one illustrative embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 7 depicts a more detailed representation of the removable dividers of FIG. 6;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-support for coupling between the spokes of the wheels of the adjustable conduit reel of FIG. 6 with a plurality of removable dividers that are coupled perpendicularly to the cross-support;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 9 illustrates a process for assembling the adjustable conduit reels of FIGS. 1 and 6 according to one illustrative embodiment of the present invention; and
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 10 illustrates a process for spooling conduit around the adjustable conduit reel of FIG. 6 in accordance with one illustrative embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0022]
    While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS
  • [0023]
    Illustrative embodiments of the invention are described below. In the interest of clarity, not all features of an actual implementation are described in this specification. It will of course be appreciated that in the development of any such actual embodiment, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which will vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.
  • [0024]
    Turning now to the drawings, and specifically referring to FIG. 1, an adjustable conduit reel 100 is shown according to one illustrative embodiment of the present invention. The adjustable conduit reel 100 includes two wheels 105 having substantially the same diameter, with each wheel 105 including a plurality of spokes 110 that couple to an inner surface of a rim 112 that forms the outer circumference of the wheel 105. The spokes 110 converge at a center point 115 of the wheel 105, where the spokes 110 are coupled between two parallel plates 120. The plates 120 are each configured with a hole 130 formed therein at the center of each plate 120. The hole 130 formed within each plate 120 may accommodate the insertion of a rod or axle (not shown) that allows each wheel 105, and, thus, the entire reel 100, to rotate about the inserted rod or axle such that conduit may be wound around the reel 100 and unwound therefrom.
  • [0025]
    In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the adjustable conduit reel 100 comprises a plurality of traverses 140 that are formed in a perpendicular orientation to the spokes 110 of each respective wheel 105. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the number of traverses 140 formed between each wheel 105 corresponds directly to the number of spokes 110 that each wheel 105 possesses. When assembled on the reel 100, the traverses 140 collectively form a hub 150 of the adjustable conduit reel 100. The conduit that is wound around the reel 100 rests over the traverses 140 between the wheels 105. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the diameter of the hub 150 is adjustable by adjusting the distance of the traverses 140 along the spokes 110 from the center point 115 of the wheels 105. Accordingly, to increase the diameter of the hub 150 of the reel 100, the traverses 140 may be moved along the spokes 110 towards the rim 112 of the wheel 105. Conversely, to decrease the diameter of the hub 150, the traverses 140 may be moved along the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 towards the center point 115 of the wheel 105. Therefore, the diameter of the reel's hub 150 may be adjusted to accommodate a particular conduit diameter to be wound thereon.
  • [0026]
    Turning now to FIG. 2, a more detailed representation of the wheel 105 is shown in accordance with the illustrated embodiment. According to one embodiment, the wheels 105 have a diameter of approximately 114.0 inches (i.e., 9.5 feet). It will be appreciated, however, that the diameter of the wheels 105 forming the reel 100 may be larger or smaller than the aforementioned example without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Additionally, although the wheel 105 illustrated in FIG. 2 is configured with eight spokes 110, it will be appreciated that the number of spokes 110 forming the wheel 105 may vary as well.
  • [0027]
    In one embodiment, the spokes 110 take the form of a rectangular-shape and one end of the spokes 110 is welded at equally spaced positions to the inside surface of the outer rim 112 of the wheel 105. The spokes 110 converge at the center 115 of the wheel 105, and are coupled to a pair of parallel plates 120. Referring to FIG. 3, a more detailed perspective of the parallel plates 120 is shown. According to one embodiment, the spokes 110 are disposed between the two parallel plates 120 and are welded into place such that the ends of the spokes 110 converge at the center 115 of the wheel 105. A hole 130 is formed at the center of each of the parallel plates 120 to accommodate a rod or axle (not shown). The insertion of the rod or axle through the hole 130 permits the rotation of the adjustable conduit reel 100, thereby permitting the conduit to be spooled onto the reel 100 or unraveled therefrom.
  • [0028]
    Referring both to FIGS. 2 and 3, the spokes 110 of the wheel 105 are configured with holes 205, 210 to accommodate the traverses 140 that are disposed between the spokes 110 of the pair of wheels 105. The holes 205, 210 are repetitively formed within the surfaces of the spokes 110 at a predetermined separation distance along the spokes 110. The holes 205 formed on a first surface 215 (i.e., front surface) of the spokes 110 extend through the spoke 110 to a surface of the spoke 110 (i.e., back surface) that is parallel to the first surface 215. Similarly, the holes 210 formed on a second surface 220 of the spokes 110 (i.e., right-side surface) extend through the spoke 110 to a third surface 225 of the spoke 110 (i.e., left-side surface) that is parallel to the second surface 220. The separation distance between the holes 205, 210 formed in their respective surfaces 215, 220 of the spokes 110 enable the traverses 140 to be placed at a particular distance from the center 115 of the wheels 105, and, thus, enables the diameter of the hub 150 of the conduit reel 100 to be adjusted to appropriately accommodate various diameters of conduit to be wound around the hub 150 of the reel 100. In one example, if it is desired to have the diameter of the hub 150 to be 30 inches, the separation distance selected between a hole 205 formed within the spokes 110 and the center 115 of the wheel 105 may be 14{fraction (1/4)} inches to appropriately place the traverses 140 at the desired distance from the center 115 of the wheel 105 to yield a hub diameter of 30 inches. In another example, if it is desired to have the hub diameter to be 90 inches, the separation distance between a hole 205 formed within the spokes 110 and the center 115 of the wheel 105 may be 44{fraction (1/4)} inches to yield a hub diameter of 90 inches. It will be appreciated that the diameter of the hub 150, and, thus, the separation distances selected between the holes 205, 210 formed in their respective surfaces 215, 220 of the spokes 110 would enable the traverses 140 to be placed at varying distances from the center 115 of the wheels 105, and, thus, need not necessarily be limited to the specific separation distances provided in the aforementioned examples.
  • [0029]
    Turning now to FIG. 4, a more detailed representation of the traverse 140, which couples between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, is shown in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The traverse 140 is disposed in a perpendicular orientation from the first surface 215 of the spokes 110 between the pair of wheels 105 of the adjustable conduit reel 100. The traverse 140 has formed at each end thereof a pair of u-shaped brackets 415 for engaging with the first, second, and third surfaces 215, 220, 225 of the spokes 110. Referring to FIG. 5, a more detailed perspective of the unshaped bracket 415 is shown. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the u-shaped bracket 415 comprises two parallel plates 505, 515 that have a predetermined separation distance to sufficiently accommodate the spoke 110 therebetween. Holes 410 are formed within the parallel plates 505, 515 that align with the holes 210 formed within the second and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A pin 405 extending from an end surface 510 of the traverse 140 is inserted into a hole 205 along the first surface 215 of the spoke 110. Once the pin 405 is fully inserted into the hole 205 of the spoke 110, the holes 410 formed within the parallel plates 505, 515 of the unshaped bracket 415 are in alignment with the holes 210 formed within the second and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A bolt (not shown) may then be passed through the holes 410 formed in the unshaped bracket 415 and the hole 210 formed within the spoke 110 and secured with a fastener (such as a nut, for example) to securely couple the traverse 140 to the spoke 110.
  • [0030]
    Once the traverses 140 are assembled on the spokes 110 at the desired distance from the center 115 of the wheels 105, conduit may then be wound around the traverses 140 (which collectively form the hub 150) of the reel 100. In accordance with the present invention, the placement of the traverses 140 on the spokes 110 from the center 115 of the wheels 105 (which defines the diameter of the hub 150) may be adjusted to accommodate various diameters of conduit. Typically, the larger the diameter of the conduit that is to be spooled on the reel 100 requires a larger hub 150 diameter of the reel 100 to reduce the likelihood of damage to the conduit when being wound thereon. Usually, the smaller the diameter of the conduit, the smaller the hub diameter of the reel 100 is needed. By reducing the diameter of the hub 150 for a smaller conduit thickness, advantageously, more conduit may be accommodated on a single reel. Accordingly, by being able to adjust the diameter of the hub 150 by varying the distance of the traverses 140 from the center 115 of the wheels 105, a wide variety of conduit thicknesses may be accommodated using a single, adjustable hub diameter reel 100, thereby maximizing the amount of conduit that may be accommodated on the reel 100 while reducing the likelihood of damage to the conduit.
  • [0031]
    Turning now to FIG. 6, the adjustable conduit reel 100 is shown in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the adjustable conduit reel 100 is configured with at least one removable divider 605 that has a perpendicular orientation to the traverse 140, and has a parallel orientation relative to the spokes 110 of the wheels 105. The removable divider 605 may be used to segregate different types of conduit that are wound around the adjustable conduit reel 100 by compartmentalizing the particular type of conduit spooled around the traverses 140 (i.e., the hub 150). The different types of conduit spooled around the adjustable conduit reel 100 will typically be differentiated by the color coding of the conduit, for example, and each color-coded conduit may be allocated its own particular area on the reel 100 by use of the removable divider 605.
  • [0032]
    As illustrated in FIG. 6, the adjustable conduit reel 100 is provided with three removable dividers 605 that are mounted perpendicularly at predetermined locations along the traverses 140. In the illustrated embodiment, the dividers 605 are all substantially the same length, and the length of the dividers 605 may be of any desired size. For example, the length of the dividers 605 may be selected so as to even protrude beyond the rims 112 of the wheels 105, if so desired. The three dividers 605 illustrated in FIG. 6 provide four compartmentalized areas that are each designated by reference numeral 610, and a particular type of conduit (e.g., a particular color code or thickness of conduit) may be wound around the reel 100 so as to only occupy the particular compartmentalized area 610 formed by the divider 605. Although there are three removable dividers 605 shown in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 6, it will be appreciated that more or fewer removable dividers 605 may be provided along the traverses 140 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Additionally, it will be appreciated that the spacing between the removable dividers 605 along the traverses 140 may be uniform or not uniform. That is, it may be desirable to create a compartmentalized area 610 on the adjustable conduit reel 100 that is larger than other compartmentalized areas 610 to accommodate more of a particular color code or thickness of conduit, for example.
  • [0033]
    Turning now to FIG. 7, a more detailed perspective of the removable dividers 605 disposed along the length of the traverse 140 is shown according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the adjustable conduit reel 100 is provided with a cross-support 705, which is parallel in orientation to the traverse 140 when assembled on the reel 100. The cross-support 705 has formed thereon a plurality of sockets 710 for receiving the removable dividers 605. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the cross-support 705 is coupled perpendicularly to the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, and is positioned along the spokes 110 so as to reside underneath the traverse 140 on the reel 100. That is, the cross-support 705 is positioned on the spoke 110 closer to the center 115 of the wheel 105 than the positioning of the traverse 140 on the spoke 110.
  • [0034]
    Referring now to FIG. 8, a more detailed perspective of the cross-support 705 with the removable dividers 605 is provided according to one illustrative embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the cross-support 705 is provided with the u-shaped brackets 415 on each end thereof (as used with the traverses 140) to attach the cross-support 705 to the spokes 110 of the wheels 105. Referring back to FIG. 5, the u-shaped bracket 415 formed at each end of the cross-support 705 comprises two parallel plates 505, 515 that have a predetermined separation distance to sufficiently accommodate the spoke 110 therebetween. Holes 410 are formed within the parallel plates 505, 515 that align with the holes 210 formed within the second and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A pin 405 extending from an end surface 510 of the cross-support 705 is inserted into a hole 205 along the first surface 215 of the spoke 110. Once the pin 405 is fully inserted into a hole 205 of the spoke 110, the holes 410 formed within the parallel plates 505, 515 of the u-shaped bracket 415 align with the holes 210 formed within the second and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A bolt (not shown) may then be passed through the holes 410 formed in the u-shaped bracket 415 and the holes 210 formed within the spoke 110 and secured with a fastener (such as a nut, for example) to couple the cross-support 705 to the spoke 110.
  • [0035]
    In accordance with one embodiment, the cross-support 705 may be “spring loaded” with an expansion/contraction member 805 so as to permit the expansion and contraction of the cross-support 705 lengthwise. To achieve the expansion and contraction capabilities of the cross-support 705, a first portion of the cross-support designated by 705(1) may be sufficiently sized to fit within a “socket” of a larger diameter second portion of the cross-support designated by 705(2) to permit lateral movement of the first portion 705(1) of the cross-support 705 within the second portion 705(2) of the cross-support 705. The expansion/contraction of the first portion 705(1) within the second portion 705(2) of the cross-support 705 may be achieved by a spring (not shown) that resides within the second portion 705(2) of the cross-support 705 and the end of the spring engaging the end of the first portion 705(1) of the cross-support 705. Accordingly, with the expansion/contraction member 805 of the cross-support 705, the cross-support 705 may be laterally compressed by applying tension of the first and second portions 705(1), 705(2) of the cross-support so as to easily fit between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 of the reel 100. Once the cross-support 705 is placed at an appropriate location between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, the tension applied to the first and second portions 705(1), 705(2) may be relaxed, and the cross-support 705 will be fitted snugly between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105.
  • [0036]
    The sockets 710 are disposed along the length of the cross-support 705 at predetermined separation distances. As shown in the illustration of FIG. 8, the sockets 710 distribution along the cross-support 705 may not be uniform (i.e., the separation distance between the sockets 710 may vary). The sockets 710 are configured to receive the removable dividers 605 at one end thereof such that the removable dividers 605 assume a perpendicular orientation relative to the cross-support 705 and the traverses 140 on which the removable dividers 605 rest (note FIG. 7). In one embodiment, the sockets 710 may be configured with screws 810 to fasten the removable dividers 605 within the socket 710. The removable dividers 605 may further be provided with a hole or notch (not shown) at one end thereof that aligns with the screw 810 of the socket 710. Once the removable divider 605 is fully disposed within the socket 710 and the notch within the removable divider 605 is aligned with the screw 810, the screw 810 may then be used to fasten the removable divider 605 snugly within the socket 710.
  • [0037]
    Turning now to FIG. 9, a process 900 for assembling the adjustable conduit reel 100 is provided in accordance with one illustrative embodiment of the present invention. The process 900 commences at block 905, where two wheels 105 having a suitable diameter are selected along with a desired number of traverses 140 that will form the hub 150 of the adjustable conduit reel 100 upon which the conduit is wound. Typically, the number of traverses 140 selected will correspond directly to the number of spokes 110 that each wheel 105 possesses. It will be appreciated, however, that a fewer number of traverses 140 than the number of spokes 110 on the wheel 105 may be selected, wherein a traverse 140 may be placed on every other spoke 110, as opposed to every spoke 110, if so desired.
  • [0038]
    At block 910, the traverses 140 are positioned onto the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 to collectively form the hub 150 of the reel 100 having a desired diameter for spooling the conduit around the hub 150. In one embodiment, the traverse 140 has formed at each end thereof a pair of unshaped brackets 415 for engaging with the surfaces of the spokes 110 of the pair of wheels 105. The unshaped bracket 415 has holes 410 formed therein that align with the holes 210 formed within the second and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A pin 405 extending from an end surface 510 of the traverse 140 is inserted into a hole 205 along the first surface 215 of the spoke 110. Once the pin 405 is fully inserted into a hole 205 of the spoke 110, the holes 410 formed within the u-shaped bracket 415 are aligned with the holes 210 formed within the first and third surfaces 220, 225 of the spoke 110. A bolt (not shown) may then be passed through the holes 410 formed in the u-shaped bracket 415 and the holes 210 formed within the spoke 110 and secured with a fastener (such as a nut, for example) to couple the traverse 140 to the spoke 110.
  • [0039]
    Once the desired diameter of the hub 150 of the adjustable conduit reel 100 is selected by the positioning of the traverses 140 along the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, the cross-supports 705 are positioned at a desired location between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 at block 915. In one embodiment, the cross-supports 705 are coupled in a perpendicular orientation relative to the spokes 110, and are disposed along the spokes 110 so as to reside underneath the traverses 140 on the reel 100 as illustrated in FIG. 7. That is, the cross-supports 705 are attached at a location on the spokes 110 that is closer to the center 115 of the wheel 105 than that of the position of the traverses 140 on the spokes 110. In accordance with one embodiment, the cross-support 705 may be “spring loaded” with an expansion/contraction member 805 so as to permit the expansion and contraction of the cross-support 705 lengthwise. The cross-support 705 may be laterally compressed by applying tension to the first and second portions 705(1), 705(2) of the cross-support 705 so as to easily fit between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 of the reel 100. Once the cross-support 705 is placed at an appropriate location between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, the tension applied to the first and second portions 705(1), 705(2) may be relaxed, and the cross-support 705 will be fitted snugly between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105.
  • [0040]
    At block 920, the removable dividers 605 are positioned within the sockets 710 residing on the cross-supports 705 to form the desired compartmentalized areas 610 to accommodate different conduit (e.g., different color coded conduit) within each compartmentalized area 610. In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the removable dividers 605 may be fastened within the sockets 710 residing on the cross-support 705 by aligning a notch (not shown) on the end portion of the removable divider 605 with the screw 810, and then tightening the screw 810 to fasten the removable divider 605 snugly within the socket 710. In an alternative embodiment, it will be appreciated that the removable dividers 605 may be disposed within the sockets 710 of the cross-support 705 before the cross-support 705 is positioned between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105, if so desired (i.e., block 920 may be performed prior to block 915).
  • [0041]
    Turning now to FIG. 10, a process 1000 for spooling a variety of types (e.g., diameters) of conduit onto the adjustable conduit reel 100 is shown according to one embodiment of the present invention. The process 1000 commences at block 1005 where a particular type of conduit (being identified by a particular color code, for example) is spooled or wound around the hub 150 of the reel 100 within its allocated compartmentalized area 610 that is defined by the removable dividers 605. Once a particular color-coded conduit is wound around the reel 100 in its allocated compartmentalized area 610, another (different type or thickness) color-coded conduit is spooled around the hub 150 of the reel 100 within its allocated compartmentalized area 610 of the reel 100. The number of different types or thicknesses of conduit that may be spooled onto the adjustable conduit reel 100 will vary depending on the number of compartmentalized areas 610 of the reel 100 that are formed by the removable dividers 605. Of course, it will be appreciated that the number of compartmentalized areas 610 formed on the reel 100 (and, thus, the number of removable dividers 605 utilized) may vary. Furthermore, the spacing between the removable dividers 605 and, thus, the size of each compartmentalized area 610 to accommodate the conduit may vary as well, as previously discussed. Additionally, more than one conduit may be spooled simultaneously on the reel 100 and into the compartmentalized areas 610.
  • [0042]
    Once the varying types or thicknesses of conduit are spooled around the adjustable reel 100 within their allocated compartmentalized areas 610, the removable dividers 605 are removed at block 1010 from the sockets 710 that reside on the cross-supports 705. At block 1015, the cross-supports 705 are subsequently removed from the spokes 110 of the wheels 105 by laterally compressing the cross-support 705 by applying tension to the first and second portions 705(1), 705(2) of the cross-support 705 so as to facilitate its removal from between the spokes 110 of the wheels 105. In an alternative embodiment, the use of the removable dividers 605 and the cross-supports 705 on the adjustable conduit reel 100 may be omitted such that only one type or thickness of conduit is wound around the traverses 140 (i.e., hub 150) of the reel 100.
  • [0043]
    In accordance with the present invention, the placement of the traverses 140 on the spokes 110 from the center 115 of the wheels 105 (which defines the diameter of the hub 150) may be adjusted to accommodate various thicknesses of conduit. Typically, the larger the diameter of the conduit that is to be spooled on the reel 100 requires a larger hub 150 diameter of the reel 100 to reduce the likelihood of damage to the conduit when being wound thereon. Usually, the smaller the diameter of the conduit, the smaller the hub diameter of the reel 100 is needed. By reducing the diameter of the hub 150 for a smaller conduit thickness, advantageously, more conduit may be accommodated on a single reel. Accordingly, by being able to adjust the diameter of the hub 150 by varying the distance of the traverses 140 from the center 115 of the wheels 105, a wide variety of conduit thicknesses may be accommodated using a single, adjustable hub diameter reel 100, thereby maximizing the amount of conduit that may be accommodated on the reel 100 while reducing the likelihood of damage to the conduit. In an alternative embodiment, the use of the removable dividers 605 creates compartmentalized areas 610 on the reel 100 for accommodating different types or thicknesses of conduit to be spooled on a single reel 100. The removable dividers 605 substantially prevent the different types or thicknesses of conduit from being “cross-wound” (i.e., substantially prevents one type of conduit from being at least partially wound over another type of conduit) by keeping the different types or thicknesses of conduit segregated in their own compartmentalized area 610 on the reel 100 during the spooling process. Accordingly, keeping the different types or thicknesses of conduit segregated in their respective compartmentalized areas 610 of the reel 100 during the spooling process significantly reduces the likelihood of the different types or thicknesses of conduits from interfering with one another when they are unwound from the reel 100.
  • [0044]
    The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention may be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8123300 *Jun 3, 2010Feb 28, 2012Jan Renee StofferChair accessory and method of using
US8308243 *Jan 19, 2012Nov 13, 2012Jan Renee StofferAccessory for aiding those working on their motor skills
US20070262633 *May 9, 2006Nov 15, 2007Stoffer Jan RChair accessory and method of using
US20100244533 *Jun 3, 2010Sep 30, 2010Jan Renee StofferChair accessory and method of using
US20120161492 *Jan 19, 2012Jun 28, 2012Jan Renee StofferAccessory for aiding those working on their motor skills
EP2570374A3 *Jul 6, 2012Aug 10, 2016Heinrich WockenBobbin for coiling and uncoiling elongated materials and bobbins assembly with at least one such bobbin or for at least one such bobbin
Classifications
U.S. Classification242/603, 242/604
International ClassificationB65H75/20, B65H75/04, B65H75/14
Cooperative ClassificationB65H75/20, B65H2701/51344, B65H75/146
European ClassificationB65H75/20, B65H75/14E
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 7, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: CHEVRON PHILLIPS CHEMICAL COMPANY LP, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WAMPLER, CARL;GOYER, JAMES D.;HAGEMAN, NORMAN U.;REEL/FRAME:014376/0731;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030623 TO 20030630