US 20050067361 A1
This is an auxiliary Tool and Material Shelf device for a use on a work platform for mobile aerial lifts. Construction and maintenance workers use the device to safely organize and position their tools and materials on the work platform. The universal configuration permits use with various sized aerial lifts and the device supports heavier material and tool loads compared to other prior art. The tool and material shelf/support device includes various options such as various shelves and material supports to be suitable for the differing needs of the user. The main components are comprised of two universal “U” shaped interlock members that fit over the platform guard rails; a vertical structural support may be custom fitted or designed complete with an adjustable locking device; and the trays and/or material supports to hold the tools and materials.
1. An universal auxiliary Tool and Material Shelf device for a use on a work platform of mobile aerial lifts, comprising:
(a) a top universal “U” shaped interlock member that has an integral material and tool support member and that fits over the highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(b) a bottom universal “U” shaped interlock member that fits over the next highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(c) one or more vertical telescoping structural support posts fastened to each of the “U” shaped interlock members; and
(d) a means for adjustably connecting the telescoping structural support member
whereby the device is securely and removably installable to the guard rails of the aerial lift machines without tools.
2. The device according to
3. The device according to
4. The device according to
5. The device according to
6. The device according to
7. The device according to
8. The device according to
(a) a hand knob;
(b) a threaded shaft connected to the knob;
(c) slotted apertures extending through the vertical telescoping structural support posts;
(d) an internally threaded tee nut which connects to the threaded shaft on the knob side of the posts and whose tee configuration is moveably engaged to the slotted apertures; and
(e) an internally threaded end nut which connects to the threaded shaft on the side of the posts opposite the tee nut
wherein the threaded shaft engaged with the tee nut and the end nut provide a clamping force to rigidly secure the telescoping structural support members at a desired position.
9. The device according to
(a) circular apertures extending through the vertical telescoping structural support posts and
(b) pins and cotter keys
wherein the pins engaged through the posts and are retained by the cotter keys to provide a rigid position to secure the telescoping structural support members at a desired position.
10. The device according to
(a) circular apertures extending through the universal “U” shaped interlock members and
(b) pins and cotter keys
wherein the pins engaged through the “U” shaped interlock members and are retained by the cotter keys to provide a rigid position to secure the “U” shaped interlock members from tipping or moving under the weight of materials or tools.
11. An auxiliary Tool and Material Shelf device for a use on a work platform of mobile aerial lifts, comprising:
(a) a top “U” shaped interlock member that has a material and tool support member and that fits over the highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(b) a bottom “U” shaped interlock member that fits over the next highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(c) one or more fixed vertical structural support posts fastened to each of the “U” shaped interlock members that is custom fitted to a specific sized work platform; and
(d) a means for securely connecting the structural support member to a customized position whereby the device is removably installable to the guard rails of the specific aerial lift machines without tools.
12. The device according to
13. An auxiliary Tool and Material Shelf device for a use on a work platform of mobile aerial lifts, comprising:
(a) a top “U” shaped interlock member that has a removable connection system for the material and tool support member and that fits over the highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(b) a bottom “U” shaped interlock member that fits over the next highest platform guard rail of the lift;
(c) one or more adjustable vertical structural support posts fastened to each of the “U” shaped interlock members;
(d) a means for securely connecting the structural support member to a customized position; and
(e) a connection system that permits interchangeability of the various material and tool supports
whereby the device is removably installable to the guard rails of the specific aerial lift machines without tools.
14. The device according to
15. The device according to
(a) angle gussets with button studs wherein the gussets are rigidly fixed to the top “U” shaped interlock member and
(b) gussets with key hole slots on the material and tool support member to removably connect to the button studs
wherein the material and tool support members may be interchanged for the needs of the user.
16. The device according to
This application claims the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/506,213 filed Sep. 24, 2003 and 60/509,133 filed Oct. 6, 2003 by Douglas E Waymire of Anderson, Ind., U.S.A., and titled “TOOL AND MATERIAL SHELF (WITH REMOVABLE FEATURES) FOR MOBILE WORK PLATFORMS”.
The present invention relates generally to a Tool and Material Shelf that a construction, maintenance or other personnel may use to safely organize and position his tools and materials on a work platform for mobile aerial lifts and other assist devices. The Present Invention may be utilized either as a single shelf or material “hook” support or may be used with other shelves (fixed or removable) at the discretion and needs of the person. It includes various options to be suitable for the differing needs of the user.
The new shelf and material support device has features built-in to make its use both functional and simple to operate. The new device has various improvements that will be discussed below.
Field of Invention
The new shelf and material support device described in this specification is an auxiliary mechanism that is designed to easily and quickly install on a standard mobile aerial lift machine. This shelf and support augments the productivity of the user of the lift machine and improves the safety of the operation during use.
A. Introduction of the Problems Addressed
Mobile aerial lift machines are normally supplied without a tray or shelf that would be used for the purpose of holding material/tools. However, the skilled trade or maintenance person using the lift machine needs a tray or shelf to put his or her materials and/or tools upon while performing a job or task. Without a tray or shelf, the worker must lay the material and/or tools on the floor of the lift or create a makeshift device to hold the materials or tools. Workers have been known to rig and attach boxes and other supports to the lifts in order to hold their material/tools. These may be welded, bolted, or screwed to the railing of the lift. Although these boxes or supports are used, they are not commercially available.
B. Prior Art
Historically, the prior art devices were often used for ladders, scaffolds of limited mobility, or fixed tool benches. Often these were light gauge devices or devices designed for specific machines of one manufacturer. The new shelf and material support device addresses these limitations and provides a solution to the stated problems.
Examples of prior auxiliary mechanisms for material and tool organization begin with U.S. Pat. No. 3,252,614 issued to Evans (1966). This teaches a way to attach a material or tool bin over a thin band of a metal strap. The device is stated to be stackable for storage but does not teach any use with mobile lift machines. It implies use for manufacturing parts and the like. Another improvement for material and tool support was issued to Benolkin as a U.S. Pat. No. 3,998,416 (1976). It teaches a flexible strap with a key hole and button connection means. It is used only with a ladder and is limited in size and use, mainly as a means to hold a paint can and tools for painting. Although easily installed, this device adds no additional capacity for a large load of tools or materials as the present invention.
Other examples include a U.S. Pat. No. 4,480,810 issued to Hall (1984) which teaches a ladder caddy clamped to the rung of a ladder. It holds tools and materials, but does not have the large capacity of the new shelf device. A U.S. Pat. No. 4,462,243 issued to Richards (1984) teaches a specific, complex tool holder that is held in place by means of a button stud on one structure and a key hole aperture on the adjacent structure. The means to secure does not teach use on mobile platforms or general tool or material supports.
A U.S. Pat. No. 4,646,877 issued to Whan (1985) teaches an angle iron strut supporting a material holder on a scaffold. It does not show multiple type material and tool holding bins nor discuss use with a mobile aerial lift. It does not suggest the U-shaped interlock of the present invention. U.S. Pat. No. 4,715,474 was issued to Wehmeyer (1987) that teaches an interconnect system for round members of a scaffold. It teaches a clamping system for a restricted cross-section of support member and is not flexible and versatile like the present invention.
A support table for a scaffold is taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,158,023 issued to Allen (1992). This device uses a U-interlock on the top rail and an angle strut to the floor of the platform. It does not teach general tool and/or material support or versatility for various cross-sections of guard rails. A U.S. Pat. No. 5,481,988 issued to Dess (1996) was focused at extension platforms for fork trucks and the like. It taught telescoping structures for the work platform and guard rails but does not teach tool or material support features.
The U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,838 issued to Lapp (1999) teaches a hook support for a scaffold guard rail and angle struts supporting the platform. It does not discuss using either to support tools or materials.
A tray or shelf for scissors lifts and aerial lift are taught in U.S. Pat. No. 6,095,057 issued to Corban (2000) and in publications on the internet at skycaddy.com for J. C. Engineering. This device is a stamped or cast device that is light gauge in nature for light loads of tools or materials. It teaches one retaining pin on only one guard rail which permits potential tipping of any loads. It requires special custom designs for the various cross-section and sizes of guard rails that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It only teaches trays that are under the guard rail plane which is not adequate for certain skilled trades. It does not teach material hooks for pie and conduit, or the like, nor inclined tables for wire distribution. The claims are very narrow and limited. The publication related to this patent is likewise limited in versatility. Each cross-section of guard rail requires a special design and lacks versatility and scope for the aerial lift industry.
Other prior art does not suggest or disclose the same features, capabilities, and improvements in combination of the present invention.
The new invention is a Tool and Material Shelf or Support system. The configuration permits use with various sized aerial lifts and supports heavier material and tool loads compared to other prior art. The device has several features built in that will be described below. These features permit the device to be light enough for one person to handle yet sturdy enough to take the weight and abuse in the work environment. It is designed and configured to permit a construction and maintenance worker to safely organize and transport his tools and materials when using a mobile aerial lift device and its work platform.
The main components of this invention are comprised of two universal “U” shaped interlock members that fit over the platform guard rails; a vertical telescoping structural support posts may be custom fitted or designed complete with an adjustable locking device; and various trays, material supports and/or container devices (all of which may be fixed or removable) to hold the tools and materials. The preferred embodiment and alternative embodiments are shown is the accompanying drawings and pictures.
The materials comprising the new shelf and material support device are standard and available from many sources. The materials for the various trays and accessories are primarily the same as utilized in standard tool holders and material containers commonly used for work at ground level. The interlock members may be different types of sheet, structural, cast or molded materials as discussed below. The vertical support posts can be various types of materials configured in a tubular cross section that permits telescoping for length adjustments while maintaining the strength of a closed structural member. This is discussed further, below. One skilled in the art can appreciate that many variation of materials and configurations for the tool and material support may be used to permit the scope and spirit of this invention as described below and as depicted in the accompanying drawings.
Accordingly, there are several objects and advantages of the new shelf and material support device described in this specification. There currently exist some mechanisms for ladders and scaffolds and devices that are made specifically for one type of aerial lift. This new shelf and material support device provides an improvement because it is designed to be used with a wide variety of the most common aerial lift with various trays and bins for materials and tools in commercial and industrial settings.
One advantage of this device over others in the field is that it is universally adaptable to different sizes and shapes of mobile aerial lift machines. The adjustable vertical support posts and the safety locking pins provide a secure attachment to the various sized work platforms. While an alternative embodiment may be custom built to an exact dimensioned platform, the preferred embodiment crosses virtually all makes and models of machines. This results in less proliferation to fit most machines and eliminates the need to buy specially designed units for only one type of lift machine.
Another advantage is its versatility. The basic unit may be adapted with different trays and material containment options to permit the different needs of the trades person in construction and maintenance. The design is configured to be adaptable for differing materials and tools. In addition, the trays may be attached and fixed directly to the U-shaped members or, as an alternative embodiment, they may be attached by means of a removable connection system so various trays may be readily interchanged.
Another advantage is its simple and inexpensive design. Because it uses the same materials as other equipment and tools systems in the construction and maintenance industry, a manufacturer may leverage his material-buying power with a higher volume. Also, the processes to manufacture all the parts for the invention are well known in the industry.
A further advantage is its support of safety in the workplace. The device permits the materials and tools to be well organized and contained. The work surface where the tradesman stands will be free of materials and tools and permit him to safely support himself by not standing or tripping on misplaced objects. Likewise, the containment of the objects will lessen the chance for the objects to be unknowingly kicked or bumped to passers-by, below.
An important advantage is the added strength of a device with this configuration. The dual interlocks, the additional safety lock pins, and the vertical support posts are designed to jointly provide a much stronger support system that is on the market, today.
Another advantage is the device improves ergonomics and accessibility. The invention permits a tradesman easier access to the tools and materials. Most will now be at waist level and within arms length. Importantly, the need to stoop down and remove ones eyes from the work is also reduced significantly.
Another advantage is that the reduced bending and reaching saves time. More of a person's time is used in doing the skilled task rather than retrieving or moving materials and tools during the operation. Hence, the improved efficiency saves the worker effort and increases the productivity of the operation.
Finally, other advantages and additional features of the present invention will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings and from the full description of the invention. For one skilled in the art of tool and material placement for work platforms, such as described here, it is readily understood that the features shown in the examples with this invention are readily adapted to other types of similar devices in the industry.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate an embodiment of the present invention that is preferred. The drawings together with the summary description given above and a detailed description given below serve to explain the principles of the invention. It is understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.
The following list refers to the drawings:
The present invention is a tool and material shelf and support system for mobile aerial lift machines. The main components of this invention are comprised of two universal “U” shaped interlock members that fit over the platform guard rails; a vertical structural support posts may be custom fitted or designed complete with an adjustable locking device; and various trays, material supports and/or container devices (all of which may be fixed or removable) to hold the tools and materials.
The materials comprising the device are standard and available from many sources. The two universal “U” shaped interlock members can be made from various types of sheet product. The gauges can vary from three eighths inch (⅜), quarter inch (¼), one eighth inch (⅛), 10 gauge, or the like of various steels and other metals that may be readily formed into the “U Shaped” configuration. In addition, structural or cast plates may be used if needing high strengths for very heavy material supports (such as heavy pipe and the like). Finally, fiberglass and other various plastics or compound materials may be molded into the shape as long as appropriate testing has insured enough strength for the application.
The vertical structural support posts can likewise be comprised of various metals, plastics and the like. The preferred embodiment shows a closed tubular member. One skilled in the art understands that the tube may be square, rectangular, circular or the like. One skilled also knows that other structural cross sections may be used as long as the compressive strength is maintained and the universally adjustable length connector shown in the drawings is properly fitted to a different configuration.
The various trays and material support components are made of light gauge metals, plastics and the like. The material “hooks” may require tubular or structural members of heavier gauged metals and composite materials.
The entire device is fastened together by welding, bolting, riveting or the like. Threaded fasteners seem the best for the locking device but one skilled in the art appreciates other means to accomplish the spirit of this invention. Simple pins and cotter keys, or the like, may be used to attach the U members to the lift guard rails. Obviously, metal sheet members may be bent and formed by a power press or brake. Plastics and composite alternatives would be molded or cast to the proper configuration. Depending on the materials used, secondary drilling operations may be required for some of the design configuration such as the lock pin apertures, etc.
A person having ordinary skill in the field of this invention appreciates the various materials and component parts that may be used to physically permit this invention to be produced and utilized. The improvements over the existing art are providing a device that:
In the drawings and illustrations, note well that the
In this Alternative Embodiment the attachment of trays, such as the flat tray 34 or inclined tray 36 (or others such as shown above) is by means of a removable connection system 46 as shown in
Each of the trays such as the flat tray 34, the inclined tray 36 or the like has a plurality of gussets 49 and 49 a [shown here as an example of two (2)] similarly attached to the tray 34 or inclined tray 36, or the like. These gussets 49 and 49 a have two key slots 50 that are apertures through the tray gussets 49. The whole assembly is shown in side views
In total, all the points and details mentioned here throughout this detailed description of the drawings are exemplary and not limiting. Other components specific to describing a tool and material shelf or support device may be added as a person having ordinary skill in the field of this invention well appreciates. The drawing and components have been focused on the parts shown in respect to the present invention.
The tool and material shelf as the universal, flexible embodiment 21 has been described above. The manner of how the embodiment 21 operates is described below. Note well that the description above and the operation described here must be taken together to fully illustrate the concept of the present invention.
The embodiment described above is a tool and material shelf or support device 21, for use with a mobile aerial lift machine. The device 21 is simply fitted over the work platform guardrails 413 of the mobile aerial machine. As described in the preferred embodiment. The vertical support post 24 and 24 a are adjustably connected in length. The members 24 and 24 a telescope within themselves and are set to the appropriate size for the specific machine. (See
The multiple pins 28 and the lower support 24 a at the lower guard rail 413 permits the universal embodiment 21 to be utilized with various cross sections as shown in
Several optional trays and material holders 34,36,38,39,40,41, and 25 were demonstrated in the
Alternative Embodiments were also shown. In
The tool and material shelf/support device as the present invention has been described above in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment. With these descriptions it is to be understood that the tool and material shelf/support device is not to be limited to the disclosed embodiment. On the contrary, the tool and material shelf/support device is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the description.