FIELD OF INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to a saddle for a mandrel that is used with a storage and dispensing rack; more particularly it relates to a locking saddle that secures a mandrel when a floor covering is wound onto or off of the mandrel; and most particularly it relates to a power driven mandrel.
Floor covering racks are well known for storage, display and dispensing purposes. Floor covering is usually stored or displayed in multiple rolls presented on a rack. These material racks are used in a variety of settings. For example, in a gymnasium it is desirable to cover the floor when the floor is used for non-sporting events, such as, dances, dinners, etc. The floor covering material is rolled on mandrels which are present on a rolling rack. Each mandrel rests on spaced apart saddles that are secured to the rack. One known rack of this type is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,590,435 to Kostigian. When the covering material is put on or removed from the mandrel, the mandrel is subject to jumping out of the saddle. This can lead to personal injury or damage to the floor.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a saddle that locks a mandrel in the saddle. The saddle of the present invention comprises a generally U-shaped body having an open upper portion sufficient for a mandrel to pass through and a lower receiving portion within which the mandrel rests. The U-shaped body further comprises a locking member attached across the open end of the body to define a confined space between it and the lower receiving portion within which the mandrel is free to rotate. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a saddle that allows for easy insertion of the mandrel into the rack. It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a saddle that allows for vertically progressive storage, dispensing and display of floor covering rolls.
Other features and advantages of the invention shall become clearer from the following description of some preferred embodiments with reference to the attached drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the saddle of the present invention in use with a rack.
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the saddle of the present invention with a mandrel in place, representing an enlarged exemplary depiction of an element of FIG. 1 as denoted by A.
FIG. 2A is an alternate embodiment of the saddle of the present invention shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the locking member of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of the locking member shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of an alternate embodiment of the locking member shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 6 is a top view of the saddle of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)
FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 6.
As is shown in FIG. 1, saddle 5 is attached to a rack 100 for storing and dispensing floor coverings. In order to accommodate rolls of floor coverings of various lengths, the saddles 5 may be releasably attached and able to be repositioned in the rack 100. Such racks are normally able to accommodate a multitude of rolls.
Preferably, pairs of saddles 5 are used with a rack 100 for holding rolls of material 105 to be displayed, distributed or rewound. The rack 100 comprises a horizontal frame 110 and vertical framing members 120 attached thereto defining vertical frames. The saddles 5 can be permanently attached to the framing members 120 for example, by welding. Alternatively, the saddles may be releasably attached to the framing members 120, by for example by nuts and bolts, pins, etc. The position of the saddles 5 can be raised or lowered to accommodate rolls 105 of various sizes. The saddles 5 supports a mandrel 50 about which material is wound.
As is shown in FIG. 2, each saddle 5 comprises a U-shaped body 10 and locking member 20. Locking member 20 closes the U-shaped body 10 of the saddle 5 after the mandrel 50 has been seated within the saddle 5. Saddle 5 is open at its tapered top end 40 and receives the mandrel 50 within it. In an alternate embodiment, the locking member 20 is fixedly attached to the U-shaped body 10 of the saddle 5. In this embodiment, the mandrel 50 is received by sliding the mandrel 50 through the openings of both saddles. One or both ends of the mandrel 50 may be fitted with pins 55 or other means to prevent the mandrel 50 from sliding all the way through the saddles 5. The pins 55 can also be used in rewinding the mandrel. Material can be rewound manually by aligning a crank 60 with pin 55 as shown in FIG. 1. Alternatively, the material may be wound about the mandrel by a motorized winder.
The U-shaped body 10, shown in FIG. 2, comprises upright portions 15. The U-shaped body further comprises, an open upper portion that receives the mandrel 50, a bracket 20 that closes the upper portion, and a curved closed lower portion. The bracket 20 is either releasably attached to or integral with the U shaped body 10, creating a confined space for retaining said mandrel 50 within the U-shaped body 10 of the saddle 5. The upright portions 15 extend upwardly above the mandrel at a height of approximately 50% of the diameter of the mandrel seated in the saddle. Once seated within the saddle 5, the mandrel 50 is free to rotate but is retained in the saddle 5 by the locking member 20. As can be further seen in FIG. 2, an end of the locking member 21 rests within the U-shaped grove of the saddle body 10. The other end of the bracket 22 aligns in a relatively parallel position with the U shaped body 10.
Still with reference to FIG. 2, the saddle 5 preferably includes bearings or rollers 30. The rollers 30 are generally tangent to the outer circumference of the roller. The rollers 30 reduce rolling resistance and allow for the mandrel to spin more freely and smoothly. It should be noted that other friction reducing elements can be used in place of the rollers, e.g. needle bearings, ball bearings, etc. Locking member 20 is contoured to mandrel 50 and keeps it seated within the saddle on rollers 30. FIG. 6 clearly shows the orientation of two rollers 30 in the lower portion of the U-shaped body 10. Such an arrangement permits a mandrel 50 to rotate in the saddle 5 without contacting the sides or bottom of the saddle.
A mandrel 50 may be inserted into the saddle directly through the opening between the locking member 20 and rollers 30. Locking member 20 can either be permanently affixed to the saddle's U-shaped body 10 or may be removably fastened. The locking member may be removably fastened to the U-shaped body by fasteners such as bolts, screws, pins, and the like. As is shown in FIG. 7, opening 35 allows a fastener therethrough to allow fastening of the locking member 20 to the U-shaped body 10. Opening 35 can also serve in the attachment of the U-shaped body 10 to the uprights 120 of the frame 100.
Alternatively, the locking member 20 may be hinged to allow a portion to be pivoted out of the way allowing access to the lower portion of the saddle. The mandrel 50 may be placed in the saddle 5 through the open upper portion after first removing locking member 20 and securing it to the saddle after the mandrel 50 is seated on rollers 30 within the saddle 5.
As is shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, locking member 20 is a rigid strip in a curved shaped. The curved shape generally conforms to the shape of mandrel 50. The curved shape of the locking member allows mandrel 50 to rotate properly within the saddle 5 on rollers 30. The locking member 20 comprises an opening 25 which is able to receive a fastener and attaches locking member 20 to the U-shaped body 10 of saddle
As shown in FIG. 5, locking member 20 may also comprise rollers 31 or other friction-reducing elements to facilitate unwinding and rewinding of floor coverings, particularly when a motorized winding device is used. Rollers 31 engage the mandrel 51 to further reduce the rolling resistance of the mandrel 50 rotating within the saddle 5.