US 20050263555 A1
An improved cargo carrier that extends from the rear of a towing vehicle. By virtue of its rotateable bottom and rear surface, the carrier can be easily modified to serve as a ramp for on-loading cargo from a road surface to the towing vehicle, and can be quickly reset to secure and carry cargo while the vehicle is in transit. Also, the cargo carrier is easily removed from the rear of the vehicle when it is not needed.
1. An improved cargo carrier, comprising:
a receiver hitch engagement means,
an adjustable frame, reversibly mateable with said receiver hitch engagement means, having a first side,
a second side, a bottom surface, and a rear surface;
where said bottom surface and said rear surface rotate about a shared axis.
2. The improved cargo carrier of
said bottom surface and said rear surface rotate about a rear axis of said adjustable frame between a first position and a second position; so a ramp is formed between a road surface and a vehicle in the first position, and an approximate right angle is formed between said bottom surface and said rear surface in the second position
3. The improved cargo carrier of
4. The improved cargo carrier of
1. Field of the Invention
Applicant's invention generally relates to an improved cargo carrier. More specifically, applicants invention relates to an improved cargo carrier that reversibly attaches to a vehicle and may be converted into a ramp used to load and unload cargo.
2. Background Information
Today's society virtually revolves around the shipment of goods. In fact, everything from the food we eat to the to computers we use have been shipped from point A to point B. And, regardless of the nature of transport, at some point all of the items that reach consumers have made some portion of their journey on a truck. Obviously, someone had to load and unload all of those items, and, in the interest of saving time and back breaking labor—ramps were probably used so that the items could simply be rolled, pushed, or pulled into or out of the truck. As such, even minor improvements to the often repeated process of loading and unloading goods would have a noticeable impact on the efficiency of commerce itself.
In addition, extra cargo space is at a premium in several industries. As mentioned, virtually every product on the market has spent some time in a truck. Obviously, the more items put on each truck converts to time and money saved by the person doing the shipping; and ultimately the person paying for the goods. However, simply adding extra cargo space is not as easy as it may first seem. For instance, extra cargo space is most easily placed at the rear of the vehicle, where it will not obstruct the drivers view and will not interfere with passing or oncoming traffic. But, when such cargo space is added, particularly in the form of extra bed space, it often gets in the way during the loading/unloading process. For instance, available cargo carriers are cumbersome and not easily removed. The benefit of carrying extra goods using these carriers is outweighed by the extra time and labor spent working around or removing the added cargo carrier. As such, there is a tremendous need for a carrier that provide extra cargo space, that is easily removed, and facilitates fast and efficient loading/unloading of cargo.
Applicant's invention eliminates sacrificing extra cargo space for the sake of efficient loading and unloading of goods. The present invention satisfies a tremendous need in that is allows more goods to be shipped at one time while providing for efficient loading and unloading of those goods.
While applicant's invention is envisiond as providing an improvement in every industry involving the transportation of goods, the present invention is thought to be particularly useful in the shipment of all-terrain vehicles and lawn equipment. Commonly, both industries require transport of the vehicles and the supplies used in conjunction with those vehicles. For instance, lawn mowers and ATV's are carried in truck beds, with gas, oil, spare parts, and loading ramps arranged in the surrounding space. This type of arrangement is often inefficient and difficult as the bed it too small to accommodate the necessary equipment. Most importantly, the present invention allows its user to load an ATV or lawnmower into a truck bed and easily store necessary supplies in the provided cargo space.
In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved cargo carrier that is easily modified into a ramp for loading cargo into a vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an improved cargo carrier that is easily modified into a ramp for unloading cargo from a vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide extra cargo space for an in-transit vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a ramp for loading cargo into a vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a ramp for unloading cargo from a vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to eliminate the need for removing cargo carriers when on-loading other cargo into the bed of a vehicle.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a cost saving mechanism with respect to the transportation of goods.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a time saving mechanism with respect to the transportation of goods.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an easily removable, easy to work, with cargo carrier.
In satisfaction of these and other related objectives, Applicant's present invention provides a cost effective and time saving device. Use of the present device facilitates efficient loading/unloading and storage of cargo without the need for removing or substituting different equipment.
As will be discussed in the specification to follow, practice of the present invention incorporates the use of a support rod which mates with a standard receiving hitch. The support rod extends from the receiving hitch in linear fashion and mates with a carrier. The support rod, in its most preferred form, is a rigid, tubular rod that engages a standard receiving hitch simply by sliding along the walls of the hitch so as to provide for secure engagement. The hitch and support rod are secured to one another as the outer surface of the support rod snugly fits against the inner surface of the receiving hitch. In addition, one or more pins may be inserted through the cross sections of the hitch and support rod to prevent lateral movement.
The carrier is comprised of a support brace which runs along the bottom of the carrier and mates with the support rod. The carrier support brace simply slides along the length of the support rod and is so fitted to provide a secure engagement. Specifically, the inside walls of the support brace mate with the outside walls of the support rod. Also, a pin or series of pins may be inserted through the cross sections of the brace and rod to prevent lateral movement. Resting along the support brace is a front cross-beam and a back cross-beam. Each cross beam runs along the width of the towing vehicle; perpendicular to the support brace, and supports a rectilineal framework. The framework has two functions: it holds the entire structure in a fixed position with respect to the towing vehicle, and, it provides support and stability so that a cargo load may rest within the carrier and remain contained therein.
A two-piece ramp platform is attached to the carrier along the rear cross beam. That is, the rear cross-beam contains two sets of hinges whereby each piece of the ramp platform may rotate about the rear cross-beam. The top piece of the ramp platform rotates between the bottom of the carrier in its low position, and a position where it meets the rear edge of the vehicle bed at its high position. At its resting, or low position, the ramp platform top piece functions as the bottom surface of the cargo carrier. The ramp platform bottom piece rotates between a position where its rear end extends to and rests on a road surface at its low position, and a high position where it serves as rear wall for the cargo carrier.
When the vehicle is in transit, the top piece of the ramp piece serves as the bottom surface of the cargo carrier and the bottom piece of the ramp platform serves as the rear surface of the cargo carrier. However, when the vehicle is at rest, the two piece ramp platform is rotated about the rear cross-beam so as to provide a planar ramp extending between the road surface and the bed of the towing vehicle.
Applicant's invention may be further understood from a description of the accompanying drawings wherein, unless otherwise specified, like referenced numbers are intended to depict like components in the various views.
With reference to
Again referring to
In the preferred embodiment, ramp platform bottom-piece 30 slideably attaches to rear hinges 26 and rotates about cross beam 17 between a lower position where bottom piece 30 extends to the road surface forming a partial ramp; and a top position where bottom piece 30 extends upright, forming a rear carrier surface. Certainly, one may easily envision embodiments where top piece 28 and bottom piece 30 do not slideably attach, but are reversibly attached with circular hooks or are permanently attached.
In the preferred embodiment top piece 28 and bottom piece 30 are singular structures comprised of welded metal or suitable alloy. However, other embodiments are envisioned as containing a wooden support structure or having some structure whereby individual pieces may be reversibly assembled to make for easy disassembly or storage.
Top-piece 28 and bottom-piece 30 respectively support ramp surfaces 40 and 41. In the preferred embodiment, ramp surfaces 40 and 41 are some braided wire mesh strong enough to support suitable cargo loads and flexible enough to withstand sheer, lateral, and compression forces exerted upon device 10. However, it can be easily seen that materials such as wooden planks, plywood, or sheet metal may adequately serve with respect to applicant's invention.
Referring principally to
Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.