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Publication numberUS20070261381 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/486,426
Publication dateNov 15, 2007
Filing dateJul 13, 2006
Priority dateMay 12, 2006
Also published asUS8495856, US20100024375, WO2007133738A2, WO2007133738A3
Publication number11486426, 486426, US 2007/0261381 A1, US 2007/261381 A1, US 20070261381 A1, US 20070261381A1, US 2007261381 A1, US 2007261381A1, US-A1-20070261381, US-A1-2007261381, US2007/0261381A1, US2007/261381A1, US20070261381 A1, US20070261381A1, US2007261381 A1, US2007261381A1
InventorsWillard Collins
Original AssigneeWillard Collins
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Front mounted rotary hay rake
US 20070261381 A1
Abstract
A rotary type rake having a plurality of finger wheel rotary raking elements mounted on a frame and movable thereon from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a retracted raised traveling position. The frame is partly supported by a pair of caster wheel assemblies that are disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another and a distal end of the frame which connects securely to a front end loader mounted on a tractor. Oscillatory movement of the caster wheel assemblies is restrained by a brake acting on the shaft of the caster wheel assembly by which it is mounted on the frame.
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Claims(3)
1. A rotary type rake comprising a rigid, generally horizontally disposed, frame assembly; rotary raking elements mounted on said frame and being moveable from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a retracted raised traveling position, a pair of caster wheel assemblies supporting a portion of said frame and disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another, said frame having a distal end remote from said wheel assemblies, coupling means on said distal end of said frame detachably securing the same to a front end loader mounted on a tractor, and wherein each said caster wheel assembly incorporates therein means restraining oscillatory movement of the caster wheel assembly as the rake travels during use thereof.
2. A rotary type rake comprising a rigid, generally horizontally disposed, frame assembly with coupling means on a distal thereof for detachably securing the same to a front end loader mounted on a tractor, rotary raking elements mounted on said frame and being moveable from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a raised retracted traveling position, a pair of frame supporting caster wheel disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another and said distal end of the frame, means pivotally mounting said caster wheel assemblies on the frame for pivotal movement about a generally vertical axis and brake means on each of respective ones of the pair of caster wheel assemblies providing a force resisting pivotal movement of the caster wheel assembly about the vertical axis associated therewith.
3. A caster wheel assembly for use on an implement, said caster wheel assembly including a fork having a ground engaging wheel journal led thereon, a shaft projecting upwardly from said fork, a housing fixedly securable to a frame portion of said implement, means pivotally mounting said shaft on said housing for pivotal movement about a generally vertical axis when the assembly is located in situ on the implement and brake on said assembly providing a force resisting pivotal movement of the caster wheel assembly about the vertical axis associated therewith.
Description
RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/800,183 filed on May 12, 2006 and is incorporated herein in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to rotary hay rakes of the type pushed by a tractor unit to form a windrow that is picked up by a baler being drawn behind the tractor and more particularly to an improved hay rake, attachment thereof to the tractor unit and to an improved caster wheel assembly.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

Rakes, having a plurality of finger wheels mounted on a cross beam, for sweeping material into a windrow are well known and by way of example reference maybe had to the following U.S. Pat. No. 4,183,198 Issued Jan. 15, 1980 to H. Sligter, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,313,772 issued May 24, 1994 to C. Tonutt. These rakes have a cross beam supported by a pair of ground engaging wheels and a draw bar that extends forwardly from the cross beam. The draw bar can be hooked up to a tractor and towed thereby.

There are some rakes of the foregoing type that are mounted on the tractor at or proximate the front thereof. The rake maybe fixed to a front end loader mounted on the tractor. Reference maybe had to the following U.S. Pat. No. 4,753,063 issued Jun. 28, 1988 to G. Buck and U.S. Pat. No. 5,966,916 issued Oct. 19, 1999 to M Laing.

It is also known to have the rake located at the front of the vehicle so as to sweep the material on the ground into a windrow that is picked up by a machine, for example a baler, being towed behind the tractor. This combines raking and baling of raked material into a single operation. Reference may be had to the following Canadian Patent 1.066,068 issued Nov. 13, 1979 to W. C. Hering and U.S. Pat. No. 4,214,428 issued Jul. 29, 1980 to R. Caraway and U.S. Pat. No. 5,987,964 issued Nov. 23, 1999 to H. Lutz.

The front mounted rake maybe fixedly secured to the tractor whereby it changes direction simultaneously with any directional changes the tractor may make while moving. The rakes are conventionally supported by caster wheels that are in rolling engagement with the ground and any change in the direction of travel results in the caster wheel assembly pivoting about its pivotal connection to the frame of the rake such pivotal movement being about a generally vertical axis. This is the normal function of a caster wheel. There are however numerous occasions when the wheel assembly becomes unstable and will oscillate back and forth ‘hunting’ or ‘searching’ for a stable position. This movement is most undesirable as it induces vibrations resulting in abnormal wear and tear on the machine as well as on the caster wheel assembly.

Hunting movement of a caster wheel referred to in the forgoing is pronounced in instances where the caster wheels are being pushed as is the case with the rake mounted on the leading end of the tractor and pushed by the same.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Typically a wheel rake or bar rake is used to collect mowed hay by the sweeping action of a plurality of wheels or in alternate rake embodiments, bars attached to end wheels, both having tines disposed at selected positions therearound wherein the rake wheels or bars extends outwardly several feet and include a plurality of rake teeth which rake the hay into a row often rolling the hay during the process forming a twisted roll which facilities pickup by a feed section of a hay baler which compresses the hay into square or round bales. New hay balers often have an open throat design and have a feed pickup of more than three feet wide and typically as much as six feet wide so that they can accommodate large wind rows of hay. The conventional process requires the hay be cut or mowed by a tractor pulling or using a mounted mower where it is allowed to dry to a processable condition usually taking from 1 to 3 days. A tractor is then used to pull a wheel rake or bar rake to rake the hay into a windrow of desired size. Another tractor is used to pull a square or round baler to pick up and bale the windrows of hay.

The present invention provides a means to mount one or more, typically a pair of hay rakes, to a frame which utilizes a quick disconnect plate for cooperatively engaging a corresponding frame or plate of a loader mounted onto the tractor. This arrangement provides a means for quick connection and the ability to lift the rake over uneven terrain or raise the rake into a parked or transport position.

One preferred embodiment utilizes a rotary type rake having a plurality of finger wheel rotary raking elements mounted on a frame and movable thereon from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a retracted raised traveling position. The frame is partly supported by a pair of caster wheel assemblies that are disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another and a distal end of the frame which connects securely to a front end loader mounted on a tractor. Oscillatory movement of the caster wheel assemblies is restrained by a brake acting on the shaft of the caster wheel assembly by which it is mounted on the frame.

The above referenced preferred embodiment of the present invention utilizes a longitudinal frame having a removable attachment plate mounting to a tractor loader and includes a pair of side arms or booms having a plurality of raking wheels extending therefrom which can be positioned at a selected angle in front to tractor in order to accumulate and rake hay into a central windrow which can be straddled by the tractor supporting the loader and baled in a hay baler being pulled behind the same raking tractor.

This arrangement eliminates a complete cycle of raking the hay then baling the hay resulting in a savings in time and fuel.

Moreover, an important feature of the present invention is a brake mechanism installed on the rake caster wheel assemblies supporting the rake frame in order to prevent the rake support wheels from wobbling.

It is anticipated that structural members and the wheel caster brake kit could be utilized as a kit to retrofit conventional trail rakes.

A principal object of the present invention is to provide a caster wheel assembly for the forgoing use with a braking mechanism that reduces the aforementioned unwanted hunting.

A further object is to provide a braking mechanism as in the forgoing and which is adjustable to selectively vary the braking force that resists the pivotal movement of the caster wheel assembly.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a finger wheel hay rake that incorporates the forgoing improved caster wheel assemblies and such a hay rake that attaches to the front of a tractor so as to be pushed by the same.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is provided a rotary type rake comprising a rigid, generally horizontally disposed, frame assembly, rotary raking elements mounted on said frame and being moveable from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a retracted raised traveling position, a pair of caster wheel assemblies supporting a portion of said frame and disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another, said frame having a distal end remote from said wheel assemblies, coupling means on said distal end of said frame detachably securing the same to a front end portion of a tractor unit, and means restraining oscillatory movement of the caster wheel assemblies as the rake travels during use thereof.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a rotary type rake comprising: a rigid, generally horizontally disposed, frame assembly with coupling means on a distal thereof for detachably securing the same to a front end loader mounted on a tractor, rotary raking elements mounted on said frame and being moveable from one to the other of a raking position to rake material on the ground into a windrow and a raised retracted traveling position, a pair of frame supporting caster wheel assemblies supporting said frame on the ground and being disposed in spaced apart relation with respect to one another and the distal end of said frame, said caster wheel assemblies being pivotally mounted on the frame for pivotal movement about a generally vertical axis and braking means providing a force resisting pivotal movement of the caster wheel assemblies about their respective vertical axes.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a caster wheel assembly for use on an implement, said caster wheel assembly including a fork having a ground engaging wheel journal led thereon, a shaft projecting upwardly from said fork, a housing fixedly securable to a frame portion of said implement, means pivotally mounting said stem on said housing for pivotal movement about a generally vertical axis when the assembly is located in situ on the implement and braking means providing a force resisting pivotal movement of the caster wheel assembly about said generally vertical axis.

Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent with the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings showing a preferred embodiment of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A better understanding of the present invention will be had upon reference to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic oblique side view of a tractor having a hay rake mounted on the front of the tractor and a hay baler being drawn behind the tractor;

FIG. 2 is a front elevatioal view of the tractor and hay rake shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an oblique view illustrating a portion of the rake frame attached to the leading of the front end loader on the tractor;

FIG. 4 is an oblique view on a larger scale of a portion of one of the two caster wheels that supports the frame of the rake with modification thereto provided in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but taken from a different angle and showing the upper portion of the two caster wheel assemblies with the furthest one having the internal mechanism omitted that applies a force resisting pivotal movement of the caster wheel about its vertical axis;

FIG. 6 is an oblique view of the internal braking mechanism omitted from the one caster wheel assembly in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is an exploded oblique view of the mechanism illustrated in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an elevational part sectional view of a modified arrangement of a mechanism that preforms the same function as the brake mechanism illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7;

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 diagrammatically illustrates a tractor 100 having a front end loader 101 on which there is securely attached a rotary type rake 200. A machine 300 is drawn behind the tractor to process the material raked into a windrow by the rake as the machine proceeds in the forward direction.

The rake 200 has a rigid frame that includes a pair of laterally spaced apart elongate beam 201, 202 with a plate 203 fixedly secured thereto at the distal end thereof (see FIG. 3). This is the trailing end of the frame. The plate is detachably and securely fastened to a front portion 102 of the tractor front end loader 101 for example by a plurality of studs or bolt and nut units.204. The trailing end of he frame is suitably reinforced by members 205 and an adjustable leg 206 is provided to support that frame end portion on the ground when the rake is not in use.

A pair of sub-frame assemblies 207, 208 are pivotally mounted on the rigid frame and each has a plurality of finger wheels 209 pivotally mounted thereon in spaced apart relation relative to one another. The sub-frames are movable by suitable power means from one position to another where in one position the finger wheels are in a lowered working position (FIG. 2) and in the other they are in a raised retracted travel position.

The rake projects forwardly from the tractor and proximate the leading end of frame members 201, 202 there is a cross beam 210. A pair of laterally spaced apart struts 212, 213 are fixedly secured to the cross beam 210 and project forwardly therefrom.

Caster wheel assemblies 220, 230 support the frame and are connected to respective struts 213, 212 by pivot means having a substantially vertical pivot axis. With the rake frame being fixedly secured to the tractor the rake changes direction simultaneously with any directional changes the tractor may make while moving and with the caster wheels disposed in rolling engagement with the ground any change in the direction of travel results in the caster wheel assemblies pivoting about the vertical axis associated therewith. This is the normal function of a caster wheel. There are however numerous occasions when the caster wheel assembly becomes unstable and will oscillate back and forth about the vertically disposed pivot axis and this oscillatory movement is herein referred to as ‘hunting’ or ‘searching’. This hunting movement of the caster wheel assembly is most undesirable as it induces abnormal wear and tear on the equipment. Hunting movement of the caster wheel assembly referred to in the forgoing is pronounced in instances where the caster wheels are being pushed as is the case with the apparatus illustrated in the drawings.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention each caster wheel is provided with brake means that resists pivotal movement of the caster wheel assembly about the vertical axis. The brake means maybe incorporated in new machines or retrofitted to existing equipment.

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a conventional pivotal connection of the caster wheel assembly to the forwardly projecting strut and FIGS. 4 to 7 illustrate the same but with a unit 400 mounted on the strut and projecting upwardly therefrom. The unit 400 is provided in accordance with the present invention and the purpose thereof is to apply a braking force resisting pivotal movement of the caster assembly and thereby inhibit the previously described ‘hunting’.

The caster wheel assemblies 220, 230 are the same and therefor only one will be described hereinafter and in limited detail as these assemblies are known in the art.

The caster wheel assembly 230 comprises a fork 231 having a wheel 232 jounalled thereon. A shaft 233 projects upwardly from the fork and is jounalled by suitable bearing means in a vertically disposed tubular portion 212A on the end of the strut 212. Obviously the tubular portion 212A can be manufactured as a separate element and secured to the strut (or equivalent thereto) in any convenient manner. The shaft 233 has a spacer 234 thereon, or incorporated therein, that provides a shoulder on the upper end thereof for engagement with an end thrust bearing on the lower edge of the tubular portion 212A. The shaft extends upwardly through the tubular portion 212A and a another bearing proximate the upper end of the tubular member 212A. The shaft 233 extends on through the bearing and a short distance beyond the member 212A terminating in an upper free end 235. The caster wheel assembly 230 described to this point is conventional and maybe found on a conventional hay rake.

Referring to FIGS. 4 to 7 the unit 400 has an open ended outer sleeve 401 with respective upper and lower ends 402, 403. The inner diameter of the sleeve approximates that of the outer diameter of the vertically disposed strut tubular end portion 212A An upper portion of tubular member 212A projects into a lower end portion of the sleeve 401 and they are fixedly joined together as by welding or the like. A notch 404 in the sleeve extends upwardly from the bottom end 403 to receive therein a portion of the strut associated therewith (see FIG. 5). The wall of the sleeve has a pair of slots 405 disposed opposite one another and longitudinally along a major portion thereof.

As best illustrated in FIG. 8, a braking assembly 420 is removably located in the sleeve and includes a metal plate 421 with a brake pad 422 fixed thereto and located on the lower surface thereof. The plate 421 has lugs 423, 424 projecting from opposite sides thereof. The brake pad is disposed in the sleeve 401 in abutting relation with the upper end 235 of the shaft 233 and the lugs 423, 424 of the plate 421 to which the brake pad is attached project through a respective one of the pair of elongate slots 405. The top end of the sleeve is closed by an end cap 426 projecting into the sleeve and anchored in place by a plurality of set screws 427 threaded through the side wall of the sleeve and projecting into a respective one of a plurality of recesses 428 in a side edge of the cap.

Pressure is applied to the brake element via a compression spring 430 having one end thereof abutting a washer or plate 431 located on the under side of the end cap 426 and the other end engaging a force transfer unit. The force transfer unit includes a sleeve 441 having a flange 442 on one end thereof and which abuts against the plate 421. The sleeve 441 is open at the upper end thereof and receives therein a rod 445 that has the upper end thereof abutting against the lower end to the compression spring.

The braking force being applied to the shaft 233 can be adjustably varied by changing the pressure applied by the compression spring 430. For this purpose a bolt 450 is threaded though the end cap 426 and has a leading end engaging the washer 431. Turning the bolt changes the spring pressure and the bolt can be locked in the desired adjusted position by a lock nut 451.

The foregoing detailed description is given primarily for clearness of understanding and no unnecessary limitations are to be understood therefrom, for modifications will become obvious to those skilled in the art based upon more recent disclosures and may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention and scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8083020 *Nov 16, 2009Dec 27, 2011Corriher Ted HBraking system for front caster wheels of a self-propelled vehicle
US8511417Dec 7, 2011Aug 20, 2013Ted H. CORRIHERBraking system for front caster wheels of a self-propelled vehicle
US20100122875 *Nov 16, 2009May 20, 2010Corriher Ted HBraking system for front caster wheels of a self-propelled vehicle
Classifications
U.S. Classification56/345
International ClassificationA01D78/00, A01D87/06, A01D43/02
Cooperative ClassificationA01D78/144
European ClassificationA01D78/14A1