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Publication numberUS20080141503 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/552,337
Publication dateJun 19, 2008
Filing dateOct 24, 2006
Priority dateOct 24, 2006
Publication number11552337, 552337, US 2008/0141503 A1, US 2008/141503 A1, US 20080141503 A1, US 20080141503A1, US 2008141503 A1, US 2008141503A1, US-A1-20080141503, US-A1-2008141503, US2008/0141503A1, US2008/141503A1, US20080141503 A1, US20080141503A1, US2008141503 A1, US2008141503A1
InventorsR. Troy Smith, Dorene M. Smith
Original AssigneeSmith R Troy, Smith Dorene M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Safety clip for a vehicle emergency brake system
US 20080141503 A1
Abstract
A safety clip is designed for a vehicle emergency brake system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking. The safety clip includes a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening and a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from said sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from said sleeve opening. In a normally closed position, the sleeve is capable of frictionally engaging the stem when the stem is in its extended position. In a distended position, the sleeve is capable of removal from the stem. In operation, compressing the wing members urges the sleeve to a distended position.
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Claims(15)
1. A safety clip for a vehicle emergency brake system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking, the clip comprising:
(a) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, said sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging said stem when said stem is in its extended position, said sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from said stem; and
(b) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from said sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from said sleeve opening, whereby compressing said wing members urges said sleeve to a distended position.
2. The safety clip of claim 1, wherein each of said wing members terminates in an end portion opposite said sleeve, said end portions flaring away from each other.
3. The safety clip of claim 1, wherein each of said wing members has an upper edge and a lower edge, each of said wing members extending angularly from said sleeve such that said wing member end portion top edge is displaced upwardly in relation to said wing member top edge adjoining said sleeve.
4. The safety clip of claim 1, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally formed.
5. The safety clip of claim 4, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally molded.
6. The safety clip of claim 5, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally molded from a thermoplastic polymeric material.
7. The safety clip of claim 6, wherein said thermoplastic polymeric material comprises polypropylene.
8. A safety clip and storage pedestal assembly for a vehicle emergency brake system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking, the assembly comprising:
(a) a safety clip comprising:
(1) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, said sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging said stem when said stem is in its extended position, said sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from said stem; and
(2) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from said sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from said sleeve opening, whereby compressing said wing members urges said sleeve to a distended position; and
(b) a storage pedestal capable of frictionally engaging said clip in a normally closed position.
9. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 8, wherein each of said wing members terminates in an end portion opposite said sleeve, said end portions flaring away from each other.
10. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 8, wherein each of said wing members has an upper edge and a lower edge, each of said wing members extending angularly from said sleeve such that said wing member end portion top edge is displaced upwardly in relation to said wing member top edge adjoining said sleeve.
11. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 8, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally formed.
12. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 11, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally molded.
13. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 12, wherein said sleeve and said wing members are integrally molded from a thermoplastic polymeric material, and said pedestal is molded from said thermoplastic polymeric material.
14. The safety clip and storage pedestal assembly of claim 13, wherein said thermoplastic polymeric material comprises polypropylene.
15. A method of maintaining a vehicle emergency brake system in a braked configuration, said system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking, the method comprising:
(a) providing a safety clip comprising:
(1) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, said sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging said stem when said stem is in its extended position, said sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from said stem; and
(2) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from said sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from said sleeve opening;
(b) compressing said wing members to urge said sleeve to a distended position;
(c) positioning said sleeve in said distended position such that said sleeve substantially circumscribes said stem; and
(d) releasing said wing members such that said sleeve frictionally engages said stem.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a safety device for emergency brakes, and is particularly directed to a safety clip for preventing the accidental release of an emergency brake, particularly in vehicles that employ emergency air brake systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Air brake equipped vehicles such as buses, trucks, tractors and tractor trailers, forklifts and other industrial vehicles, motorized construction equipment (cranes, backhoes and the like), recreational vehicles, and other heavy-duty motor vehicles and equipment, generally employ emergency air brake systems to immobilize and stabilize a vehicle while parked or idling. In such systems, the emergency brake is typically actuated by pulling on a knob attached to the end of a stem or shaft that extends from the emergency brake mechanism into the vehicle cab. Once the knob is pulled up, a locking mechanism, typically involving a spring-loaded catch or detent mechanism, maintains the stem in an extended position, thereby keeping the emergency brake in its actuated or braking orientation. The emergency break is typically released by depressing the knob, which releases the detent mechanism holding the stem in an extended position.

The emergency brake knob is typically situated on or near the dashboard, arm console, or other surface easily accessible to the driver. Once the emergency brake is released, the wheels are free to rotate and the vehicle can freely travel.

In typical emergency brake systems, only a minimal amount of pressure is required to depress the emergency brake knob. For example, children or dogs wandering around the interior of the vehicle near the emergency brake knob could easily nudge the knob and release the emergency brake. This, combined with the prominent position of the knob, creates a potentially hazardous situation. If the vehicle is parked on other than a level surface, the vehicle could roll in the direction of the slightest decline. Property damage and, more importantly, human injury and death have been directly attributed to inadvertent or accidental release of a vehicle emergency brake.

Prior efforts to prevent inadvertent release of the emergency brake range from haphazard to overly cumbersome. For example, drivers have placed a cup upside-down over the emergency brake knob and directed children not to touch the cup or the knob underneath. This is far from effective deterrent and, to children, almost an invitation to satisfy their curiosity about what might happen if the emergency brake knob is touched. On the other hand, Childres U.S. Design Pat. No. D494,838, depicts a more secure method of blocking access to the release button or knob with a key-operated locking mechanism that fits over the top of the release button. Such a configuration, requiring a fair amount of effort and the use of a key each time the driver wishes to employ the emergency brake, is an overly cumbersome solution. The key could be lost, and Childres' configuration does not provide the necessary incentive to regularly employ the device as a safety feature. It is, in fact, intended to be overly cumbersome as it functions more as an anti-theft device rather than as a safety device. For these reasons, prior efforts to prevent the accidental release of the emergency brake have been inadequate to promote the safety of property and human life.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A safety clip for a vehicle emergency brake system overcomes one or more of the foregoing deficiencies of existing devices for preventing inadvertent release of a vehicle emergency brake. The emergency brake system has a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking. The clip comprises:

    • (a) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, the sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging the stem when the stem is in its extended position, the sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from the stem; and
    • (b) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from the sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from the sleeve opening.

In operation, compressing the wing members urges the sleeve to a distended position.

In a preferred safety clip, each of the wing members terminates in an end portion opposite the sleeve and the end portions flare away from each other.

In another preferred safety clip, each of the wing members has an upper edge and a lower edge, and each of the wing members extends angularly from the sleeve such that the wing member end portion top edge is displaced upwardly in relation to the wing member top edge adjoining the sleeve.

In another preferred safety clip, the sleeve and wing members are integrally formed. The sleeve and wing members are preferably integrally molded, more preferably integrally molded from a thermoplastic polymeric material. A preferred thermoplastic polymeric material is polypropylene.

A safety clip and storage pedestal assembly is designed for a vehicle emergency brake system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking. The assembly comprises:

    • (a) a safety clip comprising:
      • (1) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, the sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging the stem when the stem is in its extended position, the sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from the stem; and
      • (2) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from the sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from the sleeve opening, whereby compressing the wing members urges the sleeve to a distended position; and
    • (b) a storage pedestal capable of frictionally engaging the clip in a normally closed position.

A method of maintaining a vehicle emergency brake system in a braked configuration is designed for a system having a stem extending from a braking mechanism and ending in a knob, and a releasable locking mechanism for maintaining the stem in an extended position during braking. The method comprises:

    • (a) providing a safety clip comprising:
      • (1) a resilient, generally C-shaped sleeve having an opening formed therein, the sleeve in a normally closed position capable of frictionally engaging the stem when the stem is in its extended position, the sleeve in a distended position capable of removal from the stem; and
      • (2) a pair of circumferentially spaced wing members extending from the sleeve at a location approximately radially opposite from the sleeve opening;
    • (b) compressing the wing members to urge the sleeve to a distended position;
    • (c) positioning the sleeve in the distended position such that the sleeve substantially circumscribes the stem; and
    • (d) releasing the wing members such that the sleeve frictionally engages the stem.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of one embodiment of the present safety clip for preventing accidental release of a vehicle emergency brake.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the safety clip depicted in FIG. 1 in which the safety clip is in its non-engaged position.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the safety clip of FIG. 1 showing the safety clip in its intended engaged position on the stem of an emergency brake knob.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the safety clip of FIG. 1 in its intended engaged position on the stem of an emergency brake knob, in which the safety clip is also connected to a keychain.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the safety clip of FIG. 1 in its engaged position on a storage pedestal.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

FIGS. 1-5 show one embodiment of the safety clip chosen for purposes of illustration. The device generally indicated in FIGS. 1-5 as a safety clip 10 comprises a C-shaped sleeve 20, a first wing member 50 and a second wing member 60.

As shown in FIG. 1, C-shaped sleeve 20 includes a first portion 40 a with a beveled top edge 35 and a second portion 40 b with a beveled top edge 45. First 40 a and second 40 b portions are separated by a separation width A. First wing portion 50 includes an outwardly projecting distal end 70. Second wing portion 60 includes an outwardly projecting distal end 80.

As shown in FIG. 1, C-shaped sleeve 20 of safety clip 10 is joined to the proximal ends of first wing member 50 and second wing member 60. The structure shown has a continuous connection between sleeve 20 and wing members 50, 60, which can be formed, for example, by injection molding. Formation as a single, integral unit provides safety clip 10 with increased structural stability and durability.

In operation, C-shaped sleeve 20 acts as a biasing device and is constructed of a resilient yet semi-rigid material, including polypropylene. C-shaped sleeve 20 is configured to frictionally grip the stem or shaft 130 from which an emergency brake knob 140 extends. Safety clip 10 is intended to be placed on stem 130 between knob 140 and the surface from which stem 130 and knob 140 extend, as shown in FIG. 3. Safety clip 10 can be set in place and removed by compressing wing members 50, 60 toward each other with bias spring force. By extending at an upward angle from C-shaped sleeve 20, wing members 50, 60 are oriented in a way that makes them able to be readily gripped, especially where the emergency brake stem and knob extend from a flat surface.

In operation, outwardly projecting distal ends 70 and 80 facilitate gripping and compressing wing members 50 and 60 by providing an incongruent surface that inhibits the user's fingers from slipping off safety clip 10.

When wing members 50, 60 are not compressed with bias spring force, first portion 40 a and second portion 40 b of C-shaped sleeve 20 create separation width A which is predetermined to be less than the stem diameter of a standard emergency brake knob.

As shown in FIG. 2, when compressing or squeezing together wing members 50, 60 with bias spring force using fingers F, first portion 40 a and second portion 40 b of C-shaped sleeve 20 are displaced to create separation width B. Separation width B is still less than the stem diameter of a standard emergency brake knob, but the displacement facilitates engagement of safety clip 10 such that C-shaped sleeve 20 can still maintain a friction fit on the emergency brake stem.

As shown in FIG. 3, beveled edges 35 and 45 further facilitate engagement of the safety clip by accommodating the curvature of the underside of standard emergency brake knobs.

FIG. 4 depicts an engaged state of safety clip 10 wherein the clip is frictionally fit to the stem of the emergency brake knob. Safety clip 10 has a tab 90 projecting inwardly from wing member 60 toward wing member 50. Tab 90 has a hole 70 formed therein for accommodating, for example, a keychain 92. As shown by the phantom lines in FIG. 1, tab 90 also serves as a stop when wing members 50 and 60 are squeezed together.

FIG. 5 depicts safety clip 10 mounted to a pedestal 100 for storage while not in use. Pedestal 100 includes a circular flat bottom surface 110 and a raised portion 120 with a diameter less than the width of flat bottom surface 110. The underside of flat bottom surface 110 includes a means for adhering pedestal 100 to a flat surface such as, for example, double-sided adhesive tape. The circumference of raised portion 120 is predetermined to be substantially similar to the circumference of the inner portion of the safety clip's C-shaped sleeve 20 so that when wing members 50, 60 are not compressed with bias spring force, safety clip 10 frictionally grips raised portion 120 of pedestal 100. The circumference of raised portion 120 is also such that when wing members 50, 60 are compressed with bias spring force, safety clip 10 can freely slide off of raised portion 120.

While particular elements, embodiments and applications of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be understood, of course, that the invention is not limited thereto since modifications can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present disclosure, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7757358Mar 2, 2007Jul 20, 2010Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.Sheet retention mechanisms for spring clamp binders
US7922207 *Sep 18, 2006Apr 12, 2011Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.Activation and deactivation mechanisms for media binders
Classifications
U.S. Classification24/455
International ClassificationA41F1/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60T17/221, Y10T24/44
European ClassificationB60T17/22B