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Publication numberUS20090106948 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/925,063
Publication dateApr 30, 2009
Filing dateOct 26, 2007
Priority dateOct 26, 2007
Publication number11925063, 925063, US 2009/0106948 A1, US 2009/106948 A1, US 20090106948 A1, US 20090106948A1, US 2009106948 A1, US 2009106948A1, US-A1-20090106948, US-A1-2009106948, US2009/0106948A1, US2009/106948A1, US20090106948 A1, US20090106948A1, US2009106948 A1, US2009106948A1
InventorsJoseph V. Lopez, Edward B. Hubben, Joshua Lynn Scott
Original AssigneeLopez Joseph V, Hubben Edward B, Joshua Lynn Scott
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for retaining elongated flexible articles including visual inspection apparatus inspection probes
US 20090106948 A1
Abstract
A tie for retaining a length of an elongated flexible article can include a strap having a proximal end for attachment to an attachment location of the elongated flexible article and a distal end. For retaining a length of an elongated flexible article, a proximal end of a strap can be attached to an attachment location, and an extending portion of the strap can be wrapped around a bundle of flexible article sections, and then secured by securing a more distally located section of the strap to a more proximally located section thereof.
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Claims(24)
1. A method for retaining a length of an elongated flexible article in relation to a section of said elongated flexible article, said method comprising the steps of:
providing a tie including a strap having a proximal end and a distal end, wherein said proximal end has at least one hole formed thereon;
threading said elongated flexible article through said at least one hole and moving said strap to a desired attachment location of said elongated flexible article so that said strap has an extending portion extending from said attachment location;
coiling said elongated flexible article into a coil configuration;
wrapping said extending portion of said flexible tie around a bundle comprising a plurality of sections of said elongation flexible article, said bundle being defined when said elongated flexible article is in said coil configuration; and
securing a more distal section of said strap to a more proximal section of said strap for securing of said elongated flexible article.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said providing step includes the step of providing hook and loop type fasteners and wherein said securing step includes the step of utilizing said hook and loop type fasteners.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said providing step includes step of providing a button and at least one button hole, and wherein said securing step includes the step of utilizing said button and said at least one button hole.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said securing step includes the step of utilizing an external fastening device.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein said providing step includes the step of providing said tie to have first and second wings at a proximal end thereon, and wherein said at least one hole is a pair of holes, one of said pair of holes being formed at said first wing and said second hole being formed at said second wing.
6. A tie for use in retaining an elongated flexible article, said tie comprising:
a strap of a generally elongated shape having a proximal end for attachment to said elongated flexible article and a distal end, said proximal end having at least one through hole for accommodation of said elongated flexible article, said strap being flexible to allow bending thereof and being generally flat to define a first surface facing a first direction and a second surface facing a second direction generally opposite said first direction, wherein said strap has formed on said first surface a securing device, said strap being configured so that said distal end can be folded to form a loop with a remainder of said material member, and further being configured so that a more distally located section of said strap can be secured to a more proximally located section of said material member with use of said securing device.
7. The tie of claim 6, wherein said securing device is a button.
8. The tie of claim 6, wherein said securing device is a hook and loop type fastener.
9. The tie of claim 6, wherein said strap is configured so that said strap can be secured in either of a first surface to second surface orientation or in a second surface to first surface orientation.
10. A tie comprising:
a strap having a proximal end portion adapted for attachment to an elongated flexible article, and an elongated body portion extending in a generally straight direction along an axis where said strap is in an unstressed state, said strap comprising bendable material and being generally planar in an unstressed state, said strap further having a substantially even thickness throughout said strap, said strap having a dimensional thickness of less than a length of said strap and having a first surface and a second surface, said proximal end having a width greater than a width of said body and being defined by a pair of wings, each wing having a hole defined therein for accommodation of said elongated flexible article, said strap comprising bendable material and being configured so that said wings can be bent into a position at which said holes generally oppose one another, said strap further being constructed so that when said wings are bent in a position at which said holes oppose one another, said elongated body portion when unstressed extends in a direction that is generally perpendicular to an imaginary line running through centers of said holes so that when a loop that can be defined by securing a more distal section of said strap to a more proximal section of said strap, said loop has an axis running in a direction generally parallel to said imaginary line.
11. The tie of claim 10, wherein said strap includes a button and hole arrangement for securing a more distal section of said strap to a more proximal section of said strap.
12. The tie of claim 10, wherein said strap is adapted to be capable of either one of a first surface to second surface orientation or a first surface to first surface orientation for securing of a more distal section of said strap to a more proximal section of said strap.
13. A tie for use in retaining an elongated flexible article, said tie comprising:
a strap having a proximal end for attachment to said elongated flexible article, and a distal end, said proximal end being characterized by a pair of spaced apart and opposing member sections each having a hole for accommodation of said elongated flexible member, said strap being adapted so that a more distal section of said strap can be detachably secured to a more proximal section of said strap for retaining of a length of said elongated flexible article.
14. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap has an unstressed state in which said strap is generally flat and planar and a stressed state, the strap being adapted so that when said member sections oppose one another said strap is in a stressed state.
15. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap is adapted so that said strap will be broken when a pulling force in excess of a predetermined force magnitude is applied thereto, the predetermined magnitude being a force magnitude which a human of average strength is capable of imparting.
16. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap is adapted so that said strap will be broken when a pulling force in excess of a predetermined force magnitude is applied thereto, said predetermined magnitude being a force magnitude of between about 20 pounds and about 70 pounds.
17. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap is a one piece member.
18. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap comprises an elongated flat first surface and an elongated flat second surface, wherein said first surface faces in a direction generally opposite said second surface.
19. The tie of claim 13, wherein said strap is manufactured by stamping of a flat piece of bendable material.
20. A method for using an inspection apparatus, said inspection apparatus for use in the performance of an inspection of an equipment article, said inspection apparatus being of the type having a handset and an elongated probe extending from said handset, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) providing a tie comprising a strap having a proximal end and a distal end;
(b) attaching said proximal end to an attachment location of said elongated probe;
(c) configuring a length of said elongated probe into a coil configuration;
(d) wrapping an extending section of said strap around a bundle of elongated probe sections, said bundle being defined when said elongated probe is in a coil configuration; and
(e) securing a more distal section of said strap to a more proximal section of said strap to retain said length of said elongated probe in a certain position in relation to said attachment location.
21. The method of claim 20, wherein said providing step includes the step of providing said strap to be of sufficient structural strength as to support an expected load imparted by said length of elongated probe being retained, and wherein said providing step further includes the step of providing said strap to be of sufficient structural weakness as to be capable of breaking when a manually applied pulling force above a threshold magnitude is imparted thereto, said threshold magnitude being a force magnitude which a human of average strength is capable of imparting.
22. The method of claim 21, wherein said threshold magnitude is a force of between about 20 pounds and about 70 pounds.
23. The method of claim 20, wherein said providing step includes the step of providing said tie in such form that said tie can be consumed by said equipment article without negatively impacting operation of said equipment article.
24. The method of claim 20, wherein said providing step includes the step of forming a hole for accommodation of said elongated probe, at said proximal end of said strap.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    The invention relates generally to methods and apparatuses for retaining articles in general and particularly to a method and apparatus for retaining an elongated flexible article.
  • [0002]
    For enabling storage in reduced volume spaces and easy transportation, elongated flexible articles are typically wound into a coil or “wound up” configuration. Hoses, extension cords, and inspection apparatus probes have been observed to be subject to such coiling/winding process for small spaced storage and/or for transportation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    A tie for retaining a length of an elongated flexible article can include a strap having a proximal end for attachment to an attachment location of the elongated flexible article and a distal end. For retaining a length of an elongated flexible article, the proximal end can be attached to an attachment location, and an extending portion of the strap can be wrapped around a bundle of flexible article sections, and then secured by securing a more distally located section of the strap to a more proximally located section thereof.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0004]
    The features described herein can be better understood with reference to the drawings described below. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the drawings, like numerals are used to indicate like parts throughout the various views.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tie in one embodiment;
  • [0006]
    FIGS. 2 and 3 are application views illustrating attachment of a tie to an elongated flexible article in one embodiment;
  • [0007]
    FIGS. 4 and 5 are application views illustrating a method for retaining a length of an elongated flexible article with use of a described tie;
  • [0008]
    FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a tie having a strap being secured in an opposite surface securing orientation;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a tie having a strap being secured in a same surface securing orientation.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a tie having a strap carrying hook and loop folders in an embodiment;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a tie having a strap carrying hook and loop fasteners in another embodiment;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a tie comprising a button and related holes for securing a more distally located section of a tie strap to a more proximally located section of a tie strap;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a tie in another embodiment having a pair of wings at a proximal end;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 12 is an application perspective view of the tie substantially as shown in FIG. 11, showing the wings being bent to allow threading of an elongated flexible article;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 13 is an application perspective view of the tie substantially as shown in FIG. 11, showing the strap being bent into form defining a loop;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 14 is a view of the tie substantially as shown in FIG. 11, where the strap is shown in a flat unstressed state;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 15 is a side view of the tie substantially as shown in FIG. 11 in a configuration where the tie is attached to an elongated structural member and where a more distally located section of a tie strap is secured to a more proximally located section thereof;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 16 is a front view of the tie substantially as shown in FIG. 11 in a configuration where the tie is attached to an elongated structural member and where a more distally located section of the tie is secured to a more proximally located section thereof;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 17 is perspective view of an inspection apparatus having an elongated flexible article and incorporating a tie for retaining a length of the elongated flexible article.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0020]
    There is described a tie apparatus (tie) for use in retaining an elongated flexible article. In one embodiment the tie includes a strap comprising one or more material members having a proximal end and a distal end. In one embodiment, the strap can be of bendable construction and can be adapted to be attached to an elongated flexible article, a length of which is to be retained. The strap can be configured so that when attached to an elongated flexible article the distal end extends outwardly from the location of attachment. Once the tie is attached onto an elongated flexible article, the length of the elongated flexible article forward of the attachment location can be coiled up into a coiled configuration. With a length of the elongated flexible article in a coiled configuration the extending distal end of the strap can be wrapped about a bundle of elongated flexible article sections, the bundle being defined by sections of the flexible elongated article when in a coiled configuration.
  • [0021]
    There is described in FIG. 1 a perspective view of a specific embodiment of a tie for use in retaining an elongated flexible article. Tie 5 can include a strap 10 having a proximal end 12 and a distal end 14 and can be of generally elongated construction. In the embodiment shown, strap 10 comprises bendable material, is of generally flat construction in an unstressed state, and has a first surface 20 and a second surface 22. First surface 20 can face in a direction generally opposite of second surface 22. Referring to further aspects of strap 10, proximal end 12 can have formed therein a hole 30 for receiving an elongated flexible article 100 there through. Strap 10 in the embodiment of FIG. 1 comprises a single member (i.e., is of one piece construction). However, tie 5 can also comprise multiple material members.
  • [0022]
    A method for utilizing tie 5 for retaining an elongated flexible article is described with reference to FIG. 2. For retaining of a length of elongated flexible article 100, elongated flexible article 100 may be threaded into hole 30 of strap 10 (FIG. 1) and then strap 10 can be moved along elongated flexible article 100 to an attachment location 35 (FIG. 3) on elongated flexible article 100 where it is desired to retain a length of elongated flexible article 100 in relation to. With strap 10 positioned at location 35, distal end 14 of strap 10 extends outwardly from location 35 as shown. With strap 10 positioned as described, a length of elongated flexible article 100 forward of location 35 can be coiled into a coil configuration 37 as shown in FIG. 4. Then with elongated flexible article 100 in a coiled configuration, the extending portion of strap 10 can be wrapped about a bundle of flexible article sections and then a more distal section of strap 10 can be secured to a more proximal section of strap 10 so that elongated flexible article 100 in a coiled configuration is retained in a stable position in relation to attachment location 35. When a more distally located section of strap 10 is secured to more proximal section of strap 10, strap 10 defines a loop 43.
  • [0023]
    A major aspect of a coil configuration is that an elongated flexible article 100 will naturally assume an unstressed state when in a coiled configuration, and will remain coiled in a compact configuration without forces being applied thereto. A major aspect of a tie 5 in one embodiment that will be described is that tie 10 can retain article 100 without disturbing the unstressed state of the article when coiled.
  • [0024]
    A number of methods can be employed for securing a more distally located section of strap 10 to a more proximally located section of strap 10. As shown in FIG. 6, a more distally located section of strap 10 can be abutted against a more proximally located section of strap 10 and then fastened by an outside fastening device such as a clip 40 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The size of the loop 43 formed by securing a more distally located section of strap 10 to a more proximally located section thereof can be adjusted by adjusting the distance between the securing sections. In general the diameter of loop 43 can be made larger by increasing the distance between the securing sections. With reference to FIG. 7, it is seen that proximal end 12 of any strap 10 described herein can comprise a substantial section of material above an attachment location, e.g., above hole 30 as indicated by dashed in section 31.
  • [0025]
    Referring to FIG. 8, a microloop and hook fastener 46 can be disposed at a more proximally located section of strap 10 on a first surface 20 of strap 10 and a complementary microloop and hook fastener 48 can be disposed at a more distally located section of strap 10 on a second surface 22 of strap 10. For securing a more distally located section of strap 10 to a more proximally located section of strap 10 in the embodiment of FIG. 8, the mating microloop and hook fasteners 46 and 48 of the strap 10 can be mated together. By providing one or more of fasteners 46 and 48 to be of substantial length, the embodiment of FIG. 8 can be provided in a form as to be readily adjusted. Also, additional hook and loop fasteners can be provided. In the embodiment of FIG. 8, a second hook and loop fastener 49 for mating with hook and loop fastener 46 is provided on second surface 22 of strap 10. In the embodiment of FIG. 9 an elongated hook and loop fastener 51 for mating with hook and loop fastener 46 is formed on first surface 20 along with hook and loop fastener 46. In another embodiment a single strap 10 can have each of the described first surface fasteners 46 and 51 and second surface fasteners 48, 49.
  • [0026]
    As shown in FIG. 10, button 54 can be disposed at a more proximally located section of strap 10 on a first surface 20 of strap 10 and a plurality of button holes 56, 58, and 60 can be disposed at a plurality of more distally located sections of strap 10. In the embodiment of FIG. 10, the size of loop 43 formed by securing a more distally located section of strap 10 to a more proximally located section is made larger by selecting a more distally located button hole (e.g., hole 60 instead of hole 56) for mating with button 54.
  • [0027]
    In one aspect tie 5 is adapted so that strap 10 can be oriented in more than one alternative orientation when a more distal section of strap 10 is secured to a more proximal section of strap 10. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, loop 43 is formed by securing a section of second surface 22 to a section of first surface 20. In the embodiment of FIG. 7, loop 43 is formed by securing a section of first surface 20 to another section of first surface 20. The securing orientation, as shown in FIG. 6 might be preferred where there is a substantial portion of distal end 14 extending beyond a section of strap 10 secured to strap 10, and it is desired to maintain that portion in a confined location to prevent that portion from loosely dangling from the remainder of strap 10 where the dangling portion would be subject to being caught on objects coming into contact with flexible article 100. The securing orientation, as shown in FIG. 7, might be preferred where “dangling” of distal end 14 is not regarded as a problem, and ease of securing is optimized. Securing as shown in FIG. 7 is generally easier to carry out than as shown in FIG. 7 since access to distal end 14 for closing of loop 43 is not obstructed by a body portion of strap 10. It is seen that in an embodiment of tie 5 where an external fastening device such as device 40 is utilized, tie 5 is capable of variable orientation securing (e.g., both first surface to second surface securing and first surface to first surface securing.). The embodiments described with reference to FIGS. 11-17 are also capable of variable orientation securing. It was described with reference to FIGS. 8 and 9 that strap 10 can have one or more second surface distal fasteners 48, 49 as well as one or more first surface distal fasteners for mating with proximal first surface fastener 46. Opposing surface securing can be accomplished with such an embodiment by using fastener 48 or fastener 49 with fastener 46. Same surface fastening in such an embodiment can be accomplished by mating fastener 51 with fastener 46.
  • [0028]
    In the embodiment of FIGS. 11-17, holes (e.g., holes 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66) can be detachably engaged to button 54 of first surface 20 whether the opposite surface 22 of strap 10 or same side surface 20 of strap 10 is pressed toward button 54 for engagement of a hold with button 54. Accordingly, embodiments described having a hole and button fastening arrangement facilitates multiple securing orientations. Button 54 can have a bulbous head 55 wider than the diameter of holes 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 and, since holes can be formed in a resilient material that forms strap 10 can engage holes 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 in securing relation thereto. Button 54 can comprise a molded piece of material that is friction fit in an aperture (hidden from view) formed in strap 10.
  • [0029]
    A self aligning embodiment of tie 5 is shown and described with reference to FIGS. 11-17. In the embodiment of FIG. 11, proximal end 12 of strap 10 has a pair of lateral wings 70 and 72 extending outwardly so that strap 10 is wider at a proximal end thereof than at an area 73 adjacent the proximal end. Further, flexible article accommodating holes 30 and 32 for accommodating an elongated flexible article can be formed on wings 70 and 72. Tie 5 as described in FIG. 11 can otherwise have the features as described with reference to FIGS. 1-10. Like the previous embodiments, strap 10 of the embodiment of FIG. 11 can be generally flat and planar in construction and can have a substantially uniform thickness throughout, the thickness being less than its length or width.
  • [0030]
    Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, for threading of strap 10 onto an elongated flexible article to be retained, wings 70, 72 of tie 5 can be bent away from first surface 20 as shown in FIG. 13 so that holes 30 and 32 are substantially aligned and in opposing relation. Elongated flexible article 100 can be threaded through first hole 30 and then second hole 32 and then slid along a length of elongated flexible article 100 in the manner described with reference to FIG. 3. Providing a pair of hole equipped wings 70, 72 increases a strength of a securing (attaching) force between strap 10 and elongated flexible article 100, and distributes forces for opposition of a force imparted by an elongated flexible article being retained. Ridges 25 as shown in FIG. 12 can be formed toward distal end 14 on first surface 20 and second surface 22 as shown to ease finger gripping of distal end.
  • [0031]
    In one embodiment, tie 5 can be configured so that when strap 10 is attached on an elongated flexible article 100 the extending portion of strap 10 extends in such manner that a loop 43 formed by securing a first surface 20 and a second surface 22 of strap 10 has an axis A extending substantially in a direction parallel to an imaginary line L extending between the centers of holes 30, 32 when aligned to oppose one another.
  • [0032]
    For attachment to an elongated flexible article 100, strap 10 can be oriented as shown in FIG. 13 and then elongated flexible article 100 can be threaded through hole 32 and then hole 30. Article 100 can be threaded in the direction of arrows 98 with elongated flexible article 100 threaded though holes 30, 32, strap 10 can be secured to itself as shown in FIG. 13 to define a loop 43 having axis A. In the configuration as shown in FIG. 13, axis A of loop 43 extending in a direction generally in parallel with surface 20 will be generally in parallel with imaginary line L extending through the centers of holes 30, 32. In such an orientation, strap 10 will be well positioned for retaining of article 100 which will have a coil 37 (as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5) oriented generally in a direction of article 100 at attachment position 35 (FIG. 5). Also with reference to the self aligning configuration shown and described in connection with FIGS. 11-17, it is seen that first surface 20 throughout the length thereof that defines loop 43 faces in a direction of another area of first surface 20 and generally does not face a direction external to loop 43. In such manner, stresses on strap 10 are limited and the structural strength of strap 10 is preserved while strap 10 operates to retain elongated flexible article 100.
  • [0033]
    Additional features of tie 5 rendering the described self-aligning features readily achievable are described with reference to FIG. 14 showing strap 10 in a flat configuration. While strap 10 can be made bendable, strap 10 as shown in FIG. 14 is shown in an unstressed state flat configuration to highlight certain features thereof. As best seen in the flat view of FIG. 14 strap 10 in one embodiment can be generally planar and can have a substantially uniform thickness throughout. In another aspect, strap 10 can extend in a generally straight direction from proximal end 12 along an axis 15. In a further aspect, wings 70, 72 can extend in opposite directions along a transverse axis 16 extending generally perpendicularly with respect to axis 15. In a still further aspect, axis 15 when an extending part thereof is flat and unbended can extend in a direction that is generally perpendicular to an imaginary line extending between centers of holes 30, 32 when wings 70, 72 are bended into a position at which the holes oppose one another. In such manner, when strap 10 is bended to form a loop the formed loop has an axis A that runs in a direction generally parallel to the imaginary line L.
  • [0034]
    It will be seen that a generally flat planar construction as is highlighted in FIG. 14 can facilitate low cost production. Specifically, with the construction as shown in FIG. 14 strap 10 can be formed simply by stamping flat material stock, and extrusion molding, while useful in some envisioned embodiments is unnecessary. In the embodiments described, at least one hole formed at proximal end of strap 10 facilitates attachment of strap 10 to elongated flexible article 100. The noted attaching arrangement further contributes to the low cost of tie 5. Exemplary dimensions of tie 10 in the embodiment as shown in FIG. 14 are L1=19.0 cm, L2=2.5 cm, w1=5.0 cm, w2=2.3 cm, t=0.2 cm.
  • [0035]
    Additional specifics of a tie having a self-aligning strap 10 are described with reference to FIGS. 15 and 16. With reference to FIGS. 15 and 16, it is seen that tie 5 can be configured so that when strap 10 is installed on elongated flexible article 100 loop 43 can have an axis A that extends in a direction shown in a direction in and out of the paper in FIG. 15 generally parallel with an imaginary line L extending between holes 30, 32 of wings 70, 72 when the wings are bent so the holes 30, 32 are aligned with one another. In such manner, elongated flexible article 100 will extend from tie 5 in a direction that eases the task of retaining flexible article 100 in a coiled configuration with use of tie 5. With the self aligning feature it will not be necessary for retention of article 100 either to twist strap 10 in a manner that will impose significant stresses on strap 10 or to alter or disturb an unstressed state of elongated flexible article 100 when in a coiled configuration. By contrast, if an unstressed state of flexible article 100 is altered for retention of article 100, article 100 will impart significant stress forces on strap 10 in addition to gravitational forces imparted. In the side view of FIG. 15, it is further seen that strap 10 can be in a direction generally in parallel with surface 20, 22 and generally in parallel with line L, extending between centers of holes 30, 32.
  • [0036]
    In each of the described embodiments, strap 10 can be adapted so that a more distal section of strap 10 is detachably secured to a more proximal section of strap 10.
  • [0037]
    An example of an application utilizing tie 5 is described with reference to FIG. 17 showing an inspection apparatus 500 having an elongated flexible article 100 extending therefrom. In the embodiment of FIG. 17, inspection apparatus 500 can include a hand held handset 200 including a display 220 and a keyboard 226 for controlling inspection apparatus 500. For moving of apparatus 500 including handset 200 and elongated flexible article 100 from a first location to a second location tie 5 can be attached on elongated flexible article 100 in the manner described. With tie 5 attached, elongated flexible article 100 can then be coiled in a coiled configuration and then retained with use of tie 5 by wrapping the extending portion of the tie 5 about a bundle of elongated flexible article 100 sections and then securing a more distally located section of the tie 5 to a more proximally located section thereof. Where inspection apparatus 500 is a visual inspection apparatus elongated flexible article 100 can be provided by an insertion tube, otherwise termed a video probe, having at least one of electrical conductors carrying image signals representing light incident on an image sensor disposed at a head at a distal end of the insertion tube or fiber optic bundle transmitting image forming light rays to an image sensor disposed within handset 200. Where inspection apparatus 500 is an eddy current sensing apparatus, elongated flexible article 100 can be provided by an eddy current probe. Where inspection apparatus 500 is an ultrasonic sensing apparatus, elongated flexible article 100 can be provided by an ultrasonic probe.
  • [0038]
    Use of tie 5 with an inspection apparatus is particularly advantageous in that such use increases a range of tasks than can be performed by an inspector. By comparison, without use of a tie 5 an inspector might coil an elongated flexible article 100 and then hand carry the elongated flexible article (be it a video probe, an eddy current probe, or an ultrasonic probe) into or out of an inspection area. Hand carrying of an inspection apparatus 500 with elongated flexible article 100 renders flexible article 100 susceptible to uncoiling, (requiring re-coiling by the inspector) and further prevents the inspector from performing manual tasks (e.g., opening doors or containers) with the hand that is being used to hand carry elongated flexible article 100. Accordingly, tie 5 frees an inspector to perform a variety of useful manual tasks with the hand that would otherwise be holding flexible article 100 (e.g., opening doors, actuating control buttons and the like).
  • [0039]
    In some inspection environments, dangerous conditions are encountered. For example high heat, radiation, or chemically contaminated environments or environments including falling objects are commonly encountered during inspections which may be carried out with probe equipped visual inspection apparatuses, a probe equipped eddy current sensing apparatus or a probe equipped ultrasonic sensing apparatus. The inventors determined that inspection apparatus elongated flexible inspection probes have a tendency to become entangled in equipment or other objects in an inspection environment. Inspectors who spend substantial time untangling inspection probes expose themselves to health and safety risks.
  • [0040]
    In another aspect of tie 5, strap 10 can comprise breakable material so as to facilitate manual destruction of strap 10 during use. The breakable characteristic of strap 10 is particularly useful in the case where an inspection apparatus having an elongated flexible probe with tie 5 attached becomes entangled in an object during use. For design of strap 10 to be destructible and yet useful for its intended purposes strap 10 should be configured to support the weight of elongated flexible article 100 and should further be configured to be of sufficient weakness to enable an inspector to destroy strap 10 by imparting manually applied forces to strap 10, e.g., a manually applied pulling force. An average strength human can readily apply a pulling (ripping) force of up to about 70 pounds. In one embodiment a weight of a length of elongated flexible article to be supported is 15 pounds, and in another embodiment, 10 pounds. Accordingly, a breaking threshold above which strap 10 rips can be selected in one embodiment to be in a range of from about 20 pounds to about 70 pounds.
  • [0041]
    In a still further embodiment, strap 10 can comprise consumable material capable of being consumed by an equipment article being subject to inspection. By being consumable it is meant that the strap will not destroy or negatively impart the article being inspected should the strap enter the equipment article being inspected. One type of equipment article that might be inspected with use of inspection apparatus 500 is an aircraft engine. While a non-consumable material member might negatively impact an aircraft engine on entry into the engine a consumable strap 10 would simply be dispelled (passed from entry to exit side) if it entered an aircraft engine.
  • [0042]
    This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification24/16.0PB
International ClassificationB65D63/10
Cooperative ClassificationB65D63/1018, Y10T24/1498, B65D63/1027
European ClassificationB65D63/10B, B65D63/10B3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 27, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: GE INSPECTION TECHNOLOGIES, LP, PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LOPEZ, JOSEPH V.;HUBBEN, EDWARD B.;SCOTT, JOSHUA LYNN;REEL/FRAME:020165/0363;SIGNING DATES FROM 20071030 TO 20071031