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Publication numberUS3332663 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 25, 1967
Filing dateOct 18, 1965
Priority dateOct 18, 1965
Publication numberUS 3332663 A, US 3332663A, US-A-3332663, US3332663 A, US3332663A
InventorsCargile Jr Neil H
Original AssigneeCargile Jr Neil H
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Barge jacking apparatus
US 3332663 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 25, 1967 N. H. CARGILE, JR

BAHGE JACKING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 18, 1965 FIGI NEIL H. CARGILE JR.

BY/ZAWyM July 25, 1967 N. H. CARGILE, JR

BARGE JACKING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Oct. 18, 1965 NEIL H. CARGILE JR IN VEN TOR.

July 25, 1967 N. H. CARGILE, JR 3,332,663

BARGE JACKING APPARATUS Filed Oct. 18, 1965 4 Sheetsheet 5 FICA NEiL H. CARGiLE JR.

INVENTUR.

N. H. CARGILE, JR

July 25, 1967 BARGE JACKING APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Oct. 18, 1965 INVENTOR.

NEILHCARGILE JR United States Patent 3,332,663 BARGE JACKING APPARATUS Neil H. Cargile, Jr., P.O. Box 8599, Nashville, Tenn. 37211 Filed Oct. 18, 1965, Ser. No. 497,228 11 Claims. (Cl. 254-107) This invention relates to barge jacking apparatus, and more particularly, to barge jacking apparatus which positively engages and disengages a spud in a unique manner while leaving the spud free to slide when the spud bumps the bottom.

Drilling barges are customarily used in not-so-shallow waters for drilling wells in the exploration of petroleum goods and other minerals such as sulphunBecause of the protracted time requirements engendered by drilling deep wells during which extensive oceanic turmoil is likely, it is better to conduct drilling operations from a barge which is floated to the drilling site and thereafter raised above the level of the wave action. Ships anchored in place are subject to damage from the heavy waves associated with storms. lacking mechanisms have been provided for elevating barges on spuds which support the drilling barge above the level of the largest waves; however, the jacking mechanisms known in the prior art have been deficit in many regards. Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide a new and improved barge jacking apparatus which ratchets on relative movement of the spud in one direction and which locks against movement in the opposite direction.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking device which engages the structural reinforcing of a spud for moving same relative to a barge.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking mechanism which elevates or lowers spuds but which also permits free movements in the opposite direction to accommodate lurches, bumps, and other sudden movements resulting from the turbulence of the ocean waves.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking mechanism which does not require simultaneous engaging movement of a plurality of jacking mechanisms working together.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking mechanism which lowers the spuds on a barge simultaneously towards an uneven bottom wherein the spuds work in unison and yet engage individually without effecting operation in uni-son.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking mechanism which can initiate the operation of lifting or lowering a plurality of spuds or legs with all the legs positioned at random, vertical positions with respect to each jacking mechanism associated therewith.

An important object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jacking mechanism which provides ratcheting movement of the spud with respect to the jack when the barge lurches or otherwise bumps the spud against the ocean bottom to thereby avoid excessive, compressive loads on the spud and the possibility of buckling or bending same.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved barge jack which does not require precision of placement of the spud relative to the jack to initiate engagement with the spud.

Oother objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily apparent from an examination of the appended specification and drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a barge raised above the water level by the use of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the jacking mechanism of the present invention co-operating with a spud with portions broken away therefrom to illustrate further details of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 2 taken at right angles of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 2 to illustrate the relationship of the jacking mechanism to the spud;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken longitudinally along a diameter of the spud for illustrating reinforcing gussets on the spud; and

FIG. 6 is a combined hydraulic and electrical schematic of apparatus for operation of the present invention.

In the drawings, attention is first directed to FIG. 1 which illustrates a drilling barge B raised above the level of the water indicated at W. The barge B is represented somewhat schematically but it may be appreciated that it includes a drilling derrick D which is shown partly to lend perspective to the barge B, and the barge also includes the customarily-used drilling apparatus which has been omitted from FIG. 1 for purposes of simplification. The barge B also includes preferably symmetrically-located drilling spuds S which pass through the barge and extend to the surface beneath the body of water W. The barge B is adapted to be operated in water depths in the range of several hundred feet so that it will be appreciated that the spuds S provided for the barge B are quite long. The margin of length provided for the spuds S permits them to embed themselves in the bottom to firmly anchor the barge B and the additional length provided above the water permits the barge B to be elevated above the water W. Large waves pass thereunder with-out striking full force against the barge B. The present invention is indicated generally by the numeral 10 and is installed relative to the spuds S on the barge B to provide relative longitudinal movement of the spuds S either upwardly or downwardly in elevating or lowering the barge B on the spuds S.

By way of observation, it should be noted that the barge in FIG. 1 includes four symmetrically-located spuds S which function in the above-described manner. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that any number of spuds is adapted to be used with the present invention, and moreover, the spud may be arranged as desired relative to the barge B.

Attention is next directed to FIG. 2 which is a side elevational view of the spud S and the jacking apparatus 10 of the present invention. The deck 11 of the barge B is represented at the lower end of FIG. 2 and includes an opening extending through the deck 11 for receiving the spud S, such opening being encompassed by the collar 12 mounted on the deck 11. (The shape of the opening in the collar 12 will be more readily apparent from an exam-' ination of FIG. 4.) The jacking mechanism 10 is attached to the deck 11 by means of a base support indicated generally at 13 which is located relative to the opening in the deck 11. The jacking mechanism includes an upper ratchet mechanism indicated generally at 15 and a similar lower ratcheting mechanism indicated generally at within the base support 13. The ratchets 15 and 115 are connected together by way of a hydraulic cylinder appara tus indicated generally at 16.

For a greater understanding of operation of the jacking mechanism 10 of the present invention, attention is momentarily directed to FIGS. 4 and 5 which illustrate the spud S which is preferably made of a cylindrical member 17 having a pair of L-shaped flanges 18 welded along the length of the spud. The flanges 18 are spaced from one another by means of supporting gussets 20 which provide a transversely-extending surface spaced regularly along the cylindrical member 17 and between the flange members 18 to provide structural rigidity to the spud S. The gussets 20 are located regularly along the length of the spud S, and the spacing is related to the maximum stroke of the hydraulic jack 16 as will be explained. The gussets each provide upper and lower surfaces 20a and 2612, respectively, for co-operation with the jacking device of the present invention. Moreover, the space between the adjacent gussets is clear of obstacles. Reference is made to FIG. 2 for an understanding of how the jacking mechanism 10 engages the gussets 20 carried on the spud S for effecting relative longitudinal movement of the spud S and the barge B.

In FIG. 2, the ratchet mechanism incorporates a ratchet member 24 mounted on a pivot pin 25 for movement to one of two ratcheting positions as will be described. The ratchet member 24 rotates about the pivot pin 25 in response to urging of a ratcheting cylinder 26 which is connected to the ratchet member 24 at a pivotal connection 27. The ratchet member 24 includes an upwardly facing, abutting end 24a and a similar downwardlyfacing surface 24b. The upper engaging end of the ratchet 24 is adapted to be contacted against the nether face 2012' of the gusset whereas the lower engaging end 24b of the ratchet member 24 contacts the upper face 20a on the gussets 20. There is additionally provided a pair of surfaces 24c and 24d which intersect one another at a slight angle in defining the ratchet 24 and which surfaces are adapted to slide over the point 20p of the gussets on relative longitudinal movement of the spud S past the ratchet 24 as will be explained. It will be appreciated that the ratchet 24 which pivots about the pin 25, effects the movement of an arm extending from the pin to the face 24a for engagement in one direction and to the face 241) for engagement on movement of the spud in the opposite directi-on.

The ratchet 24 shown in FIG. 2 is preferably con structed as a unitary member with reinforcing between the ends 24a and 24b to provide a structurally sound member for supporting the load carried by the jack; however, it should be appreciated that the ratchet mechanism may be constructed and arranged in other shapes for use with the spud S and the jacking mechanism 10 of the present invention.

Reference is made to FIG. 3 which illustrates the ratchet 24 from the side. The ratchet 24 is preferably made of two parallel plates 24 and 24k of identical shape as shown in FIG. 2, or in the alternative, the plates 24 and 24k can be joined together in the form of a U-shaped member. In any event, the ratchet mechanism preferably has a distinct width preferably equal to the spacing between the longitudinally-extending flanges 18 on the spud as shown in FIG. 3. The gussets 20 extend fully across the space between the flanges 18; the pair of identical side members 24j and 24k are located for full engagement of gusset 20 to maintain proper alignment of the present invention with the spud. In addition, due to the fact that the load on the members 24j and 24k is symmetrical, the transfer of the load from the ratchet 24 to the piston of the hydraulic means 16 occurs without damaging torques acting on the piston clevis. If desired, various laterallyextending reinforcing members can be joined between the side members 24j and 24k in the ratchet 24 for reinforcing.

Returning again to FIG. 2, the hydraulic apparatus 16 includes a cylinder 30 and bifurcated attachment means 31 for engaging a connective member 32 joined to the support housing 13. A pin 33 joins the hydraulic means 16 to the support housing 13, also allows slight pivotal movement of the hydraulic means 16 to maintain same in an approximately parallel position to the spud S. The hydraulic cylinder 30 is equipped with a lower collar 34 on which is mounted a control switch 35. The control switch 35 is operated by an enlargement 36 carried on a control rod 37 movable with the upper ratchet mechanism 15. The stroke of the hydraulic cylinder arrangement 16 is related to the length of the control rod 37 so that the enlargement 36 is carried upwardly to contact an additional control switch 39. The control rod 37 is maintained true relative to the hydraulic apparatus 16 by means of a guide eyelet 41 secured on a collar 41 at the upper end of the hydraulic cylinder 30.

The hydraulic apparatus 16 includes a piston 44 which extends upwardly from the cylinder 31). The piston 44 includes a fixed collar 45 carrying a radiallyex-tending member 46 pivotally engaged with the control rod 37. In addition, the ratchet cylinder 26 is also secured to the projecting member 46 in a manner such that the piston is secured against movement relative to the hydraulic means 16 and the ratcheting mechanism 15; the cylinder of the power operated means 26 is movable with respect to the piston and is secured to the ratchet member 24 by the pivot means 27. Attention is directed to FIG. 3 which best illustrates that the cylinder of the hydraulic apparatus 26 is fixedly secure relative to the ratchet 24. FIG. 3 also illustrates a clevis 48 connected to the member 46 carried on the upper collar 45 of the cylinder 44.

A rod eyelet member 50 is secured to the piston 44 for connecting same to the ratchet means 15 (identified in FIG. 4). The rod eyelet is preferably fixed to the piston 44 and includes a pair of spaced, projecting members with openings therein for engaging the pin 25. FIG. 4 illustrates the rod eyelet 50 centered within the ratchet 24 to limit axial movement of the ratchet. It will be appreciated that the forces acting on the ratcheting means 15 are all transmitted by way of the pin 25 to the rod end Sit and then to the hydraulic apparatus 16.

Returning again to FIGS. 2 and 3, the ratcheting means shown at the lower end of the jacking apparatus 10 is similar to the ratcheting means 15 provided at the upper end. Certain differences do exist since the ratcheting means 115 is fixed relative to the deck 11 and is located in the base support 13. The ratcheting means 115 includes the ratchet 124 which rotates about the pivot point 125. Power operated means 126 is connected by a clevis 130 to an anchor member 131 secured to the deck 11. The ratchet 124 effects the same motion as the ratchet 24 since the hydraulic cylinders 26 and 126 are both secured relative to the pivots 25 and 125, respectively. The means 126 is connected to the ratchet 124 by the transverse pin 127.

The lower ratcheting apparatus is not secured by a rod eye such as the one found at the upper end, but rather, it is secured to the deck by means of large link members 132. The links 132 engage the pin in the same manner as the bifurcated portions of the rod eye 50 except that the links 132 are located exteriorally of the ratchet 124. A pin 133 is secured to the deck 11 by means of an upstanding member 134 and the pin 133 is connected to the links 132. The pivotal connection of the parallel pins 125 and 133 relative to the deck 11 permits slight movement of the lower ratcheting means 115 to maintain alignment with the spud S.

Certain apparatus has been shown with the lower ratcheting means 115 which was omitted from the upper ratcheting means for purposes of clarity of the drawings. Specifically, flange engaging means 136 are provided for guiding the ratcheting member 115 relative to the flanges 18 carried on the spud S. For purposes of better understanding, reference is made to FIG. 4 Which illustrates the flange engaging means 52 in greater detail. FIG. 4 illustrates the upper ratcheting means 15; however, the flange engaging means at the lower portion of the apparatus is quite similar to those shown in FIG. 4.

The flange engaging means 52 is secured relative to the pin 25 by a pair of set screws 52a positioned in a tubular portion 52b. The guide means 52 receives an end of the pivot pin into the tubular portion to locate the guide means relative to the pivot pin. The cylindrical portion 52b terminates at a plate-like member 52c (see FIG. 2 fora view of its shape) which carries means for engaging the edge of the flange 18. Reinforcing members 52d back up the plate-like member 520 by extending fully around it and to a pair of spaced jaws 52c and 521. The jaw 52e is carried by the projecting reinforcing members 52d and the jaw 52 is carried by a web member 52g extending horizontally from the tubular member 52b. It should be noted in FIG. 2 that the reinforcing member 52d is duplicated for greater support of the jaws which engage the flange 18.

The pair of guide members 52 (see FIG. 4) co-operates to maintain the ratchet means 15 in an ever ready position adjacent the spud S to engage the structural reinforcing of the spud. It will 'be appreciated from viewing FIG. 4 that the flanges 18a are clamped to prevent lateral or transverse movement of the ratcheting apparatus 15 relative to the spud S. The angle of the gussets 20 and the angle of the engaging end of the ratchet 24 tends to create a force that will push away the spud S from the ratchet member 24. However, the guide members '52 maintain the clamped spud S at the desired distance from the engaging ends 24a and 24b of the ratchet member. It should be noted that proper spacing of the guide members 52 is obtained by the spacing washers 53 located adjacent the ratchet 24 and that the jaws 52c and 52 do not bind the flanges 18 because of the spacers 53.

As mentioned previously, the ratchet members 15 and 115 are similar, and the similarly includes the abovedescribed guide members. Referring again to FIGS. 2 and 3, the spud S is maintained in the desired vertical position adjacent the jacking apparatus of the present invention because both ends of the hydraulic apparatus are secured by the guide means 52 and 136.

While the foregoing description has been directed to the mechanical apparatus installed on the barge B of the jacking apparatus as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, operation of the mechanical structure is best related to the description of the circuitry shown in FIG. 6. In FIG. 6, a conductor 60 is connected to a plurality of push button switches 61, 63, and 65. The switches control signals to relays indicated generally at 62, 64, and 66. The status of the switches 61, 63, 65 is indicated by the lamps 61a, 63a, and 65a, respectively.

FIG. 6 also represents in schematic form the hydraulic system of the present invention. The hydraulic system includes a solenoid valve 70 which directs pressure fluid to the ratchet jacks 26 and 126. In addition, a solenoid valve 71 operates the cylinder 126 in conjunction with the valve 70 wherein the net effect of the valve 71 is to operate the jack 126 in phase or out of phase with the jack 26. In addition, a hydraulic valve 72 controls move ment of the hydraulic apparatus 16 which provides actual movement of the barge B relative to the spud S.

The limit switches 35 and 39 .are shown spaced relative to the ratcheting means and 115 to correlate signals generated thereby on movement of the mechanical structure. The switches 35 and 39 indicate positions of the jack 16 to the solenoid valve 70, while the diode 73 blocks the position signals from the valve 71.

Basically, three signals are supplied to the solenoidoperated valves from the electrical apparatus shown in FIG. 6, such signals being applied over the conductors 74, 75, and 76. The signals on the conductors 74, 75, and 76 control actuation of the ratchet jacks 26 and 126 with respect to the spud S. The ratchet means 15 and 115 face upwardly, face downwardly, or face in opposite directions in accordance with the signals on conductors 74, 75, and 76. Control apparatus has been omitted for the valve 72 which controls the larger hydraulic means 16 since the primary purpose of FIG. 6 is to illustrate the co-ordination in the operation of the ratchet jacks 26 and 126. Moreover, the hydraulic apparatus 16 can be operated either singly or in unison at all spuds S on the barge B dependent on the control apparatus.

Variable pressure relief valve 78 is communicated to a pressure line extending to the jacks 26 and 126. The symbol at 8-0 represents a return to the sump or the tank of the pressure system for pressure fluid exhausted through the valve 78. The valve 78 is duplicated since two lines extend from the solenoid valve 70 to the jacks 26 and 126. The jacks are double acting wherein one line serves as the high pressure line and the other line is the return line. Both valves 78 are preferably adjusted to the same pressure which is normally described as low hydraulic pressure.

The number 81 indicates a connection to a fluid pressure source, and pressure fluids inputs are provided to the valve 70 and the valve 72. Since the valve 72 lifts the spud relative to the barge B, higher pressure is required for operation of the hydraulic apparatus 16. 1

In operation, the conductor 60 is communicated to the voltage source and current flows through the protective fuses 60a to the switches and relays. When the barge B is at rest in the water, and it is desired to raise the spud S relative to the barge B, the switch 61 is actuated. Power is supplied through the conductor 83 to the switch 61 whereby actuation energizes the relay 62. Operation of the relay 62 is indicated by lighting the lamp 61a. The relay 62 is self-holding because current is supplied through the conductor 84 through the normally open contacts of the relay 62. The conductor 84 is communicated through the switch 63 which is maintained normally open. Self-holding relay 62 continues current flow through the relay contact 620 to the conductor 74 and the solenoid valve 70. The current operates the solenoid valve 70.

The solenoid valve 70 supplies pressure fluid from the source 81, regulated by the variable relief valves 78, to the hydraulic jack 26 for positioning same. The solenoid valves 71, interposed between the valve 70 and the jack 126, provides a straight-through connection as the quiescent route for pressure fluid to the jack 126 so that operation of the switch 61 positions the jacks 26 and 126 identically.

It should be noted at this juncture that if either of the ratchet means 15 or is loaded by the weight of the spud S, then the low pressure provided to the jack connected to the loaded ratchet is insufficient to move the ratchet against the load. In addition, if one of the gussets 20 (see FIG. 5) should move past one of the ratchets, the resulting ratcheting action takes place against the urging of the positioning jack and may result in dumping hydraulic fluid through the relief valves 78 to the tank 80.

In describing operation of the ratchet means 15 and 115, it is helpful to define the positions of the ratchets during operation of the present invention. As mentioned previously, the solenoid valve 70 positions the jacks 26 and 126 so that the ratchets 24 and 124 are positioned identically. Referring to FIG. 2, both of the ratchets 24 and 124 are positioned oppositely of the position shown at the upper end of FIG. 2, or more precisely, both ratchets are positioned with the faces 24a and 124a between the flange members 18 while the faces 24b and 124b are extracted from the pathway of the gussets 20 to permit movement of the spud S upwardly past both of the ratchets, resulting in ratchet action. Conversely, the spud is not free to move downwardly. The ratchet position provided by operation of the switch 61 positions the ratchets 24 and 124 in the down position.

The down position of the ratchets 24 and 124 continues as long as the relay 62 is maintained in the self-holding condition.

Referring again to FIG. 6, the schematically represented apparatus also controls movement to raise to barge B relative to the spud S. To raise the barge relative to the spud, the switch 65 is operated to supply current to the relay 66. The relay 66 forms a signal on the conductor 75 which is supplied to the solenoid valve 70 for operation in the opposite direction compared with operation controlled by the switch 61. Thus, the connections of the pressure source 81 and the tank 80 are reversed relative to the pair of hydraulic lines communicating with the hydraulic jacks 26 and 126. It should be noted that hydraulic valve 71 is not operated so that fluid flow is straight through as indicated symbolically in FIG. 6. Therefore, both cylinders 26 and 126 operate in the same direction. Referring to FIG. 2 again, both ratchet members are positioned in the same posture as shown in FIG. 2. This position permits the barge B to be raised relative to the spud. If the spud should move relatively longitudinally downwardly past the barge jacking means 10, the ratchet members 24 and 124 will ratchet as the gussets pass relatively thereby and engage the edges 24c and 24d on the ratchets. Again the ratchet means and 115 are not forced against load since the hydraulic fluid pressure is limited by the valves 78. This position provided by operation of switch 65 results in the up position of the ratchets.

The relay 66 is self-holding so that the push button switch 65 is operated momentarily and then released. Current flows through the conductor 60 to the switch 63 (in the unactuated position) and through the conductor 85. Current flow through the conductor 85 continues through the terminals provided at the switch 61 (again in the unactuated position) which communicates with a conductor 86. The conductor 86 connects to the terminal 66a and maintains energization of the relay 66 and the lamp 65a.

In both of the foregoing instances of operation, it will be appreciatedthat ratcheting action permits the continuation of extended movement to any desired length. For instance, when the push button 61 is actuated, the ratchets are positioned down to move the spud relatively upwardly of the barge B. The valve 72 is operated to extend the piston 44 from the fully-retracted position to the fully-extended position to move the spud relatively upwardly. It will be appreciated that the upper ratcheting means 15 carries the engaging end 24a in position for abutting the nether side of the first reinforcing gusset encountered on the upstroke.

The upstroke of the hydraulic apparatus 16 is continued to the fully-extended position with the last portion of the upstroke moving the spud S relative to the barge against a load acting on the ratchet means 15 while the ratchet means 115 oscillates about its pivot 125 as each gusset member 20 passes thereby. On reaching the full extent of stroke, the valve 72 is reversed to retract the hydraulic piston 44 into the cylinder 30. At the initiation of retraction, one of the gusset plates 20 which extends transversely of the spud will engage the ratchet 124 to secure the spud S against movement with the retracting piston 44. The piston 44 is fully retracted while the ratchet 24 moves past the gussets 20 encountered during its relative movement along the spud. On full retraction, another upstroke can be started by reoperation of the valve 72 to extend the piston 44 as previously described for continued upward movement of the spud S relative to the barge B. It will be appreciated that such upward movement again takes the load of the spud S on the upper ratchet 24 and relieves the lower ratchet 124 which provides a holding operation during retraction. The lower ratchet 124 utilizes ratchet action on encountering gussets 20 passing thereby on upward movement of the spud S in response to the extension of the hydraulic apparatus 16.

Without excessive elaboration, on raising the barge B relative to the spud S when the spud S is positioned firmly against the bottom, the above procedure is afiected by operation of the switch 65. When raising the barge, retraction of the piston 44 into the cylinder 30 is the power stroke, or the stroke which is made against the weight of the structure being moved, and in this case, the lifted structure is the barge B. Also, the lower ratchet 124 carries the load during the power stroke whereas the upper ratchet member 24 provides a holding means preventing movement from the relative position gained by the power stroke during the return stroke.

To lower the spud S, the switch 61 is momentarily operated and the switch 63 is operated promptly thereafter. The connection of the switch 63 is such to permit the signal over the conductor 74 (from the switch 61) to pass to the solenoid valve 70 to operate same in the previously-described manner. Operation of the switch 63 has the first effect of terminating the self-holding signal applied to the relay 62 over the conductor 84. In addition, actuation of the switch 63 lights the indicator lamp 63a and energizes the relay 64. The relay 64 applies current over the conductor 76 to the valve 71. Now the valve 71 is spring biased to maintain its quiescent state of operation, the state indicated schematically in FIG. 6. However, application of a signal to the opposite end of the slide valve reverses the connection of the jack 126 with respect to the pair of pressure lines extending to the jack 26. Operation of the valve 71 requires the valves 26 and 126 to position themselves oppositely with respect to one another. Since the switch 61 was first operated and the switch 63 was thereafter operated, the ratchet 24 assumes the down position (the engaging end 24a is positioned to abut the reinforcing gussets on the spud) while the lower ratchet means 124 is in the up position. Movement of the lower ratchet 124 to the up position assumes that the spud weight is not on the lower ratchet but is on the upper ratchet since the ratchet is not movable under load. If the weight is on the lower ratchet, slight movement of the hydraulic apparatus 16 will relieve the load from the lower ratchet to enable it to assume the up position. In this posture, the spud S can be lowered by retracting the hydraulic piston 44 into the cylinder 30. Retraction continues with the upper ratchet 24 supporting the weight of the spud while the lower ratchet 124 ratchets past gusset members preceding thereby until the switch 35 is actuated. The switch 35 is operated by the enlargement 36 carried on the control rod 37 suspended from and moving in response to the upper ratchet means 15. Actuation of the switch 35 reverses the solenoid valve 70 by conducting a signal over the conductor 87 to the valve. This is accomplished because the switch 61 generates a signal applied to one end of the valve while the switch 35 applies a signal to the opposite end of the valve.

Operation of the valve 70'reverses the ratchet 124 to the down position while the ratchet 24 attempts the up position but remains under load. A slight movement in the location of the piston 44 will shift the load to the lower ratchet, 124 and unload the ratchet 24 to move to the up position in response to the jack 26. With the load shifted to the lower ratchet, the piston 44 is extended to reach along the spud S in preparation 3 for further lowering of the spud S. Of course, the ratchet 24 in the up position ratchets past gussets on the spud S on full extension of the piston 44.

In the foregoing operation, it will be noted that operation was initiated by momentarily operating the switch 61 and then operating the switch 63. The switch 63 can be released for the relay 64 is self-holding. The selfholding circuit utilizes a conductor 89 connected with the switch 61 (in its normally unactuated position) which communicates with the conductor 83, which connects to the normally unactuated switch 65 and thence to the power source 60.

In the same manner of lowering the spud S, it is possible to lower the barge B on the spud wherein the switch 65 is momentarily operated and thereafter the switch 63 is operated. Operation of the switch 63 after operation of the switch 65 interrupts the self-holding feature of the relay 66; however, this does not occur until after the solenoid valve 70 has been operated to place the ratchets 24 and 124 in the up position. Operation of the switch 63 energizes the relay 64 which provides a signal to the solenoid valve 71. As stated before, solenoid 71 reverses the position of the hydraulic apparatus 126 with respect to the jack 26. In addition, the relay 64 is self-holding by current flow through the above-mentioned conductor 89 and the conductor 83, such current flowing through both 'switches 61 and 65 in the normally unactuated position.

Without entering into excessive elaboration, the ratchet, 24 is placed in the up position and the ratchet 124 is placed in the down position. The extension of the piston 44 from the cylinder 30 is the stroke under load wherein the weight of the barge B is transferred to the spud S by the up positioned ratchet 24. At full extension, the switch 38 is operated to reverse the valve 70. The ratchet 124 shifts to the up" position and holds the barge B during retraction of the piston 44. Of course, the ratchet 24 moves to the down position and ratchets during retraction. The above sequence of events is repeated to any desired extent for lowering the barge.

In the foregoing description of four exemplary modes of operation, it should be noted that no precise positioning problem was encountered. If a ratchet is operated to some position, it matters not where a gusset 20 is located relative to the ratchet. For this reason, operation in unison of a plurality of barge jacks 10 is possible. For instance, all may be operated to obtain identical positioning of the ratchets in moving all the spuds. The spuds may be lowered in unison, for instance.

Certain features of the present invention should be mentioned by way of example to more fully illustrate the present invention. For instance, the spud shown in the drawings may be as small as eighteen inches in diameter. The flanges 18 attached thereto may approximate five or six inches while the transversely-extending, reinforcing members can be formed of short pieces of similar, or even identical flange pieces. The angular supports may be located a few feet apart along the longitudinal extent of the spud (such as six or eight feet apart) with sufiicient spacing to enable the stroke of the hydraulic apparatus 16 to fully span adjacent support gussets. On the other hand, spuds have been built in excess of three hundred feet in length and sometimes in the range of thirty-five r forty feet in diameter.

Large spuds may be built of suitable elongate members with necessary bracing in the form of transverse and angularly-directed cross members. On large spuds, the preferred shape is triangular construction; the present invention provides a jack which is adapted to be positioned on all sides of the spud in the form of a multiple installation.

Certain alterations or additions may be included in the present structure without departing from the scope of the claims. As an example, the jack means 16 may be operated by the signals formed by the limit or control switches 35 and 38. The valve 72 may be equipped with electrical solenoids to actuate the valve 72 in response to the signals from the control or limit switches 35 and 38. Thus, if the jack 16 is extending the piston 44 and operates the switch 38, then the signal therefrom can be used to reverse the valve 72 and such reversal will operate the jack 16 in the opposite direction. The signal from the switch 38 need not be continued if a solenoid valve is used which is constructed and arranged to maintain its position after actuation until actuation to another position.

The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is illustrative and explanatory thereof and various changes in the size, shape, and materials, as well as in the details of the illustrated construction, may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A jacking mechanism for use with spuds having a plurality of vertically-aligned and transversely-extending surfaces such as reinforcing gussets or the like comprismg:

(a) a vertically-extending, double-acting jack secured relatively to a spud;

(b) a projecting arm having an end for engaging the nether side of the transversely-extending surfaces on the spud;

(c) pivotal means securing said projecting arm to said jack for rotational movement thereabout;

(d) said jack being positioned relative to the spud to rotate said projecting arm about said pivotal means to arcuately move the end of said projecting arm into and out of engaging position; and

(e) power-operated means for moving said projecting arm into and out of the engaging position.

2. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein the spud includes a vertically-extending edge and guide means are carried on said jack and move therewith for engaging the edge on the spud to maintain vertical alignment therebetween as said jack moves said projecting arm relatively upwardly and downwardly thereof.

3. The structure set forth in claim 2 wherein the spud is clear of obstacles between the transversely-extending surfaces to permit the end of said projecting arm to be positioned in an engaging position at any desired point between two of such transversely-extending surfaces wherein the spud is free to move vertically until engaged by said projecting arm.

4. The structure set forth in claim 1 wherein said power operated means positions said projecting arm in engaging position but also removes same from the engaging position to permit the spud to move freely in one direction relative to said arm while engaging and supporting same on movement in the opposite direction.

5. A jacking mechanism for use with spuds having a plurality of vertically-aligned and transversely-extending surfaces such as reinforcing gussets or the like comprising:

(a) a vertically-extending, double-acting jack secured relative to a spud;

(b) a projecting arm having an end for engaging the nether side of the transversely-extending surfaces on the spud;

(c) pivotal means securing said projecting arm to said jack;

(d) said jack being positioned relative to carry said projecting arm for arcuate movement into and out of engaging position relative to the spud wherein said projecting arm arcuately moves to a position projecting upwardly at an angle for engaging the transverse surface on the spud and supporting the downwardly-directed weight of the spud;

(e) said projecting arm extending at such an angle that upward movement of the spud contacts one of the transverse surfaces thereagainst and tends to move said projecting arm from the engaging position; and

(f) power operated means for moving said projecting arm into and out of the engaging position.

6. The structure set forth in claim 5 wherein:

(a) said projecting arm includes a pair of ends for engaging the transverse surfaces of the spud with one of the ends engaging the upper side of the transverse surface and the other of the ends engaging the nether side thereof;

(b) said projecting arm pivoting to position either but not both of said arm ends in engaging position; and

(c) said arm being constructed and arranged to be moved to a nonengaging position on movement of the spud in a direction moving the engaging end thereof from an engaging position and away from the transverse surfaces.

7. The structure set forth in claim 5 including:

(a) additional projecting arm;

(b) means positioning said additional arm relative to said jack and the other said arm so that said jack forcefully moves said projecting arms relative to one another;

(c) said additional arm also being pivotally secured to move to an engaging position relative to the spud; and

(d) means for moving at least one of said arms to an engaging position.

8. A barge jacking apparatus comprising:

(a) a double-acting hydraulic jack;

(b) upper ratchet means having oppositely-facing engaging means thereon; t

(c) pivotal means for pivotally mounting said upper ratchet means on the piston of said jack for movement therewith and for pivotal movement to position one of said engaging ends means thereon relative to a spud;

(d) ratchet positioning means for positioning one of said engaging means relative to the spud, said means also positioning the oppositely-facing engaging means in engaging position;

(e) lower ratchet means;

(f) pivotal mounting means securing said lower ratchet means relative to the cylinder of said jack; and

(g) lower ratchet positioning means for positioning one of the engaging means on said lower ratchet means in an engaging position relative to the spud, said means also positioning the oppositely-facing engaging means thereof in an engaging position.

9. The structure set forth in claim 8 for co-operation with a spud having at least a pair of longitudinally-ex tending surfaces juxtapositioned relative to one another so that engagement therewith is fixed against lateral movement and including:

(a) a pair of oppositely-facing engaging means forv clamping relative to the spud and the longitudinallyextending surfaces thereon;

(b) means for mounting said engaging means relative to said upper ratchet means on the piston of said jack for movement therewith; and

(c) said engaging means maintaining said upper ratchet means in position relative the spud during relative movement therebetween.

10. The structure set forth in claim 8 wherein:

(a) the spud includes a vertically-aligned plurality of spaced-apart structural members having upper and lower engaging surfaces;

(b) said structural members being spaced apart'by a distance less than the stroke of said jack;

(c) said upper and lower ratchet members being constructed and arranged to abut said engaging means against the surfaces of said structural members; and

((1) said upper and lower ratchet means also including means contacting said structural members on movement therebetween away from one of said engaging means in engaging position to rotate said ratchet means about the pivotal means provided therefor in a ratcheting motion.

11. The structure set forth in claim 8 including:

(at) upper limit switch means;

(b) lower limit switch means mounted on said jack for indicating full jack retraction;

(c) actuating means carried on said jack for actuating said upper and lower limit switch means; and

(d) means for controlling the positions of said upper and lower ratchet means in response to indications provided by said upper and lower limit switch means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,056,585 10/1962 Smulders 25411() FOREIGN PATENTS 901,008 7/1962 Great Britain.

OTHELL M. SIMPSON, Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3056585 *Jan 29, 1959Oct 2, 1962Werf Gusto V H A F Smulders FaApparatus for producing a relative linear displacement between a column and a movable body by means of hydraulic pressure
GB901008A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3435621 *Jul 26, 1966Apr 1, 1969American Mach & FoundryJacking system for offshore platforms
US4160538 *May 2, 1977Jul 10, 1979Pool CompanyLeg structure for jack-up platform with single point jacking
US4505616 *May 26, 1983Mar 19, 1985Litton Systems, Inc.Self-locking chock system for a jack-up rig unit
US4512553 *Mar 17, 1982Apr 23, 1985Red Fox Industries, Inc.Jack-up unit
US4626138 *May 10, 1985Dec 2, 1986Atlas Hydropiling Ltd.Non-impacting pile driver
US4813814 *May 29, 1987Mar 21, 1989Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.Leg-holding device for offshore platform
US5975805 *Feb 6, 1998Nov 2, 1999Schlumberger Technology CorporationOil drilling rig system
US7594781 *May 29, 2008Sep 29, 2009Ronald SandersLift boat leg
Classifications
U.S. Classification254/107, 405/198
International ClassificationE02B17/08, E02B17/00
Cooperative ClassificationE02B17/0863
European ClassificationE02B17/08D6