US 3392944 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 15, 1968 Y tz` J. wYRoUGH 3,392,944
TRAILER HANDL ING EQUIPMENT E INVENTOR. V/L WWI/41V @ff/W "July 16, 1968 D. J. WYROUGH 3,392,944
TRAILER HANDLING EQUIPMENT Filed Nov. 16, 196e 2 sheets-sheet 2 Eg, i]
INV ENTOR United States Patent O 3,392,944 TRAILER HANDLING EQUIPMENT David J. Wyrough, Roxboro, N.C., assignor to Midlandlgss Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio, a corporation of Fired Nov. i6, 1966, ser. No. 595,313 S Claims. (Cl. 248-119) This invention relates to fifth-wheel struc-ture of a type that self-couples with an upper fth-wheel, such as commonly found on the highway semi-trailers. The invention is further concerned with what may be termed as lock-setting mechanism, i.e., mechanism of the lower fifth-wheel which may be positioned while coupled with an upper fifth-wheel to release and allow a horizontal withdrawal of the upper fifth-wheel kingpin from the slot of the lower fifth-Wheel whenever separation of the equipment -coupled thereby is desired. Passage of the kingpin from the lower fifth-wheel therefore causes an adjustment of its mechanism, enabling it to entrap a kingpin thereafter entering the lower fifth-wheel. Such fifth-wheel structure as herein contemplated is used not only on over-the-highway tractors, but on other types of devices which must incorporate a lower fifth-wheel structure for handling of highway semi-trailers in connection with, eg., their transferral to railway r waterway media.
The principal object of this invention is to provide fth-Wheel structure which is especially useful in work operations wherein trailer handling equipment is involved in frequent coupling and uncoupling with semi-trailers. Such use occurs, eg., in the transferral of semi-trailers between positions in parking lots, railway flatcars, docks, barges, or ships. In serving this object, the king pin securing mechanism must be adapted for easy manual manipulation. It is highly desirable that this mechanism provide lock-setting function.
As a further requirement, such fifth-wheel mechanism rnust be compact in a vertical direction to adapt it for use in the upper portion of a semi-trailer stand because of the necessity for such upper portion to be interposed at times between the upper fth-wheel of a semi-trailer and the lower fifth-wheel of tractor.
The above and other objects are achieved in lower fth-wheel structure comprising kingpin entrapping mechanism wherein a bifurcate element and a latch are pivotally secured to the underside of the upper platform or plate of the structure. The element and the latch are positioned at generally right angles to each other when engaged for entrapping a kingpin in a funnel-shaped slot lof the plate. The element and latch have pivot axes on opposite sides of the slot with the element axis located in laterally or off-set relation to the length of the slot opposite the rear portion thereof. The axis of the latch is located on the other side of the slot forwardly therealong toward its larger open end to dispose the latch generally rearwardly from its axis, lengthwise of the rear portion of the slot.
In entrappcd condition, the kingpin is received between two legs of unequal length of the element and also by the rear portion of the slot over which the element swings. At this position, the element is held from forward movement by engagement of a rearwardly-facing surface of the latch with a front-facing surface of the longer leg which projects past the shorter leg and engagement of a lateral surface of the latch with the end surface of the shorter, more forward leg.
A toggle-like cam mounted on the latch is rotatable to engage an end surface of the longer leg and move the latch out of engagement with the element. In rotating, the cam may move past an overcenter position defined by a stop surface on the latch to achieve the lock-setting funcice tion of the mechanism. In this condition of the lower fifth-wheel the kingpin may be withdrawn from the structure at will.
In the drawing in respect to which the invention is described:
FIG. l is a perspective view of a semi-trailer stand embodying the latching mechanism of this invention;
FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the stand in FIG. l showing external plate portions of the lower fifth-wheel structure of the stand with portions of the latching mechanism removed;
FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the stand of FIGS. 1 and 2 with portions of the latching mechanism of the fifthwheel structure removed;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary schematic elevation of a semitrailer, the trailer stand for FIGS. l, 2, and 3 and a tractor in separated positions;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary schematic elevation of the tractor, stand, and semi-trailer of FIG. 4 interconnected with the stand supported on the tractor and the front end of the semi-trailer supported on the stand;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary schematic elevation of the stand and the semi-trailer of FIGS. 4 and 5 as supported by a ship deck or other surface; l
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, enlarged perspective view of a portion of the rear beam and lower fifth-wheel structure mounted thereon of the tractor of FIGS. 4 to 6;
FIG. 8 is a plan view with an upper plate portion broken away of the lower fifth-wheel of the tractor of FIGS. 4 to 6;
FIG. 9 is a plan view of the stand of FIGS. 1 to 3 showing latching components of the lower fifth-wheel structure in locked position;
FIG. l() is a fragmentary enlarged front elevation of the stand of FIGS. l to 3, showing the kingpin-receiving slot of the fifth-wheel structure in the foreground and parts of the latching mechanism; and
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary plan view of the fifth-wheel structure of the stand in FIGS. 1 to 3, 9 and l0 with the top plate of the fifth-wheel structure removed, exposing components of the latching mechanism as positioned after release of a kingpin.
In considering the fifth-wheel structure of this invention in further detail, attention is directed primarily to (l) an upper Casement 5 of a semi-trailer stand 6` having lower fifth-wheel structure, and (2) the lower fifth-wheel 7 mounted on a boom 8 of a tractor 9. Considering first the stand 6, easement 5 thereof comprises both an upward-facing lower fifth-wheel and a downward-'facing upper fifth-wheel in generally horizontal offset relation with the upper fifth-wheel. The Casement S is spaced at a desired height above ground by legs 10a, 10b, 10c, and 10d.
Referring to FIGS. l to 3, and FIGS. 9 to 1l, the casement 5 of the stand compri-ses, Ias lower fifth-wheel structure, the upper plate 11 of the stand defining a funnelshaped slot 12 of which the front portion converges rearwardly from a leading inclined edge 14 of the plate and a rear slot portion 15 having generally parallel sides. The upper fifth-wheel structure further comprises a bifurcate element 17 pivoted on `a trunnion 18 fixed to the plate 11, a latch 19 pivoted on a trunnion 21 also fixed to the plate 11. The axes of trunnions 18 and 21 are on opposit-e `sides Iof the slot 12, especially the parallel-sided rear portion 15. The axis for element 17 is spaced transversely with respect to the longitudinal axis of the slot 12 in a direction extending perpendicularly from the slot axis A-A at a point within the rear portion of the slot. Thus, the element 17 is swingable to the position shown in FIG. 9, wherein its length is in generally transverse relation with that of the slot, and legs 23 and 24 thereof extend crosswise thereof, causing the space 25 therebetween to be vertically coincident with the rearmost portion f the slot in a manner suitable for receiving a diametral section of a kingpin extending through the space 2S and the superjacent end portion of the slot.
The more rear leg 24 of the element is longer than the leg 23 so that a rear-facing surface 27 of the latch may engage a front-facing lateral surface 28 of the leg 24. In the kingpin entrapping position of FIG. 9, a lateral surface 29 of the latch 19 engages the end surface 31 of the leg 23.
To perform its function of supporting the element 17 under the maximum loads imposed thereon by the kingpin, the latch 19 has its pivotal axis, i.e., the longitudinal laxis of the trunnion 21, disposed closely to one side of the slot 12 at an intermediate point along the slot length so that the latch may lie close to one side of the `slot but extend rearwardly during operation backward into engagement with the two legs of the element 17 to provide direct support opposing kingpin loads on thek element. The latch is urged about its axis forward the slot by a spring 33 connecting the distal end of an extension 34 of the latch to a web 3S which reinforces the plate 11. The latch 19 has a rearward extending arm 37 projec-ting diagonally rearwardly from its surface 27' in a direction away from the element 17 to provide a support for a cam or bellcrank 3S. The crank 33 has a lever arm 39 connected with a pull-rod 41 at the end thereof remote from the cam pivot at 43. Movement ofthe push rod in the outboard direction rotates the cam arm 44 of the crank 38 in a counterclockwise direction, as view in FIG. 9 against the curvate cam-following end surface 45 of the longer legs 24 of the element 17. This movement of the crank 38 is eventually stopped by the rear-facing latch surface 27 at an over-center position after the cam arm has passed through a center position of maximum separation of the latch and the element.
The cam ar-m 44, as shown, is of `sutlicient length to completely disengage the longer leg 24 from the surface 27 of the latch and thus place the element 17 in a condition for swinging in a clockwise direction about its trunnion 1S when acted upon by a kingpin 'moving outwardly of the slot 12.
FIG. 11 represents an intermediate stage in which the element 17 is swung for complete release of a kingpin from the slot 12. FIG. 11 may Valso represent an intermediate stage in the return of the element 17 to the position Ishown in FIG. 9. If this view of FIG. 1l is taken, it is obvious that the corner 48 of the element leg 24 will act upon the cam arm 44 to rotate the bell-crank 48 in a clockwise direction and return it and the push rod 41 to the positions shown by FIG. 9.
As the kingpin of semi-trailers is of standardized dimensions, the latching mechanism is supported at a distance below the plate 11 which allows the mechanism to grip a kingpin about its neck portion within the groove adjacent its head. Kingpin 48 providing a groove 49 adjacent its head S1 is exemplary of a standard kingpin. The kingpin 48 along with the downwardly-facing plate 53 constitutes the upper fth-wheel structure of the stand 6.
In accordance with the width of the stand chosen, the upper `and lower fth-wheel structures of the stand may be standard or non-standard in width. The plate 54 reinforces the lower ffth-wheel structure of the stand 6 by attachment to the lower ends of the trunnions 18 and 21 by cap screws 52a and 52b to the webs 3S and 5S and to the T-piece 56. Stops for the element 17 limiting the forward and rearward motion thereof are provided at 57 and 58.
The generally rectangular fifth-wheel for the tractor employs essentially the same mechanism as just described with respect to the lower fifth-wheel structure of the stand 6. However, it is supported on the tractor boom 8 by a connection providing universal pivoting action, such as the ball joint 60. Springs 61 standing between the four corners of the underside of the fifth-wheel and corresponding seats on the boom 8 provide resilient freedom for pivoting at the joint 60 of the fifth-wheel 7 relative to the boom in adjusting the boom in applying the fifthwheel to a trailer or trailer stand, or in the use of the tractor to move a semi-trailer over uneven ground.
FIG. 8 illustates, in broken-away plan view, the fthwheel 7 and further shows its mechanism to be generally similar to that of the fifth-wheel structure for the stand 6. The essential ydifference is that the bell-crankSS and pull rod 41 have been replaced by a toggle lever 64 which performs the function of the bell-crank 38, and a spring-returned uid cylinder actuator remotely controlled by fluid line 66 to pivot the lever 64 to effect lock-setting action or release of Ianother vehicle for equipment such as the stand 6 from the lower fifth-wheel 7. The lever 64 is slotte-d to receive the piston rod 62 of the cylinder 65.
In using the equipment shown in FIGS. 4 to 6, the mechanism of the lower fifth-wheel 7 of the tractor 9 is opened by operation of the fluid cylinder 65 and withdrawal of a kingpin to bring about a more open condition of the latch 17 and the element 19 than shown by FIG. l1. The tractor and the boom thereof are manipulated into a position underneath the upper fifth-wheel structure of the stand 6 and intercoupled. Thereafter the tractor and the stand 6 are manipulated to couple the stand 6 with the upper fth-wheel 67 of the trailer 68. When the kingpin 69 of the trailer has interlocked with the lower fifth-wheel mechanism of the stand 6, the boom 8 may be caused to lift the stand 6 and the trailer front end in preparation for moving the trailer. After the trailer is moved and repositioned as desired, the tractor lowers the stand 6 to the ground with the front end of the trailer resting thereon. The tractor may be disengaged from the stand by operation of the cylinder 66 and then moved to withdraw the tractor boom 8 along with the fth-wheel 7 from the stand. The normal use of the stand 6 is illustrated by FIG. 6.
The terms and expressions which have been employed are used as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention of excluding such equivalents of the invention described or of the portions hereof as fall within the scope of the claims.
What is claimed is:
1. Trailer handling equipment including lower fthwheel structure for coupling with the kingpin of an upper fth-wheel, said structure comprising:
(A) an upper support plate defining a funnel-shaped slot having its wider end opening in the front side of the plate and converging Irearwardly into a rear portion adapted to receive a diametrical section of the kingpin;
(B) a forked element and a latch disposed along the underside of the plate pivotally with respect to axes in perpendicular fixed relation to the plate on opposite sides of the slot;
(C) said latch having its pivotal ax'is located forwardly along said slot with its length extending generally rearwardly from its axis along the same side of the slot;
(D) said element having its said axis spaced laterally of the slot length directly opposite said rear portion, and dividing as it extends in one direction away from its axis into a pair of legs spaced to receive said kingpin, and being rotatable to a position placing said legs crosswise of said slot wherein the more forward `leg is shorter than the other;
(E) said latch having a rear-facing surface and a lateral surface facing crosswise of the slot, the latch being pivotable to a position disposing said rear-facing surface against a front-facing surface of the longer leg and said lateral surface against an end surface of the shorter leg at said position of the element; and
(F) control means for disengaging the latch from the element.
2. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 1 wherein said control means comprises:
(A) a cam pivotally mounted on said latch in cam relation with the end surface of the longer leg, said cam being rotatable while engaging said longer leg to swing the rear end of said latch out of engagement with said element, said element then being free to swing to a forward position allowing disengagement of a kingpin received simultaneously by the slot and said legs from both the element and the plate; and
(B) lever means for rotating the cam.
3. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 2 wherein said structure comprises:
(A) resilient means acting between the latch and the plate for urging the latch toward said slot; and
(B) stop means limiting movement of the element between said rearward position and said forward position.
4. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 3 wherein:
(A) said latch has a stop surface for stopping the cam in an over-center position holding the latch out of engagement with the element thus establishing a lockset condition for the structure.
5. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 3 wherein:
(A) said cont-rol means comprises means holding said cam at operative position corresponding to positions of the element and the latch allowing forward movement of the element, said cam being released from holding relation with the holding means by forward movement of said element to its forward position.
6. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 1 comprislng:
(A) a stand adapted to support the front end of a trailer providing a cooperating upper fifth-wheel, the upper portion of said stand comprising said,v lower fifth-wheel structure; and
(B) an upper fifth-wheel comprising a lower plate disposed underneath said structure in generally parallel fixed relation with said upper plate, and a kingpin depending from the lower plate in fixed relation 4G therewith along a central front-to-rear vertical plane passing centrally of said slot; and legs for spacing respect to the ground or other support surface, said said structure and upper fifth-wheel of the stand with legs being open along the rear side of the stand for access to said upper fifth-wheel. 7. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 6 wherein said stand comprises:
(A) control means wherein:
(1) a cam is mounted on said latch in cam relation with the end surface of the longer leg, and said cam is rotatable while engaging said longer leg to swing the rear end of the latch out of the path of forward movement of said longer les;
(2) said latch has a stop surface for the cam for stopping the cam in an over-center position holding the latch out of engagement with the element thus establishing a lock-set condition of said structure; and
(3) actuating means for the cam connected therewith and extending to a region of access outside the stand.
8. The trailer-handling equipment of claim 1 comprising a towing vehicle including said structure wherein:
(A) the control means comprises a cam pivotally mounted on the latch in cam relation with the end surface of the longer leg, said cam being rotatable while engaging said longer leg to swing the rear end of said latch thereby freeing the element to swing t-o a forward position for discharging a kingpin entrapped by said legs and the slot; and stop means on the plate for limiting movement of the element between said positions.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,140,990 12/ 1938 Emrick 280-434 3,079,175 2/ 1963 Walther 280-434 3,250,506 5/ 1966 Thouvenelle et al. 248--119 ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner.
R. -P. SEI'ITER, Assistant Examiner.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE 0F CORRECTION Patent No. 3,392,944 July 16, 196s David J. Wyrough It is certified that error appears in the above identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as' shown below:
Column 3, line 2l, "forward" should read toward line 33, "legs" should read leg Column 6, lines l and 2, "respect to the ground or ot-herelsupport surface, said said Structure and upper :fifth-wheel l,ofthe stand with" should read said structure and upper fifth-wheel of the stand with respect to the ground or other Support surface, said Signed and sealed this 2nd day of December 1969.
Edward M. Fletcher, Jr.
Attesting Official` Commissioner of Patents WILLIAM E. SCHUYLER, JR.