US 3580638 A
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United States Patent  Inventor Robert K. Pullen Fullerton, Nebr. 68638  Appl. No. 832,961  Filed June 13, 1969  Patented May 25, 1971  PACKED SNOW AND ICE REMOVER FOR HIGHWAYS AND THE LIKE 5 Claims, 11 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 299/25, 299/41  lnt.Cl E0111 5/12  Field of Search 299/25, 3941; 51/177  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,601,087 9/1926 Simpson 51/177UX 1,647,066 10/1927 Westman 299/25X 2,769,626 11/1956 Becker 299/41 FOREIGN PATENTS 313,345 7/1919 Germany 51/177 Primary Examiner-Emest R. Purser Attorney-Scofield, Kokjer, Scofield & Lowe ABSTRACT: A powered rotor carrying a plurality of cutting blades is supported from a mobile frame. The cutting blades have cutting or milling edges for engaging and advancing laterally into a bed of ice or packed snow. The support connection between the rotor and frame is such as to provide control over the spacing and pressure of the blades with respect to the covered surface and the blades are resiliently floatable to accommodate uneveness in the surface.
PACKED SNOW AND ICE REMOVER FOR HIGHWAYS v AND THE LIKE The removal of packed snow and ice from roadways, sidewalks and the like has long posed a problem. To my knowledge, no satisfactory device for removing ice from sidewalks, highways, airport runways and like surfaces has been developed. However, such conditions occur quite often, particularly in the northern parts of the United States and in other places throughout the world, with the result that traffic or other operations are seriously impeded.
Highways pose a real problem which should be obvious to most anyone who travels much. Another area of extended difficulty is in connection with airport runways. When conditions are bad, fields must be closed, and closing for any length of time' can work a very serious hardship on commercial and general aviation normally having traffic at that location. Other examples are parking lots and sidewalks.
According to my present understanding, the primary difficulty in providing any effective ice removal apparatus in the past has centered upon the problem of having something which will work closely enough to the surface to remove practically all the ice, yet which will not do damage to the icedover surface itself. Another problem is in having equipment which will do the job required quickly. By my invention, I have provided equipment which will fulfill the foregoing conditions.
In its broadest aspect, my invention is based upon the provision of a generally horizontal power-driven rotor which is positioned fairly close to the iced-over surface, the rotor carrying a plurality of scrapers or knives spaced radially around the axis of the rotor which are adapted to engage and cut into the ice or snowpack and fragment it. The rotor is designed to rotate on a substantially vertical axis and is carried by a support frame, which may be tractor or otherwise drawn, or may be self-propelled unit. The support frame advances the rotor in a selected path from which ice or hard packed snow is to be removed. The knives of the rotor are connected with the rotor for limited up and down movement with respect thereto while rotating with the rotor and are biased in a downward direction. As the rotor advances the knives progressively cut away and break up the ice or snowpack.
A unit according to my invention is particularly useful in highway and airport runway cleaning since it not only breaks up but also can be made to displace the ice to either side of the path of the removal device. The blades can readily be replaced or exchanged for different conditions of operation and repair and maintenance is facilitated by rugged construction.
Another feature of the invention which I feel particularly advantageous is in the special rotor-elevating and -lowering apparatus which permits the rotor to be lowered in a substantially level configuration, particularly when the blades are first coming into contact with the icy or packed snow surface. As additional lowering takes place, the rotor still remains level,
Still another feature of the invention resides in the rotary support for the rotor so as to protect the drive shaft against excessive bending loads which might otherwise occur through faulty operation of the unit by an uninitiated or careless workman.
Other objects of the invention, together with the features of novelty appurtenant thereto, will appear in the course of the following description.
, DETAILED DESCRIPTION In the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith, and in which like reference numerals indicate like parts in the various views;
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a preferred ice-removing unit, tractor drawn and powered, and which embodies my invention, the rotor housing not being shown in order to make the rotor visible;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view, part of the housing being broken away for purposes of illustration;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary central vertical sectional view through the rotor hub;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary vertical central section at the outer end of a rotor arm, showing the associated knife and section of the rotor housing;
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the rotor housing (without the depending side curtain) and rotor, showing the side opening in the rotor housing;
FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the rotor housing, part of the top portion being broken away and illustrating the side openings, the view being taken on a horizontal plane just above the top surface of the housing;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view of one side opening area of the rotor housing, showing the housing wall and optional closure gate in section;
FIG. 8 is an elevational view of the optional closure gate of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is an enlarged sectional view taken generally along the line 9-9 of FIG. I in the direction of the arrows;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the lower end portion of the knife assembly, showing the plungerlike knife carrier, the knife and attaching bolt in exploded relationship; and
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a modified form of the knife,
Referring now to the drawings, in the preferred embodiment, the ice-removing apparatus is designed to be towed behind a tractor 10 or similar draft vehicle and is ofa width such as to be usable on highways and other vehicular surfaces. The device is hitched to the tractor at a conventional ball hitch 11 and, as will be seen, the power for driving the ice-removing components is supplied from the power takeoff 12 of the tractor. However, as will become clear in the course of the following description, the basic ice-removing equipment is something which can be mounted on other than a trailertype vehicle, and may be made up within a wide range of sizes, from sidewalk width to road width.
The main operating component of the ice remover comprises a rotor 13 which is connected with a supporting frame 14. The rearward end of the frame has ground support by wheels 15 and the forward end is connected with a draft tongue 16 which connects with hitch ll of the tractor.
Turning first to a description of the rotor itself, in the preferred embodiment the rotor has a central vertical shaft 17 (see FIG. 6) located on an axis from which radiate a plurality of spokelike arms 18. The arms 18 are connected with a sleeve 19 which encircles and is keyed to shaft 17 by key 20 (see FIG. 3). A nut and washer assembly 21 on the threaded lower end of shaft 17 retains sleeve 19 on the shaft.
As best seen in FIGS. 2 and 6, the outer ends of spokes 18 are joined by chordlike tiemembers 22 to form a structure having a polygonal appearance. Horizontal support for the periphery of the rotor is provided by the inclined braces 23, one for each spoke 18, which are welded or otherwise securely attached at their inner ends to sleeve 19 and near the outer ends to the respective spokes (see FIG. 4). Each spoke further carries on its outer end portion a roller 24 which is trunioned between a pair of upstanding ears 25 secured to the upper surface of the spoke. The purpose of the rollers 24 will be subsequently explained.
Depending from the outer end portions of spoke 18 are the individual knife assemblies 26, the details of which are best seen in FIGS. 4 and 10. Each knife assembly includes a vertically oriented cylinder 27 which is welded or otherwise joined at its upper end to a rectangular baseplate 28 which in turn is bolted to the underside of the spoke 18 by bolt connections 29. The cylinders are further stabilized by inclined braces 26a which are joined to the lower ends of the cylinders and to the tie members 22 of the rotor. Disposed within the cylinder and normally positioned near the lower end is a plungerlike member 30, of somewhat lesser diameter than the inside diameter of the cylinder, which has an annular flange 31 and a downwardly extending portion 32 which projects from the lower end of the cylinder. Extension 32 is noncircular in cross section. As shown in FIG. I0, in the preferred embodiment it has the rounded and opposed side portions 32a between which extend the opposed flats 32b. The extension 32 extends through an opening in the bottom of cylinder 30 which is similar in configuration to the cross-sectional shape of the extension so that rotation of the plunger 30 on its axis relative to the cylinder is prevented. Flange 31 cooperates with the lower end of the cylinder to provide a limiting stop for downward movement of the plunger.
Secured to the bottom of the extension 32 of plunger 30 is the ice-engaging knife 33. As can be best seen in FIG. 10, knife 33 is preferably rectilinear in construction and is composed of a relatively hard material such as good quality steel. The lower face 34 and edges of the knife can be specially hardened as desired, the degree of hardness depending upon the degree of care required for the surface to be operated on. For example, in the case of a very smooth concrete surface such as might be found on an ice rink, a relatively soft knife can be used in order to avoid damage to the floor. In the case of concrete highways, airport runways and other types of vehicular surfaces, it may be desirable to use harder blades because of the greater degree of roughness of the surface and consequent attrition on the knives to be expected.
Blade 33 is designed to fit upwardly within a similarly cross sectioned U-shaped notch 320 formed in the lower end of the plunger extension 32. The extension is centrally tapped to receive a securing bolt 35, the head of which fits within a notched recess 33a formed on the undersurface of the knife. The depth of notch 33a is such as to insure that the lowermost head surface of bolt 35 is located at a level higher than the bottom of the knives 33. The orientation of the blade is such that its major axis lies substantially radially with respect to the axis of the rotor, that is the long axis of the knife is parallel with the long axis of the spoke 18 on which it is carried.
Returning to further description with respect to the interior of the blade cylinder 27, the blade plunger 30 is biased in a downward direction by a compression spring 37 which encircles the plunger, bears at its lower end on flange 31 and is restrained at its upper end by the adjustable disc 38. Disc 38 is carried on a threaded stem 39 which extends upwardly through a correspondingly tapped aperture in arm 18. By turning bolt 39 one direction or the other, it can be raised or lowered to decrease or increase the spring pressure. A locknut 40 is also threaded on stem 39.
The entire rotor is shielded and guarded by a shroud or housing 41 which is much like the housing of a conventional rotary-type lawnmower. The housing has the top panel 41a and the depending sidewalls 42. The housing is provided with side extensions 42a, 42b which form discharge openings 43a, 43b on opposite sides of the housing. These openings can each be optionally closed or opened by means of a detachable closure gate 44 of the type illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. Gates 44 will fit within opening 43a or 43b and can be bolted directly to the upright wall of the housing and the extension as shown. A flexible curtain C is hung by chains from the shroud with the lower edge of the curtain below the lower edge of the shroud. This provides a means for shielding the rotor, and inhibiting scattering of ice, which can reach substantially to the surface. The curtain can accommodate surface irregularities.
The housing 41 is supported from the frame by any suitable means such as bolting it to the underside of the main members thereof and by employing suspension straps 45 attached respectively to the frame and housing.
The frame for carrying the rotor and housing is generally symmetrical about a longitudinal axis. The basic rotor support members comprise the two spaced parallel side beams 46 which are bolted to the top of the housing and which are interconnected by a rear transverse cross brace 47 and a similar front brace 48. The frame is additionally strengthened by two pairs of inverted channel members 49, 49 and 50, 50 which extend between side beams 46 near the center of the unit. These are welded or otherwise securely affixed at their opposite ends to the side beams.
The central crossmembers 49 support the centrally located platform 51 on which is mounted a gearbox 51a, the output shaft of which is connected with or may be the vertical rotor shaft 17. The input to gearbox 51a is in the form of a pulley wheel 52. A second gearbox 53 is located on a platform 54 carried by the pair of crossrails 50 and this has the output pulley wheel 55 which is connected with pulley wheel 52 by belt 56.
The input to the gearbox 54 is through a shaft 57 which is connected through a universal joint 58 to a splined shaft 59 which in turn is coupled through a universal joint 60 with the power takeoff of the tractor. Shaft 57 is supported at one end by gearbox 54 and is journaled in a pillow block 61 which is carried on the front crossarm 48.
it will be understood that the gearboxes 51 and 54 are typical right-angle gearboxes which are capable of producing a reduction in input relative to output. It will be noted that the pulley wheels 52 and 55 are so sized as to produce a further reduction. 1 have found an appropriate speed for the rotor in a 9-foot-diameter rotor to be around 200 r.p.m., although this is not at all intended to be a critical speed.
As has earlier been indicated, the frame 14 is supported at the rear by wheels 15 and at the front by tongue 16. Rear wheels 15 are each connected to rearward extension members 62, each of which is pivoted to the rear end of a side beam 46 by a pivot pin 63. The pivots 63 are on a common axis. The tongue 16 is likewise pivoted to the forward end of frame 14, the pivot connection being made by pins 64 which are on a common axis.
The wheels and tongue are also interconnected with the frame 14 through an adjustable truss assembly 65, there being one such assembly for each side frame. Inasmuch as the two are identical, the description will be limited to one, with the understanding that it applies to the other. The truss for each side is further symmetrical with respect to a center vertical line through the beam and thus the same part numbers will be used for the corresponding members on opposite sides of the transverse centerline.
Located near each end of each side beam 46 and extending upwardly from the upper surface thereof is a post 66 which is firmly anchored to the side beam. Pivoted to the upper end of each post on pivot axis 67 is a lever 68. The outer ends of levers 68 are pivoted as at 69 to similar links 70. One link 70 is pivoted as at 71 to the wheel-carrying extension 62 and the other is pivoted at 72 to the tongue 16. When the frame is level, the pivot pins 71, 72 should be level and their spacing from the pivots 63, 64 should be substantially equal.
The inner ends of lever 68 are provided with longitudinal slots through which are received a common pin 73 which is carried at the upper end of a piston rod 74 extending from the upper end of a double-acting hydraulic cylinder 75. Cylinder 75 is attached securely to the upper surface of side beam 46 at the midpoint thereof and is supplied with hydraulic fluid selectively through hoses 75a, 75b from the conventional hydraulic system on the tractor (not shown). Introduction of fluid through hose 75b will naturally elevate rod 74 and introduction through 750 will lower it. Hoses 75a and 75b are under the control of a conventional three-way valve, which permits a lock position, raise or lower. Such valves being conventional, it has not been shown.
The manner of operation of the unit in general is believed to be evident from the description which has preceded. The unit normally will be moved into position for commencing ice removal with the rotor and blades elevated sufficiently to be free of contact with the ice or packed snow. Once in position, the power takeoff 12 is engaged to commence rotation of the rotor. Once the rotor is at the desired speed, the frame is slowly lowered until the knives have engaged and are in the desired pressure contact with the surface being worked on. As we have earlier noted, the pressure that is to be applied can be varied according to the character of the underlying surface.
Once the rotor is in engagement with the surface, the unit is moved forwardly and as it is moved forwardly the leading edge of the rotor will work to cut away at the underlying ice. The ice can be thrown to either side of the path of the device as desired simply by controlling the position of the closure gates 44 for the shroud.
During operation, the reciprocable mounting of the knives, coupled with the spring loading, permits and provides an oscillating travel for the knives, which appears to assist measurably in breaking up and removing the ice. The spring load can be varied as desired by changing the elevation of the retaining disc 38 through manipulation of the adjusting bolt 39. Any excessive lift loads which might otherwise bend shaft 17 will be picked up by contact of rollers 24 with the reinforced ring portion 41a of the underside of the shroud.
The basic mechanics of the raising and lowering assembly is believed to be evident from an analysis of the drawings and description which has preceded. During raising of the device, pressure fluid is introduced through inlet 75b to cylinders 75, thus impelling the hydraulic pistons upwardly and lifting upon the pin 73. This has the effect of pivoting lever 68 about pin 69 and lifting on posts 66 and 70 with a concomitant raising of the posts 66 and 70 and the frame 46. As the frame is raised, the tongue 16 will tend to rotate clockwise and the rear wheel extensions 62 counterclockwise with respect to their pivots 64 and 63. Since pins 71 and 72 and pins 63 and 64 are respectively equidistant from the lifting pin 73 at the upper end of the hydraulic cylinder, the lifting forces are uniformly distributed and the frame will be raised in a level condition. The lowering operation involves essentially the reverse of the above.
The replacement of knives is easily accomplished, it only being necessary to lift the unit and to remove knife 33 by disengaging its holding bolt 35.
Modified forms of knives can be used. I have shown in FIG. 11 a modified knife configuration, the knife being identified by reference numeral 33 As can be seen, rather than being in the general form of a rectangular block, this knife has the beveled ends providing a somewhat narrower and sharper knife tip.
it will be readily apparent that the rotor and knives can be carried just as well by a self-propelled unit as by a draft vehicle type arrangement or that they may be coupled with a manually propelled unit in a much smaller size and utilized in much the same manner as a push-type powered rotary mower. The unit is rugged and easy to operate and is capable of many uses.
From the foregoing, it will be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends and objects hereinabove set forth together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the structure.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.
As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
lclaim: 1. Apparatus for removing. ice from the surface of roadways, walkways and the like, said apparatus comprising a support frame structure movable over said surface, a powered rotor mounted to said frame for rotation about an axis substantially normal to said surface, and
ice-cutting and -removing knife structure carried by said rotor and spaced radially from said axis and operable to engage and cut ice from said surface in response to rotation of said rotor and advance of said frame, said knife structure including a blade having an acute cutting edge inclined with respect to a plane normal to said axis whereby to provide an edge operable to mill into the ice as the frame is advanced.
2. Apparatus as in claim 1, including means supporting said blade for linear movement of said edge relative to and toward and away from said surface.
3. Apparatus as in claim 2, including resilient biasing means operating to bias said knife blade in the direction toward said surface, and
means for increasing and decreasing the biasing force.
4. Apparatus as in claim 1, including roller means connected to and located above said rotor and spaced radially from said axis, and
roller track means carried by said frame and engageable by said roller means upon limited inclination of the rotation plane of the rotor from its normal relationship with respect to the rotor axis.
5. Apparatus as in claim 1, including lift means operable selectively to raise and lower the elevation of said rotor with respect to said surface, said lift means comprising a pair of levers pivotally connected to one another at one end, with said ends located above the center portion of the frame structure and with the levers extending fore and aft therefrom,
ground supported members connected with the respective other ends of said levers,
suspension means connecting said frame with the respective levers intermediate the ends of the levers, and
thrust means connected between the frame and the connected ends of said levers and operable selectively to push said connected ends away from or return them toward said frame.