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Publication numberUS3672445 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 27, 1972
Filing dateAug 31, 1970
Priority dateAug 31, 1970
Also published asCA918922A1
Publication numberUS 3672445 A, US 3672445A, US-A-3672445, US3672445 A, US3672445A
InventorsCarson Theo L
Original AssigneeCarson Theo L
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Underground service module
US 3672445 A
Abstract
A self-contained module is mounted in an electrified van truck and powered thereby and has an air conveying tube, compressed air hoses and electrical wires that are extensible therefrom through a modified panel section of the truck so as to supply conditioned air, operating compressed air and electrical outlets to workmen in a manhole or other underground working area. Air is passed vertically through the module from the vented top of the truck over a heat exchanger or refrigeration coil and conveyed to the workmen through the extensible tube which is locked in a collapsed position within the module for storage and transportation. An air compressor supplies a volume of compressed air which air is directed to a receiver from which low pressure dry air and high pressure air, selectively admixed with a lubricator, are regulatingly passed through the air hoses that are mounted on automatic recoil reels in the module and have outer ends carrying air chucks with a remote control switch for the compressor being provided.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Carson 1 June 27, 1972 [54] UNDERGROUND SERVICE MODULE Theo L. Carson, 1120 10th St., Denver, Colo. 80204 22 Filed: Aug.3l, 1970 211' Appl.No.: 68,341

[72] inventor:

Primary Examiner-Charles Sukalo- Attorney-Stowe" & Stowell [57] ABSTRACT A self-contained module is mounted in an electrified van truck and powered thereby and has an air conveying tube, compressed air hoses and electrical wires that are extensible therefrom through a modified panel section of the truck so as to supply conditioned air, operating compressed air and electrical outlets to workmen in a manhole or other underground working area. Air is passed vertically through the module from the vented top of the truck over a heat exchanger or refrigeration coil and conveyed to the workmen through the extensible tube which is locked in a collapsed position within the module for storage and transportation. An air compressor supplies a volume of compressed air which air is directed to a receiver from which low pressure dry air and high pressure air, selectively admixed with a lubricator, are regulatingly passed through the air hoses that are mounted on automatic recoil reels in the module and have outer ends carrying air chucks with a remote control switch for the compressor being provided.

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2. Description of the Prior Art v In present day practice, ventilation air is pumped into a manhole by a small, portable, engine driven squirrel cage type fan. Such fan is carried by a truck when not in use but when in use it is set on the ground adjacent the serviced manhole. The engine fuel is bottled propane gas which is carried by the truck. When-heat is required, and without some heat it is not possible under certain climatic conditions for the workmen to operate in the manhole, a propane heater is connected with the blower fan housing. A conventional flexible plastic tube is attached to the outlet of the fan for conveying the air into the manhole.

Such presently used equipment has many defects and has created many problems. One of the biggest problems revolves around the loading and unloading of the heavy propane gas bottles and the enginefan unit and the assembling of the same, along ,with the tube, at the location of use. Also, the starting of the engine is troublesome and difiicult, especially in cold weather. The ground level operation of the unit does not lead to the conveying of completelyand only fresh .air into the manhole and the noise generated by the engine carries into the manhole, thereby adding to the discomfort of the workmen.

Bottled nitrogen gas is utilized as the pressure fluid medium for operation of compressed gas tools and the very .unstable nature of such gas and its mode of containment makes the use of it fraught with dangerand difficulties both in its transportation and in its use at the work sites. Even in the instance of use of high pressure nitrogen gas cylinders the utilization has hazards and difficulties. For, in the latter regard, such cylinders are difficult to load onto and remove from a truck.

There have been many attempts to overcome the foregoing known drawbacks attendant with presently practiced underground work and to provide a better ventilating unit for manholes and the like. One of the latest attempts is shown in the Doyle et al. U. S. Pat., No. 3,467,301, issued Sept. 16, 1969.

In such patent, a truck mounted blower assembly is disclosed with the motor for the blower being connected by an electrical outlet to the battery or generator on the vehicle and with the assembly being carried by one of the vertical side sections of the'cabinet-like body of the truck in a manner to be used in attachment to or disattachment from the truck. The blower unit has a flexible hose that can be held in a stored condition on the truck or can be laid out from the truck and placed into a manhole.

As far as it goes this assembly is a distant improvement over the presently used fan arrangement. However, such patented assembly does not provide for the cooling or heating of the air nor does it ensure that only fresh air, free from ground or surface fumes, will be conveyed into the manhole.

In addition, such patent does not envision the supplying of tool operating compressed gas or-air and electrical power to the workmen in the manhole. Air tools and the like used by the workmen require compressed air while other tools and lamps operate on electrical power. In present practice air pressure for the manhole is supplied by the conventional, high pressure nitrogen gas cylinders. Also needed is low pressure, absolutely dry, compressed air since such is used to purge lead cables in the determination of potential moisture leaks.

SUMMARY or THE INVENTION In the present invention, a service module is mounted on the floor ofthe van of an electrified truck with the truck roof being provided with an inlet vent for fresh air which as to be more fully described is directed into the manhole. Either a heat exchanger, which is supplied with hot water from the truck engine, or a refrigeration coil, depending upon the weather conditions, is mounted on the top of the air vent fan. The entering air passes over the heat exchanger or refrigeration coil and passes through the module to an extensible flexible tube which is carried by the module and which is passed through an opening in the door panel of the truck. The module has an'air duct that extends from the top thereof to the back with a fan being operatively mounted in the vertical intake portion of the duct and an extensible vent tube being carried by the substantially horizontal outlet portion. Such outlet portion of the duct serves as a storage area for the tube which is collapsible into the outlet portion of the duct with a stop gate arrangement being provided on the outer end of the outlet portion. for locking the vent tube in its stored position within the duct.

A reciprocating air compressor is a component of the module and supplies high pressure air via a receiver and suitable control valves and the like to a hose carried by an automatic recoil reel with control being provided for passing the air through a lubricator or bypassing the lubricator depending upon the operating requirements of the tools that are attached to an air chuck on the outer end of the hose. Air from the receiverafter passing through a reducing valve supplies low pressure air that is passed through a desicant dryer and then conveyed by a hose mounted on an automatic recoil reel to the manhole or other underground area with the outer end of such hose having an air chuck.

An electrical extension line or drop cord is extensibly carried by the module on a retractable reel and is adapted to be laid out therefrom into a manhole so as to supply electrical current to the workmen with the line also carrying a lamp or thelike receptical and being the supporter for a remote control switch that can be used by the workmen for controlling the operation of theair compressor from their working positions in the manhole. In some instances, the module would not have a drop line and the control switch would then be on the control panel of the module.

Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a simple but most efficient vehicle mounted and operated service module for supplying conditioned, that is either heated or cooled air to workmen in underground working environments so that they can function in comfort in such environments, and for supplying compressed air of different operating pressures and electrical power to the workmen so that all of their working and testing tools and equipment can be operated most effectively in such underground working zones.

Another important object of the present invention is to provide a self-contained underground servicing module that can be installed on an electrified vehicle and operated thereby in conjunction with the electrical system and driving motor thereof and which has a multiple function involving the comfort and working ability of men in underground areas.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective showing of the rear end of an electrified van truck within which the underground service module of the present invention is installed and showing the same in operation for supplying conditioned air, operating compressed air pressures and electrical power to workmen in the illustrated manhole, which is shown for exemplary environmental reasons.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic showing of the air compressor and its low and high pressure air lines.

FIG. 3 is a schematic showing of the operation of the air conditioner whereby heated or cooled air is developed in the module and supplied to the underground area and of the air compressor in relation with the driving motor of the truck and the electrical system thereof.

FIG. 4 is a detailed vertical cross-sectional view of the air duct and air tube and the door panel through which the tube, the hoses and the electrical lines are passed, such view being taken substantially on line 4-4 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a rear perspective view of the module.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of the module.

FIG. 7 is longitudinal vertical sectional view of the truck installed module with one side of the module being shown substantially in side elevation.

FIG. 8 is a view like FIG. 7 but of the opposite side of the module which has parts broken away and shown in section and parts shown in side elevation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now more particularly to the accompanying drawings and initially to FIG. 1, the numeral 10 generally designates the underground service module of the present invention. Such module is adapted to be installed on and operatively carried by a vehicle which is preferably an electrified van truck, generally designated by the numeral 12. By virtue of the van truck 12, the module 10 is placed in an operating position and condition to supply conditioned air, compressed air pressures and electrical power to workmen in underground working areas, such as the manhole 14.

As shown in FIGS. 58, the module 10 comprises an open, rectangular framework 16 composed of tubular rods or bars with the framework having horizontal base rails 18 that are fixed by anchoring bolts 20 onto the floor 22 of the truck, as shown in FIG. 4. The module 10 is thus fixedly installed in the truck van so that it has its rear face or end 24 immediately confronting one of the panel doors 26 of the truck body. The truck is conventional self-propelled and driven vehicle which has a usual internal combustion engine 28, as shown in FIG. 3, and also is of the type commonly known as an electrified truck. Such term means that the truck has means for generating a usable supply of electrical energy. As shown in FIG. 3, the engine 28 powers, through V-belts 30, an alternator 32. Electrical power is carried from the generating alternator 32 to a switch panel 34 from where the power is taken off to an air compressor 36 and a fan 38 which has an operating motor 40.

The fan 38, as will be more particularly described, is positioned below a refrigerator coil 42, FIG. 7, or, as shown in FIG. 3, by a heat exchanger 44 which is fed hot water from the truck engine 28 through flexible hoses 46. The fan is operatively positioned within an air duct 48 carried by the framework 16 of the module 10 and is oriented on a vertical axis within the vertical inner leg or intake portion 50 ofthe air duct, which has an outer horizontal leg or outlet portion 52 that carries an extensible air tube 54 by means of which the conditioned air is directly conveyed to the manhole 14 or other underground area.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the air pressures developed by the air compressor 36 and controlled by pressure regulators, as will be described, are conveyed to the manhole 14 by air hoses 56 and 58 which have their outer ends terminating in air chucks 60. A remote control switch 62 for the compressor is provided, as will be described, whereby workmen can control the operation of the compressor 36 from their working positions in the manhole 14. The hoses are mounted on automatic recoil reels 64 and 66 within the framework 16 of the module 10, as will be described.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the extensible air tube 54 is carried by the outlet of the air duct 48 and an electrical outlet extension cord or line 68 is disposed alongside the tube and the air hoses 56 and 53, with the tube, the hoses and the electrical line being extensible from the rear of the module through an opening 70 in the door panel. Such opening is closed off, when the truck is in transit, by a detachable cover (not shown) fixed by fasteners onto the inner face of the hinged panel door 26. As shown in FIG. I, the air vent tube 54, the air pressure hoses 56 and 58 and the electrical outlet line 68 are adapted to be pulled rearwardly from the module 10 for placement into the manhole 14 located some selected distance from the rear end of the truck 12 with the tube, hoses and line passing through the opening 70 in the door which is nonnally kept closed. The inner face of the door panel at the areas bounding the opening 70 is provided with a frame seal that sealingly engages a sealing rubber gasket strip 74 on the rear of the module.

The roof 76 of the van truck 12 is provided with an air vent 78 that preferably directly overlies the top of the fixedly positioned module 10 and is disposed immediately above the inlet 80 for the vertical leg portion of the air duct 48. Thus, the air supply from the atmosphere enters the air duct of the module from above the roof or top of the truck so that the best quality air available is used with the air entering the module being substantially free from heavy, low hanging street fumes. The inlet 80 of the air duct, as shown in FIG. 6, is the mouth of the housing 82 for the vertically mounted squirrel cage fan 38. In the instance where the air entering the fan is not to be heated or cooled then a fan screen (not shown) will be vertically mounted on the housing over the inlet opening 80. When the air is to be cooled, the refrigeration coil will be operatively placed over the opening 80 and driven by the electrical system generated by the electrified truck, as shown in FIG. 3, or the refrigeration compressor may be driven by the vehicle engine or other prime mover.

The squirrel cage fan operates very quietly for the comfort of the workmen and the quietness of its operation allows the use of earphones while testing and of other listening test equipment by the workmen in the manhole.

The fan axis being in a vertical plane permits the fresh air entering through the inlet opening 80 directly from the roof vent 78 to be drawn down through the refrigeration coil or heat exchanger that is directly seated on and supported by the top of the fan casing, the use of one or the other of the air conditioning units depending upon the climatic conditions. Because of the way the unit used is seated on the fan casing, it can easily be removed while the truck is in the field. Either unit lies flat on top of the fan casing.

In the instance of the heat exchanger 44, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 8, the core thereof slopes downwardly at a slight angle from the horizontal with an expansion tank 84 being disposed at the elevated end. This is to permit air and vapors to accumulate at the elevated end and be collected in the expansion tank which is the high point of the module and in the entire truck. Hot water from the truck engine 28 is carried through the flexible hoses 46 to the heat exchanger. Connections to the truck engine that provide hot water for the conventional cabin heater of the truck are used either as is or with suitable modified castings to permit hot water to flow from the engine block to the heat exchanger and return to the lower radiator hose of the engine 28. A suitable control valve, (not shown) is provided at the inlet side of the heat exchanger to modulate the heat required.

As shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 8, the substantially horizontal leg portions 52 of the air duct 48 is tubular and square in cross-section for regidification purposes. An Adapter 86 is slidably mounted in the leg portion 52 and has a square body 88 provided with an annular collar 90 on which the inner end of the wire reinforced, cylindrical, flexible vent tube 54 is fixed. As shown in FIG. 8, the tube is bodily stored within the leg portion 52 of the air duct when it is not in use. The outer end of the duct leg portion 52 has a sealing gasket assembly 92 against which the adapter sealingly abuts when the tube is fully extended.

For the purpose of locking the vent tube 54 in a collapsed and stored condition in the duct portion 52 a stop gate 94 is provided and is movably located on the outer end of the duct portion 52 as shown in FIG. 5. The stop gate 94 is slidably mounted on the end so that it can be raised and lowered with regard to the opening through such end. Thus, in order to make the arrangement convenient and render unnecessary the assembling or attaching of the vent tube 54 each time it is taken from its stored position within the duct portion, the adapter assembly is provided and when the stop gate 94 is raised, the tube is released and is propelled out of the duct portion to its full length. By a slight pull on the tube, the adapter slides down the duct portion and comes to a stop against the sealing rubber gasket 92. To store the tube, it is only necessary to push the flexible tube back into the duct portion and the adapter easily slides back making room for the collapsing tube which when it is fully within the duct portion is held therein by lowering the stop gate.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5-9, the air compressor 36 is of the two stage reciprocating type but any size and type of air compressor can be utilized, in conjunction with the air receiver tank 96, that has a preferred 150 PSI working pressure. The compressor and the receiver tank are mounted on the module framework 16 as shown particularly in FIGS. 7 and 8. The compressor is provided with a constant speed control in the form of unloaders on its intake valves so that when the tank pressure reaches a preset pressure'the compressor unloads but continues to run. A pressure sensitive trigger valve 101 unloads the air compressor when the pressure in the air receiver 96 exceeds 120 PSI and disengages at about 110 PS1. There are preferably no other pressure sensitive controls affecting the air compressor. The air pressure actuates an automatic tank drain valve 100 which is connected to the receiver tank and to an unloader trigger valve 101 in the unloader line 104 leaving the receiver. I

Air leaving the receiver 96 passes through a prefilter and strainer 102 and then to a manifold common to two air regulators 106 and 108 and to the solenoid valve. The air regulator 106 is for high pressure and controls the high pressure air and sends such air to a three-way valve 110 which permits the operator to selectively direct the high pressure air through an air line lubricator 112 for powering tools requiring lubrication or bypass the lubricator for air operation of tools and equipment not needing lubrication. The high pressure air is conveyed to the air hose 56 which is extensibly and retractingly carried by the automatic recoil reel. 64 that is rotatably mounted on the module framework 16 as shown in the drawings.

The other air regulator 108 is for the low pressure air (15 PSl max.) and downstream from the regulator is a 15 PS1 safety pop valve 121. The low pressure air passes through a desicant dryer 116 and a pilot dryer and then to the low pressure hose 58 that is carried by the automatic recoil reel 66. The low pressure hose 58 supplies low pressure dry air which is used for charging telephone cables, for example. The pilot dryer is simply a miniature desicant dryer 116. The desicant in both instruments is of a purple color and as it absorbs moisture and reaches a saturation point, it changes color and becomes clear in color. Since all the air passing through the large dryer 1 16 must pass through the small pilot dryer, the pilot dryer is a double check on the condition of the desicant. A pressure gauge 118 is associated with each regulator and a safety pop valve 120 is associated with the receiver and is set at 135 PSI. A compressor oil drain line 131 extends from the compressor and is tied in with the drain line 133 below the automatic drain valve 100. A drain line 135 for the prefilter 102 is also provided. An unloader line 137 is connected between the compressor and the drain line downstream of the valve 100.

The module also has an electrical line 68 that is connected to the switch panel 134 and lies alongside the hoses and the vent tube and is adapted to be extended and retracted from the module with the outer end of the electrical line carrying convenience outlets and a lamp and also supporting .the remote control switch 62 for the compressor.

The remote control switch 62 for the compressor materially reduces the peak power demands of the system as it permits the operator to start the compressor after the peak power load of starting the blower has passed and further since the compressor may be started from within'the work zone power is only used when compressed air is actually required. It will also be appreciated that the remote controller 62 may be connected to operate both the blower for ventilation and the compressor to further reduce peak power demands of the system by permitting the operator, within the work zone, to shut off the air blower momentarily when starting the compressor and once the compressor motor has started to restart the blower motor. it will be appreciated that the above described procedure may be replaced by an automatic time delay relay. Also, the operator may not have remote control of the fan and it can be in operation when the compressor motor is started.

While the vehicle 12 for carrying the module 10 has been illustrated and described as an electrified van truck, it is not essential that such be the case for the carrying and transporting vehicle could be a trailer which is not self-powered but which is drawn by a self-powered tractor that would supply the electrical power and operating mediums for the module through extension hookups therewith. It is only essential that the module be supplied in its supported and carried relation with a mobile vehicle with electrical energy. It is far more convenient that the vehicle be an electrified truck which can supply the electrical power through an alternator driven by a usual V-belt drive from the engine crankshaft. Such power supply is carried by a heavy duty wire to the switch panel 34 with the crop cord or line 68 leading therefrom to the manhole for supplying lights and power. Such line or cord is carried by an automatic rewind reel 122 having collector rings (not shown).

What is claimed is:

1. An underground service module comprising a rigid framework, an air duct mounted on and supported by said framework and having a substantially vertical intake portion and a substantially horizontal outlet portion, fan means operatively mounted in the duct for drawing atmospheric air from the atmosphere surrounding the intake portion into the duct and passing it out through the outlet portion, means for conditioning the air as it passes through the air. duct, a flexible air tube extensibly carried by the outlet portion of the duct in communication therewith, means for sealingly locating the air tube in an extended position wherein it constitutes a flexible extension of the duct outlet portion and can be inserted into a manhole opening for conveying conditioned air to such underground area and means for maintaining the air tube in a stored condition within the duct outlet portion.

2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said fan means is disposed in the intake portion and said air conditioning means is mounted at the top of the intake portion.

3. The invention of claim 2 wherein said air conditioning means is a heat exchanger.

4. The invention of claim 2 wherein said air conditioning means is a refrigeration coil.

5. The invention of claim 1 wherein said air tube has an inner end, a supporting adapter carried by said inner end of the tube and slidably mounting the tube within the outlet portion of the duct with the tube being bodily storable within said outlet portion of the duct and said means for sealingly locating the air tube in an extended position including a sealing gasket assembly at the outer end of the outlet portion against which the adapter sealingly abuts when the tube is fully extended from the outlet portion of the duct.

- 6. The invention of claim l wherein said means for maintaining the air tube in a stored condition includes a stop gate movably carried by the outer end of the duct outlet portion for lockingly engaging the outer end of the air tube.

7. The invention of claim 1 wherein an air compressor is mounted on and supported by the framework, said compressor producing low and high air pressures and extensible air hoses are connected to the air compressor and extensibly disposable alongside the air tube for conveying such air pressures to the manhole area conjointly with the conveyance to such area of conditioned air by the air tube.

8. The invention of claim 7 wherein said hoses are mounted on automatic recoil reels rotatably mounted on the framework of the module.

9. The invention of claim 7 wherein said hoses have outer ends provided with air chucks.

10. The invention of claim 7 wherein said high pressure air hose is selectively connectable with a lubricating source for selectively conveying lubricating high pressure air.

11. The invention of claim 7 wherein said low pressure hose is connected to an air dryer means.

12. The invention of claim 11 wherein said air dryer is a chemical.

13. The invention of claim 1 wherein said module further comprises an electrical power line extensibly and retractably carried by the framework and having an outer end carrying outlets with such line being disposable alongside the air tube to convey electrical power to the manhole area conjointly with the conveyance to such area of conditioned air by the air tube.

14. The invention of claim 13 wherein said module further comprises an air compressor mounted on and supported by the framework for producing high and low air pressures, automatic recoil reels carried by the framework of the module, air hoses carried by said reels and connected to the air compressor with said hoses being disposed alonside the air tube and the electrical power line and said electrical power line having a remote control switch for the compressor on its outer end.

15. The invention of claim 1 including an electrified vehicle having a floor on which the framework of the module is mounted with the vehicle supplying the electrical power for the fan means.

16. The invention of claim 14 including an electrified vehicle having a floor on which the framework of the module is mounted with the vehicle supplying the electrical power for the fan means, the compressor and the electrical power line.

17. The invention of claim 16 wherein said vehicle has a body panel having an opening through which the air tube, hoses and line are extensible in side by side arrangement.

18. The invention of claim 16 wherein said vehicle has a closed body within which the module is fixedly positioned, said body having a roof provided with an air vent immediately overlying the intake of the air duct and having a side panel provided with an opening through which the air tube, the hoses and the electrical line are passed from the module to the manhole.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1811529 *Jun 13, 1928Jun 23, 1931Pre Cooling Car Service CoPortable apparatus for conditioning perishable products
US2341781 *Nov 30, 1939Feb 15, 1944Gen Motors CorpRefrigerating apparatus
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3799244 *Feb 28, 1972Mar 26, 1974Service Dynamics IncService vehicle for manhole operation
US3848662 *Feb 3, 1972Nov 19, 1974Lockheed Aircraft CorpMethod and apparatus for supplying a temperature conditioned airflow to an open compartment in an explosion sustaining ambient surrounding
US3914955 *Jan 20, 1975Oct 28, 1975Mccullough Orville KHigh voltage cable splicing trailer
US3933199 *Jun 21, 1974Jan 20, 1976Lockheed Aircraft CorporationMethod and apparatus for supplying a temperature conditioned airflow to an open compartment in an explosion sustaining ambient surrounding
US4251029 *Dec 12, 1978Feb 17, 1981Miles T. CarsonUnderground service module
US4270695 *Jul 30, 1979Jun 2, 1981Carson Miles TUnderground service module
US4384673 *Dec 24, 1980May 24, 1983Carson Miles THeating and cooling system for service module
US4450900 *Feb 19, 1981May 29, 1984Norman NathanMobile air conditioning unit
US7231994 *May 5, 2004Jun 19, 2007Daimlerchrysler CorporationHybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads
US7424925Mar 13, 2007Sep 16, 2008Chrysler LlcHybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads
US7654349Mar 13, 2007Feb 2, 2010Chrysler Group LlcHybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads
US7658249Mar 13, 2007Feb 9, 2010Chrysler Group LlcHybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads
US20120080568 *Oct 5, 2010Apr 5, 2012Ling-Hong ZhangHose Trolley for Pneumatic Tool
Classifications
U.S. Classification165/42, 165/48.1
International ClassificationF24F1/04
Cooperative ClassificationF24F1/04
European ClassificationF24F1/04