|Publication number||US3721260 A|
|Publication date||Mar 20, 1973|
|Filing date||Dec 16, 1971|
|Priority date||Dec 16, 1971|
|Publication number||US 3721260 A, US 3721260A, US-A-3721260, US3721260 A, US3721260A|
|Original Assignee||Stahmer B|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (16), Classifications (12)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent [191 Stahmer 1March 20, 1973  Inventor: Bernhardt Stahmer, 1509 Chicago Street, Omaha, Nebr. 68102  Filed: Dec. 16, 1971  Appl. No.: 208,559
 US. Cl ..l37/355.l6, 137/615  Int. Cl. ..B65h 75/36  Field of Search ..l37/355/16, 355.17, 355.18,
3,399,909 9/1968 Ambrose ..l37/6l5 X 3,610,058 l0/l971 Mueller et a1. ..l37/355.l6 X
Primary Examiner-Samuel Scott Attorney-George R. Nimmer  ABSTRACT There is described herein a pleated carriage longitudinally extensible along and guidable by a tracking means and adapted to convey in conduit and other pleated paths therealong flowable energy sources to reciprocating machines. The longitudinally extensible pleated carriage comprises for consecutive carriage pleats a transversely extending shoulder member together with a pair of transversely separated elongate upright legs that have a longitudinally spreadable relationship with respect to each. other and to the shoulder, consecutive pleats remote of the shoulder and at opposite legs being connected with a transversely extending bridge member; when flexible conduits are employed, there are means to protect them from pinching, kinking, or undue strain as the carriage is longitudinally extended and retracted.
12 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEUHARZO I973 sum 1 OF 4 Q BEPNHARDT S7J4HME/i INVENTOR.
BY W K M ATTORNEY PATENTEnmzo I973 SHEET 2 or 4 BERNHARDT SMHMER INVENTOR.
BY k 7 K MM ATTORNEY PATENTEuuinzolm I 3,721,260
SHEET 30F 4 BEPNHARDT $7I4HMER INVENTOR.
ATTO RN EY PATENTEUMAmma SHEET Q [If 4 SSA v IIOA BER/VHARDT .SMHME/i INVENTOR.
PLEA'IEI) EXTENSIBLE CARRIAGE FOR CONVEYING FLOWABLE ENERGY THEREALONG For factory installations and at construction sites it is oftentimes necessary to supply longitudinally extensible and retractable paths of power lines and other energy e.g. steam, compressed air, hydraulic fluid, electrical conductors, etc., for feeding motive energy to longitudinally horizontally reciprocatable machines. For example, such horizontally movable machines might typically includelathes, machine tools of various kinds, trolleys, hoists, cranes, and materials handling systems. A satisfactory carrier system is required for the energy lines, and if the longitudinally extensible and retractable energy line comprise flexible conduits, the carrier must have a sturdy frame or housing to protect the conduits from being pinched, kinked, or otherwise physically strained.
The prior art has endeavored to provide suitable carrier systems in a variety of ways, all of which possess disadvantages of one sort or another. For supplying electrical power lines exclusively, carriers supplied as reels and cooperating with brushes are well known. In the case of such electrical cable reels, however, the reel housing is necessarily relatively bulky and large. To ensure reliable operation, sliding contacts need to be maintained in good working order at all times, and the reel housing must be guarded against fouling. In an effort to do away with brushes, and to accommodate nonelectrical cables, the prior art has employed undulate conduits, such as vertical festoons and horizontally looped belts. However, these undulate type energy carrier systems require heavy and bulky housing means to prevent kinking, pinching, and other inimical strain upon the conduits. Moreover, prior art undulate carrier systems have oftentimes proved to be unduly expensive, complicated, bulky and inefficient.
It is accordingly the general object of the present invention to provide a carrier system for supplying longitudinally extensible and retractable energy lines to longitudinally reciprocatable machines that has a reliable and simple longitudinally reciprocatable frame for the energy lines therealong.
It is another object to provide a carrier system for supplying conduits and other paths of flowable energy and within the general class of undulate carriers, the carrier system being well adapted to protect the longitudinally extensible energy lines from kinking, pinching, fouling, or other objectionable external effects. I
It is another object to provide an energy carrier system that is exceedingly compact and 'unusually light in weight per unit length so that the pleated energy lines supporting framework requires a minimum of space and auxiliary supporting mechanisms.
It is a further object to provide a carrier system that is adaptable to many sorts of power lines, for many sorts of tracking means, that is economical to manufacture, reliable and simple in operation, and that requires a minimum of maintenance.
With the above and other objects and advantages in view, which will become more apparent as this description proceeds, the pleated extensible carriage structure for conveying flowable energy in a pleated path thcrealong comprises in consecutive pleats a pair of parts in the several views, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a representativeembodiment of the pleated extensible carriage of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional plan view taken along line 2 -2 of FIG. 1. 1
FIG. 3 is a sectional elevational view takenalong line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a sectional elevational view similar to FIG. 3-
but with a flexible pleated conduit additionally employed therewith.
FIGS. 4A and 4B are sectional elevational views taken in opposite directions along line 4A4A and 4B4B of FIG. 4.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view, similar to FIG. 1, of another embodiment of the pleated extensible carriageconcept of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a sectional elevational view, similar to FIG. 3, taken along line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
Turning initially to FIGS. 1-3 which disclose a typical embodiment S of the pleated extensible carriage} I concept of the present invention. Carriage embodiment 8" has an arbitrarily selected number of three similarly constructed full pleats SA, SB, and SC; moreover, there are the two terminal half-pleats Saand Sn. However, it is to be understood for this and other embodiments of the pleated extensible carriage concept that any reasonable number of full pleats greater than two or threemight be selected and employed, without departing from the spirit of the in'ven tion. There is some type of longitudinally extending tracking means for guidably supportingthe pleated carriage, and the carriage is longitudinally guidably extensible lengthwise along the tracking means. The tracking means of FIGS. l-3 takes the form of an overhead rail 9 (supported by 9V) with the pleated carriage 5" suspended therefrom; however, it is to be understood that the elongate tracking means might take a variety of specific form and might even be so low in elevation as to be wholly below the carriage. Each of the carriage pleats comprises two elongate upright legs 11 and 12' emanating from a common shoulder member l0-and having a longitudinally spreadable relationship with respect to each other and to their common shoulder.
member. For example, full pleat SA" has shoulder 10A, first-leg 11A, and second-leg 12A; the next pleat SB has shoulder 10B, first-leg 11B, and second-leg- 12B; and the third pleat SC" has shoulder 10C, first-' leg 11C, and second-leg 12C. The two terminal or halfpleats Sa" and Sn" respectively comprise a shoulder 10a and a first-leg 11a, and a shoulder l0n and a second-leg l2n. Opposite legs 11 and 12 of consecu tively positioned neighboring pleats remote of shoulder members 10 are connected with an inter-pleats bridge,
such as 15. Thus, by virtue of the longitudinally spreadable relationship for intra-pleat legs 11 and 12, carriage S commencing from some selected relatively longitudinally collapsed compact-station (as indicated by solid lines in FIGS. 1 and 2) can be longitudinally extended therefrom (phantom lines in FIGS. 1 and 2). Of course, the carriage can be longitudinally retracted from the extended phantom line conditions.
In the normal operating situation, the pleated extensible carriage structure S, SS",etc., is stored in readily longitudinally extensible condition at a selected compact-station therefor located along a short (and preferably linear) longitudinally extending finite-length of the tracking means. Such linearly and longitudinally extending track rail 9 and its grooved portion 9T, indicated in solid line in FIGS. 1 and 5, will serve as a convenient directional reference for the various components of the pleated carriage embodiments. For example, at the carriage compact-station each of the shoulder members 10 lies in a direction transverse of the tracking means lineal finite-length; thus, each of the herein parallel shoulder members 10 substantially perpendicularly intersects a vertical-plane VP" passing through and along the tracking means finite-length. The first-leg 11 and the second-leg 12 for any selected full pleat are attached to transversely separated locations of a pleat shoulder member 10 whereby a trans versely extending given-breadth exists along the shoulder between intra-pleat legs and the respective intra-pleat legs are wholly located on opposite transverse sides of the vertical-plane VP. The degree of relative longitudinal spreadility between intra-pleat legs 11 and 12 necessarily progressively increases toward their remote portions (i.e. nearer to inter-pleats bridges and remote from pleat shoulders 10) inasmuch as intra-pleat legs II and 12 are joined to common shoulder members 10. Moreover, during relative lon gitudinal spreading of intra-pleat legs 11 and 12, they remain on opposite sides of vertical-plane VP and preferably within respective planes parallel to VP". Each of the inter-pleats bridges 15 lies in a transverse direction at the carrier compact-stations and substantially perpendicularly intersects vertical-plane VP. As is indicated in phantom line in FIGS. 1 and 2, the longitudinal distance between shoulders I0 and bridges 15 increase as the pleated carriage becomes longitudinally extended by virtue of the relative longitudinal spreading ofintra-pleats legs 11 and 12.
The longitudinally extensible carriage S, SS, etc., is adapted to convey therealong one or more pleated paths of flowable fluid or power, If such pleated paths be of conduit form, the one or more conduits extend continuously uninterruptedly along the pleated extensible carriage. For example, as will be explained later in greater detail, a flexible conduit, such as 30, that follows externally and continuously along consecutive carriage pleats might be employed whereby the external conduit transversely intersects vertical-plane VP at least twice when proceeding from the first-legs (11's) of consecutive carriage pleats. If the shoulders I0 and the legs 11 and 12 of consecutively positioned full pleats, together with inter-pleats bridges 15, be provided of intercommunicating tubular members as indicated in FIGS. l-3, then the carriage itself inherently provides an internal pleated conduit. In FIGS. 1 and 2,
the several carriage full pleats, the terminal half-pleats Sa"and Sn", and the five bridges 15 are all provided of intercommunicating tubular members connected by elbows 13. Thus, water, air, or similar fluid might be introduced at the carriage relatively stationary inlet rearend 16 and withdrawn from the carriage longitudinally movable outlet front-end 17. Moreover, as indicated in FIGS. 4-48, a combination of internal and external conduits might be employed in pleated fashion along the same longitudinally extensible pleated carriage.
Consecutive incremental portions of the pleated carriage structure must be sufficiently structurally rigid to provide reciprocatable supports with respect to the tracking means, said incremental supports being preferably maintained at constant elevation. Herein, for the overhead horizontal tracking means 9, there is an upright hanger 9W extending integrally upwardly from a medial portion of the respective structurally rigid shoulder members 10. At typical compact-stations each hanger 9W extends parallel to and preferably along vertical-plane VP" and has a wheel 9R that is curved (as indicated in phantom line at 9C), then the shoulder l0n at a location slightly forward of 10nc would not be perpendicular to VP. Herein, the several hangers 9W are of similar upright length between wheel 9R and shoulder 10, and accordingly the several shoulders 10 remain at substantially constant elevation both at compact-stations and for longitudinally extended conditions of carriages S" and SS. The several first-legs 11 have a substantially identical leg-length from its connections 13 at shoulders 10 to bridges 15 whereby the several inter-pleats bridges 15 whereby the several inter-pleats bridges 15 remain at substantially constant elevation D from an underlying substrate G" when the carriage is at a relatively collapsed compact-station. However, when the carriage of FIGS. I-3 is being longitudinally extended, the bridges 15 move to progressively higher elevations e.g.DD. For a given carriage pleat, a leg-length must bear a ratio of at least two with respect to the shoulder member transverse given-breadth, and such ratio preferably exceeds four thereby providing more efficiently extensible carriages. In similar vein, the leglength for both intra-pleat legs are preferably similar whereby the transverse inter-pleats bridges remain parallel to shoulder members 10.
The several lengthy first-legs and second-legs preferably do not extend beyond the shoulder member and the interpleats bridge to which each respective leg is attached. Thus, when the pleated carriage is fully collapsed or retracted, minimal longitudinal space exists between consecutive shoulder members and between consecutive inter-pleats bridges thereby making for an exceedingly efficient carriage systems: In this vein, there is preferably a pivotably associated relationship among the several consecutive carriage legs. Moreover, the respective legs are preferably sufficiently rigid structurally so as to remain kinkfree and within a given verti-.
cal plane as the carriage reciprocates along the tracking means. In carriage embodiment S of FIGS. 1-3, the several elongate legs 11 and 12, as well as shoulders and bridges 15, comprise rigid metallic structural materials held together by intervening elbow-like connectors 13. The pivotal relationship among the several consecutive legs is herein provided with swivel joints or rotatable connectors 14 interposed in series along the shoulders 10 and the bridges 15. For example, as seen in FIG. 3, bridges might comprise two rigid lengths ISP held together with a swivel joint 14, and shoulders 10 comprise three rigid lengths held together with swivels 14 (with hanger 9W therebetween). If the carriage pleats be made of tubular materials to provide an internal conduit, the swivels 14 might include a fluid-impervious gasket 14G. However, it is to be understood that alternate kinds and lohose or an electrically conductive wire 30 extending continuously uninterruptedly along the respective carriage pleats. In such situation, there need be means to prevent inimical kinking, pinching, or other strain, upon the flexible conduit as the intra-pleats legs change in their longitudinal relationship during longitudinalextensions or retractions of the relatively more rigid multi-pleats carriage. In this vein, the continuously uninterrupted flexible conduit 30 best extends along the several carriage legs 11 and 12 and is firmly removably attached thereat as by clips 33 and 34. However, the flexible conduit 30, during its each transverse directional path from one carriage leg to the next leg thereof, is preferably loosely convex and detached from the carriages proximal portion i.e. medial portions of shoulders 10 and bridges 15. Thus, as the several intra-pleats carriage legs 11 and 12 become changed in longitudinal relationship, as the carriage is extended or retracted, the flexible conduit along each transverse directional path thereof does not become kinked, pinched, or otherwise strained, but instead is merely subjected to a gentle helical motion therealong as indicated in phantom line in FIGS. 4A and 4B. In order to ensure that desireable helical motion of the flexible conduit transverse-length, the average diameter of the flexible-conduit should not exceed one-eighth the transverse-length. As indicated in FIG. 4, the conduit transverse-length extends arcuately thereby exceeding the shoulder member 10 given-breadth by at least 10 percent.
The'pleated extensible carriage embodiment 88" of FIGS. 5 and 6 is generally analagous to carriage embodiment S of FIGS. 1-3, and analagous numerical indicia are employed for embodiments S and 88". For example, in embodiment SS there are: the consecutive full pleats SSA,SSB",SSC,etc.; the rearward end half-pleatSSa"; the forward-end half-pleat SSna(not shown); the transverse shoulder members 110; the inter-pleats bridges 115; and the several legs 111 and 112. However, instead of the swiveljoints 14, pins 114 are employed to provide a pivotal relationship between the two elongate intra-pleat legs 111 and 112 with their common shoulder member 110. Pins 119, similar to pins 114, are employed to provide a pivotal relationship between legs 111 and 112 at the interpleats bridges 115. In FIGS. 5 and 6, each of the elongate legs 11] and 112 are structurally rigid electrically conductive metallic bars which directly revolvably contact the respective structurally rigid electrically conductive metallic pins 114 and 119. Thus, if a source of electrical energy 116 is introduced at pin 114 at carriage half-pleat SSa, electrical energy might flow in pleated bus bar fashion along consecutive members 1 114, 111, 119, 112, 114, etc., of the pleated carriage SS, and the electrical energy ultimately withdrawn at a terminal pleat SSn(not shown).
The hanger 9W of FIGS. 5 and 6 has a molded electrically-insulative separator 9Y. Such insulator 9Y between uprights 9W and 9WW would permit the shoulder members to be made of electrically-conductive structural material, and without thereby electrifying the tracking means 9. It would, of course, be
possible as a further safety precaution to provide theelectrically-conductive metallic legs 111 and 112 with an electrically-insulative adherent outer sheath. Pins 114 as pivotal connectors might alternatively be pro.- vided in two isolatedsections located at the two respective ends of shoulders I 10.
From the foregoing, the construction and operation of the pleated extensible carriage will be readily understood and further explanation is believed to be unnecessary. However, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact constructions shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the appended claims.
l. A pleated extensible carriage adaptable for supporting at least one conduit therealong, said carriage being adapted to be employed in combination with and reciprocatably along an elongate tracking means therefor, the conduit extending in pleated fashion along and co-movable with the pleated carriage structure and having an inlet rear-end and an outlet front-end, the pleated carriage structure having a selectable relatively collapsed compact-station along a given finite-length of the tracking means whereat the respective carriage pleats are spaced relatively close together, said carriage structure commencing from a said compact-station thereof being forwardly longitudinally extensible along the tracking means whereby the respective pleats, become spaced progressively far apart, said pleated extensible carriage structure at a compact-station thereof comprising:
A. A plurality of shoulder members respectively extending transversely of the tracking means of the tracking means and being longitudinally reciprocatably movable therealong;
B. Consecutively positioned carriage pleats comprising a said shoulder member together with a pair of elongate legs including a first-leg and a second-leg, each of said legs being attached to and extending uprightly from transversely separated locations of the shoulder whereby there is a transversely extending given-breadth between intra-pleat legs and the intra-pleat legs have portions more remote from the said intra-pleat shoulder, there being a longitudinally spreadable relationship between intra-pleat legs the longitudinal degree of which becomes progressively greater toward the legs remote ends; and
C. inter-pleats bridges located remote from the respective shoulders and extending transversely from the first-leg to the second-leg of consecutive pleats, the longitudinal distance between consecutive bridges becoming greater as the intra-pleat legs become increasingly relatively spread apart.
2. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 1 wherein the several transversely extending shoulders at a carriage compact-station are substantially parallel to each other and at substantially constant elevation, the shoulders of consecutive carriage pleats and the inter-pleats bridges intersecting a common vertical-plane; and wherein the several upright first-legs and second-legs of consecutive pleats have a leg-length bearing a ratio of at least two with respect to the shoulder given-breadth, the intra-pleat legs being located and remaining on op- I posite transverse sides of said vertical-plane whereby a pleated conduit along each carriage pleat transversely intersects said vertical-plane.
3. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 2 wherein the transversely extending shoulder member of consecutive carriage pleats is suspended by an upright hanger from the tracking means and the shoulder member is sufficiently structurally rigid to support the entire carriage pleat and the two inter-pleats bridges; wherein both of the intra-pleat legs of consecutive carriage pleats are linear structural members that depend from and are pivotably associated with the shoulder on opposite transverse sides of the hanger whereby the first-leg and second-leg of the same carriage pleat are adapted to be pivotably spread in opposite longitudinal directions from the same transversely extending shoulder; and wherein the first-leg and the second-leg of consecutive carriage pleats are pivotably associated at the inter-pleats bridge.
4. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 2 wherein the two intra-pleat legs of respective carriage pleats are substantially rigid linear members that remain in planes parallel to and located on opposite transverse sides of said vertical-plane as the carriage is being longitudinally extended and retracted.
5. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 2 wherein the shoulder and the two legs of respective consecutive carriage pleats and the inter-pleats bridges are provided of communicating tubular members whereby the carriage tubular structural members themselves additionally provide a pleated conduit.
6. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 5 wherein the two intra-pleat legs of respective carriage pleats are substantially rigid linear tubular members that remain in planes parallel to and located on opposite transverse least one of the two intra-pleat legs of consecutive carriage pleats being pivotably associated with the shoulder and being of substantially like leg-length whereby the consecutive inter-pleats bridges are located at substantially common elevation, said bridges being at a higher common elevation when the carriage through said pivotal legs is longitudinally extended from a compact-station; and wherein the transversely extending shoulder member of consecutive carriage pleats is suspended by an upright hanger from the tracking means and the shoulder member is sufficiently structurally rigid to support the entire carriage pleat and the two inter-pleats bridges.
8. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 7 wherein both of the intra-pleat legs of consecutive carriage pleats are pivotably associated with the shoulder on opposite transverse sides of the hanger whereby both intra-pleat legs are adapted to be spread pivotably in opposite longitudinal directions from the same transversely extending shoulder; and wherein the first-leg and the second-leg of consecutive carriage pleats are also pivotably associated at the inter-pleats bridge.
9. The pleated extensible carriage of claim 8 wherein there is a flexible conduit extending uninterruptedly continuously in pleat-like fashion along at least two consecutive carriage pleats including externally along and attached to both intra-pleat legs, the transverse directional path of said conduit of a transverse-length extending along and loosely detached from said shoulder, said conduit transverse-length having an average cross-sectional dimension that is less than oneeighth the conduit transverse-length.
10. The pleated extensible carriage combination of claim 9 wherein for at least two consecutive carriage pleats the given-breadth of the two consecutive shoulder members and the leg-length of the two consecutive first-legs are substantially identical.
11. The pleated extensible carriage of claim '2 wherein there is a flexible conduit extending continuously uninterruptedly in pleat-like fashion along at least two consecutive carriage pleats including externally.
along and attached to both intra-pleat legs and also including a transverse directional path of said flexible conduit of a transverse-length extending along and loosely detached from a medial portion of said shoulder, said conduit transverse-length having an average crosssectional dimension that is less than oneeighth said transverse-length.
12. The pleated extensible carriage combination of claim 11 wherein the said flexible conduit extends transversely along and is loosely detached from medial portions of the inter-pleats bridges.
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|U.S. Classification||137/355.16, 137/615|
|International Classification||H02G11/00, F16L3/01, F16L27/00, F16L27/08|
|Cooperative Classification||F16L3/01, H02G11/006, F16L27/0861|
|European Classification||F16L27/08F, F16L3/01, H02G11/00C|