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Publication numberUS3831788 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 27, 1974
Filing dateApr 27, 1972
Priority dateJul 10, 1970
Publication numberUS 3831788 A, US 3831788A, US-A-3831788, US3831788 A, US3831788A
InventorsErlinder A
Original AssigneeErlinder A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lift having self-folding platform
US 3831788 A
Abstract
A lift which contains a self-folding platform is disclosed. The rear of a truck may be equipped with the lift to provide a loading and unloading device as well as a tailgate for the truck.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

llnite Erlincler tates Patent [191 Aug. 27, 1974 1 1 LEFT HAVllNG SELF-FOLDlNG PLATFORM [76] Inventor: Atwood E. Erlinder, 12221 S.

Indiana Ave, Palos Heights, 111. 60628 [22] Filed: Apr. 27, 1972 [21] Appl, No; 248,327

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 53,872, July 10, 1970, Pat. No.

[52] US. Cl 214/75 T, 187/9, 214/77 P [51] 1111. C11. 1160p 1/44 [58] lField of Search 214/75 T, 75 R, 77 P, 85; 187/9, 95; 14/71, 72

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Satsky 2174/75 T 2,706,565 4/1955 Krasno 214/75 T 2,718,431 9/1955 Pietroroia.... 214/85 2,727,781 12/1955 DEath 214/85 2,792,079 5/1957 Gibson 187/9 3,520,426 7/1970 Hostetler 214/75 T Primary Examiner-Robert J. Spar Assistant Examiner-Lawrence J. Oresky Atlorney, Agent, or Firm-Merriam, Marshall, Shapiro & Klose A lift which contains a self-folding platform is disclosed. The rear of a truck may be equipped with the lift to provide a loading and unloading device as well as a tailgate for the truck.

11 filaims, 14 Drawing Figures sum 30; 3

LIFT HAVING SELF-FOLDING PLATFORM This is a division of application Ser. No. 53,872, filed July 10, 1970, now US. Pat. No. 3,675,739, which issued July ll, 1972.

The present invention concerns an improved lift. In general, it relates to a lift having a foldable platform. More particularly, it concernsa lift which contains a foldable platform and means for folding and unfolding the platform. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention. the rear of a truck is equipped with the lift to provide a versatile device for loading and unloading the trucks cargo as well as to provide a tailgate for the truck.

In many instances where lifts of the horizontal platform type are employed, it is desirable that the plat form he of a size sufficient to accomoda te the cargo or freight when the lift isin use, and of a different, more compact, configuration when the lift is not in use. For example, when a lift of the platform type is employed as a loading and unloading device for a truck, it is desirable to have a horizontal platform which has a rectangular surface of sufficient size and shape to accommodate the trucks cargo. Often, the result is a platform which may be difficult to handle because of size, shape and/or weight. Moreover, such platforms present problems when the lift is being transported, or stored when not in use.

The present invention provides a lift which contains a self-folding platform which enables the lift to have a comparatively compact configuration when not in use.

The present invention also provides a lift containing a self-folding platform which is suitable for use as a device for loading and unloading a truck and also as a tailgate for the truck.

According to the present invention, there is provided an improved lift which contains a self-folding platform. As will be apparent from the drawings and the following description, the lift of the present invention employs chain, cable, or equivalent means to fold and unfold a sectioned platform.

A better understanding of the present invention will be had if reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGS. I and 2 are perspective rear views of a truck equipped with a self-folding platform of the present invention; FIG. 1 showing the platform raised to a height which is level with the bed of the truck and FIG. 2 showing the platform lowered to the ground level;

FIGS. 3 8 inclusive are diagrama'tic side views of a truck equipped with a self-folding lift of the present invention. These figures show diagramatically the raising, lowering, folding and unfolding of the platform. FIG. 3 shows the platform completely folded, secured and raised to a position to enable it to function as a tailgate. FIG. 4 shows the platform substantially completely folded and lowered to a level below the level of the truck-bed. FIG. 5 shows the platform unfolding. FIG. 6 shows the platform substantially unfolded. FIG. 7 shows the platform completely unfolded and raised to a height which is level with the bed of the truck. FIG. 8 shows the platform completely unfolded and lowered to substantially ground level;

FIG. 9 is a fragmentary section taken along a line 9-9 in FIG. 3;

FIG. 10 is a fragmentary perspective view of the dual channel tracks employed in the lift of the present invention;

FIGS. I2 and 13 are diagramatic side views of an embodiment of the present invention wherein a selffolding platform lift is mounted on a collapsible frame provided with casters;

FIG. I4 is a perspective rear view of a sclffolding platform lift ofthe present invention mounted to a wall, said lift employing a cable to fold and unfold the platform.

FIGS. l and 2 show a truck I equipped with a lift 2 of the present invention. The lift 2 generally comprises a foldable hinged platform 3, a pair of dual channel tracks 8, a pair of dead chains 6, a pair ofchains 7, and a lift mechanism 10.

The foldable hinged-platform 3 comprises a first platform section 4 and a second platform section 5 which are joined together by hinge 9. Each end of platform section 5 is provided with a locking pin 11. The pair of locking pins 11 are adapted to removably engage a link of dead chain 6. Platform section 4- is further provided with a pair of chain connectors l6. Connectors 116 are adapted to connect a link of chain 7 to platform section 4i. Platform section 4 is preferably, but not necessarily, provided with a beveled edge 17 on the outside of the section 4 to facilitate the loading and unloading of the platform 3. Platform section 4 is also preferably, but not necessarily, further provided with a groove 18 de signed to help facilitate securing rolling cargo to the platform 3.

Each dual channel track 8 is mounted at the rear of truck l. A box-like channel 19 of each track 8 provides a passageway and guide for extendable leg 14. The lower extremity of each extendable leg 14 is connected by pivot connector 15 to platform section 5 so that platform section 5 will move up or down, respectively,

as extendable legs 14 are retracted or extended with re spect to channel 19. The upper extremity of each extendable leg 14 is provided with a flange connector 13 which provides a means for securing ends of chains 7 to legs lid so that the chains 7 will move up or down respectively, when legs M are retracted or extended. Each track 8 is further provided with generally U- shaped channel 21. Channels 21 function as guides for locking pins Ill when platform section 5 is locked into tracks 8.

Lift mechanism provides the power necessary to operate (i.e., raise, lower, fold, unfold) lift 2. Lift mechanisms are known in the prior art and, per se, form no part of the present invention. A suitable lift mechanism may comprise an electrically powered hydraulic unit (not fully shown) which includes a system of pulleys and cables (not shown) which is arranged so that a pair of cable ends may be jointly raised or lowered inresponse to an electric signal generated when the truck driver, or other lift operator, trips a switch which causes the electric power supply to activate the hydraulic unit which in turn moves the cable and pulley system to jointly raise or jointly lower the pair of movable cable ends (not shown).

The movable pair of cable ends are positioned in boxlike channels 19, so that one of each said movable cable ends is affixed near, or, preferably, to the top of extendable leg 14. The cable ends may be attached to extendable leg 14 in any suitable manner which does not interfere with the movement of legs 14 in channels I9.

FIGS. 9, I and 11 show details of the tracks 8 and the unlocking mechanism. Each track 8 is provided with a generally U-shaped channel 21 which receives locking pins ll of platform section when platform 3 is urged towards a substantially vertical position. Both U-shaped channels 21 are identical and each contains a front flange 22 and a rear flange 23. Front flange 22 is shorter in length than rear flange 23. The lower end of front flange 22 is positioned with respect to tract 8 at a vertical height from ground level just sufficient to enable locking pins Ill to clear front flange 22, and therefore disengaged or unlock from channel 21 when platform section 5 is in a substantially vertical position and extendable legs 14 have been extended from track 8 to a substantially ground level position. FIG. II shows details of the locking mechanism in both the locked and unlocked positions.

Typical operation of the self-folding platform lift of the present invention will now be described.

When the lift is not in use, the foldable hinged platform is in a folded position and locked to the tracks, for example as shown in FIG. 3.

When a truck driver or other lift operator desires to operate the lift, the folded lift is first unlocked by the operator tripping a switch to activate the lift mechanism to lower, i.e., extend, the legs 14 to substantially ground level, at which point the locking pins ll clear front flanges 22 of U-shaped channels 21 causing platform 3 to be unlocked from tracks 8. When the platform 3 becomes unlocked, it pivots around to the connectors in the general direction shown by the arrow in FIG. 5, causing the slack in the pair of dead chains 6 to be removed.

To complete the unfolding of the platform 3, the operator of the lift trips the switch which activates the lift mechanism to retract extendable legs 14 which results in the platform unfolding as shown in FIG. 6. At the point where the platform 3 is completely unfolded, as shown in FIG. 7, the pair of dead chains 6 become slack and the pair of chains 7 become taut. At this point the operator of the lift removes the dead chains 6 from the ears 12 which disengages the platform 3 from the dead chains 6. The completelyunfolded platform 3 is then in a position to be raised or lowered by activating the lift mechanism. FIG. 8 shows the dead chains disengaged and the unfolded lift in a substantially ground level position.

While the self-folding platform lift of the present invention has been described primarily in conjunction with its mounting on the rear of a truck, it is apparent that the lift will have utility in other applications. For example, in FIGS. I2 and 13, the lift of the present in vention is shown mounted on a collapsible mobile frame 40 which contains casters 4]. for moving the lift, for example, from one position in a building to another. FIG. 12 shows the lift being moved towards a loading dock 50. FIG. 13 shows the lift in a position abutting the loading dock 50. In such an application, the selffolding platform of the present invention provides a lift which may become relatively compact and portable. As is apparent from FIGS. 12 and 13, in addition to the platform of the lift being adapted for folding when not in use, the collapsible mobile frame 40 may also be readily collapsed and made more compact when not in use.

FIG. 14 shows still another embodiment of the present invention wherein a lift having a self-folding platform is permanently mounted to a wall. The platform can be folded when the lift is not in use, thereby making available additional floor space.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 14, the folding means employed comprises (instead of a pair of dead chains 6) a single cable 60. One end 60a of cable 60 is fixed at a point above the platform, and preferably, centered between the ends of the platform. The other end 6012 of cable 60 is provided with a hook 61 or other means for selectively engaging cable connector 62 which may comprise, for example, a ring imbedded in the platform at a point centered between the ends of the platform.

As described above and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, the lift mechanism has been positioned above the tracks of the lift. It is apparent, however, that the lift mechanism could be placed in other positions with respect to the tracks by suitable rearrangement of the cable and pulley system; in such a manner the lift could be modified to enable the platform to raise to a height substantially above truck-bed level.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations may be made in the details of construction without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention as defined in the pending claims.

What is claimed is:

l. In combination with the rear of a truck, a tailgate lift having a folding platform adapted to also function as a tailgate, said lift comprising;

a lift mechanism;

a hinged platform having an inner platform section with an outer end and an outer platform section with an inner end and said inner and outer ends being joined with a hinged connection;

track means for supporting said platform, and

adapted to guide said platform;

carriage means mounted in said track means for vertical motion;

said inner platform section being pivoted at its inner end to said carriage means about a horizontal axis;

flexible supporting means connected between said carriage means and said outer platform for maintaining both said platform sections horizontal during load lifting and lowering operations and said platform, carriage means, and flexible means movable vertically in unison as a rigid lift;

and means for collapsing said platform by providing an upward, vertical folding force at said hinged connection, so that as the outer end of said inner platform section is raised relative to the inner end of said inner platform the underside of said outer platform section becomes faced with the underside of said inner platform section so that when said platform is completely folded the two platform sections are vertically extending and parallel to each other.

2. The combination of claim I wherein said track means extend above the bed of the truck and include a vertically extending slot providing for attachment of the flexible support means with the carriage means above the hinged platform whereby the flexible support means moves in said slot during raising and lowering of the platform.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said flexible support means comprise a pair of chains adapted to extend fromthe associated carriage means to the outer platform section.

4. In combination with the rear of a truck, a tailgate lift for loading cargo onto the truck bed and having a folding platform adapted to also function as a tailgate, said lift comprising:

a lift mechanism including a hydraulic power unit with a drive cylinder at the rear of the truck and extending transversely of the truck;

a folding hinged platform with a cargo support surface having an inner platform section joined to an outer platform section with a hinged connection;

track means for supporting said platform and adapted to guide said platform;

carriage means mounted in said track means for vertical motion and said carriage means being operatively connected with said drive cylinder for selective raising and lowering of the hinged platform;

said inner platform section being pivoted at its inner end to said carriage means about a horizontal axis;

flexible support means connected to said carriage means at a point above said platform and extending downward to said hinged platform for maintaining both of said platform sections horizontal during load lifting and lowering operations;

and means for collapsing said platform by rotating the cargo support surface of the inner platform toward the rear of the truck, wherein, as the outer platform section is folded into the inner platform section the underside of said outer platform section becomes faced with the underside of said inner platform section so that when said platform is completely folded the two platform sections are vertically extending and parallel to each other.

5. The combination of claim 4 wherein said track means extend vertically above and below the bed of the truck and are disposed at each side end of truck and have a channel shaped cross section providing a vertically extending slot.

6. The combination of claim 4 wherein said inner platform section and said outer platform section include abutting portions extending in a generally vertical direction when the hinged platform is in a horizontal position, and further, said hinged connection being attached at the underside of both the inner platform section and the outer platform section to thereby dispose the abutting portions of each platform section in a rotation limiting face to face relation when the hinged platform is in a horizontal load receiving position.

7. The combination of claim 5 wherein said flexible support means comprise a pair of chains extending downward from the associated carriage means through the vertically extending slot of the adjacent track means to support the outer platform.

8. A platform-type lift adapted to be attached to the rear of a truck having a deck for carrying cargo and also having a rear portion through which cargo may be loaded and unloaded from the deck, the improvement 6 comprising:

a lift mechanism positioned at the rear portion of said truck and having a hydraulic power unit with a drive cylinder extending transversely of the truck;

a foldable hinged platform adapted to receive cargo for loading and unloading from said truck and said hinged platform including both an inner platform section and an outer platform section pivotally connected by hinged means;

track means fixedly attached to said truck at the transverse sides of the rear portion thereof, and adapted to guide said platform in its vertical movement;

carriage means mounted in said track means for vertical movement therein and said carriage means being operatively connected through flexible load transferring means with said drive cylinder for selective raising and lowering of the hinged platform;

said inner platform section being pivotally connected at its inner end to the carriage means about a horizontal axis;

flexible chain means extending between the vertically movable carriage means and the hinged platform for maintaining both of said platform sections horizontal during load lifting and lowering operations;

platform folding means adjacent the hinged means to exert an upward vertical force thereby providing for collapsing, folding, rotation of the platform sections to a generally vertical collapsed position whereby the underside of the outer platform section becomes faced with the underside of the inner platform section.

9. The truck lift of claim 8 wherein the platform folding means for collapsing said platform sections includes a flexible member extendable to at least one stationary point above said platform on the rear of said truck, for urging the underside of said outer platform into a portion adjacent the underside of said inner platform section to thereby present the outer and inner platform sections in a folded position wherein the two platform sections are vertically extending and parallel to each other.

110. The truck lift of claim 8 wherein said track means extend vertically above and below the bed of the truck and are disposed at each side end of truck and have a channel shaped cross section providing a vertically extending slot.

Ill. The truck lift of claim 9 wherein said inner platform section and said outer platform section include abutting portions extending in a generally vertical direction when the hinged platform is in a horizontal position, and further, said hinged connection being attached at the underside of both the inner platform section and the outer platform section to thereby dispose the abutting portions of each platform section in a rotation limiting face to face relation when the hinged platform is in a horizontal load receiving position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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US2706565 *May 10, 1951Apr 19, 1955Gar Wood Ind IncTail-gate lift
US2718431 *Sep 23, 1952Sep 20, 1955Dominic PietroroiaDump trailer
US2727781 *Jun 3, 1953Dec 20, 1955Eath Albert R DTail gate ramp
US2792079 *Jan 12, 1955May 14, 1957Raymond CorpMaterial handling apparatus
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4007844 *Feb 2, 1976Feb 15, 1977Maxon Industries, Inc.Self folding platform
US4408948 *Jan 16, 1979Oct 11, 1983Robinson Morris DControlled-folding and controlled-unfolding multiple section platform assembly
US4563121 *Feb 22, 1983Jan 7, 1986Leyman Manufacturing Corp.Cargo elevator system
US6746200Jan 8, 2002Jun 8, 2004Daniel Gerald RinkeAuxiliary vehicle transporter
US9028195 *Dec 31, 2013May 12, 2015Robert P. HeynssensTelescoping cargo lifting apparatus for a truck
US9090199Mar 4, 2010Jul 28, 2015Transport Technologies Group, Inc.Transport trailer liftgate apparatus and method of operating the same
US20100225137 *Sep 9, 2010Transport Technologies Group, Inc.Transport trailer liftgate apparatus and method of operating the same
US20140154035 *Nov 11, 2013Jun 5, 2014Anthony Liftgates, Inc.Liftgate having a side-loadable load platform
USRE31157 *Feb 9, 1979Feb 22, 1983Maxon Industries, Inc.Self-folding platform
WO2009058510A1 *Sep 30, 2008May 7, 2009Ronald R NesporCargo handling apparatus
WO2015107505A3 *Jan 19, 2015Nov 12, 2015Trivedi Pankaj MahipatrayElevator
Classifications
U.S. Classification414/545, 187/243
International ClassificationB60P1/46, B60P1/44
Cooperative ClassificationB60P1/4421
European ClassificationB60P1/44D1