|Publication number||USRE41851 E1|
|Application number||US 12/053,985|
|Publication date||Oct 26, 2010|
|Filing date||Mar 24, 2008|
|Priority date||Aug 3, 2004|
|Also published as||CA2514806A1, CA2514806C, US7114210, US20060027794|
|Publication number||053985, 12053985, US RE41851 E1, US RE41851E1, US-E1-RE41851, USRE41851 E1, USRE41851E1|
|Inventors||Richard N. Heinz|
|Original Assignee||Heinz Richard N|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (16), Referenced by (5), Classifications (19), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application No. 60/598,734 filed on Aug. 3, 2004.
This invention concerns ramps which are commonly used to service motor vehicles by driving the vehicle up a pair of the ramps aligned with each wheel of the front or rear wheels of the vehicle.
Such ramps are typically constructed of formed steel which is painted. This produces a strong, economical ramp but the ramps are relatively heavy.
Another approach is to mold the ramps from plastic with internal webs extending between external walls of relatively thin width to achieve adequate strength. While lighter than steel, the plastic ramps are still heavy enough to not be easily handled.
In both cases, costly tooling is required for each configuration of the ramp, which could be made in a number of configurations, as to be ideally suited for a particular vehicle type and for other uses, each configuration requiring costly tooling.
A problem is encountered when such ramps are to be used with low ground clearance sports cars, as the approach slope of conventional ramps is sufficiently steep that the front bumper will contact the ramp pushing the ramp away and preventing ascent of the wheels.
Such ramps could conceivably be made in many different configurations or even custom made for other uses if tooling costs could be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Another problem is the tendency for the bottom edges of the side walls of both steel and molded plastic ramps to sink into gravel or earth surfaces or to be easily tipped when attempted to be used. The edges of side walls of formed steel ramps can damage asphalt paving.
The side walls of plastic ramps can be easily collapsed if the ramp is misaligned with the vehicle wheels to a degree that the tires push the ramp sideways, bending the same such that the walls collapse under the weight of the vehicle.
It is the object of the present invention to provide a ramp construction which provides a light weight but durable and stable ramp useable on softer surfaces and which can economically be made in many different configurations.
The above recited object and other objects which will be appreciated upon a reading of the following specification and claims are achieved by a ramp having a solid block core of a parallelepiped shape with an angled ramp front surface, constructed as a lightweight composite comprised of an expanded foam plastic core, in particular, a low density expanded polystyrene foam which is encapsulated in a high tensile strength polyurea coating of sufficient thickness to provide a durable surface when cured and create a strong composite structure. The polyurea coating is preferably applied by spraying liquid components onto the foam plastic core so as to create a textured surface for good tire traction. The combination of the core and high tensile strength polyurea coating creates a sufficiently strong and durable structure to be very well suited for use as a vehicle service ramp.
The block core can be easily and economically cut out in a great variety of shapes without requiring special tooling, with the polyurea thereafter applied as a coating as by spraying the block core to allow ramps of many configurations to be manufactured without incurring significant tooling costs. Very low angle approach ramps can be easily provided which are lightweight so as to be practical to use despite being of relatively long length. The solid footprint of the ramps of this construction creates a stable ramp which has a much reduced tendency to sink into soft surfaces.
For heavier duty designs, additional strengthening features can be employed to resist compressive loads. This may include one or more panels of plywood or other sturdy material such as plastic or heavy cardboard, oriented on edge within the core, braced by the presence of the expanded polystyrene foam of the cove encasing the panels.
The polyurea coating may optionally be top coated with a hard coat of an abrasion and water resistant color stable polyurea formulation.
In the following detailed description, certain specific terminology will be employed for the sake of clarity and a particular embodiment described in accordance with the requirements of 35 USC §112, but it is to be understood that the same is not intended to be limiting and should not be so construed inasmuch as the invention is capable of taking many forms and variations within the scope of the appended claims.
Referring to the drawings, and particularly
The block core and ramp 10 includes rectangular sides 16, a rear wall 18 and top face 20. An angled front surface 22 slopes up from the bottom side 14 to the top face 20. A tire stop 22 24 will normally be located to the rear of the top face 20.
The slope of the front face 22 is on the order of 16° (15.7° in one design) to accommodate the ground clearance of typical passenger cars. An entry lip 26 of plastic may optionally be included to provide a transition for the vertical end of the core 12 to ensure that the ramp 10 is not pushed away when a vehicle tire first contacts the same.
The core 12 is encased within a polyurea coating 28 which is preferably sprayed on so as to create a coating having a textured finished surface to enhance tire traction.
This polyurea coating which is sprayed onto the core is formulated and of sufficient thickness to develop adequate tensile strength so that the ramp 10 may accommodate the weight of passenger cars.
Polyurea may be formulated in a number of ways. A suitable type of polyurea is F1-2546 POLY available from VOLATILE FREE, INC. of Brookfield, Wis. 53045. The thickness of the polyurea coating will typically be on the order of 35-65 mils of this material. It will provide adequate tensile strength for most applications. Even thinner coatings may be adequate, as a tensile strength of 2500 psi is obtained with a 25 mil thickness of 58 (Shore D) hardness suitable for light duty applications.
A top coat may be applied such as Polyshield HM-7030 available from Specialty Products, Inc. which has a high degree of water resistance.
The ramp 10 so produced is very lightweight, and in fact will typically have positive buoyancy in water.
This construction allows a wide variety of ramp configurations, even custom ordered configurations, to be made very economically with minimal tooling costs.
Any configuration of core 12 can be simply cut out of EPS foam by standard cutting tools and then spray coated with polyurea to a suitable coating thickness.
The rectangular solid bottom 14 insures good stability and much reduced tendency to sink into soft surfaces. The absence of any nooks or crannies and the hard polyurea coating makes keeping the ramps clean easy.
In this embodiment, a series of vertical on edge panels 36, i.e. ⅜ inch plywood or other sturdy panel materials such as plastic or cardboard, are embedded in the core 38 of plastic foam. The panels 36 are cut to match the profile of the ramp 38 and are bonded to the intervening sections of plastic foam set on each side. This braces the panels 36 to greatly enhance the overall compressive strength of the ramp 34.
The core 38 and panels 36 are encased in a polyurea coating 40 in the above embodiments, which can be comprised as described above with a base coat 42 and top coat 44.
A carrying handle can be provided by bonding the ends of a nylon strap 46 to the polyurea coating 40 as shown on one side. Such handle can also extend across the rear side 48.
An intermediate duty ramp 50 is shown in
This provides enhanced strength with minimal increased weights.
Other internal structures can be used, such as molded plastic shapes. However, it has been found in reinforced ramps made by the above described method are of adequate strength for many automobiles as vehicles up to 4800 pounds gross weight may be safely supported.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8118280 *||Jan 23, 2009||Feb 21, 2012||Richard Heinz||Modular vehicle ramp system|
|US9683339||Jun 24, 2015||Jun 20, 2017||Trinity Highway Products, Llc||Portable roadway warning device|
|US20090189130 *||Jan 23, 2009||Jul 30, 2009||Richard Heinz||Modular vehicle ramp system|
|USD734681 *||May 24, 2013||Jul 21, 2015||Frederick N. Milbank||Leveling device|
|WO2015200431A1 *||Jun 24, 2015||Dec 30, 2015||Trinty Highway Products, Llc||Portable roadway warning device|
|U.S. Classification||14/69.5, 254/88|
|Cooperative Classification||C08J2325/06, C08J7/047, C08J2475/02, B32B27/065, B66F7/243, B32B21/047, B32B2307/536, B32B2255/102, B32B29/007, B32B2266/0228, B32B2605/00, B32B2307/54, B32B3/04, B32B2255/26, B32B3/263|
|May 16, 2014||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Aug 25, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Aug 25, 2014||SULP||Surcharge for late payment|
Year of fee payment: 7