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United States Patent Application 20160273188
Kind Code A1
VINCENT; Thomas ;   et al. September 22, 2016

Blade Assembly

Abstract

The present disclosure relates to a blade for a vehicle. Previous blade designs may pose cost consideration issues and may be laborious to install onto the vehicle. The blade disclosed herein may provide a simple, cost-effective, light-weight and robust design which is relatively easy to manufacture and assemble.


Inventors: VINCENT; Thomas; (Lugny, FR) ; BOLVIN; Nicolas; (Saint Alban de Roche, FR) ; COURTADE; Pierre; (Saint-Cassien, FR)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

CATERPILLAR INC.

Peoria

IL

US
Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
Peoria
IL

Family ID: 1000001975538
Appl. No.: 15/030299
Filed: October 15, 2014
PCT Filed: October 15, 2014
PCT NO: PCT/US2014/060587
371 Date: April 18, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: E02F 3/815 20130101; E02F 3/844 20130101; E02F 3/7609 20130101; E02F 3/8157 20130101
International Class: E02F 3/815 20060101 E02F003/815

Foreign Application Data

DateCodeApplication Number
Oct 29, 2013GB1319068.1

Claims



1. A blade for a vehicle, the blade comprising: a main plate having a front face and a rear face opposing one another; a lower elongate member disposed on the rear face and extending at least partway therealong; an upper elongate member disposed on the rear face and extending at least partway therealong, the upper elongate member and the lower elongate member being spaced laterally apart so as to define a gap therebetween; and one or more mounting pads disposed within the gap and having abutment portions configured for engagement with the rear face, the upper elongate member and the lower elongate member, wherein each of the mounting pads is configured for connection to the vehicle.

2. The blade of claim 1 further comprising a rib provided on the rear face, the rib extending from the lower elongate member towards the upper elongate member.

3. The blade of claim 2, wherein a pair of the ribs are spaced apart from one another and extend beyond the upper elongate member.

4. The blade of claim 3 further comprising a mounting surface resting upon the pair of the ribs, the mounting surface configured for connection to the vehicle.

5. The blade of claim 3, wherein the pair of the ribs are disposed proximate to an end of the blade.

6. The blade of claim 5, wherein the main plate has opposed ends and each mounting pad is provided proximate to a respective end.

7. The blade of claim 6, wherein the mounting pads are positioned between interior faces of the pair of the ribs.

8. The blade of claim 1, wherein the upper elongate member is generally planar.

9. The blade of claim 1, wherein a cross section of the lower elongate member is generally U-shaped so as to define two limbs having free ends which mount to the rear face of the main plate.

10. The blade of claim 1 wherein a width of the lower elongate member covers at least a third of a width of the rear face of the blade.

11. The blade of claim 1 further comprising one or more support members extending from the upper elongate member towards a top portion of the main plate.

12. The blade of claim 1, wherein the abutment portions are attached to a face of the mounting pad and extend outwards therefrom.

13. The blade of claim 1, wherein the lower elongate member, the upper elongate member and the one or more mounting pads is a unitary component that is welded onto the rear face of the main plate.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to a blade assembly, and more specifically to the blade assembly for a vehicle.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Construction machines for moving earth or soil may typically employ one or more blades therein. Many systems and methods are known for attaching these blades onto the construction machine. Known systems may utilize mounting arrangements to mount the blades onto the machines. However, these and other such known designs may be complex and laborious to manufacture and/or install onto the machine. Also, these solutions may pose cost consideration issues in manufacture and assembly onto the machine.

[0003] Hence, there is a need for a blade with an improved mounting arrangement such that the blade and/or the mounting arrangement may be conveniently manufactured and implemented onto the construction machine.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

[0004] In one aspect of the present disclosure, a blade is provided for a vehicle. The blade includes a main plate, a lower elongate member, an upper elongate member, and one or more mounting pads adapted for connection to the vehicle. The main plate has a front face and a rear face opposing one another. The upper and lower elongate members are disposed on the rear face and extend at least partway therealong. The upper and lower elongate members are spaced laterally apart so as to define a gap therebetween. The mounting pads are disposed within the gap, and have abutment portions configured for engagement with the rear face and the upper and lower elongate members.

[0005] Other features and aspects of this disclosure will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 is a side view of an exemplary vehicle employing a blade in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a top breakaway perspective view of the exemplary vehicle of FIG. 1; and

[0008] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the blade showing the rear face and various components thereon.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0009] Wherever possible the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to same or like parts. FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary vehicle 100 according to one aspect of the present disclosure. As illustrated, the vehicle 100 may embody a track-type tractor (TTT). In an embodiment, the vehicle 100 may embody an elevated sprocket TTT. In another embodiment, the vehicle 100 may embody an oval drive TTT.

[0010] Alternatively, the vehicle 100 may be, for example, a snowplow, a backhoe loader, a skid steer loader, a wheel loader, a motor grader, and the like. Although a track-type tractor (TTT), a backhoe loader, a skid steer loader, a wheel loader, and a motor grader are disclosed herein, it may be noted that the vehicle 100 may be any wheeled or tracked vehicle employed in mining, agriculture, forestry, construction, shipping, and other industrial applications.

[0011] As illustrated in FIG. 1, the exemplary vehicle 100 may include a power source 102, and one or more ground engaging elements 104. The power source 102 may include, for example, a diesel engine, a gasoline engine, a natural gas engine or any other type of engine commonly known in the art.

[0012] In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the ground engaging elements 104 may be a pair of tracks (one track shown on one side of the vehicle 100). However, in alternative embodiments, the ground engaging elements 104 may be embodied as wheels. The ground engaging elements 104 may be operatively coupled to the power source 102 by a transmission system such as a gearbox (not shown) and/or a propulsion system such as axles (not shown). The power source 102 may be configured to drive the ground engaging elements 104 during operation of the vehicle 100 such that the vehicle 100 is propelled on a ground surface 106.

[0013] The present disclosure relates to a blade 108 mounted on the vehicle 100 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. Referring to FIG. 1, the blade 108 includes a main plate 110 having a front face 112. In an embodiment, the blade 108 may further include a scraping member 114 attached to a lower portion 116 of the main plate 110. The scraping member 114 may be configured to scrape earth materials such as, but not limited to, soil, debris, snow, or ice when the vehicle 100 is propelled in the forward direction "A" while the front face 112 of the main plate 110 may be configured to collect and move the scraped earth materials.

[0014] Referring to FIG. 2, the main plate 110 of the blade 108 further includes a rear face 118 disposed in opposing relation to the front face 112 (as shown in FIG. 1). The blade 108 further includes an upper elongate member 120 and a lower elongate member 122 disposed on the rear face 118. The upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 extend at least partway along the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. Further, the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 are spaced laterally apart so as to define a gap "G" therebetween.

[0015] In an embodiment, a width W1 of the lower elongate member 122 may cover at least a third of a width W2 of the rear face 118. Therefore, a width of the gap "G" may depend on the relative widths W1, W2 of the lower elongate member 122 and the main plate 110, and a positioning of the upper elongate member 120 with respect to the lower elongate member 122 on the rear face 118. Although, it is disclosed herein that the width W1 of the lower elongate member 122 may cover at least one third of the width W2 of the rear face 118, it is to be noted that the respective widths and relative positioning of the main plate 110, the lower elongate member 122, and the upper elongate member 120 disclosed herein are merely exemplary in nature and hence, non-limiting of this disclosure. Therefore, a person having ordinary skill in the art may acknowledge that these relative widths and positioning of components may change to define gaps "G" of varying widths depending on specific requirements of an application.

[0016] In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, the upper elongate member 120 may be generally planar. Also, a cross section of the lower elongate member 122 may be substantially U-shaped so as to define two limbs having free ends which mount to the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. Although a planar form and a substantially U-shaped cross section are disclosed herein for the upper elongate member 120 and the lower elongate member 122 respectively, it may be noted that the specific shapes rendered to the upper elongate member 120 and the lower elongate member 122 are merely exemplary in nature. Any suitable shape may be used to form the upper elongate member 120 and the lower elongate member 122 such that the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 project outwardly from the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. Explanation pertaining to the outward projection of the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 from the rear face 118 of the main plate 110 will be made hereinafter.

[0017] Referring to FIG. 3, the blade 108 includes a rib 126 provided on the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. For example, as shown, four ribs 126 are attached on the rear face 118. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the number of ribs 126 disclosed herein is exemplary and does not limit the scope of the present disclosure. The ribs 126 extend from the lower elongate member 122 towards and possibly beyond the upper elongate member 120. In an embodiment, the ribs 126 may be tack welded to the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122. The projection of the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 away from the rear face 118 of the main plate 110 provides surface area such that welding of the ribs 126 to the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 may be accomplished thereon.

[0018] In an embodiment, the blade 108 further includes a mounting surface 128 resting upon each pair of spaced-apart adjacently located ribs 126. In FIG. 3, two mounting surfaces 128 are located on the four ribs 126. This is an exemplary arrangement and does not limit the scope of the present disclosure. The mounting surfaces 128 may be configured to allow connection of the blade 108 with one or more masts (not shown) configured to support at least one laser guiding device (not shown). In another embodiment of the present disclosure, it may be contemplated to mount the laser guiding devices of the vehicle 100 directly onto the mounting surfaces 128. These laser guiding devices may be configured to sense one or more articulation parameters of the blade 108 with respect to the ground surface 106 and/or the vehicle 100.

[0019] In an embodiment, the blade 108 further includes an attachment member 130 positioned on the rear face 118 and located substantially centrally between ends 132 of the main plate 110. The attachment member 130 may extend from the lower elongate member 122 towards and possibly beyond the upper elongate member 120. In an embodiment, the attachment member 130 may be tack welded to the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122. The projection of the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122 away from the rear face 118 of the main plate 110 provides surface area for accomplishing welding of the attachment member 130 to the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122.

[0020] As shown in FIG. 2, the attachment member 130 includes a pair of horizontal slats 134 spaced apart from each other. The slats 134 may be configured to connect with the vehicle 100. More specifically, the slats 134 may include co-axially aligned openings 136 configured to receive a pin 138 therethrough.

[0021] As shown in FIG. 2, a coupling arrangement 140 may be positioned about the pin 138. The coupling arrangement 140 may include a first fastener 142, and a collar 144. The first fastener 142 may include an eyelet 146 through which the pin 138 may be inserted. Further, the first fastener 142 may include a first type of threading thereon (not shown), for example, a left handed threading. The collar 144 may have a first end 148 and a second end 150. The collar 144 may include a pair of internal threads (not shown) at the first end 148 and the second end 150 respectively. The internal threads at the first end 148 of the collar 144 may correspond to a threading on the first fastener 142, for example, the left handed threading. The internal threads at the second end 150 of the collar 144 may be opposite from the internal threads at the first end 148 of the collar 144. The internal threads at the second end 150 of the collar 144 may be, for example, a right handed threading and may correspond to a threading on a second fastener 152 located on the vehicle 100. The second fastener 152 may include threads thereon (not shown), for example, right handed threads.

[0022] In order to couple the blade 108 to the vehicle 100, the collar 144 may be rotated in a first direction, for example, a clockwise direction, about the first and second fasteners 142, 152. Rotation of the collar 144 in the first direction may engage the first end 148 of the collar 144 to the first fastener 142 and the second end 150 of the collar 144 to the second fastener 152. In this manner, the blade 108 may be connected and disposed on the vehicle 100.

[0023] Similarly, to de-couple the blade 108 from the vehicle 100, the collar 144 may be rotated in a second direction, for example, a counter-clockwise direction about the first and second fasteners 142, 152. Rotation of the collar 144 in the second direction may dis-engage the first end 148 of the collar 144 from the first fastener 142 and the second end 150 of the collar 144 from the second fastener 152.

[0024] In another embodiment of the present disclosure, the coupling arrangement 140, disclosed herein, may be configured to adjust a pitch angle D of the blade 108 with respect to the ground surface 106. The rotation of the collar 144 about the first and second fasteners 142, 152 in the first direction may pitch the blade 108 forward towards the ground surface 106 while the rotation of the collar 144 about the first and second fasteners 142, 152 in the second direction may pitch the blade 108 backwards and configure the blade 108 to approach an upright position.

[0025] Although in the preceding embodiment, a coupling arrangement 140 including the first fastener 142, and the collar 144 is disclosed, it may be noted that the first fastener 142, and the collar 144 are merely exemplary in nature and hence, non-limiting of this disclosure. Alternative arrangements and structures commonly known in the art may be used to couple the blade 108 to the vehicle 100 and adjust the pitch angle D of the blade 108 with respect to the ground surface 106.

[0026] The blade 108 further includes one or more mounting pads 154, 156, 158 disposed within the gap "G" between the upper and lower elongate members 120, 122. The mounting pads 154, 156, 158 are positioned between interior faces 159 of each pair of ribs 126 and configured for engagement with the rear face 118, the upper elongate member 120, and the lower elongate member 122 located on the main plate 110. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, one or more pairs of the ribs 126 are disposed proximate to an end 132 of the main plate. In a further embodiment, the mounting pads 154, 156, 158 are provided proximate to the ends 132 of the main plate 110. The mounting pads 154, 156, 158 disclosed herein are adapted for connection to the vehicle 100.

[0027] In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, the mounting pads 156, 158 may be disposed adjacent to each other. Further, the mounting pads 154, 156 may be spaced apart from each other. More specifically, the mounting pads 154, 156 are located for connecting with a pair of yawing implements 160, 162 of the vehicle 100 respectively while the mounting pad 158 is located for connecting with a tilting implement 164 of the vehicle 100.

[0028] As indicated by arrows "B" and "C" respectively, the yawing implements 160, 162 of the vehicle 100 co-operatively act to alternatively extend and retract such that a turning motion "E" is imparted to the blade 108. As shown by arrow "F", the tilting implement 164 of the vehicle 100 may be configured to co-operate with the mounting pad 158 to bring about a tilting motion in the blade 108 about axis Z-Z'.

[0029] Although three mounting pads 154, 156, 158 are shown and described herein, it is to be noted that the number of mounting pads is merely exemplary in nature and hence, non-limiting of this disclosure. Therefore, it is envisioned that a number of mounting pads used on the rear face 118 of the main plate 110 may change depending on a type of blade, a type of vehicle, and/or other specific requirements of an application.

[0030] Referring to FIG. 3, the mounting pads 154, 156, 158 have abutment portions 166 disposed thereon. The abutment portions 166 are attached to the mounting pads 154, 156, 158 and extend outward therefrom. For example, as shown in the accompanying figures, a pair of abutment portions 166 is shown on each of the mounting pad 154, 156, 158. The abutment portions 166 on each of the mounting pads 154, 156, 158 may include co-axially aligned holes 168 therethrough to allow pivotal connection with the yawing implements 160, 162 and the tilting implement 164 of the vehicle 100.

[0031] The blade 108 may further include a socket member 170 located on the lower elongate member 122. The socket member 170 is configured to connect with a ball stud 172 of the vehicle 100 (as shown in FIG. 2). Further, the socket member 170 is configured to co-operate with the ball stud 172 during movement of the blade 108 with respect to the vehicle 100.

[0032] As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the blade 108 may further include one or more support members 174 extending from the upper elongate member 120 towards a top portion 176 of the main plate 110. In an embodiment, the support members 174 may be tack welded to the top portion 176 of the main plate 110, and the upper elongate member 120. The support members 174 may be configured to provide flexure strength to the main plate 110. Although four support members 174 are shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, it may be noted that the number of support members 174 are merely exemplary in nature and hence, non-limiting of this disclosure. Any number of support members 174 may be tack welded onto the main plate 110 and the upper elongate member 120 depending on specific requirements of an application.

[0033] The blade 108 may further include a side frame segment 178 attached to each end 132 of the main plate 110. As shown, in one embodiment, one side frame segment 178 is positioned on each end 132 of the main plate 110 respectively. An edge 180 of the side frame segment 178 may correspond to a profile of the main plate 110. The side frame segment 178 may include an opening 182 to allow a lifting implement (not shown) such as, but not limited to, a hook, or a tackle to be inserted therethrough in order to transport the blade 108 from one location to another during assembly or service routines.

[0034] In various embodiments of the present disclosure, it may be noted that the lower elongate member 122, the upper elongate member 120, and the mounting pads 154, 156, 158 are generally unitary components that are welded onto the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. Additionally, the support members 174, the attachment member 130, the ribs 126, and the side frame segments 178 may further be unitary components that are welded onto the rear face 118 of the main plate 110. The connection of the aforesaid unitary components to the main plate 110 of the blade 108 may be accomplished by tack welding and use of commonly known welding processes such as, but not limited to, Tungsten Inert Gas welding (TIG), Metal Active Gas welding (MAG), Metal-Inert Gas welding (MIG) or other welding methods known in the art. Although TIG, MAG, and MIG welding methods are disclosed herein, it is merely exemplary in nature. A person having ordinary skill in the art may acknowledge that the connections may also be accomplished by other emerging welding methods such as for example, laser/arc hybrid welding.

[0035] It may be further noted that as the blade 108 of the present disclosure includes unitary components such as the lower elongate member 122, the upper elongate member 120, the mounting pads 154, 156, 158, the support members 174, the attachment member 130, the ribs 126, the mounting surfaces 128, and the side frame segments 178, these unitary components may be easy to manufacture independently. Thereafter, these unitary components may be attached to the main plate 110 using simple and cost-effective methods such as, but not limited to, tack welding, TIG welding, or MIG welding. Furthermore, it may also be noted that upon attachment of the unitary components to the main plate 110, a flexure strength of the main plate 110 may be improved thereby allowing the main plate 110 to withstand forces encountered during operation. The blade 108 may provide a light-weight design having a robust construction.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

[0036] The blade 108 of the present disclosure has applicability for implementation and use in many industrial settings such as mining, construction, agriculture, forestry, and the like. Further, the blade 108 may also be employed in outdoor civic or military applications such as clearing ice or snow and/or debris from roadways or other locations.

[0037] The working of the blade 108 will now be described in detail. In order to accomplish the scraping and movement of earth materials such as, but not limited to, soil, debris, snow, or ice, the vehicle 100 may be propelled in the forward direction A, as indicated in FIG. 2, such that the scraping member 114 may be configured to scrape the ground surface 106 while the front face 112 of the main plate 110 may be configured to collect and move the scraped earth materials.

[0038] As indicated by arrow "E" in FIG. 2, the blade 108 disclosed herein may be turned by the yawing implements 160, 162. Further, as shown by arrow "F" of FIG. 2, the blade 108 disclosed herein may be tilted about axis Z-Z' by the tilting implement 164. Turning and tilting of the blade 108 with respect to the vehicle 100 may offer an improved dexterity to the vehicle 100 over a stand-alone steering arrangement (not shown) associated with the vehicle 100. Thus, an operator may be able to cover maximum area of the ground surface 106 in a single pass during operation in order to scrape, collect, and move around maximum amount of earth materials.

[0039] Further, as shown by pitch angle "D" in FIG. 2, the blade 108 disclosed herein may be pitched forward or backward with respect to the ground surface 106. The pitching of the blade 108 forward or backward with respect to the ground surface 106 may allow variation in the amount of earth materials collected on the front face 112 of the main plate 110 of the blade 108.

[0040] While aspects of the present disclosure have been particularly shown and described with reference to the embodiments above, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various additional embodiments may be contemplated by the modification of the disclosed vehicles, systems and methods without departing from the spirit and scope of what is disclosed. Such embodiments should be understood to fall within the scope of the present disclosure as determined based upon the claims and any equivalents thereof.

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