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Title:
BI-DIRECTIONAL SHUTTLE FOR REMOTELY-OPERATED ROPE-THREADING TOOL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2013/159208
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An accessory for a remotely-operated rope-threading tool for threading a rope through a distant eye or around an object out of reach, such as for elevating tarps into trees, or placing fall protection lines, or securing a distant object. The accessory is a bi-directional shuttle and receiver mechanism that enables the rope to be passed repeatedly and indefinitely between the two curved arms that extend out from the body in unison, allowing for multiple eyes or targets to be threaded without the need to retrieve the tool to reset the shuttle. This invention also applies more generally to the transfer of a shuttle between any two converging members. The shuttle's connection means is activated on one end while the shuttle's connection means is deactivated on the other end. At no time are both connections deactivated, allowing the shuttle to become detached from the tool; the shuttle is continually attached to the tool.

Inventors:
JANTZEN, Leon Keith (55 MacEwan Meadow Way NW, Calgary, Alberta T3K 3J3, CA)
Application Number:
CA2013/000416
Publication Date:
October 31, 2013
Filing Date:
April 29, 2013
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
JANTZEN, Leon Keith (55 MacEwan Meadow Way NW, Calgary, Alberta T3K 3J3, CA)
International Classes:
F16G11/00; B25B25/00; B25B33/00; B25J1/04; B65H51/00; B65H57/00; D05B87/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2009132432A1
Foreign References:
US6085681A
US4319106A
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed defined as follows:

1. A shuttle for transferring material or objects between two members, comprising means to alternately attach to one member while detaching from the opposing member, and always remaining securely attached to one or the other member or both during the transition, where the passed material or objects comprise:

■ a flexible member

■ any materials or objects that can be transported by a shuttle.

2. A shuttle of claim I , wherein the members are arm members and the attachment from one arm member and the release from the opposing arm member is activated by the approaching and then departing positions of the arm members.

3. A shuttle of claim I , wherein the mechanism employed converts the axial translation of the convergence of two members into intermittent unidirectional rotational movement where the intermittent action alternately latches and unlatches from each member at each convergence, and where, at every convergence, one member is latched while the other member is unlatched, and where both members are never unlatched at the same time. A shuttle of claim I , wherein the alternating attaching and detaching of the shuttle between the members can be performed indefinitely.

A shuttle of claim 1 , wherein the mechanism includes two similarly configured bidirectional receivers and one bi-directional shuttle, where the receivers have the means to contact and activate the shuttle in the axial direction but also have the means to attach to the shuttle through a rotational actuation.

A shuttle of claim 1. where the number of indexing mechanism teeth and splines are a multiple of two times the number of locking tabs on the connection with the receivers, and where the indexing mechanism advances in half-tooth increments twice during each activation so as to engage both receivers equally and with half-tab width interference between the shuttle locking tabs and the receiver locking tabs.

A shuttle of claim 1 , where the bi-directional receiver and bi-directional shuttle interface includes a taper to facilitate radial alignment.

A shuttle of claim I, where the bi-directional receiver and bi-directional shuttle interface includes unique mating surfaces to prevent rotational motion about the indexing axis of the shuttle relative to the receivers.

A shuttle of claim 1 , where the attachment of the flexible member or material or object to the shuttle incorporates a rotational axis of freedom to prevent rotational forces being applied to the shuttle, receivers, or the interface between them.

Description:
INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION FOR PATENT

Inventor:

Leon Keith Jantzen

Title of Invention: BI-DIRECTIONAL SHUTTLE FOR REMOTELY-OPERATED ROPE-THREADING

TOOL

TECHNICAL FIELD This invention relates to a device for threading a rope around an object or through an eye. More particularly, it relates to an accessory for a tool that can be used in many rope-threading applications. This invention also applies more generally to the transfer of a shuttle between any two converging members while maintaining secure attachment to either or both members before, during, and after the transfer.

BACKGROUND ART

There are many situations in which it is necessary or advantageous to thread a flexible member (i.e. line, string, cord, rope, cable, etc.) around an object and through the opening it creates (i.e. branch, bar, pole, log, hole, ring, truss, loop, eye, etc.). From here on, we wiil refer to the flexible member as a rope, the opening as an eye or a target, and the remotely- operated rope-threading tool as the tool. Often the eye is out of reach of the person doing the task. This requires the person to physicaHy move to within reach of the eye to thread the rope through and bring the end of the rope back. Another strategy is to tie the end of the rope to a weight and throw the weight through the eye to pull the rope with it, and then the weight with the end of the rope is retrieved. Examples of such tasks include but are not limited to:

1 ) Threading a rope over a branch of a tree or around the trunk to secure a tarp, a clothes line, a swing, a bird feeder, photography or hunting blinds; prevent the tree from toppling; secure a damaged timb, or place a climbing rope.

2) Lifting an object into the rafters or trusses of a building such as banners, balloons, decorations, lights, sets, speakers, pinatas, or construction materials.

3) Retrieving items across stretches of water such as boats, logs, or sunken ob jects.

4) Retrieving items from holes such as pipes, tools, or logs, or retrieving fallen animals.

5) Tasks in hazardous environments such as attaching slings to beams in collapsed buildings, securing safety lines to people stranded by fast water, etc.

6) Construction tasks such as securing scaffolding, attaching tag lines during hoisting, securing ladders prior to climbing, or attaching ropes for fall protection. To accomplish these tasks using current methods requires personnel to incur varying degrees of personal safety risk. People must travel into hazardous environments, climb without fall protection, climb into holes, climb trees and poles, lean over voids, etc. Falls are a major cause of injuries. Throwing objects tied to ropes presents its own disadvantages and hazards. This method requires aiming skill, the weight may come loose and fly unrestrained, the weight may become entangled, the weight may swing back and strike the thrower or others, or the weight may cause damage as it completes its trajectory. The throwing method requires the person to move to anothet location to retrieve the end of the rope. To accomplish the above-mentioned tasks in a safe manner requires the erection of scaffolding, renting personnel cranes or lifts, or building permanent access structures.

There are many devices devised for passing a rope around an object. These devices have a disadvantage in that the tool on the end of the pole must be retrieved to the operator to be reset to perform the next pass of the rope through or around the target. The object of this invention is to provide a means for the end of the rope to be passed through or around multiple targets without retrieving the tool. This would allow the rope to be passed over a series of branches or rafters, for example, in sequence before returning the end of the rope to the operator. Refer to the invention covered by the U.S. Pat. No. 8,1 18,340, for further explanation of the operation of a remotely-operated rope-threading tool. This invention employs technology that translates axial motion into intermittent unidirectional motion. The basis for this technology is described m a large amount of prior art going back many years, particularly with regards to writing implements. The basic mechanism is described well in U.S. Pat. " No. 387,042 by Bohren in 1888. A sample of other patents include: Johmann U.S. Pat. No. 2,905,147 and Brown U.S. Pat. " No. 3,827,308. Since the art is well described, this portion of the invention will not be repeated in great detail in the description or the drawings. DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The basic object of this invention is to provide an added feature to a tool that will allow people to accomplish the task of threading a rope through an eye in a large variety of circumstances and geometries and to thread the rope multiple times without retrieving the tool for resetting.

The tool includes a shuttle part to which one end of a rope is attached. The tool is positioned adjacent to the eye and then activated to pass the shuttle with the end of the rope through the eye and the shuttle is secured to the other side of the tool. The tool is then deactivated, which releases the shuttle from its original position, and the tool and shuttle are retrieved together with the end of the rope, which is pulled along, threading the rope through the eye as it goes.

This invention allows the tool to be activated again immediately, converging Che arm members and sending the shuttle back to the original arm member. This can be done with or without a new target being threaded. This function allows for the shuttle to be returned to the original arm member if, for example, the tool is indexed at an angle for the correct approach to the target. This function also allows for the rope to be threaded multiple times through or around the same target. This function also allows for the rope to be threaded through or around multiple targets. There is no limit to the number of times this function can be repeated.

This invention can be used on any rope-threading tool with converging ami members. Purpose-made receivers to connect the arm member attachments would typically be required . This invention anticipates applications where the shuttle is used to pass any type ol ' material between two converging objects, and so is not limited to passing rope or other flexible members-

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A, IB, and 1C are perspective views of a person using the referenced tool to place a rope around a tree branch, a truss member, and a wall-mounted eye respectively.

FIG. 2A, 2B, and 2C are perspective views illustrating the operation of this invention, showing the tool in the placement position, the threading position, and the retrieval position, with the control lines and pole not shown. The targets, for the purpose of illustration, are a short section of a much longer I-beam. Note that the shuttle and receivers are not shown accurately in these drawings but serve to illustrate their relative positions.

FIG. 2D and 2E are perspective views illustrating the operation of this invention, showing the shuttle being moved back to the original position. The targets, for the purpose of illustration, are a short section of a much longer I-beam. Note that the shuttle and receivers are not shown accurately in these drawings but serve to illustrate their relative positions. FIG. 2F, 2G, and 2H are perspective views illustrating the operation of this invention, showing the tool in the second placement position, the second threading position, and the second retrieval position, with the control lines and pole not shown. The targets, for the purpose of illustration, are a short section of a much longer I-beam. Note that the shuttle and receivers are not shown accurately in these drawings but serve to illustrate their relative positions.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged partial cross-section of a portion of the extended arm members, showing a conventional one-directional shuttle for comparison.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged partial cross-section of a portion of the extended arm members, showing the current invention with bi-directional shuttle engaged with both bi-directional receivers.

FIG. 5 is a cross-section view of the bi-directional shuttle assembly without the tool arm members shown.

FIG. 6 is an orthogonal view of the end of the bi-directional shuttle.

FIG.7 A is a cross-section view of the bi-directional receiver. FIG. 7B is an isometric view of the bi-directional receiver.

FIG- 8 is an orthogonal exploded view of the bi-directional shuttle assembly without the two receivers.

FIG. 9 is an isometric exploded view of the bi-directional shuttle assembly.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, and in particular, to FIG. 1A, the remotely-operated rope-threading tool 1 is positioned against the underside of an object to be encircled by the rope 3, in this case, a tree limb 6. Because of its light weight and its size and configuration, the vope-threading tool is easily positioned by a person 4 with the aid of a standard extension pole 2. In this illustration, the goal is to thread a supporting rope 3 for a tarp 7 over the tree limb 6 in order to secure the rope 3 with the tarp 7 elevated in the air.

Referring now to FIG. IB, the example shown is of a person 4 using the rope-threading tool 1 on the extension pole 2 to thread a supporting rope 8 for a banner 9 over the lower member 10 of a roof truss 11 in a building- Referring now to FIG- lC, the example shown is of a person 4 using the rope-threading tool 1 on the extension pole 2 to thread a fall-protection rope 12 through a safety ring 13 which is bolted to a wall 14.

Also shown in FIG. 1A, IB, and 1C, are the deactivate control line 15 and the activate control line 16 for operating the threading tool remotely- Referring to FIG. 2A through 2H, the remotely-operated rope-threading tool 1 is shown without the extension pole and without the long control lines. These figures illustrate the action of the tool as it would be used to pass a flexible member 3 over multiple target objects, first over the first target 24 and then, after being reset, over the second target 25.

This invention consists of the bi-directional shuttle 50 and two bi-directional shuttle receivers 30 that are fixed to the outer ends of the two tool arm members 17. The bidirectional shuttle 50 travels back and forth between the two receivers 30 when the arm members 17 are made to converge by the activation of the rope-threading tool 1 by alternately pulling the activate control line 19 and then the deactivate control line 18. The shuttle assembly 50 contains an attachment point for the flexible member 3 and, on each end, means to connect alternately to one receiver and then another, which will be described in detail on later drawings. The connection means is activated on one end while the connection means is deactivated on the other end. At no time are both connections deactivated, allowing the shuttle to become detached from the tool; the shuttle is continually attached to the Cool.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the internal mechanism is similar in function to the common ball point pen mechanism which converts translation along an axis to an intermittent rotation motion around that axis.

When the arm members 17 converge, they compress the shuttle assembly 50, indexing the mechanism to the next latching point in the rotation. The shuttle receivers 30 are the same, and the engagement means on the ends of the shuttles are timed off phase so that one releases while the other engages. Both are partially engaged during rotation to satisfy the non- release requirement. Alternatively, the receivers could be out of phase and the shuttle end connections could be the same.

Referring now to FIG 3, which is a partial cross-section of a portion of the extended arm members 17 showing a conventional one-directional shuttle 21 for comparison. With the conventional one-directional shuttle 21, the shuttle is held by a friction detent in one arm member and is pulled out of this arm member when the arm members 17 are withdrawn, after the shuttle has locked into the one-directional receiver 23. With this arrangement, the tool must be brought back to the operator to release the one-directional shuttle 21 from the one- directional receiver 23 and return it to the original arm member. This drawing also illustrates the rope attachment hole 22 for attaching the flexible member.

Referring now to FIG. 4, which is a partial cross-section of a portion of the extended aim members 17 showing this invention with the bi-directional shuttle 50 engaged with both bi-directional receivers 30. In this figure, we see that both bi-directional receivers 30 are locked securely to the two arm members 17. The arm members are fully extended, moving the bi-directional receiver 30 into the end of the bi-directional shuttle 50 until the plunger contacting surface 47 bears on the plunger 170, thereby compressing the plunger 170 fully into the housing up to the receiver contact surface 72. The plunger 170 pushes on the rotor 190 which deflects the compression spring 95 which bears against the other end of the housing. The compression spring 95 is biased to keep the rotor 190 and plunger 170 in the extended position. Referring now to FIG 8 and FIG 9, which are exploded views of the shuttle assembly 50 to give more detail. When the spring 95 is not compressed, the thrust washer 110, the rotor 190, and the plunger 170 are all shifted to the left of the drawing. This ensures that the rotor teeth 193 and the plunger teeth 176 are engaged with the housing plunger spline 68 of the housing plunger half 60. When the arm members 17 come together and the receiver 30 depresses the plunger 170 into the housing plunger half 60 up to the receiver contact surface 72, the plunger teeth 176 push on the rotor teeth 193 until they disengage with the housing plunger spline 68. When the rotor teeth are free of the spline, the rotor undergoes a rotation of one half of a tooth width due to the rotor teeth ramps 194 sliding on the plunger leeth ramps 177. The rotor tooth edge 198 snaps into the plunger tooth valley 179 which determines this half tooth angular rotation.

When the arm members 17 are withdrawn, the spring 95 drives the parts to their rest position. The plunger 170 moves outward, the plunger teeth 176 slide down in the housing plunger spline 68 and allow the rotor teeth 193 to contact the housing plunger spline teeth 69 and slide down the housing plunger spline ramps 70 into the housing plunger spline 68. As the rotor teeth 193 slide, the rotor 190 undergoes a rotation of another one half of a tooth width. Because in this version of the invention, there are six teeth on the rotor and plunger and housing plunger spline, the half tooth rotation is equivalent to one-twelfth of a full rotation- Other numbers of teeth are possible as long as the number is divisible evenly by two. In this case, the six teeth determine that the number of locking tabs on the ends of the shaft assembly 120 is to be three. As the arm members repeatedly depress and release the plunger, the rotor 190 drives the shaft assembly 120 through six positions via the rotor shaft spline tabs 196 which engage the rotor spline slots 139 in the shaft long half 130. This spline engagement also enables the rotor to move axially on the shaft in order to perform its function.

The shaft long half 130 is connected to the shaft short half 150 by the shaft assembly screw 125 which passes through the screw clearance hole 151 and into screw threaded hole 131. The two shaft halves are located by the pilot for short half 132 which is inserted into the pilot hole for long half 152. The parts are timed about the indexing axis by the indexing features 134 and 154, seen best in FIG 9. Note that the timing is such that the locking tabs 155 on shaft short half 150 are at the same angle as the locking tab slots 136 on the shaft long half 130. Correspondingly, the timing is such that the locking tab slots 156 on shaft short half 150 are at the same angle as the locking tabs 135 on the shaft long half 130. This one tooth position, or one-sixth of a rotation, offset between the two ends of the shaft, is what enables the invention to engage one receiver while disengaging from the other. Also the half tooth increment at the end of the plunger depression ensures that both receivers are engaged by half of the width of the locking tabs at each end, thus holding both receivers securely.

Referring now to FIG 7A and 7B in conjunction with FIG 8 and 9, we will discuss the engagement of the bi-directional receiver 30 with the bi-directional shuttle 50 in more detail. The bi-directional receiver 30 has the following features and their purposes'. A connection post 32 for connection to the arm member 17 which is inserted tilt the arm member connection mating surface 34 contacts the arm member surface. The arm member connection locking feature 35 is used to hold the receiver axially in the arm member. The connection indexing tabs 36 ensure the bi-directional receiver is timed, about the indexing axis, with the arm member. Note that the rotation planes of the arm members in the remotely-operated rope- threading tool are at an angle to each other. Therefore, the connection indexing tabs are half of this angle out of phase with the mid plane of the receiver head 38 to ensure that both the receiver heads 38 and the bi-direction shuttle 50 are on a common plane.

The receiver head 38 includes a cylindrical passage 39 to accept the outer cylindrical surface 138 158 of either end of the shaft assembly 120. The receiver head 38 also includes locking tab slots 44 to allow for the passage of the locking tabs 135 155 on either end of the shaft assembly 120. The locking tabs 43 in the receiver head 38 engage with the locking tabs 135 155 of the shaft assembly 120 when the shaft assembly 120 is indexed one-sixth of a rotation when the plunger 170 is depressed. The sets of locking tabs bear on one another at the locking surface 46 on the receiver head and the locking surfaces 137 157 on the shaft locking tabs 135 155. The shaft tab recess 40 is a cavity behind the locking tabs 43 to provide clearance for the radial and axial movement of the shaft locking tabs.

Other features of the receiver head 38 include the guiding taper 41 to ensure a smooth transition into the receiver recessed 63 85 on either end of the shuttle 50, if the arm members 17 are somewhat misaligned as they converge. The indexing hex 42 is a hexagonal shaped surface that engages with the receiver recess indexing hex 64 86 on either end of the shuttle 50, to provide torsional resistance to maintain alignment of the bi-directional receivers 30 with the bi-directional shuttle 50 during the transfer. This hexagonal surface could be of many alternate shapes and perform the same function. FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 are additional views of the invention without the arm members shown and highlight the rope attachment hole 101 in the rope attachment lug 102. The rope connector 100 seen also in FIG, 8 includes a rope attachment ring 103 encircling a housing hole 104, The clearance of the housing hole 104 is such that the rope connector 100 is free to rotate about the shuttle assembly 50 in the housing lug groove 61 to reduce torsional forces on the mechanism by the flexible member 2,

Alternate mechanisms are anticipated, such as sliding sleeves, J-slot mandrels, and the like. The invention pertains to the ability to pass a shuttle back and forth repeatedly without manual intervention for the purpose of threading a rope.

The invention would typically be made of injection molded components, steel fasteners, and springs.