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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A DEVICE FOR INSTALLING SNOW CHAINS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2002/087906
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a device for fitting snow chains, comprising a vertical cylinder (1), a rotating arm (2) and a fixing bar(3). When road conditions become slippery and when additional holding is needed between the tyre of the vehicle and the road surface, the device for installing snow chains will automatically fit the snow chain (7) around the tyre (4) by means of the vertical cylinder (1), the rotating arm (2) and the fixing bar (3). During transport, the snow chain (7) is fixed to the hooks (10, 11), thus allowing immediate use of the device for fitting snow chains, if needed.

Inventors:
Kankainen, Reijo (Teollisuuskatu 57 Äänekoski, FIN-44150, FI)
Application Number:
PCT/FI2002/000321
Publication Date:
November 07, 2002
Filing Date:
April 17, 2002
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
Kankainen, Reijo (Teollisuuskatu 57 Äänekoski, FIN-44150, FI)
International Classes:
B60C27/14; (IPC1-7): B60C27/14
Foreign References:
US1376771A
US2033115A
US2566396A
US1763906A
EP0590683A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERGGREN OY AB (P. O. Box 16 Helsinki, FIN-00101, FI)
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Claims:
Claims
1. A device for fitting a snow chain comprising a vertical cylinder (1), a rotating arm (2) and a fixing bar (3), characterised in that the snow chain (7) is fitted by lowering the vertical cylinder (1) from rest position into lower position, by turning the rotating arm (2) towards the tyre (4) of the vehicle, by fixing the fixing bar (3) with the aid of the rotating arm (2) to the tyre (4) of the vehicle and by reversing the vehicle.
2. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in claim 1, characterised in that the fixing bar (3) engages the tyre (4) of the vehicle by means of grip springs (9).
3. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the snow chain (7) is fixed to suspension hooks (10,11) of the fixing bar (3) and horizontal cylinders (13).
4. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in claims 13, characterised in that the fixing bar (3) is released from the suspension plate (12) as the vehicle is being reversed.
5. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in any of the preceding claims, characterised in that the horizontal cylinders (13) spread the snow chain (7) over the tread of the tyre (4).
6. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in any of the preceding claims, characterised in that the fitting device slides away from the vehicle chassis (5) on a slide rail (14) for attachment of the snow chain (7) in transport position.
7. A device for fitting a snow chain as defined in any of the preceding claims, characterised in that the snow chain (7) and the fixing bar (3) are fixed to the rotating arm (2) during transport.
Description:
Device for installing snow chains The invention relates to a device for fitting snow chains as defined in the preamble of claim 1, comprising a vertical cylinder, a rotating arm and a fixing bar.

Vehicles equipped with tyres without studs frequently get problems due to inadequate road holding when road conditions suddenly become icy or slippery. It may be impossible for the vehicle to rise steeply uphill, for instance, or on a road inclined in any direction, the vehicle tends to slide off the roadway.

To improve the holding, efforts have been made to increase the friction between the vehicle and the road surface. Various known methods for increasing friction comprise dropping of the air pressure in the tyres of the vehicle and separate snow chains or corresponding means for increasing friction mounted on the tyres of the vehicle.

Reducing the air pressure of the tyres involves problems, because as the conditions improve again, it may be impossible to restore higher air pressure. When the air pressure of the tyres is appreciably lower than normal, the roadholding of the vehicle will suffer, resulting in uneconomical driving.

On the other hand, the fitting of snow chains is awkward, and especially in larger- sized vehicles such as lorries, the fitting is a tough operation. In addition, snow chains require a separate storage space in the vehicle.

Various means for facilitating the use and the mounting of snow chains and corresponding friction-increasing devices have been developed. Such automated or semi-automated devices are described i. a. in patent specifications DE 19 525 004, EP 0 714 793 and EP 0 590 683.

Patent specification DE 90 525 004 describes an automatically operating device for improving the friction between a vehicle and the road surface. The device described in the specification is composed of separate plates with spikes, which are mounted on the wheel rim of the vehicle and which, whenever necessary, move from the centre of the rim to the outer periphery of the tyre, onto the tread of the tyre.

This device may be considered to involve the drawback of a complex device and of requiring the use of special rims. For the device to be controlled also from within the vehicle, the use of the rim also requires a link between the rim and the chassis of the vehicle. What is more, the increased friction achieved with separate plates with spikes does not equal the increased friction achieved with conventional snow chains.

Patent specification EP 0 714 793 describes an automatically operating device for fitting a snow chain. The automatically operating device for fitting a snow chain described in the specification comprises chain segments mounted radially around an elastic central part at the end of an arm mounted at the bottom of the vehicle. Under slippery weather conditions, the arm rotates in the vicinity of the tyres of the vehicle, so that the chain segments get in-between the tyres and the ground, thus improving friction.

This device may be considered to have the problem of the friction characteristics of the individual chains not equalling the friction characteristics of a conventional snow chain, and of the central portion made of an elastic material tending to wear under the abrasion of the tyres of the vehicle and the chain segments.

Patent specification EP 0 590 683 describes an automatically operating device for fiting snow chains. In the automatically operating device four fitting snow chains of the specification, the snow chain is located in a separate auxiliary sledge mounted underneath the vehicle. When the snow chains are needed, the vehicle is dismantled, so that the snow chain is unwound from the auxiliary carriage and is wound around the tyre of the vehicle.

This device may be considered to involve the problem that the use of the fitting device requires the use of a separate auxiliary sledge. It will be necessary to fit the auxiliary sledge separately under the vehicle when slippery road conditions forecast the need of snow chains. Optionally, the auxiliary sledge will have to be trailed behind the vehicle constantly, and in that case it will harm driving.

The purpose of this invention is to provide a new automatically operating device for fitting a snow chain, which does not have the drawbacks mentioned above.

To achieve this, the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention is characterised by the snow chain being fitted with the following operations: lowering the vertical cylinder from resting position into lower position, turning the rotating arm towards

the tyre of the vehicle, fixing the fixing bar to the tyre of the vehicle by means of the rotating arm and reversing the vehicle.

The preferred embodiments of the invention are characterised by the features defined in the dependent claims.

The device for fitting a snow chain of the invention is available at once when needed and it is simple to use. It comprises but few wearing components and it has a straightforward design.

In addition, the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention can be retrofitted in vehicles of many types, especially in lorries. It allows a conventional snow chain with good friction characteristics and resistance to be fitted around the tyre of a vehicle.

The invention is described below with the aid of an example and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which figure 1 is a lateral view of the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention without any snow chain to be fitted, figure 2 is a lateral view of the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention with a snow chain to be fitted, figure 3 is a top view of the mounting arm of the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention when fixed to the tyre of a vehicle, figure 4 is a top view of the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention, and figure 5 is a front view of the device for fitting a snow chain of the invention without the mounting arm The device for fitting a snow chain of the preferred embodiment of the invention can be used whenever needed, when it can be seen that the holding of the tyres of the vehicle is insufficient for driving uphill, for instance. The device for fitting a snow chain is activated from within the vehicle, and the snow chain is automatically fitted on the tyres of the vehicle.

The device for fitting a snow chain is fitted on the chassis 5 of the vehicle by means of a slide rail 14 and a slide 15. The device for fitting a snow chain is fitted so as to be located in front of the tyre 4 at a distance such that the rotating arm is rotated over a sufficient distance on the tyre.

At the start of the fitting of the snow chain, the vertical cylinder 1 of the fitting device and the rotating arm 2 are in rest positions, with the vertical cylinder 1 in upper position and the rotating arm 2 in vertical position. As the driver activates the fitting of the snow chains, the vertical cylinder 1 is first lowered into lower position, and then the rotating arm 2 is turned towards the tyre 4 of the vehicle about the articulation 6.

The rotating arm 2 is rotated until the fixing arm 3 suspended from the suspension loop 8 of the suspension plate 12 at the end of the rotating arm settles against the tyre 4.

As the rotating arm 2 presses the fixing bar 3 against the tyre 4, the grip springs 9 of the fixing bar settle on both sides of the twin tyres and into the gap between the tyres, while being pressed against the walls of the tyre 4. As the vehicle is reversed and the fixing bar is released from the suspension plate, the fixing bar will remain in engagement with the tyre.

The snow chain 7 to be fixed around the tyre 4 of the vehicle is fixed at one end to hooks 10 provided at the ends of the fixing bar 3 and at the other end to hooks 11 provided at the ends of the transverse cylinders 13 located in the horizontal portion of the rotating arm 2. The portion between the ends of the snow chain 7 is folded so as to be suspended from the hooks 11 in transport position.

When the fixing bar 3 has been fixed to the tyre 4 of the vehicle, the rotating arm 2 is turned away from the tyre 4 of the vehicle in order to ensure free rotation of the tyre. For the snow chain 7 to fit well around the tyre 4, the transverse cylinders 13 of the horizontal portion of the rotating arm 2 are extended in order to spread the snow chain over the tread of the tyre 4. After this, the vehicle is reversed in order to wind the snow chain around the tyre.

When the snow chain 7 has been completely wound around the tyre 4, the vehicle is stopped and the ends of the snow chain are released from the suspension hooks 10 and 11. The fixing bar 3 is released from the tyre 4 of the vehicle, and the ends of

the snow chain 7 are joined. The fixing bar 3 is returned by fixing it in position on the suspension plate 12 suspended from the suspension loop 8, and after this the vehicle is ready to go on travelling.

When the snow chains are no longer used, the ends of the snow chain 7 are disconnected from each other and the vehicle is shifted in any direction in order to unwind the snow chain from the tyre 4 of the vehicle. When the snow chain 7 has been unwound from the tyre, the vehicle is stopped and the snow chain is put aside for suspension.

The suspension of the snow chain with a view to transport can be facilitated by sliding the fitting device of the snow chain on a slide rail 14 away from the vehicle chassis 5. One end of the snow chain 7 is first fixed to suspension chains 10 provided at the end of the rotating arm. After this, the snow chain 7 is folded so as to be suspended from the suspension hooks 10, and finally the other end of the snow chain is fixed to suspension hooks 11 located at the ends of the fixing bar 3. After this, the device for fitting the snow chain is slided back towards the vehicle chassis 5.

It is obvious to those skilled in the art that the invention is not restricted to the description above, but may vary within the scope of the following claims. Thus, for instance, the fitting device can be used not only in vehicles equipped with twin tyres but also in vehicles equipped with ordinary tyres.