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Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR INSERTING ARTIFICIAL GRASS STRAND PARTS IN THE GROUND
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/027317
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a device (10) configured for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground, the device comprising: - a frame which is configured to support the various parts, - a plurality of spools with artificial grass strands wound thereon, - a rotary device which is mounted on the frame and rotates about a substantially horizontal rotation axis, wherein the rotary device is configured to receive a plurality of artificial grass strands from the spools and to rotate these artificial grass strands with the movement of the rotary device, wherein the rotary device comprises a plurality of clamps which, when viewed in side view, are arranged around the rotation axis, wherein the clamps are configured to hold a series of artificial grass strand parts clamped between a front clamp and a rear clamp, - at least one cutting device for cutting through the artificial grass strands, in order to cut the clamped artificial grass strand parts from the rest of the respective artificial grass strands, an insertion device for inserting the artificial grass strand parts into the ground, wherein the rotary device is configured to rotate the series of artificial grass strand parts to below the insertion device, wherein the insertion device is configured to insert the artificial grass strand parts into the ground.

Inventors:
MULLAN, George (1 Old Fort Road, KEVINSFORT, SLIGO, IE)
SCHUURMAN, Thomas (9 Middenweg, 1394 AC Nederhorst Den Berg, 1394 AC Nederhorst Den Berg, NL)
Application Number:
NL2017/050520
Publication Date:
February 07, 2019
Filing Date:
August 03, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SISGRASS B.V. (Tt. Vasumweg 58C, 1033 SC Amsterdam, NL)
International Classes:
D05C15/00; E01C13/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016122312A12016-08-04
WO1993008332A11993-04-29
WO2016122312A12016-08-04
Foreign References:
DE102015112329A12017-02-02
US4236581A1980-12-02
FR2719619A11995-11-10
NL1007279C21999-04-19
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HART, W.W.H. (EP&C P.O. Box 3241, 2280 GE Rijswijk, NL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

Device (10) configured for inserting artificial grass strand parts (12) in the ground, the device comprising:

- a frame (12) which is configured to support the various parts of the device,

- a plurality of spools (16) with artificial grass strands (155) wound thereon,

- a rotary device (24) which is mounted rotatably on the frame and rotates

about a substantially horizontal rotation axis (25), wherein the rotary device is configured to receive a plurality of artificial grass strands which are unwound from the spools and to rotate these artificial grass strands with the movement of the rotary device, wherein the rotary device comprises a plurality of clamps (40) which, when viewed in side view, are arranged around the rotation axis (25), wherein the clamps rotate with the rotary device, wherein the clamps are configured to hold a series of artificial grass strand parts clamped between a front clamp (40) and a rear clamp (40), viewed in the direction of rotation, and to cause the artificial grass strand parts to rotate with the rotary device,

- at least one cutting device (80) for cutting through the artificial grass strands, in order to cut the clamped artificial grass strand parts (155) from the rest of the respective artificial grass strands,

- an insertion device (50) for inserting the artificial grass strand parts into the ground, wherein the insertion device comprises a plurality of insertion pins (52) and at least one actuator (82), wherein the actuator is configured to move the pins from a retracted position to an inserted position in which the insertion pins are inserted into the ground over a depth (D1 ),

wherein the rotary device is configured to rotate the series of artificial grass strand parts (150) to below the insertion device, wherein the insertion device (50) is configured to insert the artificial grass strand parts which have been rotated to below the insertion device into the ground,

wherein in side view each clamp (40) comprises a single series of clamping shoe pairs, wherein each clamp is configured to act both as a front clamp or as a rear clamp for holding a strand (42), wherein each clamp is configured to clamp:

- the front ends of artificial grass strand parts, or

- the rear ends of artificial grass strand parts, and

wherein the clamps are spaced at regular distances (49) from one another, and wherein the cutting device is configured to cut the artificial grass strands between two successive clamps.

2. Device according to claim 1 , comprising a clamp deactivating device (70) which is configured to deactivate the clamps, wherein the clamp deactivating device is configured to be switched between a short strand mode and a long strand mode, wherein:

- in the short strand mode, in side view the clamp deactivating device

deactivates one clamp on a forward side of the insertion device and one clamp on a rear side of the insertion device, or

- in the long strand mode, in side view the clamp deactivating device

deactivates two clamps on the forward side of the insertion device and two clamps on the rear side of the insertion device. 3. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising - in side view - 24

clamps spaced about the circumference of the rotary device, wherein the clamps are spaced at regular angular intervals of 15 degrees.

Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the device is configured to operate at least at a first takt angle (ct1) for artificial grass strand parts having a first length and at a second takt angle (a2) for artificial grass strand parts having a second, greater length.

Device according to the preceding claim, wherein the device is configured to operate at least at a first takt angle (a1 ) of 30 degrees and at a second takt angle (a2) of 60 degrees, wherein the first takt angle is associated with artificial grass strand parts having a relatively short length, in particular 20 cm, and wherein the second takt angle is associated with artificial grass strands having a relatively long lengths, in particular 40 cm, wherein:

- in case of the first takt angle (a1), each artificial grass strand part is clamped between a leading clamp and a trailing clamp which directly follow one another, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp, and

- in case of the second takt angle (a2), each artificial grass strand part is

clamped between at least a leading clamp and a trailing clamp, wherein two intermediate clamps are positioned between the leading and trailing clamp, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp. 6. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the cutting device

comprises a cutting blade (186) and an adjusting mechanism (181) for adjusting - when seen in side view - an angular position of the cutting blade, wherein the position of the cutting blade is in particular adjustable between a first position at 90 degrees from the vertical for long artificial grass strands and a second position at 75 degrees from the vertical for short artificial grass strands.

7. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising when seen in side view a rotatable front support roller and a rotatable rear support roller which together carry the device, the device being free of any tracks, and wherein the rotary device is arranged between the front and rear support roller.

8. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the support rollers

comprise a liquid compartment (37) and at least one filling opening (39) in order to be filled with a liquid, in particular water, in order to increase the mass of the device. 9. Device according to claim 7 or 8, comprising a steering mechanism configured to pivot at least one of the rollers about a vertical or inclined axis (1 1) for manoeuvring the device, wherein in particular the steering mechanism is remotely operable in order to allow an operator to walk along the device while controlling the device with a remote control (13).

10. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising only a single rotary device and a single insertion mechanism.

1 1. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the device does not have any hydraulics.

12. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein in side view the rotary device has a circular shape. 13. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the device has a width of less than 1.5 meter and a length of less than 3,5 meter.

14. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the spools are wound with artificial grass strands having a different colour than green.

15. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein each clamp comprises 30 - 50 clamping shoe pairs (42) arranged in a row for inserting a same number of artificial grass strands, and in particular 40 clamping shoe pairs. 16. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a control unit (100) comprising a memory configured for storing a trajectory comprising at least one curve, wherein the control unit is coupled at least to the steering mechanism, to the rotary device and to the insertion device, wherein the device is configured to follow said trajectory autonomously while inserting artificial grass strands into the ground.

17. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein in side view each clamp (40) comprises a single bar (41 ) extending from a left side of the rotary device to a right side of the rotary device.

18. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the front roller is divided in a right part (14A) and a left part (14B).

19. Device according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a lifting mechanism (8) for moving the device (10) from a lower, operating position to an upper, transport position and vice versa, wherein the lifting mechanism comprises at least one cylinder (9) constructed for raising at least the frame (12), the rotary device (24) and the insertion device (50) relative to an axis of rotation of the front or rear support roller.

20. Method for inserting artificial grass strand parts in a ground, the method comprising:

- positioning the device (10) according to any of the preceding claims on a pitch,

- moving the device forward over the pitch to a location and stopping the device at this location,

- cutting a series of the artificial grass strand parts from the rest of the artificial grass strands,

- moving the series of artificial grass strand parts (155) to below the insertion device (50) by rotation of the rotary device (24), wherein the series of artificial grass strand parts is clamped between a front clamp (40) and a rear clamp (40), viewed in side view and in relation to the rotation direction of the rotary device,

- stopping the rotary device (24),

- releasing the clamps which hold the series of artificial grass strand parts, and

- inserting the artificial grass strand parts in the ground by the insertion device.

21. Method according to the preceding claim, comprising switching the device from

relatively short artificial grass strands to relatively long artificial grass strands or vice versa, and repositioning the cutting blade from a first angular position to a second angular position or vice versa.

22. Method according to any of claims 20-21 , comprising using artificial grass strands of different colours and providing a visual pattern of artificial grass strands in a pitch, the pattern representing a logo or text or other kind of figure.

23. Method according to any of claims 20-22, wherein the device has a width of less than 1.5 meter, wherein the device has a mass of less than 500 kg, wherein the device comprises a first and second support roller, wherein the first support roller is pivotable about a vertical or inclined axis for manoeuvring the device, the device comprising a steering mechanism for steering the first roller, wherein the device comprises a single rotary device, wherein the device is free of hydraulics, and wherein the device comprises a control unit (100) for controlling the insertion device and the steering mechanism

24. Method according to any of claims 20-23, wherein the device follows a

predetermined trajectory over a pitch, the trajectory comprising several curves in which the direction of the device is changed over at least 5 degrees, wherein artificial grass strands are inserted along said trajectory including along the curves,

25. Method according to any of claims 20-24, wherein the device comprises the control unit comprising a memory configured for storing a trajectory, and wherein the control unit is coupled to the steering mechanism and to the insertion device, wherein the device follows said trajectory autonomously and inserts artificial grass strand when travelling along said trajectory.

26. Method according to any of claims 20-25, comprising inserting artificial grass strands in an inclined surface having an inclination of at least 2 degrees to the horizontal, in particular a golf course or a garden.

Description:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR INSERTING ARTIFICIAL GRASS STRAND PARTS

IN THE GROUND

Field of the invention

The present invention relates to a device for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground. Devices for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground are known.

Background of the invention

WO2016/122312A1 discloses a device for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground according to the prior art. This device works fine. However, in the present invention it was recognized that a number of improvements are possible.

The device of WO2016/122312A1 has a number of clamps. Each clamp comprises a series of front shoes and a series of rear shoes arranged on separate bars, i.e. e front bar and a rear bar, wherein a gap is provided between the front and rear bars. The front shoe clamps the rear end of a first strand which is to be inserted and the rear shoe clamps the front end of a next strand which is to be inserted after the first strand has been inserted. The cutting device cuts through gap between the front and rear bar. It was recognized that this configuration has a drawback in that it is difficult to vary the lengths of the strings.

A variation in strings is sometimes necessary, for instance in case the ground comprises a hard layer which lies near the surface and the strings cannot be inserted into this hard layer or the insertion into the hard layer would carry a risk of damage to the insertion pins. In such a case, shorter strands may be necessary which do not reach the hard layer. Instead of a hard layer or in addition to the hard layer, rocks may be present at a certain depth which might damage the insertion pins. Also for such a situation, it may be necessary to limit or vary the depth over which the grass strands are inserted into the ground.

It was recognized that a further disadvantage of the device according to

WO2016/122312A1 is that it is not very suitable for smaller surface areas such as smaller pitches, playgrounds, sections of golf courses, for instance the greens, or gardens. Object of the invention It is an object of the present invention to provide a device for inserting artificial grass strands into the ground with which the length of the strands can be varied.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a device for inserting artificial grass strands into the ground with which the depth of insertion of the strands can be varied.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a device for inserting artificial grass strands into the ground which can be used for smaller surfaces and in a more flexible way.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a device for inserting artificial grass strands into the ground which can be used for uneven or hilly surfaces.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a device for inserting artificial grass strands into the ground which can be used for non-homogenous insertion operations.

Summary of the invention

In order to achieve at least one object, a device is provided configured for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground, the device comprising:

a frame which is configured to support the various parts of the device, a plurality of spools with artificial grass strands wound thereon, a rotary device which is mounted rotatably on the frame and rotates about a substantially horizontal rotation axis , wherein the rotary device is configured to receive a plurality of artificial grass strands which are unwound from the spools and to rotate these artificial grass strands with the movement of the rotary device, wherein the rotary device comprises a plurality of clamps which, when viewed in side view, are arranged around the rotation axis , wherein the clamps rotate with the rotary device, wherein the clamps are configured to hold a series of artificial grass strand parts clamped between a front clamp and a rear clamp, viewed in the direction of rotation, and to cause the artificial grass strand parts to rotate with the rotary device, at least one cutting device for cutting through the artificial grass strands, in order to cut the clamped artificial grass strand parts from the rest of the respective artificial grass strands,

an insertion device for inserting the artificial grass strand parts into the ground, wherein the insertion device comprises a plurality of insertion pins and at least one actuator , wherein the actuator is configured to move the pins from a retracted position to an inserted position in which the insertion pins are inserted into the ground over a depth,

wherein the rotary device is configured to rotate the series of artificial grass strand parts to below the insertion device, wherein the insertion device is configured to insert the artificial grass strand parts which have been rotated to below the insertion device into the ground,

wherein in side view each clamp comprises a single series of clamping shoe pairs, wherein each clamp is configured to act both as a front clamp or as a rear clamp for holding a strand (42), wherein each clamp is configured to clamp:

- the front ends of artificial grass strand parts, or

- the rear ends of artificial grass strand parts, and

wherein the clamps are spaced at regular distances, and wherein the cutting device is configured to cut the artificial grass strands between two successive clamps. Unlike the prior art as disclosed in WO2016/122312A1 , the clamps of the present invention do not have a separate series of front shoes and a separate series of rear shoes with a gap in between them through which the cutting knife may travel. An advantage of this arrangement of the present invention is that the length of the strands can be varied between at least two different lengths. This is not possible with the device according to the prior art as disclosed in WO2016/122312A1.

In an embodiment, the device comprises a clamp deactivating device which is configured to deactivate the clamps, wherein the clamp deactivating device is configured to be switched between a short strand mode and a long strand mode, wherein:

- in the short strand mode, in side view the clamp deactivating device deactivates one clamp on a forward side of the insertion device and one clamp on a rear side of the insertion device, or

- in the long strand mode, in side view the clamp deactivating device deactivates two clamps on the forward side of the insertion device and two clamps on the rear side of the insertion device.

In the case of short lengths (e.g. 20cm), only one clamp on each side is deactivated. In the case of long lengths (e.g. 40cm), two clamps are deactivated on each side.

In an embodiment, the device comprises - in side view - 24 clamps spaced about the circumference of the rotary device, wherein the clamps are spaced at regular angular intervals of 15 degrees. The clamps may be spaced at 10 cm from one another. In case of short lengths (20cm), each strand is clamped between two clamps which directly follow one another. The cut is made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp. The insertion device passes through the gap between the two clamps. The takt angle over which the rotary device rotates between consecutive insertion steps may be 2/24 times 360 degrees = 30 degrees.

In case of longer lengths (40cm), each strand is held by four clamps, two leading clamps and two trailing clamps. The cut is made in front of the first, leading clamp and behind the fourth, trailing clamp. The insertion device passes through the gap between clamps 2 and 3. The takt angle may be 4/24 times 360 degrees = 60 degrees.

In an embodiment, the device is configured to operate at least at a first takt angle (a1) for artificial grass strand parts having a first length and at a second takt angle (a2) for artificial grass strand parts having a second, greater length. This provides greater versatility of the device. It is conceivable that the device may also be operated at a third takt angle for a further length of strands and possibly at further takt angles.

In an embodiment, the device is configured to operate at least at a first takt angle (a1) of 30 degrees and at a second takt angle (a2) of 60 degrees, wherein the first takt angle is associated with artificial grass strand parts having a relatively short length, in particular 20 cm, and wherein the second takt angle is associated with artificial grass strands having a relatively long lengths, in particular 40 cm, wherein:

- in case of the first takt angle (a1), each artificial grass strand part is clamped between a leading clamp and a trailing clamp which directly follow one another, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp, and

- in case of the second takt angle (a2), each artificial grass strand part is

clamped between at least a leading clamp and a trailing clamp, wherein two intermediate clamps are positioned between the leading and trailing clamp, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp.

In an embodiment, the cutting device comprises a cutting blade and an adjusting mechanism for adjusting - when seen in side view - an angular position of the cutting blade, wherein the position of the cutting blade is in particular adjustable between a first position at 90 degrees from the vertical for long artificial grass strands and a second position at 75 degrees from the vertical for short artificial grass strands. In an embodiment, the device comprises when seen in side view a rotatable front support roller and a rotatable rear support roller which together carry the device, the device being free of any tracks, and wherein the rotary device is arranged between the front and rear support roller. In an embodiment, the support rollers comprise a liquid compartment and a filling opening in order to be filled with a liquid, in particular water, in order to increase the mass of the device.

In an embodiment, the device comprises a steering mechanism configured to pivot at least one of the rollers about a vertical or inclined axis for manoeuvring the device, wherein in particular the steering mechanism is remotely operable in order to allow an operator to walk along the device while controlling the device with a remote control .

In an embodiment, the device comprises only a single rotary device and a single insertion mechanism. This results in a reduced size of the machine and a higher

manoeuvrability.

In an embodiment, the device does not have any hydraulics. In an embodiment, in side view the rotary device has a circular shape.

In an embodiment, the device has a width of less than 1.5 meter and a length of less than 3,5 meter. In an embodiment, the spools are wound with artificial grass strands having a different colour than green.

In an embodiment, each clamp comprises 30 -50 clamping shoe pairs arranged in a row for inserting a same number of artificial grass strands, and in particular 40 clamping shoe pairs.

In an embodiment, the device comprises a control unit comprising a memory configured for storing a trajectory comprising at least one curve, wherein the control unit is coupled at least to the steering mechanism, to the rotary device and to the insertion device, wherein the device is configured to follow said trajectory autonomously while inserting artificial grass strands into the ground.

The present invention further relates to a method for inserting artificial grass strand parts in a ground, the method comprising:

- positioning the device according to the invention on a pitch,

- moving the device forward over the pitch to a location and stopping the device at this location,

- cutting a series of the artificial grass strand parts from the rest of the artificial grass strands,

- moving the series of artificial grass strand parts to below the insertion device by rotation of the rotary device, wherein the series of artificial grass strand parts is clamped between a front clamp and a rear clamp, viewed in side view and in relation to the rotation direction of the rotary device,

- stopping the rotary device,

- releasing the clamps which hold the series of artificial grass strand parts, and - inserting the artificial grass strand parts in the ground by the insertion device.

In an embodiment, the method comprises switching the device from relatively short artificial grass strands to relatively long artificial grass strands or vice versa, and

repositioning the cutting blade from a first angular position to a second angular position or vice versa.

In an embodiment, the method comprises using artificial grass strands of different colours and providing a visual pattern of artificial grass strands in a pitch, the pattern representing a logo or text or other kind of figure.

In an embodiment, the device has a width of less than 1.5 meter, wherein the device has a mass of less than 500 kg, wherein the device comprises a first and second support roller, wherein the first support roller is pivotable about a vertical or inclined axis for manoeuvring the device, the device comprising a steering mechanism for steering the first roller, wherein the device comprises a single rotary device, wherein the device is free of hydraulics, and wherein the device comprises a control unit for controlling the insertion device and the steering mechanism.

It was found that the limited dimensions and limited weight result in a versatile device which can be used on small pitches, including gardens and golf courses.

In an embodiment, the device follows a predetermined trajectory over a pitch, the trajectory comprising several curves in which the direction of the device is changed over at least 5 degrees, wherein artificial grass strands are inserted along said trajectory including along the curves,

In an embodiment, the device comprises the control unit comprising a memory configured for storing a trajectory, and wherein the control unit is coupled to the steering mechanism and to the insertion device, wherein the method comprises letting the device follow said trajectory autonomously and letting the device insert artificial grass strands when travelling along said trajectory.

In an embodiment, the method comprises inserting artificial grass strands in an inclined surface having an inclination of at least 2 degrees to the horizontal, in particular a golf course or a garden. In an embodiment, in side view each clamp comprises a single bar extending from a left side of the rotary device to a right side of the rotary device.

The combinatory effect of several of the aspects mentioned above result in a device which can be used for non-flat and irregular surfaces, and for non-homogenous stitching. For instance it is possible to change the distance between the grass strands, to change the length of the stitched grass strands, and to change colours.

In an embodiment, the present invention can change direction autonomously, preferably move in a curved manner, with a deviation of the new direction of movement in comparison to the previous direction of movement of more than 5 degrees, while continuing with the stitching activity, and including going up a ramped surface with an inclination of at least 2 degrees towards the horizontal and going down such a ramped surface. The limited length, limited width and limited weight, in combination with the device being steerable, the electric drives and the absence of any hydraulics and the presence of two support rollers with only one rotary device allow the device to be used for non-flat and irregular surfaces, and for non-homogenous stitching. This was found to be very useful for golf courses and/or garden areas.

These and other aspects of the invention will be more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description and considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference symbols designate like parts. List of figures

Figure 1 shows a side view of the device according to the invention.

Figure 2 shows a rear view of the device according to the invention.

Figure 3 shows a front view of the device according to the invention.

Figures 4 and 5 show isometric views of the device according to the invention.

Figure 6 shows a top view of the rotary device.

Figure 7 shows a side view of the rotary device.

Figure 8 shows an isometric view of the rotary device.

Figure 9 shows a side view of the rotary device and the clamp deactivating device. Figure 10 shows a front view of the rotary device and the clamp deactivating device. Figure 11 shows a side view of a detail of the rotary device and the clamp deactivating device.

Figure 12 shows a side view of a detail of the clamp deactivating device. Figure 13 shows a side view of a detail of the clamp deactivating device.

Figure 14 shows a side view of another detail of the clamp deactivating device.

Figure 15 shows a side view of a configuration for short artificial grass strand parts. Figure 16 shows a side view from the left side of a detail of the configuration for short artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 16 shows a side view of a detail of the configuration for short artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 17 shows a side view of another detail of the configuration for short artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 18 shows a side view of yet another detail of the configuration for short artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 19 shows a side view from the left side of a detail of the configuration for long artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 20 shows a side view of a detail of the configuration for long artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 21 shows a side view of another detail of the configuration for long artificial grass strand parts.

Figure 22 shows a side view of yet another detail of the configuration for long artificial grass strand parts.

Figures 23 and 24 show a front view and isometric view of the rotary device including the insertion device.

Figures 25 and 26 show a front view and isometric view of the insertion device in an upper position.

Figures 27 and 28 show a front view and isometric view of the insertion device in a lower position.

Detailed description of the figures

Turning to figures 1 , 2, 3, 4 and 5, the device 10 according to the invention is shown. The device is configured for inserting artificial grass strand parts in the ground.

The device 10 comprises a frame 12 which is configured to support the various parts of the device. The device further comprises a front support roller 14 and a rear support roller 15. The support rollers are connected to the frame 12. The rear support roller 15 is mounted to the frame via support arms 27. The rotatable front support roller and a rotatable rear support roller together carry the device 10. The device 10 is free of any tracks. This prevents damage to the pitch on which the device 10 is used, because the rollers spread the load more evenly and do not have the damaging effect of tracks. The rollers may have a smooth surface without any protrusions which further reduces damage.

The support rollers 14, 15 may comprise a liquid compartment 37 inside the roller and a filling opening 39 in order to be filled with a liquid, in particular water, in order to increase the mass of the device. In this case, two openings 39 are provided for each roller, which, depending on the orientation of the roller, may be alternatively be used as a filling or emptying opening.

The device 10 comprises a steering mechanism 30 configured to pivot at least one of the rollers, in this case the front roller 14, about a vertical or inclined axis 1 1 for manoeuvring the device. The steering mechanism 30 comprises a curved support arm 31. At a lower end of the curved support arm 31 , two forward support arms 32 are connected which in turn are connected to the front roller 14. The curved support arm 31 is connected to the frame at a hinge 33 and capable of making a pivoting movement relative to the frame 12. The steering mechanism 30 may be remotely operable via a wireless connection or a wired connection in order to allow an operator to walk along the device while controlling the device with a remote control 13. Alternatively, an operator may be seated on the device 12.

The steering function may be improved by dividing the front support roller 14 in two separate parts, a right part 14A and a left part 14B (see the dashed line and the two parts in fig. 3). This makes it possible for the right and left part to rotate in opposite directions during a steering action, or to rotate at different speeds.

The device further comprises a plurality of spools 16 having artificial grass strands 18 wound thereon. Typically, the colour of the artificial grass strands will be green, but the device 10 is also capable of using artificial grass strands having a different colour than green. In this way, nice patterns, texts or logos can be stitched on a pitch.

The spools are supported by spool supports 19. The spool supports are connected to an upper frame 20. The spool supports 19 protrude outward in a lateral direction, so that a spool 16 can be slid over the spool support with its central opening and is free to rotate about the spool support during unwinding of the artificial grass strand. The spools 16 are divided in two groups, a left group on a left side of the device and a right group on a right side of the device. The upper frame 20 is positioned centrally on the device 10 and is supported by the frame 12.

The spool supports 19 are hollow and have an open end. The upper frame 20 is also hollow. The inner volume of the spool supports and the upper frame is used as pathways for the artificial grass strands and the artificial grass strands 155 are guided via said pathways to the rotary device 24. The artificial grass strands 155 run through the open end of the spool supports, through the upper frame 20 and towards openings 156 (see fig. 1) which are located directly in front of the rotary device 24 where they emerge and from which point they run to the rotary device 24, see the dashed line in fig.1. This keeps the outer appearance of the device 10 clean and keeps the artificial grass strands out of sight. This also protects the artificial grass strands against entanglement and damage.

The device 10 comprises a roof 21 and a right pivotable panel 22A and a left pivotable panel 22B. The pivotable panels 22A.22B may act as additional roof sections in an upper position or may act as wall panels in a lower position which close the device 10.

The device comprises a machine/control room 26 which is located at a rear end of the device 10. The machine/control room houses various electric parts of the device.

The device 10 is relatively small and has a width of less than 1.5 meter and a length of less than 3,5 meter. This allows the device 10 to be used on relatively small pitches such as greens of golf courses or in gardens. The device 10 comprises a rotary device 24 which in this case has the form of a drum. The rotary device is mounted between the front support roller and the rear support roller. The rotary device 24 is mounted rotatably on the frame 12 and rotates about a substantially horizontal rotation axis 25 which extends in a lateral direction. The rotary device 24 is arranged between the front and rear support roller 14, 15. In side view the rotary device 24 has a circular shape.

The combination of two support rollers 14, 15 and a single rotary device 24 makes the device 10 very manoeuvrable and capable of working in non-flat terrain. The steering mechanism 30 further comprises lifting mechanism 8. The lifting mechanism comprises a cylinder 9. The cylinder may be an electric actuator. A piston part of the cylinder 9 is connected to a mounting point 17 on a (in side view) rearward extension 35 of the forward support arms 31. The rearward extension 35 is actually located centrally behind the front roller 14 and connected to a beam which extends between a left forward support arm and a right forward support arm. The opposite end of the cylinder 9 is connected to a mounting point 23 on the rotating part of the hinge 33. The cylinder 9 has the function of lowering or raising the entire device.

By reducing the length of the cylinder 9, the support arms 32 pivot about a pivot axis 37 relative to the curved support arm 31. In fig. 1 the support arms 32 will pivot clockwise about pivot axis 37. As a result, the front part of the device 10 is raised and the frame 12 will pivot about the rear axis of the rear support roller 15 and be raised. This has the benefit that the rotary device 24 and the insertion device 50 (discussed further below) will become higher above the ground. This makes the device 10 better suitable for transportation. If the cylinder 9 is increased in length, the support arms (in fig.1) will rotate in the opposite direction relative to the curved support arms 31 , and the device 10 will be lowered by making a pivoting movement about the rear support roller 15.

It is also possible to position the curved support arms 31 , the support arms 32 and the cylinder 9 on the forward side of the front support roller 14 instead of on the rear side as shown in fig. 1. This may in effect be advantageous because it reduces the forces in several parts of the construction.

The rotary device 24 is configured to receive a plurality of artificial grass strands 155 which are unwound from the spools 16 and to rotate these artificial grass strands with the movement of the rotary device.

Turning to figures 6-10 and 23-28, the rotary device 24 comprises a plurality of clamps 40. In side view the rotary device 24 comprises twenty four clamps 40 spaced about the circumference of the rotary device. The clamps 40 are spaced at regular angular intervals of 15 degrees and at regular distance 49.

The clamps 40 are configured to hold a series of artificial grass strand parts clamped between a front clamp and a rear clamp, viewed in the direction of rotation, and to cause the artificial grass strand parts to rotate with the rotary device 24. Each clamp 40 comprises a single bar 41 which extends parallel to the rotation axis 25. A plurality of clamping shoe pairs 42 are provided in each bar 41. Each clamp 40 may comprise 30 - 50 clamping shoe pairs 42 arranged in a row for inserting a same number of artificial grass strands 155, and in particular 40 clamping shoe pairs 42. Each clamping shoe pair 42 comprises a first, fixed clamping shoe 43A and a second, moveable clamping shoe 43B. The moveable clamping shoes 43B are moveable between a first, clamping position in which the artificial grass strand 155 is clamped and a second, released position in which the artificial grass strand is not clamped.

Each clamp 40 comprises a single series of clamping shoe pairs 42 which - in side view - are capable of clamping either:

- the front ends of artificial grass strand parts, or

- the rear ends of artificial grass strand parts, and

wherein the clamps are spaced at regular distances, and wherein the cutting device is configured to cut the artificial grass strands between two successive clamps. Unlike the device of WO2016/122312A1 , the clamps 40 do not have a series of front shoes for clamping a rear end of an artificial grass strand part and a series of rear shoes for clamping a front end of a next artificial grass strand part. Rather the clamps 40 - in side view - only have a single series of clamping shoe pairs which are capable of clamping both front ends and rear ends of artificial grass strand parts.

The clamps 40 are connected to one another at their first ends via a first ring shaped member 44A and are connected to one another at their second, opposite end via a second ring shaped member 44B. The first ring shaped member rotates relative to a first guide 45A and the second ring shaped member rotates relative to a second guide 45B.

A rotary device drive 46 is provided to rotate the rotary device 24. The rotary device drive 46 comprises a gear which acts on the rotary device 24. The rotary device 24 is configured to make a start-stop movement as will be explained below. The rotary device rotates in direction 47.

When viewed in side view the clamps 40 are arranged around the rotation axis 25. The clamps 40 rotate with the rotary device 24.

Turning to figures 15-22, the device 10 comprises at least one cutting device 80 for cutting through the artificial grass strands, in order to cut the clamped artificial grass strand parts from the rest of the respective artificial grass strands. The device 10 comprises at least one insertion device 50 for inserting the artificial grass strand parts into the ground. The insertion device comprises a plurality of insertion pins 52 and at least one actuator 82. The actuator 82 is configured to move the insertion pins 52 from an upper, retracted position 90 to a lower, inserted position 91 in which the insertion pins are inserted into the ground over a depth (D1). In this case a right actuator 82A and a left actuator 82B are provided, commonly denoted as 82, but a different arrangement is possible. The insertion device comprises an upper beam 93 which is connected to the pistons

94A, 94B of the actuators 82A,82B. The upper beam comprises a series of holes 95 through which the insertion pins extend. The insertion pins 52 are connected to the upper beam 93 by pin clamps. The insertion pins can be replaced individually by releasing the pin clamps and pulling the insertion pin 52 upwards and out of the beam 93. The actuators 82A,82B are configured to move the upper beam 93 from an upper position to a lower position for inserting the insertion pins 52 into the ground.

The insertion device 50 comprises a lower beam 96 which acts as a guide. The lower beam 96 is connected to the cylinder part 97 of the actuators 82A, 82B via rods 98. The lower beam is stationary in the vertical direction. The lower beam prevents the insertion pins from buckling.

The insertion pins 52 slide through the lower beam 96 in a downward direction when they are inserted into the ground.

The insertion pins may have the shape of an inverted V at a lower end thereof with which the artificial grass strand part can be pushed into the ground. The rotary device 24 is configured to rotate the series of artificial grass strand parts to below the insertion device 50. The insertion device 50 is configured to insert the artificial grass strand parts which have been rotated to below the insertion device into the ground.

Turning to figures 1 1-22, the device 10 comprises a clamp deactivating device 70 which is configured to deactivate the clamps 40. The clamp deactivating device 70 is actuated by same the actuator 82 which also inserts the insertion pins into the ground. In other words, the actuator 82 operates both the insertion device 50 and the clamp

deactivating device 70. The clamp deactivating device 70 comprises a lever 71 which is pivotable about a pivot axis 272. The lever 71 comprises an upper lever part 72 and a lower lever part 78. The upper lever part 72 comprises a left upper lever part 72A and a right upper lever part 72B, commonly denoted as 72. The upper lever part 72 extends upward from the pivot axis 272 and the lower lever part 78 extends downwards from the pivot axis 272.

The actuator 82 comprises two cam rollers 73 at a lower end thereof see figures 12 and 13. The actuator is a linear actuator configured to move the cam rollers 73 downward in the direction of arrow 74 (see figure 13) when the clamps 40 are to be deactivated. The cam rollers engage an abutment surface 75 on the lever 71 and push the lever 71 outward according to arrow 76.

Turning to figure 14, as a consequence, the lower part 78 of the lever is then pushed inward as shown by arrow 77. As will be discussed further below, there are four lower lever parts 78. A lower abutment surface 171 of the lower part 78 of the lever then abuts against an operating member 172 and pushes the operating member 78 inward according to arrow 173. The operating member 172 has an inner abutment end 177 which is pushed against a roller 178 connected to a bar 174 which extends inside an outer tube 175 of the clamp 40. The roller 178 and the bar 174 are pushed inward in the same direction as arrow 173.

The bar 174 is connected to the series of second clamping shoes and moves the second clamping shoes away from the first clamping shoes, thereby releasing the grass strand parts. The bar 174 is biased to a clamping position by a spring 176. As soon as the lower part 78 is retracted again, the clamp is closed again as a result of the spring force of spring 176.

The device 10 according to the invention is configured to operate in two different modes, a short strand mode and a long strand mode. Turning to figures 15-18, in the short strand mode the device is configured to operate at a first takt angle (a1) for artificial grass strand parts having a first, short length. The rotary device each time rotates over the first takt angle, followed by a stop during which an insertion operation is carried out. In case of the short strand mode and the associated first takt angle (a1), each artificial grass strand part is clamped between a leading clamp and a trailing clamp which directly follow one another, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp. Turning to figures 19-22, in the long strand mode, the device is configured to operate at a second takt angle (a2) for artificial grass strand parts having a second, greater length. The rotary device 24 each time rotates over the second takt angle, followed by a stop during which an insertion operation is carried out.

The first takt angle (a1) is in particular 30 degrees and the second takt angle (a2) is in particular 60 degrees. The first takt angle is associated with artificial grass strand parts having a relatively short length of 20 cm, and the second takt angle is associated with artificial grass strands having a relatively long length of 40 cm.

In case of the long strand mode (figs. 19-22) and the associated second takt angle (a2), each artificial grass strand part is clamped between at least a leading clamp and a trailing clamp which have two intermediate clamps between them, wherein the cuts are made in front of the leading clamp and behind the trailing clamp.

Turning to figures 18 and 22, because of this different way of clamping between the short strand mode and the long strand mode, the clamp deactivating device 70 also has to deactivate the clamps 40 in two different ways. The clamp deactivating device 70 is configured to be switched between:

Fig. 18: deactivating - in side view - one clamp 40F on a forward side of the insertion device and one clamp 40R on the rear side of the insertion device, or

Fig. 22: deactivating - in side view - two clamps 40F, 40FF on a forward side of the insertion device and two clamps 40R, 40RR on the rear side of the insertion device. To this end, the clamp deactivating device comprises a reconfigurable lower part

180. The lower part 180 comprises removable end pieces 182 which are removed in the short strand mode and are present in the long strand mode. The removable end pieces 182 connect the lower lever parts 78FF and 78RR with the upper lever parts 72A, 72B when they are present. When they are removed, the lower lever parts 78FF and 78RR are not connected to the upper lever parts and remain stationary when the clamp deactivating device 70 is operated.

Cutting device

Turning to figures 15, 16, 19 and 20, the cutting device 80 comprises a cutting blade 186 and an adjusting mechanism 181 for adjusting - when seen in side view - an angular position of the cutting blade 186. The position of the cutting blade is in particular adjustable between a first position at an angle a3 of 90 degrees from the vertical for long artificial grass strands (fig. 19) and a second position at an angle a4 of 75 degrees from the vertical for short artificial grass strands (fig. 15). The cutting blade 186 and the drive 182 for the cutting blade are supported by a pivotable arm 183 which pivots about a hinge 184.

The cutting blade 186 and the drive 182 are mounted on a rail 185 which extends laterally across the width of the rotary device. The cutting blade can make a stroke from left to right or vice versa for cutting all the artificial grass strands held by the rotary device. In this way the artificial grass strand parts which are to be inserted are separated from the rest of the artificial grass strands. Operation

The method for inserting artificial grass strand parts in a ground comprises positioning the device 10 according to any of the preceding claims on a pitch. The device is moved forward over the pitch to a location and the device is stopped at this location. Next, a series of artificial grass strand parts is moved to below the insertion device 50 by rotation of the rotary device 24 over the takt angle. The series of artificial grass strand parts is clamped between a front clamp 40 and a rear clamp 40, viewed in side view and in relation to the rotation direction of the rotary device 24. As a result of the clamping action, the artificial grass strand are pulled from the spools when the rotary device 24 rotates over the takt angle. Next, the rotary device is stopped.

During the stop, the artificial grass strand parts 150 are cut from the rest of the artificial grass strands by the cutting device 80. In the present configuration, the cutting action is carried out during the stop which precedes the stop in which the artificial grass strand parts are inserted into the ground. In other words, the artificial grass strand parts 150 are cut, followed by a rotation of the rotary device 24 over the takt angle, and in the next stop the artificial grass strand parts are inserted into the ground.

The artificial grass strand parts are inserted into the ground by the insertion device 80.

When desired, the method may comprise switching the device 10 from the short strand mode to the long strand mode or vice versa. This involves repositioning the cutting blade from a first angular position to a second angular position or vice versa.

Artificial grass strands of different colours and may be used for providing a visual pattern of artificial grass strands in a pitch, the pattern representing a logo or text or other kind of figure. The method may involve inserting artificial grass strands in an inclined surface having an inclination of at least 2 degrees to the horizontal, in particular a golf course or a garden. General aspects

The device 10 comprising only a single rotary device 24 and a single insertion mechanism. In one embodiment, the device has a width of less than 1.5 meter and has a mass of less than 500 kg. This results in a reduced size of the machine and a higher manoeuvrability.

The device 10 does not have any hydraulics. All actuators and drives are electric. This reduces a risk of damage to the pitch in case of leakage of hydraulic fluids.

The device 10 comprises a control unit 100 comprising a memory configured for storing a trajectory comprising at least one curve. The control unit 100 is coupled at least to the steering mechanism 30, to the rotary device 24 and to the insertion device 50. The device 10 is configured to follow said trajectory autonomously while inserting artificial grass strands into the ground. The device may follow a predetermined trajectory over a pitch, the trajectory comprising several curves in which the direction of the device is changed over at least 5 degrees, wherein artificial grass strands are inserted along said trajectory including along the curves. The device comprises the control unit which comprises a memory and may be configured for storing a trajectory, and wherein the control unit is coupled to the steering mechanism and to the insertion device, wherein the device follows said trajectory autonomously and inserts artificial grass strand when travelling along said trajectory. As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting, but rather, to provide an understandable description of the invention.

The terms "a" or "an", as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term plurality, as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term another, as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms including and/or having, as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language, not excluding other elements or steps). Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims or the invention.

The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.