|1.||A plant pruning device comprising a pruning body (20) holding at least a set of drive components (47,47', 41,42; 5961) connected with a motor unit (34), at least two cutting blades (23,24; 62,63) connected and controlled by said drive components, a catchbar (32) connectable with said body to use the device at various heights, and wherein said cutting blades are placed one in front of the other, with a first cutting blade designed to cut the part to be removed, while the second blade at least marks the area to be cut on the side opposite to the first cutting blade.|
|2.||The device according to claim 1, wherein the drive components include at least a connecting rod system (47,41) controlled by the motor unit (34) by means of a drive pinion (48), and the cutting blades (23,24) are rectilinear blades attached to the connecting rods and provided with reciprocating motion simultaneously.|
|3.||The device according to claim 1, wherein the drive components are composed of two connecting rods (47,41; 47', 42), that are simultaneously driven by said motor unit (34) by means of a drive pinion (48), and the cutting blades (23,24) are rectilinear blades attached to the connecting rods and provided with reciprocating motion, said cutting blades moving simultaneously in the same or opposite direction.|
|4.||The device according to claim 2 or 3, wherein one cutting blade is at an angle in relation to the other, the angle being adjustable.|
|5.||The device according to claim 4, wherein the gap between the cutting blades is invariable.|
|6.||The device according to claim 4, wherein the gap between the cutting blades is adjustable, a cutting blade (23) being fixed while the other cutting blade (24) is mounted on a slider (52) which moves crosswise and can be blocked in various positions.|
|7.||The device according to claim 6, wherein the cutting blades are associated with a roller sliding block (55), that is linked with the body (20), the slider (52) moves along said sliding block, and said slider is connected with a return spring (26) acting to move the cutting blade mounted on it towards the other cutting blade.|
|8.||The device according to any of the previous claims, wherein the cutting blades are flush and offset sideways.|
|9.||The device according to any of the previous claims, wherein the cutting blades (23,24) are associated with a discharge element (125), protruding at least on one side of the first cutting blade, so that it can slide along the cut tree portion, said discharge element (125) being at a fixed angle or adjustable in relation to the upper blade.|
|10.||The device according to claim 1, wherein the drive components include two sets of toothed gears, located on the opposite sides of the drive unit (61), controlled by the motor unit (34), and wherein the cutting blades are disc blades (62,63) on parallel shafts (60), the shaft of a disc cutting blade matching the axis of a gear of a first set of gears, while the shaft of the other disc cutting blade matches the axis of a gear of a second set of gears.|
|11.||The device according to claim 10, wherein the drive components are mounted on a Ushaped body, which has two parallel arms linked by a crosspiece, and wherein the disc cutting blades (62,63) are flush with the parallel arms and the drive unit (61) is on the centreline of the crosspiece of the Ushaped unit.|
|12.||The device according to claim 11, wherein the Ushaped unit is fixed on one side of the body (20) of the device, and the drive unit (61) is on line and linked with an axis driven by the motor unit (34), said axis including the drive pinion controlling the connecting rod/s of the rectilinear cutting blades.|
|13.||The device according to claim 12, wherein the drive unit (61) and the motor driven axis are linked by means of a quickconnecting power takeoff (57), said axis including a pinion designed to control the connecting rod/rod of the rectilinear reciprocating cutting blades (23,24).|
|14.||A plant pruning device comprising a body (20) holding at least one set of drive components (47,47', 41,42; 5961), connected with the motor unit (34), two pairs of cutting blades (23,24; 62,63), that are controlled by said drive components, a catch bar (32) connectable with said body to use the device at various heights, wherein one pair of blades are rectilinear and opposite blades, while the other pair of blades are disc blades on parallel axes and wherein a first blade of each pair is designed to cut one part of the member to prune, while the second blade of each pair marks the area to be cut from the opposite side.|
|15.||The device according to any of the previous claims, wherein the motor is installed on the body (20) of the device or along the catchbar (32), or in a remote location.|
|16.||The device according to any of the previous claims, wherein the body (20) of the device is equipped with a tubular piece (29) for the connection of the telescopic catchbar (32), said tubular section having an outlet, connected with a cable that is routed towards the motor installed on the device, the other end of said cable being connected with the plug mounted on the catchbar, that in turn is connected with the motor power source.|
State of the Art Pruning devices for fruit and wood trees, capable of cutting small branches or trunks, have already been proposed, but they are not suitable to cut those small branches or trunks which, before being cut, usually from the top to the bottom, tend to bend as a result of their weight, thus breaking the trunk bark without coming off. This is why most of the operators in this sector prefer to use traditional pruning devices, i. e. manual saws, which are difficult to use, risky and have a low efficiency rate.
Objects and summary of the Invention A primary object of this invention is to provide a simple, cheap, user-friendly and efficient device, that can be easily inserted among the small branches and trunks, thus reaching any position and direction, without the problems that the traditional technique poses..
Another object of the invention is to provide a double-effect plant pruning device, that can be used to simultaneously cut small branches and trunks on two opposite sides, usually from the top to the bottom and vice versa, thus preventing any bark tearing.
A further object of the invention is to provide a plant pruning device that can be equipped with different interchangeable tools, depending on the plant variety, type, diameter and on the weakness or hardness of the parts to be removed.
The above-mentioned objects and the relevant advantages are achieved by means of a pruning device that is composed of a body containing the main drive components starting from a motor, at least two opposite blades that can be connected with each other and controlled by the drive elements, and a holding and control bar, connectable with the body, thus allowing the device to be used at different heights.
The device of the invention can be equipped with rectilinear, toothed, reciprocating and adjustable-angle blades, with circular blades or rectilinear and circular blades at the same time, that can be used each other alternatively.
Brief description of the drawings
The invention will be described in detail by referring to the attached drawings, that must not be considered as binding an wherein: Fig. 1 is a sectional view of the unit controlling the two reciprocating blades and the two circular blades; Fig. 1A and 1B are, according to the arrows I and II of Fig. 1, a schematic view of the control systems of the two reciprocating blades; Fig. 2 is a device equipped with the reciprocating and circular blades; Fig. 3 is a section of the device, equipped with the reciprocating blades; Fig. 4 is a view similar to the view of Fig. 3, but it also includes a return spring, combined with a cutting blade; Fig. 4a is a view of a device with an additional discharge system, combined with the reciprocating cutting blades; Fig. 5 is a different view of a modified rectilinear cutting blade; Fig. 6 is view of a device equipped with two circular cutting blades; Fig. 7 is a view of a drive system which controls the circular blades of a device like the one shown in Fig. 6; Fig. 8 and 9 show some examples of connections between the device and a power battery; and Fig. 10 shows a sectional view of the holding bar and the routing of the electrical cable in the bar.
Detailed Description of the Invention The devices of the invention comprises a body 20, which contains the drive components to operate at least two cutting blades 23,24; 62,63, starting from a motor 34, that can be connected with a holding and steering bar 32.
The body 20 is made of light-weight and heavy-duty materials, like aluminium alloys, titanium, magnesium, etc. It is composed of two complementary shells, an upper shell 21 and a lower shell 22, which hold and contain the drive components.
The drive components include an upper connecting rod 41, a lower connecting rod 42, with an end tab 53,54, respectively facing a body 20 hole. The first connecting rod 41 is controlled by the relevant crank, that is composed of the gear 47, rotating around the axis 51 and holding a non-centred pin 45, that is inserted in a curved slot 43 on the connecting rod. Similarly, the connecting rod 42 is controlled by the gear 47',
rotating on the axis 51, with a non-centred pin 46 that is inserted in the slot 44 of the connecting rod-Figures 1,1A and 1B.
The gears 47,47'are linked and rotatd by a drive pinion 48, that is controlled by the motor system 34. In the shown example, the pinion 48 enters in sliding slots 49,50 on the connecting rods 41,42; its free end has a fast-on power takeoff 57, that can be accessed through the hole on the side of the body 20-Fig. 1.
The motor system 34 is preferably a DC system, within a case on the body 20, although the motor can also be placed away from the body 20, along the holding bar, or as a stand-alone unit. It can be a hydraulic, pneumatic or even and petrol engine.
In a first configuration, the tab of a connecting rod (in the drawings the first connecting rod 41) is fixed to a the first cutting blade 23, i. e. the upper blade, while the tab of the second connecting rod, i. e. the connecting rod 42, is fixed to a second cutting blade 24, i. e. the lower blade, and a goose-neck joint 27 is placed in between-Fig. 3.
The blades 23,23 are rectilinear; their teeth face each other and, thanks to their link with the connecting rods, they have a simultaneous rectilinear reciprocating movement, to saw the affected part from opposite sides. When the connecting rods are offset by one stroke, as shown in Figures. 1, IA and 1B, the blades will be offset, too so that the forward stroke of one blade corresponds to the backward stroke of the second blade.
The upper blade 23 cuts the branch or small trunk, while the lower blade 24 marks or partially cuts the opposite side of the same branch or small trunk, thus preventing any bark tearing.
The two cutting blades 23 and 24 can also be anchored to the same connecting rod; in such a case they will have a simultaneous reciprocating movement, but since their teeth are opposite, one blade will act during the stroke in one direction while the second blade will be effective during the stroke in the opposite direction.
When anchored on the goose-neck 27, the lower blade 24 distance from the upper blade 23 does not change. However, the distance between the two cutting blades should be adjusted when better access to branches and small trunks of different sizes is required. Thus, a roller sliding block 25, with one or more rollers 55, is preferably mounted on the front part of the body 20. The rollers 55 face the cutting blades and support the section to be cut, when the tool is close to it. The second cutting blade 24 can be connected not only with the goose-neck as previously described, but also with a slider 52, guided by the sliding block 25 transversally to the cutting blades-Fig. 4. The
slider is driven by a return spring 26 which moves the second blade closer to the first blade, thus improving the cutting of the branch or small trunk. Moreover, the slider 52 can be stopped in any position along the sliding block by means of the anchoring bolts 56, so that the gap between the cutting blades 23,24 can be adjusted.
To be noted that the second cutting blade 24, which can be anchored on the goose-neck 27 or move with the slider 52, can be adjusted and blocked at any angle in relation to the first blade 23. The two cutting blades can be flush or offset, according to the needs. The second toothed cutting blade 24 can be replaced by a roller blade 124, shown in Fig. 5, that marks or cuts a branch or a small trunk on the side opposite to the first cutting blade 23, that actually cuts it.
The cutting blades 23,24 can be associated with a discharge element 125, protruding on one or both sides of the upper blade 23-Fig. 4a. This component 125 can be fixed or adjustable; it comes in touch with the part being cut and facilitates the cutting. The discharge element 125 is more efficient when this element and the lower blade are at an angle in relation to the upper blade.
The body 20, on the opposite side of the cutting blades, has a tubular section 29, used as a handle 30 to control the device or as a connecting point for the telescopic catch-bar 32, that can be extended according to the needs.
The tubular section 29 can be mounted on the body 20 at a pre-set angle, that cannot be changed. However, in order to facilitate the adjustment of the device in relation to the handle 30 or the catch-bar 32, the tubular section 29 is connected with the body 20 by means of a joint 28, that can be adjusted in one or more directions. The tubular section 29 also has an element 31, that can be linked with the end of the catch- bar 32 and blocked by means of a lock-ring 33, thus forming a rigid unit.
The connection and release of the bar 32 and the supply to the electrical motor 34, when installed on the device, are facilitated by the electrical cable 35, coming from the motor 34, routed through the tubular section 29 and then connected to the outlet 36, located on the free end of the tubular section, and to a similar cable 35', routed along the catch-bar 32. One end of this cable has a plug 37, that can be plugged into the outlet 36 on the tubular section 29, while the other end has a plug 38, that can be connected with a power source. The power source can be the battery of a tilling machine or, for example, a shoulder battery 68. The plug 38 on one end of the cable 35'can be plugged in the outlet 39 connected by means of the pliers 66 with the battery poles-Fig. 9-
without any electronic motor control and automatic stop device 40, in case of a device jam.
At least a section of the cable 35', routed through the catch-bar 32, can be given a helical shape-Fig. 10-thus increasing the length of the available cable to extend the telescopic bar; when the bar is shortened it does not affect the cable section going from the bar to the power supply source.
The device can be equipped and used with two rectilinear reciprocating cutting blades 23,24, that mark and cut the branches or small trunks from opposite sides. This device can also be equipped with at least two disc or circular blades 62,63, that are controlled by a drive system connected with a drive pinion 48 inside the body 20; the rotary motion is given by the motor unit 34.
In the configuration shown in Figures 2,6 and 7, a drive unit includes a U- shaped box 58 with two opposite flaps 58', where anchoring screws are placed, to mount it on the body 20 of the device. The U-shaped unit 58 contains a gear drive that controls the rotation of the disc blades 62,63. This drive unit also includes a shaft 61, that can be connected with the power takeoff 57, which is integral with the drive pinion 48, fixed by means of a worm screw 61'. It engages the first two gears 59 on opposite sides. Each gear controls a final gear, that is keyed on a shaft 60, by means of other gears 59'.
The shaft 61 is located on the centreline of the U-shaped unit 58, while the shafts 60 are located along the parallel arms of the body. The disc cutting blades 62,63 are anchored onto these shafts, i. e. one blade is on one arm and the second blade on the other arm of the U-shaped unit and the protruding sections are protected by the cover 64.
If the gears holding the shafts 60 are carefully selected, the disc blades can rotate in the same or in the opposite direction. Moreover, the blades can be flush or offset, according to the needs. Also in this case the upper blade 62 cuts the branch or small trunk, while the lower blade 63 marks or partially cuts the branch or trunk from the side opposite to the upper cutting blade.
Therefore the same device can be equipped with two rectilinear reciprocating blades and/or and least two circular cutting blades. However, as shown in the configuration of Fig. 6 and without departing from the scope of this invention, the device can be equipped with at least two circular blades 62,63. In such a case, it may have a different body 65, which no longer contains the connecting rods and cranks.
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