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Title:
A HANDLING DEVICE FOR MOVING HEAVY WHEELED ITEMS AND EQUIPMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/097502
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A handler system (1) for use in manual handling of wheeled server racks (2) and the like is made up of a first length adjustable strap anchoring bracket (3) and a second length adjustable strap ratcheting bracket (4) co-operable with the first anchor bracket (3) to securely clamp and grip the server rack (2) between the anchor and ratchet brackets (3, 4) with a strap (5) anchored to the anchor bracket (3) and ratcheted tightly at the ratchet bracket (4) in use.

Inventors:
RYAN, John Bernard (231 Glendale Meadows, Leixlip, Co. Kildare W23 D6D6, IE)
Application Number:
IE2018/000016
Publication Date:
May 23, 2019
Filing Date:
November 13, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
STEPLIFT LIMITED (Unit 31, Block 503CRathcoole D24 W996, Dublin, IE)
International Classes:
B65G7/12; A45F5/10; A47J45/10; B65D25/28; H05K5/02; H05K7/14
Foreign References:
US9248941B12016-02-02
FR2955290A12011-07-22
US20070006427A12007-01-11
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GORDON, Naoise (NP Gordon & Associates, AnnyallaCastleblayney, Co. Monaghan A75 RW77, IE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A handler system for handling items comprising:

an anchoring strap bracket for placing against a side of an item and a strap ratcheting bracket for placing against an opposite side of an item, the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket being length adjustable in accordance with the dimensions of an item.

2. A handler system as claimed in Claim 1 wherein the length adjustable strap anchoring bracket comprises a telescopic arm.

3. A handler system as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 2 wherein the length adjustable strap ratcheting bracket comprises a telescopic arm. 4. A handler system as claimed in Claim 2 or Claim 3 wherein the telescopic arm comprises a shaft slidably mounted in a sleeve.

5. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 2 to 4 wherein the telescopic arm comprises a length setting mechanism to set the length of the telescopic arm.

6. A handler system as claimed in Claim 5 wherein the length setting mechanism comprises a pin in the sleeve and at least one opening in the shaft for receiving the pin.

7. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 6 wherein the strap anchoring bracket comprises an anchor mounting for a strap.

8. A handler system as claimed in Claim 7 wherein the strap anchoring bracket comprises an anchor mounting at each end of the telescopic arm.

9. A handler system as claimed in Claim 7 or Claim 8 wherein the anchor mounting comprises a male-female fitting. 10. A handler system as claimed in Claim 9 wherein the male-female fitting comprises an E-Track fitting and/or an E-strap anchor.

1 1 . A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 10 wherein the strap ratcheting bracket comprises a ratchet.

12. A handler system as claimed in Claim 1 1 wherein the ratchet is mounted on the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket.

13. A handler system as claimed in Claim 12 wherein the ratchet is mounted on the sleeve of the telescopic arm.

14. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 13 wherein the strap ratcheting bracket comprises a strap holder.

15. A handler system as claimed in Claim 14 wherein the strap holder comprises a belt-loop like mounting.

16. A handler system as claimed in Claim 15 wherein the belt-loop like mounting comprises a channel through which a strap can pass.

17. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 14 to 16 wherein the strap holder comprises strap guides to guide a strap through the strap holder. 18. A handler system as claimed in Claim 17 wherein the strap guides comprise finger-like strap guides.

19. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 18 wherein the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket comprise at least one handle.

20. A handler system as claimed in Claim 19 wherein the at least one handle comprises an ergonomic handle.

21. A handler system as claimed in Claim 20 wherein the ergonomic handle comprises a handlebar-like handle.

22. A handler system as claimed in Claim 21 wherein the handlebar-like handle comprises a pair of oppositely disposed handles on the telescopic arm.

23. A handler system as claimed in Claim 22 wherein each handle of the pair of oppositely disposed handles is oriented inwards at an angle of about 45° to the longitudinal axis of the telescopic arm. 24. A handler system as claimed in Claim 22 or Claim 23 wherein the pair of handles comprise rubber grips.

25. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 24 wherein the handler system further comprises a strap.

26. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 25 wherein the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket comprise buffers for buffering against items to protect the items. 27. A handler system as claimed in Claim 26 wherein the buffers comprise rubber buffers.

28. A handler system as claimed in Claim 27 wherein the rubber buffers comprise U-channel shaped buffers.

29. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 28 wherein the handler system comprises a handler system for handling wheeled items.

30. A handler system as claimed in any of Claims 1 to 29 wherein the handler system comprises a server rack or cabinet handler system.

Description:
A HANDLING DEVICE FOR MOVING HEAVY WHEELED ITEMS

AND EQUIPMENT

Introduction This invention relates to a handling device for moving equipment and more particularly to a handler system for moving heavy wheeled items and equipment such as racks, power supply units, electrical goods and the like.

Background of the Invention

Modern computer, communications, power and similar equipment must be handled with care in order to avoid damage to the equipment which can be extremely sensitive and expensive. Such equipment is frequently provided with wheels and can include computer equipment, heavy presses, fire safes, power supply units, refrigerators, communications equipment and the like. Nevertheless, the equipment is frequently heavy and cumbersome and housed or located in confined spaces in which it can be difficult to move the equipment without damaging the equipment or causing injury to operatives moving the equipment. For example, computer hardware such as servers are generally housed in racks or cabinets, hereinafter referred to as racks, in data centres with many racks being located side by side in large numbers in the data centres with little space between the racks in order to optimise the number of servers in the data centre. The server racks are generally provided with small wheels to allow for accurate manual positioning of the server racks. However, generally racks are not provided with handles - particularly new racks which can be covered in plastics and/or packaging to present a smooth outer surface for efficient transport of the racks. The racks are also large items. Accordingly, the racks can be difficult for operatives to safely grip and handle for moving resulting in significant risk of damage to the rack being moved, adjacent racks and/or the operative’s hands/fingers.

In order to move racks, operatives have been known to employ improvised solutions such as pulling and pushing racks and the like with straps. However, such improvised devices are also fundamentally unstable as the strap is invariably slack resulting in the risk of serious injury to the operatives and damage to the rack.

Moreover, the absence of suitable devices for handling the racks combined with the need to avoid damage to the racks during moving operations can cause increased stress levels for operatives.

An object of the invention is to overcome at least some of the problems of the prior art.

Summary of the Invention

According to the invention there is provided a handler system for handling items comprising:

an anchoring strap bracket for placing against a side of an item and a strap ratcheting bracket for placing against an opposite side of an item, the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket being length adjustable in accordance with the dimensions of an item. Preferably, the length adjustable strap anchoring bracket comprises a telescopic arm. More preferably, the length adjustable strap ratcheting bracket comprises a telescopic arm.

Preferably, the telescopic arm comprises a shaft slidably mounted in a sleeve. More preferably, the telescopic arm comprises a length setting mechanism to set the length of the telescopic arm. Most preferably, the length setting mechanism comprises a pin in the sleeve and at least one opening in the shaft for receiving the pin. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the strap anchoring bracket comprises an anchor mounting for a strap. Preferably, the strap anchoring bracket comprises an anchor mounting at each end of the telescopic arm. More preferably, the anchor mounting comprises a male-female fitting. Most preferably, the male-female fitting comprises an E-Track fitting and/or an E-strap anchor.

Preferably, the strap ratcheting bracket comprises a ratchet. More preferably, the ratchet is mounted on the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket. Most preferably, the ratchet is mounted on the sleeve of the telescopic arm. Suitably, the strap ratcheting bracket comprises a strap holder. Preferably, the strap holder comprises a belt-loop like mounting. More preferably, the belt-loop like mounting comprises a channel through which a strap can pass. Advantageously, the strap holder comprises strap guides to guide a strap through the strap holder. Preferably, the strap guides comprise finger-like strap guides.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket comprise at least one handle. Preferably, the at least one handle comprises an ergonomic handle. More preferably, the ergonomic handle comprises a handlebar-like handle. Most preferably, the handlebar-like handle comprises a pair of oppositely disposed handles on the telescopic arm. Optimally, each handle of the pair of oppositely disposed handles is oriented inwards at an angle of about 45° to the longitudinal axis of the telescopic arm.

Preferably, the pair of handles comprise rubber grips.

The invention also extends to a handler system further comprising a strap. Preferably, the strap anchoring bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket comprise buffers for buffering against items to protect the items. More preferably, the buffers comprise rubber buffers. Most preferably, the rubber buffers comprise U-channel shaped buffers. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the handler system comprises a handler system for handling wheeled items.

In a particularly preferred embodiment of the invention, the handler system

comprises a server rack or cabinet handler system.

The advantages of the invention are many. The handler system is adapted to clamp and hold large items such as server racks so that the server racks can be moved in a safe and efficient manner. The length adjustable nature of the strap ratcheting bracket and the strap ratcheting bracket ensures that the handler system is suitable for use with a large range of items of various shapes and sizes.

The ergonomic design and positioning of the handler system handles of the handler system ensure that operatives’ hands are protected in use while the ergonomic design also ensures comfortable and strain free use by operatives. As items can be moved without damage to the item or the operative, operative stress levels are also reduced.

The strap anchor mounting and in particular the E-track fitting ensures a strong strap attachment to the strap anchoring bracket which can nevertheless be easily detached when required.

The solid nature of the brackets of the handler system ensure optimal control of items such as server racks in use while the ratchet provided on the ratchet bracket eliminates slack in the strap for enhanced clamping, safety and manoeuvrability. Brief Description of the Drawings

The invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a perspective view from above and one side the handler system of the invention made up of a length adjustable first strap anchoring handler/bracket and a second length adjustable strap ratcheting handler/bracket clamped in position on opposite sides of a server rack and connected by a ratchet strap extending around the rack;

Figure 2 is a perspective view from above and the opposite ratchet bracket side of the handler system of Figure 1 on the rack with the ratchet visible on the ratchet bracket;

Figure 3 is an enlarged perspective view from above and one side of the first strap anchoring bracket of the handler system provided with E-track fitting and E- strap anchors to attach the strap to the strap anchoring bracket with the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket in an extended position;

Figure 4 is an enlarged perspective view from above and one side of the first strap anchoring bracket of the handler system provided with E-track fittings and E- strap anchors to attach the strap to the strap anchoring bracket with the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket in a fully retracted position; Figure 5 is a top plan view of the anchoring bracket of Figure 4;

Figure 6 is a side elevation of the anchoring bracket of Figure 5; Figure 7 is a perspective view from above and one side of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 8 is a side elevation of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 9 is a top plan view of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 10 is an end view of the sleeve portion of the of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 1 1 is a perspective view from above and one side of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket; Figure 12 is a side elevation of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 13 is a top plan view of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket; Figure 14 is an end view of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket;

Figure 15 is an enlarged perspective view from above and one side of the second strap ratcheting bracket of the handler system with the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket in an extended position to grip a server rack at each side with the end grips at each end of the telescopic arm and with the ratchet removed for clarity;

Figure 16 is an enlarged perspective view from above and one side of the second strap ratcheting bracket of the handler system of Figure 15 with the telescopic arm of the anchoring bracket in a fully retracted position;

Figure 17 is an exploded perspective view from above and one side of second strap ratcheting bracket of Figure 16;

Figure 18 is a side elevation of the second strap ratcheting bracket of Figure

15;

Figure 19 is a top plan view of the second strap ratcheting bracket;

Figure 20 is a perspective view from above and one side of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket of Figure 15;

Figure 21 is a perspective view from above and the front side of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket of Figure 20; Figure 22 is a side elevation of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket; Figure 23 is a top plan view of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket;

Figure 24 is an end view of the sleeve portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket;

Figure 25 is a perspective view from above and one side of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket of Figure 15;

Figure 26 is a top plan view of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket of Figure 15;

Figure 27 is a side elevation of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket, and Figure 28 an end view of the shaft portion of the telescopic arm of the strap ratcheting bracket. Detailed Description of the Invention

As shown in the drawings, a handler system 1 for use in manual handling of wheeled server racks 2 and the like is made up of a first length adjustable strap anchoring bracket 3 (hereinafter referred to as an anchor bracket 3) and a second length adjustable strap ratcheting bracket 4 (hereinafter referred to as a ratchet bracket 4) co-operable with the first anchor bracket 3 to securely clamp and grip the server rack 2 between the anchor and ratchet brackets 3,4 with a strap 5 anchored to the anchor bracket 3 and ratcheted tightly at the ratchet bracket 4 in use. As shown particularly in Figures 6 and 7, the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket 4 are placed at opposite first and second sides 6,7 (generally the narrower sides 6,7 where present) of the server rack 2 and the strap 5 extends between the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket 4 along the remaining opposite sides 8,9 (generally the longer sides 8,9 where present) of the server rack 2.

The length adjustable anchor bracket 3 and the length adjustable ratchet bracket 4 are similar in that both are made up of a telescopic arm 10 for adjusting the length of the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket 4 in accordance with the dimensions of the server rack 2. Each telescopic arm 10 is provided with a set of handlebar-like handles 11 for manual gripping with each set of handles 1 1 being made up of a first handle 12 and an oppositely disposed second handle 13 at each end of the telescopic arm 10. The first handle 12 and the second handle 13 are ergonomically shaped for a comfort grip and are each disposed inwards at an angle of

approximately 45° with respect to the longitudinal axis of the telescopic arm 10 for added comfort, ease of grip and manoeuvrability in use. The first and second handles 12,13 are also provided with rubber grips to improve grip in use.

As shown particularly in Figures 3 to 12, the telescopic arm 10 of the anchor bracket 3 is made up of an elongate sleeve 14 from which an elongate slidable shaft 15 projects. The slidable shaft 15 is moved inwards and outwards with respect to the sleeve 14 to vary the length of the telescopic arm 10 in accordance with the dimensions of the rack 2 to be handled. The sleeve 14 is provided with a first strap anchor mounting 16 for securely attaching the strap 5 to the anchor bracket 3. The first strap anchor mounting 16 has a first E-track fitting 17 for easily and securely attaching the strap 5 to the first strap anchor mounting 16.

The telescopic arm 10 is also provided with a length setting mechanism 18 in the form of a pin 19 on the sleeve 10 engagable with the shaft 15 in the sleeve 14.

The slidable shaft 15 has a shaft sleeve portion 20 from which the shaft 15 proper projects. The shaft 15 has a series of shaft openings 21 defined along its length which can receive the pin 19 on the sleeve 14 to complete the length setting mechanism 18. At its free end, the shaft 15 is provided with a second anchor strap mounting 22 having a second E-track fitting 23 for attaching the strap 5 to the anchor bracket 3 at its other end. Accordingly, in use as shown in Figures 1 and 2, the strap 5 extends around the server rack 2 from the first E-track fitting 17 to the second E- track fitting 23. As shown particularly in Figures 15 to 28, the length-adjustable ratchet bracket 4 is broadly similar to the anchor bracket 3 in that the ratchet bracket 4 has a telescopic arm 10 made up of a sleeve 14 and shaft 15 slidably mounted in the sleeve 14 with the length of the telescopic arm 10 being settable with a length setting mechanism 18 as previously described. However, instead of a first strap anchor mounting 16, the sleeve 14 of the ratchet bracket 4 is provided with an inwardly projecting grip plate 24 on its inside face to grip the server 2 at its corner. More particularly, the grip plate 24 and the sleeve 14 together define an angle of about 90° to grip the corner of the server rack 2.

On its opposite outside face, the sleeve 14 is provided with a strap holder 25 to hold the strap 5 against the outside face of the telescopic arm 10. The strap holder 25 is made up of a belt-loop like mounting 26 defining a strap channel 27 through which the strap 5 can pass and the strap 5 is held in place and guided through the strap channel 27 by finger-like strap guides 25. The ergonomic first handle 12 is mounted on the strap holder 25.

Similarly, the shaft 15 of the ratchet bracket 4 is provided with a second inwardly projecting grip plate 29 on its inside face to grip the server 2 at its corner instead of the second strap anchor mounting 22. As before, the grip plate 24 and the sleeve 14 together define an angle of about 90° to grip the comer of the server rack 2. In addition, on its opposite outside face, the shaft 15 is provided with a second strap holder 30 to hold the strap 5 against the outside face of the telescopic arm 10. As before, the strap holder 30 is made up a belt-loop like mounting 31 defining a strap channel 32 through which the strap 5 can pass and the strap 5 is held in place and guided through the strap channel 32 by finger-like strap guides 33. The ergonomic second handle 13 is mounted on the strap holder 30.

The ratchet bracket 4 is further provided with a ratchet 34 on its outside face through which the strap 5 is passed for tightening of the strap 5 about the server rack in use. The ratchet 34 can be mounted on a sliding bracket to hold the ratchet in place on the ratchet bracket 4.

In use, the telescopic arms 10 of the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket are adjusted in accordance with the size of the server rack 2 to be moved. The strap 5 is then looped through the strap holders 25,30 and the ratchet 34 of the ratchet bracket 4 and the ratchet bracket 4 positioned at the first side 6 of the server rack 2 and the anchor bracket 3 positioned at the second opposite side 7 of the server rack 2. The strap 5 is then connected at each end to the first and second E-track fittings 17,23 of the first and second strap anchor mountings 16,22. With the anchor and ratchet brackets 3,4 positioned at the desired height on the rack 2, the ratchet 34 is then operated by the operative to tighten the strap 5 between the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket 4 so that the rack 2 is securely clamped between the anchor bracket 3 and the ratchet bracket 4. The rack 2 can then be safely manoeuvred, moved and wheeled by an operative by gripping the ergonomic handlebar-like handles 1 1 a required.

In a further embodiment of the invention, the brackets 3,4 can be provided with bracket stabilisers to stabilise the brackets in use and prevent the brackets from sliding on server racks and the like in use e.g. this can be in the form of a 40 x 50mm plate facing the server rack 2 on each corner of the system 1 to allow for extra grip and stability when pushing the anchor brackets 3,4.

As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art the system 1 of the invention and in particular the brackets 3,4 and their components can be dimensioned as required in accordance with the dimensions of the server racks 2, the strap 5 and the strap anchor mountings 16,22.

All surfaces of the handling system 1 that come into contact with the server rack 2 are also provided with heavy grade rubber U-channel shaped protective buffers to protect the racks 2 from damage.

It should be noted that although the above description describes the handler system 1 as being used with server racks 2, the handler system is suitable for use with a wide range of wheeled items such as computer equipment, heavy presses, fire safes, power supply units, refrigerators, communications equipment and the like. Accordingly, the invention should not be construed as being limited to use with server racks.