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Title:
LATCHING CLOSURE DRIVE ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/205931
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a latching closure drive assembly for use with a closure such as a door, gate, shutter or barrier. In particular, the invention relates to an assembly comprising a closure drive trolley for travel along a track, having an onboard latch movable between a deployed position and a release position, to lock the trolley to the track. In one embodiment, the trolley is driven by a longitudinal drive means (such as a chain or belt, driven by a motor) which engages with the trolley, the assembly including a latch release mechanism that moves the onboard latch into the release position when the longitudinal drive means is operated to move the trolley from its locking position. The trolley includes a trolley body and a separate slider body confined in a bore within the trolley body and arranged for longitudinal movement relative thereto, the longitudinal drive means being arranged for connection to the slider body. The trolley body and the slider body are mutually engaged in such a way that the relative movement between the two acts to move the onboard latch into the release position.

Inventors:
BROFF, Roy (6-8 Fiveways BlvdKeysborough, Victoria 3173, 3173, AU)
HAWKINS, Raymond (6-8 Fiveways BlvdKeysborough, Victoria 3173, 3173, AU)
Application Number:
AU2017/050534
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
June 02, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AUTOMATIC TECHNOLOGY (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD (6-8 Fiveways Boulevard, Keysborough, Victoria 3173, 3173, AU)
International Classes:
E05F15/681
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FPA PATENT ATTORNEYS PTY LTD (Level 43, 101 Collins StreetMelbourne, Victoria 3000, 3000, AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A closure drive assembly comprising a closure drive trolley for travel along a track, having an onboard latch movable between a deployed position and a release position, wherein in the deployed position the onboard latch engages with respect to the track to prevent movement of the trolley.

2. The assembly of claim 1 , wherein the onboard latch automatically engages with a part of the track when the trolley is moved into a locking location along the track.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the trolley is arranged to be driven by a longitudinal drive means (such as a chain or belt driven by a motor) which engages with the trolley, the assembly including a latch release mechanism that moves the onboard latch into the release position when the longitudinal drive means is operated to move the trolley from its locking position.

4. The assembly of claim 3, configured such that, when the trolley is in its

locking position and the onboard latch is in its deployed position, initial movement of the longitudinal drive means operates the latch release mechanism to move the onboard latch into the release position while the trolley remains in its locking location, and further movement of the longitudinal drive element moves the trolley along the track.

5. The assembly of any preceding claim, wherein the trolley includes a trolley body and a separate slider body arranged for movement relative to the trolley body, wherein the longitudinal drive means is arranged for

connection to said slider body, and the trolley body and the slider body are mutually engaged such that the relative movement therebetween acts to move the onboard latch into the release position.

6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body is confined to a prescribed drive play or backlash, such that reversing drive movement to the trolley takes up the drive play or backlash to move the onboard latch body to its released position before further movement of the trolley along the track.

7. The assembly of claim 5 or claim 6, wherein the mutual engagement between the trolley body and the slider body is by way of a cam mechanism.

8. The assembly of claim 7, configured such that the movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body is in the longitudinal direction relative to the rack, and the cam action moves said latch in a direction transverse to that longitudinal direction.

9. The assembly of any one of claims 5 to 8, wherein said slider body is

confined within the trolley body.

10. The assembly of any one of claims 5 to 9, wherein the trolley body includes a longitudinal bore shaped and sized to accommodate an elongated slider body.

1 1. The assembly of claim 10, wherein the longitudinal bore is positioned

substantially along the longitudinal centreline of the trolley body.

12. The assembly of claim 10 or claim 1 1 , wherein the longitudinal bore and the slider body are substantially rectangular in transverse cross section.

13. The assembly of any one of claims 9 to 12, wherein said onboard latch is associated with a cam follower and the slider body includes a camming surface arranged for engaging therewith.

14. The assembly of any one of claims 3 to 13, including a mechanism to

selectively disengage the trolley from said longitudinal drive means by way of a drive disengagement action, wherein the disengagement action also results in moving the onboard latch between the deployed position and the release position.

15. The assembly of claim 14, wherein the drive disengage mechanism is

carried by said slider body, and said drive disengagement action results in movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body.

16. The assembly of claim 15, wherein the drive disengagement mechanism includes a drive disengagement latch, and the slider body and the trolley body include cooperating apertures through which the drive disengagement latch passes.

17. The assembly of claim 15 or claim 16, configured such that at least a part of the drive disengagement mechanism bears against the slider body once the drive play or backlash is taken up.

Description:
LATCHING CLOSURE DRIVE ASSEMBLY

Technical field

[0001] The invention relates generally to a latching closure drive assembly and in particular such an assembly for use with a closure such as a door, gate, shutter or barrier. In particular, the invention relates to an assembly comprising a closure drive trolley for travel along a track, having an onboard latch movable between a deployed position and a release position, to lock the trolley to the track.

Background

[0002] Lock assemblies are used to restrict the opening of closures to those with authorisation to enter a selected space. Garages and other premises require secure access control, as they can be a storage place for valuable and relatively portable items, and can be a direct entry point to the remainder of a home. Further, they can be remote from other areas of a property, so that unauthorised access can remain undetected until too late.

[0003] Garage closures take many forms, usually a door, and range from flexible profiled steel curtains, to articulated shutter curtains, and tilting or articulated panels. The doors generally run along guides disposed at the sides of the garage opening, to be stowed in an elevated position, either rolled around a drum, or drawn around a curved path so that the door is stowed in an overhead position, generally parallel to the garage ceiling.

[0004] In most applications, motors are used to power the opening and closing of the garage door, provided as part of a door operators for control by a way of user-operated remote control. Generally, door operators provide some degree of anti-reversal function to prevent forced access, but this can often provide inadequate protection against the determined intruder. Further, doors often feature security locking bars to latch them into place and enhance overall security.

However, it has proved difficult to readily and reliably motorise such security locking bars, and they are therefore often left unused. [0005] Panels having an overhead stowed (open) position, referred to as overhead doors, are often motorised by a door drive assembly comprising a trolley or carriage connected to an upper part of the door, configured to be driven between end limits along a guide track by way of a traction means (usually a chain, belt or similar) driven by the door operator motor, so to open and close the door.

[0006] An example of a conventional overhead door system is provided in Figure 14.

[0007] Applicant's patent US 8,578,653 describes such a drive assembly for a garage door, the entire content of which document is hereby incorporated by reference. The drive trolley has an engagement mechanism for selective

engagement between the trolley and the belt, to allow a user to release the trolley to allow manual operation of the door if needed (eg. in the event of a power failure or malfunction of the operator).

[0008] The present invention seeks to provide a new way of securing doors and other closures, which addresses one or more of the abovementioned

disadvantages, and/or provides an alternative to known arrangements.

[0009] In this specification, where a document, act or item of knowledge is referred to or discussed, this reference or discussion is not an admission that the document, act or item of knowledge or any combination thereof was at the priority date part of common general knowledge, or known to be relevant to an attempt to solve any problem with which this specification is concerned.

Summary of the invention

[0010] In a first aspect, the invention provides a closure drive assembly

comprising a closure drive trolley for travel along a track, having an onboard latch movable between a deployed position and a release position, wherein in the deployed position the onboard latch engages with respect to the track to prevent movement of the trolley.

[0011] The latch is preferably a bolt or pin movable in a direction substantially transverse to the direction of movement of the trolley.

[0012] Preferably, the latch does not project beyond the body of the trolley in either direction along the track. [0013] This provides for a very compact arrangement, protecting the latch and mechanism from risk of interference and ingress of dirt.

[0014] In a preferred form, the onboard latch automatically engages with a part of the track when the trolley is moved into a locking location along the track. The locking location corresponds to the closed position of the closure driven by the trolley.

[0015] Ideally, this part is a plate or other component fixedly attached to the track, or may be integral with the track.

[0016] Alternatively, the latch may engage with another element (eg. an element attached to a surface to which the track is mounted), in order to prevent movement of the trolley relative to the track.

[0017] The deployed position may be achieved by spring-loaded or other biased movement of the onboard latch into said part of the track.

[0018] In one embodiment, the part of the track with which the onboard latch engages has a shaping complementary to a shaping in the body of the closure drive trolley, to allow the trolley to move in a first direction to said locking location but to preclude further movement of the trolley in that direction. Said shaping in the body of the trolley may be a recess in a face of the trolley body.

[0019] Preferably, the trolley is arranged to be driven by a longitudinal drive means (such as a chain or belt driven by a motor) which engages with the trolley, the assembly including a latch release mechanism that moves the onboard latch into the release position when the longitudinal drive means is operated to move the trolley from its locking location in a second direction opposite to said first direction.

[0020] In this way, the onboard latch is automatically released when the trolley is driven in said second direction.

[0021] Preferably, the assembly is configured such that, when the trolley is in its locking position and the onboard latch is in its deployed position, initial movement of the longitudinal drive means operates the latch release

mechanism to move the onboard latch into the release position while the trolley remains in its locking location, and further movement of the longitudinal drive element moves the trolley along the track.

[0022] Hence, the movement of the latch from its deployed position occurs before relative movement between the trolley and the track.

[0023] In a preferred form, the trolley includes a trolley body and a separate slider body arranged for movement relative to the trolley body, wherein the longitudinal drive means is arranged for connection to said slider body, and the trolley body and the slider body are mutually engaged such that the relative movement therebetween acts to move the onboard latch into the release position.

[0024] Preferably, movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body is in the longitudinal direction relative to the track, and the cam action moves said latch in a direction transverse to the longitudinal direction.

[0025] Preferably, movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body is confined to a prescribed drive play or backlash, such that reversing drive movement to the trolley takes up the drive play or backlash to move the onboard latch body to its released position before further movement of the trolley along the track.

[0026] This provides a lost motion mechanism, within which lost motion range the onboard latch is released.

[0027] The mutual engagement between the trolley body and the slider body is preferably by way of a cam mechanism.

[0028] In a preferred form, the movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body is in the longitudinal direction relative to the track, and the cam action moves said latch in a direction substantially transverse to that longitudinal direction.

[0029] In one form, the latch (eg. bolt or pin) has one or more laterally projecting elements that engage with one or more ramped surfaces provided in the slider body, the relative movement between the laterally projecting

element(s) and the ramped surface(s) providing the cam action. [0030] Ideally, the slider body is confined within the trolley body.

[0031] In this way, the slider body is provided as an internal component of the trolley, such that at no time in its movement does it project outside the trolley body, resulting in a compact, reliable design, which minimises the risk of interference, jamming and ingress of dirt and other material.

[0032] In a preferred form, the trolley body includes a longitudinal bore shaped and sized to accommodate an elongated slider body. This longitudinal bore may be positioned substantially along the longitudinal centreline of the trolley body.

[0033] In one embodiment, the longitudinal bore and the slider body are substantially rectangular in transverse cross section.

[0034] In a preferred form, the onboard latch is associated with a cam follower and the slider body includes a camming surface arranged for engaging therewith.

[0035] The assembly preferably includes a mechanism to selectively disengage the trolley from said longitudinal drive means by way of a drive disengagement action, wherein the disengagement action also results in moving the onboard latch between the deployed position and the release position.

[0036] Preferably, the drive disengage mechanism is carried by said slider body, and said drive disengagement action results in movement of the slider body relative to the trolley body.

[0037] In this form, the slider body carries both the drive disengage mechanism and the means by which a user physically cooperates with the trolley (such as a manual pull cord, handle or lever), such that action by the user to disengage the trolley from the drive also moves the slider body relative to the trolley body, so to move the onboard latch into its release position.

[0038] In a preferred form, the drive disengagement mechanism includes a drive disengagement latch (eg. a sliding bolt or pin), and the slider body and the trolley body include cooperating apertures through which the drive

disengagement latch passes. [0039] Preferably, at least a part of the drive disengagement mechanism bears against the trolley body once the drive play or backlash is taken up.

[0040] In this way, in normal operation, driving forces from the longitudinal drive means are transferred via the drive disengagement mechanism (eg. from the drive disengagement latch) to the trolley body, this force transfer not being via the intermediary of the slider body.

[0041] The trolley may be provided with low friction means to contact the track, such as one or more removable external shoes with a low-friction surface.

[0042] In accordance with other aspects, the invention further includes one or more of the following components:

a track; a motor operator; a longitudinal drive means (for example, a chain or belt); a closure (for example, a garage door); a connection means to connect the trolley to a closure (for example, a connection rod or arm; fittings, fixtures and ancillary devices for a closure operating system.

[0043] The assembly of the invention may be part of a kit of parts for installation, so to provide access control to an opening or to secure premises.

Brief description of the drawings

[0044] In order to enable a clearer understanding and by way of examples only, embodiments of the invention will now be further explained and illustrated by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0045] Figure 1 is an isometric view of a tracked garage door drive assembly in accordance with the invention, the track and other components shown in transparent rendering;

[0046] Figure 2 is a partial centreline longitudinal section view of the assembly of Figure 1 , while Figure 2A shows a front elevation; [0047] Figures 3A and 3B are isometric views, from below and above respectively, of a trolley body of a garage door drive trolley assembly in accordance with the invention;

[0048] Figure 4 is an isometric view of a trolley slider to engage with the trolley body of Figure 3A and 3B;

[0049] Figure 5 shows a front end view of the trolley assembly; [0050] Figure 6 is a side view of the trolley assembly;

[0051] Figure 7 is a longitudinal sectional view of the trolley assembly through plane B-B of Figure 5;

[0052] Figure 8 is a longitudinal sectional view through plane E-E of Figure 5;

[0053] Figure 9 is a transverse sectional view of the trolley assembly through plane D-D of Figure 6;

[0054] Figure 10 is a transverse sectional view through plane G-G of Figure 6;

[0055] Figure 1 1 is a transverse sectional view through plane A-A of Figure 6;

[0056] Figure 12 illustrates the action of manual disengagement of the trolley from the garage door drive (Figure 12A, engaged position; Figure 12B, disengaged position);

[0057] Figure 13 is a longitudinal centreline sectional view of the trolley operation shown in Figure 12 (Figure 13A, engaged position; Figure 13B, disengaged position);

[0058] Figure 14 provides an illustration of an overhead garage door and drive system.

Detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention

Door drive assembly

[0059] Figure 14 shows an overhead garage door and drive system, illustrated in both door closed and door open positions.

[0060] Door 1 (shown as a three-panel door) is guided between its end positions by lateral guide tracks 6, while motor 4 of powered operator 5, via a suitable gear train, drives a belt 16 in track 10, door 1 connecting to trolley 60 by way of connecting arm 2. Track 10 is mounted to the garage ceiling 3 by multiple brackets 12, and at its forward end to door lintel 7. Springs (not shown) are generally used to offset the weight of the door to allow it to open and close with ease.

[0061] Figures 1 and 2 show the tracked drive assembly for opening and closing door 1. For clarity, the isometric view of Figure 1 shows a shortened version of the track, which will in practice be significantly longer.

[0062] Track 10 is formed from an elongated C-form profile (with its opening arranged in the downward direction), and provides a support and guide for door drive trolley 60 which is connected to an upper part of the garage door 1 via connecting arm 2. Track 10 is suspended from the garage ceiling 3 by the suitable placed support brackets 12, and a drive belt 16 connects to trolley 60 and runs in a closed loop inside track 10 as shown, driven by drive motor 4 of operator 5, the ends of the belt joined by a belt connector shuttle 18 of generally rectangular section, as shown, configured for releasable engagement with trolley 60, as explained further below.

[0063] In this description, the assembly will be described with reference to its mounted orientation, so (for example) the upper side of the track refers to the outer side of the track profile which faces the garage ceiling, the front or forward end of the track refers to the end closest to the garage door, and the rear or rearward end of the track refers to the opposite end, closest to operator 5.

[0064] At the front end of the track the belt is engaged with an idler sprocket 20 with a vertical axis, mounted to the track by way of a belt tensioner. Idler sprocket 20 is carried on a support bracket 22 mounted for sliding movement within track 10 by threaded engagement of a longitudinally disposed coach bolt 26 and a belt tensioner bracket 28 fixedly mounted to track 10. Rotation of coach bolt 26 moves support bracket 22 forwardly or rearwardly to adjust the tension of belt 16. A compression spring may also be fitted to coach bolt 26, to assist in maintaining belt tension. In Figure 1 belt tensioner bracket 28 is shown fixedly engaged within the front end of track 10, however in a variant it may be fixedly mounted externally, to provide additional stiffening to the front end of track 10. [0065] Bracket 28 is provided with end tabs and bolt holes as shown to attach to a complementary bracket on the inner face of door lintel 7, above the garage door opening.

[0066] At the other end (the rear end) of track 10 a drive sprocket support is fixedly engaged with the track, and bears a drive sprocket 29 mounted to rotate around a vertical axis, sprocket 29 having a splined or keyed engagement bore in its axle as shown, for engagement by a complementary splined output drive shaft (not shown) of operator 5. Belt 16 engages with drive sprocket 29 and idler sprocket 20, the ends of the belt are joined by belt connector 18, and correct belt tension maintained by selective adjustment of the belt tensioner at the forward end of the track.

[0067] It will be understand that sprockets 20 and 29 could readily be replaced by suitable pulleys or sheaves, depending on the type of drive employed.

[0068] Fixed to the inner (ie. lower) side of the upper web of track 10 at a position close to the belt tensioner is a track lock plate 32, which has a generally rectangular form with a projecting central tongue 33 having an aperture 38, as shown in Figure 1. The distal end of tongue 33 is angled to provide a chamfered leading edge 36 (see Figure 2). Track lock plate is fixedly attached to the track by screws 34, with tongue 33 directed rearwardly and chamfered edge 36 positioned as shown, tongue 33 thus providing a strike plate for engagement with spring-loaded trolley locking pin 48, as described further below.

[0069] Drive trolley 60 connects via connecting arm 2 to garage door 1 , arm 2 rotatably attaching to a button-headed threaded stud bolt 88 (see Figure 2A) which passes through bore 83 in trolley body 62, a threaded nut 89 applied at the other end of bolt 88 (see Figure 2A). Hence, movement of trolley 60 along track 10 between end limits results in moving the garage door between open and close positions. Connecting arm 2 is shown in Figure 14 with a common 'hockey stick' form, although it may be straight, curved or otherwise, depending on the closure geometry, as is known in the art.

Drive trolley body [0070] As shown in Figures 3A and 3B, trolley 60 comprises a trolley body 62 of a generally elongated rectangular block form, with longitudinal rectangular section lateral through-bores 64 and a longitudinal rectangular section central through-bore 66. Bores 64 and 66 are separated by planar vertical dividing walls 72. The square section through-bores 64 have filleted mouths as shown, to assist smooth reception of belt connector 18.

[0071] In the upper face 68 of trolley body 62 is a shaped long slot 70 orientated along the centreline, towards the rear of the body, connecting to the interior of central through-bore 66. Towards the front of the body is a shaped recess area 69, open to the front, with a circular aperture 76 connecting to the interior of central through-bore 66, recess area 69 and aperture 76 sized and shaped to cooperate with tongue 33 and trolley locking pin 48, respectively.

[0072] Projecting from upper face 68 of trolley body 62 are four shaped detents, for click-fit securing of lateral C-profile shoes 86 (see Figure 5, which shows just one of the shoes). Similar shaped detents are provided on the lower face of trolley body 62 (see Figure 3A).

[0073] In the side walls of trolley body 62 and in dividing walls 72 are rectangular long slots 74, orientated in the longitudinal direction along the centreline and coincident when viewed from the side, central to the positioning of long slot 70.

[0074] Projecting below trolley body 62 and formed by a continuation of dividing walls 72 is trolley undercarriage 80, which provides the attachment for connecting arm 2. Towards the rearward end of undercarriage 80 is a generally rectangular shaped opening 82 that connects with the interior of central through- bore 66.

[0075] As can be seen in the figures, a number of other apertures and shape features are provided in trolley body 62. These (including the rectangular long slots in the side walls) are provided for purposes of assembly of the components into the assembled trolley.

Trolley slider [0076] Trolley slider 100 is sized and shaped to be slidably received within central long bore 66 of trolley body 62, as shown in Figure 4. Slider 100 comprises a slider body 102 of rectangular elongated form, with a shaped vertical blind hole 104 adjacent the rearward end of body slider 102, and square lateral apertures 106 connecting the outside of the body to the interior of vertical blind hole 104. Hole 104 is generally closed at its bottom end, but connects to the exterior by way of central lower opening 105 (see Figure 8).

[0077] At the forward end of slider body 102 is a vertical open long slot 108, with a mouth open to the front of the body and a curved rear wall. Tapered long slots 1 10, with ramped upper edges 1 12 which slope downwardly towards the front of slider body 102, are provided in the side walls, connecting the outside of the body to the interior of open long slot 108.

Engagement between trolley body and slider

[0078] Slider body 102 is somewhat shorter in length than trolley body 62. When it is introduced into through bore 66, and the trolley assembled, it can therefore move backward and forward through a prescribed play distance without projecting outside the trolley body. At the two extents of this movement, sguare apertures 106 of the slider are coincident with the two ends of

rectangular long slots 74 in the trolley internal dividing walls 72, while the shaped vertical blind hole 104 of slider 100 approaches the two ends of the shaped long slot 70 in the trolley body upper face 68.

Assembled trolley 60

[0079] The end view of Figure 5 shows the assembled trolley. On the left hand side can be seen a lateral C-profile shoe 86, which has internal recesses (not shown) for click-fit engagement with detents 78 of trolley body 62. Shoes 86 provide a smooth outer running surface for the trolley which also minimises wear of trolley and track, and are made of a low friction material, such as self- lubricating Nylon or other suitable polymer.

[0080] A sguare section belt connector locking pin 40 extends laterally into one of the sguare through-bores 64, while a trolley locking pin 48 is arranged for vertical movement, located in the vertical open long slot 108 of slider 100, but carried by slider body 62, as described below.

[0081] Extending from trolley undercarriage 80 is a release cam lever 200 which connects to a cord handle assembly 250 for manual disengagement of trolley 60 from the drive belt (see, for example, Figure 6).

[0082] As shown most clearly in Figures 7 and 8 (respectively, sections B-B and E-E of Figure 5), trolley locking pin 48 is carried by trolley body 62, engaged for vertical sliding movement in a lower blind bore 67 and aperture 76, urged in the upward direction by compression spring 52. In the transverse horizontal direction, a dowel pin 50 is fixedly engaged in a bore in pin 48 with a projecting portion on either side, each of which engages in respective tapered long slot 1 10 in either side of the slider body. As will be appreciated, once the trolley is assembled slider 100 is able to move between end positions relative to trolley body 62. Owing to the shaping of long slots 1 10 and the projecting portions of dowel pin 50, at one end of this movement pin 48 is free to move between its latched and its release position (against the force of spring 52), while at the other end of this movement pin 48 is retained in its release position.

[0083] Slider body vertical blind hole 104 accommodates a release plunger 150, which is of generally Y-shaped form as shown, with a vertical central stem 154 connecting to two lateral portions 156. The lower end of stem 154 passes through lower slider opening 105 and trolley body opening 82, where it connects with release lever body 200 via transverse link pin 160. Each release plunger lateral portion 156 features a blind bore 158 on its lower face, to accommodate the upper end of a compression spring 46, whose lower end bears against the end wall of the slider vertical blind hole 104 as shown, to urge release plunger 150 in the upward direction into its normal at-rest position.

[0084] As shown in Figures 7 and 8, the space between release plunger lateral portions 156 is sized and shaped to accommodate square section belt connector locking pin 40. Pin 40 also features a transverse dowel pin 42, the two projecting ends of which engage with diagonal long slots 162 running in the longitudinal direction in each of the lateral portions 156 of release plunger 150, as shown most clearly in Figures 10 and 1 1. Diagonal long slots 162 provide an inclined plane ramping surface to drive movement of belt connector locking pin 40, as described further below.

[0085] When in its at-rest position, a first planar edge face 208 of release lever 200 bears against the underface of slider body 62, and release lever 200 is in a generally raised position (as shown, for example, in figure 8), this position maintained by the force of springs 46.

Operation of onboard latch

[0086] Trolley locking pin 48 therefore provides an automatic onboard latch, which operates as follows.

[0087] When trolley 60 is engaged with belt 16 (by way of belt connector shuttle 18) and driven in the forward direction by way of the operator motor to a door closed position (right to left in Figure 2), the top end of locking pin 48 meets chamfered leading edge 36 of tongue 33. Further movement results in pin 48 moving downwardly and compressing spring 52, the end of pin 48 riding over the surface of track lock plate 32 until it engages under force of spring 52 into aperture 38. This is the (door closed) end position of trolley 60, and trolley 60 is thus latched in position. It will be understood that the shaping of long slots 1 10 provides room for the projecting ends of dowel pin 50 to move without encountering the slider body, ie. without impeding the movement of trolley locking pin 48.

[0088] The relative dimensions of the components and the complementary shaping of tongue 33 and recess area 69 in the trolley upper face 68 results in plate 32 acting as an end stop for trolley 60, to ensure that trolley body 62 cannot move further than this end position. If desired, an additional end stop may be provided on plate 32 or track 10. In this regard, an end stop may also be provided at the other end of the trolley travel (the rearmost position), in particular to minimise the risk of the trolley being inadvertently driven into power head sprocket 29 as a result of excessive force being applied when manually opening the door.

[0089] The top end of locking pin 48 is preferably also chamfered or otherwise shaped to more readily ride over edge 36 of tongue 33. [0090] If an attempt is made to force open the garage door, this will result in a force on trolley body 62 in the rearward and upward direction, by way of link axis 83. Locking pin 48 will remain engaged, preventing any movement of the trolley, and thus preventing any movement of the door. Preferably, one or more brackets 12 are provided at or near this locked position of trolley 60, to minimise any risk of distortion of track 10 that may result from excessive force applied by attempted forced raising of the door.

[0091] When operator motor drive is applied to open the garage door, belt 16 acts to move slider 100 in the rearward direction (left to right in Figure 2). As trolley body 62 is locked in position, this movement results in slider 100 moving within trolley 60, ie. relative to trolley body 62. This has the effect of forcing the ramped upper surfaces 1 12 of tapered long slots 1 10 in the walls of slider body 102 against the projecting ends of dowel pin 50, which depresses locking pin 48 against spring 52. Tapered long slots 1 10 have an axial length such that, by the time the projecting portions of dowel pin 50 approach the forward ends of long slots 1 10, the top end of locking pin 48 has released from aperture 38, thus releasing the onboard latch.

[0092] At this point, further movement of slider body 102 results in movement of trolley body 62, as the rearward face of belt connector locking pin 40 bears against the rearward end of the rectangular long slot 74 in dividing wall 72 through which it passes, thus transferring movement forces from the drive belt via pin 40 directly to trolley body 62.

[0093] The dimensions of the various parts of the trolley assembly are such that, at this point, there is still a small amount of play between the other parts of the slider and trolley body which would otherwise interact, to prevent any undesirable longitudinal forces which might otherwise impede movement of those components. Hence, at this point, there remains some space (around 1 mm) between the forward end of tapered long slots 1 10 and the ends of dowel pin 50, similarly there is space between the upper end of release plunger 150 and the rearward end of long slot 70 in trolley body 62, and similarly between second planar edge face 210 of release lever 200 and the inner face of stop portion 81 of trolley body undercarriage 80. The same applies at the other end of the relative movement between slider 100 and trolley body 62 (a distance of some 15mm in the embodiment here described), such that it is the engagement between belt connector locking pin 40 and the two ends of the rectangular long slot 74 through which it passes that provides the drive force between the belt and the trolley body. Distance D3 (see Figure 7), for example, is a little greater than 15mm. As mentioned above, the relative movement maintains slider 100 always within trolley body 62, to provide a compact unit with the mechanism wholly internal of trolley 60, thus reducing risk of interference from the outside to the components of the assembly.

[0094] Hence, the mechanism of the assembly effects an automatic release of the onboard latch, allowing trolley 60 to be driven by the motor operator to its rearmost (door open) end position. During normal operation (ie. other than in the door closed position of trolley 60) slider 100 may assume any position relative to trolley body 62 without affecting operation of the trolley. However, the force of spring 52 and the cooperation between dowel pin 50 and the ramped edges 1 12 of tapered long slots 1 10 will return the mechanism to the relative position shown in the figures (see for example Figures 7 and 8), ready to automatically relatch with plate 32 when trolley 60 is next driven to its forward (door closed) end.

[0095] As explained above, the engagement between belt connector locking pin 40 and the ends of the rectangular long slot 74 through which it passes provides the drive force between the belt 16 and trolley 60. Due to the geometry, this force is offset from the centreline of the track and the trolley. It will be noted that the similarly offset position of the connection between trolley 60 and door connecting arm 2 (at stud bolt 88, see Figure 2A) minimises any force couple that could otherwise arise from this trolley drive geometry, hence avoiding undesirable lateral force components which may otherwise lead to friction and wear between track and trolley.

Manual disengagement of trolley

[0096] When the trolley is selectively released from the motor operator drive, in order to manually operate the door, the onboard latch needs to be released. The mechanism of the invention provides that this happens automatically, the operation illustrated in Figures 12 and 13.

[0097] When cord handle assembly 250 is pulled (by way of handle 250) in a downward and rearward direction (ie. away from the door in its closed position, generally in a direction 30-60° from vertical, approximately in the plane of the centreline of the track), this results in rotation of release lever 200 in direction M (see Figure 13). By interaction via link pin 160 with plunger 150, lever 200 rotates around pivot point 206 (see Figure 7), depressing release plunger 150 and compressing springs 46. As shown in Figure 13, this action is complete when second planar edge face 210 of release lever 200 bears against the underface of slider body 62, and release lever 200 is in a generally lowered position (as shown in figures 12B and 13B), this position maintained by the force of springs 46. It will be understood that second planar edge face 210 is a greater distance from the axis provided by link pin 160 than is first planar edge face 208. Hence, release lever 200 acts as a two-position spring-loaded biased cam, whose movement acts to move release plunger between two stable positions.

[0098] The downward movement of plunger 150 to this disengagement position results in dowel pin 42 engaging with diagonal long slots 162 in lateral portions 156 to draw pin 40 in the transverse direction (right to left in Figure 10), ie. to withdraw the end of pin 40 from bore 64, thus disengaging it from belt connector 18 to allow free movement of the door. This camming operation of a drive disengagement means between two bias positions is similar to that described in US 8,578,653, as is the automatic re-engagement between the trolley and shaped belt connector 18.

[0099] In addition to disengaging trolley 60 from drive belt 16, the movement M of release lever 200 pulls slider 100 in the rearward direction, which moves slider body 102 relative to trolley body 62 (right to left in Figure 13). This has the identical action as described above (Operation of onboard latch') to withdraw locking pin 48 and hence release trolley 60. The accommodation of release lever 200 in shaped opening 82 provides void play space 84. The

disengagement action results in release lever 200 bearing against the inner face of front stop portion 81 of trolley undercarriage 80, such that the pulling action of cord handle assembly 250 acts to directly pull trolley body 62, drawing it away from the locked position relative to track lock plate 32 (see Figures 12B, 13 B).

[0100] Slider 100 of the embodiment described and illustrated moves in a linear direction relative to trolley body 62. However it will be appreciated that this movement may equally effectively be in some other suitable path such as an arcuate path or a rotating movement.

[0101] As will be understood from the above description, the trolley of the invention is equipped with an automatic onboard latch. Trolley locking pin 48 is carried by trolley body 62, and can thus firmly lock the trolley to the track (and therefore lock the door against movement). Drive traction is applied to trolley 60 via belt connector locking pin 40, and release of the onboard latch is realised by longitudinal movement of trolley slider 100 relative to trolley body 62 over a fixed range of play, the camming action provided by the interaction of dowel pin 50 with ramped surfaces 1 12 resulting in latch release during that relative movement. In addition, the action of disengaging the connection between trolley slider 100 and the belt (or other traction drive) also results in the relative longitudinal movement between trolley slider 100 trolley body 62, thus also operating the release of the onboard latch to allow movement of trolley 60 from its latch position on the track, and hence manual movement of the door.

[0102] Conversely, the movement of trolley 60 back to its latch position on the track results in spring-loaded trolley locking pin 48 interacting with track lock plate 32 to automatically relatch, while the movement of belt connector 18 back into position within trolley body 62 results - if the release lever is back in its normal, raised position - in spring-loaded locking pin 40 automatically reengaging with the belt connector. It will be understood that the tapered rectangular-section shaping of belt connector 18 and the complementary section and smooth filleted mouth of trolley through-bore 64 aids reliable reinsertion of one within the other, while the mutually complementary rectangular form of both maintains their relative angular position, to ensure reliable re- engagement of locking pin 40 with the complementary recess or similar of belt connector 18. [0103] This operation is achieved because the drive engagement means (plunger 150 and release lever 200) is carried by slider 100, while track locking pin 48 is carried by trolley body 62.

[0104] As the slider body carries both the drive disengage mechanism and the means by which the user cooperates with the trolley for manual disengagement (pull cord, handle, lever, etc.), the action by the user to disengage the trolley from the drive also moves the slider body relative to the trolley body, so to move the onboard latch into its release position.

[0105] The appended parts list sets out the parts of the embodiment of the assembly described above, as well as the material of some of the major components and the dimensions as marked in certain of the drawings.

[0106] As will be understood, the present invention provides a very compact and simple solution, with the minimum of moving parts. In external view in use the door drive trolley is indistinguishable from a conventional trolley, as the onboard latch and its actuation mechanism is substantially internal of the trolley body. Hence the invention provides a highly aesthetic solution.

[0107] In addition, the compact design means that there is no reduction in the usable height in the garage or other space.

[0108] Moreover, the compact form allows the engagement with the door drive connecting rod (axis 83) to be relatively close to the horizontal plane of the drive of the trolley (ie. the plane of drive belt 16), to minimise the moment exerted on the mechanism, and so minimise stresses and strains and risk of rattle or vibration during operation.

[0109] Further, the invention can be applied to virtually any type of tracked closure apparatus, including flexible curtains, sectional doors and tilt doors.

[0110] In addition, the invention is very simple to install, as no assembly of the trolley needs to be undertaken on site. The only component additional to a conventional assembly is track lock plate 32 (and, if required, the provision of a track support bracket 12 at or close to the trolley locking position).

[0111] In installation, once the door, track and operator have been installed and the door travel limit positions have been set in the usual way, the trolley is driven to its door closed position. Plate 32 is then inserted along the inner planar surface of the track web from the forward end until it engages with the upper end of locking pin 48, and tongue 33 locates in shaped recess area 69. Two holes are then drilled through the web of the track for screws 34 to attach plate 32 firmly in place.

[0112] As explained above, the low friction wear shoes 86 fitted to trolley body 62 reduce power consumption, wear and noise and enhance longevity and reliability of the entire assembly. Further, they are easy to replace if required (eg through wear).

[0113] The lost motion principle used in the assembly to control the delatching operation also assists in motor reversals when they occur (eg. in case of obstacle detection), reducing the power spikes usually associated therewith.

[0114] The embodiment described above uses a belt drive as the longitudinal drive means, but it will be appreciated that this could equally involve a chain drive, cable drive or any other suitable drive means.

[0115] Further, the above description refers to a track, and it will be

appreciated that this term embraces a track, rail or any other suitable elongated guide means capable of supporting and guiding a closure drive trolley. The trolley may run inside the track (eg. within a C-form track, as in the example described above), or alternatively may run on the outside of the track (eg. a long a T-shaped rail or tubular form track). In the embodiment described, and in most applications, the track will be a straight track, but could alternatively be of curved form.

[0116] The word 'comprising' and forms of the word 'comprising' as used in this description do not limit the invention claimed to exclude any variants or additions.

[0117] Modifications and improvements to the invention will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Such modifications and improvements are intended to be within the scope of this invention. PARTS LIST OF ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENT (including material used in major components)

Part Ref Material

Track 10 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Track support bracket 12 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Track lock plate 32 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Rearwardly directed tongue 33

Belt tensioner 24 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Idler sprocket 20 Plastic - acetal

Idler sprocket support 22 Metal - Zn-coated steel bracket

Coach bolt 26 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Belt tensioner bracket 28 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Spliced motor drive sprocket 29 Metal powder/plastic

Sprocket support 30 Plastic - acetal

Track plate aperture 38

Chamfered leading edge 36

Screws 34 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Trolley 60

Belt 16 Reinforced elastomer

Belt connector 18 Diecast alloy

Trolley slider 100

C-profile shoe 86 Nylon - self-lubricating

(MoS22 filled)

Release cam lever 200 Plastic - polycarbonate Cord handle assembly 250 VB Cord

Handle 252 Plastic - ABS Belt connector locking pin 40 Alloy steel

Dowel pin (cross pin) 42 Alloy steel

(Y-shaped) Release plunger 150 Diecast alloy

Spring 46 Spring steel

Trolley locking pin 48 Alloy steel

Dowel pin 50 Alloy steel

Spring 52 Spring steel

Slider body 102 Aluminium alloy

Vertical blind hole 104

Lower opening 105

Square lateral apertures 106

Longitudinal cutout 108

Tapered long slot 110

Ramped upper surface 112

Trolley body 62 Plastic - polycarl

Square through-bores (for 64

belt)

Central rectangular through- 66

bore (for slider)

Lower blind bore 67

Upper face 68

Shaped recess area 69

Long slot 70

Dividing walls 72

Rectangular long slots 74

Circular aperture 76

Detent (for retaining shoe) 78

Undercarriage 80

Front stop portion 81 Shaped opening 82

Bore for door arm connection 83

Stud bolt 88 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Stud nut 89 Metal - Zn-coated steel

Void play space 84

Stem 154

Lateral portion 156

Blind bore (to receive spring) 158

Link pin (to release lever) 160 Alloy steel

Diagonal cam bore 162

Link (to cord) 204

Cam lever pivot point 206

First planar cam bias edge 208

face

Second planar cam bias 210

edge face

DIMENSIONS

D1 : 26.9mm

D2: 18mm

D3: >15mm

D4: 10mm

D5: 100mm




 
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