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Title:
PANEL ARRANGEMENT FOR A HARVESTING MACHINE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2012/022666
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A harvesting machine (1) having a central, elevated walkway (15) extending in a longitudinal direction along the machine (1) above machine parts situated below on a floor (3) of the machine. The machine (1) has at least two opposing exterior side panels (4a, 4c), each of side panels movable between a closed position in which each panel (4a, 4c) extends in a substantially vertical plane between the walkway (5) and the floor (3) of the machine providing protection to a side of the machine, and an open position wherein each panel (4a, 4c) in a raised position extends in a substantially vertical plane providing access underneath the panel to the machine parts. At least a portion of each panel (4a, 4c) projects above the walkway (5) providing a safety barrier along two edges of the walkway (5).

Inventors:
SCHANZ, Stefan (Birkenstrasse 6, Ronsberg, 87671, DE)
ALAPIC, Igor (heilbachstr. 15, Altenstadt, 89281, DE)
Application Number:
EP2011/063820
Publication Date:
February 23, 2012
Filing Date:
August 11, 2011
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
AGCO INTERNATIONAL GMBH (Victor von Bruns-Strasse 17, CH8212 Neuhausen am Rheinfall, CH)
SCHANZ, Stefan (Birkenstrasse 6, Ronsberg, 87671, DE)
ALAPIC, Igor (heilbachstr. 15, Altenstadt, 89281, DE)
International Classes:
A01D41/12; A01D75/20; A01F29/18; B60R3/00; B62D25/10
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH, Louise (Abbey Park Stoneleigh, Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 2TQ, GB)
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Claims:
Claims

1. A harvesting machine having a central, elevated walkway extending in a longitudinal direction along the machine above machine parts situated below on a floor of the machine, said machine having at least two opposing exterior side panels, each of side panels movable between a closed position in which each panel extends in a substantially vertical plane between the walkway and the floor of the macliine providing protection to a side of the machine, and an open position wherein each panel in a raised position extends in a substantially vertical plane providing access underneath the panel to the machine parts and wherein at least a portion of each panel projects above the walkway providing a safety barrier along two edges of the walkway.

2. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein at least one panel is provided with a hand rail.

3. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein in the closed position each of the at least two side panels extend in a plane parallel to the vertical plane of the panel in the open position.

4. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the at least two side panels are maintained in substantially the same vertical plane, or a parallel vertical plane during movement between the open and closed positions.

5. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein the at least two side panels are mounted to the machine by a four bar linkage mechanism.

6. A harvesting machine as claimed in claim 5 wherein the four bar linkage mechanism is actuated by a gas spring means.

7. A harvesting machine as claimed in claim 5 wherein the four bar linkage mechanism is actuated by a pneumatic, or hydraulic cylinder.

8. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein said at least two panels are provided with locking means to secure said panels in both closed and opened positions.

9. A harvesting machine as claimed in any preceding claim wherein said at least two panels are opened and closed by remote control means.

Description:
Panel Arrangement for a Harvesting Machine

This invention concerns movable exterior panels on a harvesting machine. More specifically, the invention concerns movable side panels on a self propelled harvesting machine.

Typically, self propelled harvesting machines are provided with movable exterior panels to ensure access to machine parts, such as the motor, gears, and belt drive which are housed within the panels on the harvester. The machine parts are usually mounted on the floor, or chassis of the harvesting machine. A horizontal walkway such as a grid, or roof is usually provided on the top of the machine providing protection above the machine parts and provides a platform to access components on top of the vehicle, for example the oil filter and cooling water. Movable panels are fitted to opposing sides of the machine and extend from the walkway down to the floor, or chassis providing protection along the sides of the machine.

The side panels are usually mounted to the machine by hinge means so that they can pivot about a horizontal axis. The panels can be pivoted outwards away from the machine, like wings, into an open position to provide access to the machine parts housed within the panels. The machine parts can therefore not be accessed if the space around the machine is restricted since the panels require space to be moved into the open position. Typically, the panels can be pivoted into an open position in winch the surfaces of the panels lie in a plane approximately at right angles to the plane of the panels in the closed position. That is the panels move from a substantially vertical plane in the closed position to a substantially horizontal position in the open position. Access to the machine parts may be restricted, or hindered by the position of an opened panel given that the panel has limited movement.

Machine parts and machine components can also be accessed from above from the walkway which is located approximately three metres above the ground. A handrail may be mounted to the spout of the machine, however there is a danger of an operator falling from the walkway since the edges of the walkway are unguarded.

It as an object of the present invention to provide an alternative exterior panel arrangement on a harvesting machine to improve access to machine parts on the machine. It is a further object of the invention to improve the safety of the walkway on a harvesting machine.

A harvesting machine having a central, elevated walkway extending in a longitudinal direction along the machine above machine parts situated below on a floor of the machine, said machine having at least two opposing exterior side panels, each of side panels movable between a closed position in which each panel extends in a substantially vertical plane between the walkway and the floor of the machine providing protection to a side of the machine, and an open position wherein each panel in a raised position extends in a substantially vertical plane providing access underneath the panel to the machine parts and wherein at least a portion of each panel projects above the walkway providing a safety barrier along two edges of the walkway.

Preferred features of the invention are set out in the dependent claims.

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

Figure 1 is a side view of a forage harvester from the right hand side,

Figure 2 is a side view of a forage harvester from the right hand side showing the panel arrangement in accordance with the invention,

Figure 3 is a side view of a forage harvester from the left hand side,

Figure 4 is a side view of a forage harvester from the left hand side showing the panel arrangement in accordance with the invention,

Figure 5 is rear view of a forage harvester showing the panel arrangement in a closed position in accordance with the invention,

Figure 6 is a rear view of a forage harvester showing the panel arrangement in an open position in accordance with the invention,

Figures 7a, 7b, 7c are perspective views of one of the panels in accordance with the invention, and

Figures 8, 9 and 10 are perspective views of the mechanism used for attaching the panels to the harvester in accordance with the invention.

Figure 1 is a side view from the right hand side of a forage harvester 1 travelling in the direction indicated by the arrow. The forage harvester has a cab 8 which can be accessed by steps 9, 9a (shown in fig. 3 and 4) on either side of the harvester and a spout 2. hi this figure, the spout 2 is stowed in the travelling position in which the spout is secured to face the rear of the forage harvester. The body of the harvester comprises a floor 3, left and right opposing side panels 4 and a roof walkway 5 shown more clearly in figures 5 and 6. Machine parts, such as the motor, gears and belt drive (shown in figures 3 and 4 only) are stored within the body of the harvester and accessed through the side panels 4 and from the roof walkway 5.

The roof walkway 5 (shown in figures 5 and 6) has a substantially horizontal surface and extends centrally over the harvester in a longitudinal direction. By longitudinal direction it is meant along an axis parallel to the direction of travel of the machine. . The walkway comprises a flat grid which is accessed by steps 6 from the cab platform 7, allowing persons to walk over the top of the harvester and access machine parts, machine components and the spout 2 for maintenance and cleaning purposes. in figure 1 the right hand side of the body of the forage harvester 1 is covered by two side panels 4 shown in figure 1 in the closed position. The panels 4 (indicated by the dotted lines) are made from a material suitable for covering large areas such as a thin sheet metal, a glass- fibre reinforced plastic, or a long fibre injection moulding part. In the closed position the panels 4 extend in a substantially vertical plane from at least the walkway 5 down to the floor 3, providing the machine parts with side protection. One of the panels is fitted to the harvester by a four bar linkage mechanism (not shown) permitting the panel to be moved from the closed position to an open position in which the surface of the panel still lies in a vertical, or substantially vertical plane. Panel 4a may be made of one or more panel sections which are fitted to a panel frame and welded, or glued together to form a single panel surface. Panel 4a has an arch cut out for fitting around the rear wheel which can be seen in figure 2. In accordance with the invention, an opposing panel 4c (seen in figure 3) is fitted on the other side of the harvester opposite to panel 4a.

Since panel 4a moves in a substantially vertical plane between a closed and an open position, the machine parts can be accessed in a restricted space since panel 4a does not require much space to the side of the harvester to allow it to be opened.

The other panel 4b opens by pivoting about a vertical axis, like a door.

Figure 2 shows panel 4a in a partially open position in which the panel has been raised upwards giving access under the panel to the machine parts. Panel 4b remains in a closed position. Panel 4a remains in a vertical plane so that a portion of the panel protrudes over the roof walkway 5. The panel 4a thus provides a safety barrier along an edge of the walkway 5. An upper edge 11 of panel 4a is provided with a hand rail 10 so that a person on the walkway 5 has a handrail for safety. The hand rail 10 is longer than the edge 11 of the panel 4a to provide a safety rail along the walkway above panel 4b which is not movable in an upwards direction. The walkway 5 along the length of the body of the harvester 1 is therefore provided with safety means.

Panel 4b can be opened fully so that panel 4a is raised to a height providing unobstructed access to the machine parts below the walkway. It also means that walkway 5 is provided with a safety barrier (approximately 1 metre high) around the edge of the walkway which greatly reduces the risk of an operator falling off the walkway.

Figure 3 shows the harvester 1 travelling in the opposite direction and therefore the left hand side of the harvester is shown. Steps 9a which lead to cab 8 are pivotable about a vertical access. The left hand side of the harvester is only provided with one panel, panel 4c,, In figure 3 side panel 4c is in a closed position. Side panel 4c is longer in length than panel 4a so that it covers all of the left hand side of the body of the harvester. A part of panel 4c therefore opposes panel 4a. Panel 4c also comprises one or more panel sections welded or glued together. Panel 4c is also provided with a handrail 10 (shown in fig. 4) along its upper edge and is moveable between open and closed positions like panel 4a so that it remains in a vertical plane.

Figure 4 shows panel 4c in a partially open position showing a portion of panel 4c protruding higher than walkway 5. When both opposing panels 4a and 4c are opened, they form a safety barrier along opposing edges of the walkway 5 which can be seen more clearly in figure 6.

Figure 5 is a view from the rear of the harvester showing rear panel 4d and opposing panels 4a and 4c in a closed position. As can be seen panels 4a and 4c have a generally straight lower portion which extend in a vertical plane between the walkway and floor when in the closed position and an upper portion wliich curves inwards towards the walkway 5, Handrail 10 extends over the edges of walkway 5. The handrail 10 is not visible from the side of the harvester since the handrail is spaced horizontally from the edges of panels 4a and 4c. In figure 5 only the panel frame 18 to which panel 4c is attached is shown.

Figure 6 is a view from the rear of the harvester showing opposing panels 4a and 4c in a fully open position. Together panels 4a and 4c provide a safety barrier with hand rail 10 along the edges of walkway 5, The panel opening mechanism 17 is shown and is described below. Figures 7a, 7b and 7c show panel 4a in closed, partially open and fully open positions respectively. A four bar linkage opening mechanism 17 is used to connect the panel frame 18 to the harvester 1.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention spout 2 is also provided with a handrail along its length. The spout 2 with handrail provide a safety barrier along the centre of the walkway 5. Therefore, even if only one of the side panels 4a is provided with a handrail 10 the walkway 5 is provided with opposing safety barriers to reduce the risk of falling.

Figure 8 shows the four bar linkage opening mechanism 17 in the closed position. The four bar linkage comprises four parts: a first bracket 19 for mounting the mechanism to the harvester 1, a second bracket 20 for mounting the panels 4a, 4c (not shown) to the linkage, an upper link 21 and a lower link 22, Upper and lower links 21 and 22 are pivotally mounted at each end to brackets 19 and 20. Spring means 23, such as a gas spring connects upper link 21 to the harvester 1 to actuate the linkage mechanism 17, Each panel 4a, 4c is mounted to the harvester 1 by two linkage mechanisms 17.

Figure 9 shows the mechanism 17 in a partially open position. To move from the closed position to the partially open position, spring means 23 is extended and as it extends, upper and lower links 21 , 22 pivot about bracket 19 whilst bracket 20 pivots relative to upper and lower links so that the panel attachment surface of bracket 20 remains in a substantially vertical plane. This means that panel 4c and panel 4a attached to the bracket 20 also move in a substantially a vertical plane.

Two safety bolts 24, 25 are mounted to upper link 21. When in the closed position safety bolt 25 is secured into locking means 25b located on lower link 22. This prevents panels 4a, 4c from moving away from the harvester 1 when in the closed position. To move the panels into an open position it is necessary to unlock bolt 25 from locking means 25b.

Figure 10 shows the four bar linkage mechanism 17 in a fully open position. Spring means 23 has been extended further and upper and lower links have pivoted further upwards about bracket 19. Bracket 20 has pivoted so that it remains in a substantially vertical plane. Safety bolt 24 is locked into locking means 24b on lower link 22 to prevent further movement of the panels 4a, 4c when in the open position. Locking means 24b and 25b are actuated simultaneously by cables, such as Bowden cables which are connected to a lever (not shown) and which can be activated by the operator.

Although two locking means and two bolts are provided on linkage 17 to secure the panels in open and closed positions, it is possible that an alternative linkage mechanism could be used requiring one or more locking means in combination with one or more locking bolts.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders are used to raise and lower the panels instead of spring means 23. Such cylinders could be pressurised and de-pressurised by a push button. Valve means provided on the cylinders can be used as locking means to secure the panels in the desired position.

In yet a further embodiment of the invention, the panels 4a and 4c may be provided with an opening mechanism which is operable by a remote control means.

The invention described herein has the advantage that the panels can be raised upwards above the harvester providing the operator with easy and unhindered access to the parts beneath the panels with the added advantage that the panels provide a safety barrier along the walkway.