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Title:
SAFETY APPARATUS FOR USE WITH A SHEAVE ASSEMBLY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/112600
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A safety apparatus (70) for use with a sheave assembly (24) having a cable extending therefrom has a first plate (72) adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly and a second plate (74) adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly. At least one carriage (76, 78) is positioned at a periphery of the first and second plates. The carriage extends across a gap between the first and second plates. The carriage (76, 78) is movable along the periphery of the first and second plates. The carriage includes a tracker arm (80) having a portion received at the periphery of one of the plates, and a discoidal member (84) rotatably mounted to the tracker arm. The discoidal member receives a portion of the cable on an interior thereof.

Inventors:
COCCA, Joseph D. (2000 Wayside DriveHouston, TX, 77011, US)
Application Number:
US2017/065273
Publication Date:
June 13, 2019
Filing Date:
December 08, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ALEXANDER/RYAN MARINE & SAFETY LLC (2000 Wayside Drive, Houston, TX, 77011, US)
International Classes:
F16H7/18; B66D1/54; F16P1/02
Foreign References:
US20140200105A12014-07-17
US5645269A1997-07-08
US20140106916A12014-04-17
US4648855A1987-03-10
US2291894A1942-08-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
EGBERT, John S. (Egbert Law Offices, PLLC1001 Texas Avenue, Suite 125, Houston TX, 77002, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I claim:

1. A safety apparatus for use with a sheave assembly having a cable extending therefrom, the safety apparatus comprising:

a first plate adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly, a second plate adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly; and a carriage positioned at a periphery of said first and second plates, said carriage extending across a gap between said first and second plates, said carriage movable along the periphery of said first and second plates, said carriage comprising:

a tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of one of said first and second plates, said tracker arm extending outwardly of the periphery of the plate; and

a discoidal member rotatably mounted to said tracker arm, said discoidal member adapted to receive a portion of the cable on an interior thereof.

2. The safety apparatus of claim 1, said discoidal member comprising:

a first half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending along a surface thereof; a second half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending along a surface thereof; a first half sleeve affixed in said semi-cylindrical bore of said first half body; and a second half sleeve affixed in said cylindrical bore of said second half body, said first half body and said second half body being joined together so that said first half sleeve and said second half sleeve align so as to define a cylindrical wear sleeve.

3. The safety apparatus of claim 2, further comprising:

a third half sleeve positioned against said first half sleeve; and

a fourth half sleeve positioned against said second half sleeve, said third and fourth half sleeves defining a reduced diameter wear sleeve when said first and second half bodies are joined together.

4. The safety apparatus of claim 1, said discoidal member comprising:

a first half body having a plurality of teeth formed at the periphery thereof; and a second half body having a plurality of teeth formed at a periphery thereof, said plurality of teeth of said first half body mashing with said plurality of teeth of said second half body.

5. The safety apparatus of claim 4, said plurality of teeth of said first half body and said plurality of teeth of said second half body having a hole extending therethrough, the safety apparatus further comprising:

a pin member extending through said hole so as to lock the teeth in the meshed orientation.

6. The safety apparatus of claim 1, said the discoidal member comprising:

a first half body having a semi-cylindrical bore formed on a surface thereof and a post extending outwardly of an opposite surface thereof, said tracker arm having a socket formed therein, said post being received by said socket.

7. The safety apparatus of claim 6, said post having a race formed adjacent to an end of said post opposite said first half body, said race extending outwardly of a surface of said tracker arm opposite said first half body, the safety apparatus further comprising:

a locking clip secured to said race of said post, said locking clip having a surface bearing against the surface of said tracker arm.

8. The safety apparatus of claim 7, said locking clip defining a lanyard-receiving slot therein.

9. The safety apparatus of claim 1 , at least one of said first and second plates having at least one magnet on an inner surface thereof, the magnet adapted to magnetically engage with a surface of the sheave assembly.

10. The safety apparatus of claim 1, further comprising:

a spacer extending between said first and second plates, each of said first and second plates having holes through which said spacer extends, said spacer having a first end extending outwardly of said first plate and a second end extending outwardly of said second plate; and

a spring clip removably affixed to said first end of said spacer.

11. The safety apparatus of claim 1 , further comprising:

a second carriage positioned at a periphery of said first and second plates, said second carriage extending across the gap between said first and second plates, said second carriage being movable along the periphery of said first and second plates, said first and second carriages being independently translatable along the peripheries of said first and second plates.

12. The safety apparatus of claim 1, said tracker arm comprising:

a first tracker arm positioned on one side of said discoidal member, said first tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of said first plate; and

a second tracker arm positioned on an opposite side of said discoidal member, said second tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of said second plate.

13. A safety apparatus for use with a sheave assembly having a cable extending therefrom, the safety apparatus comprising:

a first plate adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly, a second plate adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly; and a carriage positioned at a periphery of said first and second plates, said carriage extending across a gap between said first and second plates, said carriage movable along the periphery of said first and second plates, said carriage comprising:

a tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of one of said first and second plates, said tracker arm extending outwardly of the periphery of the plate; and

a discoidal member mounted to said tracker arm, discoidal member adapted to receive a portion of the cable on an interior thereof, said discoidal member comprising:

a first half body having a semi-cylindrical bore formed on a surface thereof and a post extending outwardly of an opposite surface thereof, said tracker arm having a socket formed therein, said post being received by said socket.

14. The safety apparatus of claim 13, said post having a race formed adjacent an end of said post opposite said first half body, said race extending outwardly of a surface of said tracker arm opposite said first half body, the safety apparatus further comprising:

a locking clip secured to said race of said post, said locking clip having a surface bearing against the surface of said tracker arm.

15. The safety apparatus of claim 14, said locking clip defining a lanyard-receiving slot therein.

16. The safety apparatus of claim 13, said discoidal member further comprising:

a second half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending along a surface thereof, said first half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending along a surface thereof;

a first half sleeve affixed in said semi-cylindrical bore of said first half body; and a second half sleeve affixed in said semi-cylindrical bore of said second half body, said first half body and said second half body being joined together so that said first half sleeve and said second half sleeve align so as to define a cylindrical wear sleeve.

17. The safety apparatus of claim 13, said discoidal member being rotatably mounted to said tracker arm.

18. A safety apparatus for use with a sheave assembly having a cable extending therefrom, the apparatus comprising:

a first plate adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly, a second plate adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly, at least one of said first and second plates having at least one magnet on an inner surface thereof, the magnet being adapted to magnetically engage with a surface of the sheave assembly; and

a carriage positioned at a periphery of said first and second plates, said carriage extending across a gap between said first and second plates, said carriage being movable along the periphery of said first and second plates.

19. The safety apparatus of claim 18, further comprising:

a spacer extending between said first and second plates, each of said first and second plates having holes through which said spacer extends, said spacer having a first end extending outwardly of said first plate and a second end extending outwardly of said second plate; and

a spring clip removably affixed to said first end of said spacer.

20. The safety apparatus of claim 18, said carriage comprising:

a tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of one of said first and second plates, said tracker arm extending outwardly of the periphery of the plate; and

a discoidal member rotatably mounted to said tracker arm, said discoidal member adapted to receive a portion of the cable on an interior thereof.

Description:
SAFETY APPARATUS FOR USE WITH A SHEAVE ASSEMBLY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to safety apparatus for use with sheaves and pulleys. More particularly, the present invention relates to a safety apparatus that prevents fingers and clothing from entering into an area adjacent to the sheave or pulley. Additionally, the present invention relates to a safety apparatus that can be mounted to the sheave or pulley and which is adaptable to the various orientations of the cable extending from the sheave or pulley.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Pulleys and sheaves are used in a wide variety of onshore and offshore operations. In certain circumstances, the sheaves or pulleys can be supported from an overhead position so as to facilitate the ability to lift an object from a location so as to move the object to another location. In other circumstances, the pulleys or sheaves may extend in a horizontal orientation adjacent to a floor. In this configuration, the pulleys and/or sheaves can be utilized so as to adjustably position an object on the floor. During the use of such pulleys and sheaves, the operators will typically manipulate a line by pulling on the line. The use of the pulleys and sheaves facilitates the ability, by way of mechanical advantage, to direct an object to another location. Typically, operators will wear gloves while manipulating the line that extends over the pulley.

[0003] In some or certain circumstances, the worker associated with such pulleys may move their hands very close to the actual pulley. If the gloved hand should move too close to the pulley, there is a possibility of the glove being caught in the area between the line and the pulley. This can draw the worker's hand into the pulley. Under such circumstances, finger severing or impalement can occur. As such, a need has developed so as to provide a safety apparatus that effectively prevents the worker from ever encountering the situation where his or her fingers are drawn into the pulley.

[0004] As used herein, the term "sheave" can refer to a block, a pulley, or combinations thereof. The term "pulley" and "sheave" are used interchangeably herein. Additionally, the term "line" can refer to ropes, wire ropes, cords, cables and belts.

[0005] It is important to note that the operation of sheaves and pulleys can cause the line to extend at various angles. Under certain circumstances, there will be a relatively wide angle between the portions of the line that extend between the worker and the object to be manipulated. In other circumstances, the line will extend generally adjacent to the object to be manipulated. As such, any safety apparatus would have to be adaptable to the various orientations of line that are required in the particular applications.

[0006] In the past, various patents have issued relating to safety and protection devices for use with sheaves and pulleys.

[0007] For example, U.S. Patent No. 968,304, issued on August 23, 1910 to G. H. Winslow, describes a pulley guard. This pulley guard includes a shield in the form of a disc or plate having an upper portion provided with a slot terminating in an enlarged aperture to receive and lock over a headed stud or support. The disc or plate has a lower portion that covers the rotary member and is provided with a slot to slidingly engage the shaft of the rotary member. There is an aperture above the slot to afford access to the rotary member. A means is provided for adjusting and locking the plate in different positions on the support.

[0008] U.S. Patent No. 1,175,065, issued on March 14, 1916 to H. Kotten, provides a shaft and pulley guard. In particular, there is shaft guard, a means for vertically adjusting and supporting the shaft guard, a pulley guard formed in sections and having an interlocking engagement with one portion of the shaft guard, and a means for supporting and relatively adjusting the pulley guard sections transversely.

[0009] U.S. Patent No. 1,820,322, issued on August 25, 1931 to B. L. Polkosnik, teaches a pulley guard and banger. This pulley guard and hanger is stamped from a single piece of sheet metal so as to present a central bar member having extensions reaching in opposite directions at right angles from its ends. The bar is bent to produce an open loop extending outwardly. The extensions are looped to encompass the sides of the pulley. The free ends of the side loops are overlapped and secured to the junction of the connected ends.

[0010] U.S. Patent No. 4,114,473, September 19, 1978 to H. M. Pollak, describes guard for belt pulley. The guard includes a top wall for overlying a portion of the pulley's side face between the nips of the belt and the pulley. A side wall is connected to the top wall and extending generally at right angles therefrom. The guard has three projections on the side wall with each projection terminating in an arcuate end face juxtaposed to the inner diameter of one of the grooves of the pulley. Each arcuate end face on the projections has a center of curvature corresponding to the axis of rotation of the pulley. A mounting means is connected to one of the walls for mounting the walls in a position so that each of the projections enters one of the pulley grooves and one projection occupies substantially all the pulley grooves that are unoccupied by the belt.

[0011] U.S. Patent No. 4,139,064, issued on February 13, 1979 to D. R. Dobberpuhl, provides a belt guard for a rotary tiller. The guard encloses the belt and has its forward end pivotally supported on a bracket fixed to the engine by a fastener which also serves to retain a belt guide in place. The rear end of the belt guard is supported for swinging about the forward connection.

[0012] U.S. Patent No. 4,648,855, issued on March 10, 1987 to Palloch et al., discloses a belt guard for industrial sewing machines which includes a cover made of two cover halves that can be clasped together. The cover extensively covers a V-belt pulley part.

[0013] U.S. Patent No. 4,917,656, issued on April 17, 1990 to Sato et al., provides a rear belt guard for use in a sewing machine. The guard member is fixed to the table for covering a rear portion of a belt of the belt device that is exposed on the table. The guard member has an inclined wall upper portion provided with a notched recess for receiving the belt when the head is turned rearwardly. A cover member is openable and slidable over the notched recess. The cover member is urged by a spring in as direction to be closed.

[0014] U.S. Patent No. 5,180,343, issued on January 19, 1993 to M. A. Reed, discloses a pulley guard apparatus that can be mounted to an interior surface of projecting flanges mounted on the pulley structure. Arcuate discs are arranged in confrontation in an edge-to-edge relationship with outer edges of the first and second pulley flanges preventing the binding and abrasion of a pulley belt.

[0015] U.S. Patent No. 5,461,848, issued on October 31, 1995 to L. Anthony, provides as mower pulley guard for covering a wheel pulley. A semi-circular panel is positionable over the wheel pulley of the mower. A pair of lateral panels extend from opposed ends of the semi-circular panel and cooperate with a pair of mounting projections to secure the semi-circular panel to a pulley housing of the mower. The device cooperates with a cover plate of the mower to fully enclose the wheel pulley to preclude an entrance of debris into the pulley housing.

[0016] U.S. Patent No. 5,957,796, issued on September 28, 1999 to V. McLean, provides a belt guard having a main rear wall with two slots for engaging over a pair of shafts of the pump jack at the drive belt on the pulleys on the drive shafts. The rear cover portion includes a peripheral wall extending around the sides and top of the peripheral edge with the bottom of the cover panel being opened. A front panel portion fits over the rear cover panel with a lip engaging onto the peripheral wall to which it is secured.

[0017] U.S. Design Patent No. D540,256, issued on April 10, 2007 to J. R. Bullock., Jr describes a belt guard which includes a first housing that is hingedly connected to a second housing. Hinge pins can be utilized so as to fix the housings into a closed position.

[0018] U.S. PatentNo. 8,789,816 issued on July 29, 2014 to the present Applicant, describes a hand protector safety apparatus that is very effective in promoting the hand safety of users of such sheaves. This patent describes a safety apparatus that has a sheave with a surface extending circumferentially therearound, a first housing interconnected to the sheave, a second housing interconnected to the sheave and pivotally mounted to the first housing, and a line extending over the surface of the sheave and through the interior of each of the first and second housings. Each of the first and second housings has a hole formed at an end thereof opposite the sheave. The line has a first portion extending through the hole of the first housing and a second portion extending through the hole of the second housing. Bushings are respectively received within the holes of the housings.

[0019] It was found that there were certain difficulties with prior art apparatus. Importantly, in order to install this hand safety protection apparatus, it was necessary to remove the center shaft of the sheave. This created certain difficulties in installation. Additionally, it was necessary to thread the cable through each of the bushings so as to allow for the proper installation of the hand safety protection apparatus. Additionally, the manufacturing of the hand safety protection apparatus of this application was somewhat difficult.

[0020] A major development in safety apparatus for use with sheaves was the subject of U.S. Patent No. 9, 188,204, issued onNovember 17, 2015 to the present Applicant. This prior art safety apparatus is shown in FIGURE 1. The safety apparatus 10 includes a first plate 12 suitable for placement over one side of the sheave, a second plate 14 suitable for placement over an opposite side of the sheave, and a carriage 16 positioned at the peripheries of each of the first plate 12 and the second plate 14. As can be seen, the carriage 16 extends across a gap 18 between the first plate 12 the second plate 14. The carriage 16 is movable along the peripheries of the first plate 12 and the second plate 14. A cable 20 extends through a hole 22 in the carriage 16. The cable 20 is freely movable through the hole 22 of the carriage 16.

[0021] In FIG. 1, it can be seen that there is a sheave 24 having a shackle 26 extending outwardly therefrom. The sheave 24 will have an axle 26 located centrally of the lint plate 12 the second plate 14. An opening 28 is formed in each of the plates 12 and 14 so as to accommodate the axle 26 of the sheave 24. Each of the plates 12 and 14 has a cut out 30 formed therethrough so as to accommodate the connecting portions of the sheave 24 with the shackle 26.

[0022] The first plate 12 is illustrated as having a track 32 formed adjacent to the periphery 34 of the first plate 12. The track 32 extends substantially around the outer portion of the plate 12. A plurality of ribs 36 radiate from the opening 28 toward the track 32. Ribs 36 have a greatest thickness adjacent to the opening 24 and a reduced thickness adjacent to the track 32. The ribs 36 are configured so as to enhance the structural integrity of each of the plates 12 and 14. The plates 12 and 14 will have an identical configuration.

[0023] A plurality of fasteners 38, 40 and 42 are illustrated as positioned on the outer surface of the first plate 12. Fasteners 38, 40 and 42 will extend between the first plate 12 and the second plate 14 so as to secure the plates 12 and 14 over the exterior surfaces of the sheave 24. As will be described hereinafter, spacers are located between the plates 12 and 14 so as to establish the gap 18 therebetween. The use of the fasteners 38, 40 and 42 allows the plates 12 and 14 to adapt to various sizes and thicknesses of sheaves located between the plates 12 and 14.

[0024] The first carriage 16 is illustrated as positioned at the periphery 34 of the first plate 12. The carriage 16 will also be positioned at the periphery 44 of the second plate 14. The carriage 16 includes a first body 46, a second body 48 and a discoidal member 50. The first body 46 has a portion 52 that is positioned within the track 32 at the periphery 34 the first plate 12. The second body 48 will similarly have a portion that is received within the track of the second plate 44. As such, the bodies 46 and 48 of the carriage 16 can freely slide around the track 32 on the plates. The discoidal member 50 is pivotally mounted to the bodies 46 and 48. The discoidal member 50 will have an interior suitable for allowing the cable 20 to extend therethrough.

[0025] Another carriage 54 is also positioned at the periphery 34 of the first plate 12. The carriage 54 will also be positioned at the periphery 44 of the second plate 14. Carriage 54 will have an identical configuration to that of carriage 16. The carriage 54 will include a first body 56, a second body 58, and a discoidal member 60. The discoidal member 60 is pivotally mounted relative to the first body 56 and the second body 58. The discoidal member 60 has a hole 62 extending therethrough. Another portion 64 of the cable 20 will extend through the hole 62 of the carriage 54. Since a sheave is located within the interior formed between the first plate 12 and a second plate 14, the carriages 16 and 54 accommodate the separate portions of the cable. As such, the carriages 16 and 54 can adapt to various orientations of the cable 20 as it extends around the sheave.

[0026] The safety apparatus 10, shown in FIGURE 1, suffered from certain deficiencies. Initially, the safety apparatus was very difficult to assemble onto the sheave assembly. As a result of the difficulty of assembly, workers were often discouraged from trying to implement the safety apparatus. In other circumstances, the safety apparatus 10 would be improperly assembled. If it were improperly assembled, then problems could occur related to safety or the proper usage of the sheave assembly. Furthermore, it was found that although the carriages would move relative to the periphery of the plates, it was often difficult for workers to make minor adjustments in the angular orientation of the cable. This is the result of the discoidal member being fixedly connected to the carriage. It was found that, under certain circumstances, minor variations in the orientation of the cable could create greater wear against the inner surfaces of the carriage and create further friction and resistance to the movement of the cable. As such, the present invention was developed so as to effectively remedy the problems associated with the safety apparatus of FIGURE 1.

[0027] It is an object of the present invention to provide a safety device for sheaves and pulleys that effectively prevents impaling or severing of fingers.

[0028] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety device for use with sheaves and pulleys which does not interfere with the standard operation of the pulley, sheave or block.

[0029] It is another object of the present invention to provide as safety apparatus for use with sheaves and pulleys which is adaptable to various angles and orientations of the line with respect to the pulley.

[0030] It is another object of the present invention provide a safety apparatus which avoids the removal of the center shaft of the sheave.

[0031] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that is adaptable over the existing sheave head and nut. [0032] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that avoids any interference with mid-line attachment.

[0033] It is another object of the present invention provide a safety apparatus which avoids the need for offset legs.

[0034] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus in which the construction utilizes identical components.

[0035] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus in which the design is easily scalable to the various configurations of sheaves.

[0036] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that is extremely light.

[0037] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that allows for cosine compensation of the centerline of the cable relative to the sheave yoke track.

[0038] It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that is easy-to-use, easy to manufacture, easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

[0039] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus which can be easily assembled onto the sheave assembly.

[0040] It is another object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus which can be installed without the use of tools.

[0041] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that can be assembled by a single person.

[0042] It is object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus which avoids loads on the cable.

[0043] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that is adaptable between 0° and 180° of movement.

[0044] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that follows the movement of the cable without binding.

[0045] It is a further object of the present invention to provide a safety apparatus that is unaffected by thermal shock.

[0046] These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a reading of the attached specification and appended claims.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0047] The present invention is a safety apparatus for use with a sheave assembly having a cable extending therefrom. As used herein, the term "sheave assembly" refers to snatch blocks, blocks, pulley blocks, or pulley housings. The term "cable" as used herein can be cable, line, rope, wire rope, or fiber rope.

[0048] The safety apparatus of the present invention includes a first plate adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly, a second plate adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly, and a carriage positioned at a periphery of the first and second plates. The carriage extends across a gap formed between the first and second plates. The carriage is movable along the periphery of the first and second plates. The carriage includes a tracker arm having a portion received at the periphery of one of the first and second plates and a discoidal member rotatably mounted to the tracker arm. The tracker arm extends outwardly of the periphery of the plates. The discoidal member is adapted to receive a portion of the cable on an interior thereof.

[0049] In the safety apparatus of the present invention, the discoidal member includes a first half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending along a surface thereof and a second half body having a semi-cylindrical bore extending across a surface thereof. The first half body and the second half body can be joined together to define a cable-receiving cylindrical bore. A first half sleeve is affixed in the semi-cylindrical bore of the first half body. A second half sleeve is affixed in the cylindrical bore of the second half body. When the first half body is joined to the second half body, the first half sleeve and the second half sleeve align so as to define a cylindrical wear sleeve. In a further embodiment of the present invention, a third half sleeve can be positioned against the first half sleeve and a fourth half sleeve can be positioned against the second half sleeve. When the first and second half bodies are joined together, the third and fourth half sleeves define a reduced-diameter wear sleeve.

[0050] The first half body has a plurality of teeth formed at a periphery thereof. The second half body also has a plurality of teeth formed at the periphery of thereof. The teeth of the first half body mesh with the teeth of the second half body. Each of the plurality of teeth of the first half body and the plurality of teeth of the second half body have a hole extending therethrough. A pin member extends through the hole so as to lock the teeth in the meshed orientation.

[0051] The first half body has a post extending outwardly of a surface thereof opposite the semi-cylindrical bore. The tracker arm includes a socket formed therein. The post is received by the socket. The post has a race formed adjacent an end of the post opposite the first half body. The race extends outwardly of a surface of the tracker arm opposite the first half body. A locking clip is secured to the race of the post. The locking clip has a surface bearing against a surface of the tracker arm. The locking clip defines a lanyard-receiving slot therein.

[0052] At least one of the first and second plates has at least one magnet on an inner surface thereof. The magnet is adapted to magnetically engage with a surface of the sheave assembly. A spacer extends between the first and second plates. Each of the first and second plates has holes through which the spacer extends. The spacer has a first end extending outwardly of the first plate and a second end extending outwardly of the second plate. A spring clip is removably affixed to the first end of the spacer.

[0053] In the present invention, there is a second carriage positioned at the periphery of the first and second plates. The second carriage also extends across the gap between the first and second plates. The second carriage is movable along the periphery of the first and second plates. The first and second carriages are independently translatable along the peripheries of the first and second plates so as to conform to the desired orientation of the cable extending from the sheave assembly.

[0054] The tracker arm includes a first tracker arm positioned on one side of the discoidal member. The first tracker arm has a portion received at the periphery of the first plate. The tracker arm also includes a second tracker arm positioned on an opposite side of the discoidal member. The second tracker arm has a portion received at the periphery of the second plate.

[0055] This foregoing Section is intended to describe, with particularity, the preferred embodiments of the present invention. It is understood that modifications to these preferred embodiments can be made within the scope of the present claims. As such, this Section should not to be construed, in any way, as limiting of the broad scope of the present invention. The present invention should only be limited by the following claims and their legal equivalents.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEW OF THE DRAWINGS

[0056] FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a prior art safety apparatus. [0057] FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0058] FIGURE 3 is an exploded view of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0059] FIGURE 4 is a perspective view showing the carriage as mounted to the periphery of the plates of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0060] FIGURE 5 is an end view of the discoidal member of the carriage of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0061] FIGURE 6 is a side perspective view showing one of the half bodies of the discoidal member of the present invention.

[0062] FIGURE 7 shows a perspective view of a semi-cylindrical sleeve that is received in the bore of the half body of the discoidal member of the present invention.

[0063] FIGURE 8 is an end view of the arrangement of semi-cylindrical sleeves as positioned within a semi-cylindrical bore of a half body of the discoidal member of the present invention.

[0064] FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of the tracker arm of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0065] FIGURE 10 is a cross-sectional view of the tracker arm of the safety apparatus the present invention.

[0066] FIGURE 11 shows the lanyard-receiving spring clip as secured to the tracker arm of the present invention.

[0067] FIGURE 12 is a perspective view of a spacer as used between the plates of the safety apparatus of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0068] FIGURE 2 shows the safety apparatus 70 in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The safety apparatus 70 is to be applied around a sheave assembly a, such as sheave assembly 24 of FIGURE 1. The safety apparatus 70 includes a first plate 72 that is adapted to be placed on one side of the sheave assembly, a second plate 74 adapted to be placed on an opposite side of the sheave assembly, a first carriage 76 and a second carriage 78. Each of the first carriage 76 and the second carriage 78 are positioned at a periphery of the first plate 72 and the second plate 74. The first carriage 76 extends across a gap between the first plate 72 and the second plate 74. The second carriage 78 also extends across the gap between the first plate 72 and the second plate 74. Each of the first carriage 76 and the second carriage 78 are independently movable and translatable along the periphery of the first plate 72 and the second plate 78. Each of the carriages 76 and 78 include a bore that is adapted to receive the cable of the sheave assembly, such as cable 20 as shown in FIGURE 1.

[0069] Each of the carriages 76 and 78 has an identical configuration. As such, the description associated with the first carriage 76 is identical to the structure of the second carriage 78. The first carriage 76 includes a tracker arm 80 that has a first tracker arm 80 that has a portion received at the periphery of the first plate 72 and a second tracker arm 82 that has a portion received by the periphery of the second plate 74. The tracker arms 80 and 82 extend outwardly beyond the periphery of the first plate 72 and the second plate 74. A discoidal member 84 is rotatably mounted to the first tracker arm 80 and the second tracker arm 82. The discoidal member includes a bore 86 that is adapted to receive a portion of the cable on an interior thereof. A clip 88 is positioned on the outer surface of the first tracker arm 76. This clip 88 can include a lanyard-receiving slot on the interior thereof.

[0070] As the cable is payed out or payed in, the cable will travel freely through the bore 86 of the discoidal member 84. Since the cable can have various orientations with respect to the sheave assembly, the rotatability of the discoidal member 84 facilitates the ability to compensate for any changes in the orientation of the cable. Similarly, the ability of the carriages 76 and 78 to move along the tracks of the first plate 72 and the second plate 74 further facilitates the ability of the carriages 76 and 78 to adapt to the orientation of the cables.

[0071] In normal use, a pulling force can be applied to the cable. This pulling force will cause another portion of the cable to be drawn inwardly through the bore of the carriage. If the worker is guiding the other portion of the cable when a pulling force is applied to the cable, the entry of the worker's hands into the areas of the sheave is prevented by the blocking caused by the outer surfaces of the discoidal member 86. As such, any injury to the hands of the workers is prevented. Since the bore 86 (along with the wear sleeve included therein as described hereinafter) has a diameter only slightly greater than the outer diameter of the cable, there is no possibility of a glove being drawn into the interior of the sheave assembly. Any injuries are prevented by the blocking effect caused by the carriages. [0072] The relationship of the discoidal member 84 with respect to the first track arm 80 and the second track arm 82 allows the carriages 76 and 78 to act as cosine compensators with relationship to the pitch diameter of the sheave assembly relative to the centerline of the carriages. The counter bore of the inner wall of the plate 72 and 74 profile the outer surfaces of the sheave assembly. This assures that the sheave assembly will always stay in the same relationship to the plates. The equal length standoffs between the plates provide a fixed parallel gap that allows the cable to enter and exit the safety apparatus 70. The standoffs between the plates provide a fixed parallel gap that allows the cable to enter and exit the safety apparatus in order to track around a portion of the sheave track and exit the other side. The discoidal member 86 is designed so as to articulate in a cosine-compensation manner. The safety apparatus 70 of the present invention also allows for small angular side-to-side movements of the cable because there is a ball-and-socket feature between the interface of the carriages 76 and 78 and that portion of the carriages that rides within the track at the periphery of the plates 72 and 74.

[0073] The safety apparatus 70 of the present invention avoids the need to remove the center shaft of the sheave assembly. The plates 72 and 74 fit over the existing nut and head of the sheave assembly. The present invention avoids any interference with attachments. The present invention further avoids the need for offset legs. The plates 72 and 74 of the safety apparatus 70 form fit around the plate geometry of the sheave assembly. The plates 72 and 74 are of the same configuration. The track arms 80 and 82 are also of the same configuration. The half bodies of the discoidal member 84 are also of the same configuration. As such, only a single mold is required for each of these components. Similarly, since each of these components are of an identical configuration, there is no possibility of improperly joining pieces together. Manufacturing cost is greatly reduced. The configuration of the safety apparatus 70 of the present invention is scalable to the size of the sheave assembly. The safety apparatus 70 is extremely light. The ability to manufacture the safety apparatus 70 through the use of injection molding techniques and polymer technology allows color to be molded therein. Various labels and safety information can be applied to the exposed surfaces on the exterior of the plates 72 and 74.

[0074] In FIGURE 2, it can be seen that the plate 72 has a plurality of ribs 90 radiating outwardly from the center opening 92. The ribs 90 provide structural integrity to the body of the plate 72. The opening 92 allows the axle and axle shaft of the sheave assembly to be exposed for maintenance, lubrication and repair. It can be seen that the periphery 94 of the plate 72 includes a recess 96 that is formed inwardly of an outwardly extending lip 98. It can be seen that there is a hooked member 100 of the track arm 80 that is received within this annular recess 96. This allows the track arm 80 to translate and slide along the outer periphery of the plate 72. The second plate 74, the second track arm 82 and a second carriage 78 will also have an identical configuration and operate in a similar manner. The space between the ribs 90 and the space between the end of the ribs 90 and the lip 98 provide a suitable area for safety information to be easily displayed on the outer surfaces of the first plate 72.

[0075] There is a spacer 102 that extends between the second plate 74 and the first plate 72. There will be holes in each of the plates 72 and 74 to accommodate the ends of the spacer 102 (to be described hereinafter). A spring clip 104 is affixed to at least one end of the spacer 102 so as to secure the plates 72 and 74 in a proper position and in parallel relationship to each other. FIGURE 2 also shows the similar spacers and clips 106 and 108 adjacent to the periphery of the plate 72. These clips 104, 106 108 can be easily removable so as to allow the safety apparatus 70 to be disassembled or assembled. The carriages 76 and 78 are free to travel around the periphery of the plate 72 and 74 without any obstruction by the spacers 102 or the various clips 104, 106 and 108.

[0076] FIGURE 3 is a cutaway and exploded view of the safety apparatus 70 of the present invention. In particular, the first plate 72 and the second plate 74 are particularly illustrated. The carriages 76 and 78 are illustrated as having the track member 82 in slidable relation to the periphery of the second plate 74.

[0077] It can be seen that the second plate 74 includes spacers 102 extending upwardly therefrom. Spacers 102 are spaced radially around the interior of the second plate 74. Clip 104 is secured to one post, clip 106 is secured to another post, and clip 108 is secured to a further post. For the purposes of assembly, the clips 104, 106 108 are removed so that the first plate 72 can be placed onto a reduced diameter portion 110 of the posts 102. The clips 104, 106 and 108 can then be applied so as to reside on the outer surface of the first plate 72. FIGURE 3 shows that there is a clip 112 that secures a reduced diameter portion of the post 102 to the second plate 74. Similar to the clips can also be applied to the other posts 102. However, within the concept of the present invention, a more permanent attachment, such as a nut, a rivet, or a flanged can be formed on the posts 102 so as to secure them to the second plate 74.

[0078] Importantly, in the present invention, there are magnets 114 that are affixed to an inner surface of the second plate 74. Similar magnets can also be applied to the inner surface of the first plate 72. Magnets 114 are useful for installation purposes. In particular, during assembly, the second plate 74 can be placed in the proximity of the sheave assembly. The magnets 114 will secure the second plate in a magnetic manner to the sheave assembly. The first plate 74 can then be applied to the opposite side of the sheave assembly. The use of the magnets facilitates the ability for a single person to install the sheave assembly 72 without tools. Each of the clips 104, 106 and 108 can be installed by hand. Similarly, as will be described hereinafter, the carriages 76 and 78 can also be assembled without tools in a convenient and quick manner.

[0079] The carriage 78 includes a first track arm 120 and a second track arm 122. Track arms 120 and 122 have an identical configuration. Similarly, the track arms 120 and 122 have a similar configuration to that of track arms 80 and 82. Each of the track arms 120 and 122 includes a hook member 100 that extends inwardly so as to engage with the annular recess 96 on each of the plates 72 and 74.

[0080] The second carriage 78 receives the discoidal member 84 between the track arms 120 and 122. The discoidal member 84 includes a first half body 124 and a second half body 126. These half bodies 124 and 126 are placed in surface-to-surface relationship so as to form the cylindrical bore 128. Each of the half bodies 124 and 126 includes teeth 130 that are meshed together. A cotter pin 132 extends through a hole formed in the teeth 130 so as to lock the first half body 124 to the second half body 126 so that the teeth 130 remain meshed and the cylindrical bore 128 remains intact.

[0081] The outer surface of the discoidal member 84 presents a smooth surface that serves to diverge fingers of a worker away from the cylindrical bore 128. Similarly, the outer surfaces of the track arms 120 and 122 are wedge-shaped so as to further deflect the hands away from the sheave assembly and out of the reach of danger. The close relationship between the inner wall of the cylindrical bore 128 and the outer diameter of the cable passing therethrough provides a very restricted opening which avoids any pinching of fingers or the grabbing of gloves.

[0082] FIGURE 4 is a detailed illustration of the second carriage 78. It can be seen that the carriage 78 has a cable 140 extending through the cylindrical bore 128. The plates 72 and 74 have a concave shape so as to extend around the periphery of the sheave assembly located between the plates 72 and 74. Similarly, the peripheries of the plates 72 and 74 reside closely to the outer diameter of the cable 140. The carriage 78 is illustrated as engaged with the outer periphery of the plates 72 and 74. The first track arm 120 will engage with the outer periphery of the plate 172 and the second track arm 122 will engage with the outer periphery of the second plate 74. The track arm 120 includes an indented area 142. This indented area 142 will serve to receive the clip 144 therein. Clip 144 includes a lanyard-receiving slot on an interior thereof. As such, the present invention allows for lanyards to be used in association with the safety apparatus 70 of the present invention.

[0083] The discoidal member 84 is located between the track arms 120 and 122. As such, the discoidal member 84 is free to rotate relative to the track arms 120 and 122. The half body 124 and the half body 126 have teeth formed on a periphery thereof. The teeth 130 will have a hole formed therethrough. The cotter pin 132 is particularly illustrated as extending through the hole in the teeth 130. Cotter pin 132 will have a ring 146 hinged thereto.

[0084] This configuration facilitates the easy assembly of the discoidal member 84. The half bodies 124 and 126 are placed together and around the cable 140. When these half bodies 124 and 126 are placed in surface-to-surface relationship, the teeth 130 will mesh together and secure the discoidal member 84 around the cable 140. The worker can then install the cotter pin 132 through the holes of the teeth 130 so that the discoidal member 84 is locked around the cable 140.

[0085] FIGURE 5 shows an end view of the discoidal member 84. The half body 124 is placed in surface-to-surface relationship to the half body 126 so as to define the cylindrical bore 128. It can be seen that there is a hole 150 that extends through the teeth 130 at the periphery of the discoidal member 84 and at the juncture of the half bodies 124 and 126. As such, hole 150 achieves allows the cotter pin 132 to join the half bodies 124 and 126 together. A first post 152 extends outwardly of a side of the half body 124 opposite the half body 126. Another post 154 extends outwardly of a surface of the half body 126 opposite the half body 124. Posts 152 and 154 will be received within a socket formed in the respective track arms 120 and 122. It can be seen that the post 154 includes a spring clip-receiving race 156. Post 152 will have a similar race.

[0086] Importantly, as can be seen in FIGURE 5, the present invention facilitates the ability to configure the diameter of the cylindrical bore 128 so as to be approximately equal to the outer diameter of the cable passing therethrough. If there is any gap between the inner wall of the cylindrical bore 128 and the outer diameter of the cable, there is a possibility that fingers can get pinched or clothing be grasped. As such, the first half body 124 has a semi-cylindrical bore 158 and the second half body 126 has a semi-cylindrical bore 160. When the semi-cylindrical bores 158 of 160 are mated together, they will form the cylindrical bore 128. A first half sleeve 162 is positioned within the semi-cylindrical bore 158 of the first half body 124. Similarly, another half sleeve 164 is positioned in the semi-cylindrical bore 160 of the second half body 126. When the half bodies 124 and 126 are mated together, the semi-cylindrical sleeves 162 and 164 will form a cylindrical wear sleeve. As such, the semi-cylindrical sleeves 162 and 164 will allow the bore 128 to adapt to the particular diameter of a cable passing therethrough and reduce the clearance between the outer diameter of the cable and the inner wall of the wear sleeve.

[0087] FIGURE 6 is a perspective view showing the a single half body 126. Half bodyl26 has post 154 extending outwardly of the outer surface 170. The teeth 130 are formed so as to extend outwardly at the periphery of the half body 126 in a direction away from the surface 170. The semi-cylindrical bore 160 is formed through a surface of the half body 26 opposite surface 170.

[0088] FIGURE 7 shows, in particular, the shape of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162. Semi-cylindrical sleeve 164 will have a similar configuration. There is a rib 180 formed on the outer periphery of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162 and a cross member 182 extending transverse to the rib 180. Cross member 182 has tapered ends. Each of the rib 180 and the cross member 182 extend outwardly from the outer surface 184 of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162. This configuration of the rib 180 assures the proper placement in the longitudinal direction of the semi-cylindrical sleeve within the semi-cylindrical bore 158 by being inserted into a corresponding slot formed in the wall of the semi-cylindrical bore 158. The cross member 182 assures a proper radial orientation of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162 within the semi-cylindrical bore 158. As a result of the rib 180 and the cross member 182, it will be assured that the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162 will have ends that are flush with the outer periphery of the half body 128 and will have longitudinal edges that are flush with the surface of the half body 128 that mates with the corresponding surface of the half body 126. This arrangement assures a proper orientation. [0089] FIGURE 8 shows that the semi-cylindrical bore 158 has a groove 186 that receives the cross member 182 of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162. The semi-cylindrical sleeve 162 is illustrated as placed in surface-to-surface relationship with the inner surface of the semi-cylindrical bore 158. Importantly, the present invention contemplates the use of another semi-cylindrical sleeve 188 that is placed within the inner diameter of the semi-cylindrical sleeve 162. Under certain circumstances, sheave assemblies can accommodate different diameters of cable. As such, the configuration shown in FIGURE 8 allows the bore 128 to accommodate a smaller diameter cable. In particular, the cylindrical bore 128 of the discoidal member 84 can accommodate a first semi-cylindrical member, a second semi-cylindrical member, a third semi-cylindrical member and a fourth semi-cylindrical member.

[0090] FIGURE 9 illustrates the track arm 78. Track arm 78 has a hook member 100 at one end thereof. There is an indentation 200 formed in the outer surface of the track arm 78. Indentations 200 will extend around a socket 202 that extends through the body of the track arm 78. Gussets 224 and 226 extend angularly upwardly at sides of the indentation 200. The inner surface 228 of the track arm 78 is slightly bowed inwardly so as to match the outer surface of the discoidal member 84.

[0091] FIGURE 10 further shows a cross-sectional view of the track arm 78. The hook member 100 defines an opening 230 so as to allow the track arm 78 to be hooked onto the outwardly extending lip of the plate. The opening 230 has an inset portion 232 that flexibly resides over the edge of the outwardly extending lip of the plate. This allows the track member 78 have a certain amount of flexibility and gives the track member 78 a certain amount of pivotability so as to accommodate side-to-side motions of the cable.

[0092] The socket 222 will extend through the body of the track arm 78 so as to have one end opening at the lower surface 228 and an upper end opening into the indented area 200. Socket 222 will receive the post 154 of the half body 84 so that the race 156 will extend outwardly into the indented area 200.

[0093] FIGURE 11 illustrates the clip 144 that is used to secure they half body of the discoidal member to the track arm 78. The clip 144 has a spring-type slot 240. Slot 240 will extend around the race 156 of the post 154 of the half body 126 so as to fix the half body 126 in a proper position against the lower surface of 228 ofthe track arm 78. The clip 144 will reside within the indented area 200 in the manner shown in FIGURE 4. The clip 144 can include a lanyard-receiving slot 242 so that lanyards can be secured to the safety apparatus of the present invention.

[0094] FIGURE 12 shows the spacer 102 is used to secure the plates 72 and 74 together in the safety apparatus 70 of the present invention. The spacer 102 has an upper reduced diameter portion 110 and a lower reduced diameter portion 250. The upper reduced diameter portion 110 has a race 252 extending circumferentially therearound and spaced slightly from the outer end 254. Similarly, the reduced diameter portion 250 includes a race 256 extending circumferentially therearound and spaced from the bottom 258. Races 252 and 256 serve to receive the spring clips 104 thereon. The shoulders 260 and 262 provides structural support for the inner sides of each of the plates 72 and 74.

[0095] The safety apparatus 70 of the of the present invention can easily be assembled. First, the pins can be placed into the holes of one of the plates. The spring clips can then engage with the appropriate race on the spacer. As such, the spacers 102 will extend outwardly from the inner surface of one of the plates. This plate can then be secured in a proper position over the sheave assembly. The use of the magnets will cause the plate to be magnetically secured to one side of the sheave assembly. The other plate then can then be placed over the reduced diameter portion of the spacers such that the reduced diameter portion extends through the respective holes formed in the plate. The spring clips can then be applied on to the races that extend outwardly on the outer side of the other plate so as to secure each of the plates in parallel relation to each other.

[0096] The discoidal member can be assembled over a portion of the cable by first installing the half cylindrical sleeves into the half-cylindrical bores of each of the halves of the discoidal member. The halves of the discoidal member can then be secured to each other over the cable by the meshing of the teeth and then the installation of the cotter pin. The tracking arms can be attached to the lip or rim of each of the plate by securing the hooked member to the lip or rim of the plate. This assembled discoidal member can then the moved along the cable so as to be in position adjacent to the inner surfaces of each of the track members. The posts of the discoidal member are put into the respective sockets of the track arms and then the clip can be placed over the respective races on the posts so as to affix the inner surfaces of the track arms to the outer surface of the discoidal member. This entire assembly requires no tools and can be assembled by a single person in a quick and easy manner.

[0097] The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is illustrative and explanatory thereof. Various changes in the details of the illustrated construction can be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the true spirit of the invention. The present invention should only be limited by the following claims and their legal equivalents.