Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
SUN OR WEATHER COVER FOR VEHICLES, MACHINERY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1985/003911
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus for providing sun or weather cover for vehicles, machinery, plant and equipment, characterized by an elongated, one piece, non-rigid cover (20, 21) which is rollably stowed in and deployed from a container (1) mounted in or upon the unit to be covered, the container being of a length substantially less than that of the width of the deployed cover. The cover is accomodated within the container by being drawn during restowing through a folding means (4) which stretches it flat and imparts to it a number of longitudinal folds.

Inventors:
Williams
Leonard
Gordon
Application Number:
PCT/AU1984/000028
Publication Date:
September 12, 1985
Filing Date:
February 28, 1984
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Williams
Leonard
Gordon
International Classes:
B60J11/00; (IPC1-7): B60J11/00
Foreign References:
DE2911365A1
DE940211C
DE2731951A1
US2723156A
GB811313A
AU5124879A
US3292684A
AU2047956B
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Apparatus for providing weather or sun protection for an automobile or like vehicle, or for machines, plant and equipment, comprising an elongated onepiece cover; a terminal bar fixed to the distal end of the cover which may be lockably attached to fittings provided on a vehicle bumper; a container of suitable crosssectional area and shape accomodating a roller to which the proximal end of the cover is fixed and upon which the cover may be rollably stowed, the cover entering or exiting the container through a wide slot provided in one of its longitudinal faces; a torsion rod by which the roller may be springtensioned in a rotary sense towards the retracted position of the cover; a hinged flap which may be lockably positioned over the wide slot in the container; and a folding means through which the cover transits in passing from the slot in the container to the roller.
2. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a container of substantially smaller length than the width of the cover rollably accomodated within it, and adapted to be mounted above a vehicle bumper in a relatively inconspicuous position in which it does not contribute to the air drag of the moving vehicle.'.
3. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a container adapted to be accomodated within the body of a vehicle bumper, or within the front or rear body paneling of a vehicle proper, with only the hinged flap over the wide slot visible.
4. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a container, the _. O PI wide slot in one longitudinal face of which may be closed by a hinged flap provided with a centrallymounted keyoperated lock through which may be actuated a straight bell crank, the opposed arms of which are connected by rods or wires to release 5 spring catches at each end of the hinged flap. The spring catches are adapted in the closed position of the hinged flap to engage the inside faces of the ends of the wide slot, and from which they may be disengaged by operation of the key operated lock, lø.
5. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a cover preferably of a suitable soft, light, waterproof, sun reflective material, comprising an elongated rectangular body part, to the greater part of the longitudinal edges of which are permanently fixed limbs or leaves of of the same material, 5 the arcuate outer edges of the limbs or leaves being shirred by elastic webbing or other spring material or device contained within the seams. The distal end of the elongated rectangular body part of the cover is attached to a terminal rod and the proximal end passes into the container through a wide slot in ø one of its longitudinal faces and is fixed to the roller accomodated therein.
6. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a roller accomodated within a container which is free to rotate about a shaft the ends of which are carried in bearings mounted upon 5 the ends of the container. The proximal end of the elongated rectangular body part of the cover is fixed to the roller upon which the cover, stretched flat and with the limbs or leaves folded, may be rollably" stowed. A small gear mounted upon one end of the roller shaft is arranged to mesh with a large gear mounted upon the end of a torsion rod, the opposite end of which is adjustably fastened to the end of the container, and the end to which the large gear is fixed being free to rotate in a bearing mounted upon the end of the container. The fixed end of the torsion rod is threaded, the threaded portion passing through the end of the container to which it is fixed by locking nuts positioned within and outside the container being tensioned against each other. Provision is made to grip the fixed end of the torsion rod with a suitable tool and rotate it prior to its being fixed into position with the locking nuts, to springtension the roller in a rotary sense through the interconnecting gears towards the retracted position of the cover.
7. Apparatus of Claim 6. in which the torsion rod, adjust¬ ing means and gears are deleted, and the roller spring tensioned in a rotary sense by a spiral spring accomodated within the roller according the the wellknown principle of the Holland blind.
8. Apparatus of Claim 6. in which the torsion rod, adjust¬ ing means and torsion rod gear are deleted, and the roller powered towards the retraction position by a small electric motor driving through a system of gears. The retracting force of the electric motor is controlled by a manuallyoperated micro switch mounted on the terminal rod and connected to the electric motor by flexible conductors concealed in a seam of the cover.
9. Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a terminal bar fixed to the distal end of the elongated rectangular body part of the cover, one end of which is provided with a rigidly fixed hook which may be engaged with a hole in a fitting attached to one end of a vehicle bumper, and the other end provided with a 5 locking means characterised by a bush rigidly fixed to the end of the terminal rod and which accomodates a coaxial locking mechanism to which is attached a moveable locking element generally of the shape of the letter L. The moveable locking element can be lockably positioned by use of a suitable key, lø into cooperation with a fixed locking element of similar configuration but opposed arrangement rigidly attached to the bush fixed to the end of the terminal rod.
10. Apparatus of Claim 9. in which the rigidly fixed hook at one end of the terminal rod is replaced by the locking means 15 identical with that provided at the other end of the terminal rod.
11. Apparatus of Claim 9. in which the rigidly fixed hook at one end of the terminal rod is replaced by a rigidly fixed bush within which is accomodated a coaxial drum connected to 0 the locking mechanism at the other end of the terminal rod by means of a torque tube passing through the terminal rod from one end to the other. Moveable locking elements attached to the drum and locking mechanism are lockably positioned by use of the key into cooperation with locking elements of similar 5 configuration but opposed arrangement rigidly fixed to the bushes on the ends of the terminal rod. In this way the projecting fingers of the locking elements at each end of the terminal rod capture fittings attached to the ends of a vehicle o 16 bumper by entering holes within them from opposite sides.
12. 11 Apparatus of Claim 1. characterised by a folding means comprising a plurality of guiding surfaces or elements, two of which are long and are arranged to form a main slot or narrow 5 guideway generally of the desired final width of the folded cover, and the others of which are shorter and arranged in stacks at each end of the main slot or guideway. The alternate ends of all guiding surfaces or elements are joined by curved or partcircular guiding surfaces or elements to produce a more lø or less continuous auxiliary slot or narrow guide way of zig¬ zag configuration at each end of and contiguous with the main narrow slot or guideway, which slot stretches flat the cover drawn through it and imparts to it a number of longitudinal folds thus reducing it to a width which may be accomodated 15 within the length of the container.
Description:
SOT OR WEATHER 'COYER EOR VEHICLES, MACHUtfERY, PLilMT AND EQUIPMENT

The invention concerns a non-rigid weathef and sun covering for an automobile or similar type vehicle which can be deployed from or retractably restowed back into a container mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. 5 Automobile non-rigid weather and sun coverings consisting of a rectangular sheet of material which can be rollably stowed in and deployed from a container mounted on a vehicle by means of a simple hand-cranked roller or by utilising the Holland roller-blind principle are known in the prior art. An example 10 is Australian Patent No. 11776/76.

Such previously existing automobile weather and sun . coverings have comprised one or more rectangular sheets of material stowed on a roller or rollers contained in one or more compartments mounted transversely across more or less the full 15 width of the vehicle by clamping to the gutters of the vehicle's turret top or by incorporation into the transverse members of a roof-mounted luggage carrier. Such compartments have tended to be unsightly, have substantially increased the coefficient of drag of the vehicle and, most importantly, have 20 been incapable of stowing a single-piece cover of sufficient width to effectively protect the exterior of the vehicle from the elements. Because of the limited width of such covers, recourse has had to be made to auxiliary covering members taking the form of aprons permanently or temporarily attached 25 to the longitudinal- edges of the main cover or covers to protect the sides of the vehicle. Being unsecured at their lower edges, such auxiliary covering members are prone to flap in the wind and, because of the inconvenience of deploying and

stowing them, have done much to reduce the utility of the whole device.

The present invention provides for a one-piece weather or sun cover which is of suitable width and shape to effectively cover those parts of the exterior of an automobile which should be protected from the elements, and which can be quickly and conveniently deployed f om and retractably restowed back onto a roller enclosed in a container of substantially less width than that of the vehicle, such container being adapted to be mounted in an inconspicuous position in which it does not contribute to the air drag of the moving vehicle.

In particular, the invention provides a container of suitable cross-sectional shape and area which πiay be permanentl " mounted on or above the upper surface of the rear bumper, concealed within the body of the bumper, or within the body paneling of the vehicle proper. The said container houses a cylindrical roller upon which the vehicle cover is wound and which is free to rotate about a shaft, the ends of which are carried in bearings mounted on the end faces of the container. Provision is made for the said roller to be spring-tensioned in a rotary sense towards the retracted position of the vehicle cover by a spiral spring within the roller such as that employed in the well-known Holland blind, or by a system of gears connecting the roller to a torsion rod. In an alternative arrangement, the roller is electrically powered towards the retracted position of the vehicle cover by a small electric motor driving through a system of gears. In one longitudinal face of the container, a wide slot is provided to

O H

permit the ingress and egress of the vehicle cover, the said slot being covered, when the vehicle cover is not deployed, by a lockable hinged flap. Mounted inside the container between the slot and the roller is a folding means through which the vehicle cover is drawn during restowing by the retracting force of the roller tensioning means, in the process being stretched flat and folded to a width permitting its neat rolling upon the roller. The vehicle cover, preferably made of a suitable soft, light, waterproof, sun-reflective sheet material, consists of an elongated rectangular body of sufficient length to extend from one end of the vehicle to the other, to the greater part of the longitudinal edges of which have been fixed limbs or leaves of the same material, the outer arcuate edges of which are shirred by elastic webbing contained within the seams. The proximal end of the elongated rectangular body part of the vehicle cover is fixed to the roller and the distal end is fixed to a terminal rod provided with means whereby it may be lockably fixed to fittings provided on the bumper at the opposite end of the vehicle. In practice, to deploy the vehicle cover, the hinged cover of the slot in the container is unlocked discovering the terminal rod. Tension applied to the end of the vehicle cover through the terminal rod draws it off the roller against the retracting force of the roller tensioning means or the friction of the electric motor and its drive train, through the folding means, out through the slot in the container and up over the top of the vehicle to the opposite bumper to which the terminal bar is locked. The elastic webbing in the outer edge seams of

O PI

the limbs of the cover acts to pull the cover in its fully- deployed position snugly down over the sides of the vehicle. To stow the vehicle cover, the terminal bar is unlocked from the bumper and the retracting force of the roller tensioning means allowed to draw the cover into the container through the slot and folding means and onto the roller. Where an electrical drive is provided, the retracting force is controlled by a manually-operated micro switch mounted on the terminal rod and connected to the electric motor by flexible conductors in a seam of the vehicle cover. The process of retraction is continued until the terminal rod enters the slot in the container, which is then closed and locked by means of the hinged flap.

The advantages of the invention are the ease of deployment and stowage of the vehicle cover, the increased area of coverage which it provides compared to that of similar devices, and the reduced size of the container which permits it to be mounted within the body of the vehicle bumper, within the paneling of the vehicle proper, or above it in a relatively inconspicuous position in which it does not contribute to the air drag of the moving vehicle.

The nature of the present invention and its aspects will be more readily understood from the following brief description of the accompanying drawings and the explanatory text relating thereto.

In the accompanying drawings:

Fig. 1, drawn approximately one third scale, is a cross- sectional view of the container within which the roller.

vehicle cover, roller tensioning means and folding means are accomodated;

Fig. 2, drawn approximately one third scale, is a view of the slot or narrow guideway of zig-zag configuration at one end of the folding means;

Fig. 3, drawn approximately one twentyfourth scale, depicts the vehicle cover laid flat in its fully-deployed state;

Fig. 4, drawn approximately full scale, depicts one end of the terminal rod showing the means by which it is lockably attached to a fitting on the vehicle bumper;

Fig. 5, also drawn approximately full scale, is a side view of the part of the terminal rod depicted in Fig. 4;

Fig. 6, drawn approximately one twentyfourth scale, depicts the side of a vehicle with the vehicle cover fully-deployed over it;

Fig. 7, drawn to the same scale as Fig. 6, depicts the rear of the same vehicle with the vehicle cover fully deployed over it.

With reference to Fig. 1, there is shown a container 1, of any suitable cross-sectional area and shape, within which are accomodated a roller 2, which is free to rotate upon a shaft 3, the ends of which are carried in bearings (which are not shown) mounted upon the ends of the container, a folding means 4, and, in the preferred embodiment, a torsion rod 5, of which one end is adjustably attached to one end of the container and the other is free to rotate in a bearing (not shown) mounted upon the other end of the container. The rotatable end of the torsion rod 5 is connected by a large gear, the pitch circle 6

OMPI

of which is shown, to a small gear, the pitch circle 7 of which is shown, attached to the end of the roller shaft. The fixed end of the torsion rod is threaded and passes through the end of the container. The threaded portion is provided with locking nuts (not shown) positioned within and outside the end of the container and is fixed to the end of the container by tensioning the nuts against each other. Provision is made to grip the fixed end of the torsion rod with a suitable tool and rotate it prior to its being locked into position with the locking nuts, to provide an initial torsional pre-load to the roller through the interconnecting gears 6 and 7 towards the retract position of the vehicle cover whilst the vehicle cover is in its fully stowed condition. In one longitudinal face of the container 1, a wide slot 8 is provided which may be closed by a hinged flap 9. The hinged flap is provided with a centrally-mounted key-operated lock 10 through which may be actuated a straight bell-crani , the opposing arms of which are connected by rods or wires to spring catches 11 at each end of the hinged flap. In the closed position of the hinged flap, the spring catches engage the inside faces of the ends of the slot 8. Operation of the lock 10 by means of the key 12 withdraws the spring catches 11 from their engagement with the ends of the slot 8, allowing the hinged flap to be opened. The vehicle cover 20/21 enters and exits the container through the slot 8, transiting the folding means 4 in passing to and from the roller 2. The container 1 may be mounted above a vehicle bumper, may be incorporated within the body of a vehicle bumper with only the hinged flap 9 visible, or may be concealed within

O Pi

the front or rear body paneling of the vehicle proper with only the hinged flap visible.

With reference to Fig. 2, there is shown the folding means

4, the main slot or narrow guideway 15 of which is formed from two long parallel guiding surfaces or elements 16, at each end of which are stacked, parallel and separated, additional short guiding surfaces or elements 17 and 18, the alternate ends of all guiding surfaces or elements being joined by curved or part-circular guiding surfaces or elements 19 to produce a more or less continuous slot or narrow guideway 14 of zig-zag configuration at each end of and contiguous with the main narrow slot or guideway.

With reference to Fig. 3, there is shown the vehicle cover, preferably made of a suitable soft, light, waterproof, sun- reflective sheet material, laid flat in its fully-deployed state, comprising an elongated rectangular body part 20 to the greater part of the longitudinal edges of which are fixed limbs or leaves 21 of the same material. The proximal end of the elongated rectangular body extends from the slot 8 in the container 1 and the distal end is attached to the terminal rod

22. The arcuate outer edges of the limbs or leaves 21 are shirred by elastic webbing or other spring material or device contained within the seams 23.

With reference to Fig. 4, there is shown a bush 24 fixed to the end of the terminal rod 22 and to which is rigidly fixed a locking element 27. The bush contains a coaxial lock mechanism

25 to which is fastened a moveable locking element 26. The key

12 employed to unlock the hinged flap 9 of the container 1 is

OMPI

also used to rotate the moveable locking element 26 so that a fitting 28 attached to the vehicle bumper may be lockably captured between the fixed and moveable locking elements or released from them. In the preferred embodiment, the opposing end of the terminal rod 22 is provided with a rigidly fixed hook which is engaged with a fitting on one end of the vehicle bumper following which the other end of the terminal rod is locked to the fitting 28 on the other end of the vehicle bumper by the previously-described mechanism. In an alternative arrangement, moveable locking elements 26 at each end of the terminal rod 22 are rigidly connected by means of a torque tube passing through the terminal rod from one end to the other and which transmits the key actuated motion of the one moveable locking element to the other. Using this embodiment, both ends of the terminal rod 22 are simultaneously locked to similar fittings 28 at each end of the vehicle bumper, by capturing the said fittings between the moveable locking elements 26 and the rigidly fixed locking elements 27 provided at each end of the terminal rod. With reference to fig. 6 and 7, there is shown a vehicle 29 over which the vehicle cover 20 and 21 has been deployed. In the embodiment depicted, the container 1 is enclosed within the body of the rear vehicle bumper 30 and is locked to fittings 28 on the front vehicle bumper 31. The shirring 23 in the edge seams of the limbs or leaves 21 hold the cover snugly against the side of the vehicle.

Referring to Fig. 1, to deploy the vehicle cover, the hinged cover 9 of the slot 8 in the container 1 is unlocked by use of

OMPI

the key 12, discovering the terminal rod 22. Tension applied to the end of the vehicle cover 20/21 through the terminal rod draws it off the roller 2 against the retracting force of the roller tensioning means 5, 6, 7 or, in an alternative arrangement, the friction of the electric motor and its drive train, through the folding means 4, out through the slot 8 in the container and up over the top of the vehicle 29 to the opposite bumper to which the terminal bar is locked. As illustrated in Figs. 4 and 5, the terminal rod 22 is locked to the fittings 28 provided on the bumpers 30 or 31 by capturing the fittings 28 between the fixed locking elements 27 and the moveable locking elements 26 which are moved into cooperation with the fixed elements by use of the key 12. As illustrated in Figs. 6 and 7, the ' elastic webbing or other spring material or device in the outer edge seams 23 of the limbs 21 of the cover acts to pull the cover in its fully-deployed condition snugly down over the sides of the vehicle 29. To stow the vehicle cover, the terminal bar 22 is unlocked from the fittings 28 on the bumper 30 or 31 by use of the key 12 and the retracting force of the roller tensioning means 5, 6, 7 allowed to draw the cover 20/21 into the container 1 through the slot 8 and into the folding means 4. Referring to Fig. 2, in the fully deployed state of the vehicle cover, the elongated rectangular body 20 occupies almost the full width of the main slot or narrow guideway 15. As retraction of the vehicle cover into the container occurs, the arcuate edges 23 of the limbs or leaves 21 come into contact with the curved or part-circular guiding surfaces or elements 19 at each lateral extremity of .

the folding means. Further retraction of the vehicle cover serves to stretch flat the shirred edges 23 which are carried around the curve of the guiding surfaces or elements 19 to enter the first of the auxiliary slot or narrow guideways 14 at each end of the main slot or narrow guideway. Continuation of the retraction process results in the edges 23 being brought into contact with the curved or part-circular guiding surfaces or elements 19 at the inner ends of the first auxiliary slots or narrow guideways 14, and carried around the curve to enter the second auxiliary slots or narrow guideways 14. The result of this process is to impart to the vehicle cover a flattening effect and a double longitudinal fold which reduces the width of the cover, allowing it to be neatly rolled upon the roller 2 contained within the container 1 and which is of substantially less.length than the fully deployed width of the vehicle cover. In an alternative arrangement where an electrical drive is provided, the retracting force is controlled by a manually- operated micro switch mounted on the terminal rod 22 and connected to the electric motor by flexible conductors in a seam of the vehicle cover. The process of retraction is continued until the terminal rod enters the slot 8 in the container 1, which is then closed and locked by means of the hinged flap 9.

The present invention may be employed principally to provide a one-piece weather or sun cover which is of suitable width and shape to effectively cover those parts of the exterior of an automobile or like vehicle which should be protected from the elements, and which can be quickly and conveniently deployed

from and retractably restowed back onto a roller enclosed in a container the length of which is substantially less than the width of the said vehicle, such container being adapted to be mounted in an inconspicuous position in which it does not contribute to the air drag of the moving vehicle. Although principally suited to the covering of vehicles, the present invention may also be employed in the protection of machines, plant and equipment which cannot conveniently be protected from the elements in other ways.