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Title:
TRACKED VEHICLE FOR PREPARING SKI TRAILS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/075136
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tracked vehicle for preparing ski trails; the tracked vehicle (1) comprising: a frame (2); two sets of wheels (3) arranged on opposite sides of the frame (2); two tracks (4), each of which is respectively run over by one of the two sets of wheels (3); at least one support device (15) for each set of wheels (3), which is coupled to at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) and is connected in an articulated way to the frame (2) in order to couple the at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) to the frame (2); wherein the support device (15) comprises an outer main body (18), which defines an inner cavity (19) and wherein the inner cavity (19) is at least partially filled with metal foam (20).

Inventors:
MAURER GREGOR (IT)
Application Number:
IB2019/058702
Publication Date:
April 16, 2020
Filing Date:
October 11, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PRINOTH SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B62D55/10; B62D29/00; B62D55/108; B62D55/30
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014008370A12014-01-09
Foreign References:
JPS62189288U1987-12-02
US2162198A1939-06-13
US8579307B22013-11-12
JP2004345563A2004-12-09
GB2164616A1986-03-26
DE102016225389A12018-06-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CICCHETTI, Angelo et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A tracked vehicle for preparing ski trails; the tracked vehicle (1) comprising:

- a frame (2 ) ;

- two sets of wheels (3) arranged on opposite sides of the frame (2);

- two tracks (4), each of which is respectively run over by one of the two sets of wheels (3) ;

- at least one support device (15) for each set of wheels (3), which is coupled to at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) and is connected in an articulated way to the frame (2) in order to couple the at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) to the frame (2); wherein the support device (15) comprises an outer main body (18), which defines an inner cavity (19) and wherein the inner cavity (19) is at least partially filled with metal foam (20) .

2 . The tracked vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein the inner cavity (19) is divided into sections (21), and at least one of the sections (21) is filled with metal foam (20) .

3 . The tracked vehicle according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, wherein the density of the metal foam (20) is comprised in the range between 0.4 g/cm3 and 1 g/cm3.

4 . The tracked vehicle according to Claim 2, wherein the section (21) filled with metal foam (20) extends along the inner height of the main body (18) or along the inner length of the main body (18) .

5 . The tracked vehicle according to Claim 2, wherein the sections (21) filled with metal foam (20) are at least two, wherein one extends along the inner height of the main body (18) and the other extends along the inner length of the main body (18) .

6. The tracked vehicle according to Claim 2, wherein the sections (21) filled with metal foam (20) are at least two, wherein the density of the metal foam (20) of one section (21) is different from the density of the metal foam (20) of the other section (21) .

7 . The tracked vehicle according to Claim 2, wherein the at least one section (21) filled with metal foam (20) extends at least partially on the edges of the main body, in particular the section (21) extends completely along the edge of the main body (18) on the inside.

8. The tracked vehicle according to Claim 2, wherein, the support device (15) comprises three through openings (23), which pass through the width of the main body (18) and each of which is configured to couple a wheel (3c) or an articulated joint (17) to the main body (18); at least one section (21) filled with the metal foam (20) extends around one of the three openings (23); and preferably the support device (15) comprises three sections (21) filled with metal foam (20), wherein each section (21) extends around a respective opening (23) .

9. The tracked vehicle according to Claim 8, wherein the support device (15) comprises an articulated connection joint (17), which is preferably housed within one of the openings (23) of the main body (18) of the support device (15) and is coupled to the frame (2) to couple the support device (15) to the frame (2) in an articulated way.

10. The tracked vehicle according to Claim 8 or 9, wherein the at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) are support wheels (3c), in particular freely rotating wheels and, are coupled to the support device (15) through two of the three openings (23), in particular the two openings (23) arranged at the ends of the main body (18) .

11. The tracked vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the set of wheels (3) comprises a drive wheel (3b), preferably a rear wheel; and a track- adjustment wheel (3a), preferably a front wheel having a position that is mobile with respect to the frame (2) in order to tension the track (4) .

12. The tracked vehicle according to Claims 10 and 11, wherein the at least two wheels (3c) are intermediate wheels between the track-adjustment wheel (3a) and the drive wheel (3b) and preferably are freely rotating wheels.

13. The vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support device (15) is connected to the frame (2) via a shock-absorber assembly (60); in particular the shock-absorber assembly (60) is interposed between the support device (15) and the frame (2); preferably, the shock- absorber assembly (60) has a variable stiffness and/or a variable geometry; in particular the shock-absorber assembly (60) comprises a hydraulic cylinder (61) preferably of the double-acting type; preferably the shock-absorber assembly (60) is mechanical and/or hydraulic and/or electromagnetic and/or of the air-suspension type or any combination of the foregoing .

14. The vehicle according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the support device (15) has: a first support element (70), which supports one of the at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3) ; and a second support element (71), which supports another of the at least two wheels (3c) of the set of wheels (3); and wherein the first support element (70) and the second support element (71) are connected together in an elastically flexible way or via a first articulated joint (72) in a first point (73); preferably the support device (15) comprises at least one further articulated joint (74) in order to couple the first element (70) to the second element (71) in an articulated way .

15 . The vehicle according to Claim 14, wherein the inner cavity around the first articulated joint (72) or the further articulated joint (74) is filled with metal foam (20) in the first support element (70) and/or in the second support element ( 71 ) .

Description:
"TRACKED VEHICLE FOR PREPARING SKI TRAILS"

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority from Italian patent application no. 102018000009419 filed on October 12, 2018, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a tracked vehicle for the preparation of ski trails.

In particular, the present invention relates to a tracked vehicle comprising a frame; two sets of wheels arranged on opposite sides of the frame; two tracks arranged around the respective sets of wheels; and at least one support device for each set of wheels coupled to at least two wheels of the set of wheels and connected to the frame to couple the at least two wheels of the set of wheels to the frame.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A disadvantage of the prior art is that the said tracked vehicle has unwanted vibrations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One purpose of the present invention is to manufacture a tracked vehicle capable of reducing the drawbacks of the prior art .

According to the present invention a tracked vehicle for preparing ski trails, the tracked vehicle, is manufactured that comprises:

- a frame;

- two sets of wheels arranged on opposite sides of the frame;

- two tracks, each of which is respectively run over by one of the two sets of wheels;

- at least one support device for each set of wheels coupled to at least two wheels of the set of wheels and connected in an articulated way to the frame to couple the at least two wheels of the set of wheels to the frame; wherein the support device comprises an outer main body defining an inner cavity and wherein the inner cavity is at least partially filled with metal foam.

Thanks to the present invention, the vibrations transmitted from the support device to the frame are reduced by filling the cavity at least partially with the metal foam. In fact, this allows you to modify and select the vibration modes of the support device and, consequently, how the vibrations are transmitted from the wheels to the frame that the support device connects to each other. According to a preferred embodiment, wherein the inner cavity is divided into sections, and at least one of the sections is filled with metal foam.

According to another preferred embodiment, the density of the metal foam is within the range between 0.4 g/cm 3 and 1 g/ cm 3 .

Thanks to the present invention, you can adjust the resistance of the support device and its natural frequency and the vibration modes by varying the value of the density of the metal foam. In fact, by increasing the density of the metal foam, the natural frequency increases and the frequencies of the vibration modes increase. In a preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment of the present invention, the density of the metal foam is 0.7 g/cm 3 .

According to another preferred embodiment, the section filled with metal foam extends along the inner height of the main body or along the inner length of the main body.

According to another preferred embodiment, the sections filled with metal foam are at least two, wherein one extends along the inner height of the main body and the other extends along the inner length of the main body.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein there are at least two sections filled with metal foam, wherein the density of the metal foam of one section is different from the density of metal foam of the other section .

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the at least one section filled with metal foam extends at least partially along the edges of the main body, in particular the section extends completely along the edge of the main body on the inside.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the support device comprises three openings passing through the width of the device and each of which is configured to couple a wheel or an articulated joint to the main outer body; at least one section filled with the metal foam extends around one of the three openings; preferably the support device comprises three sections filled with metal foam, wherein each section filled with metal foam wraps around a respective opening .

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the support device comprises an articulated connection joint, which is preferably housed within one of the openings of the body of the support device, and is coupled to the frame to couple the support device to the frame in an articulated way .

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the at least two of the set of wheels are support wheels, in particular freely rotating wheels, and are coupled to the support device through two of the three openings, in particular the two end openings.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the set of wheels comprises a drive wheel, preferably rear; and a track-adjustment wheel, preferably front having a mobile position with respect to the frame to tension the track.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the at least two wheels are intermediate wheels between the track-adjustment wheel and the drive wheel and are, preferably, freely rotating wheels.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the support device is connected to the frame via a shock-absorber assembly, in particular the shock-absorber assembly is interposed between the support device and the frame; the shock-absorber assembly is preferably of variable stiffness and/or variable geometry; in particular, the shock-absorber assembly comprises a hydraulic cylinder preferably of the double-acting type; the shock-absorber assembly is preferably mechanical and/or hydraulic and/or electromagnetic and/or of the air-suspension type, or any combination of the above.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the support device has a first support element, supporting one of the at least two wheels of the set of wheels; and a second support element, supporting another of the at least two wheels of the set of wheels; and wherein the first support element and the second support element are connected to each other either in an elastically flexible way or via a first articulated joint at a first point; the support device preferably comprises at least one additional articulated joint to couple the first element with the second element in an articulated way.

According to another preferred embodiment, wherein the first and second support elements are connected to each other via a shock absorber, in particular at one second point, at least, that is different from the first point; wherein the shock absorber is preferably of variable stiffness and/or variable geometry; the shock absorber is preferably mechanical and/or hydraulic and/or electromagnetic and/or of the air-suspension type, or any combination of the above.

According to another preferred embodiment, the articulated connection joint is partly housed on the first and/or second support element.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following description of a non-limiting embodiment thereof, with reference to the attached figures, wherein:

- Figure 1 is a side elevation view, with parts removed for clarity, of a tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with the present invention; - Figure 2 is a schematic view from above of the tracked vehicle in Figure 1, with some parts removed for the sake of clarity; and

- Figure 3 is a perspective view of a detail of the tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

- Figure 4 is a perspective view, with parts shown in cross-section, of a detail of the tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

- Figure 5 is a perspective view, cut along a cross- section, of a detail of the tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

- Figure 6 is a side elevation view, with parts removed for clarity, of a tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention; and

- Figure 7 is a perspective view, with parts shown in cross-section, of a detail of the tracked vehicle constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention in Figure 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to Figure 1, the number 1 indicates, as a whole, a tracked vehicle and, in particular, a tracked vehicle for the preparation of ski trails, designed to be advanced in a direction of travel D.

With reference to Figure 1, the tracked vehicle 1 comprises a frame 2; two sets of wheels 3 (only one visible in Figure 1) in a variable configuration and arranged on opposite sides of the frame 2; and two tracks 4, each of which is wrapped around one of the two respective sets of wheels 3.

With reference to Figures 1 and 2, the frame 2 extends along an axis A and supports the sets of wheels 3.

Each set of wheels 3 comprises a front wheel 3a, a rear wheel 3b, and four central wheels 3c arranged between the front wheel 3a and the rear wheel 3b. The wheel 3b is a drive wheel .

With reference to Figure 2, each front wheel 3a is connected to the frame 2 by means of a carriage 14 that is coupled to the frame 2 in a sliding way along the direction of extension of the track 4 (preferably parallel to the direction of travel) via an actuator not shown in the attached figures in order to keep the respective track 4 in tension for any configuration assumed by the remaining wheels of the set of wheels 3.

With reference to Figure 1, the tracked vehicle 1 comprises a control unit 13; a cabin 6; a user interface 7 arranged in the cabin 6; a blade 8 that is supported at the front by the frame 2; a cutter 9 that is supported at the rear by the frame 2; a winch assembly 10 that is attached above the frame 2; an internal combustion engine 11, and a power transmission 12 operatively connected to the internal combustion engine 11; to the drive wheels 3b; to the blade 8; to the cutter 9; and to the winch assembly 10. The power transmission 12 can be hydraulic or electric, or a hydraulic and electric combination.

The track configurations 4 depend on the configurations of the respective sets of wheels 3. In particular, each set of wheels 3 is adjustable between two limit configurations to adjust a portion of the track in contact with the snowpack

M.

With reference to Figures 1 and 2, the central wheels 3c of each set of wheels 3 are coupled in groups of two to the respective support devices 15, which, in turn, are connected in an articulated way to the frame 2.

In the case shown in Figures 1 and 2, which does not limit the present invention, the tracked vehicle 1 comprises a support device 15 for each pair of central wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3. In other words, each support device 15 is coupled to two central wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3, so that for each set of wheels 3, the tracked vehicle 1 comprises two support devices 15. Each support device 15 is coupled to two central wheels 3c.

In addition, each support device 15 couples the respective two central wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3 in an articulated way to the frame 2 to couple the at least two central wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3 to the frame 2.

With reference to the attached figures, each support device 15 comprises three openings 23 passing through the width of the support device 15, in particular holes 23 extending along the width of the support device 15. Each through-opening 23 is configured to couple a wheel or articulated joint to the support device 15.

The support device 15 comprises an articulated connection joint 17, which is preferably housed within one of the openings 23 of the main body 18 of the support device 15, and is coupled to the frame 2 for coupling, in an articulated way, the support device 15 to the frame 2.

With reference to Figures 4 and 5, the support device 15 comprises a main outer body 18 that defines an inner cavity 19 and wherein the inner cavity 19 is at least partially filled with metal foam 20; in particular, in Figure 5, the inner cavity 19 is completely filled with metal foam 20.

With reference to Figure 4, the inner cavity 20 is divided into sections 21, and the sections 21 are filled with metal foam 20. In an alternative embodiment not shown, not all the sections 21 are filled with metal foam 20.

In the preferred and non-limiting embodiment shown in Figure 4, one of the sections 21 filled with metal foam 20 extends along the inner height of the main body 20, while another section 21 filled with metal foam 20 extends along the inner length of the main body. Depending on the vibration frequencies and/or vibration modes that you wish to attenuate, you choose which sections to fill with the metal foam and in which directions these sections need to be extended .

In another embodiment of the present invention not shown in the attached figures, for example, it is possible to fill one of the sections - either the one extending along the internal height of the main body or the one extending along the internal length of the main body - with metal foam.

In another embodiment of the present invention not shown in the attached figures, there are more than two sections that extend in various directions in the inner cavity of the support device and one or more of these sections can be filled with metal foam depending on the vibration frequencies and/or vibration modes that you wish to attenuate.

According to another embodiment of the present invention not shown in the attached figures, one section filled with metal foam extends at least partially along the edges of the main body, in particular the section extends completely along the edge of the main body on the inside.

In addition, it is possible to fill one or more sections that have different directions with metal foam in the inner cavity depending on the stiffness that you wish to give the support device, or to strengthen specific areas of the support device. In addition, the sections to be filled vary according to the total weight required for the support device .

In addition, the density of the metal foam is within a range between 0.4 g/cm 3 and 1 g/cm 3 .

In this way, you can adjust the resistance of the support device and its natural frequency and vibration modes by varying the density of the metal foam. In fact, by increasing the density of the metal foam, the natural frequency increases and the frequencies of the vibration modes increase. In a preferred, but not limiting, embodiment of the present invention, the density of the metal foam is 0.7 g/ cm 3 .

In another embodiment of the present invention, there are at least two sections filled with metal foam, wherein the density of the metal foam of one section is different from the density of metal foam of the other section.

In accordance with the non-limiting embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 7, each of the three openings 23 is surrounded by a section 21 of the inner cavity 19 filled with metal foam 20. In another embodiment not shown, one or two sections filled with metal foam are arranged around one or two through openings 23. In particular, in an embodiment not shown, the through opening housing the articulated connection joint with the frame is surrounded by a section filled with metal foam while the other two openings are not surrounded by a section filled with metal foam. In another embodiment, the through openings that are coupled to the wheels are surrounded by sections filled with metal foam, while the through opening that houses the articulated joint that is coupled to the frame is not surrounded by a section filled with metal foam.

According to the present invention, you can choose one of the embodiments described above depending on the vibration frequencies and/or vibration modes that you wish to dampen, and/or areas wherein you wish to strengthen the support device, and/or the desired weight of the support device, and/or the desired stiffness of the support device.

Thanks to the present invention, the vibrations transmitted from the support device to the frame are reduced by filling the cavity at least partially with the metal foam. In fact, this allows you to modify and select the vibration modes of the support device and, consequently, how the vibrations are transmitted from the wheels to the frame that the support device connects to each other.

In a preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 3, for each support device 15, the tracked vehicle 1 comprises a variable configuration and variable stiffness shock-absorber assembly 60 to connect the respective two central wheels 3c, in particular via the support devices 15, to the frame 2, to absorb any shocks and selectively vary the relative position between the central wheels 3c and the frame 2. In other words, each support device 15 can be connected via a structure that can, preferably, be articulated directly to the frame 2 or can be connected via the shock-absorber assembly 60 shown in Figure 3.

In the preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment of Figure 3, therefore, each support device 15 is connected to the frame 2 via a respective shock-absorber assembly 60. In particular, the shock-absorber assembly 60 has a variable stiffness and variable geometry so that the shock-absorber assembly's 60 response to shocks, and the position of the tracked vehicle with respect to the snow and the portion of the track in contact with the snow, can be varied.

The shock-absorber assembly 60 comprises a hydraulic cylinder 61, preferably of the double-acting type. The shock- absorber assembly 60 can be of the mechanical and/or hydraulic and/or electromagnetic and/or air suspension type, or any combination of the above.

In an embodiment shown in Figure 6, which does not limit the present invention, the support device 15 has a first support element 70, which supports one of the at least two wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3; and a second support element 71, which supports another of the at least two wheels 3c of the set of wheels 3; and wherein the first support element 70 and the second support element 71 are connected to each other either in an elastically flexible way or via an articulated joint 72 at a first point 73. In a preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment, the support device 15 comprises additional articulated joints 74 to couple the first element 70 with the second element 71 in an articulated way preferably via a shock absorber 75.

In this embodiment, the sections filled with metal foam 20 may be located in the first support element 70 or in the second support element 71 or in both. In particular, the sections filled with metal foam 20 can be arranged around the articulated joint 72 and/or the additional articulated joints 74 either on the first element 70 or on the second element 71 or on only one of them.

Furthermore, it is evident that the present invention also covers embodiments not described in the detailed description and equivalent embodiments, which fall within the scope of protection of the appended claims.