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Title:
TROLLEY TYPE CONTAIINER, CONVERTIBLE INTO A SCOOTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2004/093595
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The suitcase has suitably reinforced wheels (2) and a frame (1) to which it is possible to attach, or to which there is attached, with the possibility of hinged and/or jointed movement (3, 7, 12, 13), and therefore also with the possibility of steering, a footplate (4) with at least one wheel (5) at the other end, which can be moved from a raised rest position, in which it is laid against the suitcase, to a low position in which it rests an the ground via the said wheel in such a way as to form with the suitcase an angle of approximately ninety degrees, so as to form with the two wheels of the suitcase a scooter, an the footplate of which the user can support himself on one foot while with the other foot pushes himself along and can thus move quickly and with little fatigue. Brake means are also provided. This three-wheeled vehicle can also be produced in the version with electric propulsion by means of a motor and gearbox powered by a small rechargeable battery located for example in a false bottom inside the suitcase.

Inventors:
Caldana, Marcus (Via dei Giardini 5, Bologna, I-40129, IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2004/004198
Publication Date:
November 04, 2004
Filing Date:
April 21, 2004
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MINGANTI INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (20 Clanwilliam Terrace, Dublin, IE)
Caldana, Marcus (Via dei Giardini 5, Bologna, I-40129, IT)
International Classes:
A45C5/14; A45C9/00; A45C15/00; B62K3/00; B62K7/00; B62K13/00; B62K15/00; (IPC1-7): A45C15/00; B62K3/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2002045539A1
WO1998046474A2
WO2002046032A1
WO2002012057A1
Foreign References:
US20020180169A1
DE10026184A1
US4913252A
US5848660A
DE10045821A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Porsia, Attilio (Succ. Ing. Fischetti & Weber, Via Caffaro 3/2, Genova, I-16124, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. Suitcase or other container of trolley type that rests on the ground via two wheels (2) connected to a frame (1), the top of which has an extendable handle (101) usable as a handlebar, characterized in that there is connected to the said frame, in any suitable way and with the possibility of steering about a vertical axis (7), a footplate (4) which in the use position rests on the ground via at least one wheel (5) of its own, which is such that the user can mount this footplate on at least one foot, the whole in such a way that the user can use the entire apparatus as a scooter, and such that when the suitcase is to be stowed away or transported in the usual way, the said footplate (4) can be folded up so as to take up very little space on the said frame (1).
2. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 1, in which the said footplate (4) is connected to the central and bottom part of the rear frame (1) of the said suitcase, in such a way that it can pivot about an axis (3) parallel to the axis of the wheels (2) of the said suitcase.
3. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises means that lock the footplate (4) at an angular distance of approximately 90° from the rear frame (1) of the said suitcase when the whole is to be used as a scooter.
4. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 3, in which the said locking means comprise a strut or brace (6) that connects an intermediate point of the rear frame (1) of the said suitcase to an intermediate point of the said footplate (4).
5. Suitcase of other container of trolley type, according to Claim 4, in which the said strut (6) is made up of two telescopic parts hinged at their remote ends (106, 206) to the footplate (4) and to the frame (1) of the suitcase, these parts being provided with removable locking means (9) that enable the strut to be made rigid and that, when disengaged, allow the said strut to retract as the footplate (4) is folded up against the rear frame (1) of the suitcase.
6. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 5, in which there is a spring (10) inside the said sections of the strut (6), and this spring pushes the said sections apart.
7. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 4, in which the said strut (6) is formed by a gas spring or damper with suitable characteristics.
8. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 7, in which the gas spring or damper (6) is such as to be at the end of its extension stroke when the footplate (4) is in the use position.
9. Suitcase or other container according to one or more of the preceding claims, in which the strut (6) is fitted with pneumatic brake means which for safety reasons retard its extension stroke when the footplate (4) is being lowered.
10. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to one or more of the preceding claims, in which the pivot (106) connecting the locking strut (6) to the footplate (4) is located in a position such that when the footplate is raised against the frame of the suitcase, it passes through a dead centre, on the other side of which the action of the elastic means (10) of the strut tend to keep the said footplate raised.
11. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 1, in which the footplate (4) comprises a short initial part (104) that contains the horizontal pivot (3) to the suitcase frame (1) and that contains the pivot (106) to the bottom end of the locking strut (6), this part being connected to the rest of the footplate (4) by a cylindrical pivot on a vertical axis (7) which forms the steering axis of the scooter.
12. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 1, in which the front end of the footplate (4) can be connected to the horizontal pivot axis (3) to the frame (1) of the said suitcase, by means of a ball joint (12) or by means of a crossshaped or Hooke's type joint (13) or other suitable composite joint, in such a way as to allow the footplate both the up and down movement and the steering movement relative to the suitcase frame (1), while the locking strut (6) is hinged to the various parts by means of ball joints.
13. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises brake means that act on any one of the wheels (2,5), that can be controlled from a distance by the hands or by means (8) that act on the rear wheel (5) of the footplate (4), and that can be operated by foot pressure.
14. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the rear wheel (5) of the footplate (4) can be connected to the footplate in such a way that it can be rotated through ninety degrees about the longitudinal axis of the footplate, so as to occupy little space when this same component (4) is raised into the rest position.
15. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises means to keep the footplate (4) securely in the compact position against the frame (1) of the suitcase.
16. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to Claim 15, in which the said suitcase is provided at the rear with a pouch (11) with a zip to conceal the footplate (4) in the raised rest position.
17. Suitcase or other container of trolley type, according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that it comprises electrical propulsion means powered by a rechargeable battery and situated for example in a false bottom inside the suitcase and that comprise a small electric motor and gearbox that acts on one or more of the wheels (2,5), preferably on the bottom wheels (2) of the suitcase.
18. Threewheeled folding scooter, according to the preceding claims, characterized in that it is structurally independent of the suitcase (V) and in that it possesses its own front frame (1) with its own wheels (2) and is designed to take any suitable type of suitcase, or any other container for other uses, such as a container for shopping, a golf bag or the like.
Description:
TROLLEY TYPE CONTAINER, CONVERTIBLE INTO A SCOOTER DESCRIPTION The object of the invention is primarily to solve the technical problem: how to make it possible for travellers with a trolley-type suitcase, which stands on the ground via two wheels and has a telescopic control handle, to move about airport or railway terminals independently, quickly and without too much effort.

To solve this problem, which so far has found no solution in the prior art, the invention proposes the following idea for a solution. The suitcase has suitably reinforced wheels and a frame to which it is possible to attach, or to which there is attached, with the possibility of hinged and/or jointed movement, and therefore also with the possibility of steering, a footplate with at least one wheel at the other end, which can be moved from a raised rest position, in which it is laid against the suitcase, to a low position with the wheel resting on the ground, forming with the suitcase an angle of approximately ninety degrees, so as to form with the two wheels of the suitcase a sort of scooter, on the footplate of which the user can support himself on one foot while with the other foot pushes himself along and can thus move quickly and with little fatigue. Brake means are also provided. This three-wheeled vehicle can also be produced in the version with electric propulsion by means of a motor powered by a small rechargeable battery located for example in a false bottom inside the suitcase.

Other features of the invention, and the advantages procured thereby, will be made clearer by the following description, which refers to the figures of the attached sheets of drawings, in which: - Figs. 1 and 2 show in side elevation the suitcase, first in the scooterized transport condition and then in the normal transport condition in which it is pulled along on two wheels ; - Fig. 3 is a plan view from above of the details of the pivoting connection between the scooter footplate and the trolley frame of the suitcase;

-Figs. 4 and 5 are a plan view from above of the small variants of the pivoting connection between the scooter footplate and the trolley frame of the suitcase.

In Figures 1,2 and 3, the V indicates the trolley suitcase. This has a frame 1 of any suitable shape located mostly on the back and underside of the suitcase, supporting on the underside two usually idle wheels 2 with their axes lined up with each other. These wheels project suitably from the suitcase. At the top of the said frame is a telescopic handle 101 which can when required be extended and its grip used by the user U to transport the suitcase by rolling it along on the wheels 2, as illustrated in Figure 2.

According to the invention, a footplate 4 pivots on an axis 3 parallel to the axis of the wheels 2 centrally at the bottom of the frame 1. At the rear end of the footplate 4 is at least one rubber wheel 5 which rotates on an axis parallel to the axis 3. When the wheel 5 is resting on the ground, the footplate 4 is effectively horizontal and a short distance from the ground, in such a way that the user can stand on it via at least one foot P with his or her hands M grasping the steering handle 101 of the frame 1, using it as a handlebar, while pushing with the other foot, using the entire apparatus as a scooter. Means are provided to lock the footplate 4 securely in the use condition, in which it is at an angular distance of approximately ninety degrees from the part of the frame 1 with the handle 101. These means may for example comprise a strut 6 pivoting at 106 in a lug located at a point on the footplate close to the fulcrum 3, while the top end 206 of the strut pivots at a central intermediate point 201 of the frame 1 of the suitcase.

In order to allow the scooter to be steered, the platform 4 is connected to the frame 1 in such a way that it can also rotate about an approximately vertical axis. In the example illustrated in Figures 1,2 and 3, the platform 4 is formed by a short initial section 104 containing the fulcrum 3 and the pivot 106 to the locking strut 6, and this part 104 is connected to the longer, remaining part of the same platform, by a vertical cylindrical pivot 7 which forms the necessary steering axis of the scooter, its amplitude of rotation being as necessary for the purpose.

Means are provided to bring the scooter to a halt. These means may act upon any of the wheels and may be connected to controls operated remotely by the hands M of the user, or may more simply take the form of a small spring-loaded pivoting housing 8 fitted over the rear wheel 5 where, as in known scooters, it can be pushed by the user's foot to retard the rotation of this wheel.

Lastly, means are provided to reduce the space requirements of the scooter when the suitcase is to be stowed or transported in the ordinary way, as in Figure 2 or by the other handles with which it is provided. For this purpose, and to help the user, the strut 6 may be of telescopic type, in other words made up of two sections of different diameters mounted telescopically one inside the other: the outer section is equipped with means 9, such as pin means, which drop elastically into holes in the inner section, locking the strut axially in the extended condition; which means 9 are readily disengaged when the two sections need to be able to slide with respect to each other to allow the footplate 4 to be rotated upwards about the fulcrum 3.

Optionally housed inside the two component sections of the strut 6 is a spring 10 which is compressed when the footplate 4 is raised and continues to be useful in keeping this footplate raised, because at the end of the lifting movement the pivot 106 passes through the imaginary straight line connecting the fulcrum 3 to the pivot 206, so that the said spring 10 tends to rotate the entire footplate 4 assembly upwards (Fig. 2). It is also possible for the strut 6 to be replaced by a gas spring or a damper with suitable characteristics. In all cases, suitable pneumatic brake means, which those skilled in the art will have no difficulty in devising, will be provided in order to retard the extension of the strut 6 when the footplate 4 is being lowered.

If the strut 6 does not have the spring 10 or does not consist of a gas spring or damper, suitable means may be provided to hold the footplate 4 against the frame 1 in the rest position shown in Figure 2 and optionally also to conceal it in a zipped pouch 11.

Figures 3 and 4 show two small variants whereby the vertical pivot 7 for steering the apparatus, as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, can be dispensed with and can be incorporated into the pivot 3, by making the connection of the footplate 4 to

the fulcrum 3 a ball joint 12, as in Figure 3, or by making the fulcrum 3 a cross- shaped or Hooke's-type joint 13 as in Figure 4 and pivoting the footplate 4 to the second axis of this cross-shaped joint. In these cases the pivots 106 and 206 of the strut 6 will obviously be ball joints.

Means that are not illustrated, as those skilled in the art will no have no difficulty in producing them, may also be provided to rotate the rear wheel 5 through ninety degrees about the longitudinal axis of the footplate 4 in order further to reduce the space requirements of the apparatus when it is in the rest position.

The apparatus as described can also be produced in a motorized version. The suitcase V may for example contain a false bottom in which to house a small rechargeable electric battery which drives a small electric motor and gearbox controlled remotely by the hands M of the user (steering the handle 101) and driving one or more of the wheels of the apparatus, preferably the wheels 2 so as not to add to the weight of the footplate 4 and also so as to be available to assist with transporting the suitcase in the condition shown in Figure 2.

The scope of the invention also includes a three-wheeled folding scooter, as described, independent of the suitcase V, having its own frame 1 with its own wheels 2 and designed at the front to take a suitcase of any suitable type, or any other container for other uses, such as a container for shopping, a golf bag or the like.




 
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