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Title:
AN AUTOMOTIVE TOW HITCH DEVICE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/073095
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an automotive tow hitch device including a body for coupling to a vehicle, and defining a receiver for receiving a shackle arrangement for coupling to another vehicle. Advantageously, either vehicle can be used to tow and extract the other vehicle when stuck using the shackle arrangement,

Inventors:
MCCARTHY BRADLEY JOHN (AU)
DAVIDSON NEIL (AU)
FRENCH ALEXANDRA (AU)
TOOHEY PAUL (AU)
Application Number:
AU2019/051102
Publication Date:
April 16, 2020
Filing Date:
October 11, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAXTRAX AUSTRALIA PTY LTD (AU)
International Classes:
B60D1/18; B60D1/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014152204A12014-09-25
WO2007024452A12007-03-01
Foreign References:
US3583749A1971-06-08
USD826036S2018-08-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SPRUSON & FERGUSON (AU)
Download PDF:
Claims:
The claims defining the invention are as follows:

1. An automotive tow hitch device including a body for coupling to a vehicle, and defining a receiver for receiving a shackle arrangement for coupling to another vehicle.

2. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein either vehicle can be used to tow and extract the other vehicle when stuck using the shackle arrangement.

3. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the body defines a tail for being received within the vehicle and a head for protruding from the vehicle.

4. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the tail defines one or more apertures for receiving respective fasteners.

5. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the tail is squarish.

6. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the tail has a chamfered end to facilitate insertion.

7. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the head defines the receiver.

8. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the head is rounded.

9. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 3, wherein the head defines an inclined end to facilitate reflection of light.

10. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the receiver includes an aperture.

1 1. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the aperture is not more than 23mm, in the vertical and/or horizonal planes, to inhibit insertion of conventional steel shackles.

12. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the aperture slopes and/or fans to reduce wear on the shackle arrangement.

13. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 10, wherein aperture may have rounded edges to impede damage to the shackle arrangement under tension.

14. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the device is integrally formed, preferably being CNC formed from billet metal such as aluminium.

15. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the device is anodized or is rated to towing 40 tonnes.

16. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 1 , wherein the shackle arrangement includes a soft shackle.

17. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the soft shackle is formed from resilient or rope material.

18. An automotive tow hitch device as claimed in claim 16, wherein the soft shackle includes a head for coupling to a tail to form an endless loop passing through the receiver.

19. An automotive tow hitch system including a device as claimed in claim 1 , and the shackle arrangement, the system preferably being provided in kit form.

20. An automotive tow method involving:

coupling a body of a device to a vehicle; and

coupling a shackle arrangement, received in a receiver of the body, to another vehicle.

Description:
AN AUTOMOTIVE TOW HITCH DEVICE

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention relates to an automotive tow hitch device. The present invention has particular, although not exclusive application to extracting a stuck four- wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle.

BACKGROUND

[0002] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that the prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

[0003] There are a host of automotive recovery devices available for extracting stuck 4WD vehicles from mire such as sand and mud.

[0004] Snatch straps are designed to stretch under load and can be coupled between the stuck vehicle and a moving vehicle that pulls the stuck vehicle from the mire.

[0005] Many 4WD vehicles are fitted with winches which can be used in extreme recovery situations.

[0006] The applicant has perceived the need for an alternative automotive recovery device.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided an automotive tow hitch device including a body for coupling to a vehicle and defining a receiver for receiving a shackle arrangement for coupling to another vehicle.

[0008] Advantageously, either vehicle can be used to tow and extract the other vehicle when stuck using the shackle arrangement, which may take the form of that disclosed in AU2018201290 and that is incorporated herein by reference. [0009] The body may define a tail for being received within the vehicle and a head for protruding from the vehicle. The tail may define one or more apertures for receiving respective fasteners. The tail may be squarish. The tail may have a chamfered end to facilitate insertion. The receiver may include an aperture. The aperture may be not more than 23mm, in the vertical and/or horizonal planes, to inhibit insertion of conventional steel shackles. The aperture may slope and/or fan to reduce wear on the shackle arrangement. The aperture may further slope and/or fan to reduce wear on the shackle arrangement. The aperture may have rounded edges to impede damage to the shackle arrangement 104 under tension.

[00010] The head may define the receiver. The head may be rounded. The head may define an inclined end to facilitate reflection of light.

[00011] The device may be integrally formed. The device may be CNC formed from billet metal, preferably aluminium. The device may be anodized. The device may be rated to towing 40 tonnes.

[00012] Preferably, the shackle arrangement includes a soft shackle. The soft shackle may be formed from resilient or rope material. The soft shackle may include a head for coupling to a tail to form an endless loop passing through the receiver.

[00013] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided automotive tow hitch system including the device and the shackle arrangement. The system may be provided in kit form.

[00014] According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided an automotive tow method involving:

coupling a body of a device to a vehicle; and

coupling a shackle arrangement, received in a receiver of the body, to another vehicle.

[00015] Any of the features described herein can be combined in any combination with any one or more of the other features described herein within the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [00016] Preferred features, embodiments and variations of the invention may be discerned from the following Detailed Description which provides sufficient information for those skilled in the art to perform the invention. The Detailed Description is not to be regarded as limiting the scope of the preceding Summary of the Invention in any way. The Detailed Description will make reference to a number of drawings as follows:

[00017] Figure 1 is an upper perspective view of an automotive tow hitch system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and

[00018] Figure 2 is a side view of an automotive tow hitch device of the system of Figure 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[00019] According to an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided an automotive tow hitch system 100 as shown in Figure 1. The system 100 includes an automotive tow hitch device 102 coupled to a soft shackle arrangement 104. The system 100 is typically provided in kit form.

[00020] The tow hitch device 102 includes a body 106 for coupling to a vehicle, and defines a receiver 108 for receiving the soft shackle arrangement 104, in turn, coupled to another vehicle. Advantageously, either vehicle can be used to tow and extract the other vehicle when stuck using the shackle arrangement 104. The arrangement 104 can take the form of that disclosed in AU2018201290 which is incorporated herein by reference.

[00021] The body 106 defines a squarish tail 110 for being complementarily received within a towbar of the vehicle and an enlarged head 112 for protruding from the vehicle toward the other vehicle. The tail 1 10 defines two apertures 1 14 for receiving respective fasteners to fasten the body 106 to the vehicle.

[00022] The shackle arrangement 104 includes a soft shackle 1 16, formed from resilient or rope material. The soft shackle 1 16 includes a head 1 18 for coupling to a looped tail 120 to form an endless loop passing through the receiver 108. [00023] Turning to Figure 2, the tail 1 10 has a chamfered end 200 to facilitate insertion into the vehicle’s towbar. The receiver 108 includes a specially shaped aperture 202. The aperture 202 is dimensioned not more than 23mm in the vertical and horizonal planes to inhibit insertion of conventional steel shackles which could damage the device 102. The aperture also has rounded (i.e. no sharp) edges to impeded damage to the shackle arrangement 104 under tension.

[00024] A portion 204 of the aperture 202 slopes and fans to reduce wear on the shackle arrangement 104 pulling in a horizontal direction. Other portions 206a, b of the aperture 202 further upwardly and downwardly slope or fan to further reduce wear on the shackle arrangement 104 pulling in a vertical direction.

[00025] The head 1 12 defines the receiver 108 and is rounded at it top and bottom. The head 1 12 defines an inclined end 208 to facilitate reflection of light as a safety feature.

[00026] The device 102 is integrally CNC formed from billet metal, preferably aluminium. The device 102 is anodized to provide a color and is rated to towing up to 40 tonnes.

[00027] An automotive tow method using the system 100 is now briefly described.

[00028] Firstly, the body 106 of the device 102 is coupled to a vehicle. The tail 1 10 is inserted in the vehicle’s tow bar and the two apertures 114 receive respective fasteners to fasten the body 106 to the vehicle.

[00029] Next, the shackle arrangement 104 is received in the receiver 108 of the body 106. The open shackle 1 16 is threaded through the receiver 108 and its head 1 18 is coupled to its tail 120. The closed shackle arrangement 104 is then coupled to another vehicle for towing.

[00030] A person skilled in the art will appreciate that many embodiments and variations can be made without departing from the ambit of the present invention.

[00031] In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific to structural or methodical features. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to specific features shown or described since the means herein described comprises preferred forms of putting the invention into effect.

[00032] Reference throughout this specification to‘one embodiment’ or‘an embodiment’ means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases‘in one embodiment’ or‘in an embodiment’ in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more combinations.