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Title:
IMPROVED RETRACTABLE LEASH
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/158481
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A retractable leash (1) comprises a container body (10) inside of which a spool (20) is mounted free to rotate about a rotation axis (120). Around the spool (20) is wound, in use, a leash (30) having a first end (30a) fixed to the spool (20) and a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness, that is applied to a domestic animal, in particular a dog. The retractable leash (1), furthermore, provides a brake device (50) arranged to position the spool (20) in a braking configuration when the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the spool (20) exceeds a predetermined value. The brake device (50) comprises a stator body (51) integral to the container body (10) and provided with a projecting member (53). Furthermore, a rotor body (55) is provided, also this arranged coaxially to the spool (20), and arranged, in use, to be housed, free to rotate, within the stator body (51). The rotor body (55) provides a blocking pin (56) and a resilient member (57) which exerts on the blocking pin (56) an elastic force opposite to the centrifugal force.

Inventors:
MAGAGNINI MARCO (IT)
FILICORI FABRIZIO (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/IB2017/051413
Publication Date:
September 21, 2017
Filing Date:
March 10, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAGAGNINI MARCO (IT)
FILICORI FABRIZIO (IT)
International Classes:
B65H75/44; A01K27/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005080149A12005-09-01
Foreign References:
US20140263799A12014-09-18
FR2947420A12011-01-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CELESTINO, Marco et al. (Pisa, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside of said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), su said spool (20) being wound, in use, un leash (30) having a predetermined total length, and provided with a first end (30a) fixed to said spool (20) , and with a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness ;

- a brake device (50) arranged to position said spool (20) in a braking configuration when the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of said spool (20) exceeds a predetermined value, in said braking configuration said brake device (50) arranged to brake the unwinding of said leash (30) from said spool (20) ; said retractable leash (1) characterised in that said brake device (50) comprises:

- a stator body (51) arranged coaxially to said spool (20) and arranged to define a seat (54) , said stator body (51) being integral to said container body (10) and provided with a pro ecting member (53) ;

- a rotor body (55) arranged to be housed, in use, in said seat (54) of said stator body (51), free to rotate coaxially to said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), said rotor body (55) provided with:

- a blocking pin (56) ; - a housing (58) radially oriented to said rotor body (55) and arranged to house, in use, said blocking pin (56) ;

- a resilient member (57) arranged to engage said blocking pin (56) to said rotor body (55) , said resilient member (57) arranged to exert on said blocking pin (56) a predetermined elastic force opposite to said centrifugal force, said blocking pin (56) arranged to translate radially to said rotor body (55) guided by said housing (58), from a rest position, in which it is arranged when said predetermined elastic force exceeds said centrifugal force, and in which said rotor body (55) is arranged to rotate integral to said spool (20) , to a blocking position, in which said blocking pin (56) is arranged to engage said projecting member (53) of said stator body (51) and, therefore, to brake said rotation of said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), when said centrifugal force exceeds said predetermined elastic force.

The retractable leash (1), according to claim 1, wherein said housing (58) is made in said rotor body (55), and provides an inlet/exit mouth (59) facing towards said stator body (51), said blocking pin (56) arranged to enter/exit said housing (58) through said inlet/exit mouth (59) for moving from said rest position to said blocking position, and vice versa.

The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, furthermore comprising at least one friction disc (85) that is made in a friction material, said, or each, friction disc friction disc (85) being interposed between said rotor body (55) and said spool (20) and being arranged, in said braking configuration, to transmit a brake force from said rotor body (55) to said spool (20) , in such a way to reduce the impulse of force produced on the arm of the user .

The retractable leash (1), according to claim 3, furthermore comprising a push group (12) arranged to resiliently force said rotor body (55) against said friction disc (85) .

The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, wherein at least one of said rotor body (55) and said spool (20) is rotatably mounted on said shaft (60) by means of a bushing (75) .

The retractable leash (1), according to claim 5, wherein said bushing (75) provides a laterally protruding portion, or shoulder, (73) which protrudes between said spool (20) and said rotor body (55) , said, or each, friction disc (85) positioned between said laterally protruding portion, or shoulder (73) and said rotor body (55) .

The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, furthermore comprising:

- a shaft (60) that is coaxial to said rotation axis (120) and comprising a first tubular portion (61), which is integral to said spool (20) , and a second portion (62), which, instead, is not integral to said spool (20) ;

- an actuation member (70) arranged to engage said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to said spool (20) when a predetermined number of turns of said spool (20), about said rotation axis (120), in said braking configuration, is reached, said rotation of said spool (20), thus, causing by means of said actuation member (70), said rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120), said predetermined number of turns corresponding to a predetermined length of said leash (30) unwound from said spool (20);

- an additional brake device (150) associated to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) and arranged to brake the rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) .

8. The retractable leash (1), according to claim 7, wherein said actuation member (70) is a return resilient member arranged to resiliently engage said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to said spool (20) , said return resilient member (70) having a first end (71) that is fixed to said spool (20) and a second end (72) that is fixed to said second portion (62) of said shaft ( 60 ) .

9 . The retractable leash, according to claim 8, wherein said return resilient member (70) is housed within a cylindrical opening (25) provided in said spool (20) and that is coaxial to said rotation axis (120) .

10. The retractable leash, according to any claim from 8 to 9, wherein said return resilient member (70) is a spiral torsion spring.

11. The retractable leash (1), according to any claim from 7 to 9, wherein said additional brake device (150) provides :

- a base support (40), which is integral to said container body (10);

- an engagement member (45) arranged to engage said base support (40) to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60), said engagement member (45) configured in such a way to allow said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to rotate with respect to said base support (40) ;

- a friction disc (80) that is made in a friction material, said friction disc (80) being interposed between said base support (40) and a basement (66) of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) .

12. The retractable leash (1), according to claim 11, wherein said engagement member (45) comprises a screw arranged to engage in a threaded hole (41) provided in said base support (40), said screw (45) having a locking head (46), arranged, in use, in an axial cavity (65) provided in said second portion (62) of said shaft (60), said locking head (46) arranged to lock an engaging portion (64) of said cavity (65) against said base support (40) .

A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), su said spool (20) being wound, in use, a leash (30) having a first end (30a) fixed to the spool (20) and a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness;

- a shaft (60) that is arranged coaxially to said rotation axis (120) and comprising a first tubular portion (61), which is integral to said spool (20), and a second portion (62), which, instead, is not integral to said spool (20) ;

- a brake device (50) associated to said spool (20) arranged to brake the unwinding of said leash (30) from said spool (20) when the centrifugal force Fc associated to the rotation of said spool (20) exceeds a predetermined value Fc* in such a way to obtain a braking configuration;

said retractable leash (1) characterised in that it, furthermore, provides:

- an actuation member (70) arranged to actuate la rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) when a predetermined number of turns of said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), in said braking configuration, is reached; - an additional brake device (150) associated to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) and arranged to brake the rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) .

A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside of said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), su said spool (20) being wound, in use, a leash (30) having a first end (30a) fixed to said spool (20) and a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness, said spool (20) provided with a plurality of laterally protruding portions (27);

- a blocking device (90) arranged to block the rotation of said spool (20), said blocking device (90) comprising a button (95) on which a user is arranged to act for operating said blocking device (90);

characterised in that said blocking device (90) comprises an actuation carriage (130) operatively connected to said button (95), said actuation carriage

(130), when it is operated by said user, being arranged to translate along a direction that is substantially tangential to said spool (20) , between an advanced position and a retracted position, in said advanced position said actuation carriage (130) arranged to cause a blocking tooth (140) to rotate about a rotation axis

(145) in such a way to move it from a disengagement position to a blocking position where the blocking tooth is arranged to interfere with a protruding portion (27) of said plurality, in such a way to block the rotation of said spool (20), and a resilient member (160) being provided arranged to resiliently oppose a said rotation of said blocking tooth (140) from said disengagement position to said blocking position.

AMENDED CLAIMS

received by the International Bureau on 16 August 2017 (16.08.2017)

1. A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside of said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), on said spool (20) being wound, in use, a leash (30) having a predetermined total length, and provided with a first end (30a) fixed to said spool (20) , and with a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness;

- a brake device (50) arranged to position said spool (20) in a braking configuration when the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of said spool (20) exceeds a predetermined value, in said braking configuration said brake device (50) arranged to brake the unwinding of said leash (30) from said spool (20) ; said retractable leash (1) characterised in that said brake device (50) comprises:

- a stator body (51) arranged coaxially to said spool (20) and arranged to define a seat (54) , said stator body (51) being integral to said container body (10) and provided with a pro ecting member (53) ;

- a rotor body (55) arranged to be housed, in use, in said seat (54) of said stator body (51), free to rotate coaxially to said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), said rotor body (55) provided with:

- a blocking pin (56) ;

- a housing (58) radially oriented to said rotor body (55) and arranged to house, in use, said blocking pin (56) ;

- a resilient member (57) arranged to engage said blocking pin (56) to said rotor body (55) , said resilient member (57) arranged to exert on said blocking pin (56) a predetermined elastic force opposite to said centrifugal force, said blocking pin (56) arranged to translate radially to said rotor body (55) guided by said housing (58), from a rest position, in which it is arranged when said predetermined elastic force exceeds said centrifugal force, and in which said rotor body (55) is arranged to rotate integral to said spool (20) , to a blocking position, in which said blocking pin (56) is arranged to engage said projecting member (53) of said stator body (51) and, therefore, to brake said rotation of said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), when said centrifugal force exceeds said predetermined elastic force.

The retractable leash (1), according to claim 1, wherein said housing (58) is made in said rotor body (55), and provides an inlet/exit mouth (59) facing towards said stator body (51), said blocking pin (56) arranged to enter/exit said housing (58) through said inlet/exit mouth (59) for moving from said rest position to said blocking position, and vice versa.

The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, furthermore comprising at least one friction disc (85) that is made in a friction material, said, or each, friction disc (85) being interposed between said rotor body (55) and said spool (20) and being arranged, in said braking configuration, to transmit a brake force from said rotor body (55) to said spool (20) , in such a way to reduce the impulse of force produced on the arm of the user. The retractable leash (1), according to claim 3, furthermore comprising a push group (12) arranged to resiliently force said rotor body (55) against said friction disc (85) . The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, wherein at least one of said rotor body (55) and said spool (20) is rotatably mounted on said shaft (60) by means of a bushing (75) . The retractable leash (1), according to claim 5, wherein said bushing (75) provides a laterally protruding portion, or shoulder, (73) which protrudes between said spool (20) and said rotor body (55) , said, or each, friction disc (85) positioned between said laterally protruding portion, or shoulder (73) and said rotor body (55) . The retractable leash (1), according to any previous claim, furthermore comprising:

- a shaft (60) that is coaxial to said rotation axis (120) and comprising a first tubular portion (61), which is integral to said spool (20) , and a second portion (62), which, instead, is not integral to said spool (20) ;

- an actuation member (70) arranged to engage said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to said spool (20) when a predetermined number of turns of said spool (20), about said rotation axis (120), in said braking configuration, is reached, said rotation of said spool (20), thus, causing by means of said actuation member (70), said rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120), said predetermined number of turns corresponding to a predetermined length of said leash (30) unwound from said spool (20);

- an additional brake device (150) associated to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) and arranged to brake the rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) . The retractable leash (1), according to claim 7, wherein said actuation member (70) is a return resilient member arranged to resiliently engage said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to said spool (20) , said return resilient member (70) having a first end (71) that is fixed to said spool (20) and a second end (72) that is fixed to said second portion (62) of said shaft ( 60 ) . The retractable leash, according to claim 8, wherein said return resilient member (70) is housed within a cylindrical opening (25) provided in said spool (20) and that is coaxial to said rotation axis (120) .

10. The retractable leash, according to any claim from 8 to 9, wherein said return resilient member (70) is a spiral torsion spring.

11. The retractable leash (1), according to any claim from 7 to 9, wherein said additional brake device (150) provides :

- a base support (40), which is integral to said container body (10);

- an engagement member (45) arranged to engage said base support (40) to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60), said engagement member (45) configured in such a way to allow said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) to rotate with respect to said base support (40) ;

- a friction disc (80) that is made in a friction material, said friction disc (80) being interposed between said base support (40) and a basement (66) of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) .

12. The retractable leash (1), according to claim 11, wherein said engagement member (45) comprises a screw arranged to engage in a threaded hole (41) provided in said base support (40), said screw (45) having a locking head (46), arranged, in use, in an axial cavity (65) provided in said second portion (62) of said shaft (60), said locking head (46) arranged to lock an engaging portion (64) of said cavity (65) against said base support (40) .

A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), on said spool (20) being wound, in use, a leash (30) having a first end (30a) fixed to the spool (20) and a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness;

- a shaft (60) that is arranged coaxially to said rotation axis (120) and comprising a first tubular portion (61), which is integral to said spool (20), and a second portion (62), which, instead, is not integral to said spool (20) ;

- a brake device (50) associated to said spool (20) arranged to brake the unwinding of said leash (30) from said spool (20) when the centrifugal force Fc associated to the rotation of said spool (20) exceeds a predetermined value Fc* in such a way to obtain a braking configuration;

said retractable leash (1) characterised in that it, furthermore, provides:

- an actuation member (70) arranged to actuate la rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) when a predetermined number of turns of said spool (20) about said rotation axis (120), in said braking configuration, is reached;

- an additional brake device (150) associated to said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) and arranged to brake the rotation of said second portion (62) of said shaft (60) about said rotation axis (120) .

A retractable leash (1) comprising:

- a container body (10) ;

- a spool (20) mounted inside of said container body (10) about a rotation axis (120), on said spool (20) being wound, in use, a leash (30) having a first end (30a) fixed to said spool (20) and a second end (30b) suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness, said spool (20) provided with a plurality of laterally protruding portions (27);

- a blocking device (90) arranged to block the rotation of said spool (20), said blocking device (90) comprising a button (95) on which a user is arranged to act for operating said blocking device (90);

characterised in that said blocking device (90) comprises an actuation carriage (130) operatively connected to said button (95), said actuation carriage

(130), when it is operated by said user, being arranged to translate along a direction that is substantially tangential to said spool (20) , between an advanced position and a retracted position, in said advanced position said actuation carriage (130) arranged to cause a blocking tooth (140) to rotate about a rotation axis

(145) in such a way to move it from a disengagement position to a blocking position where the blocking tooth is arranged to interfere with a protruding portion (27) of said plurality, in such a way to block the rotation of said spool (20), and a resilient member (160) being provided arranged to resiliently oppose a said rotation of said blocking tooth (140) from said disengagement position to said blocking position.

Description:
TITLE

IMPROVED RETRACTABLE LEASH DESCRIPTION

Field of the invention The present invention relates to a retractable leash for domestic animals in particular, but not exclusively, dogs .

Description of the prior art

As well known, the leashes are largely used for walking the domestic animals, in particular dogs.

Generally, the leash is grasped at an end by a user, another end of the leash is fixed to a collar, or a harness, that is previously applied to the dog. In this way the freedom of movement of the dog is limited and, therefore, it avoids, in particular, that the dog can move away too much from the owner, or a different person who walks the dog.

The new leashes, usually known as retractable leashes, comprise essentially a main body, generally made of plastic material, provided with an handle at which a user grasps the leash. A spool that is able to rotate about a rotation axis, is usually housed with the main body. More precisely, around the spool a tape, or a leash, is wound having an end fixed to the spool, and another end to the collar, or a harness, of the dog, as above described. During the walk, the greater is the relative velocity between the dog and the user who grasps the leash, the more leash is unwound from the spool.

Normally, a spring, usually a spiral torsion spring, is mounted within the main body, and arranged in such a way to oppose the unwinding of the leash from the spool, i.e. to oppose the free rotation of the spool. Examples of similar leashes are described in US5377626 and US6845736.

The retractable leashes are, furthermore, normally provided with a brake, which is operated by a padrone del cane acting on a button mounted on the main body.

However, the retractable leashes of known type have many drawbacks .

Firstly, with the leashes of known type, the owner is not always able to immediately react to a sudden jerk of the animal, in particular, operating the brake button. Consequently, particularly in the case of big dogs, if the dog suddenly speeds up, for example because another dog, or a different animal, rouses its interest, it can happen, not only, that the dog can cause damage to other people, or animals, or to itself, but that can also cause physical damage to the owner, in particular causing him/her to fall, or trauma to the arms.

Braking devices of magnetic type for retractable leashes are known in which the braking device is operated when the centrifugal force exceeds the magnetic force of the magnet. However, these solutions are not efficient, in particular because they are not capable of quickly react, between when the event happens and the magnetic braking device reacts, for braking the spool, a lot of seconds can go by due to the magnetic inertia.

In US2014263799, instead, a retractable leash is described comprising a spool that is mounted, free to rotate about a rotation axis, and around which an end of the tape is fixed with the other end constrained to the collar of the animal. A brake device is also provided for blocking the rotation of the spool when the centrifugal force exceeds a determined value. More precisely, the brake device provides a blocking element that is maintained by a spring in a rest position in which it does not block the rotation of the spool. Instead, when the rotation speed of the spool exceeds a predetermined value per cui the centrifugal force wins the spring elastic force, the blocking element, from the rest position, rotates about an axis parallel to the rotation axis of the spool up to dispose an end in a blocking position that impedes the rotation of the spool.

An analogous solution is also described in WO2005/080149.

However, both the brake device of US2014263799 and that of WO2005/080149 are structurally complex, heavy, and do not seem to be able to assure the necessary safety conditions both for the user who uses the leash and for the domestic animal on the leash.

Summary of the invention

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a retractable leash that is able to overcome the above described drawbacks of the retractable leashes of prior art.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a retractable leash that is able to assure a high safety level both for the domestic animal attached to the leash and for the user who walks it.

It is a particular object of the present invention to provide a retractable leash that allows to operate the manual brake in an easier and more natural way for the user, in such a way to greatly reduce the efforts necessary for blocking the unwinding of the leash.

These and other objects are achieved by a retractable leash, according to the present invention, comprising:

- a container body;

- a spool rotatably mounted inside the container body about a rotation axis, around said spool being wound, in use, a leash having a predetermined total length and that is provided with a first end fixed to the spool and a second end suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness ;

- a brake device arranged to dispose the spool in a braking configuration when the centrifugal force generated by the rotation of the spool exceeds a predetermined value, in said braking configuration the brake device arranged to brake the unwinding of the leash from the spool;

wherein said brake device comprises: - a stator body arranged coaxially to the spool and arranged to define a seat, said stator body being integral to said container body and provided with a projecting member;

- a rotor body arranged to be positioned, in use, in said seat of said stator body, free to rotate coaxially to said spool about said rotation axis, said rotor body provided with:

- a blocking pin;

- a housing (58) radially oriented to said rotor body (55) and arranged to house, in use, said blocking pin (56) ;

- a resilient member arranged to engage the blocking pin to the rotor body, said resilient member exerting on the blocking pin, a predetermined elastic force opposite to said centrifugal force, said blocking pin arranged to translate radially to the rotor body guided by the housing from a rest position, in which it is arranged when the predetermined elastic force is greater than said centrifugal force and in which said rotor body is arranged to rotate integrally with said spool, to a blocking position, in which the blocking pin is arranged to engage the projecting member of the stator body in order to brake the rotation of the spool about the rotation axis, when the centrifugal force exceeds the predetermined elastic force.

Preferably, the housing is made in the rotor body. In particular, the housing has an inlet/exit mouth facing towards the stator body and through which the blocking pin is arranged to enter/exit said seat said housing, for moving from the rest position to the blocking position, and vice versa.

In an alternative embodiment of the invention, the retractable leash, furthermore, comprises:

- a shaft arranged coaxially to the rotation axis and comprising a first tubular portion, integral to said spool, and a second portion, which, instead, is not integral to said spool;

- an actuation member arranged to engage the second portion of said shaft to the spool, once the spool has made a predetermined number of turns about the rotation axis, in the above disclosed braking configuration, ;

- an additional brake device associated to the second portion of shaft and arranged to brake the rotation of the second portion of shaft about the rotation axis. According to another aspect of the invention, a retractable leash comprises:

- a container body;

- a spool mounted inside of said container body about a rotation axis, su said spool being wound, in use, a leash having a first end fixed to the spool and a second end suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness;

- a shaft arranged coaxially to said rotation axis and comprising a first tubular portion, integral to said spool, and a second portion that, instead, is not integral to said spool;

- a brake device associated to said spool arranged to brake the unwinding of said leash from said spool when the centrifugal force Fc generated by the rotation of said spool exceeds a predetermined value Fc* in such a way to obtain a braking configuration;

said leash furthermore comprising:

- an actuation member arranged to actuate la rotation of said second portion of said shaft about said rotation axis once said spool has made a predetermined number of turns about said rotation axis, in said braking configuration;

- an additional brake device associated to said second portion of said shaft and arranged to brake the rotation of said second portion of said shaft about said rotation axis .

Advantageously, the actuation member is a return resilient member arranged to resiliently engage said second portion of the shaft to the spool, said return resilient member having a first end that is fixed to the spool and a second end that is fixed to the second portion of the shaft and arranged to make the second portion of the shaft integral to the spool, when it reaches its maximum length, whereby it causes the second portion of the shaft to rotate about the rotation axis.

In particular, the return resilient member can be housed within a cylindrical opening provided in the spool and arranged coaxially to the rotation axis. Advantageously, the additional brake device provides:

- a base support, which is integral to the container body;

- an engagement member arranged to engage the base support to the second portion of the shaft, said engagement member configured in such a way to allow the second portion of the shaft to rotate with respect to the base support;

- a friction disc that is made in a friction material, said friction disc being interposed between the base support and a base support of the second portion of the shaft.

Advantageously, the engagement member comprises a screw arranged to engage in a threaded hole made in said base support, said screw being provided with a locking head, which is arranged, in use, in an axial cavity made in said second portion of said shaft, said locking head arranged to lock an engaging portion of said cavity against the base support.

According to a further aspect of the invention, a retractable leash comprises:

- a container body;

- a spool mounted inside of said container body about a rotation axis, su said spool being wound, in use, a leash having a first end that is fixed to said spool and a second end suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness, said spool being provided with a plurality of laterally protruding portions; - a blocking device arranged to block the rotation of said spool, said blocking device comprising a button on which a user acts for operating said blocking device; and wherein said blocking device comprises an actuation carriage operatively connected to said button, said actuation carriage, when operated by said user, being arranged to translate along a direction that is substantially tangential to said spool, between an advanced position and a retracted position, in said advanced position, said actuation carriage arranged to cause a blocking tooth to rotate about a rotation axis in order to move it from a disengagement position to a blocking position, where it is arranged to interfere with a protruding portion of said plurality, in such a way to block the rotation of said spool, and a resilient member being provided arranged to resiliently oppose to said rotation of said blocking tooth from said disengagement position to said blocking position.

Brief description of the drawings

The invention will be now shown with the following description of an exemplary embodiment thereof, exemplifying but not limitative, with reference to the attached drawings in which:

- Fig. 1 diagrammatically shows in a perspective view, a first embodiment of a retractable leash, according to the invention, in operative conditions;

- Fig. 2A diagrammatically shows in a section view, the retractable leash of figure 1; - Fig. 2B diagrammatically shows in a section view an alternative embodiment of the retractable leash of figure 2A;

- Figures 3 and 4 show in section views, 2 different alternative embodiments of the brake device of which the retractable leash of figure 2A is equipped;

- Fig. 5 shows the retractable leash of figure 2A in a exploded perspective view;

- Fig. 6 shows in a section view another alternative embodiment of the leash of figure 2A;

- Fig. 7 shows the retractable leash of figure 5 in an exploded perspective view;

- Figures 8 to 10 diagrammatically show, in plant views, the retractable leash, according to the invention, in an open configuration, i.e. with half container body that is not shown, in order to show some technical aspects of the invention.

Detailed description of some exemplary embodiments

As diagrammatically shown in the figures from 1 to 5, a retractable leash 1, according to the invention, comprises a container body 10, which provides a handle 15. A spool 20 is arranged inside the container body 10, capable of rotating about a rotation axis 120. Around the spool 20, in use, a leash, or a tape, 30 is wound that has a first end 30a fixed to the spool 20, for example at a cavity 22, and a second end 30b suitable to be engaged to a collar, or a harness, that is applied to a domestic animal, e.g. a dog, a cat, etc. The leash 1, according to the invention, furthermore comprises a brake device 50 associated to the spool 20. More in detail, the brake device 50 is arranged to brake the unwinding of the leash 30 from the spool 20 when the centrifugal force, which is caused by the rotation of the spool 20, exceeds a predetermined value, in order to avoid that the domestic animal can suddenly, and in an uncontrolled way, moves away from the user who keeps the dog on the leash. According to the invention, the brake device 50 comprises a stator body 51 arranged coaxially to the spool 20, and defining a seat 54 (figures 2A and 2B) . More precisely, the stator body 51 can be a body unconnected to the container body 10 but integral to it, or, differently, it can be integrated in the container body 10. The stator body 51, in particular at an internal surface 52, provides a projecting member, or tooth, 53. A rotor body 55 is, furthermore, provided, also this arranged coaxially to the spool 20, and arranged to be housed, in use, in the seat 54 of the stator body 51, free to rotate with respect to it. In particular, the rotor body 55 and the spool 20 are mounted on a same rotation shaft 60, which is integral to the stator body 51. The fastening of shaft 60 to stator body 51 can be obtained by using a single mould comprising both the components (figures 2A and 2B) , or by means of an engagement member, e.g. a screw, case not shown in the figures for reasons of simplicity, arranged to mutually fix 2 independent pieces. The spool 20 provides an axial cavity 25 arranged to house, in use, a return resilient member 70, in particular a spiral torsion spring, or a torsion spring, diagrammatically shown in the figures 2A and 2B with a broken line. More in detail, the return resilient member 70 provides an end 71 that is engaged to the spool 20, in particular at a slot 21 provided in the body of the spool 20, and arranged to exert a recall action on the spool 20 in order to oppose the unwinding of the leash 30. As shown in the figures 2 and 5, the axial cavity 25 can be associated to a lid 170, which provides an aperture 175 that is passed through, in use, by the shaft 60, in such a way that its free end can engage the container body 10.

As diagrammatically shown in the figures 3 and 4, the leash 1, according to the invention, comprises, furthermore, a rotor body 55. This provides a housing 58, within which, in use, a blocking pin 56 is housed. More in particular, the housing 58 is arranged along a radial direction, and a resilient member 57 is provided arranged to engage the blocking pin 56 to the rotor body 55. The resilient member 57 can be a shaped spring (figure 3) having an end fixed to the blocking pin 56, and another end fixed in a point of the rotor body 55, or a spring radially oriented, in particular positioned within the housing 58, and having an end fixed to the blocking pin 56, and the other end fixed to another component of the leash 1, for example the shaft 60 (figure 4) . The resilient member 57 is arranged to exert on blocking pin 56, a predetermined elastic force Fe, which opposes the centrifugal force Fc. More precisely, in the case of figure 3, the radial component of the elastic force is opposed to the centrifugal force, whilst in the case of figure 4, the elastic force has only a radial component, and therefore, it is this that is opposed to the centrifugal force. When, for example due to a jerk of the domestic animal, the centrifugal force Fc, generated by the rotation of the spool 20, suddenly increases up to exceed the elastic force Fe, the blocking pin 56, not retained anymore by the return resilient member 70, translates along a radial direction up to engage the projecting member 53. Because of the engagement of the blocking pin 56 and the projecting member 53, the rotor body 55 becomes integral to the stator body 51 and, therefore, to the container body 10. Consequently, the rotation of the spool 20, and of the other components integral to it, about the rotation axis 120, is impeded and, therefore, the unwind of the leash 30 from the spool 20 is braked.

Therefore, the operation of the leash 1, according to the present invention, provides that, in a first operative configuration corresponding to the case in which the domestic animal that is kept on the leash, moves with a low relative velocity with respect to the user who grasps the leash 1, the spool 20, the shaft 60 and the rotor body 55 rotate all together about axis 120. In this operative configuration, in fact, the blocking pin 56 is arranged in the rest position, where it is completely arranged within the rotor body 55, i.e. it does not engage with the projecting member 53.

Instead, when, because of a sudden jerk of the domestic animal, the spool 20 starts to rotate about axis 120 with a speed greater than a predetermined value, the centrifugal force Fc wins the elastic force Fe, which keeps the blocking pin 56 inside the rotor body 55. Therefore, the blocking pin 56 exits the rotor body 55 and engages the projecting member 53. In this operative configuration, the rotation of the rotor body 55 about axis 120 is impeded. Consequently, a braking configuration of the spool 20 is obtained, in which the rotation of the spool 20, and the shaft 60, is impeded.

More in particular, the housing 58 provides an inlet and outlet mouth 59 through which the blocking pin 56 is arranged to enter and to exit the housing 58, during the movement between the rest position and the blocking position, and vice versa. In this way, the radial translation of the pin 56 between the rest position and the blocking position, and vice versa, is guided by housing 58.

Advantageously, at least one friction disc 85 is provided that is made of a friction material, e.g. rubber, or felt, interposed between the rotor body 55 and the spool 20. In particular, the, or each, friction disc 85 allows to gradually brake the rotation of the spool 20. More precisely, when the rotation of rotor body 55 is stopped, due to the engagement of the blocking pin 56 with the projecting member 53, the braking force is transmitted by means of the, or each, friction disc 85, from rotor body 55 to spool 20. In this way, the friction disc 85 adsorb, in part, the impulse exerted on leash 1 by the domestic animal and, therefore, the generated impulse is not completely transferred to the user arm. Notwithstanding in the figures 2A and 2B only one friction disc 85 is shown, it is possible, however, to provide more than one of them. Everything is maintained in position by a push group 12 associated to the shaft 60. In particular, the push group 12 is arranged to press, in particular to elastically force, the rotor body 55 against the friction disc 85.

In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the push group 12 comprises a coned-disc spring 13, that is shown in figure 7 with reference to an alternative embodiment of the invention, but that can be also applied to the embodiment of figure 5, arranged to elastically force the rotor body 55 against the friction disc 85. More precisely, the coned-disc spring 13 can be engaged at an internal edge 14 (see figure 7) to shaft 60. In an exemplary embodiment of the invention not shown in the figures for reasons of simplicity, the shaft 60 can provide a circumferential groove arranged to engage, in use, the internal edge 14 of the coned-disc spring 13, in order to maintain the same in a correct operative position in which it forces the rotor body 55 against the friction disc 85. The latter can be positioned between the rotor body 55 and a protruding portion of the shaft 60, not shown in the figure for reasons of simplicity.

As shown in figure 2B, at least one between the rotor body 55 and the spool 20 can be rotatably mounted on the shaft 60 by means of a bushing 75. In the example of figure 2B both the rotor body 55 and the spool 20 are rotatably mounted on a same bushing 75, but it is also provided that they are independently rotatably mounted on shaft 60 by means of a respective bushing 75, or that only one of them is rotatably mounted on shaft 60 by means of a bushing.

In particular, the bushing 75 can provide a laterally protruding portion, or shoulder, 73 which protrudes between the spool 20 and the rotor body 55. In this case, the, or each, friction disc 85 can be positioned between the shoulder 73 and the rotor body 55. In particular, la coned- disc spring 13 can engage the bushing 75.

In a first alternative embodiment of the invention, that is shown in the figures 6 and 7, the shaft 60 comprises a first tubular portion 61, which is integral to the spool 20 and arranged coaxially to the same, and a second portion 62, also this arranged coaxially to said spool 20, but that, instead, is not integral to the spool 20. Also in this case both the first tubular portion 61 and the spool 20 can be rotatably mounted on shaft 60 by means of a bushing 75, or similar elements, in case provided with a shoulder 73.

Furthermore, an actuation member 70 is provided arranged to operate the rotation of the second portion 62 of the shaft 60, till now still, about the rotation axis 120, once the spool 20 has already made a predetermined number of turns about the rotation axis 120, from when the brake device 50 has started to operate for braking the rotation of the spool 20. In practice, when the relative velocity between the domestic animal and the user, who grasps the leash, is less than the one necessary to operate the brake device 50, the second portion 62 of shaft 60 remains still, whereas the first portion 61 rotates together with the spool 20. When the relative velocity exceeds the threshold value beyond which the brake device 50 starts to operate, the second portion 62 of shaft 60 continua to remain still till the spool 20 has made a predetermined number of turns about the rotation axis 120. The predetermined number of turns corresponds to a predetermined length of leash 30 unwound from the spool 20.

When this condition is reached, the actuation member 70 engages the second portion 62 of shaft 60 to the spool 20. In other words, the actuation member 70 makes the second portion 62 of shaft 60 integral to the spool. Therefore, also the second portion 62 of shaft 60 starts to rotate together with the spool 20 about the rotation axis 120.

According to an exemplary embodiment of the invention, the actuation member 70 can be a resilient member, in particular the return resilient member that houses within the cavity 25 of the spool 20 (see what above described with reference to figure 2A) . More precisely, the return resilient member, in particular a spiral torsion spring, has a first end 71 fixed to the spool 20 and a second end 72 fixed to the second portion 62 of shaft 60. For example, the second end 72 can be fixed to the second portion 62 of shaft 60 at a hollow 61b provided on a face of the shaft 60 (see figure 8) . In this way, the return resilient member 70 elastically connect the second portion 62 of shaft 60 and the spool 20. Therefore, when the return resilient member 70 reaches its maximum length, situation obtained once the spool 20 has made a predetermined number of turns about axis 120, in the braking configuration, it causes a rotation of the second portion 62 of shaft 60 about axis 120. In this operative condition, in fact, the spring 70, is not anymore able to extend and, therefore, it makes the second portion 62 of shaft 60 integral to the spool 20. In other words, as long as the brake device 50 does not start to operate for braking the spool 20, the second portion 62 of shaft 60 is disengaged from the spool 20, and it does not rotate.

The second portion 62 of shaft 60 is, then, advantageously associated to an additional brake device 150. The latter comprises, in particular, a base support

40, which is integral to the container body 10, for example embedded in the plastic material, of which the container body 10 is made of. An engagement member 45 is, furthermore, provided arranged to rotatably connect the base support 40 to the second portion 62 of shaft 60. Therefore, the second portion 62 of shaft 60 is capable of rotating with respect to the container body 10.

In the example of figure 6, the engagement member comprises a screw 45 arranged to engage in a threaded hole

41, which is provided in the base support 40, for example at a cylindrical portion 42. In particular, the screw 45 provides a locking head 46 arranged, in use, in an axial cavity 65 provided m the second portion 62 of shaft 60. More in detail, the locking head 46 of screw 45 is arranged to lock the engaging portion 64 arranged in the cavity 65, in particular a protruding edge, against the base support 40. However, the screw 45 is not screwed in the second portion 62 of shaft 60, and, therefore, it allows the same to rotate about axis 120 when the above described condition is reached. Between the base support 40 and the basement 66 of the second portion 62 of shaft 60, a friction disc 80 is provided that is made of a friction material, e.g. rubber, or felt.

This technical solution is particularly advantageous in the case in which most of the leash 30 has been already unwound from the spool 20. In fact, if the sudden jerk of the domestic animal, above described, happens in the above disclosed operative condition, the leash 1, provided with a single friction device 50, due to the short length of leash 30 that is still wound around the spool 20, stops completely, and, therefore, not gradually, the rotation of the spool 20. Consequently, if this condition happens, the leash 1 is not able to effectively absorb the impulse produced by the sudden jerk of the domestic animal, that, therefore, is mainly transferred on the arm of the user.

The embodiment of the leash 1 that is shown in the figures 6 and 7, in fact, differently to what happens for the embodiment described with reference to the figures 1 to 5, when the centrifugal force Fc exceeds the predetermined value that causes the operation of the brake device 50, provides to operate the additional friction 150. This, even though the leash 30 is almost completely unwound from the spool 20, allows, however, a further, and controlled, unwinding of an additional predetermined length of leash 30 from the spool 20, and, therefore, it avoids, also in these operative conditions, to entirely transfer on the user the impulse generated by the sudden jerk of the domestic animal.

In the embodiment of the leash 1 shown in the figures 6 and 7, the rotor body 55 can be of the type described with reference to the figures 2 to 4. Alternatively, instead, the resilient member 57 can provide a different kind of "constraint" obstructing the blocking pin 56 from engaging the protruding portion 53 up to reach a predetermined threshold value of the centrifugal force Fc . For example, the blocking pin 56 can be maintained in the rest position by means of a magnet. More precisely, the blocking pin 56 can be made of a ferromagnetic material and can provide a magnet arranged and configured to exert a magnetic attraction force opposite to the centrifugal force Fc, for example arranged within the housing 58. Analogously to what has been described with reference to the embodiment of figures 2-4, the magnetic attraction force maintains the blocking pin 56 in the rest position until when a predetermined value of centrifugal force is reached, at which the centrifugal force wins the magnetic force and causes the blocking pin 56 to radially move causing the protruding portion 53 to engage the rotor body 55, blocking the same. With reference to the figures, according to another aspect of the invention, a retractable leash 1 provides a manual blocking device 90 comprising a button 95, on which a user can act for blocking the unwinding of the leash 30 from the spool 20. More precisely, the blocking device 90, according to the invention, comprises an actuation carriage 130 operatively connected to the button 95.

In particular, when the blocking device 90 is not operated, the actuation carriage 130 is arranged in a retracted position, in which the leash 30 is more, or less, unwound from the spool 20, depending on the relative velocity between the user who grasps the leash 1 and the domestic animal that is fastened to it. When the user operates the blocking device 90 acting on the button 95, he/she causes the actuation carriage 130 to translate along a direction that is substantially tangential to the spool 20, from the above said retracted position to an advanced position. During the translation, the actuation carriage 130 causes a blocking tooth 140, arranged along the above disclosed advancing direction, to rotate about a rotation axis 145, that is, for example, parallel to the rotation axis 120. Owing to the rotation, the blocking tooth 140 moves from a disengagement position (figures 8 and 9), to a blocking position (figure 10) in which it engages a projecting member 27 of the spool 20, whereby it stops the rotation of the spool about axis 120. In the embodiments shown in the figures 8 to 10, a determined number of protruding members 27 is provided, radially arranged at a face 23 of the spool 20. However, the protruding members 27 can be arranged according to a different layout on the spool 20.

It is, furthermore, provided a resilient member 160 arranged to resiliently oppose the rotation of the blocking tooth 140 from the disengagement position to the blocking position. More in detail, when the user stop acting on button 95, the elastic force of the resilient member 160, e.g. a spiral torsion spring coaxially mounted about the rotation axis 145 (that can be partly seen in figure 8), causes a rotation opposite to the one above described, i.e. it causes the return of the blocking tooth 140 in the disengagement position.

As shown in detail in figure 8, the stroke of the actuation carriage 130 is defined between a first and a second stop member 131 and 132, for example integrated in the structure of the container body 10, against which the actuation carriage 130 abuts when it is arranged in the advanced position and in the retracted position, respectively. In the case shown in figure 8, the actuation carriage 130 provides "appendixes" 133 and 134 arranged to respectively abut with the stop members 131 and 132. Other similar solutions can be also provided.

The solution according to the present invention is, on one hand, easier to be operated by the user, and on the other hand, it is more effective than the solutions of prior art, in which the actuation carriage directly blocks the spool by translating along a radial direction. Furthermore, with the present solution, the user can operate the blocking device with a more natural and comfortable movement of the thumb, thus highly reducing the stresses acting on the thumb same, and, therefore, highly reducing the possibility of trauma for the muscles and the joints of the hand of the user.

It is appropriate to specify that the embodiment of the leash 1 described with reference to the figures 8 to 10, which provides the blocking device 90, can be combined both with the embodiment of the leash 1 described with reference to the figures 2 to 5, and with the embodiment described with reference to the figures 6 and 7.

Therefore, it is possible both to have a leash 1 provided with a single brake device 50 and with the blocking device 90 described with reference to the figures 8 to 10, and to have a leash 1 with a first brake device 50, a second brake device 150, and provided with the blocking device 90. It is, also, foreseen that the leash 1 provides a first brake device, not necessarily of the kind described with reference to the figures 2 to 5, and a second brake device 150, as above described.

It is furthermore appropriate to note that, notwithstanding in the figures 2, 4, 6 and 7, for reasons of simplicity, only a half of the container body 10 is shown, also a second half is provided, of which in the figures 2A and 2B is diagrammatically shown the overall dimension with a broken line, and configured in such a way to define a space inside of which the different components of the leash 1 above described are housed, and such that it forms the container body 10 of figure 1.

The foregoing description of specific exemplary embodiments will so fully reveal the invention according to the conceptual point of view, so that others, by applying current knowledge, will be able to modify and/or adapt in various applications the specific exemplary embodiments without further research and without parting from the invention, and, accordingly, it is meant that such adaptations and modifications will have to be considered as equivalent to the specific embodiments. The means and the materials to realize the different functions described herein could have a different nature without, for this reason, departing from the field of the invention. It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology that is employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation .