GLASS TRANSPORT TRAILER
1. A trailer for carrying plate glass, comprising:
- an elongated rigid beam;
a plurality of wheels attached to the beam at a first end of the beam so that the plurality of wheels are rotatable about at least one axis transverse to the axis of elongation of the beam;
a coupler for coupling to a wheeled rear end of a towing vehicle, the coupler being attached to the beam and disposed at a second end of the beam opposite the first end;
wherein the beam extends higher than the plurality of wheels and is attached to the plurality of wheels and to the coupler so that the beam transfers load of the trailer to the plurality of wheels and the coupler; and
at least one generally planar receiving surface that is defined by or attached to the beam higher than the plurality of wheels so that a portion of the beam that extends higher than the plurality of wheels between the coupler and the plurality of wheels supports at least one glass plate received by the receiving surface in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the axis.
A trailer for carrying plate glass has an elongated deck and an elongated rigid beam that extends above the deck. The beam supports plate glass transported by the trailer. The deck and the beam may be made from aluminum.
- 1. A trailer for carrying plate glass, comprising:
an elongated rigid beam; a plurality of wheels attached to the beam at a first end of the beam so that the plurality of wheels are rotatable about at least one axis transverse to the axis of elongation of the beam; a coupler for coupling to a wheeled rear end of a towing vehicle, the coupler being attached to the beam and disposed at a second end of the beam opposite the first end; wherein the beam extends higher than the plurality of wheels and is attached to the plurality of wheels and to the coupler so that the beam transfers load of the trailer to the plurality of wheels and the coupler; and at least one generally planar receiving surface that is defined by or attached to the beam higher than the plurality of wheels so that a portion of the beam that extends higher than the plurality of wheels between the coupler and the plurality of wheels supports at least one glass plate received by the receiving surface in a horizontal direction perpendicular to the axis.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16)
The present application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 15/009,534, filed Jan. 28, 2016 (now U.S. Pat. No. 10,518,688), the entire disclosure which is incorporated by reference herein.
The present invention relates to trailers for the transport of glass plates.
Glass plates may be transported by semi-trailers, and often by platform semi-trailers. A semi-trailer is a trailer without wheeled axles on its front end, instead having a mechanism, such as a kingpin or gooseneck, for connecting the trailer to a towing vehicle (such as a diesel tractor) that both tows the trailer and supports the trailer front end vertical load. The trailer typically has multiple wheeled axles at its rear end so that groups of two or four wheels rotate about the same axis and so that the trailer has at least two such wheel groups that rotate about at least two parallel axes.
A platform, or flatbed, trailer typically includes a flat loading deck without permanent sides or roof, where the trailer'"'"'s chassis has a load-carrying main frame that supports the deck from underneath. The deck may sometimes have different levels, including one or more that drop below a main deck level. In glass transport trailers, a frame, often in the cross-sectional shape of an “A,” is secured to the deck and defines planar receiving surfaces on opposite sides of the “A” cross-section that receive one or more sheets of glass to be secured to the A frame. To cover the glass, a tarp may be secured over the A frame or over a rectangular frame secured to the deck about the A frame. Since the A frame and, if present, a rectangular tarp frame or other enclosure, however, are not part of the chassis structure that distributes load from the deck to the wheels and the towing vehicle, these structures add to the trailer load without providing structural support.
A trailer for carrying plate glass in an embodiment of the present invention has an elongated deck having at least one deck segment defining a surface at an upper major side of the deck. An elongated rigid beam extends longitudinally in parallel with a longitudinal axis of the deck. A plurality of wheels is attached to at least one of the deck and the beam at a first end of the elongated deck at or below a lower major side of the deck opposite the upper major side so that the plurality of wheels are rotatable about at least one axis transverse to a longitudinal axis of the deck. A coupler for coupling to a wheeled rear end of a towing vehicle is attached to at least one of the deck and the beam and is disposed at a second end of the deck opposite the first end. The beam extends above at least a portion of the deck and is attached to the deck so that the beam transfers load from the deck to the plurality of wheels and the coupler. A generally planar receiving surface is defined by or attached to the beam above at least a portion of the deck so that the beam supports at least one glass plate received by the receiving surface in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and parallel to the generally planar surface.
In a further embodiment, a trailer for carrying plate glass has an elongated deck comprised of at least one deck segment defining a surface at an upper major side of the deck. An elongated rigid beam extends longitudinally in parallel with the longitudinal axis of the deck. A plurality of wheels is attached to at least one of the deck and the beam at a first end of the elongated deck at or below a lower major side of the deck opposite the upper major side so that the plurality of wheels are rotatable about a plurality of axes, each axis corresponding to at least two wheels of the plurality of wheels, transverse to a longitudinal axis of the deck. A coupler for coupling to a wheeled rear end of a towing vehicle is attached to at least one of the deck and the beam and is disposed at a second end of the deck opposite the first end. The beam extends above a highest portion of the deck between the coupler and the plurality of wheels and is attached to the deck so that beam transfers load from the deck to the plurality of wheels and the coupler. A generally planar receiving surface is defined by or attached to the beam above at least a portion of the deck so that the beam supports at least one glass plate received by the receiving surface.
Aspects of the present invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale. An enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof, is set forth in the specification, which makes reference to the appended drawings, in which:
Repeat use of reference characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent same or analogous features or elements of embodiments of the present invention.
Reference will now be made in detail to embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the invention, not limitation of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications and variations can be made in such examples without departing from the scope or spirit thereof. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment may be used on another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.
As used herein, terms referring to a direction or a position relative to the orientation of the trailer, such as but not limited to “vertical,” “horizontal,” “upper,” “lower,” “above,” or “below,” refer to directions and relative positions with respect to the trailer'"'"'s orientation in its normal intended operation, for example as indicated in
Further, the term “or” as used in this application and the appended claims is intended to mean an inclusive “or” rather than exclusive “or.” That is, unless specified otherwise, or clear from the context, the phrase “X employs A or B” is intended to mean any of the natural inclusive permutations. That is, the phrase “X employs A or B” is satisfied by any of the following instances: X employs A; X employs B; or X employs both A and B. In addition, the articles “a” and “and” as used in this application and the appended claims should generally be construed to mean “one or more” unless specified otherwise or clear from the context to be directed to a singular form. Throughout the specification and claims, the following terms take at least the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context dictates otherwise. The meanings identified below do not necessarily limit the terms, but merely provide illustrative examples for the terms. The meaning of “a,” “and,” and “b” may include plural references, and the meaning of “in” may include “in” and “on.” The phrase “in one embodiment,” as used herein, does not necessarily refer to the same embodiment, although it may.
A plurality of wheels 28 are received and secured to axles 30 (
At a front end 36 of trailer 10, a steel kingpin 38 (
It should be understood in view of the present disclosure that the kingpin/fifth wheel configuration is an example of a coupler that may couple the trailer to a wheeled rear end of a towing vehicle, but that other couplers and coupler arrangements may be implemented. For instance, a kingpin may connect to a semi-tractor through an intermediate trailer and converter dolly, in which instance the intermediate trailer may be considered part of the coupler or part of the wheeled towing vehicle. Similarly, while kingpins are in common use, a coupler other than a kingpin configuration could be utilized.
Elongated beam 26 is generally in the form of a box beam in that it has opposing flanges with a web that comprises two generally vertical sheets that extend between opposing upper and lower flanges, between respective sides of the opposing upper and lower flanges, where the web is generally taller than the opposing upper and lower flanges are wide, although in the embodiments illustrated the web narrows at either beam end so that the opposing flanges come together at the ends. The beam'"'"'s upper flange is formed by three sections 40, 42, and 44, each formed of a C-shaped cross-section aluminum extrusion (section 42) or formed piece (sections 40 and 44) with a generally planar middle portion as its major part, so that each section 40, 42, and 44 may be described herein as generally planar. Center generally planar section 42 is disposed horizontally with respect to the deck, so that any two orthogonal dimensions defined by the planar upper surface of upper section 42 are both parallel to the planar surface of center deck segment 16. Each of the upper flange'"'"'s front and back sections 40 and 44 extend from center flange section 42 to respective deck segments 18 and 14 at an acute angle with respect to horizontal. In both forward flange section 44 and rearward flange section 40 of the upper beam flange, the planar dimension that is perpendicular to longitudinal deck flange axis 24 (and, therefore, transverse across the width of the elongated upper flange sections) is parallel to the planar upper surfaces of deck segments 14, 16, and 18 for the entire lengths of flange sections 44 and 40. This is also true of center flange section 42. As indicated in
Beam 26 is illustrated and described herein as a unitary beam, extending the trailer'"'"'s length between the kingpin and the wheel suspension, and for ease of explanation, this structure is described with respect to the embodiments discussed herein. It should be understood, however, that this is for purposes of illustration and explanation and not limitation. For example, beam 26 may be formed in other suitable configurations, for example in discrete segments arranged sequentially along the trailer axis or as discrete segments separated from each other but each extending the length of the trailer between the kingpin and the wheel suspension in parallel to each other and the trailer axis. In its various possible configurations, beam 26 transfers load from the deck to the kingpin and the wheel suspension and materially contributes to the trailer'"'"'s structural rigidity.
In the presently described embodiments, a vertical distance 46 (
Beam 26 also comprises a web 48 that extends vertically between the beam'"'"'s upper flange and its lower flange (described below) attached to deck segments 14, 16, and 18. In the illustrated embodiments, web 48 is comprised of two metallic sheets 48a and 48b that extend between the lower beam flange at the deck and the upper flange (40, 42, 44), the web sheets extending between respective sides of the two flanges to thereby form the beam'"'"'s box-shaped cross section. Web sheet 48a is comprised of a plurality of aluminum polygonal sheet panels 50a-50g that are formed discretely from each other and separately assembled onto the trailer. As should be understood in view of the present disclosure, each of panels 50a-50g is a load bearing member that primarily resists shear forces, and particularly compression and tension forces, applied to beam 26. As should also be understood in view of this disclosure, central portions of the web material may be omitted from the web and web panels without materially impacting the web'"'"'s ability to resist the load placed upon it. Accordingly, most of the web panels define through-holes in their central areas, encompassing the respective panels'"'"' neutral axes, that thereby reduce trailer weight (as compared to what the trailer'"'"'s weight would be if panels of continuous material were used) without materially sacrificing beam rigidity or strength. Web 48b (
Each of webs 48a and 48b is disposed at an acute angle (e.g. about 4°) with respect to vertical as it extends from the beam'"'"'s upper flange down to the beam'"'"'s lower flange and the deck. As discussed in more detail below, the web panels are disposed at this angle with respect to vertical in order to match the angle of descent of vertical glass-supporting beam rails 52a and 52b, which in the embodiments described herein also form part of beam webs 48a and 48b. In other embodiments, however, vertical web portions 48a and 48b may be disposed at a 0° angle with respect to vertical, i.e., at a 90° intersection with the horizontal deck surface. In such embodiments, glass plate support beams 52a and 52b may nonetheless maintain the slight (in this instance, 4°) angle with respect to vertical and attach to upper flange section 42 of beam 26 to thereby transfer lateral load to the chassis beam.
As noted above, beam 26 is arranged as a box beam in supporting vertical load applied to deck 12, where the box beam'"'"'s upper flange comprises flange portions 40, 42, and 41. Its bottom, or lower, flange is comprised at center deck segment 16 of a pair of opposed C-shaped aluminum beams 53 (
In the configuration illustrated in the present figures, load applied to the deck, and particularly to center deck segment 16, in the downward vertical direction urges the deck to bend downward at the deck'"'"'s center, thereby tending to put beam 26 in tension at the bottom of the beam, near the deck, and in compression at the top of the beam, near upper flange sections 40, 42, and 44. Platform trailers that utilize I-beam chassis below the deck often pre-stress the beam so that the beam, and consequently also the deck, bow upward at the trailer deck'"'"'s center when the trailer is unloaded, thereby increasing the beam'"'"'s ability to support high loads. The above-deck beam 26 described herein may also be pre-stressed, so that in an unloaded condition the beam and deck bow slightly upward at the trailer'"'"'s middle. In certain embodiments, however, height 46 (
As noted above, trailer 10 includes four vertically-extending plate glass rails 52a on one side of beam 26 and four rails 52b on the beam'"'"'s opposing side. Rails 52a and 52b extend to a height above center deck section 16 sufficient to support a range of glass plates 61 (
As noted above, vertical rails 52a and 52b are disposed at a slight (4°, e.g.) acute angle with respect to vertical. The upper (i.e. glass plate receiving) surface of each transverse rail 56a and 56b forms a 90° angle with respect to its corresponding outward facing (i.e. glass plate receiving) surface of vertical rail 52a or 52b. Due to the vertical rails'"'"' (52a and 52b) slight tilt, the upper surfaces of the transverse rails (56a and 56b) form a corresponding slight acute angle with respect to the plane of center deck segment 16. As a result, glass plates 61 (
An aluminum longitudinally aligned top rail 58 attached to the upper ends of vertical glass plate support rails 52a and 52b serves as an attachment point upon which to secure a tarp or a tarp frame or other covering frame by which the trailer, and the glass plates it may carry, can be covered while the trailer is in use. In one or more embodiments, top rail 58 has a coupling point at which one or more straps may be secured. Each strap extends across the glass plate to connect at a coupling point at the trailer rear end to thereby assist in securing the plates on the trailer.
In the illustrated embodiments, vertical rails 52a and 52b are integrally constructed into beam 26. For example, each rail 52a and 52b is in the form of an I-beam, with the opposing flanges of each I-beam extending in respective planes that are perpendicular to the trailer'"'"'s longitudinal axis 24 and with the I-beam'"'"'s web that extends between the two flanges in a direction parallel to trailer longitudinal axis 24. The flanges of rails 52a and 52b extend slightly proud of the planar surface defined by the main body portions of the respective web sheets 48a and 48b, so that the vertical rails'"'"' flange ends collectively define the vertically-extending plate glass receiving surface. Moreover, the rails are aligned parallel to each other so that each of the respective plate glass receiving surfaces defined by the rail flange edges at the opposing sides of beam 26 is generally planar.
Each panel 50a-50g attaches to one of the I-beam flanges of vertical glass plate-receiving rails 52a and 52b. For example, while each of the web panels is generally planar, each panel defines one or more flanges around its edges that are bent or otherwise formed at a 90° angle or near thereto (e.g. more or less than 90° by the amount of the angle of the panel 50a-50g with respect to vertical, for the lower and upper panel flanges, respectively) with respect to the plane of the main panel portion. These flanges on the panel vertical sides, which in the assembled trailer are parallel to and abut the outer flanges of webs 52a and 52b, are then attached to the vertical rails'"'"' (52a and 52b) flanges by screws, rivets, welding or other suitable attachment mechanism. Other such flanges on certain of the panels'"'"' upper sides abut the underside of the chassis beam'"'"'s (26) upper flange (40, 42, 44), at which the panels are secured to the beam'"'"'s upper flange by similar means. As described above, a pair of longitudinally-aligned I-beams 60 and 62 are disposed so that the upper and lower flanges of each I-beam are parallel to the upper surface of deck segments 14 and 16. Web panel 50a defines a lower side flange 64 (seen in
A plurality of triangular-shaped brackets 70 (see also
Similarly, a plurality of brackets 72 (see also
A pair of front brackets 73 extend between and provide rigidity support to center deck segment 16 and forward deck segment 14, as do vertical transition sheets 75, on either side of the trailer and beam 26. Vertical support members 77 (
As discussed above, deck 12 and elongated beam 26 including glass plate rails 52a and 52b, and longitudinal top rail 58 are made of aluminum, e.g. 0.190 smooth aluminum for the upper decking surfaces of forward and center sections 14 and 16 and 1.125 aluminum extrusion decking for rear deck section 18. Referring also to the underside view of deck 12 provided in
Five I-beam shaped cross members 81 (
Through their abutting support of the upper decking of center deck segment 16, and their attachment to vertical rails 52a and 52b, main cross members 81 receive the primary vertical load from the center deck and the glass frame, transferring that load to beam 26 through the cross beams'"'"' attachment to the beams 53 forming the bottom flange of beam 26. In the illustrated embodiments, cross beams 81 are made of steel, but it should be understood the cross beams may also be made from aluminum or other metal.
As illustrated in
Depending upon the size of the glass plates transported by trailer 10, the forward edge of the plates can be expected to be positioned along I-beam 60, while the plate'"'"'s rearward edge abuts the vertical transition between rear deck segment 18 and central deck segment 16. Thus, bracket 86 may be inserted into the slot 84 next adjacent the plate'"'"'s forward edge to thereby provide a retainer structure for the glass plate in the trailer'"'"'s forward direction. An identical arrangement is provided on the opposite side of beam 26 to retain one or more glass plates in the forward direction on the opposite side of the chassis beam.
Movement of the plate(s) in the rearward longitudinal direction is prevented in some embodiments by the vertical transition plate between deck segment 18 and deck segment 16, though it should be understood that in other embodiments I-beam 62 may also be provided with slots 84 as in beam 60, so that a bracket such as bracket 86 at beam 60 may also be received and secured in beam 62 to secure the glass plate'"'"'s opposite edge in the rearward direction of the trailer. A similar two-bracket arrangement can be provided on the opposite side of trailer 10 as well. Straps may be attached to brackets 86 so that the straps extend across the plate resting on the respective planar receiving surfaces defined by rails 52a, and 52b, on the side of the plates opposite the rails, and attach to an attachment point at rear deck segment 18 to thereby hold the glass plate laterally in position against rails 52a and 52b. Brackets 86 may be secured in a given slot 84 by gravity, by a detent provided within each respective slot, by a lock pin inserted through a hole at the end of deck 36 that extends on the opposing side of a given slot 84, and/or by other suitable mechanism.
While one or more embodiments of the present invention has been described above, it should be understood that any and all equivalent realizations of the present invention are included within the scope and spirit of the present disclosure. Thus, the embodiments presented herein are by way of example only and are not intended as limitations of the invention. Therefore, it is contemplated that any and all such embodiments are included in the present invention, though not in limitation thereof.