Adjustable bow lift apparatus for a module truck

Material or article handling – Self-loading or unloading vehicles – With load-receiving portion – or significant section thereof,...

Reexamination Certificate

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C414S478000, C414S528000, C414S111000, C414S132000, C100S100000, C298S02300C, C298S02200C, C056S028000, C296S112000

Reexamination Certificate

active

06315514

ABSTRACT:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to cotton modules, their size, height and weather protective coverings, and more particularly to the module trucks, that retrieve and transport these cotton modules from the fields to the cotton gins for processing.
Since the first cotton gin was built, cotton farmers and producers have all faced the difficult and time consuming task of harvesting cotton, and getting it from the harvest fields to the cotton gins for ginning. From the earliest pickers dragging their cotton sacks over their shoulders, and laboriously picking the cotton from the cotton bowl , collecting it in their sacks until they were full, and then emptying the sacks in a cotton trailer. Once these trailers were full, or the cotton field was picked clean, the cotton trailer was hooked to a tractor or tow vehicle for transporting to the gin. These type cotton trailers were usually built with four wheels and a flat bottom with a wagon tongue hitch, and a light weight frame with chicken wire or the like attached to the frame for holding the cotton. These type trailers were not only cumbersome, but were also, what is identified today as “high maintenance”, how ever a cotton producer of any size had to have several dozens of trailers in order to harvest his crop. Even after the advent and acceptance of modernized cotton strippers, and collections trailers, although the cotton strippers reduced the time and labor of getting cotton into trailers, the problem with the trailers and numbers of trailers still existed for most cotton farmers and producers. Cotton farming was becoming cost prohibitive. There had to be a better way. Therefore in the early seventies, a radical and completely new material handling system was invented and developed. The cotton module system which is in use today, throughout the world in cotton producing regions.
A typical cotton module builder is manufactured from metal, having four walls without a floor or bottom, a detachably attachable tongue for hitching to a farm tractor or truck when moving from a first module building site to a second module building site. Wheels which raise the module builder for transporting from a first site to a second site, and lower the module builder to the surface in preparation for building a cotton module. By design these module builders are eight (8) foot wide and thirty-two (32) feet long (ID), also by design, there are two different heights of module builders, the first is designed for cotton pickers to dump into and is seven (7) foot,. four (4) inches tall, the second is designed for cotton strippers to dump into, and is nine (9) foot, three (3) inches tall. A bridge located on top of the module builder, moves from the front part of the module builder to the rear, and contains a reciprocating press for compacting the cotton, this is a continual process as the harvested cotton is dumped inside the module builder, until the cotton is compacted on the surface (ground) into a free standing cotton module, measuring 8 foot by 32 foot by 8 foot, or 8 foot by 32 foot by 9 foot 6 inches tall. Once, this harvesting process has been completed, the back end of the module builder is opened and the operator can pull the module builder away from the finished cotton module and to another building site. Most farmers and producers have adopted the use of canvas module tarp's for protection from incumbent weather.
The cotton module truck consist of a metal frame mounted on a road truck with an extended framework. The bed is approximately 8 foot 6 inches wide and 40 foot long. The bed has a front and two vertical sides, in addition there is a polarity of bows spaced along the length of the vertical sides to form a frame which in turn supports a canvas tarp cover for the bed of the module truck. By manufactured design, these bows may be attached at various heights to accommodate the size (height) of cotton module to be loaded and transported. The bed of a module truck tilts down until it comes in contact with the surface (ground), at which time it may then be backed under the cotton module and the cotton module loaded onto the bed, and the bed lowered back to rest on the truck frame, and transported to the gin, where the cotton module may be unloaded.
As good as this system is designed, and works; there is a recurring problem that exist. One that repeatedly causes damage to the bow covers on module trucks, and results in several hundreds of dollars in repair cost, and even more in lost revenue due to down time. In addition, more often than not, at the same time the bow cover on the module truck is being damaged or destroyed, the cotton module canvas tarp, is being damaged or destroyed, again resulting in hundreds of dollars of repair or replacement cost.
The problem that exist is, more often than not, as the cotton module is being built, to much cotton is dumped inside the builder, and as the cotton is compacted, the power of the compacting press causes the module to raise up off the ground, thus allowing more cotton to be dumped into the builder and compacted, therein resulting in taller cotton module than was intended. Then when the module truck arrives and is positioned to pick up the cotton module, the bed is tilted for loading, in this position the drivers vision of the cotton module is blocked by the tilted bed, if the cotton module has been over built and is to tall, as the cotton module is loaded, the cotton module hits the bows on the module truck, damaging or destroying them, and often damaging or destroying the canvas tarp module cover. Common sense would suggest one of two ways to prevent this problem, first, stop over building the cotton modules, although practical, during the frenzy of the harvest season, this is not likely to happen. The second way of solving this problem would seem to be, build the bows on the module truck higher, however, height limitations restrict this as a solution.
Therefore, there exist a need for an adjustable bow lift apparatus. That will extend the overall height of the opening during loading of an oversized cotton module, and return the bow lift to its normal height after the cotton module is loaded. An adjustable bow lift apparatus that is inexpensive to build, easy to install, simple to operate, and one that can be retro fitted on existing module trucks.
OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the present invention, to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus for module trucks, used in transporting cotton modules.
It is a further object of the present invention, to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, which may be pivotally attached onto the bed side walls of a module truck.
Another object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, with on board means of operating the adjustable bow lift apparatus.
Yet, another object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, for extending the over all height between the truck bed floor and the bow cover, while loading and unloading a cotton module.
A still further object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, having a plurality of lift cylinders.
It is yet, another object of the present invention, to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, with on board lift cylinders for raising the rear bows on a module truck, during the loading a cotton module.
And, another object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, with on board lift cylinders for raising the rear bows on a module truck, during the unloading a cotton module.
An object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, and means of automatically lifting the apparatus when the module truck bed is engaged and tilted in preparation for loading or unloading a cotton module.
And yet, another object of the present invention, is to provide an adjustable bow lift apparatus, for extending the overall clearance, from the module truck bed to the bow covering, during loading or unloading cotton modules, and thereby eliminating

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