Patent application title: TIE DOWN TENSIONING DEVICE
Norston Fontaine (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Paul Maire (Snowmass, CO, US)
TIE BOSS LLC
IPC8 Class: AF16G1104FI
Class name: Cord and rope holders one-piece wedge slot
Publication date: 2008-12-18
Patent application number: 20080307612
Patent application title: TIE DOWN TENSIONING DEVICE
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP;FREDRIKSON & BYRON, P.A.
Tie Boss LLC
Origin: MINNEAPOLIS, MN US
IPC8 Class: AF16G1104FI
A simple and inexpensive device for a reliable tie down tensioning which
device enables the tie-down to be quickly and easily applied and the
flexible element tensioned and just as quickly and easily removed.
1. A jamming cleat device for holding a line under tension comprising:a
groove for receiving a flexible elongated element, said groove being
defined between opposed side walls each of which is provided with a
plurality of ridges for gripping such a flexible elongated element
received in the groove, said ridges being inclined with respect to a base
of the groove in an axial direction of the groove away from an end of
said groove base;a locking feature for the flexible elongated element
located near the output end of the jamming cleat device.
2. The jamming cleat of claim 1, wherein the jamming cleat includes at least one aperture for a hook or other equivalent securing element.
3. The jamming cleat of claim 2, wherein the jamming cleat includes an opening for ingress of the flexible elongated element into the jamming cleat, and into a channel that guides the flexible elongated element around at least one of the apertures used for a hook.
4. The jamming cleat of claim 1, wherein the jamming cleat includes an opening for ingress of the flexible elongated element into the jamming cleat housing, and a channel that guides the flexible elongated element to the plurality of ridges used for gripping said flexible elongated element.
5. The jamming cleat of claim 1, wherein the jamming cleat groove is generally V-shaped in transverse cross-section.
6. The jamming cleat of claim 1, further comprising one or more apertures, which allow the cleat to be secured to a support.
7. The jamming cleat of claim 1, wherein the shape of the base is not flat.
8. A tie down tensioning device comprising:a housing with a jamming cleat feature;said housing having an opening for ingress of a flexible elongated element into said housing and through a channel, the channel along at least a portion of its length completely surrounding at least a portion of the length of the flexible elongated element, the channel guides the flexible elongated element into the jamming cleat feature before passing through the output end of said housing; andhousing having at least one aperture for the mounting of a hook or equivalent securing element.
9. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the jamming cleat feature incorporates a locking feature for the flexible elongated element.
10. The locking feature of claim 9, wherein the locking feature is located near the output end of said housing.
11. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the flexible elongated element wraps around at least one aperture in the housing used for the mounting of the hook or equivalent securing element.
12. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the housing contains a feature that secures the removable hook to the housing and prevents unintended separation of the hook from the housing when the device is not under tension.
13. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the hook contains a feature that secures itself to the housing and prevents unintended separation of the hook from the housing when the device is not under tension.
14. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the housing incorporates at least two apertures for a hook or other equivalent securing element.
15. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the channel for the flexible element is enclosed for the channel's entire length.
16. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the channel for the flexible element is, in plan view, generally U-shaped.
17. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the housing is made from plastic, metal, or any other suitable material.
18. The tie down tensioning device of claim 8, wherein the housing is made from one or more pieces, and is fastened together to form a complete unit.
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No.
60/627,428 filed Nov. 8, 2004.
This invention relates to the tensioning of lines, ropes, webbing, elastic cables, and other flexible elongated elements used to tie down cargo, hoisting, and other similar applications.
This invention relates to a simple and inexpensive device for enabling the tie down of lines, ropes or elastic cables to be quickly and easily attached, tensioned, and reliably fixed in place under tension, while also enabling them to be quickly and easily released. It also relates to a tie down device that maintains tension of the load even upon a sudden and unexpected potential failure of the primary tie down device.
A variety of devices for tie-down tensioning are known in the art. However, such devices have been subject to one or more disadvantages in use. For example, some of the devices of the prior art have made it difficult to adjust the length of the tie-down to size prior to tensioning. This is especially true for those devices incorporating complex and inconvenient ratcheting or cam mechanisms. Most other devices are complicated and expensive to manufacture. Others incorporate sheaves, pins, springs, ratchets, cams, and other small parts that will wear out, potentially fail suddenly and without warning, and not work properly in harsh, muddy, wet, and extremely cold environments.
Furthermore, until now most prior art devices have required the user to engage a special unlocking feature at the device to release the rope tension. Unavoidably, this positions the user in close proximity to the load and provides no easy way to put distance between the user and the potentially harmful affects of releasing the tension.
Other more pressing problems with the prior art relate to potential unintended and catastrophic sudden failure due to inherent design flaws. For example, in most prior art devices the hook is connected to the main tensioning device with some form of rope or strapping. In other devices the hook is fastened directly to the housing. In all these example, should the housing or mechanism in the housing fail, the load tension will release. Furthermore, there is no back up method for maintaining the tension in such an event.
It is the primary object of this invention to provide a simple and inexpensive device for a reliable tie down tensioning which device enables the tie-down to be quickly and easily applied and the flexible element tensioned and just as quickly and easily removed. It is also the object of this invention to provide a safer tie down than prior art. One further object of this invention is to provide a locking feature for jamming cleats and tie downs. Still another object of this invention is to provide a device that may be effectively used in conjunction with a reinforcement knot.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a jamming cleat of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a jamming cleat and rope;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing another embodiment consistent with this invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 2 with the rope and hook removed, and both halves separated;
FIG. 5 is a top view of FIG. 3 with the rope and hook removed;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 3 with the rope removed and a hook in each aperture;
FIG. 7 is a rear view of the device of FIG. 3 with the rope removed;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 with a rope not engaged in the jamming cleat;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 with a rope jammed in the cleat;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 with a rope jammed in the cleat and engaged in the locking feature;
FIG. 11 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 with the hook ready for final fitting into the housing;
FIG. 12 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 showing the hook partially fitted into the housing;
FIG. 13 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 showing the hook partially fitted into the housing;
FIG. 14 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 showing the hook partially fitted into the housing;
FIG. 15 is a perspective view of FIG. 3 showing the hook fully fitted into the housing;
FIG. 1 shows a typical jamming cleat with a locking feature 10 consistent with this invention. In this example, the locking feature 10 is integral to the body 6 of the jamming cleat. In FIG. 2, the flexible elongated member, hereinafter simply called a rope 7, is shown fully engaged by the jamming cleat and locking feature 10. The input or distal end of the jamming cleat is 8, and the output or proximal end of the jamming cleat is 9. In this embodiment of the locking feature, the rope 7 slides under the locking feature through an opening sized to provide some amount of friction. In order to release the tension on the rope the operator will first have to release the rope from the locking feature. The locking feature could just as easily employ some other form of device that locks the rope without friction, like a device that interlaces the rope through a series of one or more features. The locking feature 10 for the rope is shown in all drawings as integral to the body or housing of the present invention, but need not be. Furthermore, in most instances the locking feature will be of sufficient strength to allow the rope to be further tensioned while remaining engaged within the locking feature. Obvious modifications may be made to the locking feature, as shown in the drawings, without departing from the teaching of this invention.
FIG. 1 shows two apertures 12 used for mounting the cleat to another apparatus. The number of apertures, and the specific configuration will vary depending on the application. In this figure the base 13 of the jamming cleat may be flat, as shown, or of any other reasonable shape as dictated by the actual application. For example, the base could be round or curved in order to fit a round or curved apparatus. The base 13 of the jamming cleat may be elongate, as shown, and have two stationary side walls extend up from the base along the longer sides of the base. The side walls 14 and 15 define a groove 16 which is generally V-shaped in cross-section. One can more readily see the groove 16 in FIGS. 5 and 7. Referring back to FIG. 1, each side surface 17 and 18 is formed with a plurality of generally similar ridges 19. The ridges are generally rectilinear and parallel and are inclined towards the output end of the jamming cleat. Some of these elements are more easily seen in FIG. 4. It is important to note that a jamming cleat's body or housing may be of any number of shapes and sizes, depending on the diameter of the rope and the particular application.
As FIG. 3 shows, a jamming cleat housing may have apertures 21 that go completely through the sides of the cleat housing 11, and in planes opposite as those 12 found in FIGS. 1 and 2. In some applications these apertures will perform the same general purpose as the apertures 12 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, these said apertures may be used for mounting the cleat to another apparatus. These apertures 21 may also be used for lashing the cleat to another apparatus using a flexible element, such as strapping, rope, cable, or lines. Other uses for these apertures 21 will be elaborated upon below.
FIG. 3 also shows a rope tie down consistent with this invention. In this figure the rope has already been drawn into and through the housing 11, engaged the jamming cleat area 29, and has exited though the locking feature 10, and past the output end of the device. The arrows denote the direction the rope moves in order to increase tension. The load end of the rope 30 is generally attached to a load, and the tail end of the rope 31 is generally manipulated by the operator to increase or release tension. In FIG. 3 the distal aperture 21 is fitted with a hook 26. It is important to note that the rope wraps around both apertures, which include the hook. Therefore, a reinforcement knot tied between the load end and tail end of the rope will naturally secure the rope to the hook, irrespective of the tie down device. This is vitally important should the tie down device suffer a catastrophic failure. Should this occur, the rope will still remain in tension, as long as the reinforcement knot and hook are not compromised, as well.
To better illustrate the path of the rope through the device we refer to FIG. 4. Here, the rope first passes through the ingress hole 24, then through a channel 25 in the housing, wrapping around both proximal and distal apertures 21, and then continuing past the gripping ridges of the jamming cleat 19, into the locking feature 10, and finally exiting past the output end of the device. The channel 25 is generally parallel to the base of the jamming cleat feature before turning approximately 180 degrees, at which point the rope is directed into the jamming cleat's groove 16. Some portion of the channel 25 is necessary to prevent the rope from moving away from the housing when under load. In this figure the channel 25 is shown as one continuous and enclosed path. The channel could be partially open and non continuous. Obvious modifications may be made to channel 25, as shown in the drawings, without departing from the teaching of this invention.
Referring back to FIG. 3, here we see a hook 26 fitted to the distal aperture 21. These hooks can be of many different shapes, lengths, and sizes, depending on the particular application. Furthermore, these apertures 21 may be fitted with mounting hardware or other flexible elongated elements instead of hooks 26. There are many instances where use of a metal hook or fastener will cause a marring or scratching of a surface. For example, when securing a load to a car or truck body one must often take precaution to prevent the tie down hook from scratching the paint. In these instances it may be more advantageous to remove the hook and use a rope or other flexible element. These apertures may also be fitted with bolts or other fasteners, again, depending on the actual use of the tie down.
FIG. 6 shows both apertures 21 fitted with hooks 26. This is to illustrate that a hook from either the load side of the same device, or any other hook from any other place, can be easily attached to the body of the device. When used as a tie down, it is sometimes useful to wrap the load end of the tie down around your load, and then return the load hook to the tie down device. This application is useful for many reasons, one of which is to take up slack quickly. Another reason is when using the tie down in a block and tackle application, wherein the load line is returned to the housing of the tie down, and the load line incorporates some form of a pulley or sheave that connects in some way to the actual load. The proximal aperture 21 provides a highly convenient location upon which to secure the load hook or load end of rope. It should be noted that the load hook may be removed all together, and the end of the load rope simply secured to this aperture with a knot.
FIGS. 8 through 10 show a typical tightening sequence of the tie down. In FIG. 8 the tail end 31 of the rope is pulled on the out feed end in the direction of the arrow until a desired tension is achieved. Next, in FIG. 9, the rope is moved by the operator into contact with the jamming cleat feature 29. The operator then releases the tension on the tail line 31 until the jamming cleat feature 29 grips the line. At this moment, the rope will be gripped by the jamming cleat and be held stationary until the operator moves the rope to increase or release the tension. It should be noted that in this position the tension could be easily readjusted by pulling on the tail line 31, or immediately released by pulling the tail line 31 away from the jamming cleat feature 29. Put simply, this tie down device has the ability to instantly lock and release. It should also be stressed that having the ability to immediately lock and release the tension in a tie down device is a potentially life saving feature.
Returning back to the tightening sequence, in FIG. 10 the operator has now moved the tail line 31 under the locking feature 10. In this final position, the rope is far less likely to be unintentionally released from the device unless the operator purposely moves the rope away from the locking feature. The locking feature 10 is sufficiently strong to readjust the tension of the rope while the rope is located in this position. The locking feature creates a blockage arm 10 for the rope that prevents the rope from lifting out of the jamming cleat area. The locking feature may employ any number of ways to keep the rope under the blockage arm. Two of the many examples could include friction or other shapes in the housing designed to contain the rope. The locking feature may also employ some form of a friction fit to prevent the rope from being easily released from the locking feature. It should be noted that a friction fit is just one of the many methods one can use with the locking feature to prevent the flexible element from unintentional release.
FIGS. 11 through 15 is a sequence of drawings that show how the novel hook locking feature works. In this embodiment of the hook locking feature the housing 11 and hook 26 both have a special and complimentary shape. The hook locking feature prevents the hook 26 from easily separating from the tie down housing 11, especially when the rope is not in tension. Before explaining any further, one should note that the hook 26 shown has two distinct ends. One end 32 is designed for attaching the hook to a load or secure point. The other end of the hook 33 is designed for meshing with the hook locking feature designed into the tie down housing 34. A particular sequence is generally followed which begins by installing the hook 26, as shown in FIGS. 11 through 14, beginning with the insertion of the load end 32 of the hook 26 into the housing 11, as shown. The complimentary relationship between the shape of the hook's housing end 33, and the housing 34, allow the hook to be fitted into the tie down housing 11. The hook and housing may share complimentary shapes, as shown. The housing or hook may also have the only particular shape necessary to provide the securing of the hook to the housing.
The final step for securing the hook to the housing is accomplished by feeding the rope into the housing. As FIG. 15 shows, with the addition of the rope in the cleat's groove 16, the exit path for the housing end of the hook 33 will be partially blocked by the rope, thereby securing it to the housing. The installation of the rope has created a barrier that prevents the housing end 33 of the hook 26 from separating from the housing in the reverse order from which it was installed. Alternatively, the hook may simply be fitted with some form of a binder or other locking feature on the hook, or the housing, that accomplishes the same result.
Patent applications by Norston Fontaine, Minneapolis, MN US
Patent applications by Paul Maire, Snowmass, CO US
Patent applications by TIE BOSS LLC