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Portable air compressor

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Portable air compressor


A wheelbarrow compressor has a resting position and a transport position. First and second reservoirs contain a compressed fluid, and the second reservoir is fluidly separate from the first reservoir. The second reservoir is positioned above the first reservoir in a generally vertical direction when the wheelbarrow compressor is in the resting position. A handle assembly is attached at a rear end of the wheelbarrow compressor, and a wheel assembly attached at a front end of the wheelbarrow compressor generally opposite the rear end. A pump is fluidly connected to the first and second reservoirs for providing the compressed fluid thereto, and a motor is operatively connected to the pump to drive the pump. The pump and motor are positioned adjacent the first and second reservoirs in a generally horizontal direction when the wheelbarrow compressor is in the resting position.

Inventors: Douglas K. Ritterling, Kenneth M. Brazell, Richard L. Strack
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120321488 - Class: 417234 (USPTO) - 12/20/12 - Class 417 
Pumps > Ambulant, Body Supported, Or With Carrying Handle

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120321488, Portable air compressor.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/606,801, filed Oct. 27, 2009, which is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/731,999 filed Apr. 2, 2007, now abandoned. These applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to compressor assemblies, and, in particular, relates to portable compressor assemblies.

Several types of compressors currently exist, some of which are portable and often include an air storage tank that normally includes either one or two air reservoirs for storing compressed air and, with respect to the longitudinal axis of the tank, a wheel located at one end of the air tank and a handle at the opposite end of the tank. The compressors with two air reservoirs generally utilize one wheel while the single reservoir compressors of this type generally utilize two wheels. These single and double reservoir types of compressors are often referred to as wheelbarrow compressors. The compressor will also include components to compress the air. These components generally include a motor assembly and a pump assembly. Due to space constraints, these components typically are mounted on top of the air tanks.

Mounting the components on top of the air tanks results in several disadvantages. One disadvantage is the high center of gravity that results from mounting the components on top of the air tanks The high center of gravity is particularly inconvenient for a user manually transporting the compressor and may result in a user losing control of the compressor. This is particularly the case in the two-reservoir wheelbarrow-style compressors used at worksites that are often transported in a wheelbarrow type manner up and down narrow wooden ramps. Additionally, the high center of gravity may cause the air compressor to be unstable and prone to tipping or tilting when being used.

Moreover, such compressors may be difficult to package and store for, by way of example, shipping, warehousing or retail purposes. When packaged, the air compressors are often shipped, stored or displayed by being stacked atop one another on shelves. Existing compressors tend to have high profiles (i.e., are of a taller height). Thus, when packaged, a large amount of storage space may be necessary. Likewise, if the compressors are shipped in large shipping containers, the compressor height limits the number of units that can be packed into a container. Moreover, a greater amount of packaging materials may be necessary due to the high profile of the compressor.

Additionally, the handles on such tanks also can cause difficulties when storing the compressors. The handles on such compressors often project outwardly and upwardly from the compressor. Such a configuration again results in an increased height and length and the need for a greater amount of storage space and packaging material.

SUMMARY

The invention provides a wheelbarrow compressor having a resting position and a transport position, the wheelbarrow compressor including first and second air reservoirs, a handle assembly, a wheel assembly, a pump and a motor. The first reservoir is for containing a compressed fluid, and the second reservoir is fluidly separate from the first reservoir and is for containing a compressed fluid. The second reservoir is positioned above the first reservoir in a generally vertical direction when the wheelbarrow compressor is in the resting position. The handle assembly attached at a rear end of the wheelbarrow compressor, and the wheel assembly attached at a front end of the wheelbarrow compressor generally opposite the rear end. The pump is fluidly connected to the first and second reservoirs for providing the compressed fluid thereto, and the motor is operatively connected to the pump to drive the pump. The pump and motor are positioned adjacent the first and second reservoirs in a generally horizontal direction when the wheelbarrow compressor is in the resting position.

In another aspect, the invention provides a wheelbarrow compressor having a resting position and a transport position, the wheelbarrow compressor including first and second reservoirs, a handle assembly, a wheel assembly, a pump, a motor and a flywheel. The first reservoir is for containing a compressed fluid, and the second reservoir is fluidly separate from the first reservoir and is for containing a compressed fluid. The handle assembly is attached at a rear end of the wheelbarrow compressor, and the wheel assembly is attached at a front end of the wheelbarrow compressor generally opposite the rear end. The pump is fluidly connected to the first and second reservoirs for providing the compressed fluid thereto. The motor is operatively connected to the pump to drive the pump. The flywheel is coupled to one of the motor and the pump. The one of the motor and the pump are positioned between the flywheel and the first and second reservoirs such that the flywheel is on a first side of the one of the motor and the pump, and the first and second reservoirs are on a second side of the one of the motor and the pump, wherein the second side is generally opposite the first side.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a compressor assembly.

FIG. 2 is a left side view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a right side view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a bottom view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a front view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a rear view of the compressor assembly of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1-7 illustrate an air compressor assembly 10, particularly, a wheelbarrow-style air compressor assembly. The air compressor assembly 10 rests upon a support surface 12 in a resting position, which will be described in greater detail below. The air compressor assembly 10 has an air storage tank that includes at least one air reservoir for storing a pressurized gas, with there preferably being two air reservoirs 14a, 14b included, as shown. A handle assembly 18 is attached to a rear portion 22 of the air compressor assembly 10 and a wheel assembly 26 is attached to a front portion 30 of the air compressor assembly 10. In the illustrated construction, one of the handles 34 in the handle assembly 18 is attached to a base 28 and the other of the handles 34 is attached to the air reservoir 14a. The wheel assembly 26 is attached directly to the base 28. However, in other constructions, the handle assembly 18 and wheel assembly 26 may be attached to any component of the air compressor assembly 10. The air compressor assembly 10 also includes compressor components 32 supported by the base 28 adjacent the air reservoirs 14a, 14b, as will be described in greater detail below.

Preferably, and as illustrated, the handle assembly 18 includes two handles 34, each of which projects rearward from the assembly 10. Optionally, the end portion of each handle 34 includes a grip 38 for the ease of a user to grasp the handles 34. The handles 34 are removable for reducing the packaging volume of the air compressor assembly 10. In other constructions, the handles 34 may be moveable, rotatable, foldable, slideable, retractable, telescoping, or otherwise adjustable for reducing the packaging volume of the air compressor assembly 10. The handles may be removed, rotated or telescoped so that they do not project outwardly from the rear portion of the air compressor assembly 10, resulting in a compact air compressor assembly 10, which provides further benefits with respect to shipping, storage and packaging as described above. In some constructions, the handles 34 may be readily adjusted to multiple positions so as to be more comfortable for a user.

The wheel assembly 26 includes a wheel 42 that is mounted to a wheel support frame 46 at an axle 50. The wheel support frame 46 is mounted to a support plate 74 of the base 28. The wheel 42 has a diameter of about 14 inches. As compared to compressors with smaller wheels, a larger wheel reduces the amount of pivoting about the central axis of the wheel needs to be pivoted in order to lift the compressor assembly 10 with the handle assembly 18. Advantageously, the smaller amount of pivoting results in less force being exerted on a user\'s arms and makes the compressor assembly 10 easier to transport with the wheel 42 over a rough terrain. In the illustrated construction, the vertical height C of the axle 50 is about 6.9 inches (see FIG. 2).

The wheel assembly 26 is attached to the front 30 of the air compressor assembly 10, generally opposite the handle assembly 18 at the rear 22, such that a user may grasp the handles 34 and transport the air compressor in a transport position. In the transport position, the base 28, and specifically support feet 82, do not contact the support surface 12 and the air compressor 10 rolls on the wheel 42. The configuration of such an air compressor assembly 10 is known as a “wheelbarrow” style air compressor. Like the handles 34, the wheel assembly 26 is removable for reducing the packaging volume of the air compressor assembly 10. The wheel 42 rotates in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation, the plane also defining a longitudinal direction, or longitudinal axis A (FIG. 4), in which the air compressor assembly 10 moves when transported on the wheel 42.

With reference to FIGS. 3, 6 and 7, the air reservoirs 14a, 14b each include a top portion 58a, 58b and a bottom portion 62a, 62b. The bottom portion 62a of the first air reservoir 14a is supported fully by the base 28, and the bottom portion 62b of the second air reservoir 14b is supported by the top portion 58a of the first air reservoir 14a via a support member 66 or, in other constructions, by direct contact. The second air reservoir 14b is fully supported by the first air reservoir 14a. In other constructions, the second air reservoir 14b is located above the first air reservoir 14a and is at least partially supported by the first air reservoir 14a. In yet other constructions, the second air reservoir 14b is located above the first air reservoir 14a and is supported independently from the first air reservoir 14a, such as by a frame member.

Each air reservoir 14a, 14b is oriented such that a longitudinal axis 70a, 70b of each reservoir is substantially parallel to the support surface 12 upon which the air compressor assembly 10 rests. Preferably, and as illustrated, the axes 70a and 70b are parallel to one another.

The base 28 may be a one-piece base, or, as shown in the illustrated construction, the base 28 may be more than one piece. As shown in the illustrated construction, the base 28 includes support bars 74, a support plate 78, support feet 82 and support brackets 86. The support bars 74 are elongate in a direction substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axes 70a, 70b of the air reservoirs 14a, 14b. The support plate 78 is coupled to and supported by the support bars 74, as is best shown in FIGS. 6 and 7. The support brackets 86 are mounted to the bottom portion 62a of the first air reservoir 14a and coupled to the respective support bars 74 by a fastener, such as a screw, a bolt (as can be seen in FIG. 3), or the like. The support feet 82 contact the support surface 12 upon which the air compressor assembly 10 rests when the compressor assembly 10 is in a resting position, or normal operating position, as shown. In a transport position, the support feet 82 do not engage the support surface 12, as is well understood by those having ordinary skill in the art. In alternate constructions, the base 28 may be comprised of other configurations of brackets, weldments, tubes, plates or the like. In such constructions, the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and other compressor components 32 are mounted or otherwise supported by the tabs, brackets, weldments, tubes or plates. Alternatively, the compressor components 32 may be attached to inner side portions of the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and one of either the compressor components 32 or the air reservoirs 14a, 14b may be supported by the base 28.

The base 28, and specifically the support plate 78, includes a first portion 90 for supporting the compressor components 62 and wheel assembly 26 and a second portion 94 that is lower than the first portion 90, or closer to the support feet 82 or support surface 12, providing a recess for accommodating a flywheel 98. The wheel support frame 46 is mounted to the bottom of the first portion 90 of the support plate 74. The first portion 90 is positioned at a height B of about 4.1 inches vertically with respect to the support surface 12, or with respect to the bottom of the support feet 82. The support plate 78 is contoured to accommodate the flywheel 98 such that a portion of the flywheel 98 is located below the first portion 90 of the support plate 78, i.e., such that a plane defined by the first portion 90 of the support plate 78 intersects the flywheel 98. A flywheel cage 102 is supported by the second portion 94 of the support plate 78 and surrounds the flywheel 98 on three sides with a frame 106 and mesh 110. The air reservoirs 14a, 14b are positioned on the base 28 generally opposite the flywheel 98 with respect to the longitudinal axis A such that there is a space between the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and the flywheel 98. As explained further below, additional components of the air compressor assembly 10 are supported in the space and on the first portion 90 of the support plate 78 between the flywheel 98 and the reservoirs 14a, 14b.

Compressor components 32 for compressing gas to be stored within the air reservoirs 14a, 14b are operatively connected with the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and generally are located in the space between the flywheel 98 and the air reservoirs 14a, 14b. The compressor components 32 are supported by the base 28, specifically the support plate 78. The components 32 include a pump assembly 114 and a motor assembly 118. The motor assembly 118 may include an electric motor or a gas engine. In the illustrated construction, the motor assembly 118 includes a gas engine 120 having a fuel tank 122. The flywheel 98 is coupled with the pump assembly 114; however, in other constructions, the flywheel 98 may be coupled with the motor assembly 118. A drive assembly 126 includes a belt 130 coupled between the pump assembly 118, specifically the flywheel 98, and a drive wheel 134 of the motor assembly 118. Thus, the motor assembly 118 is operatively connected to the pump assembly 114 to drive the pump assembly 114. The drive assembly 126 is positioned opposite the air reservoirs 14a, 14b such that the compressor components 32 are positioned between the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and the drive assembly 126 in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A of the air compressor assembly 10. This arrangement assists with balance of the air compressor assembly 10. Furthermore, the motor assembly 118 is positioned in front of the pump assembly 114 in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis A, i.e., the motor assembly 118 is positioned between the wheel 42 and the pump assembly 114. The pump assembly 114 includes a pump 138 and is fluidly connected to the air reservoirs 14a, 14b to deliver pressurized air thereto.

The compressor components 32 may be located anywhere in the space along the base 28 between the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and the drive assembly 126. The compressor components 32 are disposed on the first portion 90 of the support plate 78, and the air reservoirs 14a, 14b are stacked and disposed on the first portion 90 of the support plate 78 adjacent the compressor components. Furthermore, the flywheel 98 is positioned at least partially below the first portion 90 of the base 28. This results in the air compressor assembly 10 having a center of gravity lower than prior-art air compressors, and more preferably, results in the air compressor assembly 10 having a center of gravity closer to the axle 50 of the wheel 42. In the illustrated construction, the center of gravity is approximately 8.5 inches (21.6 cm) in height relative to the support surface 12, or similarly, relative to a bottom of the wheel 42 and support feet 82 configured to engage the support surface 12.

Having the compressor components 32 and air reservoirs 14a, 14b positioned side by side with the air reservoirs 14a, 14b stacked lowers the vertical height of the compressor assembly 10 and, in turn, the center of gravity. Lowering the vertical height of the compressor assembly 10 adds stability to the compressor assembly 10 and further discourages tipping or tilting. Such embodiments highly reduce the likelihood of having the air compressor assembly 10 tip or tilt while being transported and make transporting the compressor assembly 10 much easier. Furthermore, the overall width W of the air compressor assembly 10 in the normal resting position is 20 inches or less, and the overall height H of the air compressor assembly 10 is no greater than the overall width W (see FIG. 6). In the illustrated construction, the overall width W is about 19.3 inches and the overall height H is about 18.3 inches. In other words, the height-to-width ratio of the air compressor assembly 10 is 1:1 or less. The overall width W extends in a direction perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A of the air compressor assembly 10 and parallel to the support surface 12, in the resting position, between an outermost side of the air reservoirs 14a, 14b and an outermost side of the flywheel cage 102. The overall height H extends normal to the support surface 12 and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis A, in a resting position, between the bottom of the support feet 82 and wheel 42, which are configured to contact the support surface 12, and an opposite upper surface of the air compressor assembly 10. A typical truck bed rail tool box is approximately 20 inches wide; therefore, the present invention fits in a typical truck bed rail tool box.

Moreover, having the air compressor components 32 disposed adjacent the stacked air reservoirs 14a, 14b results in an air compressor assembly 10 having a height H lower than the height of prior art compressors. This provides benefits with respect to the shipping and packaging of the air compressor. The lower height profile requires less packaging material. Also, the lower height requires less storage space when being packaged. When packaged, the air compressor assemblies 10 are often stored or displayed by being stacked atop one another on shelves. With the lower height, more units may be stacked on top of one another within the same space. This is particularly advantageous when shipping the compressor assemblies 10. Shipping often is done by using large containers that are transported on boats, trains, or trucks. The low height allows for more compressor assemblies 10 to be packed into a container, thereby reducing the shipping costs.

Thus, the invention provides, among other things, a low-profile wheelbarrow compressor having compressor components positioned adjacent the air reservoirs Various features and advantages of the invention are set forth in the following claims.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120321488 A1
Publish Date
12/20/2012
Document #
13597388
File Date
08/29/2012
USPTO Class
417234
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04B41/02
Drawings
7



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