(19)
(11)EP 3 412 622 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
13.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/20

(21)Application number: 18176509.0

(22)Date of filing:  07.06.2018
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B66F 9/14  (2006.01)
B66F 9/12  (2006.01)
B66F 9/22  (2006.01)

(54)

FORK-CARRIAGE APPARATUS FOR A LIFT TRUCK AND VALVE ASSEMBLY THEREFOR

GABELTRÄGER FÜR EINEN HUBWAGEN UND VENTILANORDNUNG DAFÜR

APPAREIL DE CHARIOT À FOURCHES POUR CHARIOT ÉLÉVATEUR ET SON ENSEMBLE DE SOUPAPE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 08.06.2017 US 201762516719 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
12.12.2018 Bulletin 2018/50

(73)Proprietor: Lift Technologies, Inc.
Westminister, South Carolina 29693 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Addicott, Jody
    Easley, South Carolina 29640 (US)

(74)Representative: Calysta NV 
Lambroekstraat 5a
1831 Diegem
1831 Diegem (BE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2014/162323
US-A1- 2003 164 189
US-A- 5 820 270
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD



    [0001] The specification relates to lift trucks, and more specifically, to fork-carriage apparatuses for lift trucks and valve assemblies therefor.

    INTRODUCTION



    [0002] Lift trucks are vehicles used to pick up and move loads from place to place. A conventional lift truck includes a fork-carriage which supports a pair of spaced apart forks. The fork-carriage is movable vertically (e.g. along a mast structure or using a telehandler) for raising and lowering the forks. The forks are maneuvered into place by the lift truck operator and used to pick up a load.

    [0003] Several attachments to enhance the capabilities of a fork-carriage are known. One such attachment is a side shifter assembly which facilitates aligning the forks with the load. The term "side-shifting" is used to describe the concept of shifting the forks as a spaced pair either left or right of the lift truck center line along a generally horizontal lateral axis. Another attachment includes a pivot assembly (sometimes referred to as a "rotate" or "oscillate" assembly) which facilitates pivoting the load. The term "pivoting" is used to describe the concept of pivoting the forks as a spaced pair about a pivot axis that is generally horizontal and perpendicular to the lateral axis. Another attachment includes a fork positioning assembly. The term "fork positioning" is used to describe the concept of changing the relative spacing between the forks to accommodate loads of different width and pick up requirements.

    [0004] Such attachments often have limited load capacity in view of weight constraints put on the fork-carriage to reduce the moment load (also referred to as "lost load") exerted by the fork-carriage on the lift truck. Furthermore, while fork-carriages including such attachments are operable to raise and lower loads placed atop the forks, such fork-carriages lack built-in provisions for pulling (e.g. suspending and/or towing) the loads. Furthermore, such attachments are often operated by hydraulic operators (e.g. double-acting cylinders). Operation of these hydraulic operators is dependent on actuation of valves for providing hydraulic fluid to the operators, as well as the transmission of actuation signals through electrical lines for actuating the valves, and damage to the electrical lines can result in inoperability of the hydraulic operators.

    [0005] Int. App. Pub. No. WO 2014/162323 A1 (Finizio) discloses a cargo box block arrangement for forklift truck, with forklift means, comprising forklift means provided with fork arms, adapted to be engaged with a cargo box for its lifting and lowering, gripping means associated to forklift means for locking the cargo box to said fork arms. The gripping means comprise spreading out means associated with said forklift means for gripping the fork arms to perimetral elements of the cargo box.

    [0006] U.S. Pat. 5,820,270 A (Richardson) discloses that the rotatable fork-plate of a fork lift truck is mounted to a large-diameter slewing gear, and the slewing bearing fits inside. In place of the usual ball bearing, a plastic strip is curved around into a circle, and placed between the slewing gear and the stator frame. The circle is not complete, in that a circumferential gap is left between the ends. The rotor and stator are formed with suitable faces for supporting journal forces, and thrust forces both ways, via the plastic strip. The preferred profile of the strip is channel-shaped. The strip floats circumferentially between the rotor and the stator. The plastic strip being corrosion free, no seals are provided on the bearing, even for operation near sea-water.

    [0007] U.S. Pat. App. Pub. No. 2003/0164189 A1 (Mondani et al.) discloses the preamble of the independent claim 11. Disclosed is a hydraulic valve assembly for selectably delivering hydraulic fluid from a supply of hydraulic fluid to one of a first hydraulic operator and a second hydraulic operator. The assembly includes first and second supply ports which communicate with the supply and four operator ports. First and third ports communicate with the first hydraulic operator. Second and fourth ports communicate with the fourth hydraulic operator. First and second chambers are provided. The first chamber communicates with the first supply port and first and second operator ports. The second chamber communicates with the second supply port and third and fourth operator ports. Two selection valves operating in unison are each located in each chamber. The selection valves operate between a first position at a first hydraulic fluid pressure and a second position at a second hydraulic fluid pressure. In a first position, the valves permit fluid communication of the first and second supply ports with the first and third operator ports, respectively. In a second position, the valves permit fluid communication with the second and fourth operator ports.

    SUMMARY



    [0008] The following summary is intended to introduce the reader to various aspects of the invention, which is defined by the appended claims.

    [0009] According to the independent claim 1, a fork-carriage apparatus for a lift truck is configured for pulling a load. The fork-carriage apparatus includes: (a) a mounting frame assembly mountable to the lift truck for vertical movement; (b) a side shifter frame assembly slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly, the side shifter frame assembly laterally translatable along a lateral axis fixed relative to the mounting frame assembly; (c) a pivot frame assembly pivotably mounted to the side shifter frame assembly for translating therewith, the pivot frame assembly pivotable about a pivot axis extending perpendicular to the lateral axis, the pivot axis fixed to translate with the side shifter frame assembly; (d) a fork assembly mounted to the pivot frame assembly for pivoting therewith, the fork assembly including a pair of forks projecting from the pivot frame assembly parallel to the pivot axis; and (e) at least one load-pulling connector mounted to the pivot frame assembly and configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for pulling the load.

    [0010] In some examples, the at least one load-pulling connector includes a lifting bracket configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for suspending the load.

    [0011] In some examples, the lifting bracket is configured for connection of a sling hook.

    [0012] In some examples, the pivot frame assembly includes a lower cross member, an upper cross member above the lower cross member, and a pair of spaced apart first and second side members connecting the upper and lower cross members. The lifting bracket is fixed to an underside surface of the lower cross member.

    [0013] In some examples, the lifting bracket is welded to the underside surface.

    [0014] In some examples, the lifting bracket is centered along a length of the lower cross member.

    [0015] In some examples, the at least one load-pulling connector includes a first hook configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for towing the load.

    [0016] In some examples, the pivot frame assembly includes a lower cross member, an upper cross member above the lower cross member, and a pair of spaced apart first and second side members connecting the upper and lower cross members. Each side member has an inboard surface facing the other side member, and the first hook is fixed to the inboard surface of the first side member.

    [0017] In some examples, the first hook is welded to the inboard surface of the first side member.

    [0018] In some examples, the first hook is mounted proximate the lower cross member.

    [0019] In some examples, the at least one load-pulling connector includes a second hook fixed to the inboard surface of the second side member.

    [0020] According to the independent claim 6, a pivot frame assembly is pivotably mountable in a fork-carriage apparatus for pivoting a fork assembly about a horizontal pivot axis. The pivot frame assembly includes (a) a lower cross member located below and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis; (b) an upper cross member located above and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis; (c) a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second side members connecting the upper and lower cross members, the pivot axis laterally intermediate the first and second side members; (d) a fork assembly mounting shaft supported by the first and second side members, the fork assembly mounting shaft extending along a fork shaft axis located above and perpendicular to the pivot axis; and (e) a reinforced central support member laterally intermediate the first and second side members and connecting the upper and lower cross members. The central support member includes: (i) a base plate fixed atop the lower cross member, (ii) a pivot plate oriented in a pivot plate plane normal to the pivot axis, the pivot plate fixed atop the base plate, (iii) a pivot plate hole extending through the pivot plate along the pivot axis for receiving a pivot shaft of the fork-carriage apparatus for pivotably mounting the pivot frame assembly, (iv) a fork plate oriented in a fork plate plane normal to the fork shaft axis, the fork plate having a fork plate bottom portion fixed to the pivot plate and an opposed fork plate top portion fixed to the upper cross member, (v) a fork plate hole extending through the fork plate top portion along the fork shaft axis, the fork assembly mounting shaft passing through the fork plate hole and supported by the fork plate, and (vi) a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second gussets each having a gusset bottom edge fixed to the base plate, a gusset top edge above the gusset bottom edge and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion, and a gusset side edge extending between the gusset bottom and top edges and fixed to the pivot plate. The pivot axis is laterally intermediate the first and second gussets and vertically intermediate the gusset bottom and top edges.

    [0021] In some examples, each of the gusset bottom and top edges extends parallel to the pivot axis, and the gusset side edge extends parallel to the pivot plate plane.

    [0022] In some examples, the pivot plate includes: a laterally extending pivot plate bottom portion fixed to the base plate, and a pivot plate top portion spaced above the pivot plate bottom portion and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion. The pivot plate hole extends through the pivot plate top portion. The pivot plate further includes a pair of laterally spaced apart pivot plate side support portions connecting the pivot plate top and bottom portions; and a pivot plate central support portion laterally intermediate and spaced apart from the pivot plate side support portions and connecting the pivot plate top and bottom portions.

    [0023] In some examples, the fork plate plane intersects the pivot axis and the pivot plate central support portion.

    [0024] In some examples, the pivot plate includes a pivot plate front face oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane, and the gusset side edges are fixed to the pivot plate front face.

    [0025] In some examples, the pivot plate includes a pivot plate rear face axially opposite the pivot plate front face and oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane, and the lower cross member includes a lower cross member rear face oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane. The pivot plate rear face is generally flush with the lower cross member rear face.

    [0026] In some examples, the fork plate bottom portion has a mount portion axially overlapping the pivot plate and fixed thereto, and an overhang portion projecting axially forward of the pivot plate front face. Each gusset top edge is fixed to the overhang portion.

    [0027] In some examples, the overhang portion has laterally opposite side faces each oriented parallel to the fork plate plane, and each gusset top edge is fixed to a respective one of the side faces.

    [0028] In some examples, the base plate has a pivot plate support portion atop which the pivot plate is fixed, and a gusset support portion axially forward of the pivot plate front face and atop which each gusset bottom edge is fixed.

    [0029] In some examples, the fork shaft axis is spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face by a fork shaft spacing. Each gusset top edge extends between a top edge first end axially adjacent the pivot plate front face and a top edge second end spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face by a top edge second end spacing. The top edge second end spacing is greater than the fork shaft spacing.

    [0030] In some examples, each gusset bottom edge extends between a bottom edge first end axially adjacent the pivot plate front face and a bottom edge second end spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face by a bottom edge second end spacing, and wherein the top edge second end spacing is greater than the bottom edge second end spacing.

    [0031] According to the independent claim 11, a fork-carriage apparatus for a lift truck includes: a frame assembly mountable to the lift truck; a fork assembly supported by the frame assembly; a hydraulic first operator coupled to the frame assembly for urging a first movement of the fork assembly; a hydraulic second operator supported by the frame assembly for urging a second movement of the fork assembly; and a valve assembly coupled to the frame assembly for selectively delivering hydraulic fluid from a hydraulic fluid supply to one of at least the hydraulic first operator and the hydraulic second operator. The valve assembly includes: (a) a manifold having (i) a first supply port for fluid communication with the supply; (ii) a second supply port for fluid communication with the supply; (iii) a first operator port in fluid communication with the first operator; (iv) a second operator port in fluid communication with the first operator; (v) a third operator port in fluid communication with the second operator; (vi) a fourth operator port in fluid communication with the second operator; (vii) a first chamber in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the first operator port, and the second operator port; and (viii) a second chamber in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the third operator port, and the fourth operator port. The valve assembly further includes (b) an electronic first valve positioned within the first chamber and biased in a first default position. The first valve is movable into a first energized position when receiving a first actuation signal and urged back into the first default position in absence of the first actuation signal. The first valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the first and second operator ports, respectively, when in the first default position for conducting fluid to and from the hydraulic first operator. The first valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the first and second operator ports, respectively, when in the first energized position. The valve assembly further includes: (c) an electronic second valve positioned within the second chamber and biased in a second default position. The second valve is movable into a second energized position when receiving a second actuation signal and urged back into the second default position in absence of the second actuation signal. The second valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the third and fourth operator ports, respectively, when in the second energized position for conducting fluid to and from the hydraulic second operator. The second valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the third and fourth operator ports, respectively, when in the second default position.

    [0032] In some examples, the first and second valves are interchangeable for positioning the first valve in the second chamber and the second valve in the first chamber.

    [0033] In some examples, each of the first operator and the second operator comprises a different one of a side shifter operator for urging lateral translation of the fork assembly, a pivot operator for urging pivoting of the fork assembly, and a fork positioning operator for urging translation of a pair of forks of the fork assembly toward and away from one another.

    [0034] In some examples, the first operator comprises the side shifter operator.

    [0035] In some examples, the valve assembly further includes a hydraulic third operator supported by the frame assembly for urging a third movement of the fork assembly, and the valve assembly is further operable to selectively deliver hydraulic fluid from the supply to the hydraulic third operator. The manifold further includes: a fifth operator port in fluid communication with the third operator, a sixth operator port in fluid communication with the third operator, and a third chamber in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the fifth operator port, and the sixth operator port. The valve assembly further includes an electronic third valve positioned within the third chamber and biased in a third default position. The third valve is movable into a third energized position when receiving a third actuation signal and urged back into the third default position in absence of the third actuation signal. The third valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the fifth and sixth operator ports, respectively, when in the third energized position for conducting fluid to and from the third operator. The third valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the fifth and sixth operator ports, respectively, when in the third default position.

    [0036] In some examples, each of the first operator, the second operator, and the third operator comprises a different one of a side shifter operator for urging lateral translation of a fork assembly of the fork-carriage apparatus, a pivot operator for urging pivoting of the fork assembly, and a fork positioning operator for urging translation of a pair of forks of the fork assembly toward and away from one another. In some examples, the first operator comprises the side shifter operator.

    [0037] In some examples, the frame assembly includes: a mounting frame assembly mountable to the lift truck for vertical movement; a side shifter frame assembly slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly, the side shifter frame assembly laterally translatable along a lateral axis fixed relative to the mounting frame assembly via the hydraulic first operator; and a pivot frame assembly pivotably mounted to the side shifter frame assembly for translating therewith, the pivot frame assembly pivotable about a pivot axis extending perpendicular to the lateral axis via the hydraulic second operator, the pivot axis fixed to translate with the side shifter frame assembly; wherein the fork assembly is mounted to the pivot frame assembly for pivoting therewith, the fork assembly including a pair of forks projecting from the pivot frame assembly parallel to the pivot axis, the forks translatable toward and away from one another via the hydraulic third operator.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0038] The drawings included herewith are for illustrating various examples of articles, methods, and apparatuses of the present specification and are not intended to limit the scope of what is taught in anyway. In the drawings:

    Figure 1 is a front perspective view of a fork-carriage apparatus for a lift truck;

    Figure 2 is a rear perspective view of the fork-carriage apparatus of Figure 1;

    Figure 3 is an exploded perspective view of the fork-carriage apparatus of Figure 1;

    Figure 4 is a rear perspective view of a pivot frame structure of the fork-carriage apparatus of Figure 1;

    Figure 5 is a front perspective view of the pivot frame structure of Figure 4;

    Figure 6 is a front elevation view of the pivot frame structure of Figure 4;

    Figure 7 is a top cross-sectional view of the pivot frame structure of Figure 4, taken along line 7-7 of Figure 6;

    Figure 8 is a side cross-sectional view of the pivot frame structure of Figure 4, taken along line 8-8 of Figure 6;

    Figure 9 is an enlarged view of a portion of Figure 6;

    Figure 10 is an enlarged view of a portion of Figure 7;

    Figure 11 is an enlarged view of a portion of Figure 8;

    Figure 12 is an enlarged view of another portion of Figure 8;

    Figure 13 is a simplified schematic of portions of a hydraulic circuit for the fork-carriage apparatus of Figure 1;

    Figure 14 is a partially schematic, front elevation view of a valve assembly of the circuit of Figure 13; and

    Figure 15 is a partially schematic, side elevation view of the valve assembly of Figure 14.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0039] Various apparatuses or processes will be described below to provide examples of embodiments of the invention.

    [0040] Referring to Figures 1 and 2, in the example illustrated, a fork-carriage apparatus 100 for a lift truck is shown. The fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes a mounting frame assembly 102 mountable to the lift truck for vertical movement (e.g. movement in a vertical direction 104). In some examples, the lift truck can include a mast structure along which the mounting frame assembly 102 is vertically movable. In some examples, the lift truck can include a telehandler for vertically moving the mounting frame assembly 102.

    [0041] In the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 further includes a side shifter frame assembly 106 slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly 102. The side shifter frame assembly 106 is laterally translatable along a lateral axis 108 fixed relative to the mounting frame assembly 102. In the example illustrated, the lateral axis 108 is shown as being generally horizontal (i.e. perpendicular to the vertical direction 104).

    [0042] Referring to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, the side shifter frame assembly 106 includes a side shifter rear frame 110 slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly 102 for translating along the lateral axis 108 (see Figures 1 and 2) relative to the mounting frame assembly 102. The side shifter frame assembly 106 further includes a side shifter front frame 112 slidably mounted to the rear frame 110 for translating parallel to the lateral axis 108 relative to the rear frame 110. In the example illustrated, translation of the front frame 112 relative to the rear frame 110 is indexed to translation of the rear frame 110 relative to the mounting frame assembly 102. In the example illustrated, translation of the rear frame 110 relative to the mounting frame assembly 102 in a first lateral direction urges translation of the front frame 112 relative to the rear frame 110 in the first lateral direction. Translation of the rear frame 110 relative to the mounting frame assembly 102 in a second lateral direction opposite the first lateral direction urges translation of the front frame 112 relative to the rear frame 110 in the second lateral direction.

    [0043] Continuing to refer to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes a hydraulic side-shifter operator 114 for urging lateral translation of the side shifterframe assembly 106. In the example illustrated, the side-shifter operator 114 includes a double-acting hydraulic side shifter cylinder 114a coupled between the mounting frame assembly 102 and the side shifter frame assembly 106 for urging lateral translation of the side shifter frame assembly 106. In the example illustrated, the side shifter cylinder 114a is coupled between the mounting frame assembly 102 and the side shifter rear frame 110.

    [0044] In the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes a front frame actuator 116 for urging lateral translation of the side shifter front frame 112 relative to the side shifter rear frame 110. In the example illustrated, the front frame actuator 116 includes a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second chain rollers 118 mounted to the rear frame 110 and a roller chain 120 looped around and in engagement with the chain rollers 118. The chain 120 includes a chain lower portion 120a extending between lower portions of the rollers 118 and a chain upper portion 120b extending between upper portions of the rollers 118. The front frame 112 is fixed to the chain lower portion 120a (e.g. through a pair of front frame chain anchors 122), and the chain upper portion 120b is fixed to the mounting frame assembly 102 (e.g. through a pair of mounting frame chain anchors 124). Translation of the side shifter rear frame 110 (and the chain rollers 118 mounted thereto) relative to the mounting frame assembly 102 in a lateral direction translates the lower chain portion 120a (and the front frame 112 fixed thereto) relative to the side shifter rear frame 110 in that lateral direction.

    [0045] Referring to Figure 1, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 further includes a pivot frame assembly 130 pivotably mounted to the side shifter frame assembly 106. The pivot frame assembly 130 is pivotable about a pivot axis 132 extending perpendicular to the lateral axis 108. In the example illustrated, the pivot axis 132 is shown as being generally horizontal (i.e. perpendicular to the vertical direction 104). The pivot frame assembly 130 (and the pivot axis 132) is fixed to translate with the side shifter frame assembly 106. In the example illustrated, the pivot frame assembly 130 (and the pivot axis 132) is fixed to translate with the side shifter front frame 112.

    [0046] Referring to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, a pivot shaft 134 extends along the pivot axis 132. The pivot shaft 134 is mounted to and projects axially forward of the side shifter frame assembly 106. In the example illustrated, the pivot shaft 134 is mounted to the side shifter front frame 112. In the example illustrated, the pivot frame assembly 130 is pivotably mounted on the pivot shaft 134 for pivoting about the pivot axis 132.

    [0047] Referring to Figures 4 and 5, in the example illustrated, the pivot frame assembly 130 includes a pivot frame 136 having a lower cross member 138 below and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis 132, an upper cross member 140 above and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis 132, and a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second side members 142a, 142b connecting the lower and upper cross members 138, 140. The pivot axis 132 is laterally intermediate the first and second side members 142a, 142b.

    [0048] Referring to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, the pivot frame assembly 130 further includes a fork assembly mounting shaft 144 extending across the pivot frame 136 and supported by the first and second side members 142a, 142b. The fork assembly mounting shaft 144 extends along a fork shaft axis 146 located above and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis 132 (see also Figures 4 and 5).

    [0049] Referring to Figures 4 and 5, in the example illustrated, the pivot frame 136 further includes a reinforced central support member 148 laterally intermediate the first and second side members 142a, 142b and connecting the lower and upper cross members 138, 140. Referring to Figure 6, in the example illustrated, the central support member 148 is laterally centered between the first and second side members 142a, 142b. The central support member 148 includes a base plate 150 fixed atop the lower cross member 138. The central support member 148 further includes a pivot plate 152 oriented in a pivot plate plane 154 (Figures 7 and 8) normal to the pivot axis 132. The pivot plate 152 is fixed atop the base plate 150. A pivot plate hole 156 extends through the pivot plate 152 along the pivot axis 132 for receiving the pivot shaft 134.

    [0050] Referring to Figures 6 and 8, in the example illustrated, the central support member 148 further includes a fork plate 158 oriented in a fork plate plane 160 (Figure 6) normal to the fork shaft axis 146. The fork plate 158 has a fork plate bottom portion 158a fixed to the pivot plate 152 and an opposed fork plate top portion 158b fixed to the upper cross member 140. Referring to Figure 8, a fork plate hole 162 extends through the fork plate 158 along the fork shaft axis 146. In the example illustrated, the fork plate hole 162 extends through the fork plate top portion 158b. The fork assembly mounting shaft 144 passes through the fork plate hole 162 and is supported by the fork plate 158 (see Figure 3).

    [0051] Referring to Figures 6 and 7, in the example illustrated, the central support member 148 further includes a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second gussets 164a, 164b. Referring to Figures 9 and 10, each of the first and second gussets 164a, 164b has a gusset bottom edge 166 (Figure 9) fixed to the base plate 150, a gusset top edge 168 (Figure 9) above the gusset bottom edge 166 and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion 158a, and a gusset side edge 170 (Figure 10) extending between the gusset bottom and top edges 166, 168 and fixed to the pivot plate 152. This gusset configuration can help increase the load capacity of the fork-carriage apparatus, without necessarily substantially increasing its weight.

    [0052] Referring to Figure 10, in the example illustrated, the pivot axis 132 is laterally intermediate the first and second gussets 164a, 164b. Referring to Figure 9, in the example illustrated, the pivot axis 132 is vertically intermediate the gusset bottom and top edges 166, 168. Referring to Figure 8, in the example illustrated, each of the gusset bottom and top edges 166, 168 extends generally parallel to the pivot axis 132. Each gusset side edge 170 extends parallel to the pivot plate plane 154.

    [0053] Referring to Figure 9, in the example illustrated, the pivot plate 152 includes a laterally extending pivot plate bottom portion 152a fixed to the base plate 150 and a pivot plate top portion 152b spaced above the pivot plate bottom portion 152a and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion 158a. The pivot plate hole 156 extends through the pivot plate top portion 152b. The pivot plate 152 further includes a pair of laterally spaced apart pivot plate side support portions 152c, 152d connecting the pivot plate bottom and top portions 152a, 152b, and a pivot plate central support portion 152e laterally intermediate and spaced apart from the pivot plate side support portions 152c, 152d and connecting the pivot plate bottom and top portions 152a, 152b. Providing the central support portion 152e can help increase the load capacity of the fork-carriage apparatus 100, without necessarily substantially increasing its weight. In the example illustrated, the fork plate plane 160 intersects the pivot axis 132 and the pivot plate central support portion 152e (see Figure 6).

    [0054] Referring to Figures 11 and 12, in the example illustrated, the pivot plate 152 includes a pivot plate front face 172 oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane 154. Each gusset side edge 170 is fixed to the pivot plate front face 172. The pivot plate 152 further includes a pivot plate rear face 174 axially opposite the pivot plate front face 172 and oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane 154. Referring to Figure 11, in the example illustrated, the lower cross member 138 includes a lower cross member rear face 176 oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane 154. The pivot plate rear face 174 is generally flush with the lower cross member rear face 176.

    [0055] Referring to Figure 12, in the example illustrated, the fork plate bottom portion 158a has a mount portion 177 axially overlapping the pivot plate 152 and fixed thereto, and an overhang portion 178 projecting axially forward of the pivot plate front face 172. Each gusset top edge 168 is fixed to the overhang portion 178 of the fork plate 158. In the example illustrated, the overhang portion 178 has laterally opposite side faces 180, each oriented parallel to the fork plate plane 160 (see also Figure 6). Each gusset top edge 168 is fixed to a respective one of the side faces 180.

    [0056] Referring to Figure 11, in the example illustrated, the base plate 150 has a pivot plate support portion 150a atop which the pivot plate 152 is fixed, and a gusset support portion 150b axially forward of the pivot plate front face 172 and atop which each gusset bottom edge 166 is fixed.

    [0057] Referring to Figure 12, in the example illustrated, the fork shaft axis 146 is spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face 172 by a fork shaft spacing 182. Each gusset top edge 168 extends between a top edge first end 168a axially adjacent the pivot plate front face 172 and a top edge second end 168b spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face 172 by a top edge second end spacing 184. In the example illustrated, the top edge second end spacing 184 is greater than the fork shaft spacing 182. Referring to Figure 11, in the example illustrated, each gusset bottom edge 166 extends between a bottom edge first end 166a axially adjacent the pivot plate front face 172 and a bottom edge second end 166b spaced axially forward of the pivot plate front face 172 by a bottom edge second end spacing 186. In the example illustrated, the top edge second end spacing 184 is greater than the bottom edge second end spacing 186.

    [0058] Referring to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes a hydraulic pivot operator 188 for urging pivoting of the pivot frame assembly 130 about the pivot axis 132. In the example illustrated, the pivot operator 188 comprises a double-acting hydraulic pivot cylinder 188a coupled between the side shifter frame assembly 106 and the pivot frame assembly 130 for urging pivoting of the pivot frame assembly 130. In the example illustrated, the pivot cylinder 188a is coupled between the side shifter front frame 112 and the pivot frame 136.

    [0059] Referring to Figures 1 and 2, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 further includes a fork assembly 190 (see also Figure 3) mounted to the pivot frame assembly 130. The fork assembly 190 is pivotable about the pivot axis 132 through pivoting of the pivot frame assembly 130, and translatable parallel to the lateral axis 108 through translation of the side shifter frame assembly 106. The fork assembly 190 includes a pair of first and second forks 192a, 192b. The forks 192a, 192b have distal ends projecting from the pivot frame assembly 130 parallel to the pivot axis 132. In the example illustrated, each of the forks 192a, 192b is slidably mounted to the pivot frame assembly 130. In the example illustrated, the first and second forks 192a, 192b are slidably mounted on the fork assembly mounting shaft 144, and are translatable toward and away from one another parallel to the fork shaft axis 146.

    [0060] Referring to Figure 3, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes a hydraulic fork positioning operator 194 for urging translation of the first and second forks 192a, 192b toward and away from one another. In the example illustrated, the fork positioning operator 194 includes at least one double-acting hydraulic fork positioning cylinder 194a coupled between the pivot frame and at least one of the first and second forks 192a, 192b. In the example illustrated, the fork positioning operator 194 includes a pair of fork positioning cylinders 194a, each coupled between the pivot frame 136 and a respective one of the first and second forks 192a, 192b for urging translation of the first and second forks 192a, 192b toward and away from one another.

    [0061] In the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 has built-in provisions for pulling (e.g. suspending and/or towing) a load. Referring to Figures 4 and 5, in the example illustrated, the fork-carriage apparatus 100 includes at least one load-pulling connector 200 mounted to the pivot frame assembly 130 and configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus 100 for pulling the load. The connector 200 can facilitate connection of the load to the fork-carriage apparatus 100 through, for example, a chain, cable, hook, pintle, and the like.

    [0062] In the example illustrated, the connector 200 is integrated into the pivot frame 136. In the example illustrated, the connector 200 is welded to the pivot frame 136. Mounting the connecter 200 to a frame structure of the fork-carriage apparatus 100 (such as the pivot frame 136) can help reduce the lost load by moving the load center axially rearward toward the lift truck. Mounting the connector 200 to the pivot frame assembly 130 can facilitate access to the connector 200, and can facilitate pivoting and/or translation of the connector 200 relative to the lift truck.

    [0063] In the example illustrated, the at least one load-pulling connector 200 includes a lifting bracket 202 configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus 100 for suspending the load. Referring to Figure 6, in the example illustrated, the lifting bracket 202 is fixed to an underside surface 204 of the lower cross member 138 of the pivot frame 136. In the example illustrated, the lifting bracket 202 is welded to the underside surface 204. In the example illustrated, the lifting bracket 202 is centered along a length of the lower cross member 138. In the example illustrated, the lifting bracket 202 is configured for connection of a sling hook.

    [0064] Continuing to refer to Figure 6, in the example illustrated, the at least one load-pulling connector 200 further includes a first hook 206a. In the example illustrated, the first hook 206a comprises a tow hook configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus 100 for towing the load. In the example illustrated, each side member 142a, 142b of the pivot frame 136 has an inboard surface 208 facing the other side member 142a, 142b, and the first hook 206a is fixed to the inboard surface 208 of the first side member 142a. In the example illustrated, the at least one load-pulling connector 200 further includes a second hook 206b fixed to the inboard surface 208 of the second side member 142b. In the example illustrated, each of the first and second hooks 206a, 206b are mounted proximate the lower cross member 138. In the example illustrated, each of the first and second hooks 206a, 206b is welded to a respective inboard surface 208 of the first and second side members 142a, 142b.

    [0065] Referring to Figure 13, a simplified schematic of a hydraulic circuit 300 for the fork-carriage apparatus 100 is shown. In the example illustrated, the hydraulic circuit 300 includes a valve assembly 302 (see also Figures 3 and 14) for selectively delivering hydraulic fluid from a hydraulic fluid supply 304 to one of at least a hydraulic first operator 306 and a hydraulic second operator 308 of the fork-carriage apparatus 100. In the example illustrated, the valve assembly 302 is further operable to selectively deliver hydraulic fluid from the supply 304 to a hydraulic third operator 310.

    [0066] Each of the first operator 306, second operator 308, and third operator 310 can include a different one of the side shifter operator 114, the pivot operator 188, and the fork positioning operator 194 of the fork-carriage apparatus 100. In the example illustrated, the first operator 306 includes the side shifter operator 114, the second operator 308 includes the pivot operator 188, and the third operator 310 includes the fork positioning operator 194.

    [0067] Referring to Figures 14 and 15, in the example illustrated, the valve assembly 302 includes a manifold 312 having a first supply port 314 for fluid communication with the supply 304 and a second supply port 316 for fluid communication with the supply 304. Referring to Figure 13, in the example illustrated, the first and second supply ports 314, 316 are in fluid communication with a hydraulic sub-circuit 318 through first and second supply lines 320, 322, respectively. In the example illustrated, the hydraulic fluid supply 304 includes a hydraulic fluid supply tank 304a, and the sub-circuit 318 is connected to the supply tank 304a through a tank supply line 324 and a tank return line 326. The sub-circuit 318 can include, for example, a hydraulic control panel for interchangeably connecting the tank supply and return lines 324, 326 to the first and second supply lines 320, 322. A pump (not shown) is connected to the tank supply line 324 to provide the hydraulic fluid under pressure.

    [0068] Referring to Figures 14 and 15, in the example illustrated the manifold 312 further includes a first operator port 330 for fluid communication with the first operator 306, a second operator port 332 for fluid communication with the first operator 306, a third operator port 334 for fluid communication with the second operator 308, and a fourth operator port 336 for fluid communication with the second operator 308. In the example illustrated, the manifold 312 further includes a fifth operator port 338 for fluid communication with the third operator 310, and a sixth operator port 340 for fluid communication with the third operator 310.

    [0069] In the example illustrated, the manifold 312 further includes a first chamber 342 (shown schematically in Figures 14 and 15) in fluid communication with the first supply port 314, the second supply port 316, the first operator port 330, and the second operator port 332, and a second chamber 344 (shown schematically in Figure 14) in fluid communication with the first supply port 314, the second supply port 316, the third operator port 334, and the fourth operator port 336. In the example illustrated, the manifold 312 further includes a third chamber 346 (shown schematically in Figure 14) in fluid communication with the first supply port 314, the second supply port 316, the fifth operator port 338, and the sixth operator port 340.

    [0070] Referring to Figure 14, in the example illustrated, the valve assembly 302 includes an electronic first valve 352 (e.g. a solenoid valve) positioned within the first chamber 342. Referring to Figure 13, in the example illustrated, the first valve 352 is biased in a first default position 352a. The first valve 352 is movable into a first energized position 352b when receiving a first actuation signal and urged back into the first default position 352a in absence of the first actuation signal. When in the first energized position 352b, the first valve 352 is closed and blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the first and second operator ports 330, 332, respectively. When in the first default position 352a, the first valve 352 is open and permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the first and second operator ports 330, 332, respectively.

    [0071] In the example illustrated, the valve assembly 302 further includes an electronic second valve 354 positioned within the second chamber 344 (Figure 14). The second valve 354 is biased in a second default position 354a. The second valve 354 is movable into a second energized position 354b when receiving a second actuation signal and urged back into the second default position 354a in absence of the second actuation signal. When in the second energized position 354b, the second valve 354 is open and permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the third and fourth operator ports 334, 336. When in the second default position 354a, the second valve 354 is closed and blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the third and fourth operator ports 334, 336, respectively.

    [0072] In the example illustrated, the valve assembly 302 further includes an electronic third valve 356 positioned within the third chamber 346 (Figure 14). The third valve 356 is biased in a third default position 356a. The third valve 356 is movable into a third energized position 356b when receiving a third actuation signal and urged back into the third default position 356a in absence of the third actuation signal. When in the third energized position 356b, the third valve 356 is open and permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the fifth and sixth operator ports 338, 340, respectively. When in the third default position 356a, the third valve 356 is closed and blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports 314, 316 and the fifth and sixth operator ports 338, 340, respectively.

    [0073] To facilitate supply of hydraulic fluid to the third operator 310, the first and third actuation signals are transmitted to the first and third valves 352, 356 (e.g. through electrical lines coupled to the valves) to move the first and third valves 352, 356 into the first and third energized positions (i.e. to close the first valve 352 and open the third valve 356). To facilitate supply of hydraulic fluid to the second operator 308, the first and second actuation signals are transmitted to the first and second valves 352, 354 to move the first and second valves 352, 354 into the first and second energized positions (i.e. to close the first valve 352 and open the second valve 354). To facilitate supply of hydraulic fluid to the first operator 306, none of the first, second, and third actuation signals are transmitted so that the first, second, and third valves 352, 354, 356 are in respective default positions, in which the first valve 352 is open and the second and third valves 354, 356 are closed (as shown in Figure 13). This valve configuration can facilitate operation of at least the first operator 306 of the fork-carriage apparatus 100 in cases where, for example, the electrical lines for transmitting the valve actuation signals to the first, second, and third valves 352, 354, 356 are damaged or otherwise inoperable.

    [0074] In the example illustrated, the first, second, and third valves 352, 354, 356 are interchangeable, in that the first valve 352 can be positioned within the second or third chambers 344, 346, the second valve 354 can be positioned within the first or third chambers 342, 346, and the third valve 356 can be positioned within the first or second chambers 342, 344. This can help allow for positioning of the first valve 352 into any one of the first, second, and third chambers 342, 344, 346 to facilitate operation of a corresponding one of the first, second, and third operators 306, 308, 310 independent of the valve actuation signals.


    Claims

    1. A fork-carriage apparatus (100) for a lift truck and configured for pulling a load, comprising:

    a) a mounting frame assembly (102) mountable to the lift truck for vertical movement;

    b) a side shifter frame assembly (106) slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly, the side shifter frame assembly laterally translatable along a lateral axis (108) fixed relative to the mounting frame assembly;

    c) a pivot frame assembly (130) pivotably mounted to the side shifter frame assembly for translating therewith, the pivot frame assembly pivotable about a pivot axis (132) extending perpendicular to the lateral axis, the pivot axis fixed to translate with the side shifter frame assembly;

    d) a fork assembly (190) mounted to the pivot frame assembly for pivoting therewith, the fork assembly including a pair of forks (192a, 192b) projecting from the pivot frame assembly parallel to the pivot axis; and

    e) at least one load-pulling connector (200) mounted to the pivot frame assembly and configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for pulling the load.


     
    2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the at least one load-pulling connector includes a lifting bracket (202) configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for suspending the load, and optionally, wherein the lifting bracket is configured for connection of a sling hook.
     
    3. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 2, wherein the pivot frame assembly includes a lower cross member (138), an upper cross member (140) above the lower cross member, and a pair of spaced apart first and second side members (142a, 142b) connecting the upper and lower cross members, and wherein the lifting bracket is fixed to an underside surface (204) of the lower cross member.
     
    4. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 2, wherein the at least one load-pulling connector includes a first hook (206a) configured to connect the load to the fork-carriage apparatus for towing the load.
     
    5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein the pivot frame assembly includes a lower cross member (138), an upper cross member (140) above the lower cross member, and a pair of spaced apart first and second side members (142a, 142b) connecting the upper and lower cross members, each side member having an inboard surface (208) facing the other side member, and wherein the first hook (206a) is fixed to the inboard surface (208) of the first side member (142a), and optionally, wherein the at least one load-pulling connector (200) includes a second hook (206b) fixed to the inboard surface (208) of the second side member (142b).
     
    6. A pivot frame assembly (130) pivotably mountable in a fork-carriage apparatus (100) for pivoting a fork assembly (190) about a horizontal pivot axis (132), the pivot frame assembly comprising:

    a) a lower cross member (138) located below and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis;

    b) an upper cross member (140) located above and extending perpendicular to the pivot axis;

    c) a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second side members (142a, 142b) connecting the upper and lower cross members, the pivot axis laterally intermediate the first and second side members;

    d) a fork assembly mounting shaft supported by the first and second side members, the fork assembly mounting shaft (144) extending along a fork shaft axis (146) located above and perpendicular to the pivot axis; and

    e) a reinforced central support member (148) laterally intermediate the first and second side members and connecting the upper and lower cross members, the central support member including:

    i) a base plate (150) fixed atop the lower cross member,

    ii) a pivot plate (152) oriented in a pivot plate plane (154) normal to the pivot axis, the pivot plate fixed atop the base plate,

    iii) a pivot plate hole (156) extending through the pivot plate along the pivot axis for receiving a pivot shaft (134) of the fork-carriage apparatus for pivotably mounting the pivot frame assembly,

    iv) a fork plate (158) oriented in a fork plate plane (160) normal to the fork shaft axis, the fork plate having a fork plate bottom portion (158a) fixed to the pivot plate and an opposed fork plate top portion (158b) fixed to the upper cross member,

    v) a fork plate hole (162) extending through the fork plate top portion along the fork shaft axis, the fork assembly mounting shaft passing through the fork plate hole and supported by the fork plate, and

    vi) a pair of laterally spaced apart first and second gussets (164a, 164b) each having a gusset bottom edge (166) fixed to the base plate, a gusset top edge (168) above the gusset bottom edge and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion, and a gusset side edge (170) extending between the gusset bottom and top edges and fixed to the pivot plate, wherein the pivot axis is laterally intermediate the first and second gussets and vertically intermediate the gusset bottom and top edges.


     
    7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the pivot plate includes: a laterally extending pivot plate bottom portion (152a) fixed to the base plate; a pivot plate top portion (152b) spaced above the pivot plate bottom portion and fixed to the fork plate bottom portion, the pivot plate hole extending through the pivot plate top portion; a pair of laterally spaced apart pivot plate side support portions (152c, 152d) connecting the pivot plate top and bottom portions; and a pivot plate central support portion (152e) laterally intermediate and spaced apart from the pivot plate side support portions and connecting the pivot plate top and bottom portions, and optionally, wherein the fork plate plane intersects the pivot axis and the pivot plate central support portion.
     
    8. The assembly of any one of claims 6 to 7, wherein the pivot plate includes a pivot plate front face (172) oriented parallel to the pivot plate plane, and the gusset side edges are fixed to the pivot plate front face.
     
    9. The assembly of any one of claim 8, wherein the fork plate bottom portion has a mount portion (177) axially overlapping the pivot plate and fixed thereto, and an overhang portion (178) projecting axially forward of the pivot plate front face, and wherein each gusset top edge is fixed to the overhang portion, and optionally, wherein the overhang portion has laterally opposite side faces (180) each oriented parallel to the fork plate plane, and each gusset top edge is fixed to a respective one of the side faces.
     
    10. The assembly of any one of claims 8 to 9, wherein the base plate has a pivot plate support portion (150a) atop which the pivot plate is fixed, and a gusset support portion (150b) axially forward of the pivot plate front face and atop which each gusset bottom edge is fixed.
     
    11. A fork-carriage apparatus (100) for a lift truck, comprising:

    a frame assembly mountable to the lift truck;

    a fork assembly (190) supported by the frame assembly;

    a hydraulic first operator (306) coupled to the frame assembly for urging a first movement of the fork assembly;

    a hydraulic second operator (308) supported by the frame assembly for urging a second movement of the fork assembly; and

    a valve assembly (302) coupled to the frame assembly for selectively delivering hydraulic fluid from a hydraulic fluid supply (304) to one of at least the hydraulic first operator and the hydraulic second operator, the valve assembly including:

    a) a manifold (312) having:

    i) a first supply port (314) for fluid communication with the supply;

    ii) a second supply port (316) for fluid communication with the supply;

    iii) a first operator port (330) in fluid communication with the first operator;

    iv) a second operator port (332) in fluid communication with the first operator;

    v) a third operator port (334) in fluid communication with the second operator;

    vi) a fourth operator port (336) in fluid communication with the second operator;

    vii) a first chamber (342) in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the first operator port, and the second operator port; and

    viii) a second chamber (344) in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the third operator port, and the fourth operator port; characterised in that the valve assembly further includes:

    b) an electronic first valve (352) positioned within the first chamber and biased in a first default position (352a), the first valve being movable into a first energized position (352b) when receiving a first actuation signal and urged back into the first default position in absence of the first actuation signal, wherein the first valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the first and second operator ports, respectively, when in the first default position for conducting fluid to and from the hydraulic first operator, and the first valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the first and second operator ports, respectively, when in the first energized position; and

    c) an electronic second valve (354) positioned within the second chamber and biased in a second default position (354a), the second valve being movable into a second energized position (354b) when receiving a second actuation signal and urged back into the second default position in absence of the second actuation signal, wherein the second valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the third and fourth operator ports, respectively, when in the second energized position for conducting fluid to and from the hydraulic second operator, and the second valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the third and fourth operator ports, respectively, when in the second default position.


     
    12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the first and second valves (352, 354) are interchangeable for positioning the first valve (352) in the second chamber and the second valve (354) in the first chamber.
     
    13. The apparatus of any one of claims 11 to 12, further comprising a hydraulic third operator (310) for urging a third movement of the fork assembly, and wherein the valve assembly is further operable to selectively deliver hydraulic fluid from the supply to the hydraulic third operator, wherein the manifold further includes:

    a fifth operator port (338) in fluid communication with the third operator,

    a sixth operator port (340) in fluid communication with the third operator, and

    a third chamber (346) in fluid communication with the first supply port, the second supply port, the fifth operator port, and the sixth operator port,

    wherein the valve assembly further includes an electronic third valve (356) positioned within the third chamber and biased in a third default position (356a), the third valve being movable into a third energized position (356b) when receiving a third actuation signal and urged back into the third default position in absence of the third actuation signal, and wherein the third valve permits fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the fifth and sixth operator ports, respectively, when in the third energized position for conducting fluid to and from the third operator, and the third valve blocks fluid communication between the first and second supply ports and the fifth and sixth operator ports, respectively, when in the third default position.


     
    14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein each of the first operator, the second operator, and the third operator comprises a different one of a side shifter operator (314) for urging lateral translation of the fork assembly, a pivot operator (188) for urging pivoting of the fork assembly, and a fork positioning operator (194) for urging translation of a pair of forks (192a, 192b) of the fork assembly toward and away from one another.
     
    15. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the frame assembly includes:

    a mounting frame assembly (102) mountable to the lift truck for vertical movement;

    a side shifter frame assembly (106) slidably mounted to the mounting frame assembly, the side shifter frame assembly laterally translatable along a lateral axis (108) fixed relative to the mounting frame assembly via the hydraulic first operator; and

    a pivot frame assembly (130) pivotably mounted to the side shifter frame assembly for translating therewith, the pivot frame assembly pivotable about a pivot axis (132) extending perpendicular to the lateral axis via the hydraulic second operator, the pivot axis fixed to translate with the side shifter frame assembly;

    wherein the fork assembly is mounted to the pivot frame assembly for pivoting therewith, the fork assembly including a pair of forks (192a, 192b) projecting from the pivot frame assembly parallel to the pivot axis, the forks translatable toward and away from one another via the hydraulic third operator.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Gabelstaplervorrichtung (100) für einen Hubwagen und konfiguriert zum Ziehen einer Last, umfassend:

    a) eine Montagerahmenanordnung (102), montierbar an dem Hubwagen für vertikale Bewegung;

    b) eine Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung (106), gleitfähig montiert an der Montagerahmenanordnung, wobei die Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung lateral verschiebbar ist entlang einer lateralen Achse (108), fixiert relativ zu der Montagerahmenanordnung;

    c) eine Schwenkrahmenanordnung (130), schwenkbar montiert an der Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung zum damit Verschieben, wobei die Schwenkrahmenanordnung um eine Schwenkachse (132) schwenkbar ist, die sich senkrecht zu der lateralen Achse erstreckt, wobei die Schwenkachse fixiert ist, um mit der Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung zu verschieben;

    d) eine Gabelanordnung (190), montiert an der Schwenkrahmenanordnung zum damit Schwenken, wobei die Gabelanordnung ein Paar von Gabeln (192a, 192b) einschließt, die von der Schwenkrahmenanordnung parallel zu der Schwenkachse vorspringen; und

    e) mindestens einen Lastzug-Steckverbinder (200), montiert an der Schwenkrahmenanordnung und konfiguriert, um die Last mit der Gabelstaplervorrichtung zum Ziehen der Last zu verbinden.


     
    2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der mindestens eine Lastzug-Steckverbinder eine Hubklammer (202) einschließt, konfiguriert, um die Last mit der Gabelstaplervorrichtung zu verbinden zum Aufhängen der Last, und optional wobei die Hubklammer konfiguriert ist zur Verbindung eines Schlinghakens.
     
    3. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, wobei die Schwenkrahmenanordnung einen unteren Querträger (138), einen oberen Querträger (140) oberhalb des unteren Querträgers und ein Paar von voneinander beabstandeten ersten und zweiten Seitenträgern (142a, 142b), die die oberen und unteren Querträger verbinden, einschließt, und wobei die Hubklammer an einer Unterseitenoberfläche (204) des unteren Querträgers fixiert ist.
     
    4. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2, wobei der mindestens eine Lastzug-Steckverbinder einen ersten Haken (206a) einschließt, konfiguriert, um die Last mit der Gabelstaplervorrichtung zum Schleppen der Last zu verbinden.
     
    5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 4, wobei die Schwenkrahmenanordnung einen unteren Querträger (138), einen oberen Querträger (140) oberhalb des unteren Querträgers und ein Paar von voneinander beabstandeten ersten und zweiten Seitenträgern (142a, 142b) einschließt, die die oberen und unteren Querträger verbinden, wobei jeder Seitenträger eine Innenbordoberfläche (208) hat, die dem anderen Seitenträger gegenüber liegt, und wobei der erste Haken (206a) an der Innenbordoberfläche (208) des ersten Seitenträgers (142a) fixiert ist, und optional wobei der mindestens eine Lastzug-Steckverbinder (200) einen zweiten Haken (206b) einschließt, fixiert an der Innenbordoberfläche (208) des zweiten Seitenträgers (142b).
     
    6. Schwenkrahmenanordnung (130), schwenkbar montierbar in einer Gabelstaplervorrichtung (100) zum Schwenken einer Gabelvorrichtung (190) um eine horizontale Schwenkachse (132), wobei die Schwenkrahmenanordnung umfasst:

    a) einen unteren Querträger (138), lokalisiert unterhalb und sich senkrecht zu der Schwenkachse erstreckend;

    b) einen oberen Querträger (140), lokalisiert oberhalb und sich senkrecht zu der Schwenkachse erstreckend;

    c) ein Paar von lateral voneinander beabstandeten ersten und zweiten Seitenträgern (142a, 142b), die die oberen und unteren Querträger verbinden, wobei die Schwenkachse lateral zwischen den ersten und zweiten Seitenträgern eingeschoben ist;

    d) eine Gabelanordnungsmontagewelle, gestützt mittels der ersten und zweiten Seitenträger, wobei die Gabelanordnungsmontagewelle (144) sich entlang einer Gabelwellenachse (146) erstreckt, lokalisiert oberhalb und senkrecht zu der Schwenkachse; und

    e) einen verstärkten Mittelstützträger (148), lateral zwischen den ersten und zweiten Seitenträgern eingeschoben und die oberen und unteren Querträger verbindend, wobei der Mittelstützträger einschließt:

    i) eine Basisplatte (150), fixiert auf dem unteren Querträger,

    ii) eine Schwenkplatte (152), orientiert in einer Schwenkplattenebene (154), normal zu der Schwenkachse, wobei die Schwenkplatte auf der Basisplatte fixiert ist,

    iii) ein Schwenkplattenloch (156), das sich durch die Schwenkplatte entlang der Schwenkachse zum Empfangen einer Schwenkwelle (134) der Gabelstaplervorrichtung erstreckt zum schwenkbaren Montieren der Schwenkrahmenanordnung,

    iv) eine Gabelplatte (158), orientiert in einer Gabelplattenebene (160), normal zu der Gabelplattenachse, wobei die Gabelplatte einen Gabelplattenbodenabschnitt (158a) hat, fixiert an der Schwenkplatte und einen entgegengesetzten Gabelplattenoberabschnitt (158b), fixiert an dem oberen Querträger,

    v) ein Gabelplattenloch (162), das sich durch den Gabelplattenoberabschnitt entlang der Gabelwellenachse erstreckt, wobei die Gabelanordnungsmontagewelle durch das Gabelplattenloch passiert und gestützt ist mittels der Gabelplatte, und

    vi) ein Paar von lateral voneinander beabstandeten ersten und zweiten Knotenblechen (164a, 164b), von denen jedes eine Knotenblechbodenkante (166), fixiert an der Basisplatte, eine Knotenblechoberkante (168) oberhalb der Knotenblechbodenkante und fixiert an dem Gabelplattenbodenabschnitt, und eine Knotenblechseitenkante (170), die sich zwischen den Knotenblechboden- und -oberkanten erstreckt und an der Schwenkplatte fixiert ist, hat, wobei die Schwenkachse lateral zwischen die ersten und zweiten Knotenbleche eingeschoben ist und vertikal zwischen die Knotenblechboden- und -oberkanten eingeschoben ist.


     
    7. Anordnung nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Schwenkplatte einschließt: einen sich lateral erstreckenden Schwenkplattenbodenabschnitt (152a), fixiert an der Basisplatte; einen Schwenkplattenoberabschnitt (152b), oberhalb des Schwenkplattenbodenabschnitts beabstandet und fixiert an dem Gabelplattenbodenabschnitt, wobei sich das Schwenkplattenloch durch den Schwenkplattenoberabschnitt erstreckt; ein Paar von lateral voneinander beabstandeten Schwenkplattenseitenstützabschnitten (152c, 152d), die die Schwenkplattenober- und -bodenabschnitte verbinden; und einen Schwenkplattenmittelstützabschnitt (152e), lateral eingeschoben zwischen und beabstandet von den Schwenkplattenseitenstützabschnitten und die Schwenkplattenober- und -bodenabschnitte verbindend, und optional wobei die Gabelplattenebene die Schwenkachse und den Schwenkplattenm ittelstützabschnitt schneidet.
     
    8. Anordnung nach einem der Ansprüche 6 bis 7, wobei die Schwenkplatte eine Schwenkplattenfrontseite (172) einschließt, orientiert parallel zu der Schwenkplattenebene und wobei die Knotenblechseitenkanten an der Schwenkplattenfrontseite fixiert sind.
     
    9. Anordnung nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Gabelplattenbodenabschnitt einen Montageabschnitt (177) hat, der axial die Schwenkplatte überlappt und daran fixiert ist, und einen Überhangabschnitt (178), der axial von der Schwenkplattenfrontseite vorspringt, und wobei jede Knotenblechoberkante an dem Überhangabschnitt fixiert ist, und optional wobei der Überhangabschnitt lateral entgegengesetzte Seitenflächen (180) hat, die jeweils parallel zu der Gabelplattenebene orientiert sind, und wobei jede Knotenblechoberkante an einer entsprechenden der Seitenflächen fixiert ist.
     
    10. Anordnung nach einem der Ansprüche 8 bis 9, wobei die Basisplatte einen Schwenkplattenstützabschnitt (150a) hat, auf dem die Schwenkplatte fixiert ist, und einen Knotenblechstützabschnitt (150b), axial vorder Schwenkplattenfrontseite, und auf dem jede Knotenblechbodenkante fixiert ist.
     
    11. Gabelstaplervorrichtung (100) für einen Hubwagen, umfassend:

    eine Rahmenanordnung, montierbar auf dem Hubwagen;

    eine Gabelanordnung (190), gestützt mittels der Rahmenanordnung;

    einen hydraulischen ersten Antrieb (306), gekoppelt mit der Rahmenanordnung zum Veranlassen einer ersten Bewegung der Gabelanordnung;

    einen hydraulischen zweiten Antrieb (308), gestützt mittels der Rahmenanordnung zum Veranlassen einer zweiten Bewegung der Gabelanordnung; und

    eine Ventilanordnung (302), gekoppelt mit der Rahmenanordnung zum selektiven Liefern hydraulischen Fluids von der Hydraulikfluidversorgung (304) an mindestens einen des hydraulischen ersten Antriebs und des hydraulischen zweiten Antriebs, wobei die Ventilanordnung einschließt:

    a) einen Verteiler (312), der aufweist:

    i) einen ersten Versorgungsanschluss (314) zur Fluidkommunikation mit der Versorgung;

    ii) einen zweiten Versorgungsanschluss (316) zur Fluidkommunikation mit der Versorgung;

    iii) einen ersten Antriebsanschluss (330) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem ersten Antrieb;

    iv) einen zweiten Antriebsanschluss (332) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem ersten Antrieb;

    v) einen dritten Antriebsanschluss (334) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem zweiten Antrieb;

    vi) einen vierten Antriebsanschluss (336) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem zweiten Antrieb;

    vii) eine erste Kammer (342) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem ersten Versorgungsanschluss, dem zweiten Versorgungsanschluss, dem ersten Antriebsanschluss und dem zweiten Antriebsanschluss; und

    viii) eine zweite Kammer (344) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem ersten Versorgungsanschluss, dem zweiten Versorgungsanschluss, dem dritten Antriebsanschluss und dem vierten Antriebanschluss;

    b) ein elektronisches erstes Ventil (352), positioniert innerhalb der ersten Kammer und voreingestellt in eine erste Standardposition (352a), wobei das erste Ventil beweglich ist in eine erste aktivierte Position (352b), wenn es ein erstes Aktuierungssignal empfängt und zurück in die erste Standardposition veranlasst wird in Abwesenheit des ersten Aktuierungssignals, wobei das erste Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den ersten und zweiten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend erlaubt, wenn in der ersten Standardposition zum Leiten von Fluid an und von dem hydraulischen ersten Antrieb, und wobei das erste Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den ersten und zweiten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend blockiert, wenn in der ersten aktivierten Position; und

    c) ein elektronisches zweites Ventil (354), positioniert innerhalb der zweiten Kammer und voreingestellt in eine zweite Standardposition (354a), wobei das zweite Ventil beweglich ist in eine zweite aktivierte Position (354b), wenn es ein zweites Aktuierungssignal empfängt und zurück in die zweite Standardposition veranlasst wird in Abwesenheit des zweiten Aktuierungssignals, wobei das zweite Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den dritten und vierten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend erlaubt, wenn in der zweiten Standardposition zum Leiten von Fluid an und von dem hydraulischen zweiten Antrieb, und wobei das zweite Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den dritten und vierten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend blockiert, wenn in der zweiten Standardposition.


     
    12. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 11, wobei die ersten und zweiten Ventile (352, 354) auswechselbar sind zum Positionieren des ersten Ventils (352) in der zweiten Kammer und des zweiten Ventils (354) in der ersten Kammer.
     
    13. Vorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 11 bis 12, weiter umfassend einen hydraulischen dritten Antrieb (310) zum Veranlassen einer dritten Bewegung der Gabelanordnung, und wobei die Ventilanordnung weiter betrieben werden kann, um selektiv Hydraulikfluid von der Versorgung an den hydraulischen dritten Antrieb zu liefern, wobei der Verteiler weiter einschließt:

    einen fünften Antriebsanschluss (338) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem dritten Antrieb,

    einen sechsten Antriebsanschluss (340) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem dritten Antrieb, und

    eine dritte Kammer (346) in Fluidkommunikation mit dem ersten Versorgungsanschluss, dem zweiten Versorgungsanschluss, dem fünften Antriebsanschluss und dem sechsten Antriebsanschluss,

    wobei die Ventilanordnung weiter ein elektronisches drittes Ventil (356) einschließt, positioniert innerhalb der dritten Kammer und voreingestellt in einer dritte Standardposition (356a), wobei das dritte Ventil beweglich ist in eine dritte aktivierte Position (356b), wenn es ein drittes Aktuierungssignal empfängt und zurück in die dritte Standardposition veranlasst wird in Abwesenheit des dritten Aktuierungssignals, und wobei das dritte Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den fünften und sechsten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend erlaubt, wenn in der dritten Standardposition zum Leiten von Fluid an und von dem dritten Antrieb, und wobei das dritte Ventil Fluidkommunikation zwischen den ersten und zweiten Versorgungsanschlüssen und den fünften und sechsten Antriebsanschlüssen entsprechend blockiert, wenn in der dritten Standardposition.


     
    14. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 13, wobei jeder aus dem ersten Antrieb, dem zweiten Antrieb, und dem dritten Antrieb einen anderen aus einem Seitenschieberantrieb (314) umfasst zum Veranlassen lateraler Verschiebung der Gabelanordnung, einen Schwenkantrieb (188) zum Veranlassen des Schwenkens der Gabelanordnung und einen Gabelpositionierungsantrieb (194) zum Veranlassen der Verschiebung eines Paars von Gabeln (192a, 192b) der Gabelanordnung in Richtung auf und weg von einander.
     
    15. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 13, wobei die Rahmenanordnung einschließt:

    eine Montagerahmenanordnung (102), montierbar an dem Hubwagen zur vertikalen Bewegung;

    eine Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung (106), gleitfähig montiert an der Montagerahmenanordnung, wobei die Seitenschieberanordnung lateral entlang einer lateralen Achse (108) verschiebbar ist, fixiert relativ zu der Montagerahmenanordnung über den hydraulischen ersten Antrieb; und

    eine Schwenkrahmenanordnung (130), schwenkbar montiert an der Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung zum damit Verschieben, wobei die Schwenkrahmenanordnung um eine Schwenkachse (132) schwenkbar ist, die sich senkrecht zu der lateralen Achse erstreckt über den hydraulischen zweiten Antrieb, wobei die Schwenkachse fixiert ist, um mit der Seitenschieberrahmenanordnung zu verschieben;

    wobei die Gabelanordnung an der Schwenkrahmenanordnung zum damit Schwenken montiert ist, wobei die Gabelanordnung ein Paar von Gabeln (192a, 192b) einschließt, die von der Schwenkrahmenanordnung parallel zu der Schwenkachse vorspringen, wobei die Gabeln verschiebbar in Richtung auf und weg von einander über den hydraulischen dritten Antrieb sind.


     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil à tablier porte-fourche (100) pour un chariot élévateur et configuré pour tirer une charge, comprenant :

    a) un ensemble de châssis de montage (102) pouvant être monté sur le chariot élévateur pour un déplacement vertical ;

    b) un ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral (106) monté coulissant sur l'ensemble de châssis de montage, l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral pouvant être déplacé latéralement en translation le long d'un axe latéral (108) fixe par rapport à l'ensemble de châssis de montage ;

    c) un ensemble de châssis de pivot (130) monté pivotant sur l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral pour une translation avec celui-ci, l'ensemble de châssis de pivot étant pivotant autour d'un axe de pivot (132) s'étendant perpendiculairement à l'axe latéral, l'axe de pivot étant fixe pour une translation avec l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral ;

    d) un ensemble de fourche (190) monté sur l'ensemble de châssis de pivot pour un pivotement avec celui-ci, l'ensemble de fourche comportant une paire de fourches (192a, 192b) en saillie depuis l'ensemble de châssis de pivot parallèlement à l'axe de pivot ; et

    e) au moins un connecteur de traction de charge (200) monté sur l'ensemble de châssis de pivot et configuré pour connecter la charge à l'appareil à tablier porte-fourche pour tirer la charge.


     
    2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'au moins un connecteur de traction de charge comporte une ferrure de levage (202) configurée pour connecter la charge à l'appareil à tablier porte-fourche afin de suspendre la charge, et éventuellement, dans lequel la ferrure de levage est configurée pour la connexion d'un crochet de charge.
     
    3. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 et 2, dans lequel l'ensemble de châssis de pivot comporte une traverse inférieure (138), une traverse supérieure (140) au-dessus de la traverse inférieure, et une paire de premier et second éléments latéraux espacés (142a, 142b) raccordant les traverses supérieure et inférieure, et dans lequel la ferrure de levage est fixée à une surface inférieure (204) de la traverse inférieure.
     
    4. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 et 2, dans lequel l'au moins un connecteur de traction de charge comporte un premier crochet (206a) configuré pour raccorder la charge à l'appareil à tablier porte-fourche pour tracter la charge.
     
    5. Appareil selon la revendication 4, dans lequel l'ensemble de châssis de pivot comporte une traverse inférieure (138), une traverse supérieure (140) au-dessus de la traverse inférieure, et une paire de premier et second éléments latéraux espacés (142a, 142b) raccordant les traverses supérieure et inférieure, chaque élément latéral ayant une surface intérieure (208) face à l'autre élément latéral, et dans lequel le premier crochet (206a) est fixé à la surface intérieure (208) du premier élément latéral (142a), et éventuellement, dans lequel l'au moins un connecteur de traction de charge (200) comporte un second crochet (206b) fixé à la surface intérieure (208) du second élément latéral (142b).
     
    6. Ensemble de châssis de pivot (130) pouvant être monté pivotant dans un appareil à tablier porte-fourche (100) pour faire pivoter un ensemble de fourche (190) autour d'un axe de pivot horizontal (132), l'ensemble de châssis de pivot comprenant :

    a) une traverse inférieure (138) située au-dessous et s'étendant perpendiculairement à l'axe de pivot ;

    b) une traverse supérieure (140) située au-dessus et s'étendant perpendiculairement à l'axe de pivot ;

    c) une paire de premier et second éléments latéraux espacés (142a, 142b) raccordant les traverses supérieure et inférieure, l'axe de pivot étant situé latéralement entre les premier et second éléments latéraux ;

    d) un arbre de montage de l'ensemble de fourche supporté par les premier et second éléments latéraux, l'arbre de montage de l'ensemble de fourche (144) s'étendant le long d'un axe d'arbre de fourche (146) situé au-dessus et perpendiculairement à l'axe de pivot ; et

    e) un élément de support central renforcé (148) latéralement entre les premier et second éléments latéraux et raccordant les traverses supérieure et inférieure, l'organe de support central comportant :

    i) une plaque de base (150) fixée au sommet de la traverse inférieure,

    ii) une plaque de pivot (152) orientée dans un plan de plaque de pivot (154) normal à l'axe de pivot, la plaque de pivot étant fixée au sommet de la plaque de base,

    iii) un trou de plaque de pivot (156) s'étendant à travers la plaque de pivot le long de l'axe de pivot pour recevoir un arbre de pivot (134) de l'appareil à tablier porte-fourche pour un montage pivotant de l'ensemble de châssis de pivot,

    iv) une plaque de fourche (158) orientée dans un plan de plaque de fourche (160) normal à l'axe d'arbre de fourche, la plaque de fourche ayant une partie inférieure de plaque de fourche (158a) fixée à la plaque de pivot et une partie supérieure de plaque de fourche opposée (158b) fixée à la traverse supérieure,

    v) un trou de plaque de fourche (162) s'étendant à travers la partie supérieure de plaque de fourche le long de l'axe d'arbre de fourche, l'arbre de montage d'ensemble de fourche passant à travers le trou de plaque de fourche et étant supporté par la plaque de fourche, et

    vi) une paire de première et seconde plaque d'assemblage espacées latéralement (164a, 164b) ayant chacune un bord inférieur de plaque d'assemblage (166) fixé à la plaque de base, un bord supérieur de plaque d'assemblage (168) au-dessus du bord inférieur de plaque d'assemblage et fixé à la partie inférieure de plaque de fourche, et un bord latéral de plaque d'assemblage (170) s'étendant entre les bords inférieur et supérieur de plaque d'assemblage et fixé à la plaque de pivot, dans lequel l'axe de pivot est latéralement intermédiaire des première et seconde plaque d'assemblage et verticalement intermédiaire des bords inférieur et supérieur de plaque d'assemblage.


     
    7. Ensemble selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la plaque de pivot comporte : une partie inférieure de plaque de pivot s'étendant latéralement (152a) fixée à la plaque de base; une partie supérieure de plaque de pivot (152b) espacée au-dessus de la partie inférieure de plaque de pivot et fixée à la partie inférieure de plaque de fourche, le trou de plaque de pivot s'étendant à travers la partie supérieure de plaque de pivot ; une paire de parties de support latérales de plaque de pivot espacées latéralement (152c, 152d) raccordant les parties supérieure et inférieure de plaque de pivot ; et une partie de support centrale de plaque de pivot (152e) latéralement intermédiaire et espacée des parties de support latérales de plaque de pivot et raccordant les parties supérieure et inférieure de plaque de pivot, et éventuellement, dans lequel le plan de plaque de fourche croise l'axe de pivot et la partie de support centrale de plaque de pivot.
     
    8. Ensemble selon l'une quelconque des revendications 6 et 7, dans lequel la plaque de pivot comporte une face avant de plaque de pivot (172) orientée parallèlement au plan de plaque de pivot, et les bords latéraux de plaque d'assemblage sont fixés à la face avant de plaque de pivot.
     
    9. Ensemble selon la revendication 8, dans lequel la partie inférieure de plaque de fourche possède une partie de montage (177) chevauchant axialement la plaque de pivot et fixée à celle-ci, et une partie de surplomb (178) faisant saillie axialement vers l'avant de la face avant de la plaque de pivot, et dans lequel chaque bord supérieur de plaque d'assemblage est fixé à la partie de surplomb, et éventuellement, dans lequel la partie de surplomb a des faces latérales latéralement opposées (180), chacune étant orientée parallèlement au plan de plaque de fourche, et chaque bord supérieur de plaque d'assemblage est fixé à l'une respective des faces latérales.
     
    10. Ensemble selon l'une quelconque des revendications 8 et 9, dans lequel la plaque de base a une partie de support de plaque de pivot (150a) au sommet de laquelle est fixée la plaque de pivot, et une partie de support plaque d'assemblage (150b) axialement en avant de la face avant de plaque de pivot et au sommet de laquelle est fixé chaque bord inférieur de plaque d'assemblage.
     
    11. Appareil à tablier porte-fourche (100) pour un chariot élévateur, comprenant :

    un ensemble de châssis pouvant être monté sur le chariot élévateur ;

    un ensemble de fourche (190) supporté par l'ensemble de châssis ;

    un premier opérateur hydraulique (306) couplé à l'ensemble de châssis pour provoquer un premier déplacement de l'ensemble de fourche ;

    un deuxième opérateur hydraulique (308) supporté par l'ensemble de châssis pour provoquer un deuxième déplacement de l'ensemble de fourche ; et

    un ensemble de soupape (302) couplé à l'ensemble de châssis pour délivrer sélectivement un fluide hydraulique d'une alimentation en fluide hydraulique (304) à l'un d'au moins le premier opérateur hydraulique et le deuxième opérateur hydraulique, l'ensemble de soupape comportant :

    a) un collecteur (312) ayant :

    i) un premier orifice d'alimentation (314) pour une communication fluidique avec l'alimentation ;

    ii) un deuxième orifice d'alimentation (316) pour une communication fluidique avec l'alimentation ;

    iii) un premier orifice d'opérateur (330) en communication fluidique avec le premier opérateur ;

    iv) un deuxième orifice d'opérateur (332) en communication fluidique avec le premier opérateur ;

    v) un troisième orifice d'opérateur (334) en communication fluidique avec le deuxième opérateur ;

    vi) un quatrième orifice d'opérateur (336) en communication fluidique avec le deuxième opérateur ;

    vii) une première chambre (342) en communication fluidique avec le premier orifice d'alimentation, le deuxième orifice d'alimentation, le premier orifice d'opérateur et le deuxième orifice d'opérateur ; et

    viii) une deuxième chambre (344) en communication fluidique avec le premier orifice d'alimentation, le deuxième orifice d'alimentation, le troisième orifice d'opérateur et le quatrième orifice d'opérateur ;

    b) une première soupape électronique (352) positionnée au sein de la première chambre et sollicitée dans une première position par défaut (352a), la première soupape étant mobile dans une première position sous tension (352b) lors de la réception d'un premier signal d'actionnement et renvoyée dans la première position par défaut en l'absence du premier signal d'actionnement, dans lequel la première soupape permet une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les premier et deuxième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la première position par défaut pour conduire un fluide vers et depuis le premier opérateur hydraulique, et la première soupape bloque une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les premier et deuxième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la première position sous tension ; et

    c) une deuxième soupape électronique (354) positionnée au sein de la deuxième chambre et sollicitée dans une deuxième position par défaut (354a), la deuxième soupape étant mobile dans une deuxième position sous tension (354b) lors de la réception d'un deuxième signal d'actionnement et renvoyée dans la deuxième position par défaut en l'absence du deuxième signal d'actionnement, dans lequel la deuxième soupape permet une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les troisième et quatrième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la deuxième position sous tension pour conduire un fluide vers et depuis le deuxième opérateur hydraulique, et la deuxième soupape bloque une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les troisième et quatrième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la deuxième position par défaut.


     
    12. Appareil selon la revendication 11, dans lequel les première et deuxième soupapes (352, 354) sont interchangeables pour un positionnement de la première soupape (352) dans la deuxième chambre et de la deuxième soupape (354) dans la première chambre.
     
    13. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications 11 et 12, comprenant en outre un troisième opérateur hydraulique (310) pour provoquer un troisième déplacement de l'ensemble de fourche, et dans lequel l'ensemble de soupape est en outre capable de fonctionner pour délivrer sélectivement un fluide hydraulique de l'alimentation au troisième opérateur hydraulique, dans lequel le collecteur comporte en outre :

    un cinquième orifice d'opérateur (338) en communication fluidique avec le troisième opérateur,

    un sixième orifice d'opérateur (340) en communication fluidique avec le troisième opérateur, et

    une troisième chambre (346) en communication fluidique avec le premier orifice d'alimentation, le deuxième orifice d'alimentation, le cinquième orifice d'opérateur et le sixième orifice d'opérateur,

    dans lequel l'ensemble de soupape comporte en outre une troisième soupape électronique (356) positionnée au sein de la troisième chambre et sollicitée dans une troisième position par défaut (356a), la troisième soupape étant mobile dans une troisième position sous tension (356b) lors de la réception d'un troisième signal d'actionnement et renvoyée dans la troisième position par défaut en l'absence du troisième signal d'actionnement, et dans lequel la troisième soupape permet une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les cinquième et sixième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la troisième position sous tension pour conduire un fluide vers et depuis le troisième opérateur, et la troisième soupape bloque une communication fluidique entre les premier et deuxième orifices d'alimentation et les cinquième et sixième orifices d'opérateur, respectivement, lorsqu'elle est dans la troisième position par défaut.


     
    14. Appareil selon la revendication 13, dans lequel chacun des premier opérateur, deuxième opérateur et troisième opérateur comprend un opérateur différent parmi un opérateur de déplacement latéral (314) pour provoquer une translation latérale de l'ensemble de fourche, d'un opérateur de pivot (188) pour provoquer un pivotement de l'ensemble de fourche, et d'un opérateur de positionnement de fourche (194) pour provoquer une translation d'une paire de fourches (192a, 192b) de l'ensemble de fourche en direction et en éloignement l'une de l'autre.
     
    15. Appareil selon la revendication 13, dans lequel l'ensemble de châssis comporte :

    un ensemble de châssis de montage (102) pouvant être monté sur le chariot élévateur pour un déplacement vertical ;

    un ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral (106) monté coulissant sur l'ensemble de châssis de montage, l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral étant latéralement translatable le long d'un axe latéral (108) fixe par rapport à l'ensemble de châssis de montage via le premier opérateur hydraulique ; et

    un ensemble de châssis de pivot (130) monté pivotant sur l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral pour une translation avec celui-ci, l'ensemble de châssis de pivot étant pivotant autour d'un axe de pivot (132) s'étendant perpendiculairement à l'axe latéral via le deuxième opérateur hydraulique, l'axe de pivot étant fixe pour une translation avec l'ensemble de châssis de déplacement latéral ;

    dans lequel l'ensemble de fourche est monté sur l'ensemble de châssis de pivot pour un pivotement avec celui-ci, l'ensemble de fourche comportant une paire de fourches (192a, 192b) en saillie depuis l'ensemble de châssis de pivot parallèlement à l'axe de pivot, les fourches étant translatables en direction et en éloignement l'une de l'autre via le troisième opérateur hydraulique.


     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description