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Patent: To Lift From Your Truck.
Patent: To Lift From Your Truck. | hou_txbz, Helmut Grollitsch, 8221048, Lifting apparatus, truck bed, cargo,

Helmut Grollitsch of Houston recently received U.S. Patent 8,221,048 for “Lifting Apparatus for Use in a Truck Bed.”

Texas Business Patent of the Day:  A Texas man has devised a way to lift things from the bed of your truck.

Helmut Grollitsch of Houston recently received U.S. Patent 8,221,048 for “Lifting Apparatus for Use in a Truck Bed.”

Grollitsch applied for the patent more than two years ago on April 20, 2010.

Grollitsch’s invention relates to lifting devices as used in trucks, according to the patent document. More particularly, the present invention relates to apparatus whereby heavy loads can be moved from a location outside of the bed of a truck into the interior of the truck bed and, in particular, in a desired location within the bed of the truck. 

 For many years, the advantages of providing a cargo-carrying vehicle such as a truck with a lift gate have been recognized. As is well known, lift gates are gates which not only close the rear of the bed of the vehicle, but which, when in the housing position, may be moved between a first position wherein they are an extension of the truck bed and a second position resting on the underlying terrain. Cargo may be loaded on or removed from the gate while in the latter position or loaded into or unloaded from the vehicle when in the former position.

Conventionally, some sort of motor is utilized to drive the lift gate between the two positions. There is some sort of linkage which maintains the upper surface of the gate in a generally horizontal plane during such movement to prevent cargo on the gate from falling off. 

Lift gates are generally not suited for small or medium sized cargo-carrying vehicles because the linkage and the drive system for moving the gate between upper and lowered positions was adapted to be located wholly below the plane of the truck bed. This, in turn, requires that the bed of the truck be located relatively high above the underlying terrain to provide the requisite ground clearance. As a result, this is limited to relatively large cargo-carrying vehicles with high road clearances. 

Another problem with lift gates is that the cargo is only brought to the very end of the bed of the truck. As a result, it is still necessary to move the heavy load from the lift gate into the bed of the truck. Such movement of heavy loads can be inconvenient and difficult to accomplish. In other circumstances, the heavy load must be lifted a small distance so as to bring the load into proximity onto the lift gate. Once again, workers must be prepared to lift the load, at least a small distance, so as to place the load in its desired position on the lift gate. In many circumstances, the heavy load is only delivered to the very back of the bed of the truck. As a result, the truck will have an unbalanced load heavily oriented toward the rear of the truck. Such unbalanced loads can create driving hazards. Additionally, and furthermore, the lift gates only allow the load to be delivered toward the rear of the bed of the truck. When additional heavy loads must be introduced into the bed, there is often a lack of space for such loads since the initial loads have not been moved toward the forward end of the bed. 

In other circumstances, cranes have been proposed for use on such truck beds. Unfortunately, these cranes are often unwieldy devices which prevent the load from being adequately delivered into the interior of the vehicle. In certain circumstances, the cranes will present a structure which extends outwardly above the top of the truck body. As a result, damage can often occur during the movement of the truck with these outwardly extending projections. Additionally, and furthermore, these cranes also fail to deliver the load where it is best desired, i.e. toward the forward end of the bed. These rear-mounted cranes often lift the load to a position whereby the worker can push the load into the rear portion of the pickup truck bed. Once again, limited loads and unevenly distributed loads will result. 

Grollitsch’s invention is a lifting apparatus that comprises a support structure, a frame pivotally connected to the support structure, an actuating means connected to the frame so as to move the frame between a retracted position and an extended position, a lifting bar pivotally connected to the frame, and a linkage having one end pivotally connected to the support structure and an opposite end connected to the lifting bar. 

In the present invention, the support structure comprises a beam, and a flange affixed to the beam and extending upwardly. The frame is pivotally connected to the beam. The lifting bar is pivotally connected to the flange. The support structure also includes a truck bed having the bean affixed.

In the present invention, the frame comprises a first arm that is pivotally affixed at one end to the support structure, a second arm that is pivotally affixed at one end to the support structure, and a cross bar extending between the first and second arms of the respective opposite ends. 

The lifting bar is pivotally affixed to the first arm and the second arm at a position between the ends thereof. The lifting bar includes a first strut having one end pivotally affixed to the frame, a second strut having one end pivotally affixed to the frame, and a cross member affixed adjacent to opposite ends of the first and second struts and extending thereacross. The first strut and the second strut and the cross member define a generally U-shaped configuration. 

The linkage of the present invention includes a first link that has one end pivotally affixed to the support structure and an opposite end pivotally affixed to the first strut in a position between the ends thereof. The linkage also includes a second link having one end pivotally affixed to the support structure and an opposite end pivotally affixed to the second strut in a position between the ends thereof. Each of the first and second links has a fixed length. The pivotal connection of the linkage with the support structure is elevated above the pivotal connection of the frame with the support structure. 

In the present invention, "actuating means" will, preferably, be a hydraulic piston-and-cylinder assembly. Alternatively, the "actuating means" can include various other mechanical systems such as a pneumatic piston-and-cylinder assembly, a motor assembly, a suitable transmission connected to the motor assembly, and related mechanisms.