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1. WO2020107092 - PORTABLE LIVESTOCK HANDLING APPARATUS EMPLOYING FRONT-ONLY LIFTING JACK FOR TRANSITION BETWEEN TRANSPORT MODE AND FIELD USE

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

CLAIMS:

1. A mobile livestock handling apparatus comprising: a frame having a front end and opposing rear end spaced apart in a longitudinal direction;

a pull tongue extending longitudinally forward from the front end of the frame for connection to a hitch of a towing vehicle at a leading end of said pull tongue;

transport wheels connected or connectable to the frame at opposing lateral sides thereof at a wheel axis lying transversely of the longitudinal direction at a fixed position situated intermediately of the front and rear ends of the frame in the longitudinal direction; and

a front lifting jack mechanism comprising one or more front lifting jacks that are attached to the frame at a fixed location residing forwardly of the wheel axis, and are extendable down into contact with a ground surface beneath the frame and operable to lift the front end of the frame about the wheel axis and thereby simultaneously lower the rear end of the frame about the wheel axis

wherein the apparatus is free of any rear lifting jacks situated rearwardly of the wheel axis.

2. A mobile livestock handling apparatus comprising: a frame having a front end and opposing rear end spaced apart in a longitudinal direction;

a pull tongue extending longitudinally forward from the front end of the frame for connection to a hitch of a towing vehicle at a leading end of said pull tongue;

transport wheels connected or connectable to the frame at opposing lateral sides thereof at a wheel axis lying transversely of the longitudinal direction at a fixed position situated intermediately of the front and rear ends of the frame in the longitudinal direction; and

a front lifting jack mechanism comprising one or more front lifting jacks that are attached to the frame at a fixed location residing forwardly of the wheel axis, and are extendable down into contact with a ground surface beneath the frame and operable to lift the front end of the frame about the wheel axis and thereby simultaneously lower the rear end of the frame about the wheels axis;

wherein the one or more front lifting jacks are extendable far enough to lower the rear end of the frame into contact with the ground surface, and subsequently lift the transport wheels off the ground surface.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 or 2 wherein the front lifting jack mechanism resides intermediately of the wheel axis and the front end of the frame in the longitudinal direction.

4. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 3 wherein a rear section of the apparatus spanning from the wheel axis to the rear end of the frame is lighter than a front section of the apparatus spanning from the wheel axis to the connection end of the pull tongue.

5. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein a center of mass of said apparatus is situated forwardly of the wheel axis.

6. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 5 wherein said apparatus has a front-heavy weight distribution.

7. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 6 wherein said front lifting jack mechanism is an only lifting jack mechanism of said apparatus.

8. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein said front lifting jack mechanism is a non-hydraulic lifting jack mechanism.

9. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein said front lifting jack mechanism is an electric lifting jack mechanism.

10. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 9 wherein said one or more front lifting jacks are spaced from the front end of the frame toward the wheel axis, and the front lifting jack mechanism comprises a drive motor operable to actuate extension of the one or more front lifting jacks, said drive motor being located closer to said one or more front lifting jacks than to the front end of the frame, in said longitudinal direction.

1 1. The apparatus of claim 10 comprising a gear train by which the drive motor is operably connected to the one or more front lifting jacks.

12. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 9 wherein said front lifting jack mechanism comprises a drive motor operable to actuate extension of the one or more front lifting jacks, and a gear train by which the drive motor is operably connected to the one or more front lifting jacks.

13. The apparatus of any one of claims 10 to 12 wherein the one or more front lifting jacks comprise two front lifting jacks respectively residing at opposing sides of the frame, said drive motor being carried on the frame between said two front lifting jacks.

14. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 13 wherein a respective actuation axis along which each front lifting jack is extendable and collapsible is fixed relative to the frame.

15. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 14 wherein each front lifting jack comprises a ground foot that is pivotable about a pivot axis that is parallel to the wheel axis and transverse to both the actuation axis of the front lifting jack and the longitudinal direction of the frame.

16. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 15 comprising a livestock force tub carried on the frame at a location situated more rearwardly than forwardly of

the wheel axis.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 comprising a livestock alleyway spanning forwardly from said livestock force tub.

18. The apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 17 comprising a livestock squeeze chute carried on the frame at a location situated more forwardly than rearwardly of the wheel axis.

19. The apparatus of claim 17 comprising a livestock squeeze chute at an end of the alleyway situated opposite the livestock force tub.

20. A method of setting up the mobile livestock handling apparatus of any preceding claim for field use, said method comprising:

(a) towing said apparatus to an intended setup site using a tow vehicle having a hitch to which the pull tongue of the apparatus is connected;

(b) at said setup site, with the pull tongue of the apparatus still connected to the hitch of the tow vehicle, extending the front lifting jack mechanism down into contact with the ground surface;

(c) with the front lifting jack mechanism extended down into said contact with the ground surface, disconnecting the pull tongue of the apparatus from the hitch of the tow vehicle;

(d) performing further extension of the front lifting jack mechanism to lower the rear end of the frame into contact with said ground surface;

(e) with said rear end of the frame in contact with the ground surface, performing even further extension of the front lifting jack mechanism to increase an inclination angle of the apparatus relative to the ground surface and thereby lift the transport wheels from said ground surface;

(f) with the inclination angle large enough to lift said transport wheels from the ground surface, removing said transport wheels from the frame; and

(g) with the transport wheels removed, collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism to lower the front end of the frame down to the ground surface, thereby laying said frame atop the ground surface.

21. The method of claim 21 comprising, before lowering the front end of the frame into contact with the ground surface in step (g), removing the pull tongue from the frame of the apparatus.

22. A method of preparing the mobile livestock handling apparatus of any one of claims 1 to 19 for transport, said method comprising:

(a) with the apparatus initially residing in a ground-seated state with the frame seated on said ground surface and the transport wheels removed, extending the front lifting jack mechanism to lift the front end of the frame to a height at which an inclination angle of said frame relative to the ground surface is great enough that a distance from the wheel axis to the ground surface exceeds a radius of the transport wheels;

(b) with the apparatus at said inclination angle, installing the transport wheels on the frame;

(c) collapsing the front lifting jack to lower the front end of the frame, thereby reducing said inclination angle and lowering said transport wheels into contact with said ground surface;

(d) with the transport wheels in said contact with the ground surface, further collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism to lift the rear end of the frame from the ground surface;

(e) with the pull tongue in an installed position reaching forwardly from the front end of the frame, collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism even further to lower the pu!l tongue into connectable relation to a hitch of a tow vehicle;

(f) connecting the pull tongue to said hitch; and

(g) with the pull tongue connected to said hitch, further collapsing the front lifting jack to a raised position lifted from the ground surface to enable towing of the apparatus on the transport wheels via the pull tongue and the hitch.

23. The method of claim 22 wherein the pull tongue is not in the installed position in the initial ground-seated state of step (a), and the method comprises installing the pull tongue on the frame prior to step (e) and after initial lifting of the front end of the frame in step (a).

24. A method of setting up a portable livestock apparatus comprising a frame, transport wheels situated on a wheel axis located intermediately between opposing front and rear ends of the frame, and a front lifting jack mechanism disposed forwardly of the wheel axis, said method comprising using the front lifting jack mechanism and transport wheels to bear a weight of the apparatus during disconnection thereof from a tow vehicle hitch, extending the front lifting jack mechanism to lower the rear end of the frame down into contact with a ground surface, further extending the front lifting jack mechanism to increase an inclination angle of the frame relative to said ground surface and thereby lift the transport wheels from said ground surface, removing the transport wheels from the frame, and collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism to lower the front end of the frame down to the ground surface, thereby laying said frame atop the ground surface.

25. The method of claim 24 comprising, before lowering the front end of the frame into contact with the ground surface, removing a pull tongue of the apparatus by which said apparatus was previously connected to the tow vehicle hitch.

26. A method of preparing to transport a portable livestock handling

apparatus comprising a frame, transport wheels situated on a wheel axis located intermediately between opposing front and rear ends of the frame, and a front lifting jack mechanism disposed forwardly of the wheel axis, said method comprising, with the apparatus initially in a ground-seated state with the frame seated on a ground surface and the transport wheels removed, using the front lifting jack mechanism to lift the front end of the frame to a height at which an inclination angle of said frame relative to the ground surface is great enough that a distance from the wheel axis to the ground surface exceeds a radius of the transport wheels, installing the transport wheels on the frame while holding the frame at said inclination angle with the front lifting jack, collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism to lower the transport wheels to the ground surface, further collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism to lift the rear end of the frame from the ground surface and lower a front pull tongue of the apparatus into connectable relation to a tow vehicle hitch, connecting the pull tongue to said tow vehicle hitch, and further collapsing the front lifting jack mechanism out of contact with the ground surface to enable towing of the apparatus on the transport wheels via the pull tongue and the tow vehicle hitch.

27. The method of claim 26 comprising installing the pull tongue on the frame after lifting the front end of the frame from the ground surface.