CNH America issued US patent for quick-change disc mower knives related to machines for severing standing crops from the ground

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia , August 29, 2013 () – According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors Whitenight, Donald R. (Orangeville, PA); Harkcom, Melanie W. (New Holland, PA), filed on February 8, 2010, was published online on August 20, 2013.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8510959, is CNH America LLC (New Holland, PA).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates generally to machines for severing standing crops from the ground using a plurality of rotatable discs having knives mounted thereon to sever standing crop by an impact action upon rotation of the discs and, more particularly, to disc cutter knives that may be easily removed from the rotatable discs and replaced without the need for tools.

"Rotary disc mowers are well known in the agricultural arts and used in the harvest of a variety of standing crops. A typical disc mower cutterbar comprises a plurality of cutterheads spaced along the length of the cutterbar. The cutterheads each typically comprise a rotating cutting disc including diametrically opposed cutting blades (though configurations with three or more blades are known) driven by a drivetrain housed within the cutterbar that receives motive power from the prime mover to which the disc mower is attached. For background information on the structure and operation of some typical disc cutterbars, reference is made to U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,323, issued to Campbell, the descriptive portions thereof being incorporated herein in full by reference.

"Cutterbars frequently impact rocks and other obstructions in a field which can damage the knives. Further, knives also become dulled by their interaction with the crop and require periodic removal for sharpening or replacement. Knives were originally secured to the rotating discs using a bolt-and-nut connection. Increasing demands for production efficiency yielded numerous connection designs that enable knives to be removed and replaced more quickly, most retaining the bolt and nut, but no longer necessitating complete removal of the bolt and nut. Still, the known disc cutter knife quick change designs require tools to remove and replace the knives.

"It would be advantageous to have a knife for use on a rotary disc cutterhead that could be quickly and conveniently removed and replaced by hand without the need for tools. The quick change connection must reliably retain the knives in position during cutterbar operation to prevent knifes from becoming hazardous projectiles, even as the knives impact standing crop or immovable obstacles in the field."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Accordingly, the present invention, in any of the embodiments described herein, may provide one or more of the following advantages:

"It is an object of the present invention to provide a knife for use on a rotary disc cutterhead that may be removed and reinstalled by hand without the need for tools.

"It is a further object of the present invention to provide a knife for use on a rotary disc cutterhead in which centrifugal force of the cutterhead rotation aids in retain the knife connected to the cutterhead.

"It is a further object of the present invention to provide a connection apparatus for connecting a knife to a rotary disc cutterhead in which the knife must be specifically oriented before the knife can be removed from the cutterhead.

"It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a connection apparatus for connecting a knife for use on a rotary disc cutterhead that incorporates hand operable safety features to prevent inadvertent release of the knife from the disc cutterhead during machine operation.

"It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a connection apparatus for connecting a knife to a rotating disc of a rotary disc cutterhead that is durable in construction, inexpensive of manufacture, carefree of maintenance, easily assembled, and simple and effective to use.

"These and other objects are achieved in accordance with the instant invention by providing a connection apparatus for connecting a knife to a rotary disc cutterhead comprising a mounting stud having a specifically configured head disposed on the rotating cutterhead and a key hole opening on one end of the knife which permits the knife to moved into engagement with the stud and head when the knife is specifically oriented and then retained in place by the stud and head when the knife is moved into a normal operating position. A hand-operated biasing element prevents inadvertent disengagement of the knife from the stud. The key-hole opening and connection stud may also be configured to limit the angular orientation of the knife which will permit disengagement of the knife from the connection apparatus."

For more information, see this patent: Whitenight, Donald R.; Harkcom, Melanie W.. Quick-Change Disc Mower Knives. U.S. Patent Number 8510959, filed February 8, 2010, and published online on August 20, 2013. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=122&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=6054&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20130820.PD.&OS=ISD/20130820&RS=ISD/20130820

Keywords for this news article include: CNH America LLC.

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