Maine Patent of the Month – August 2023

The founders of Howe & Howe, Inc. have been building and innovating ever since they were young. This interest in innovation blossomed into the design of RIPSAW – their first vehicle. Since then, they have grown to develop mission-built vehicles for both defense and civilian use. Recently, the company has patented their design for a vehicle with deployable towing wheels.

As anyone familiar with these vehicles knows, they provide unparalleled traction on uneven terrains. However, high-speed travel or long-distance transport can take a toll on their tracks and structures, necessitating a towing solution that goes beyond the conventional flat-bed trailers.

Howe & Howe’s genius solution lies in the implementation of supplemental wheels that can be deployed when towing the tracked vehicle. These wheels can be swung into position, supporting the weight of the vehicle and allowing it to be towed effortlessly. The first step in the process involves swinging a wheel assembly attached to the tracked vehicle about a specific axis, positioning the wheel below the lowest extent of the track. This strategic placement ensures that the weight of the vehicle is effectively borne by the wheel.

This innovative towing configuration eradicates the need for traditional flat-bed trailers, which can be bulky, expensive, and require additional manpower. Howe & Howe’s method streamlines the towing process, making it more convenient and efficient. A single operator can quickly arrange the vehicle in the towing configuration, saving time and effort.

Howe & Howe’s method also allows for swift reconfiguration when the tracked vehicle needs to return to its original operating mode. Once the towing is complete, the wheel assembly can be locked into position, preventing further swinging. The tracked vehicle can then return to using its tracks, ensuring maximum performance and durability.

While this method has been initially designed for tracked vehicles, the potential applications extend beyond that. The concept could be adapted for non-tracked vehicles, including wheeled vehicles, offering enhanced towing capabilities across various industries.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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