Wisconsin Patent of the Month – January 2023

Railcars have been an essential part of the transportation industry for decades, as they are used to transport all sorts of materials. However, moving railcars on private property can be a challenge for small operations that can’t afford large machinery like a ‘TrackMobile’ or locomotive. Operators of small operations currently release the brakes of railcars manually and push them with a bucket or fork, which is unsafe and also lacks a fixed confident connection between the railcar and the machinery. SAS of Luxemburg LLC (SAS Forks) has patented their design of a railcar airbrake system which addresses these issues.

The railcar airbrake system can be attached to machinery by mounting it to the front of motorized machinery, including a railcar coupler, a glad hand air hose connection, a compressor, an air storage tank, a sliding base frame, and a pair of quick mount members. The sliding base frame has a compressor retention structure and a coupler slide device.

The air storage tank and the compressor are secured to the base support plate. The compressor motor is a self-contained internal combustion engine that supplies compressed air to the air storage tank. The air storage tank supplies compressed air to the glad hand air hose connection, which outputs direct regulated compressed air to unlock the brakes on a railcar. The glad hand air hose is actuated via controls in a machinery cab by an operator.

One advantage of this railcar airbrake system attachment is that it provides an interface between the mobile equipment and the railcar with a fixed confident connection, making it a safer option than manually pushing railcars. It is also selectively detachable from the front of motorized machinery, which is more convenient than attachments that are attached to the rear of machinery, which are frequently damaged when the machinery is backed up.

SAS Forks had their beginnings in 1972, as a late model auto salvage yard. They spent the next 50 years evolving into a full line attachment manufacturer, developing solutions for the industry as they grew. The company constantly works to stay ahead of the needs of the industry and its customers. With a strong market and public need for more and more recycled metals, SAS Forks’ goal is to continue to serve those needs and invent new products to make the job more efficient and profitable.

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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