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Self-actuating mechanical grapple for lifting and handling objects

United States Patent

July 10, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Savannah River National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Website
A self-actuating mechanical grapple for lifting and handling an object includes a support housing with upper and lower portions and defining an internal recess. The lower portion of the housing includes a bottom opening which communicates with the recess. Preferably, two or three grapple jaws are provided, the first end portions of which are connected to the housing and the second end portions thereof remain free for engaging an object. The grapple jaws are pivotable between open and closed positions. An actuator member is slidably positioned in the recess for opening and closing the jaws, and includes a cam portion in operative engagement with the first end portions of the jaws in a manner to pivot the jaws when the actuator member moves axially relative to the housing. The actuator member includes a rotatable member with at least one contact member. A locking member or logic ring includes grooves defining open and closed positions of the jaws and is fixedly mounted to the internal surface of the housing and cooperates with the rotatable member. A plunger member is axially movable in the housing for contacting an object and includes at least one stud member for immovably engaging the contact member.
Hovis; Gregory L. (North Augusta, SC), Etheredge, Jr.; Carl T. (Tuscaloosa, AL)
The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy (Washington, DC)
09/ 585,538
June 2, 2000
This invention was made with Government support under contract No. DE-AC09-96SR18500 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.