Patents by Inventor Richard K. Hoofard

Richard K. Hoofard has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10494205
    Abstract: Systems and methods for monitoring components of a loading dock station that implement a remote monitoring and authorization system are disclosed. The systems and methods can provide information regarding the status of various components of the loading dock station to a remote monitoring and authorization control unit, where a supervisor or the like is capable of reviewing real time information regarding the status of the components and progress through and adherence to a workflow protocol. The systems and methods can also provide for authorization requests to be sent to the remote monitoring and authorization control unit, such as requests to override certain components of the docking station. The user at the remote monitoring and authorization control unit can then grant or deny requests based on status information and other data provided at the remote monitoring and authorization control unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 6, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2019
    Assignee: ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems AB
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Day
  • Patent number: 10329105
    Abstract: Wheel chock systems for use at loading docks and other locations are described herein. In some embodiments, the wheel chock systems can include a wheel chock assembly that is positionable in contact with a vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at a loading dock. The wheel chock assembly can include a sensor target, and a corresponding sensor can be mounted to, for example, an outer wall of the loading dock or a wheel chock storage cradle mounted to the outer wall. In operation, the sensor can emit a wireless signal (e.g., an electromagnetic signal) that is reflected off of the sensor target and received back by the sensor when the wheel chock has been positioned in a blocking relationship relative to the vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at the loading dock. The sensor can be operably connected to a loading dock signal system (e.g., a signal light system) that displays appropriate signals to loading dock personnel based on detection of proper wheel chock placement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 25, 2019
    Assignee: ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems AB
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Day
  • Publication number: 20190144218
    Abstract: Systems and associated methods for controlling operation of loading dock equipment are described herein. In some embodiments, the system and associated methods can be used to control operation of loading dock equipment (e.g., a vehicle restraint, a dock door, a dock leveler, etc.) according to a sequence of operations. The sequence of operations can include different sub-sequences based on loading dock conditions. The system can include a display screen that sequentially presents a series of control elements that enable operation of the loading dock equipment. Additionally, the visual appearance and/or sequence of presentation of the control elements indicate the proper sequence of selection to the user, thereby reducing user confusion and simplifying the operation of the loading dock equipment. Some functionality of the control panel can be enabled or disabled based on a current level of authorization.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 10, 2019
    Publication date: May 16, 2019
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Brett A. Walford, Stephen Kosek, Daryl Day
  • Publication number: 20190064835
    Abstract: Systems and methods are disclosed for controlling operations of autonomous vehicles and systems in, for example, logistics yards at distribution, manufacturing, processing and/or other centers for the transfer of goods, materials, and/or other cargo. In some embodiments, an autonomous yard tractor or other vehicle can include one or more systems for locating an over-the-road trailer parked in a yard of a distribution center, engaging the trailer, and moving the trailer to a loading dock for loading/unloading operations in accordance with a workflow procedure provided by a central control system. In other embodiments, an autonomous yard tractor can locate the trailer at the loading dock after the loading/unloading operations, engage the trailer, and move the trailer to a parking location in the yard.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 22, 2018
    Publication date: February 28, 2019
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Day, L. Blake Whitley
  • Publication number: 20170369260
    Abstract: Wheel chock systems for use at loading docks and other locations are described herein. In some embodiments, the wheel chock systems can include a wheel chock assembly that is positionable in contact with a vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at a loading dock. The wheel chock assembly can include a sensor target, and a corresponding sensor can be mounted to, for example, an outer wall of the loading dock or a wheel chock storage cradle mounted to the outer wall. In operation, the sensor can emit a wireless signal (e.g., an electromagnetic signal) that is reflected off of the sensor target and received back by the sensor when the wheel chock has been positioned in a blocking relationship relative to the vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at the loading dock. The sensor can be operably connected to a loading dock signal system (e.g., a signal light system) that displays appropriate signals to loading dock personnel based on detection of proper wheel chock placement.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 24, 2017
    Publication date: December 28, 2017
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Day
  • Publication number: 20170320685
    Abstract: Systems and associated methods for controlling operation of loading dock equipment are disclosed herein. In some embodiments, the system and associated methods can be used to control operation of loading dock equipment (e.g., a vehicle restraint, a dock door, a dock leveler, etc.) according to a preset sequence of operations. The system can include a display screen that sequentially presents a series of graphical control elements (e.g., touch-sensitive buttons) that enable operation of the loading dock equipment in an appropriate sequence. Additionally, the visual appearance and/or sequence of presentation of the graphical control elements indicate the proper sequence of selection to the user, thereby reducing user confusion and simplifying the operation of the loading dock equipment.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 3, 2016
    Publication date: November 9, 2017
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Brett A. Walford, Stephen Kosek
  • Patent number: 9751702
    Abstract: Wheel chock systems for use at loading docks and other locations are described herein. In some embodiments, the wheel chock systems can include a wheel chock assembly that is positionable in contact with a vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at a loading dock. The wheel chock assembly can include a sensor target, and a corresponding sensor can be mounted to, for example, an outer wall of the loading dock or a wheel chock storage cradle mounted to the outer wall. In operation, the sensor can emit a wireless signal (e.g., an electromagnetic signal) that is reflected off of the sensor target and received back by the sensor when the wheel chock has been positioned in a blocking relationship relative to the vehicle wheel to restrain the vehicle at the loading dock. The sensor can be operably connected to a loading dock signal system (e.g., a signal light system) that displays appropriate signals to loading dock personnel based on detection of proper wheel chock placement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 6, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2017
    Assignee: ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Day
  • Patent number: 9726192
    Abstract: Fans having fan blades with lightweight blade tips are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, for example, each fan blade includes a blade tip attached to an end portion of a main airfoil. The blade tip includes a shaped body that is molded over a support structure to form the shape and exterior surface of the blade tip.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2015
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2017
    Assignee: ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems AB
    Inventors: L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Publication number: 20160290357
    Abstract: Fans having fan blades with lightweight blade tips are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, for example, each fan blade includes a blade tip attached to an end portion of a main airfoil. The blade tip includes a shaped body that is molded over a support structure to form the shape and exterior surface of the blade tip.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 31, 2015
    Publication date: October 6, 2016
    Inventors: L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Patent number: 8842000
    Abstract: Systems and methods for controlling a system of fans in a facility from a central system controller are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the system of fans can be configured to shut down automatically during an emergency condition or event. For example, a fan system controller can be connected to the system of fans and provide a signal to each of the fans. While each of the fans receives the signal, power is connected to a motor on each of the fans. Upon detection of an emergency condition, the fan system controller disconnects the signal to the fans, thereby automatically simultaneously shutting down the entire system of fans.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 23, 2014
    Assignee: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Daryl Day, Richard K. Hoofard, Brett A. Walford
  • Publication number: 20140022071
    Abstract: Systems and methods for controlling a system of fans in a facility from a central system controller are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the system of fans can be configured to shut down automatically during an emergency condition or event. For example, a fan system controller can be connected to the system of fans and provide a signal to each of the fans. While each of the fans receives the signal, power is connected to a motor on each of the fans. Upon detection of an emergency condition, the fan system controller disconnects the signal to the fans, thereby automatically simultaneously shutting down the entire system of fans.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 17, 2012
    Publication date: January 23, 2014
    Applicant: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, Daryl Duane Day, Brett A. Walford
  • Patent number: 8407842
    Abstract: Dock levelers, such as mechanical dock levelers, are described herein. In one embodiment, a mechanical dock leveler includes a ramp having a lip pivotally attached to a forward edge. A ramp lifting system is configured to assist upward rotation of the ramp as it is manually raised. In this embodiment, a lip lifting system is operably coupled to the ramp lifting system so that the ramp is initially “downward biased” prior to being raised, and then becomes at least partially supported in a raised position by the lip lifting mechanism, once the lip lifting mechanism is engaged.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2010
    Date of Patent: April 2, 2013
    Assignee: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Story, Jeff Limbaugh, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Publication number: 20120128501
    Abstract: Fans having blade tips with downwardly extending airfoil surfaces are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, for example, a high volume low speed ceiling fan includes a plurality of blades, each having an anhedral or downward sloping tip portion. The blade tips can also include an aft swept portion that extends between the main airfoil portion of the fan blade and the anhedral tip portion.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 22, 2011
    Publication date: May 24, 2012
    Applicant: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, L. B. Whitley
  • Publication number: 20110203059
    Abstract: Loading dock lighting systems having one or more colored lights for communicating information, such as loading dock equipment status information, to dock operators and/or other personnel working in or around a shipping trailer or other transport vehicle are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, for example, a lighting system for illuminating the interior of a transport vehicle during loading/unloading can include a lighting feature that visually communicates information to a person or persons working in the vehicle. The lighting feature can include, for example, one or more lights of various colors and/or flashing lights.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 18, 2011
    Publication date: August 25, 2011
    Applicant: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Patent number: 7996943
    Abstract: A frame of a dock leveler that positions a deck portion of the dock leveler so that the deck portion is level with a surrounding dock floor at a driveway end when mounted in a pit in the dock floor includes a pit supported portion placed on a floor of the pit, a deck supporting portion providing support to the deck portion, and an adjusting assembly connected to the pit supported portion and to the deck supporting portion and operable to move and hold the deck supporting portion so that the deck portion of the dock leveler is at a selected position with respect to the surrounding dock floor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 29, 2008
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2011
    Assignee: 4Front Engineered Solutions Inc.
    Inventors: William Henry Wallis, L. Blake Whitley, Richard K Hoofard
  • Patent number: 7926140
    Abstract: A dock leveler frame includes a pit supported portion; a deck supporting portion configured to provide support to a deck portion of the dock leveler; and a fastener configured to contact corresponding structure on the pit supported portion and deck supporting portion, the corresponding structure configured to allow the pit supported portion and deck supporting portion to be fastened to each other via the fastener at multiple positions with respect to each other. A method of configuring a dock leveler frame to install a dock leveler in a pit and have a level deck without the use of shims includes: providing a pit supported portion of a dock lever frame; placing a deck supporting portion of the frame is a desired position with respect to the pit supported portion; and fastening the pit supported portion to the deck supporting portion with a fastener inserted into a hole and a slot.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2011
    Assignee: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Publication number: 20110047725
    Abstract: Dock levelers, such as mechanical dock levelers, are described herein. In one embodiment, a mechanical dock leveler includes a ramp having a lip pivotally attached to a forward edge. A ramp lifting system is configured to assist upward rotation of the ramp as it is manually raised. In this embodiment, a lip lifting system is operably coupled to the ramp lifting system so that the ramp is initially “downward biased” prior to being raised, and then becomes at least partially supported in a raised position by the lip lifting mechanism, once the lip lifting mechanism is engaged.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 24, 2010
    Publication date: March 3, 2011
    Applicant: 4Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael Story, Jeff Limbaugh, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Publication number: 20080250577
    Abstract: A dock leveler frame includes a pit supported portion; a deck supporting portion configured to provide support to a deck portion of the dock leveler; and a fastener configured to contact corresponding structure on the pit supported portion and deck supporting portion, the corresponding structure configured to allow the pit supported portion and deck supporting portion to be fastened to each other via the fastener at multiple positions with respect to each other. A method of configuring a dock leveler frame to install a dock leveler in a pit and have a level deck without the use of shims includes: providing a pit supported portion of a dock lever frame; placing a deck supporting portion of the frame is a desired position with respect to the pit supported portion; and fastening the pit supported portion to the deck supporting portion with a fastener inserted into a hole and a slot.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 13, 2007
    Publication date: October 16, 2008
    Inventors: L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Publication number: 20080250578
    Abstract: A frame of a dock leveler that positions a deck portion of the dock leveler so that the deck portion is level with a surrounding dock floor at a driveway end when mounted in a pit in the dock floor includes a pit supported portion placed on a floor of the pit, a deck supporting portion providing support to the deck portion, and an adjusting assembly connected to the pit supported portion and to the deck supporting portion and operable to move and hold the deck supporting portion so that the deck portion of the dock leveler is at a selected position with respect to the surrounding dock floor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 29, 2008
    Publication date: October 16, 2008
    Inventors: William Henry Wallis, L. Blake Whitley, Richard K. Hoofard
  • Patent number: 7225493
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for supporting a dock leveler in a manner to reduce the effects of free fall and stump-out. The apparatus includes the use of a retractable support leg. The method includes maintaining the support leg in a support position and retracting the support leg under certain conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2006
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2007
    Assignee: 4 Front Engineered Solutions, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard K. Hoofard, James C. Alexander, Douglas H. Massey, Michael M. Meichtry