Design of a Self-Powered Recreational Vehicle Loader for Pickup Trucks
To load an off-road vehicle (ORV) into the bed of a pickup truck, the use of homemade or commercially produced ramps is common practice. This loading method can be dangerous and can cause serious injury for the operator. This outcome is almost certain if a ramp is inadequately rated for high loads. Atom-Jet Industries believes that there exists a market for a premium product with the ability to safely and conveniently load an ORV without the requirement for external power. Through the Mechanical Engineering Capstone course (MECH 4860) at the University of Manitoba, the student team, ORV Solutions was assigned to the Recreational Vehicle Lift project with Atom-Jet Industries. A three phased project plan including Phase I – Project Definition, Phase II – Concept Development, and Phase III – Detail Design, was employed to manage and successfully execute the project. During Phase I, ORV Solutions were able to itemize the project scope through documenting of project requirements and specifications. Requirements with the highest priority included the capability to both load and unload the ORV, design compatibility with multiple ORVs, and powering of the concept through the ORV itself. The product requirements were then broken down to five key sections. These sections included compatibility, truck mounting, platform, power transmission, and loading/unloading methods. ORV Solutions was then able to generate several concepts by combining methods from each section. Following a screening, scoring, and review process, a concept was selected for development in the Detail Design phase. The design of the self-powered recreational vehicle loader was finalized in phase III. To load an ORV in the final design, the ORV is driven up an inclined platform. This inclined platform then pivots to be parallel to the floor of the truck bed through spooling of a cable much like a winch. Power is transmitted from the ATV or snowmobile through a treadmill style track and roller system. A spool on the drive shaft is then able to reel in a cable attached to the truck bed and ultimately load the ORV. A v-belt system was introduced into the design to increase torque, this increased the loading capacity of the design. The platform is guided onto the truck bed through interference between a platform mounted rail and base frame structure bolted and mounted on the truck bed. From a list of 20 client needs and recommendations, 16 were met, two were partially developed, and two were not incorporated into the design. The total cost of purchasable and stock material (for manufacturing) for this design is estimated to be $1,718.00. While there is room for optimization and improvement in the design, ORV Solutions is confident that the design presented in this report is functional and achieves the design needs and requirements laid out and agreed upon during Phase I.