US 20060272541 A1
An actuating system for operating the doors of a railroad hopper car while dumping the contents outside of the rails. A main lever is rotatably coupled within the center sill with a rod extending from an arm of the lever to a door which covers the hopper. As the lever is rotated, the rods act to move the doors away from the hoppers.
1) An actuating system of actuating the doors of a hopper car of the type having a pair of doors closing each hopper; said car having a center sill, comprising:
a main lever, rotatably coupled within said center sill, said lever having a pair of arms extending from its central region;
a pair of rods, each coupled between an arm of said main lever, and a door which covers a hopper,
such that when said lever is rotated, said doors shift away from said hopper, allowing the contents of said car to be discharged outside of the rails.
2) The system of
3) The system of
This application claims benefit from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. Nos. 60/687,081, filed Jun. 3, 2005, and 60/691,484, filed Jul. 2, 2005 which applications are incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention is directed in general to a device for opening the hopper doors of a railroad car, and, in particular, to a system for automatically opening and closing the hopper doors of a railroad car.
2. Description of the Related Art
A common type of railroad freight car in use today is the freight car of the type wherein the load is discharged through hoppers in the underside of the body. Such cars are generally referred to as hopper cars and are used to haul coal, phosphate and other commodities.
After hopper cars are spotted over an unloading pit, the doors of the hoppers are opened, allowing the material within the hopper to be emptied into the pit.
Hopper cars, which may be covered, are usually found with one of two hopper configurations: transverse, in which the doors closing the hoppers are oriented perpendicular to the center line of the car; or longitudinal, in which the doors closing the hoppers are oriented parallel to the center line of the car. An example of a hopper car with transverse doors is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,249,531, while an example of a hopper car with longitudinal doors is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,955,126.
Prior art references which teach operating mechanisms for opening and closing hopper doors include U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,596,609; 4,741,274; 3,187,684; 3,611,947; 3,786,764; 3,815,514; 3,818,842; 3,949,681; 4,222,334; 4,366,757; 4,601,244; 5,823,118; and 5,249,531. There are several disadvantages to the hopper door operating mechanisms described in some of the aforementioned patents. One problem is that some of the prior art mechanisms are designed such that each actuating mechanism is connected to doors from two separate hoppers. Thus, if the mechanism fails, it effects the operation of two hoppers. Another disadvantage of some of the above described hopper door mechanisms is that the operating mechanisms limit the distance of the door motion, thus limiting the open area of the car's bottom. This arrangement slows the unloading process and causes additional costs and potential damage to the car due to increased periods in thaw sheds. However, many of these systems usually require automatic operation of the doors, which requires an operating cylinder and valving.
Finally, it is often desirable to empty the contents of a railcar while the car is in motion, thus allowing the car to be emptied quicker. This method of operation also normally requires the use of expensive air cylinders and valving.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an actuating mechanism which allows the discharge doors of a hopper car to open and close automatically.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a simple automatic mechanism for actuating the discharge doors of a hopper car which can quickly empty the contents.
It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an actuating mechanism for a hopper car which can be used to dump the load outside the rails.
These and other objects of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the descriptions and drawings which follow.
FIGS. 7A-B, show two views of the main lever of the present inventions;
FIGS. 8A-B, show two views of the second plate of the present invention;
FIGS. 9A-B, show two views of the first plate of the present invention;
FIGS. 10A-B, show two views of the actuating lever of the present invention;
FIGS. 11A-C, show three view of the couplers of the present invention;
FIGS. 12A-B, show two views of the links of the present inventions;
FIGS. 13A-B, show two views of other links of the present invention;
FIGS. 14A-B, show two views of another link of the present invention;
FIGS. 16A-C shows 3 views of a main lever for use with the present invention;
FIGS. 18A-B, show two views of a link for use in the present invention
FIGS. 19A-B, show two views of a coupler for use in the present invention;
FIGS. 20A-D, show four views of hinges for use in the present invention;
FIGS. 21A-C, show three views of the hinge butts for use with the present invention; and
FIGS. 22A-C, show three views of the operating beam fulcrum for use with the present invention.
Referring now to
Referring now to
A first door rod 40 is coupled to one arm of lever 20 by a coupler 42 which is rotatably connected to the arm by a link 46. The other end of rod 40 is coupled to door 45 by a coupler 42 which is attached to a bracket on the door by a link 50. A second door rod 52 is coupled to the other arm of lever 20 by a coupler 42 which is rotatably coupled to the arms by a link 44. The other end of rod 52 is coupled to door 58 by a coupler 42 which is attached to a bracket on the door by a link 50.
To open the doors, actuating lever 34 is rotated by virtue of a connection to an opening 64 in lever 34. Lever 34 may be coupled to an air cylinder for rotation, or a manual lever could possibly be connected to opening 64 of lever 34 to rotate the lever.
As lever 34 rotates, main lever 20 also rotates by virtue of its connection within slot 38 around square section 36 of lever 20. As lever 20 rotates, coupler 42 causes rods 40 and 52 to pull on the hopper doors 45 and 50, causing them to the open vertical position as can be seen in
This mechanism can be used to open a single set of continuous longitudinal doors, and can also be used on individual sets of hoppers which are closed by longitudinal door sets.
In the above description, and in the claims which follow, the use of such words as “clockwise”, “counterclockwise”, “distal”, “proximal”, “forward”, “outward”, “rearward”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, and the like is in conjunction with the drawings for purposes of clarity.
While the invention has been shown and described in terms of preferred embodiment, it will be understood that this invention is not limited to this particular embodiment, and that many changes and modifications may be made without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.