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Publication numberUS2697529 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 21, 1954
Filing dateFeb 27, 1951
Priority dateFeb 27, 1951
Publication numberUS 2697529 A, US 2697529A, US-A-2697529, US2697529 A, US2697529A
InventorsHubbell John P, Reinig Henry J
Original AssigneeHubbell John P, Reinig Henry J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for handling frangible articles by remote control
US 2697529 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 21, 1954 J HUBBELL ETAL APPARATUS FOR HANDLING FRANGIBLE ARTICLES BY REMOTE CONTROL Filed Feb. 27 1951 3 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORS JOHN F. HUBBELL BY HENRY RE/lV/G ATTOR/VEX Dec. 21, 1954 J. P. HUBBELL EI'AL 2,697,529

APPARATUS FOR HANDLING FRANGIBLEI ARTICLES BY REMOTE CONTROL Filed Feb. 27, 1951 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Ill! 66 A i I -/e INVENTORS. L r JOHN F. HUBBELL I HENRY fiE/N/G l3 7 BY 6 Z 0 /7M4 M4,

A TTOR/VEX Dec. 21, 1954 p, HUBBELL ETAL 2,697,529

APPARATUS FOR HANDLING FRANGIBLE ARTICLES BY REMOTE CONTROL Filed Feb. 27,1951 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 2 lo /6 7 INVENTORS.

JOHN P. HUBBELL BY HENRY REl/V/G .4 TTORNEX APPARATUS FOR HANDLING FRANGIBLE ARTICLES BY REMUTE CONTROL John P. Hubbell, Garden City, N. Y., and Henry J. Reinig, West Englewood, N. J., assignors to the United States of America as represented by the United States Atomic Energy Commission Application February 27, 1951, Serial No. 212,859

4 Claims. (Cl. 214147) This invention relates to a new and improved apparatus for handling containers and the like and more-particularly to apparatus of the type which can conveniently be operated by remote control. In a more limited as pect, the invention is especially well adapted to the handling of frangible crucibles for containing radioactive materials. As is known, the processing of various materials often requires a sequence of steps necessitating many and varied positions to be occupied by the container for such materials. During these steps the container or crucible, may be heated, cooled, loaded, painted, provided with special liners which later may be removed, or receive other handling, all of which may of necessity have to be governed from a distant control point. These handling steps require means for securely engaging and disengaging said container at will, and without damage thereto, for moving such container from station to station, and for directing the container through various lifting, revolving and depositing steps at the several desired stations.

Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an improved apparatus for moving a container from one station to another station of a processing plant.

A second object is to provide an improved apparatus for positioning a container by rotation thereof at a given station and for indicating the position of such container at all times.

A third object is to provide an improved apparatus for handling frangible containers without damaging the same.

Another object is to provide an improved apparatus for handling elongated cylindrical crucibles by externally applied frictional engagement of a clamping means.

A further obiect is to provide an improved apparatus for handling heated or radioactive containers by structure suitable for remote control operations.

Other objects and advantages of our invention will become more apparent as the description proceeds when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which Fig. l is a diagrammatic view illustrating the relative positions occupied by the carriage, crucible and lever arms during one sequence of handling between a crucible rest position at one station and a rest position at another station.

Fig. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the relative positions occupied by the same structural elements during a sequence of handling between a crucible rest posi tion and a crucible transporting position.

Fig. 3 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the relative positions occupied by the same structural elements during a sequence of handling between another form of crucible rest position and a crucible transporting position.

Fig. 4 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the relative positions occupied by the same structural elements during a sequence of handling between an inverted crucible rest position and a crucible transporting position.

Fig. 5 is a plan view of the carriage and associated structure mounted thereon.

Fig. 6 is a view partly in section taken along line 66 of Fig. 5.

Fig. 7 is a view to a larger scale and partly in section taken along line 7-7 of Fig. 6 and Fig. 8 is a sectional view of an improved indexing mechanism adapted to indicate relative positions occupied by the article being handled, said view being taken on line 8-8 of Fig. 5.

- :1 tes Patent 2,697,529 Patented Dec. 21, 1954 Referring first to Fig. 1 it will be noted that a preferred embodiment of the invention includes a movable carriage generally designated at 10 and adapted to support and carry a container or crucible 11. Lever arms attached at one end to the carriage and later to be described, provide appreciable leverage for the handling of elongated crucibles and permit a variety of positions to be assumed by the crucible while being held between said lever arms. As illustrated, a crucible resting in one position adjacent a given station may be engaged by the lever arms, lifted to an intermediate position and rotated independently of further motion by said arms, then moved to another intermediate position, again be rotated independently of further motion by said arms and then be deposited in a second rest position. As will later become apparent, carriage 10 may also be moving simultaneously with these handling operations, if longitudinal transportation of the crucible also is desired. As shown in Fig. 2, the crucible may be moved from a vertical travelling position to a rest position by having a single intermediate rotation, independently of movement of the lever arms, which motion is followed by the l0wering of the crucible to such rest position. Another alter native is shown in Fig. 3 wherein the crucible held in travelling position may be deposited on its side at a suitable station merely by eflecting a lowering of the supporting arms. Still another variation of handling is depicted in Fig. 4, wherein the crucible in inverted position at a burn-out station may be engaged by the arms and moved to an intermediate position. then turned independently of the further motion of the lever arms, then held by the arms until they reach the vertical traveling position and then rotated into a vertical upright position for the crucible.

The foregoing illustrative examples of handling steps which may be carried out with our apparatus, are, however, in no way intended to limit the invention only to these examples but on the contrary are for the purpose of showing the flexibility of our invention when applied to the demands encountered in the handling of crucibles for processing of special materials. Furthermore, since such crucibles frequently are formed of frangible materials such as machined graphite or the like, means for carefully engaging and disengaging the lever arms therewith in order to avoid crushing or damaging the same must also be provided without sacrificing any of the multiple motions which the apparatus must perform and which preferably are to be performed rapidly even while being governed by remote control methods.

A preferred embodiment of our invention which satisties these requirements is best shown in Figs. and 6 wherein the carriage is provided with suitable rollers 12, 13, 14 and 15 adapted to move longitudinally along rails 16 and 17 and to be actuated as desired by means of a chain 18 centrally attached to said carriage between brackets 19 and 20. Projections 21 and 22 attached to the carriage 10 and disposed beneath the upper section of the rails provide means for insuring transverse stability of the carriage and its associated structure.

Centrally disposed on the upper side of carriage 10 is a gear housing to which is mounted in any suitable manner a reversible electric motor 31 supplied by current through suitable extensible leads generally shown at 32, the actual motor connections being omitted from the drawings in the interest of simplicity. Current supplied by these leads to motor 31, as well as to other motors, is governed by any suitable remote control means, not shown. The motor 31 preferably is of a conventional maximum torque type and is adapted to stall, or to have a cut-off switch actuated, when that torque'is attained. By means of a worm gear 33 rigidly fixed to its shaft 34 the motor drives a gear 35 to which is affixed two oppositely disposed threaded shafts 36 and 37. These shafts are provided with threads of opposite and preferably equal pitch and in turn engage with threaded brackets 38 and 39. These brackets respectively depend from and are journalled on longitudinally movable sleeves 4t) and 41, which sleeves are longitudinally splined to a rotatable shaft 42 serving both as a fulcrum and as a drive for the lever arms.

Attached to the upper portion of the respective sleeves are two spaced and reinforced elongated lever arms 50 and 51 adapted to partake of the motion imparted to the sleeves through the above-described motor drive. Lever arm 50 is provided adjacent its lower end with a hollow hub portion 52 and adjacent its upper end with a second hollow hub portion 54, best shown in Fig. 8. Lever arm 51 similarly is provided with a lower hollow hub portion 53 and with an upper hollow hub portion 55.

As shown in Figs. and 6, an electric motor 60 of conventional reversible type is suitably mounted upon a web support upstanding from the surface of carriage and through a suitable gear reducer 61 drives a spur gear 62 which in turn drives a larger spur gear 63. Gear 63 is rigidily attached to shaft 42 which at its opposite end is journalled in bearing 64 in an upstanding web similarly mounted upon the upper surface of carriage 10. The extreme end of shaft 42 may conveniently provide a loose mounting for an idler gear 65, the purpose of which will later appear.

As will thus be apparent, the motor 6% receiving current from leads 32 under a remote control, can thus efiect a comparatively slow rotation of lever arms and 51 simultaneously in parallel planes transverse to the longitudinal axis of carriage 1t) and this action can be obtained independently of the movement or location of carriage 10 as well as at any desired respective spacing of said lever arms.

Having thus described a preferred means for spacing and for rotating said lever arms, it will be seen that suitable clamps for holding the container or crucible 11 will, if rigidly attached to said lever arms, thus be able to carry out an engaging, disengaging and turning series of handling steps such as schematically shown in Fig. 3. While in its broader form our invention comprehends this simple but useful arrangement, we have also found it desirable to be able to revolve an article supported by said lever arms at times when such arms are stationary and this feature forms an important part of our invention. Accordingly, the clamp member 70 associated with lever arm 51 is provided with a shaft 71 suitably journalled for rotation within the hollow hub section 55. At the outer end of shaft 71 a suitable driving means, here shown as sprocket pulley 72 is provided. Similarly the companion clamp member 74 is provided with a shaft 75 journalled for rotation within hollow hub portion 54 and provided with a sprocket pulley 76. The clamp members are required to hold securely a comparatively large and heavy article, such as a loaded crucible, and accordingly are provided with large surfaces for closely contacting the external surface of such an article. Generally the clamps are engaged with the article at its sides and near the center of gravity thereof.

Again referring to Figs. 5 and 6, a conventional reversibie electric motor 8% receiving current from leads 32 under a remote control is suitably mounted with a gear reducer 81 upon a web upstanding from the surface of carriage 19. Through this reducer the motor imparts a rotation to shaft 82 provided with a spur gear 83 adapted to mesh with gear 84 upon stub shaft 85.

Also fixed upon shaft 85 is gear 86 which meshes with idler gear 65, the latter in turn driving an elongated drum gear 66. This drum gear which is adapted to be displaced longitudinally depending upon the longitudinal displacement of lever arm 51 is splined to a shaft section 87 rotatably journalled in lower hollow hub section 53. The shaft section preferably terminates in a hollow portion 88 within which a closely fitting splined complementary portion 89 of a second shaft section 94) is mounted, said dual shaft sections being adapted to rotate as a unit but being adapted to slip relatively to each other in a longitudinal direction. At its outer end shaft section 90 carries a sprocket wheel 91 rigidly affixed thereto while between drum gear 66 and hub 53 the first shaft section carries a similar sprocket wheel 92 rigidly affixed to the shaft section. By means of appropriate driving means, such as chains 93 and 94 the reduced speed of rotation imparted to shaft sections 87 and 9t) accordingly is transmitted to clamp members 70 and 74 and any article supported by such clamps may therefore be revolved independently of motion of the supporting lever arms 50 and 51.

Assuming that the article to be handled is a cylindrical crucible 11 which may be at a high temperature and may be constructed of a frangible material, the clamps may conveniently be provided with replaceable heat resistant liners 95 and 96 adapted to fit the external surface of said crucible. Suitable control means, not shown, may be employed to insure that said clamps do not exert an excessive force upon the crucible and one such means ma include the maximum torque motor 31 as describe Other means, such as the use of motor circuit controlling micro switches located at the desired limit of movement of sleeves 40 and 41, or at other locations, may likewise be employed without departing from the scope of our invention.

As will now be apparent, the several motions imparted to the crucible 11, as depicted in Figs. 1, 2 and 4 may be obtained by movements of the lever arms 50 and 51 actuated by motor 60 and by movements of the clamps 7t) and 74 actuated independently by motor 80.

However, when these operations are conducted by remote control and when for various reasons the operator cannot approach crucible 11 to determine its exact position, means for indicating the position of the crucible with respect to a standard initial position may be required. As one feature of our invention the indexing means shown in detail in Fig. 8 serves to solve this problem. Assuming that the information required may best be noted from a reading taken at a side elevation of carriage 10, the lever arm 56 may be provided with a hollow drum member 100 fixed thereto and having an index mark A thereon. Suitable markings in degrees or the like may be made about the circumference of this drum and extending to the edges of the drum. Cooperating with drum 1% is a second drum 101 loosely mounted upon clamp shaft 75 in close relation to drum 100 and provided with a massive weight 102 adapted to remain in a vertical plane at all times regardless of the turning of either the clamp 74 or the lever arm 50. Upon the surface of this drum 101 is a reference mark B and suitable additional markings, as in degrees, may be placed upon the circumference of drum 2.81. Upon the clamp 74 a third drum 103 bearing a reference mark C and other suitable markings is mounted in close juxtaposition to drum 100.

As will now be seen, when a handling movement such as envisioned in Fig. i is undertaken, the operator viewing the indexing apparatus from a distance can note, for example, that at the left-hand-most position of the crucible a difference of in one direction exists between mark B on drum 101 and mark A on drum and that a similar difference of 90 in one direction exists between mark C on drum 103 and mark A on drum 100. As the crucible is lifted to the 45 position of the lever arm the diff rence between marks B and A is reduced to 45 at which time the operator may desire to effect a turning of the crucible. At this time the difference between marks A and C still is 90. However the operator wishes to move the crucible further without spilling any of its contents and therefore wishes to revolve the same counterclockwise through 90 at this time. Accordingly by operation of motor 80 the clamps are revolved until a difference of 0 exists between marks C and A. Thereafter the lever arms are moved until a difference of 45 opposite to the original direction is shown between marks B and A. After this, the clamps are revolved 90 in a counterclockwise direction until a difference of 90 and opposite to the original direction is shown between marks A and C. Thereafter the lever arms are rotated until a difference of 90 but in a direction opposite to the original direction is shown between marks B and A at which time the operator is assured that the crucible is resting in upright position at the right-handmost rest position in Fig. 1 even though he cannot see the crucible itself.

While the salient features of the invention have been described in detail in one embodiment of the same, it will of course be apparent that numerous modifications may be made within the spirit and scope of this invention and it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact details shown except insofar as they may be defined in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. In combination, a carriage adapted to transport an article of the class described, a plurality of spaced clamp members for detachably grasping the exterior surface of said article, spaced lever arms supporting said clamps and mounted upon said carriage, means mounting said clamps upon said lever arms adjacent one end thereof for rotation of said clamps independently of movement of said arms, means including a rotatable shaft mounted upon said lever arms adjacent the other end thereof, driving means con necting said shaft and sad rotatable clamps, reciprocable means comprising separate sleeve members rigidly attached to the respective lever arms for moving said lever arms toward and away from each other thereby respectively to engage said clamps with said article and to disengage said clamps from said article, means for simultaneously rotating said lever arms in planes transverse to the direction of movement of said carriage and separate actuating means for said reciprocable means including a remotely controlled motor mounted upon said carriage, a threaded shaft driven by said motor and threaded bracket members journalled upon said sleeve members and engaging said threaded shaft.

2. Apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said rotatable shaft comprises two splined portions adapted to move longitudinally with respect to each other.

3. Apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said rotatable shaft is attached to a drum gear actuated by a relatively fixed gear train thereby to permit shifting of said shaft with respect to said gear train.

4. In combination, a carriage adapted to transport an article of the class described, a plurality of spaced clamp members for detachably grasping the exterior surface of said article, spaced lever arms supporting said clamps and mounted upon said carriage, means mounting said clamps upon said lever arms adjacent one end thereof for rotation of said clamps separately of movement of said arms, means for rotating said clamps, at least of one of said clamps being arranged and adapted to carry indicating means for indicating relative motion of the clamp with respect to the mounting lever arm, reciprocable means comprising separate sleeve members rigidly attached to the respective lever arms for moving said lever arms toward and away from each other thereby respectively to engage said clamps with said article and to disengage said clamps from said article, means for simultaneously rotating said lever arms in planes transverse to the direction of movement of said carriage and separate actuating means for said reciprocable means comprising a remotely controlled motor mounted upon said carriage, a threaded shaft driven by said motor and threaded bracket members journalled upon said sleeve members and engaging said threaded shaft.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 459,434 Babcock Sept. 15, 1891 1,083,982 Blessing Jan. 13, 1914 1,368,780 Anderson Feb. 15, 1921 1,491,384 Eidmann Apr. 22, 1924 1,518,561 Carroll Dec. 9, 1924 2,274,958 Hautsch Mar. 3, 1942 2,390,293 Colson Dec. 4, 1945 2,476,361 Elliott et a1 July 19, 1949 2,520,252 Mutchler Aug. 29, 1950 2,531,077 Mullin Nov. 21, 1951

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Classifications
U.S. Classification414/732, 901/21, 250/328, 414/741, 901/29, 901/14, 901/39, 414/743, 901/25, 901/23
International ClassificationB25J9/10, B65G47/90
Cooperative ClassificationB25J9/106, B65G47/904
European ClassificationB65G47/90F, B25J9/10L