|Publication number||US2808946 A|
|Publication date||Oct 8, 1957|
|Filing date||May 28, 1954|
|Priority date||May 28, 1954|
|Publication number||US 2808946 A, US 2808946A, US-A-2808946, US2808946 A, US2808946A|
|Inventors||Just George A, Shield Lansing P|
|Original Assignee||Grand Union Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (5), Referenced by (23), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Oct. 8, 1957 G. A. .JUST ET A1. 2,808,946
WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT Filed May 28, 1954 2 Sheets-Sheet l 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 G. IA. JUST ET AL WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT llllllllIIlIllJ Oct. 8, 1957 Filed May 2a, 1954 N w n m ro INVENToRs GEORGE A. Jus-r BY LANsmG asl-HELD MKV/(W7 ATTORNEY Fig. 4
WAREHOUSE EQUIPMEN'!` George A..Just, Scarsdale, N. Y., and Lansing l. Shield, Saddle River, N. J., assignors to The Grand Union Company, East Paterson, N. J., a corporation of Delaware Application May 28, 1954, Serial No. 432,994
2 Claims. (Cl. 214-16) This invention relates to warehousing equipment and is directed particularly to novel methods and means for stocking, arranging, storing and selecting articles in a warehouse.
lt has been the general practice heretofore to store articles in a warehouse by stacking the articles in piles on the floor or on a pallet, or to arrange the articles on shelves or in bins. The piles, shelves or bins are spaced apart by aisles along which workers pass with hand' trucks or motor driven lift trucks to handle the Stock as required for storage and removal. However, such methods have numerous disadvantages. Thus, a great part of the door space is taken up by the relatively wide aisles which must be .provided to permit movement of workers and manipulation of hand or lift trucks. Furthermore, the height to which the articles can be stacked or arranged on shelves is limited since Workmen must be able to add or remove articles at the top of the piles or upper shelves or bins. For this reason, the piles or shelves generally are not more than about six feet in height when hand trucks are used and are seldom more than eight or ten feet in height even when power driven lift trucks are employed for stacking the goods. Furthermore, with this arrangement, it is very diicult to remove articles from the bottom of a pile, whereas the stock frequently must be rotated, especially when perishable goo-ds are involved. ln any event, the stacking and handling of the goods requires considerable bending and stretching by workmen who frequently must lift heavy loads or perform other duties which may result in injury to the workmen.
All of these problems are further aggrevated when the warehouse is employed to store a wide variety of articles of different types and sizes and in those situations wherein the turnover or selection of the stock for removal from storage is rapid and varied. Under such conditions the arrangement and handling of the stock must be such as to require the greatest accessibility with the minimum of movement of the workers about the warehouse.
While conveyors are often used to aid in the handling of goods in a warehouse, the arrangement of such conveyors with respect to the shelving or piles of merchandise does not effect any material saving in floor space and, in fact, the conveyors themselves often interfere with access to the goods in storage.
These disadvantages of prior art warehousing methods and equipment are overcome in accordance with the present invention and novel methods and means are provided whereby vastly increased quantities and varities of articles may be stored in the same area of oor space and whereby heavy lifting, bending and Stretching byrworkmen are substantially eliminated. Furthermore, with the present invention, the amount of stock which can be handled by any given number of Workmen is greatly increased while the time required to arrange the goods for storage and to select them for removal is `considerably reduced.
These advantages of the present invention are preferably attained by providing a plurality of rows of inclined article storage chutes arranged with the chutes in each row in vertical alignment so that the space be-- neath each chute is occupied by other chutes in the row. The upper ends of the chutes are preferably 1ocated at the same level and a delivery conveyor extends parallel to the rows lof chutes at approximately the same level as the upper ends thereof. Workers in an aisle beside the chutes can then push or pull articles from the delivery conveyor into the upper end of selected chutes to charge each chute with a selected item. In a similar way the lower ends of the chutes are arranged at the same level and a collecting conveyor extends parallel thereto so that workers in an aisle adjacent the Icollecting conveyor can select the articles desired from the chutes in which they are stored and direct them onto the collecting conveyor for movement to an order filling station. The conveyors and aisles required may be relatively narrow and yet they permit easy access to all of the chutes by workmen for loading and discharging articles to and from the chutes. Where necessary or desirable, one pair of conveyors and aisles may serve as a plurality of rows of chutes to further reduce the amount of floor space required in any installation. Moreover, by arranging the conveyors and chute ends to be at a suitable level above the oor of the aisles in which the workers are located, practically all lifting, bending and stretching by workmen is eliminated.
One of the objects of the present invention is to provide novel methods and means for arranging an-d storing goods in a warehouse whereby the quantity and variety of articles which may be stored in a given lloor area may be greatly increased.
Another object of the present invention is to provide novel methods and means for warehousing articles; whereby the quantity .of stock which can be handled by any given number of workmen is greatly increased.
A further object of the present invention is to provide novel methods and means for warehousing whereby heavy lifting, bending and stretching by workmen are substantially eliminated.
A specic object of the present invention is to provide novel means for Warehousing comprising a plurality of parallel rows of vertically inclined article storage chutes with conveyors and aisles extending parallel to said rows of chutes adjacent the upper and lower en'ds thereof to facilitate loading and discharging articles to and from said chutes.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description thereof wherein reference is made to the figures of the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
Fig. l is a diagrammatic side view of a chute and' conveyor arrangement for warehouses embodying the present invention;
Fig. 2 is a diagrammatic vertical view of the chute and conveyor arrangement of Fig. l;
Fig. 3 is a view similar to Fig. 2 illustrating a modilied chute and conveyor arrangement embodying the present invention; and
Fig. 4 is a top plan view illustrating a typical warehouse assembly embodying the present invention.
In that form of the invention chosen for purposes of illustration in Figs. l and 2, a plurality of parallel, separate and inclined article storage chutes 2 are provided with the chutes arranged in vertical alignment so that the space beneath each chute is occupied by other storage chutes in the row. The rows or banks 4 of chutes 2 thus provided may be arranged in spaced and parallel relation as shown in Fig. 2 to provide alternate aisle 6 and conveyor spaces S between each row or bank of chutes. Conveyors 1? and 12 extend parallel to the rows 4 of chutes 2 and are located respectively adjacent the upper and lower ends of the chutes. The conveyors extend in a direction parallel to the rows of chutes and the upper delivery conveyors preferably are located at or slightly above the level of the open upper ends 14 of the chutes 2 whereas the collecting conveyors 12 are located somewhat below the lower ends 16 of the chutes whereby articles may be discharged by gravity from the chutes onto a receiving table 18 and then be moved or directed easily onto the collecting conveyor 12.
Aisles 20 and 22 are provided in the aisle spaces 6 and are arranged respectively adjacent the upper ends 14 and lower ends 16 of the rows 4 of chutes 2 to provide access by workmen to the adjacent conveyors and chute ends. Preferably, the aisles are located about three feet below the adjacent conveyors and chute ends. In this way,A the articles are always presented to the workmen at about waist height and no lifting, bending or stretching is required to shift the articles to or from the conveyors. With this arrangement one workman may be stationed in the upper aisle 20 adjacent the upper ends 14 of the chutes 2 for loading or stocking the chutes and another workman may be stationed in lower aisle 22 adjacent the lower ends 16 of the chutes 2 for collecting the articles to be removed from storage. These two workmen are able to handle extremely large quantities of. stock and women may be employed as the workmen since there is no heavy and tiresome lifting, bending or stretching and the danger of injury from handling heavy loads is eliminated.
By thus arranging the aisles 20 and 22 and conveyors 10 and 12 in vertical alignment within the aisle spaces 6 and conveyor spaces 8 respectively, the amount of nonstorage area is minimized. Moreover, with the conveyors so arranged, the length of conveyor belt required is considerably reduced and if desired a single continuous belt can be used to serve as both the upper delivery conveyor 10 and theV corresponding lower collecting conveyor 12 in the same conveyor space 8. The chutes 2 may, obviously, have any desired length or angle of inclination. Consequently, it is possible to use substantially the full height of the warehouse building and the quantity of goods which may be stored in a given area of floor space and the height to which they may be stacked are limited y only by the cubical content of the building. Furthermore, the ease with which stock can be rotated and the variety of merchandise which can be handled renders it possible to use a single warehouse for storage of goods and prompt selection and delivery thereof without resort to substations or special order filling departments in the system.
In operating the warehouse described, articles to be stored are delivered to a receiving bay where they are assigned to one of the various chutes containing corre- The articles to be stored are then sponding articles. placed on the upper or delivery conveyors 10 which carry the articles to their assigned chute 2. As the articles travel past the upper ends of the chutes 2 on the delivery conveyor 10, a workman in an adjacent aisle 2t) notes i, which articles have been assigned to each of the chutes 2 under his control, and, upon arrival of the articles at the desired chute 2, the workman merely pushes the articles off of the conveyor 1Q and into the open upper end of the chute so that they will slide down the chute into storage. Stop means indicated generally at 21 are provided at the lower end of each of the: chutes 2 to prevent the articles from sliding out of the chute until desired and to control the discharge of the articles from the lower end of the chute when they are needed to fill an order.
When an article is needed, a workman in one of the lower aisles 22 goes to the chute 2 where the selected article is stored and operates the stop means or otherwise releases the desired quantity of the article from storage.
The article, or articles, thus released slides out of the chute 2 onto a receiving table 18 from which the workman can easily push the article onto the adjacent lower or collecting conveyor 12 which carries the article to an order lling station where the entire order is assembled.
Where still greater utilization of storage areas are necessary or desirable, the modification shown in Fig. 3 may be used. This form of equipment is generally similar to that of Figs. l and 2 in that a plurality of rows or banks 4 of vertically inclined article storage chutes 2 are provided to which articles to be stocked are directed from delivery conveyors 10 by workmen standing in adjacent aisles 20. Selected articles are released from the lower ends of the chutes 2 for removal from storage and are discharged onto delivery tables 18 to be placed on collecting conveyors 12 by workmen in aisles 22 adjacent the lower ends of the chutes. The conveyors 12 then carry the articles to an order filling station where the orders are assembled.
This form of the invention dilers from that shown in Figs. l and 2 in that two banks 30 and 32 of storage chutes 2 are located between each conveyor space 8 and the adjacent aisle space 6. Thus, each conveyor serves four storage chutes. While more rows or banks of chutes may obviously be positioned between a conveyor and the adjacent aisle, it is not ordinarily practical to do so particularly when cases of goods or relatively large articles are being stored. Under such circumstances, the articles in many instances may have to be lifted over the open ends of those chutes closest to the delivery conveyor thereby requiring considerable stretching and lifting on the part of the workmen and slowing down the operation.
In order to facilitate the design and erection of systems embodying the present invention, the equipment may be made up of three basic units capable of assembly in various combinations as required in any particular installation. Thus, as illustrated in Fig. l, the three basic units are: an upper or delivery unit comprising a section including the upper ends of a plurality of chutes together with a conveyor section 42 of predetermined length and an upper aisle section 44 of corresponding length; a lower or collecting unit 46 comprising the lower ends of a group of chutes 2, a lower conveyor section 48 and an aisle portion 50; and, an intermediate or chute 'unit 52 one or more of which may be interposed between a delivery unit 40 and a collecting unit 46 in order to provide assemblies of any desired height. When any two or more of the units are assembled, the upper portions of the chutes in the lower unit will cooperate with the lower portions of the chutes in the upper unit to provide continuous chutes extending from the top of the upper unit to the bottom of the lower unit. Also, in each unit, some chute portions, for example chute 54 in Fig. l, will emerge at the end of the unit rather than extending completely from top to bottom. These chute portions will cooperate with similar chutes 56 in horizontally adjacent units. A delivery unit 40 may be mounted directly on top of a co1- lecting unit 46, if desired, or one or more chute units may be interposed between the two. Consequently, the height of the assembly is limited only by the height of the warehouse in any particular installation. Similarly, the number of units which are placed end to end may be varied depending upon the length of the warehouse and any number of units may be arranged side by side depending upon the width of the warehouse.
As illustrated in Fig. 4, the warehouse 60 may receive merchandise from a freight car 62 on a siding 64 from which the articles are raised by a conveyor 66 to a distributing point 68. The articles are placed on the transverse conveyors 70 and 72 for movement to the delivery conveyors 10 of the various parallel units employed in the warehouse. Gates or other means 74 may be provided for transferring the articles from the transverse ccnveyors 70 and 72 to the delivery conveyors 10 of the units 40. The articles then are carried by the delivery conveyors along the banks 4 of chutes 2 into position to be handled by the workmen 76 in the upper units 40 in end to end relation. The upper conveyors in the successive units throughout the length of the warehouse serve to cause the articles to be moved from one unit to another until they have reached a designated chute into which they are transferred for storage. The articles then pass down the chutes 2 from the upper unit 40 and through the intermediate units 52 to the lower unit 46 for discharge onto the receiving table 18 and the collecting conveyor 12 which form a part of the lower unit 46.
By providing units of the character described above, the equipment can be laid out and prefabricated for shipment and assembly for use in any warehouse of any height and cross section. The whole assembly, therefore, has great flexibility in adaptation and use whereby the methods and equipment of the present invention can be employed in substantially any warehouse and for use in handling substantially any type of merchandise.
Further, the units may be made up with a single bank of chutes on each side of each delivery conveyor or they may be made up with two or more banks of chutes on each side. Moreover, as shown in Fig. 4, the chutes in adjacent banks such as banks 78 and 80 may be arranged in longitudinally staggered relation whereby articles removed from the conveyor 10 which are to be stored in the chutes of bank 78, and therefore must be moved across the chutes of bank 80, may be supported by the upper ends of chutes in bank 80 because of the staggered position of the chutes in the banks 78 and 80. Cases of goods can thus be slid horizontally across the bank 80 to the open upper end of a chute in the bank 78. On the other hand, as further shown in Fig. 4, the chutes in the adjacent banks 82 and 84 may be parallel and in transverse alignment for ease in fabrication. Also, the corresponding conveyors 10 of units 40 arranged in end to end relation may be operated individually or, if desired, they may be connected to form a single conveyor extending the entire length of the warehouse, as shown at 86 in Fig. 4.
As stated above, the length and angle of inclination of the chutes may be varied as desired and, likewise, the dimensions of the aisles, conveyors and chutes are not critical. Also, any desired form of stop mechanism may be employed at the lower end of the chutes. Furthermore, it is lcontemplated that automatic remote control means may be provided for transferring articles from the delivery conveyors to the chutes and from the chutes to the collecting conveyors whereupon the number of aisles and conveyors required would be reduced still further. Numerous other changes and modifications may obviously be made and, therefore, it should be clearly understood that those forms of the invention described above and shown in the gures of the accompanying drawings are intended to be illustrative only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.
What we claim is:
1. Means for storing and dispensing articles comprising a plurality ofparallel rows of inclined storage chuteswith the chutes of each row arranged in vertical alignment, a delivery conveyor located adjacent the upper ends of said rows of chutes, a receiving table located beneath the lower ends of each of said rows of chutes, a collecting conveyor located adjacent the lower ends of said chutes and in vertical alignment with said delivery conveyor, one of said rows of chutes and one of said receiving tables being located on each side of said conveyors, said rows of chutes extending parallel to the line of travel of said conveyors, means located adjacent the lower end of each of said chutes to control the discharge of articles from said chute onto said receiving table, an aisle extending parallel to said rows of chutes and located adjacent the upper ends thereof on the side opposite said delivery conveyor to provide access to said delivery conveyor and to the upper ends of said chutes, and a lower aisle extending parallel to said receiving table on the side thereof opposite said collecting conveyor to provide access to said collecting conveyor and receiving table, said aisles also being in vertical alignment.
2. Means for storing and dispensing articles comprising a plurality of parallel rows of inclined storage chutes with the chutes of each row arranged in vertical alignment, a delivery conveyor located between and adjacent the upper ends of said rows of chutes, a collecting conveyor located adjacent the lower ends of said chutes and in vertical alignment with said delivery conveyor, two of said rows of chutes being located on each side of each of said conveyors, said chutes extending parallel to the line of travel of said conveyors, a receiving table located beneath said rows of chutes, means located adjacent the lower end of each of said chutes to control the discharge of articles from Said chutes onto said receiving tables, an aisle extending parallel to said rows of chutes and located adjacent the upper ends thereof on the side opposite said delivery conveyor to provide access to said delivery conveyor and to the upper ends of said chutes, and another aisle extending parallel to said rows of chutes adjacent the lower ends thereof and located at the sides of said receiving tables opposite to the collecting conveyor to provide access to said collecting conveyor and receiving tables, `said aisles lalso being in vertical alignment.
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|U.S. Classification||198/347.4, 198/525, 198/633, 198/560|
|International Classification||B65G47/04, B65G1/08, B65G1/06, B65G47/10|