US 2947407 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 2, 1960 B. A. WOOD CONVEYOR MECHANISM FOR GARMENTS ON HANGERS Filed May 15, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR.
A Wood BY zwa/cm z dyrol? ATTORNEY Aug. 2, 1960 B. A. WOOD CONVEYOR MECHANISM FOR GARMENTS ON HANGERS 2 Shets-Sheet 2 Filed May 15, 1957 INVENTOR. Byron A Wood Uite States Piano" CONVEYOR MECHANISM FOR GARMENTS ON HANGERS Byron A. Wood, 4101 W. Barton St., Seattle 6, Wash.
Filed May 15, 1957, Ser. No. 659,399
4 Claims. (Cl. 198-66) My invention relates to conveyor mechanism for garments on hangers.
My present invention is well adapted for use in connection with a garment steaming and vibrating device disclosed in my prior patent application Serial Number 625,541, now Patent No. 2,911,729, filed November 30, 195 6, but the present invention or parts of the same may be used independently of my said garment steaming and vibrating device wherever suitable in handling large numbers of garments on garment hangers.
An object of my present invention is to provide simple and efficient conveyor mechanism which is adapted to receive garments that have been placed on garment hangers and to convey these garments in properly timed spaced apart relation through devices by which these garments are subjected to treatment and to distribute the treated garments to selected hanger bars or storage racks.
Another object is to provide garment conveyor mechanism by which garments that have been placed on garment hangers will be advanced a predetermined distance each time the hook of a garment hanger is engaged with and hung on a conveyor track and which will further transfer the garments in evenly spaced relation to another conveyor by which the garments can be moved through or past any suitable means by which they are subjected to treatment.
Another object is to provide simple, efiicient and reliable means for removing garments on garment hangers from an end of a continuously moving endless track type conveyor at the location where the conveyor passes around a horizontally positioned sheave or sprocket wheel and transferring these garments to other garment supporting means, such as another conveyor.
Another object is to provide selective devices for removing garments on hangers from a continuously moving track type conveyor and transferring them to any one of a plurality of garment supporting devices, such as hanger bars or storage racks, from which the garments hang suspended.
Another object is to provide eificient means for cooporation with the hooks of ordinary garment hangers in moving garments on the hangers along overhead trackways, in spaced apart relation, and in transferring the garments and: hangers from one trackway or conveyor or supporting device to another.
Other objects of my invention will be apparent from the following description taken in connection with the acend of the conveyor mechanism.
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary View partly inlongitudinal sec- Icfi -Patented Aug. 2, 1960 tion and partly in elevation and on a larger scale than Fig. 2 showing part of the garment receiving end of the convyeor illustrated in Fig. 2, this being the end with which hooks of the garment hangers are initially engaged in starting the garments along the conveyor lines. I
Fig. 4 is a view in cross section taken substantially on broken line 4-4 of Fig. 3 and showing part of a garment hanger with its hook engaged with a track member.
Fig. 5 is a fragmentary plan view looking in the direc tion indicated by broken line 5-5 of Fig. 2 and showing garment hanger transfer means extending between two conveyors.
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary view partly in longitudinal sec tion and partly in elevation of an endless type conveyor used in connection with this invention in which a sprocket chain or link belt is movably disposed within a track pipe.
Fig. 7 is a sectional view, with parts in elevation taken substantially on broken line' 7-7 of Fig. 6. i
Fig. 8 is a top plan view, with parts broken away showing adjacent ends of two endless link belt type conveyors and transfer means for transferring garments on hangers from one to the other of said conveyors.
Fig. 9 is a fragmentary view in elevation looking in the direction of broken line 9-9 of Fig. 8.
Fig. 10 is a sectional view taken substantially on broken line lib-10 of Fig. 8.
Fig. 11 is a fragmentary view, taken substantially on broken line 1111 of Fig. 1, and on a larger scale than Fig. 1, showing devices for transferring garments from a conveyor to selected hanger bars or racks from which the garments can hang in storage.
Fig. 12 is a plan view looking down substantially on broken line 12-12 of Fig. 11.
Fig. 13 is a viewpartly in elevation and partly in section taken substantially on broken line 13-13 of Fig. 12.
Fig. 14 is a view in elevation, With parts broken away of a switch trip member used in connection with this invention.
Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views.
In a general way this garment conveyor mechanism comprises three parts or sections, namely, an infeed section A, Fig. l, where garments which have been unpacked and placed on hangers are hung on track bars preparatory to transferring them onto an endless conveyor by which they are moved through or past a location where they are subjected to treatment; a section D which carries the garments through the zone of treatment; and a section E by which the treated garments are selectively distributed to hanger bars or racks where they may hang in storage.
The infeed section A, shown by way of illustration in Fig. 1, comprises three approximately horizontal elevated tracks 20, 21 and 22 on which garment hangers may be hung. It will be understood that the number of these tracks may be varied and that one or more of said tracks may be used. The three elevated tracks 20, 21, and 22 are preferably at substantially the same level and are of duplicate construction except that they are e f-different lengths with the garment receiving ends of successive tracks terminating in stepped relation so that an operator standing at location L, Fig. 1, will have easy access to each track. The following description of track 20 will apply equally well to either of the other tracks.
The track 20 is formed of an outer pipe 23 having an inner pipe 24 reciprocably disposed therein. The outer pipe 23 has .a longitudinal slot 25 in its upper side extending throughout substantially its entire length. Said pipe 243 is preferably supported by hangers 26 from suitable overhead supports. The hangers 213 are shaped and positioned so that they will not interfere with or be fouled by the hooks 27 or shanks 28 of ordinary clothes 'larlyshaped bracket 30 fixedly secured thereto.
hangers 29 so long as the shanks 28 of the clothes hangers are on the opposite side of the pipe 23 from the pipe hangers 26. g
The garment receiving end of the pipe 23 has an angu- The bracket 30 serves as a mounting member for a valve 31,
Q a pneumatic cylinder 32, a solenoid 33, an electric switch 34 and an electrically operated counting device 35. The switch 34 has a switch operating arm 36 provided with a 'part 37 which is positioned parallel with and a short distance above the pipe 23 so that a garment hanger can be .hung on the pipe 23 with the hook 27 of the hanger engaged over the part 37 of the switch operating arm.
When this occurs the switch 34 will be closed and the solenoid 33 and counting device 35 operated.
The pneumatic cylinder 32 has a piston 38 therein.
-The piston 38 is connected by a connecting rod 39 with the inner pipe 24 which is reciprocably movable within suitable source is supplied to the valve 3 1 through an air pressure supply conduit 42 and an exhaust conduit 43 is connected with said valve. A spring 44 is provided to maintain the parts in the position shown in Fig. 2 when the solenoid 33 is not energized. In this position the inner end portion of the cylinder 32 will be connected with the source of air under pressure and the outer end portion of said cylinder 32 will be open to exhaust. This will hold the piston 38 and parts connected therewith in a. retracted or starting position, as shown in Fig. 2. Energizing of the solenoid 33 by placing a hanger on the switch operating lever 36, 37 will reverse the pneumatic connections through the valve 31 and cause the piston 38 and parts connected therewith to be quickly moved to the right, Fig. 2. This movement to the right will break the circuit to solenoid 33 with the result that the piston 38 and connected parts will be immediately retracted to their starting position where they will remain until the switch 34 is again closed. The valve 31 and spring 44 are diagrammatically shown in Fig. 2 and it will be understood that they may be of any desired form and arrangement.
The inner pipe 24 has a longitudinally extending up wardly directed slot 50 which registers with the slot 25 in the outer pipe 23. A plurality of uniformly spaced apart pawls 51 are disposed within the inner pipe 24 and extend outwardly through the slots 50 and 25 in the respective inner and outer pipes 24 and 23. The pawls 51 have end surfaces 52 which are adapted to engage with clothes hanger hooks 27 to advance clothes hangers along the tr-ackway formed by the pipe 23. The end of each pawl 51 remote from the surface 52 is supported on and connected with the inner pipe 24 by a pivot pin 53 which extends crosswise of said inner pipe 24. A spring formed of a piece of spring wire bent to provide two arms 54 and 55 and a loop or coil 56 yieldingly urges each pawl 51 outwardly. The loop 56 of each spring extends around one of the pivot pins 53 and the two arms 54 and 55 thereof engage respectively one of the pawls 51 and the pipe 24. A transverse stop member 57 is rigidly secured to the lower edge of each pawl 51 near the forward end 52 thereof and engages with the pipe 24 in limiting outward movement of the hook engaging end portion of the pawl. When the pipe 24 is moved to the left, Figs. 2 and 3, the pawls 51 will move all of the hangers on the track pipe 23 one step to the left and when the solenoid 33 is de-energized by the opening of switch 34 the pawls will be returned to their starting position and in so doing will spring down and slide under the hanger hooks without retracting the hangers. Thus the hangers are intermittently moved ogre step at a time toward the discharge end of the pipe 2 Each track member 20, 21, and 22 has a downwardly inclined curved transfer rod 49, Figs. 2 and 5, secured to its outer end for transferring garment hangers with garments thereon by gravity to an endless conveyor designated generally by D. The conveyor D is positioned at a lower level than the track members 20, 21
and 22. v, V
The conveyor D consists of two parallel side by side track members formed of pipes 58 supported by hangers 59, Fig. 2, of inverted T-shape. All of the pipes 58 are provided with upwardly facing longitudinally extending slots 68. The pipes 58 may be bent in horizontal directions to follow substantially any desired course of travel, depending on the limitations imposed by working conditions and by buildings and rooms of different shapes and sizes.
The pipes 58 which form the track of conveyor D are connected at their respective ends with frame or bracket members herein termed housings 61 and 62. Two sprocket Wheels 63 and 64 are rotatively mounted in the respective housings 61 and 62 by vertical shafts 65 and 66. One of said shafts, in this instance the shaft 65 in housing 61, has a driving connection with a suitable speed reduction motor 67. An endless sprocket chain or roller chain of link belt type is disposed within the pipes 58 and numbered 68. This chain 68 passes around the sprocket wheels 63 and 64 and is driven in the direction indicated by the arrows in Fig. 1. Uniformly spaced apart upwardly extending drive pins 69 are carried by the sprocket chain 68 and project upwardly through the slots 60 in the pipes 58 for a substantial distance. The drive pins 69 engage with the hooks 27 of the hangers and move the hangers along the track pipes 58. One lap or run of the track pipes 58 passes through a garment steamer and vibrator S. The structure of this garment steamer and vibrator S is fully illustrated and explained in my copending patent application hereinbefore identified.
The two laps or runs of the sprocket chain 68 of conveyor D operate in a common horizontal plane and at the discharge end of this conveyor D they pass around a sprocket wheel 64 which lies in a horizontal plane and is at the location where the garment bearing hangers are to be discharged from conveyor D. Consequently novel devices of a form hereinafter described are pro vided in connection with housing 62 to facilitate the transfer of these hangers from the conveyor D to another conveyor indicated generally by E. The conveyor E is herein shown as extending substantially at right angles to the conveyor D but it will be understood that this angle may be varied.
The conveyor E is similar to the conveyor D in that it comprises two parallel runs of pipes 75 connected at opposite ends with housings 76 and '77 respectively. The pipes 75 have upwardly directed longitudinally extending slots 78 and serve as track and housing means for an endless link belt 79 (which runs on sprocket wheels 80 and 81. The sprocket wheels 80 and 81 are mounted on upright shafts 82 and 83 in the respective housings 76 and 77. The pipes 75 are supported from overhead by hangers 84, see Fig. 11. The sprocket .chain 79 has pins 85 similar to the pins 69 previously lower plate 62' of the housing 62. An inclined plate 71 of flat metal is secured to the lower plate 62 of the housing 62 and forms a ramp which slopes upwardly toward the disc 70 and terminates in a plane at least flush with the top plane of the' disc 70. The inclined plate 71 is disposed in the path followed by the tips of the hanger hooks 27 and as these hooks 27 are moved by the pins 69 toward the disc 70 their tips slide upwardly along the inclined plate 71 and pass onto the disc 70. An upright flange 71' is provided between the inclined ramp 71 and the conveyor 68 to prevent the hangers from turning on vertical axes as they are being moved upwardly along the ramp 71.
The ramp 7!) raises the hangers enough so that the hooks 27 are clear of the chain 68 which is passing around the sprocket wheel 64 and when the driver pins 69 push the hooks 27 off of the ramp 71 the tips of these hooks rest on the disc 70, which is moving at the same angular velocity as the chain 68 and pins 69. The shanks 28 of the hooks 27 are outside of the part of the chain 68 which is passing around the sprocket wheel 64 and are always spaced outwardly from the path followed by the driver pins 69 in passing around said sprocket wheel 64. Thus the hanger shanks can pass on one side and the driver pins on the opposite side of the tip 73' of an inclined track bar 73, as hereinafter described. The disc 70 has a raised marginal flange 72 which keeps the points of the hooks 27 on the disc 70 while the hangers are being carried around by said disc through any desired angle up to about one hundred eighty degrees and until the hooks are pulled or shunted olf of said disc by the inclined track bar 73. Conveyor E is shown at approximately right angles to the part of conveyor D with which it is connected but it will be understood that this angle may be varied approximately ninety degrees in either direction from the'position shown. The leading end portion of the bar 73 is high enough so that the tips of the hanger hooks which pass onto said bar will be held clear of the chain 68 as the hangers start to slide downwardly along the bar 73.
The lower end of track bar 73 is positioned on or close to a track pipe 75 of the conveyor E. Preferably a guide plate 74 is secured to pipe 75 at the location where track bar 73 connects with pipe 75 Guide plate 74 is positioned so it will be contacted by the hanger shanks 28 and when so contacted it will turn the hangers so the hooks 27 are approximately crosswise of the pipe 75 and the tips of the hooks are positioned to come down over the pipe 75 and will not come down in the slots 78 in said pipe 75.
The sprocket chain 79 of the conveyor E is driven in the direction indicated by the arrows in Fig. 1 by a suitable gear reduction motor 86. The motor 86 is connected with the shaft 83 on which the sprocket wheel 81 is mounted. The garments on the hangers carried by the conveyor E are selectively distributed to any desired one of a plurality of storage racks F. These racks F are herein shown as positioned at right angles to the conveyor E but obviously may be at a different angle. The selective distribution of the garments to the storage racks F is accomplished by means shown in Figs. 1, ll, 12 and 13. This means is similar for each storage rack and the following description as applied to Figs. 11, 12 and 13 will apply equally well to any one of said storage racks. Each storage rack comprises a horizontal bar 90 positioned at a lower level than the conveyor E and having the end thereof adjacent the conveyor E curved upwardly as shown in Fig. 11. The bars 90 are preferably supported from overhead by suitable hangers 91, one of which is shown in Fig. 11. An inclined curved switch member 92 is rotatively connected with the upwardly curved end portionof each bar 90 and operates as transferring means over which garments on hangers can pass from conveyor E to racks F. One satisfactory way of movably connecting each switch bar 92 with a rack bar 90 is to provide on the end of the switch bar 92 a cylindrical bearing shank 93 which fits rotatively into the adjacent tubular end portion of the bar 90. Each switch member 92 is shaped and positioned so that its 6 forward end portion or tip 94 is near the pipe 75 and can be moved between a hanger intercepting position, as shown by full lines in Figs. 11, 12 and 13, and a position clear of the books 27 of the hangers, as shown by dot and dash lines in Fig. 13. An inclined lift member or cam 89 is positioned alongside of each tip portion 94 to lift each hook 27 as it passes thereover. Also each switch member 92 has a rigidly attached lever arm 95 which is connected with the plunger 96 of a solenoid 97. When the solenoid 97 is not energized the tip of the switch member 92 is maintained in a raised position out of the path of the hooks 27 by the weight of plunger 96 and associated parts, see dot and dash lines Fig. 13. When the switch member 92 is so elevated the hooks 27 will pass thereunder.
When the solenoid 97 is energized it will hold the tip 94 of the switch member 92 closer to the pipe 75, as shown by full lines in Fig. 13, and the hooks 27 in passing over the inclined lift members 89 will engage with the switch member 92 and be guided thereby onto the storage rack with which the switch bar 92 is connected. The inclined lift bar 89 holds each hook 27 at a high enough elevation so that the tip of the hook will clear the track pipe 75 as the hanger is deflected sidewise away from the pipe 75 by the switch member 92.
A control box- 19, Fig. 1, is positioned near the operator at the infeed end of the conveyors and contains suitable switches by which substantially all of the electrically operated-devices can be controlled. These switches are not shown but preferably one is provided for each solenoid 97 so that the operator can select the rack F to which a batch of garments are to be delivered by energizing a selected solenoid 97. Also preferably the operator can tie-energize each solenoid from the control box 19 if he so desires. It is further desirable to provide means whereby each solenoid to which energy is being supplied can be de-energized automatically after the last garment of a batch has been deflected onto the rack F controlled by that solenoid. This is done by the use of automatic control devices that are carried on the conveyors.
An automatic control device which can be used for this purpose is shown in Fig. 14. This device comprises a switch trip rod 98 of substantial weight having a book 99 of the same general configuration as a hanger hook secured to its upper end. The hook 99 has a switch operating element 188 secured thereto and positioned so it will engage with a switch lever 101 and operate a switch 192 as the hook 99 moves downwardly along a storage rack or bar 9%. The switch 102 preferably operates through a relay 103 and in so doing breaks the circuit to the solenoid 97. In handling batches of clothing it is usually desirable to keep all of the articles in the batch together. The operator who hangs the garments on the infeed conveyors A can accomplish this by hanging one of the trip members shown in Fig. 14 on the conveyor after he has hung the last garment of a batch. Then, with the solenoid 97 of a selected storage rack energized, all of the garments of the batch will be directed onto the desired storage rack and the trip member, following the last garment of the batch, will open the circuit to the solenoid which has been holding the selected switch member 92 and cause said switch member 92 to be moved into a raised and inoperative position.
The operation of this invention may be summarized as follows: The garments to be handled are hung on the infeed conveyor members 20, 21 and 22. Providing several of these conveyors enables an operator to hang several batches of garments without feeding them to the conveyor D. As each garment is hung on a conveyor 20, 21 or 22 that conveyor is advanced one step and the next garment can be hung at the proper distance from the preceding one. All of the garments on any conveyor 20, 21 or 22 can be discharged one after another by energizing the solenoid 33 of that conveyor independently of its switch 34. The garments are fed one after 1 another onto the conveyor D by which they arecarried through the garment conditioning device S. The garments are then delivered to conveyor E from which they are distributed to the racks F. Obviously changes in my invention may be made within the scope of the following claims.
I claim: 7 r
1. In conveyor and storage means for handling garments on garment hangers that are provided with hooks, a generally horizontal track pipe supported in an elevated position and arranged to have the hooks of garment hangers engaged thereover, said pipe having an upwardly directed longitudinal slot; a link belt type conveyor member movable in said track pipe; drive pins on said conveyor member extending upwardly through the slot in said track pipe; a plurality of substantially horizontal bars forming storage racks positioned adjacent to said track pipe and at a lower elevation than said track pipe; a movable switch arm interposed between each storage rack and said track pipe, each switch arm having a tip portion capable of being positioned close to' said track pipe alongside of the slot therein and clear of the path of movement of the drive pins and each switch arm sloping downwardly from the track pipe to the storage rack providing gravity movement of hangers thereover between the track pipe and the storage rack; and switch arm moving means connected with each switch arm capable of selectively moving the end portion of the switch arm adjacent to the track pipe between a position clear of the path of the hangers on the track pipe and a hanger engaging and deflecting position relative to the hangers on the track pipe.
2. In conveyor and storage means for handling garments on hangers that are provided with hooks, a generally horizontal track pipe supported in an elevated position and arranged to have the hooks of garment hangers engaged thereover, said pipe having anupwardly directed longitudinally extending slot; a flexible conveyor member movable in said track pipe; drive pins carried by said conveyor member extending upwardly through the slot in said track pipe capable of engaging the hooks of garment hangers and moving the hangers along the track pipe; a plurality of bar type storage racks positioned adjacent to said track pipe and at a lower elevation than said track pipe, the end of each storage rack adjacent the track pipe being upwardly curved; a curved switch arm having one end portion rotatively connected with the upwardly curved end of each storage rack and having its other end portion tapered to form a pointed tip capable of being positioned adjacent to the track pipe and alongside of the slot therein and clear of the path of movement of the pins, each switch arm sloping downwardly from the track pipe toward the storage rack; inclined hanger lifting means rigid with said track pipe adjacent the end of each switch arm, whereby the hook of each hanger is lifted clear of the track pipe as the hanger hook is moved over the lifting means; and switch arm moving means connected with each switch arm selectively moving the end portion of each switch arm adjacent the track pipe into a position above the uppermost plane of the hanger lifting means or into a position below theruppermost plane of said hanger lifting means and alongside of said hanger lifting means.
3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2 in which the switch arm moving means is a solenoid; and a switch is connected in the circuit of each solenoid; and each switch has a switch operating member positioned adjacent the upwardly curved end portion of the nearby storage rack, whereby the supply of current to the solenoid can be controlled by devices capable of moving along said upwardly curved end portion of said storage rack.
4. in conveyor and storage means for handling garments on hangers that are provided with hooks, an end less moving conveyor capable of receiving the hooks of the garment hangers and moving the hangers; a plurality of bar type storage racks; a movable switch arm interposed between each storage rack and the conveyor, each switch arm having an end portion positioned close to the conveyor and each switch arm and an adjacent end portion of a storage rack sloping downwardly and extending away from the conveyor, the switch arm being movable to position the end thereof adjacent the conveyor clear of the path of movement of hanger hooks along the conveyor or in a hanger hook intercepting position; electrically actuated switch arm moving means con nected with said switch arm selectively positioning the same relative to the conveyor; a switch in the circuit of said electrically actuated switch arm moving means; a switch operating lever connected with said switch and positioned close to the downwardly sloping parts of said switch arm and rack and clear of hanger hooks moving along said switch arm and rack; and switch operating members capable of being carried on said conveyor and of moving downwardly along said switch arm and rack and having parts positioned to contact said switch operating lever and operate said switch.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,180,725 Kast Apr. 25, 1916 1,730,382 Posnick Oct. 8, 1929 1,825,037 Anderson Sept. 29, 1931 2,120,052 Bishop June 7, 1938 2,124,444 Bournans et al July 19, 1938 2,153,071 Bishop Apr. 4, 1939 2,610,584- Calder Sept; 16, 1952 2,788,885 Begent Apr. 16, 1957 2,853,955 Bishop et a1; Sept. 30, 1958 FOREIGN PATENTS 500,108 Belgium Jan. 15, 1951