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Publication numberUS3027022 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 27, 1962
Filing dateNov 6, 1959
Priority dateSep 21, 1956
Publication numberUS 3027022 A, US 3027022A, US-A-3027022, US3027022 A, US3027022A
InventorsLucien Peras
Original AssigneeRenault
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Installation for automatically and selectively handling and stocking objects
US 3027022 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 27, 1962 L. PRA

Filed NOV. 6, 1959 14 Sheets-Sheet 1 12 v 11 9 A C D sonrls 8 *N 9 A B C D 1 *i a o o o G 142 .s Avs 5 *xm 7 oo coco oo l, .dn 7.* s 0 'v a f 2 5 .Q 21 zz za 2.4,./2 1 l/ oo oooeoo SL/ O 11 12613 a g SO ooe oo o 55 2 I 10 March 27, 1962 l.. PERAs 3,027,022



f 1:1 1 15'14 A243 u 5 191./ l l l H @J V March 27, 1962 ERAs 3,027,022

INSTALLATION FOR AUTOMATICALLY AND SELECTIVELY HANDLING AND STOCKING OBJECTS Filed Nov. 6, 1959 14 Sheets-Sheet 4 59-6 Fig] 59-5 192 l D e i 19o '1 wol J A J `i D A n 19A i J 9 J J cnn l March 27, 1962 L. PERAS 3 027,022

INSTALLATION FOR AUTOMATICALLY AND SELECTIVELY HANDLING AND STOCKING OBJECTS Filed Nov. 6, 1959 14 Sheets-Sheet 5 @vvv EA A3 -o 12 11. 11 za 1s 32 3L 1.1 La As March 27, 1962 L. PERAs 3,027,022


INSTALLATION FOR AUTOMATIOALLY AND SELEOTIVELY HANDLING AND sTOcxING OBJECTS Filed Nov. e, 1959 14 sheets-sheet '7 AAI March 27, 1962 1 PRAs 3,027,022




March 27, 1962 L. PERAs 3,027,022


l INSTALLATION FOR AUTONATICALLY AND sELEcTIvELY HANDLING AND STOOKING OBJECTS Filed Nov. 6, 1959 14 Sheets-Sheet 13 March 27, 1962 PRAs 3,027,022

INSTALLATION FOR AUTOMATICALLY AND SELECTIVELY HANDLING AND STOCKING OBJECTS Filed Nov. 6, 1959 14 Sheets-Sheet 14 Fg.26 F3927 INSTALLA'HON FOR AUTQMATICALLY AND SELEQTIVELY HANDLXNG AND STCKING BJEECTS Lucien Pras, Billancourt, France, assigner to Regie Nationale des Usines Renault, Billancourt, France Filed Nov. 6, 1959Ser. No. 851,431 Claims priority, application France Sept. 21, 1956 t 16 Claims. (Cl. 214-11) Thisvis a continuation in part of my `co-pendng application Ser. No. 684,121 of September 16, 1957, now Patent No. 2,93 6,081.

When objects of the same character, having only minor differences with one another, are delivered from -a same machine or production line, it is preferable to sort them before stocking them, with a View to quickly supplying the workshops or clients by which these objects might be requested in any given order in the form of complete series of identical apparatus.

The present invention is concerned with improved means for rendering automatic the selective handling functions in the case of a series of objects which are delivered from a plurality of production machines or assembly lines in any order, and adapted to be grouped by types or categories in one or more predetermined stocking points or stations where they are held in View of their further use. A number of rather complicated devices designed for the same purpose have already been proposed; the selective handling method according to this invention is remarkable notably in that it utilizes a combination of essentially mechanical means comprising more particularly a memory device for recording the identifications of different objects.

In a handling and stocking system of this character it has proved necessary to provide a number of objects or parts between the operator (or the device by which the parts must be identiticd according to their types) and the `transporting or transfer device by which the objects are loaded into the stocking device, due not only to the fact that the arrivals of these objects may take place at an irregular rate `but also to the fact that the time required for the yoperation of the transfer device varies considerably as it depends on the distance existing between the storage bin concerned and the belt or chain conveyor, and also to the fact that the complete width of the belt conveyor situated between the operator and the transfer device must be utilized, for the stocking point may be relatively remote from the operator; finally, the installa- 'tion should `be so arranged that the operator may leave his or her post without such departure causing the installation to come to a stop or` may correct a possible error of identification.

Under these conditions, it is necessary to provide an apparatus adapted at the same time to keep the memory of the type of parts or other objects having moved past the operator, as long as these parts have not been taken by the transporting device; to supply said transporting device with such data as may be required for selecting the proper stocking bin, and also enable the operator to check at any time the character and quantity of the already stocked parts which are still carried by the -belt conveyor and have not yet .been taken by the transporting device.

The installation according to this invention, which is intended for automatically. and selectively handling and stocking objects, comprises in combination -various Vdevices which are listed hereafter:

A conveyor for delivering the vincoming objects to `be stocked;

AV recording device located at apredetermined point along the conveyor track and actuated automatically or ice not by the passage of each object according .toits type, this recorder. keeping preferably ina visible .manner the memory of the passage of the objectsf as wellas .of its type until it leaves the conveyor;

A distributing device whereby a plurality of.A stocking bins or racks may be filled in a predetermined orderaccording to the specic type of each object;

A rst counter disposed at theinput end and adapted to provide a visual indication of the degree oftilling of each bin or rack;

A transfer and transport device for transferring each object, accor-ding to its `speciiic type,l from theaforesaid conveyor to a suitable bin or rack as a function of the rate of illing of the bins or racksv provided .to this end;

A stocking device consisting .of elongated bins or racks in which the objects may be introducedat one end and removed from the other end;

Another counter located at the outlet end and adapted to provide a visual indication of the stockedrquntity per object type;

A taking device adapted to remove at Will, after having selected the type, the aforesaid objects from the relevant bins or racks, with a View to their subsequent use.

According to a preferredv form of embodiment of this invention the recording device disposed on the conveyor feeding the objects so as to stop them during their feed movement is controlled by ,an .operator entrusted with their stocking and their .identicatiom vthe latter being inscribed in a visible manner. and according to the order of passage of the objects when the operatoractuates the element of the device which corresponds to each acknowledged category in view of releasingy these objects one by one towards their destination.`

in this recorder, each memorized identiction sign is cancelled when the relevant object is transferred from the conveyor onto the .transport device, this cancellation being then utilized for controlling lby means of the distributjng device the destination of the transport device and ofthe aforesaid object to be stocked.

This invention is also concerned with the practical actuation of anV installation ofthetype broadly set .forth hereinabove which is considered `as a. whole and more particularly with reference to its control means as Well as its automatic operation from the input recorder to the taking device at the outlet end.

A speciiic form of embodiment .-.othis installation will nour be describedy by .Way of examplewith reference to the speciic case of the stocking of automotive cylinder blocks delivered from a production line, as lillustrated in diagrammatic for-m in the attached drawings forming part of this specification. In the drawings:

FIGURE l`1 is a diagrammatic illustration .of the installation comprising an input section la and a delivery section 1b;

FIGURE 2 is ay simplified Vperspective. view of the installation;

FIGURE 3 is a, diagram illustrating the principle of the ball counter per each bin or rack;

FEGURE 4 is a detail View showingfthe manner. in which the walls are switched in the aforesaid counter;

FIGURE 5 is a detail-view illustrating the counting device of the counter per each binor, rack;

FIGURESv to 8 aredetail views illustrating .the mechanical operation, of a device for checkingthe rack filling rate, which is disposed inthe rack counter;

FIGURE 9 is a diagrammaticvcomplete view-,of atype counter;

ing to the outlet end of a stocking rack and showing the manner in which an object is taken therefrom by the hoisting device;

FIGURE 12 is a symbolic diagram of the automatic system controlling the stocking of objects;

FIGURE 13 is another symbolic diagram of the system for delivering objects from the stock;

FIGURE 14 is a fragmentary diagrammatic View showing the electrical jack distributor as seen from the rear;

FIGURE l is a chart illustrating the cycle of automatic operation corresponding to the path followed by an object from the input conveyor to the stocking device;

FIGURE lr6 is another chart illustrating the cycle of automatic operation corresponding to the unloading of a stocked object of a given type;

FIGURE 17 is a diagram concerning the switching device of the counter by rack;

FIGURE 18 is an elevational end view of the object input conveyor;

FIGURE 19 is a side elevational view showing the terminal portion of the object input conveyor;

FIGURE 20 illustrates the control diagram of the pneumatic means disposed between the input conveyor and the hoisting device;

FIGURE 2.1 is a section taken upon the medial plane of one of the vertical, parallel and identical circuits constituting the recording device;

FIGURE 2.2 is another sectional view of the device, the section being taken upon the broken line a-a, b-b, c-c and d--d of FIG. 21;

FIGURES 23 to 25 are three detail views showing the manner in which the recorder is operated, and

FIGURES 26 and 27 are other detail views showing the operation of the recorder.

In order to simplify the drawings electrical elements, for example relays, are designated with symbolic designations in which they are encircled and associated elements, for example, contacts have the same reference number without being enclosed.

Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, the reference numeral 50 designates the conveyor, of the friction-driven roller type, on which power units or cylinder blocks, termed blocks hereinafter, pertaining to several types identified by the letters A, B, C and D and the handling of which will be broadly set forth hereafter, are adapted to be directed towards the stocking installation.

An identification memory recorder 52 is disposed at the inlet end of the installation. This recorder comprises a catch 511 for stopping the blocks during their travel and is responsive in this case to an operator entrusted with their stocking, this operator having at his or her disposal several control levers 53 for retracting the catch S1 and release the blocks one by one while causing the block concerned to be recorded by the proper selection of the lever 53 corresponding t0 one of the visible columns of the recorder which carry the letters A, B, C, D as consistent with the different types of cylinderblocks.

The actuation of these levers 53 causes balls 54 to fall down the columns A, B, C, D according to the type of block involved, the balls being stopped at increasing levels numbered 1 to 9 and representing the order table of the identified blocks waiting downstream to be placed on the hoisting device 57 by which they are subsequently transferred to predetermined compartments of a stocking rack magazine 55. The number of levels, 9 in the example illustrated, corresponds to the number of blocks that can be disposed beyond the stop member or catch 51 and must not be inferior to this number in order to avoid any action likely to release a non-recorded engine block.

In this example the magazine 55 consists of twenty numbered compartments, bins or racks, the first digit of their numbers corresponding to their level and the other 4 to their column as counted from the left-hand side (Nos. 11 to 45).

An electrical distributor 56 wherein the numbered compartments correspond to the arrangement of the compartments in the magazine 55 enables the operator, by inserting the proper jacks into suitable sockets, to select the compartments in which the blocks of a given type will be stocked by successive filling (see the example of FIG. 1 in the case of D-type blocks).

During its delivery to a compartment or rack, the block is recorded by counters 110, 1x11 disposed at the inlet and outlet ends of the installation respectively. The first counter provides a visual indication, by means of balls, of the degree of filling of the racks taken separately, and the counter 111 provides a visual indication of the number of blocks stocked per type.

At the outer end, the desired number of blocks of a given type may be taken, a hoisting device 112 similar to the hoisting device 57 effecting in this case a plurality of reciprocations to deliver the desired number of blocks to a discharge conveyor 113. Of course, each time a block is taken from the magazine 5S the compartment counter 110 and type counter 1-11 are actuated.

Referring lmore particularly to FIG. 2l of the drawings, it will be seen that the recording device illustrated therein is shown in sectional view taken upon the medial plane of one of its ball circuits 54, the number of closed circuits being subordinate to the number of engine types, which is four in the present case, that is, A, B, C and D.

These ball circuits are four-sided and arranged in vertical parallel planes (see FIG. 22). They comprise two vertical portions 60, 61 constituting ball columns, the balls moving upwards in the rear column and downwards in the front column, and two inclined portions 62, 63 leading the balls by gravity from one column to another. The front columns of the various ball circuits are visible to the operator and as shown the device is so designed and arranged that the distribution of the balls by circuits and tiers constitues a memory system providing a visible indication of the identified engines carried by the conveyor beyond the recording device.

Of course, as each engine can have only one destination, each tier of the recording device which corresponds to one type must contain only one indication, that is, one ball in case there is one column per destination, or several balls if the orders are recorded by means of a binary system or the like.

The first system will be described hereafter by way of example, the other system requiring in certain cases the presence of a pilot-ball at each tier.

'I'he block identifications are recorded by actuating the levers 53; at the same time, this actuation releases the recorded engine retained by the stop member 51 and permits the downward movement of one ball in the corresponding column. To this end, the levers 53 are fulcrumed separately on a shaft 64, and their ends projecting from the front face of the apparatus are constantly urged upwards by a separate traction spring 65. These levers are provided at their inner ends with heels 531 engaging the underside of a shaft 66 carried by a series of rockers 67 also pivoted on the shaft 64, said shaft 66 being normally urged downwards. Moreover, this shaft 66 has one end extending through a slot 68 formed in the stop member 51. In addition, each of the aforesaid levers 53 is connected through a pull rod 69 to a pivoting bar 70 associated with the upper inclined portion of the relevant ball circuit. This bar is so designed that it permits the passage of only one ball at a time from the rear element of the inclined portion 62 fed from the ascending column 60 to the front, slightly raised element of this portion 62, the balls falling from this last-mentioned element into the front column 61.

If the identification is obtained through the presence of a single ball, the levers 53 are interlocked to prevent the actuation of more than one lever at a time. The interlocking arrangement provided for this purpose v,may

take the form of the known devices utilized in certain typewriters to prevent double-striking.

Thus, in a first stage of the recording process, when the operator actuates the lever 53 corresponding to the type of engine released when raising the stop member 51, the bar 70 causes at the same time a ball to drop into the visible column of the circuit concerned.

In order to arrange the balls in tiers according to their order of passage, which is the order of passage of the engine blocks, pawls 7l disposed in vertical rows in each column A, B, C or D are operatively connected to one another by tiers about their pivot pins '72. These pawls are preferably interconnected by a link bar 73 acting as a counterweight normally urging these pawls for abutment againstan underlying rod 74, this arrangement imparting a greater sensitivity than that resulting from a keying of the pivot pins 72.

These pawls 71 are so arranged as to retract themselves by tiers by tilting forwards when a ball falls through the front column of one of the circuits A, B, C, D. rlfhey are caused to resume their initial position by the influence of the rear counterweight after the passage of the ball, but they are so shaped that a ball stopped in their specific tier maintains the pawls tilted forwards so that their heads 711 will prevent the next ball from falling and stop it at the next higher tier, irrespective of the column in which this ball may have been dropped. Of course, some other means must be provided to stop the ball at the level of the .lowermost tier, for example in the form of rotary drums 75 for discharging the balls, these drums being located at the bottom of each column and keyed on a common shaft 76. This shaft 76 is adapted to be actuated by means of an electromagnet A6 the movable member or plunger '78 of which is connected to a link 79 pivoted at its other end on a lever 80 mounted in turn on said shaft 76.

This ball discharge movement corresponds to the cancellation of the previously recorded identifications. Thus, when the first blockwaiting to be stocked and to which there corresponds a ball at level l is placed on the hoisting device 57 vunder the conditions to be set forth presently, it closes a contact Co2 shown in the wiring diagram of FIG. l2 and causes the energization of an electrov magnet A6 and therefore the rotation of drums '75, during which rotation one of these drums will receive the ball from the lowermost level preparatory to its discharge (FIG. 27).

in this arrangement the electromagnet isenergized directly by the contact C52 and since a certain time period will elapse from the moment the electromagnet A6 is energized to the moment it is deenergized, means are provided for locking the lowermost line of pawls 6l in order to prevent the balls at the other levels from moving during this period. As shown, these locking means are mechanical and consist of a rocking bolt ltS pivoted at M6 intermediate its ends and having one end co-acting with a cam 107 keyed on the shaft of drums 75, the other end of this bolt co-acting with the linking bar 73 associated with the lower pawls 71so as to engage and lock same until the electromagnet A6 is deenergized (see positions in FIGS. 26 and 27).

immediately upon de-energization of the electromagnet A6, the ball just received by one of the drums 75 is discharged.

Under these conditions, the ball in tier 2 descends to tier l and so forth, ,by virtue of the successive release of the pawls associated with each tier. If desired, an electromagnet-controlled lever escapement may be substituted for this pawlescapernent. t

Each balldelivered by one of the drums 75 falls onto one of the rocker arms 82 underlying the front columns 6l, each rocker armbeing mounted for separate pivoting movement on a pin 53 and normally held by a counterweight S4 away from a corresponding electrical contact, this installation comprising four contacts C56 to C59 corresponding to the columns A, B, C, D.

6 Thus, the released ball corresponding to the identified block positioned on the transfer device 57. will fall onto `the guide ramp of rockerSZ and cause the actuation of the corresponding contact C56--C59 which, through the electricaldistributor 56, will control the movement of the transfer device 57 towards the bin adapted to receive blocks of this type. This released ball will then roll along the slant portion 63 of the circuit Vtowards the bottom `of the rear column 60 constantly lled with balls retained by a spring-loaded pawl S6 and into which this ball is to be re-introduced.

To this end, a horizontal bar S7 constantly recipro- `cated in a vertical plane is positioned at the bottom of the circuit portion 63, the amplitude of movement of this bar beingsuch that it can cause the lowermost or freshly released ball to clear the pawl 86 and be incorporated in the complete column 60. This horizontal bar underlying all the vertical columns 60 is actuated by a frame-like v member 87 pivoted on a horizontal pin 88 and supporting this bar through the medium of pivoted lugs 39, this frame-like member being driven from a motor and reducing-gear unit 90 through an eccentric 91 and a con* necting-rod 92.

On the other hand, the ball thus re-introduced in the filled column 60 will automatically cause the uppermost ball in this column to roll along the slant portion 62 of the ball circuit. This ball will engage the last ball in this upper portion of circuit 60, the number of balls already present in this portion depending on the degree of filling of the front column 61 of the circuit; besides, the number of balls that can be placed in advance of the bar 7@ must be greater than the maximum number of tiers that can be fed, that is, at leastten in the example illustrated.

As, the operator cannot be expected to be infallible, the obliteration of the identification errors is provided for, sothat the latter will not become irremediable in the storage stage.

in this case, all the visible columns 8l -are emptied by lmanually operating the lever 30 causing in turn the drums '75 to rotate, after having broken the circuits passing through the contact C56-C59. A known safety system t (not shown) isprovided to prevent the hand actuation of lever Si? unless these circuits have previously been opened. Then the identification steps are resumed in the order corresponding to the passage of the diiferent blocks stopped on the conveyor system beyond the recording device by actuating the levers 53. A handactuated stop member (notshown) is provided to keep the parts or blocks in advance of the device on account of the successive retractions of the stop member 51 which are caused 4by this operation.

Finally, a safety device is provided to prevent any untimely actuation ofthe levers 53; thisdevice may consist of means whereby these levers 53 can onlyv be actuated when a block engages the stop member 51 of the device, so that the operator is compelled to record the identifications at the rate of delivery of the blocks not faster.

This system comprises an anchor 93 fulcrumed at 94 and actuable by the passing blocks through a follower in the form of a contact roller. This anchor is adapted to lock at the proper time the stop member or catch 51 in its upper or lower position through the medium of spring-loaded pins `96---97 engaging this stop member 5l. In addition, it is adapted to actuate a. hook member 93 fulcrumed on a pin 99 on the stop member 5l and adapted to engage the shaft 66 of the rockers 67- so as to lock indirectly the operating levers against motion during a predetermined time period.

The operation of this safety arrangement is as follows: when no block is present just in advance ofthe stop member Sil, the latter is in its lower positionas wellas the roller follower 95 of anchor memberV 93s; consequently, the spring-loaded pin 96 engages the lower notchvlii of stop member 51 to prevent the latter frommoving up- 7 wards (FIG. 23). Under these conditions, the stop member 51 bearing with its slot 68 on the rocker shaft 66 causes the rockers 67 and levers 53 to be locked indirectly in their lower positions, while the hook 98 is engaged by the lanchor projection 101 and held away from the shaft 66.

When a block is presented before the stop member 51, the roller follower 95 positioned slightly in advance thereof is lifted by the block and the anchor 93 tilts to release the spring-loaded pin 96 from the stop member 51 which has remained in its lower position and may thus be raised at the proper time, for its release will permit the operation of the lever 53 corresponding to the identification made by the operator (FIG. 24).

Upon completion of the movement permitting the passage of the block, the stop member 51 is locked in its higher position by the other spring-loaded pin 97 engaging the underside of the upper notch 102, for the anchor is retained in its tilted position by the roller follower 95 engaging the block concerned. When the operator releases the lever 53, the latter is returned to its initial position by its spring 65 and the rockers drop back until their shaft 66 bears again on the lower end of the slot 68 of stop member 51. The projection 101 being retracted relatively to the hook 98, the latter, which has been `raised with the stop member 51, will then engage the fiat face 103 formed on the rocker shaft 66 now dropped to the bottom of the slot (FIG. 25). This hook 98 will thus prevent any further operation of the levers 53 during the passage of the lblock, until the roller follower 95 drops again and causes the reverse tilting of the anchor to free said hook, unlock the stop member from its upper position and re-lock it in its lower position before the passage of the next block.

As a result, the device is characterized by `a particularly etiicient safety of operation since the levers cannot be actuated and therefore no recording can be effected unless a block is present and stopped by the stop member 51, and unless the roller follower 95 is raised by this block to be recorded, this arrangement preventing under the best possible conditions any untimely or incorrect manoeuvre from the operator.

On the other hand, the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 2 comprises an intermediate transfer device 115 disposed between the input conveyor t) and the hoisting device 57.

The presence of this device 115 is due in this case to the fact that the arrangement is such as to permit, in case of need, the direct transfer of blocks from the input conveyor 50 to the output conveyor 113. In this case these conveyors are interconnected by an intermediate conveyor 109 of same type, the magazine 55 being disposed on one side of this direct transfer line.

Under these conditions, connected to this line are on the one hand, on the input side of the installation, the aforesaid transfer device 115, and on the output side a similar transfer device 165 adapted normally to interconnect the hoisting device 112 and the discharge conveyor 113. Of course, it will be readily understood that if desired the hoisting device 57 may be loaded directly from the input conveyor 50. In this case, the means to be described presently for loading the device 115 with blocks from the input conveyor 50 will also be available for loading directly the platform of the hoisting device 57. The transfer device 115 shown separately in FIG. comprises essentially a movable frame 116 mounted within a fixed structure 117 and adapted to move step by step, on this structure and in the direction of the hoisting device 57, the blocks to be stocked which it receives from the conveyor 5t). To this end, the frame 116 which, in the inoperative condition, is at a level lower than that of the structure 117, is actuated by completely pneumatic means to accomplish the following cycle of movements:

Lifting the frame (raising the blocks);

Advancing the frame (the blocks are moved one step forwards);

Lowering the frame (depositing the first block onto the platform of the hoisting device which is normally waiting endwise of the structure 117, and of Course depositing the other blocks fed by one step along the fixed structure);

Retracting the frame the rear portion of which is again free to receive another block from conveyor 5t).

To this end, as shown in FIG. l0, the frame 116 is displaced vertically by means of a pneumatic cylinder 113 and horizontally by means of another pneumatic cylinder 119, both cylinders 118, 119 being secured on the structure 117. It is clear that the movable frame consists of a pair of longitudinal members carrying on their lower ends slideways 120 engaged by rollers 121 supporting these longitudinal members, these rollers being mounted on the upper portion of forked arms 122 adapted to pivot about pins 123 supported by the lixed structure. A connecting bar 124 interconnects on the other hand arms 125 rigid with the pins 123.

The angular position of the forked arms 122 and therefore the upand downward movements of the frame are responsive to a motion transforming device disposed between the pneumatic cylinder 118 and the adjacent pin 123. In this example this device comprises a pinion 126 driven from the movable rack member of cylinder 118 and adapted to actuate a conventional system incorporating a crank (not shown) engaging a sliding rocking lever 127 keyed on the pin 123 adjacent to the pneumatic cylinder.

On the other hand, it is also apparent that the movable member of the pneumatic cylinder 119 is connected directly at 128 to the frame 116 so as to control the horizontal displacements thereof, the frame rolling in this case on rollers 121. The cycle of operation defined hereinabove is independent of the general drive and may be obtained in the well-known fashion by actuating adequate distributor means for the pneumatic cylinders 118, 119 with the assistance of members actuated during the last portion of the strokes representing each of the elementary novements of the frame. Only the starting of this cycle is included in the general drive, as will be made clear presently.

Similarly, the loading of a fresh block on the frame 116 as the latter is moving back to its inoperative position is permitted by the retraction of a block catch disposed at the relevant end of conveyor Si). An auxiliary loading device such as push-rod also actuated by a pneumatic cylinder separate from the general drive is also provided for assisting in positioning the block fed on the frame.

A typical form of embodiment of these devices is illustrated separately in FIGS. 18 and 19. In FIG. 18, the stop device comprises a pair of catches 230 consisting of vertical rods slidably mounted at the end of the two rows of block-supporting rollers of conveyor 50, these rollers carrying as shown the cylinder blocks one of which is shown in dotted lines in this tigure.

These stop means are actuated by a double-acting pneumatic cylinder 231 and urged to their upper position by springs 232.

In FIG. 19, the reference numeral 233 designates the pneumatic cylinder of the block loading push-member secured on the frame structure of conveyor 5t), intermediate and beneath the two rows of rollers thereof. The

piston rod of this cylinder is provided at its outer end with a catch 234 adapted to tilt forward and urged by a spring (not shown) to a position enabling it to engage and push with its rear portion the first block stopped endwise of the conveyor. The Waiting cylinder blocks are shown in dotted lines in FIG. 19 and it will be seen that the catch 234 engages one of the end bearings of the cylinder block which lies between the two rows of rollers of the conveyor. With this arangement, when a block is being loaded onto the device 11S, the pneumatic cylinder 233 actuated at the end of the downward movement of rods 239 is adapted to push the leading block at a speed greater than that impressed thereto by the conveyor Sil, the iinal portion of the expansion stroke of this cylinder being utilized for, controlling not only its return movement but also, through the medium of the cylinders 231, the upward movement of the rods Zilli so as to position them in the gap provided between the freshly loaded block and the next one still carried by the conveyor d. Of course, the catch portion of cylinder 233 may also be .designed with a view to engage the upper portion of the objects, but the engagement of these objects from beneath is preferred in this case because it facilitates the mounting of the counter 110 endwise of the conveyor Sil (FIG. 2).

A typical form of embodiment of pneumatic-type automatic control system for these devices as a whole, as well as of the transfer device 11S associated therewith, are illustrated by way of example in FIG. 20.

Thus, in this figure there is shown again the control cylinders 118, 119 for actuating the movable frame 116 of the transfer device 115, as well as the pneumatic cylinder 21:1v controlling the catch means 23?, and the push-rod cylinder 233 of the loading device. The actuation ofthe device 115 is subordinate to the cycle of operation of the hoisting device 57 under the conditions to be set forth presently, and notably under the control of the electromagnetic gate valve EV1 to be referred to presently in the description of the general operation of the installation. This pneumatic control arrangement comprises, in addition to this electromagnetic valve HV1, six conventional-type slide-valve distributors D1 to D6 connected to ten conventional-type control valves V1 to V10 according to the circuits shown in dotted lines in the figure, the thick-line arrows designating the ducts connecting the compressed-air tank to the devices and members to be fed therefrom. The functions of these valves and distributors Will become apparent as the following description of the operation of the installation proceeds.

When the hoisting device 57 is ready to receive from the transfer device 115 a cylinder block to be stocked, the electromagnet valve EVI is energized temporarily to actuate the slide-valve distributor D1 in the direction to deliver a control pressure to the distributor Dzthrough the valve V1 adapted thereby to check the proper inoperative position of the frame 116. lt should be noted that the input side of distributor D1 is dependent on a valve V9 controlling the presence of an object, this valve permitting the actuation of the distributor D2 only when a block `has actually been loaded from the conveyor 5d onto the rear end of the device 115, in order to avoid any risk of creating an empty interval in the step-by-step transfer line of cylinder blocks on the device 115.

Under these conditions, the distributor D2 will feed the pneumatic cylinder 118 and thus cause the frame 116 to move upwards. This vertical movement of the frame 116 causes the actuation of the valve V2 controlling the distributor D3 supplying in turn fluid under pressure to the cylinder 119 controlling the horizontal movement of the frame towards the platform of the hoisting device 5'7. During the final portion of this frame stroke the valve V3 is actuated tocauseV firstly the reversal of the distributor D2 and therefore the downward movement of the frame (through cylinder 118) and then the reversal of the distributor D3 controlling the return stroke of this frame to its initial position (through cylinder 119). This return stroke ofthe frame is utilized for actuating a valve V4 which had not been actuated during the forward movement due to the raised position of the frame. Y.

The function' of this valve V4 is to reverse the control member of distributor D1 so as to preventanother starting movement of the frame otherwise than 'in the conditions previously set forth.

The valve V4 is also adapted to-actuate the distributor D4 controlling in turn, `through the valves V10, V5 and V6, the next distributor D5 towhich the pneumatic cylinder 231 is responsive in the direction to lower the catch rods 230 permitting the re-loading of the transferV device 115. Of these last-mentioned valves, valve V10 serves the purpose of checking whether the push-rod control cylinder 233 is then in the proper inoperative position, valve V5 that the frame 116 hasbeen returned to its initial position, and valve V6 that there actually is a block ready to be loaded endwise of the conveyor Sti.

The downward stroke of the catch rods 2.710` is utilized for actuating, during the last portion of their downward stroke, Vthe valve V7 `which on the one hand actuateS the distributor D6 controlling the expansi-on of the pushrod pneumatic cylinder 233 and therefore the loading of a block, and on the `other hand reverses the position of the control member of distributor D4 (return to initial position).

At the end of its loading stroke, the push-rod cylinder 233 actuates the valve V8 adapted on theone handto reverse the position of the control member of distributor D5 and therefore control the return movement of Vthe catch rods 230 to their position to ,stop the next cylinder block, and on the other hand to reverse the position of the control member of distributor D6 and therefore restore the cylinder 233 to its initial condition, so that the assembly is now ready for the subsequent cycle of operations.

Under these conditions, the transfer device 11S delivers blocks to the hoisting device 57 consisting of two carriages effecting rectangular movements, that is, a first or primary carriage 1li@ rolling on horizontal rails 141, and a secondary carriage 142 rolling on a pair of vertical rails 143 carried by the aforesaid primarytcarriage, this secondary carriage being provided with a horizontal platform 1454 having upwardly projecting bearing rollers 145 for supporting the block to be stocked.

The primary carriage 14@ is driven from a motor and reducing gear unit 146 through the medium of a chain 147; it is adapted to travel throughout the width of the magazine 55 and its inoperative position isV on the lefthand side of the magazine input.

The secondary carriage 142 is driven from a motor and reducing-gear unit 1458 carried by the primary carriage through a transmission chain driving a shaft 149 provided with toothed wheels engaged by chains connecting the carriage 142 to its counterweight 1421. This carriage travels from top to bottom of the magazine, and viceversa, and its inoperative position is at the level of the second row of compartments from the bottom, whereby when the assembly of the hoisting device is in its inoperative position its platform 144 registers with the compartment 21 of the magazine while being, in relation to the transfer device 115, in the vproper position to receive a block to be stocked (FIG. l0). This Waiting position has been selected with a view to reduce the average length of the movements to be accomplished by the hoisting device, and as a result this device must be necessarily raised or lowered, in addition to its lateral movement to the right, when the hoisting device is actuated to lill a rack.

In the horizontal and Ivertical directions the platform 144 is stopped in front of aV given compartment by means of a pair of screw selectors lll-llof a-known type already utilized for controlling lifts and-the like, one selector controlling the stoppage ofthe primary carriage 1Mb, and the other, the stoppage of the secondary carriage 142. The electrical contacts of these two selectors are shown in the rectangular portions 15u and 151 of the wiring diagram of FlG. l2.

The platform 144 of the hoisting device `is also providedA at its upper portion with an ejector device 152 adapted to cause each separate block to be fed into the magazine compartment registering with the platform, this ejector consisting in this example of a pneumatic cylinder adapted to be reciprocated automatically, which is of any known and suitable type, the movable member or rod of this cylinder carrying simply a block driving catch 153.

Each compartment of the magazine is provided with a runway or the like, similar to the roller-type conveyors, the rollers in each compartment being driven by groups of compartments from motors such as 154 positioned on either side of the rack levels and controlled through electrical circuit means separate from those controlling the other parts of the installation. These roller runways carry the stocked blocks toward the outlet ends of the racks where the leading block is stopped by a retraining bolt or catch 155 (see FIG. 11). This retaining bolt is pivoted on a pin 156 in the rack and has its free, bent end urged to its block-retaining position by a spring 157. An extractor device 158 equipping the platform of the output hoisting device is adapted to take the irst or leading block out from any selected rack. This extractor, like the ejector 152, consists of a pneumatic cylinder reciprocated automatically, the movable member of the cylinder carrying on its free end a block-engaging pawl 159.

Upon completion of the extractor travel in the direction to take a block out from a selected rack the extractor actuates through a catch 1611 the handle 161 attached to a chain 162 for raising the retaining bolt 155, and at the same time its pawl 159 engages the rear face of the tirst block so that this block, now free, will be transferred onto the platform of the output hoisting device during the return movement of the extractor.

The bolt 155 and pawl 159 are provided with roller followers for engaging the block.

It may be pointed out that the output hoisting device 112 is of same construction as the input hoisting device,

and that it is normally inoperative in front of the output end of rack 21, in the vicinity of the transfer device 165 for directing the blocks taken from the stock to a discharge position in relation to the output conveyor 113. An unloading or discharge cylinder of the automatically reciprocated type, which may be similar to the pneumatic push-rod cylinder 233, is then actuated to transfer the blocks onto the conveyor 113.

At the input end the rack counter 110 disposed near the recorder consists of a cabinet-like structure having on its front, glazed panel as many columns as there are racks in the magazine, these columns being numbered like the racks from left to right. Overlying each column is a switching device adapted to supply the selected columns with a ball introduced therein each time a block has been introduced into the relevant rack, these columns being provide at their bottom ends with a discharge device whereby a ball is released each time a block is removed from the relevant rack.

FIGS. 3 and 4 of the drawings show the upper feed chute containing a reserve of balls and having two guideways 1701, 1702 inclined but lying in different planes, so that the input end of guideway 1702 acts as an abutment for stopping the reserve balls. Pivotally mounted at 172 between these two planes is an anchor-like member 171 adapted to be actuated for angular movement under the conditions to be set forth presently through the medium of an electromagnet causing the upward movement of the anchor member 171 and consequently the release of a ball which will thus roll toward the switching device at a lower location.

This switching device comprises a plurality of twoway fork levels each provided with a switching shutter 173, all the shutters of a same level being connected through link means to a coupling rod 174 responsive to a control electromagnet (see FIG. 4), the electromagnets being designated by the reference characters A1 to A5 and corresponding to the first to fth switching levels respectively (FIG. 3).

In FIG. 4, the switching shutters 173 of the first and second levels are shown in thick lines in their inoperative position and in chain-dotted lines in their other switching position, when the relevant electromagnet has been energized, to show the direction which the balls may take in either cases.

This arrangement comprises tive switching levels permitting the supply of balls to more than twenty columns, thus explaining the asymmetry of the device and, in its right-hand portion, the direct passage from the first fork level to the penultimate one (FIG. 3).

In the table illustrated in FIG. 17 the index numbers of the columns in the counter are plotted in abscissa against the ordinates wherein the thicker line sections designate the electromagnets energized when a ball is delivered to a given column.

It may also be pointed out that in order to simplify the counter construction the ball-distributing anchor-like member 171 is actuated in unison with either of the switching shutters 173 of the tirst and `second levels, this accounting for the fact that for the last four columns 42 to 45 (see FIG. 3 and the table, FIG. 17) the energization of electromagnet A2 has been provided for although this is not necessary for switching the ball.

In FIG. 5, it may be seen that the discharge device comprises, at the bottom of each column in the counter:

A cam 175 adapted to be rotatably driven with its pin 176 and formed with a notch 177;

A bell-crank lever 178 pivoted freely on a pin 179 and having one arm urged by gravity for engagement with the cam 175, so that when the cam notch 175 moves past this arm the ball-crank lever will swing in the direction to actuate `an electrical contact (the different contacts being designated by the letter D followed by the rack number, for example D11, D11 D45 in the complete electrical wiring diagram);

An anchor-like member 181 adapted to pivot about a pin 182 under the control of a counterweight 182, in which case the ball-retaining end of this member will then release the first or leading ball retained at the bottom of the column, this ball rolling down a discharge chute 184 leading to a general collector chute;

A stop 185 permitting the pivotal movement of the anchor-like member 181, this stop being movable angularly about a pivot pin 186.

The pivot pins of these members are common thereto, `and notably the pivot pin 176 of cams 175 may be rotatably driven from a motor (not shown) having a control relay designated by the reference character RA in the wiring diagram. Again, the stops 185 consist of a single rod connected through arms 187 to the pin 186 adapted to be moved angularly through the medium of an electromagnet (not shown) having a coil winding A15. Moreover, the notches 177 of cams 175 are angularly shifted from one another by one twentieth of a revolution (since the arrangement comprises 20 columns) and the manner in which they are adapted, in connection with the electrical contacts D, to select the column from which a ball is to be removed when a stocked cylinder block is removed from the magazine 55 will be explained presently.

The degree of filling of the magazine racks is also controlled with the assistance of a device controlling the filling of the columns with balls in this rack counter.

Under these conditions, each counter column is provided at its upper portion (as shown in FIGS. 6 to 8) with a device comprising a bell-crank lever 190 fulcrumed at 191 in the cabinet, a balanced rocker 192 fulcrurned on the bell-crank lever 19d at 193, and formed with two stepped projections 1921, 1922 emerging into the ball chute so as to co-act with the halls as will be explained presently, and iinally an electrical contact adapted to be actuated by an adjustable screw 194 carried by the bell-crank lever 190. These electrical contacts are designated in the complete wiring diagram (FIG. 12) by the letter C followed by the rack number, such as C11 C21, &c. FIG. 6 illustrates this device in its inoperative condition. As a ball moves past

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U.S. Classification414/272, 198/349.7
International ClassificationB65G47/50
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/50
European ClassificationB65G47/50