US 3103271 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 10, 1963 w. CHRISTIANSEN, JR 3,103, FLEXIBLE CURVE 1/ Filed Aug. 22, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 24 INVENTOR l3 Mil/4M C'X/i/SWAA/SiA/Jk QMMW ATTORNEYS Sept. '10, .1963
W CHRISTIANSEN, JR
FLEXIBLE CURVE Filed Aug. 22, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR Ml [MM CHRISTIAA/SEA/JR ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,103,271 FLEXIBLE CURVE William Christiansen, lira, Lowell, Mich, assignor to The Rapids-Standard Company, line, Grand Rapids, Mich, a corporation of Michigan Filed Aug. 22, 1960, Ser. No. 51,145 1 Claim. (Cl. 193-35) This invention relates .to a flexible conveyor track for selectively routing articles from a main conveyor onto one of several spur conveyors.
In conveyor systems it is often necessary to direct articles from a main conveyor line onto two or three spur conveyor lines leading in different directions and to different places. To do this it is necessary to have a transfer mechanism which will permit the main conveyor to be connected to any one of the spur lines. This can be accomplished by providing a flexible track section between the main conveyor and the spur lines which is movable between the various spur lines due to its flexibility. Previously, flexible track sections have been formed by joining together several roller-carrying saddles at the center thereof with a resilient strip. Although this arrangement has proved satisfactory to a degree, it has one major disadvantage in that the centrally disposed resilient strip tends to fatigue rapidly, causing frequent breakage. Also, this arrangement tends to prevent proper positioning of the flexible section when moved from between conveyors.
The present invention overcomes the above mentioned difliculties by connecting together the roller-carrying saddles at the outer edges thereof with coil-type springs. Thus, each saddle is connected together by a pair of springs rather than a single spring, resulting in less breakage of the flexible section. The flexible section is also easier to position between the conveyors, since each end of the individual saddles is secured together rather than being secured together only at the center. Thus, when the saddles are mowed on a support means, such as a bearing plate, the moving force is applied to both ends of the saddles causing a more even and rapid response to the force applied thereto. This arrangement also prevents the ends from tending to interlock and work against a force applied to the center such as occurs with a central exible strip arrangement.
Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide a flexible conveyor section having saddles which are joined together at each of their ends by resilient means.
Another object of this invention is to provide a flexible conveyor section having roller-carrying saddles connected together by resilient means in a manner so as to prevent fatigue of the resilient means and thus breakage of the flexible section.
These and other objects and advantages of this invention will become more apparent upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the drawings.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the flexible track section of this invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the flexible track section, having a portion thereof cut away to illustrate one possible type of control means for movement of the flexible track section;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the flexible track section;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged cross sectional view taken along the section lines IVIV of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged plan view of certain of the rollercarrying saddles and showing the springs interconnecting the saddles;
FIG. 6 is a segmental view of a portion of the control. means, showing the follower plate and operator arm conwith a plurality of spur conveyors.
3,193,271 Patented Sept. 10, 1963 ice nected thereto and the connection of the follower plate with the movable end saddle.
This invention relates basically to a flexible section of track which is utilized to connect a mainconveyor The flexible track section is supported on a bearing plate which is positioned between the main conveyor and spur conveyors. The flexible conveyor section is composed of a plurality of individual rolleror wheel-carrying saddles. There is a sufficient number of these saddles to span the distance between the main conveyor and a spur conveyor. The saddles are connected together at the outer edges thereof by resilient means which tie the saddles together to form the section. One terminal or end saddle of the section is fixed to the bearing plate adjacent the main conveyor. The other terminal saddle of the section is connected to control means which is capable of sliding it on the hearing plate. Since there is a flexible connection between the saddles, the section can be moved between the various spur conveyors to interconnect them with the main conveyor.
The flexible track section assembly is designated generally as ill. The assembly includes the bearing plate 15, the control means 2 5, the saddles 45, and the spring 60.
Referring now more specifically to the details of the invention, FIG. 1 shows the bearing plate 15. The hearing plate 15 is a flat, plate-like member having a generally triangular configuration wherein the apices of the triangle have been removed, forming sides 16, 17 and 18. The sides 16 and 17 are adapted to cooperate with spur conveyors 11 and 12, respectively, segments of which are shown in FIG. 2. The side 18 is adapted to cooperate with the main conveyor 13, a segment of which is also shown in FIG. 2. Although the bearing plate 15 is illustrated as having the configuration shown, it is to be understood that within the broadest aspects of this invention the table may be made of a different configuration and may be designed to abut more or less spur conveyors.
The bearing plate 15 is provided with an arcuate guideway 19 (FIG. 2). The guideway 19 is of suflicient length to span the distance between the bearing plate sides 16 and 17. The guideway 19 receives a follower plate 38 which forms a part of the control means 25 to be explained more fully hereinafter.
A pivot pin 22 (FIG. 2) is secured to the bottom of the bearing plate 15 and projects transversely therefrom. The pivot pin 22 acts as a fulcrum point for a lever arm 7 35 which also forms a part of the control means, to be explained more fully subsequently.
Fasteners 23 and 24- (FIG. 2) are secured to the bearing plate adjacent the side 18 thereof and are adapted to fix a terminal saddle 45 to the table for purposes to be explained subsequently.
Arcuate side rails 20 and 21 (FIG. 1) are secured to the bearing plate-top 15 by any well-known means. One end of side rail 20 is positioned adjacent the side 18 and fans outwardly in a manner so that the other end thereof is adjacent the side 16. The side rail 21 is spaced from side rail 29 and also has one end thereof positioned adjacent side 18 and fans outwardly in an opposite direction to that of side rail 20 so that the other end thereof lies adjacent side 17. The side rails 20 and 21, as shown in FIG. 1, are channel-shaped in cross sectional configuration; however, it is to be understood that within the broadest aspect of this invention these side rails may take other cross sectional forms. Although the invention as illustrated is shown in the form of a Y, it is to be understood that within the broadest aspect of the invention it may take other forms in one of which the one side rail would be straight and the'other arcuate.
A frame or legs (not shown) supports the bearing plate 15. The bearing plate supports the control means now to be described.
Brackets 26 are secured to the bearing plate 15 at each extremity and support each extremity of the screw shaft 27 (FIG. 2) which is journaled therein. A wheel 3% bearing an offset handle 3-1 is fixedly secured to the screw shaft 27 and provides a means for rotating the same. Although not shown, it is to be understood that within the broadest aspect of this invention the screw shaft 27 may be driven by means such as an electric motor or other power means. A translating nut 28 is threaded on the screw shaft 27 and traverses from one end of the screw to the other when the screw is rotated. A cam pin 29 is secured to the translating nut 28 and engages a lost motion slot 36 in lever arm now to be described.
The lever arm 35 is an elongated channel shaped memher having a pivotal connection 37 with pivot pin 22 which is secured to the bottom of bearing plate As previously described, the one end of the lever arm 35 is connected to the cam pin 29 of translating nut 28. The opposite end of the lever arm 35 is connected to a follower plate 38 which is positioned in arcuate guideway 19. The follower plate 38 is of the same arcuate configuration as the guideway 19 so that it may move therein without binding. Rotation of screw shaft 27 causes the translating nut 28 to move therealong and pivots the lever arm 35 about pivotal connection 37, causing the follower plate 38 to move in the arcuate guideway 19. The follower plate 38 is connected to a saddle by means such as weldment as best shown in FIG. 6.
The saddles 45 are each essentially similar in construction; therefore, only one of the units will be explained in detail.
The saddle 45 has a generally U-shaped carriage having a bottom 46, transversely disposed ends 4-7 and 48, and a divider member 49 which is secured to the bottom midway between the ends 47 and 48. The carriage ends 47 and 48 and the divider member 49 support a roller axle 52, as best shown in FIG. 4. Roller is journaled on the axle 52 between. the end 7 and divider member 49. A similar roller 56 is journfled on the axle 52 between the end 43 and divider member 4-9. The axle 52 is stationary and the rollers 55 and 56 are provided with adequate bearings at the ends thereof to provide for easy rotation. Although not shown, it is to be understood that within the broadest aspect of the invention, a series of wheels may be used in place of the rollers. The split roller arrangement is necessary to provide proper tracking of an article on the flexible track section. This is true, since the peripheral speed of the outside edge of the article is greater than that of the inside edge of the article as it moves about the curve. The split roller arrangement compensates for this diferential. The use of conveyor wheels rather than rollers is ideal for this arrangement since each wheel is capable of rotating at a different speed.
Secured to the carriage bottom 46 are spring ties Sill and 51. The spring ties 50 and 51 may take the form of the top portion of carriage bolts having the shanks thereof welded to the bottom 46. Although this is a convenient form of spring tie, it is to be understood that ties of other configurations may be utilized. The spring tie 56 is located adjacent the end 47 but is spaced a sufficient distance therefrom to allow the spring 66 to operate freely. Likewise, the spring tie 51 is positioned adjacent the end 48 but spaced sufiiciently therefrom to allow free movement of the springs.
Each of the saddles 45 are interconnected or tied together by springs 64) as best shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5. The springs 66 are conventional coiled tension springs having hooklike members 61 formed at the opposite ends thereof. One hook end 61 is secured to the spring tie 51 on one saddle 45, and the other hook end 61 is secured to the spring tie 51 of the next adjacent saddle 45. Likewise, the hook end 61 of another spring is hooked about the spring tie 50 on the first mentioned saddle 45 and the other hook end 61 to the next adjacent saddle 45. Each of the saddles 45 are thus interconnected by the springs 6% to form the flexible track section which spans the distance between the side 13 and sides 16 or 17 of the bearing plate. Since the saddles 45 are interconnected by springs, each one is capable of movement with respect to the other thus producing a flexible section.
One of the terminal saddles 45 is fixedly secured to the bearing plate 15 adjacent the side 18 by fasteners 23 and 24. Apertures are formed in the carriage base of this particular saddle, which allows passage of the fasteners.
The other terminal saddle 45 is secured to the follower plate 38 by weldment or other fastening means as previously described.
Operation The flexible track section assembly 19 operates between conveyors such as 11, 12 and 13 shown in FIG. 2. The assembly it) is positioned between these conveyors so that the side 18 thereof is adjacent conveyor 13, side 16 is adjacent the conveyor 11, and side 17 is adjacent conveyor 12. The bearing plate 15 is placed at the proper height level so that the roller bearing units 45 are positioned at the same level as the rollers on the various conveyors.
If it is desired to convey articles from the conveyor 13 to the conveyor 11., or vice versa, the handle 21 is gripped and the screw shaft 27 rotated until the translating nut 1.8 assumes the position shown in FIG. 2. As the screwshait 27 is rotated the translating nut 28 moves toward the Wheel 30. The cam pin 29 being connected to the translating nut 23 moves therewith, and works in cam slot 36 causing the lever arm 35 to pivot about pivot pin 22. This causes the follower plate 38 to move in the arcuate guideway 19 toward the table side 16. The lost motion connection between the lever arm 35 and translating nut 28 allows for the increase in distance between cam pin 29 and fulcrum 22 as the translating nut moves toward the handle. When the translating nut 28 has moved to the right extremity, as viewed in FIG. 2, the follower plate has moved to the other extremity of arouate guideway 19.
As the follower plate 38 is moved by the lever arm 35, the terminal saddle 4-5 secured to the follower plate 38 is carried therewith. This terminal saddle controls the remainder of the saddles which are flexibly interconnected therewith by the springs 6h. Thus, each of the saddles 45 except the terminal saddle which is secured to the table, move to form a curved track section. The ends 48 of the saddles -45 will abut the side rail 2t) as shown in FIG. 2., providing for a uniformly curved track section. The articles on main conveyor 13 may now be conveyed to the spur conveyor 11 via the flexible track section.
If it is desired to convey articles from the main conveyor line 13 to the spur conveyor 12, the screwshaft is rotated in a direction so that the translating nut 28 will travel away from the wheel 30. This causes the lever arm 35 to pivot about pin 22 and move the follower plate 38 in a direction toward the side 17. As previously described, the terminal saddle 45 connected to the follower plate 38 will be carried therewith, and each of the other roller bearing units will be moved also due to the inner connection between each by the springs When the translating nut 28 assumes its position farthest from the wheel 30, the terminal saddle 45 connected to follower plate 38 will assume a position of alignment with side 17 and conveyor 12. In this position the ends 47 of saddles 45 abut the arcuate side rail 21 and a uniformly curved track section is formed. Articles can now be conveyed from the main conveyor line 13 to the spur conveyor line 12..
By having the individual saddles connected together by individual springs at each end thereof, the section is positioned without jamming between the rollers since each end of every unit is being acted upon. The positioning of the springs also provides for a strong, flexible track section which is not subject to fatigue and thus breakage. Therefore, the maintenance cost on the flexible section disclosed herein is small.
While a preferred embodiment of this invention has been described, it will be understood that modifications and improvements may be made thereto. Such of these modifications and improvements as incorporate the principles of this invention are to be considered as included in the hereinafter appended claim unless this claim by its language expressly states otherwise.
A flexible track section for selectively connecting conveyors comprising; a bearing plate having sides adapted to abut a plurality of conveyors, a plurality of saddles supported by said bearing plate and spanning the distance between the sides of said bearing plate; springs connected between each of said saddles along the outer edges there:
of, control means connected to said saddles for moving them on said bearing plate from association with one side of the bearing plate to another side of the bearing plate, each of said saddles having a generally U-shaped carriage and a divider member between the ends thereof, an
axle supported by said carriage ends and divider mern- References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,906,288 Twomley May 2, 1933 2,236,029 Eggleston Mar. 25, 1941 2,669,334 Metzger Feb. '16, 1954