US 3276530 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 4, 1966 J. BORNEMAN 3,276,530
LOAD PLATFORM SUPPORTED ON AIR CUSHION Filed April 23, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORA.
Oct. 4, 1966 H. J. BORNEMAN LOAD PLATFORM SUPPORTED ON AIR CUSHION Filed April 23, 1965 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 i7 mam/044.
United States Patent 3,276,530 I LOAD PLATFORM SUPPORTED ON AIR CUSHION Harold J. Borneman, Detroit, Mich., assignor to Fruehauf Corporation, Detroit, Mich, a corporation of Michigan Filed Apr. 23, 1965, Ser. No. 450,418 1 Claim. (Cl. 180-7) This invention relates generally to material handling apparatus and more particularly to an improved ducting system for multiple ground-effect air pads of a materials handling pallet.
Rapid advances in the state of the art of ground-effect machines and the general acceptance thereof as a practical means for handling materials have concentrated efforts to improve the efiiciency of such machines. The present invention is directed to a novel ducting system that maximizes the efiiciency of distribution of relatively low pressure air to a plurality of ground-effect air pads.
Accordingly, one object of the instant invention is an improved ducting system for multiple ground-effect air pads.
Another object is an integral ducting system for a materials handling pallet which balances and controls air pressures within a plurality of ground-effect air pads.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification, claim and drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a bottom plan view of a material handling pallet having a plurality of ground-effect air pads secured thereto;
FIG. 2 is a cross sectional view taken substantially along the line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view taken substantially along the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;
FIG. 4 is a view looking in the direction toward the lower end of FIGURE 1;
FIG. 5 is a cross sectional view taken substantially along the line 5-5 of FIGURE 4, and
FIG. 6 is a view taken generally along the line 66 of FIGURE 5.
As seen in FIGURE 1 of the drawings, a material handling pallet 10 is provided with a plurality of conventional air pads 12, 14, 16 and 18. The pads 12, 14, 16 and 18, which are commercially available from, for example, General Motors Corporation, require an input of air at approximately 2 to 4 pounds per square inch, the air flowing into an annular reservoir internally of the pads, respectively, thence outwardly through a plurality of apertures in the flexible diaphragms of the pads.
In accordance with the instant invention, the pallet 10 has a combination central structural member and duct 30 that extends longitudinally of the pallet 10 and functions not only as the backbone of the pallet 10 but also as a duct or chamber to conduct relatively low pressure air the full length of the pallet 10. The duct 30 is provided with four laterally extending apertures, two of which are shown and designated by the numerals 32 and 34, which in turn communicate with laterally extending ducts 36 and 38, respectively. The ducts 36 and 38 are defined by extruded floor panels 39 having, as best seen in FIGURE 3, a top panel 40, vertical ribs 42 and 44, and a bottom panel 46 which defines the duct 38. For the purpose of clarity, only the duct 38 will be described in detail, it being understood that the description of the duct 38 is exemplary of the construction of each of the ducts leading to the air bags 12, 14, 16 and 18.
The floor panels 39 are surrounded by an edge extrusion 50 which aids in retaining the panels 39 in a rigid assembly. The edge extrusions 50 have a skidplate 52 thereunder to support the pallet 10 when the air bags 12, 14, 16 and 18 are deflated. Similarly, a skidplate 54 underlies the center member 30.
In accordance with another feature of the instant invention, the duct 38, as well as the ducts leading to the air bags 12, 14 and 16, is provided with an orifice plate 60 having an aperture 62 therein which is selected in accordance with loading of the pallet 10. The orifice plate 60 is retained on one side by a cover plate 64 and on the other side by the top panel 66 of the air pad 18. Orifice plates having apertures of different size can be substituted for the orifice plate 60 by removing the air pad 18 from the bottom of the pallet 10 whereupon the orifice plate 60 drops out.
In accordance with yet another feature of the instant invention, opposite ends 70 and 72 of the duct 30, are provided with air inlet valves 74 and 76, respectively. As best seen in FIG. 6 of the drawings, the air inlet valve 74, which is exemplary of both valves 74 and 76, comprises a fiat resilient valve seat member 78 having an aperture 80 therein for the acceptance of a complementary nozzle 82 on a line from a source of low pressure air (not shown). A fiat resilient valve member 84 is disposed behind the member 78 so as to flex inwardly of the channel 30 upon insertion of the nozzle 82. It will be appreciated that the air pressure differential on opposite sides of the valve member 84, will operate to maintain the valve member 84 at the opposite end of the channel 30 sealably biased against its valve seat 78. In this manner, eificiency of the air duct system is maximized.
What is claimed is:
Materials handling pallet comprising a substantially fiat load supporting surface,
a plurality of air pads underlying said surface,
a structural member defining a portion of the load supporting surface, said member extending centrally of said pallet defining a primary duct between said air pads,
a plurality of floor members extending laterally of said primary duct defining secondary ducts com- Lnunicating with said primary duct and with said air and an inlet flapper valve at both ends of said primary duct for the acceptance of a low pressure air nozzle, each said valve comprising a fiat valve seat having inlet aperture therein and a flat resilient member normally closing said aperture on the inside of said seat, said resilient member being movable inwardly of said primary duct upon insertion of said nozzle, the resiliency of said resilient member permitting said member to flex into engagement with said valve seat to seal the aperture therein upon a relatively small increase in air pressure in said primary duct over ambient air pressure.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,918,183 12/1959 Petersen et a1.
3,052,483 9/1962 Petersen 7 3,096,728 7/1963 Amann et a1. 180-7 3,121,401 2/1964 Fields 180-? 3,124,209 3/1964 Flipse 180-7 3,209,929 10/1965 Petersen et a1. 180-7 FOREIGN PATENTS 924,834 5/ 1963 Great Britain. 1,348,086 11/1963 France.
A. HARRY LEVY, Primary Examiner.