US 3313449 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Apliifi 11, 1967 PARKS 3,313,449
ADJUSTABLE WAREHOUSE STORAGE BINS WITH EJECTOR MECHANISM Filed March 15, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet l oooo LODNCD oooo mwFco 0000 INVENTOR Lloyd Parks L. PARKS AM 3L 1%? ADJUSTABLE WAREHOUSE STORAGE BINS WITH EJECTOR MECHANISM 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 15, 1965 I NVEN TOR Lloyd Parks L. PARKS ADJUSTABLE WAREHOUSE STORAGE BINS WITH EJECTOR MECHANISM 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed March 15, 1965 Input IlO INVENTOR Lloyd Parks United States Patent P 3 313,449 ADJUSTABLE WAREHGUSE TORAGE EINS WITH EEECTOR MECHANISM Lioyd Farirs, 43% S. 35th t., Arlington County, Va. 22207 Filed Mar. 15, I965, Ser. No. 439,871 4 Claims. (61. 221-6) My invention relates to a new type of bin for storing and dispensing units of stock or material commonly referred to as bin items, as distinguished from material designated as bulk stock. In the conventional type of equipment used for storing bin items, there is usually a series of open compartments arranged both vertically and horizontally, which provide storage space for stock as required. The size of each compartment may vary depending on the amount of storage space required for each item stocked. Usually, the height of a number of individual compartments superimposed one on the other is limited to the height which can be reached by a person when standing on the warehouse floor. Normally, this height is seven feet, which is the maximum height that can be reached conveniently without the aid of some mechanical device. Generally, the bins are arranged in parallel rows with bin openings facing each other, with an aisle of varying width between each row to provide for operation of service trucks and personnel.
In many warehouses, the ceiling may be 10 to feet above the top of conventional type bins. Normally, this space is not utilized, since it cannot be reached by warehouse personnel due to its height above the floor of the warehouse. Such space is referred to as cube, since it has three dimensions. Since the cost of storage is generally based on the square footage of the floor area, the greater the utilization of the cube, the lower will be the net cost for storing bin type items.
One of the objects of my invention is to increase the storage capacity in warehouses for the type of items commonly referred to as bin items. This is accomplished by providing vertical storage compartments wherein bin items are stored, one unit on top of another, so that the storage capacity of each compartment can be extended upward to the ceiling of the warehouse, thereby utilizing space which is unusable under the normal method of storing bin items. This method of storage makes the storage of reserve stock on a second balcony level convenient, since each bin compartment is loaded from the top when it is necessary to replenish stock in the compartments.
One of the prime objects of my invention is to provide a new and novel mechanical means for automatically ejecting units of stock stored in the several storage compartments onto a conveyor mechanism whereby such stock can be transported to any desired point in the warehouse complex. In my invention, the ejection mechanism is activated by depressing an electric switch. However, other means for activating the ejection mechanism, such as punched cards or punched paper tape, are readily adaptable to my invention and are, therefore, included within the purview of this application.
A further object of my invention is to provide the means whereby the size of each individual storage compartment can be varied in depth, width, and height, so as to accommodate the numerous sizes of cartons required for packaging the bin items stored therein. This is highly advantageous since there are thousands of bin items, all varying in size, which would require innumerable compartments of different sizes in the event the size of each compartment could not be varied to provide the size required for each size of bin item.
A still further object of my invention is to provide an automatic signalling device which can be set at any pre- 3,313,4 3? Patented Apr. 11, I967 determined point on each bin compartment to indicate when the amount of stock in the bin reaches the minimum level. A master control board connected by electrical circuit to each bin compartment is used in conjunction with the aforementioned signal device to call attention of warehouse attendants to the need to replenish stock in specific bins.
Other advantages which result from my invention are:
(1) An automatic count of the number of units of stock in each bin compartment, thereby simplifying and speeding up physical inventory of stock on hand.
(2) Better utilization of floor space by use of automatic conveyors which eliminates the need for wide aisles now required in warehouses to permit the passage of hand-operated service trucks. This results in lower storage costs per item stocked, since a greater number of bin items can be stored in a given amount of space than can be stored under present methods in the same amount of space.
(3) Better protection of stock in storage from dust and pilferage, since each individual bin compartment is almost completely enclosed.
(4) Savings in warehouse operating costs, since warehouse sections comprised of bin storage compartments contemplated by my invention will require very few lights and very little heat, because it generaily will be unnecessary for warehouse personnel to be in such areas.
(5) Reduction in the number of personnel required to select stock for issue, since items will be selected by automatic methods and mechanically transported by conveyors to an assembly and packing station.
I accomplish the several objects enumerated above by means of the novel elements and the combinations and arrangements thereof described below and illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a series of several bin compartments; the overhead storage compartment from which stock is loaded into the bins; the auxiliary conveyor between the parallel rows of bin storage compartments; the main conveyor used for transporting stock to the assembly point; and a section of the master control panel containing ejection mechanism switches, conveyor switches, and replenishment signals.
FIGURE 2 is a front elevation of a typical bin compartment.
FIGURE 3 is a section taken along line 3-3 of FIG- URE 2.
FIGURE 4 is a transverse section on the line lof FIGURE 3, illustrating the upper portion of a bin compartment.
FIGURE 5 is a sectional view similar to FIGURE 4, but illustrating the lower portion of the bin compartment with the ejection mechanism and motor.
FIGURE 6 is a cutaway view of the ejection shaft and the manner in which the ejection carriage is assembled on the shaft. The automatic cutoff switch which cuts the power to the motor after each ejection cycle is completed is also shown. This figure also shows the manner in which the sides of each bin compartment are assembled.
FIGURE 7 is a section taken along line 77 of FIG- URE 6.
FIGURE 8 is a schematic view of the ejection mechanism and the electrical circuit used to effect ejection from a bin compartment automatically.
Referring to the drawings in which like characters and numerals of reference refer to similar parts throughout the several views, the letter A in FIGURE 1 denotes an upstanding bin which comprises a series of vertical storage compartments ltl, each containing a number of cartons of stock items or packages 12 superimposed one on the other. The compartments 16 are provided at the top with closures 14 which are opened for feeding stock items 12 into the open tops of the storage compartments 10. The lowermost stock item 12 rests on the bottom or fioor 16 of the respective storage compartment in the position from which it is automatically ejected from such compartment onto a traveling conveyor 18 when the electrical switch is depressed momentarily. Upon ejection of stock item or package 12 out of the storage compartment 10, item 12a drops by gravity into the position vacated by stock item 12 and the remaining superimposed stock items 12 drop correspondingly.
By reference to FIGURES 3 to 6 inclusive it will be seen that the package-dispensing apparatus comprises the upstanding elongated bin A which has a back wall 26 and a front wall 15. The bottom or fioor 16 is within and extends along the bin A and is spaced above the lower ends of the back and front walls 26 and 15 respectively. As shown in FIGURE 5, the floor 16 comprises a plurality of sections 17 arranged in end-to-end spaced aligned relation, the complemental ends 11 of adjacent sections 17, FIGURE 7, having opposed grooves 19 formed therein. A first verticallydisposed partition 22, FIGURE 3, is interposed within the bin A so that it extends transversely of and between the ends of one of the floor sections 17 with the forward side 13 contiguous to and spaced from the front wall 15, FIGURE 3, the rearward side 9 contiguous to the back wall 26, and the lower end spaced above the floor section 17, FIGURE 5. A second vertically-disposed partition 23, FIGURE 3, is interposed within the bin A so that it extends transversely of and between the ends of a fioor section 17 adjacent to said one floor section 17 with the forward side 13 contiguous to and spaced from the front wall 15, the rearward side 9 contiguous to the back wall 26, and the lower end spaced above the last-mentioned floor section 17.
A first means adjustably and fixedly-secures the first and second partitions 22 and 23 to the back wall 26. Specifically, a flange 25 is formed on the rearward sides 9 and 9 of each of the first and second partitions 22 and 23, and bolt and nut assemblies 27 slidably-supported in slots 28, FIGURE 6, formed in the back wall 26, are fixedly-attached to the flanges 25.
A third vertically-disposed partition 24, FIGURE 3, is interposed between the first and second partitions 22 and 23 so that it extends longitudinally between the first and second partitions 22 and 23 and is parallel to and spaced from the back and front walls 26 and 15. The partition 24 embodies a pair of separable sections 31 having complemental one end portions 29 overlapping and contacting each other, the separable sections 31 being movable relative to each other and toward and away from the back wall 26 to thereby form with the first and second partitions 22 and 23 and the front wall 15 an upstanding bin compartment 10. It is to be noted that by shifting the separable sections of the partition 24 toward and away from the back wall 15 the resulting compartment may be decreased or increased.
A second means adjustably and fixedly-secures the separable sections 31 to the first and second partitions 22 and 23. Specifically, a flange 33 is formed on each of the other ends of the separable sections 31 of the third partitions 24, and bolt and nut assemblies 35 slidably-supported in slots 30, FIGURES 4 and 5, formed in the first and second partitions 22 and 23 are fixedly-attached to the flanges 33.
A discharge opening 37 is formed in the front wall 15 adjacent to and spaced above the one and the adjacent floor sections 17, and a chute 39' is positioned exteriorly of the bin A and is cooperatively-mounted with respect to the discharge opening 37.
It is to be noted that each of the complemental ends of the back and front walls 26 and 15 are closed by an end wall 39 whose fiange 41 is fixedly-attached to the back wall 15 by means of a bolt and nut assembly 47 and the front side 49 is fixedly-attached to the front wall 15 by means of an angle iron 51 which is secured to the forward side 49 of the end wall 39 and the front wall 15 by means of bolt and nut assemblies 53 and 55. Only one of the end walls 39 of the bin A is specifically shown in FIGURE 3. However, this end bin compartment as is also the case of the opposite end bin compartment, includes the fixed end wall 39 and a partition of light construction and arrangement and attachment as above-described with respect to either the first or second partitions 22 and 23.
As shown in FIGURE 2, a restraining bar 59 is extended transversely across a discharge opening 37 of each of the bin compartments 19 at a location such as to prevent the next package from jamming in the opening 37.
FIGURE 4 shows the replenishment switch 32 which may be preset at any point on the vertical scale 34 located on the front of each bin compartment 10. This scale is depicted on FIGURES l and 2. The switch is connected electrically with the signal light 36 on the control panel B shown in FIGURE 1.
The switch 32 has a spring activated lever 38 which is held in a depressed or off position until the stock level in the bin falls below the level of the switch. When this occurs, the lever is released, thereby closing the electric circuit and causing the signal light 36 on the control panel B to light up. This alerts warehouse personnel of the need to replenish stock in the bin to the desired predetermined level. When this is accomplished, the spring activated lever 38 is again depressed, thereby turning off the signal light 36 on the control panel B.
FIGURE 5 shows the motor 48 which activates the drive shaft 40 on which is mounted the ejector 42 which moves forward, thereby causing a stock item 12 to be ejected from the bin compartment 10. Upon reaching the forward end of the shaft 40, the moving ejector 42 reverses automatically and moves to the back end of the shaft 49. On reaching the most backward position on the shaft 40, the projection 44 on the moving ejector 42 depresses the microswitch 46 which causes the motor 48 to stop. At this point, the stock item 12a, which was superimposed on the stock item 12 prior to its ejection from the bin compartment 10, drops into position from which it is ejected from the bin compartment 10 on the next cycle of ejector 42 which is started when the starting switch 20 in the electrical circuit shown by FIGURE 8 is momentarily closed. On completion of each ejection cycle, the ejection mechanism is again halted when the projection 44 on the moving ejector 42 depresses the microswitch 46.
As will be observed from FIGURES 5, 6 and 7, the ejector 42 includes a stem 47' which projects upwardly between the one and the adjacent floor sections 17 of the floor 16 and below the lower end of the third partition 24, the stem 47' being slidably-supported by means of opposed lugs 57 projecting laterally therefrom and seating in the opposed grooves 19 of the adjacent floor sections 17. The ejector 42 is movable between a position behind the third partition 24 and a position adjacent the discharge opening 37 to thereby shift the lowermost package or stock item 12 from the vertical column and eject same onto the chute 39.
FIGURE 6 shows a cutaway view of the double spiral drive shaft 46 on which is mounted the moving ejector 42, both of which provide the mechanism used to eject stock from the bin compartment. As will be seen by the drawing, the double spiral drive shaft 40 passes through a bearing 50. The bearing has a projecting pin 52 (FIG- URE 7) on its inner surface which fits in the grooves on the shaft and causes the carriage to move to and fro as the shaft revolves. When the ejector 42 moves to the front end of the drive shaft 40, the pin 52 in the bearing 50 follows the contour of the reverse spiral groove on the shaft and automatically reverses the direction of travel of the carriage which then travels in a backward manner until the projection 44 on the carriage 42 depresses the button on the microswitch 46 thereby breaking the flow of electrical current to the motor which stops the ejection mechanism until the switch is again depressed. An alternate type of ejection mechanism can be provided by use of a single spiral shaft which is connected, either directly or through the use of gears or pulleys, to a reversible motor. Thus, when the movable carriage reaches a predetermined position on the drive shaft, the direction of rotation of the motor would be reversed thereby causing the carriage to reverse its direction. Upon reaching the most backward position on the shaft, the cutoff switch would be activated, thereby stopping the ejection mechanism. Since this type of mechanism might be more advantageous in certain applications, it is, therefore, included within the purview of this application.
FIGURE 7 shows the manner in which the pin 52 on the inner surface of the bearing 50 fits into the groove on the double spiral drive shaft 40.
FIGURE 8 shows the electrical circuit consisting of the motor 48, the momentary switch 20 which is depressed to start the ejection cycle, and the microswitch 46 which stops the ejection cycle after a unit of stock has been ejected from the bin.
From the foregoing description, it will be evident that I have developed a novel but yet practical means for storing bin stock so that it can be automatically selected from the storage bins and transported by conveyor to some predetermined warehouse location where it is packed for shipment. This automation of bin issues results in a drastic decrease in the number of personnel now required to accomplish the same purpose manually. Also, stock has better protection from deterioration and pilferage. In addition, the construction of each storage bin, by being adjustable, greatly reduces the number of sizes which would otherwise be required to accommodate the many different sizes of bin compartments required if each size was fixed. Further, the signalling device provided to notify warehouse personnel of the need to replenish stock in the bin compartments is of considerable advantage, since adherence to its signal will guarantee the presence of stock in a bin when needed.
Various changes may be made in the embodiment of the invention hereinbefore specifically described without departing from or sacrificing the advantages of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A package-dispensing apparatus comprising an upstanding elongated bin having a back wall and a front wall, a floor within and extending along said bin and spaced above the lower ends of said back and front walls and fixed to said back and front walls, said floor comprising a plurality of sections arranged in end-to-end spaced aligned relation, the complemental ends of adjacent sections having opposed grooves formed therein, a first vertically-disposed partition interposed within said bin so that it extends transversely of and between the ends of one of said floor sections with the forward side contiguous to and spaced from said front wall, the rearward side contiguous to said back wall, and the lower end spaced above the fioor section, a second vertically-disposed partition interposed within said bin so that it extends transversely of and between the ends of a floor section adjacent the said one floor section with the forward side contiguous to and spaced from said front wall, the rearward side contiguous to said back wall, and the lower end spaced above the last-mentioned floor section, a first means adjustably and fixedlysecuring said first and second partitions to said back wall, a third vertically-disposed partition interposed between said first and second partitions so that it extends longitudinally between said first and second partitions and is parallel to and spaced from said back and front walls, said third partition embodying a pair of separable sections having complemental one end portions overlapping and contacting each other, the separable sections being movable relative to each other and toward and away from said back wall to thereby form with said first and wcond partitions and said front wall an upstanding compartment in which a vertical column of packages in superimposed stacked relation is adapted to be positioned, a second means adjustably and fixedly-securing the separable sections of said third partition to said first and second partitions, there being a discharge opening formed in said front wall adjacent to and spaced above the one and the adjacent floor sections, a chute exteriorly of said bin and cooperatively-mounted with respect to said discharge opening, an ejector projecting upwardly between the one and the adjacent floor sections and below the lower end of said third partition and slidably-supported in the opposed grooves in said one and the adjacent floor sections and movable between a position behind said third partition and a position adjacent the discharge opening in said front wall to thereby shift the lowermost package from the vertical column and eject same onto to said chute, and means operatively-connected to said ejector for effecting the movement of said ejector between said two positions.
2. The package-dispensing apparatus according to claim 1 which includes in addition a traveling conveyor cooperatively-disposed with respect to said chute and receiving packages discharged from said chute.
3. The package-dispensing apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said first means includes flanges formed on the rearward side of said first and second partitions, and bolt and nut assemblies slidably-supported in slots formed in said rear wall and fixedly-attached to said flanges, and wherein said second means includes flanges formed on the other ends of the pair of separable sections of said third partition, and bolt and nut assemblies slidably-supported in slots formed in said first and sec- 0nd partitions and fixedly-attached to said flanges.
4. The package-dispensing apparatus according to claim 1 which includes in addition a vertical scale formed on said front wall complemental to said vertical compartment, and a replenishment switch movable to a selected set position on said scale, said switch being operable to illuminate a signal lamp responsive to the depletion of the packages in the vertical column below the set position of said switch.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,460,879 7/1923 Allen 221-231 X 1,773,885 8/1930 Staley 221301 2,105,644 1/1938 Gebert et al 221- X 2,374,537 4/1945 Goldsmith 186-1.! 2,578,951 12/1951 Shaver 194-10 2,611,673 9/1952 Riise 221116 2,634,185 4/1953 Wilder 221129 2,834,510 5/1958 Cenotti 22179 3,074,593 1/1963 Krakauer et al 22113 FOREIGN PATENTS 26,226 6/ 1920 Denmark.
ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner. KENNETH B. LEIMER, Examiner.