US 3327868 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
L. MLLER STORAGE RACK June 27, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Aug. 2T, 1965 .1, A im@ l. 1 INVENTOR' LozL/vcz,n Mller BY Z amd
ATTORNEY` June 27, 1967 L. MULLER 3,327,868
STORAGE RACK Filed Aug. 27, 1965 2 Sneetsneet 2 f )IP l INVENTOR Lohar' Mller j ATTORN 3,327,868 STORAGE RACK Lothar Mller, Gartenstrasse 10, Wesseling, Bezirk Cologne, Germany Filed Aug. 27, 1965, Ser. No. 483,150 Claims priority, application Germany, May 4, 1965,
Claims. (Cl. 211-1.5)
ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLOSURE In a rack of article storage shelves, the inclination of the shelves is changeable from an article feeding position to an article receiving position.
This invention relates to a storage rack for holding and automatically dispensing similarly shaped articles such as filled bags, cartons or packages. In particular, the invention is directed to a storage rack having a plurality of vertically spaced parallel shelves inclined to the horizontal and mounted in a frame together with mechanical article feeding and dispensing mechanisms.
German Patent No. 1,113,906 shows in general such a storage rack in which the inclination of the parallel shelves to the horizontal cannot be changed for the feeding or dispensing of the articles. However, experience has shown that this -fxed angle of inclination must be acute enough so that the articles can automatically slide out when discharged from the shelves even though they have been stored for Some time. Such a fixed angle has the disadvantage in that, during the feeding of articles into the shelves, the first article pushed onto a shelf slides on the shelf, which is from 4 to 6 meters long, with such a speed that the article is crushed or damaged when it hits the abutment at the end of the shelf.
In this invention, it has been found that the disadvantages of this type of storage rack can be avoided by changing the angle of inclination of the shelves from a feeding angle to a discharging angle. During the feeding of the articles to the shelves, the shelves are given an angle of from about l0 to 20 so that the articles do not slide by themselves on the shelves, but rather slide by being given a light pressure, such pressure being produced by the feeding arm and that this pressure is suflicient to put the articles in motion. When the articles are to be discharged from the shelves, the feeding end of the shelves is raised and adjusted at such an angle that the articles automatically start to slide down the shelves even though they have been stored for some time. This change in the angle of inclination of the shelves is made in such a way that the discharge end of the shelves is -not changed as such would then alter the position of the discharge end with respect to the receiving conveyor belt or hopper.
The means by which the objects of the invention are obtained are described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a vertical cross-sectional view through the storage rack of this invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged front view of the links connecting adjacent shelves;
FIGURE 3 is a partial side view of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 4 is a front view of the counterweight mechanism for the shelves.
As shown in FIGURE 1, articles on a conveyor belt are attached to be pushed off the belt and fed into the shelf by means of the arm 1 operated in any conventional manner by a motor. A crane 2 is mounted on a frame 2a above the storage shelves 2b. The crane includes two drums 3 holding the cables 3a which extend vertically. The lower ends of the cables are attached to each 3,327,358 Patented .lune 27, 1967 end of a beam 4 by means of gripping claws 5. When articles are either being fed to or discharged from shelves 2b, both drums 3 are locked. They are only unlocked in order to change the angle of inclination of the shelves, at which time the drum on the feeding end of the shelf is operated alone. After each shelf is filled, the feeding end of that shelf is lifted with respect -to the stack of shelves and when all of the shelves are filled, the feeding end drum 3 is again locked.
German Patent No. 1,113,906 discloses that either a stationary lifting apparatus is provided for each stack of shelves or that one or more cranes, depending upon the number of stacks of shelves, are connected to the respective stacks.V In the latter case, the shelves are lowered only if and when another stack of shelves is to be p filled tor discharged. However7 many types of articles or their containers cannot stand the pressure placed on the lower shelves when one hundred shelves filled with articles are lying on top of one another.
In order that `a single crane with two lifting drums can serve a plurality of stacks of shelves and further that the entire number of shelves in a stack of shelves does not have to be lowered, this invention produces the apparatus shown in FIGURE 1. The cables 3a do not have the customary hooks but instead each has a gripping claw S joined to a guide tube 6 through which cable 3a extends. When the cables are raised, each tube 6 is telescoped with a cylinder 7 connected to the crane and thus prevents the claws from swinging with a pendulum motion. Tracks 8 are mounted on the ends of beam 4 and extend longitudinally through the frame 2a. Claws 5 slidably engage tracks 8. Locking members 9 are also mounted on beam 4. When the stack of shelves are lifted all the way up, members 9 are locked into holding elements 10 by means of hydraulically operated bolts 10a supported on upper beam 11 of frame 2a. After being locked, the crane can lower the load onto the bolts 10a, the bolts then being disengaged from the crane 2. The crane can then be moved on tracks to a different stack 0f shelves inasmuch as the claws 5 slide loosely along the tracks 8 until they reach the corresponding tracks for the different stack of shelves in which articles are either to be fed or discharged. At such a time, the crane lifts the cables 3a to lift the load off the bolts 10a so that they can be hydraulically withdrawn, and then the shelves either lifted or lowered as desired.
In small installations with low loads the shelves can be hung from flexible ropes. However, flexible ropes are not sufficient when heavy shelf loads exist and when the shelves are to nest together at the bottom of the stack when empty. As shown in FIGURES 2 and 3, in this invention links 12 are used in which link 12a is composed of a pair of link members and link 12b is a single member pivotally fastened between link members 12a. The length of each link member is half the distance between the spaced shelves 2b. A stop lug 13 is secured to one or the other of the link members to prevent the links from becoming aligned when the shelves are lifted so that the links will automatically pivot when the shelves are lowered into nested position. In the link chain, alternate links are connected to the respective shelves by means of pivot bolts 14.
As shown in FIGURE 4, the crane in effect can be composed of a counterweighted device not needing operation by a motor, such as an electric motor, or only needing a small power motor. If the articles on a stack of shelves weigh 2O or more tons, to lift and lower the shelves requires a relatively expensive motor driven crane. Such expense is substantially reduced by this invention by using a variable lever held counterweight and needing at most only a small inexpensive motor.
In FIGURE 4, the crane motor 16 drives drum 3 which holds cable 3a. A brake 18 is connected to the drum shaft 20. On the other side of the drum, 4the shaft is extended to a conically stepped winch 24 on which is wound the cable 26 holding the counterweight 28.
The smallest diameter at the apex of the winch is such that the radial lever arm extending from the center of the shaft 20 to the cable 26 will balance out the weight of the unloaded shelves. The largest diameter of the winch at the base of the cone is such that the radial lever arm will balance out the weight of the shelves entirely loaded with articles. The number of windings on the winch is dependent upon the height at which any number of shelves are lifted. Actually the contour of the stepped surface of winch 24 is in the form `of a parabolic curve.
In operation, the brake 18 is tightened and after each shelf is loaded, the brake is released and the shelf Will drop a distance depending upon the leverage effective on counterweight 28. This distance is the distance to the next empty shelf. The brake 18 is then tightened and the unloaded shelfis then fed with articles. Conversely as each shelf is unloaded, the brake is released and the shelf will rise to bring the next underneath shelf into unloading position. If any power is required, it is supplied by means of the motor 16. In order to decrease the weight necessary -for the counterweight, a gear train can be installed between the winch 24 and the drum 3 so as to produce a lever ratio of about 1 to 1.5 -to about l to 3.
Having now described the means by which the objects of the invention are obtained, I claim:
1. In a rack for storing similar shaped articles such as filled bags, cartons or packages comprising a frame, a plurality of vertically spaced parallel shelves mounted in said frame inclined to the horizontal, and means for lifting and lowering said shelves, the improvement in which said means for 4lifting and lowering said shelves comprising beam means joined to said shelves, crane means movably mounted on said frame and detachably joined to said beam means for changing the angle of inclination of said shelves, and means `for locking said beam means in lifted position to said frame so that said crane means can be detached from said beam means.
2. In a rack as in claim 1, said beam means further comprising tracks, and said lifting and lowering means further comprising cables joined to said crane means, and gripping claws secured to said cables and slidably engaged with said tracks.
3. In a rack as in claim 2, further comprising links joining adjacent shelves, said links Vbeing pivotally joined to each other and each link having a length equal to one half the distance between two adjacent spaced shelves.
4. In a rack as in claim 3, said lin-ks further comprising a single link member pivotally joined between a pair of link members, and stop means secured to said 4links for preventing the single member from being aligned with said pair of members.
5. In a rack as in claim 4, said crane means further comprising a counterweight, and variable lever means joined to said counterweight and to said cables for-producing a lever ratio of from about 1 to 1.5 to about 1 to 3 permitting movement of said beam means 4and said shelves without motor power.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner.
CLAUDE A. LE ROY, Examiner.
W. D. LOULAN, Assistant Examiner.