US 3380570 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
April 30, 1968 l. 5. JORDAN llI 3,380,570
APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING AND TURNING PANELS IN A GRADE LINE Filed Dec. 1966 4 Sheets-Sheet l April 30, 1968 l. s. JORDAN m APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING AND TURNING PANELS IN A GRADE LINE 4 SheetsSheet 2 Filed Dec. 5, 1966 8 R Y 3 o m i 2 1, mm m m 1 W N W M: .F I A w A o \v DIQ 4 N N c f l1 w m 0 w a T w 7/ m ;\i a? fi 2 l i a 5 k w MW 5 f m 0 r H W\ M W R WM m April 30, 1968 I. s. JORDAN m 3,380,570
FOR CONVEYING AND TURNING PANELS IN A GRADE LIN" APPARATUS 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Dec.
INVENTOR IVY STEPHEN JQQDA III was MEZQPwuMQJ wmwac ATTORNEYS April 30, 1968 5. JORDAN m APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING A'ND TURNING PANELS IN A GRADE LINE 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Dec. 1966 m m V w.
my STEPHENJQRDANE ATTORNEYS waiik m United States Patent 3,380,570 APPARATUS FOR CONVEYING AND TURNING PANELS IN A GRADE LINE Ivy Stephen Jordan 11], Mount Pleasant, S.C., asslgnor to The Cardwell Machine Company, Richmond, Va., a corporation of Virginia Filed Dec. 5, 1966, Ser. No. 599,014 4 Claims. (Cl. 198-33) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A visual grading line for transporting rectangular panels along a feed path with the long edges arranged transversely for visual inspection and sorting, including:
an in-feed conveyor belt unit transporting the panels individually in horizontal position; a panel-turner having elongated arms extending radially of and slidable longitudinally on a rotatable transverse shaft which are rotated through 90 to turn the panels upwardly through 180 and gravitationally slide to downwardly depend below the shaft when they reach substantially vertical position; and
means for supporting the transverse shaft for substantially vertical movement through a predetermined range from an upper position wherein components carried by the shaft intercept and abut the panels and a lower position wherein all components carried by the shaft are located below the path of travel of the panels to permit passage of the panels past the panel turner without turning of the panels.
The present invention relates in general to apparatus for conveying and turning panels, such as wood panels, and the like, to facilitate grading and sorting of the panels, and more particularly to apparatus for conveying wooden panels and the like through a grading station wherein the panels may be turned through 180 for inspection of both sides by an operator and are then transmitted to one of a group of selected bins wherein the panels are counted, stacked and ejected.
An object of the present invention is the provision of novel apparatus for handling panels of wood or similar material of approximately standardized 4 foot by 8 foot size, by conveying the panels to a grading station, and turning the panels about a long edge thereof through 180 for inspection of both sides of the panel, following which the panels are sorted into appropriate bins.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a novel panel handling apparatus for use at a panel inspection station, wherein panels received along a suitable conveyor path are turned about an edge thereof through 180 to facilitate visual inspection of both sides of the panel by a grading operator, wherein the panel turning mechanism is so constructed as to permit selective turning of every panel, or every other panel, or allow the panels to pass through without turning.
Another object of the present invention is the provision of a novel selective panel turner for use at a panel grading or sorting station, having two sets of arms which are enabled to pick up a panel delivered thereto by suitable conveyor belt means from a horizontal position and rotate the panel through 180, but wherein the sets of arms rotate only through approximately 90 to a vertical position and then drop vertically to a position so that there are no projections above the panel conveying belt which would interfere with passage of subsequent panels through the inspection station.
Other objects, advantages, and capabilities of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings illustrating a preferred embodiment of the invention.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a side elevation view of a panel inspection and sorting system employing the panel turner of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a top plan view of the system;
FIGURE 3 is a vertical section view to enlarged scale of the panel turner mechanism;
FIGURE 4 is a vertical transverse section view of the panel truner mechanism, taken along the line 44 of FIGURE 3;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged detailed section view of the panel turner arms and support shaft therefor, taken along the line 55 of the FIGURE 4;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged section view of the ratchet mechanism for rotating the turner arm shaft, taken along the line 66 of FIGURE 4.
Referring to the drawings, wherein like reference characters designate corresponding parts throughout the several figures, the panel inspection and sorting apparatus of the present invention is indicated in general by the reference character 10 and comprises at the inlet end thereof, a suitable infeed belt conveyor sub-assembly 11 comprising a pair of laterally spaced endless belts 12, trained at their opposite ends about conventional pulleys or drums 13 at the feed end and 14 at the discharge end, disposing the uppermost flight of the belts 12, in a horizontal plane. The pulleys or drums 13, 14 and their associated shafts 13a, 14a may be supported by any suitable framework and are arranged to dispose the infeed belt conveyor 11 so as to receive panels, one of which is indicated at 15, from the discharge end of any desired processing equipment, such for example, as a cut-off saw at the discharge end 7 of a panel cutting line. The inspection station for the panels is in the zone generally designated by the reference character 16, wherein an operator on an elevated platform, such as indicated fragmentarily and diagrammatically at 17, visually inspects the panels 15 as they pass into the zone 16 and decides upon the proper grade to be allocated to the panels.
The panels pass from the zone of the infeed belt of the conveyor 11 onto a belt tipple 18 or adjustable pivoted and pneumatically controlled conveyor unit formed of a pair of conveyor belts 19 trained about feed and discharge end pulleys 20, 21 supported on a suitable rigid framework having a pair of sides, such as the side 23, the uppermost edge of which defines an upwardly convex or bowed path for the conveyor belts 19. The tipple assembly 18 is supported for vertical angular adjustment about the axis of the shaft 20a for the drums 20 while the opposite or discharge end of the tipple 18 is free, the vertical adjustment of the tipple being controlled by a suitable pneumatic jack assembly 24 controlled in a conventional manner to adjust the free or discharge end of the tipple 18 at any one of a plurality of selected vertically spaced positions, for example, the three positions illustrated by the solid and broken lines in FIGURE 1.
The reason for the vertical adjustment of the belt tipple 18 to the three selected vertical positions is to effect sorting of the panels which have been graded at the inspection stations 16. The panels are delivered from the discharge end of the belt tipple 18 to an assembly of automatic stacking bins and associated conveyors indicated generally by the reference character 25, including two sets of inclined vertically spaced belt conveyors 26 and 27 having discharge ends respectively associated with stacking bins 28, 29 and a third stacking bin 30 located to receive panels from the discharge end of the tipple 18 at the lowermost position of the tipple. Thus, the stacking bin 28 will receive panels from the conveyor 26, the bin 29 will receive panels from the belt conveyor 27, and the bin will receive panels directly from the discharge end of the tipple 18. Accordingly, if the tipple 18 is in its uppermost position, its discharge end is aligned substantially with the feed end of the belt conveyor 26 so that the panels are delivered to the conveyor 26 and bin 28. The feed end of the conveyor 27 is located in substantial hori zontal alignment with the discharge end of the tipple 18 when the tipple is in its intermediate position for delivering the panels to the stacking bin 29, and the bin 30 as previously mentioned directly receives the panels from the tipple 18 when the latter is in its lowermost position illustrated in solid lines in FIGURE 1.
It is desirable that such panel sorting apparatus be sufficiently versatile to enable panels to be observed on both sides, as well as on one side only, or be adaptable to permit some panels to be observed on both sides and others on one side only in a selected sequence, as by inspecting both sides of alternate panels or every third or fourth panel in a series while passing or inspecting one side only of intervening panels in the series. In order to afford this flexibility of use, a selective panel turner, indicated generally at 32, is provided in the region of the inspection zone 16, for example, in the discharge end region of the infeed belt conveyor 11 adjacent the feed end of the belt tipple 18.
The selective panel turn'er 32, which is; more clearly shown in FIGURES 3 to 6 is incorporated in a supporting frame 33 which forms the support framework for the shaft 14a and pulleys 14 at the discharge end of infeed conveyor 11 and for the shaft 20a carrying pulleys 20 and forming the pivot axis for the tipple 18. The shafts 14a and 20a are spaced somewhat longitudinally of the conveyor path for the panels to space the pulleys 14 and 20 a short distance from each other. A panel turner shaft 34 is disposed in the space between the pulleys 14 and 20, normally occupying a position below the uppermost level of these pulleys and of the upper flights of the belts 12 and 19, and is mounted by suitable bearings on a pair of supporting arms 35 inclining downwardly and toward the discharge end of the belt tipple 18. The panel turner shaft 34 is supported for vertical movement through a predetermined range to permit it to be selectively disposed in an upper position, shown in FIGURE 3, wherein components carried thereby project slightly above the extended plane of the upper flight of conveyor belt 12 defining the panel feed path to abut the leading edge of each successive panel for turning thereof, or permit location of the shaft 34 at a lower position wherein all components thereof are located wholly below the panel feed path for freely passing a panel or panels through the inspection station without turning the panel. To permit such vertical movement of the shaft 34, the inclined supporting arms 35 are journaled adjacent their lower ends on a horizontal transverse pivot shaft 36 mounted by suitable bearings 37 on the frame 33, and a pneumatic cylinder unit 38 is pivotally anchored at one end of the cylinder 38' to the frame 33 and has a piston rod 38a connected to the bearing arms 35 at a point spaced upwardly from shaft 36 to rotate the arms 35 upwardly about the shaft 36 and translate the panel turner shaft 34 carried thereby through an upwardly extending arcuate path from a normal retracted position below the feed paths, to a slightly elevated position shown in FIGURE 3. In a practical example, the stroke of cylinder unit 38 is about 5 inches.
Enlarged heads forming turner arm guide members 40 are keyed to each end of the shaft 34 for rotation therewith, each having a pair of guide bores 41, 42 extending diametrically therethrough, the axis of the guide bore 41 of each guide member lying perpendicular or at 90 to the axis of guide bore 42. Panel turner arms 43 and 44, are in fact identical but are designated by these two reference characters for ease of identification, They are slidably disposed in the respective guide bores 41, 42 and are in the form of elongated cylindrical rods having enlarged stop formations such as collars or the like on the opposite ends thereof to prevent passage of the ends through the guide bores 41, 42. The panel turner shaft 34 is designed to be rotated about its axis in increments or steps so as to successively bring the axes of the guide bores 41, 42 and the turner arms 43, 44 carried thereby into substantially vertical position. The direction of rotation of the shaft 34 is upwardly and toward the discharge end of the belt tipple 18, or clockwise as viewed in FIG- URE 3. Thus, the pair of turner arms 43 or 44 which lie in a common plane through the axis of shaft 34 inclining downwardly slightly from the horizontal, and which project from the shaft 34 toward the feed end of the infeed conveyor 11, are rotated to substantially vertical positions during the 90 rotation of shaft 34, whereupon they drop vertically by gravity through substantially the full axial length of the turner arms until restrained by the stop collars 45. The shaft 34 is so located that upon return of the shaft 34 to its lowermost position, the upper ends of the turner arms 43 or 44 which depend downwardly from the shaft 34 and when the cylinder 38 is retracted to dispose the shaft 34 at its lower position, they lie below the panel feed path defined by the upper flights of the conveyor belts 12, 19.
The indexing of the panel turner shaft 34 through the 90 increments is achieved by a pneumatic cylinder unit 46 carried by and between the supporting arms 35, having a cylinder 46 pivotally anchored at one end to a cross brace member 35' extending between the supporting arms and a piston rod 46a coupled at its upper end to a ratchet assembly 47 on the shaft 34, shown more clearly in FIG- URE 6. The cylinder 46' in one preferred embodiment may have a stroke of about 18 inches. The ratchet assembly 47 comprises a cylindrical ratchet hub 48 keyed or otherwise fixed to shaft 34 having four concave recesses 48' in its periphery spaced 90 apart circ-umferentially of the hub, together with a ratchet arm, or pair of such arms 49 as illustrated in the drawings, freely journaled in the shaft 34 carrying a pivoted pawl 50 thereon having a nose 50' to interfit into the recesses 48" and a spring 51 biasing the pawl nose 50' into the recesses 48'. The lower end of the ratchet arms 49 are suitably coupled to the piston rod 46a for rotation of the ratchet arms through a 90 stroke to effect corresponding rotation of the panel turner shaft 34.
A friction brake unit 52 is also preferably provided, for example, by a cylindrical brake hub keyed to the shaft 34 alongside the ratchet assembly 47 having a brake band wrapped therearound supported by a surrounding annular strap or bracket fixed to the frame 33, to frictionally restrain the shaft 34 at the respective positions to which it is rotated by the ratchet assembly 43 and pneumatic cylinder unit 46.
The turner arm guides 40 may be of circular crosssection or square cross-section, as desired, or may be of cross-shaped configuration as shown whereby the radially projecting arms 40' of the cross define rabbets therebetween into which the edges of the panels can seat to provide stop shoulders against which the initially leading edge of the panel abut to ensure turning of the panel responsive to elevation of the arms 43, 44.
The pneumatic cylinder units 24 controlling the angular position of the belt tipple 18 to adjust the tipple to the three vertically spaced sorting positions is controlled in a well known manner, for example, by suitable valve means and control solenoids therefor, which may be wired for remote control to a master control console, indicated diagrammatically at 53, located preferably on the inspection platform 17 within easy reach of the inspector, Such a control console may have a plurality of push buttons for electrically activated suitable valves controlling the pneumatic cylinder unit 24 for locating the belt tipple 18 at any one of the desired sorting positions. Similarly, pushbuttons may be provided on the console to control the pneumatic cylinder units 38 and 46 of the panel turner 32 for activating the same to index the panel turner shaft 34 through 90 steps or leave the same inactivated when a panel advances thereto, as desired .by the operator. Also a selector switch may be provided on the console to condition the panel turner 32 for automatic operation, wherein the pneumatic cylinder unit 46 is automatically activated responsive to arrival of a panel at the panel turner, for example by providing a trip switch having an arm or actuating finger projecting into the path of travel of the panels 15 to be contacted and trip the switch upon arrival of a panel at the proper location relative to the panel turner arms to effect turning of the panel. Well known counter mechanisms may be slaved to this trip switch to permit any selected number of panels to pass through the inspection zone without being turned, so as to cause the panel turner to turn merely every other panel, every third panel, or any other desired variation.
Reviewing now the overall operation of the panel grading and sorting apparatus, the panels 15 to be graded and sorted, such for example, as plywood panels which are finished on both sides, are received at the feed end of the infeed belt conveyor 11 and transported in a horizontal plane by the belts 12 to the inspection zone 16. As the panels 15 reach the position illustrated in FIG- URE 1, wherein their leading edge has almost reached the location of the panel turner arms 43, 44 the inspector on the platform 17 observes the upwardly facing surface of the panel 15 to decide upon the grade thereof, and the panel turner 32 is then activated, either manually or automatically, by appropriate operation of the pneumtaic cylinder unit 46 to concurrently rotate the shaft 34 through 90 so as to swing the turner arms 43 or 44 which project toward the feed end of the infeed of the conveyor underlying the panel 15 to a vertical position, whereupon the turner arms fall gravitationally downwardly to depending relation from the shaft 34. This rapid 90 rotation of the panel turner arms 43 or 44 flips the panel up about the edge which was disposed nearest the shaft 34, the momentum thus imparted to the panel causing it to continue through its rotation about that edge for a full 180 so that its opposite side is now facing upwardly and exposed to view by the inspector. The panel, following such 180 rotation, now lies predominantly on the feed end portion of the belt tipple 18. On the basis of his observation of the upper and lower surfaces of the panel 15, the operator pushes an appropriate button on the console to activate the pneumatic cylinder unit 24 so as to adjust the tipple 18 to the high, intermediate or low position so that the panel disposed thereon will be converged to either the uppermost conveyor belt 26 and into the storage bin 28, or onto the conveyor belt 27 and into the storage bin 29, or will be transferred directly into the storage bin 30.
The conveyor belts of the infeed conveyor 11 and belt tipple 18 may either be continuously driven or may be driven in response to manual control means at the console. Because the panel turner shaft 34 is adjustable to either the elevated position of FIGURE 3 or the lower position disposing the panel turning arms wholly below the feed path, it will be apparent that the generally vertically disposed panel turner arms 43 or 44 do not offer any projections above the uppermost level of the conveyor belts 12 or 19 when the shaft 34 is disposed in the lower position by appropriate actuation of the cylinder 38. Thus, no projections are offered to passage of panels 15 through the inspection station when the shaft 34 occupies the lower position, as when it is desired to pass certain panels, such as alternate panels, or Where it is desired to pass all panels without turning them because the panels are only finished on one side and therefore need be inspected on one side only.
Suitable drop arms, activated by limit switch action may be provided in the upper region of each of the stacking bins 28, 29, 30 to receive the panels from the conveyors 26, 27, or from the tipple 18, and ensure disposition of the panels in a level position, whereupon the drop arms are retracted to drop the panel onto the stack being formed in the lower region of the bin. Side and end squaring devices may be provided to maintain a square stack. The panels may be automatically counted by suitable trip counter mechanism, for example as they are dropped from the drop arms onto the stack so that, upon the stack reaching a predetermined number, the stack may be automatically ejected from the bin such as by driven rolls under the bottom of the stack.
While but one specific embodiment of the present invention has been particularly shown and described, it will be apparent that various modifications may be made Within the spirit and scope of the invention, and it is desired therefore that only such limitations be placed on the invention as are imposed by the prior art and set forth in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. In apparatus for transporting rectangular panels in a feed direction along a feed path from a first zone to a second zone of the feed path through an inspection sta tion intermediate said zones for visual grading of the panels as they are advanced and having conveyor means extending through said inspection station for advancing the panels individually from said first zone at said inspection station in substantially horizontal position with the leading edge of each panel extending transversely of the feed path and a first face thereof exposed upwardly to visual inspection; the improvement comprising panel turner means at said inspection station including elongated rotatable panel turning arms having a first position wherein the arms project toward said first zone in immediately underlying relation to said feed path, and means for selectively rotating said panel turning arms upwardly about a selected axis of rotation disposed transversely of said feed direction from said first position through a stroke of substantially in engagement with a panel when said leading edge of the panel reaches a preselected position for imparting suflicient momentum to the panel to propel the panel through a substantially are about said leading transverse edge and deposit the panel in inverted position on said conveyor means with a second face thereof opposite said first face exposed upwardly for visual inspection, said panel turner means including a rotatable horizontal shaft disposed substantially in alignment with said feed path having its axis disposed transversely of said feed direction, means on said shaft supporting a pair of said panel turning arms for rotation therewith and for free sliding movement longitudinally of said arms along slide axes perpendicular to each other and to said shaft axis, said arms :being rotated upwardly from said first position to a substantially vertical position projecting above said feed path during said stroke and then gravitationally sliding downward longitudinally relative to said shaft to a position lying substantially wholly below said feed path upon reaching said substantially vertical position, means supporting said shaft for upward movement about an axis paralleling and located below said shaft from a position substantially aligned with said feed path to a position slightly below the feed path, and means for selectively disposing to said shaft at either of said positions.
2. In apparatus as defined in claim 1, said means supporting said shaft for upward movement comprising a pair of supporting arms having bearing members at their upper ends journaling said shaft for rotation therein, said supporting arms having elongated portions extending downwardly in an inclined plane from a location below said shaft to pivot shaft means defining a horiontal transverse pivot axis therefor spaced below said shaft and laterally of the vertical plane through said shaft, and fluid powered cylinder means including a cylinder and a relatively movable piston rod coupled to said support arms at a position spaced from said pivot axis for rotating said support arms about said pivot axis to selectively dispose said shaft at either of said positions.
3. Apparatus for visual grading of rectangular panels as they are advanced in a feed direction along a feed path, comprising an infeed station, a visual inspection station, conveyor means for advancing the panels in generally horizontal position along said feed path from said infeed station to said inspection station with the leading edge of the panels extending transversely of the feed direction and a first face thereof exposed upwardly to visual inspection, panel turner means at said inspection station having panel turning arms projecting toward said infeed station and normally disposed immediately below said feed path, means for selectively rotating said turning arms upwardly about a transverse axis of rotation through a substantially 90 arc in engagement with a panel when the panel reaches a position overlying the arms for propelling the panel through substantially 180 about the leading transverse edge thereof to an inverted position at said feed path wherein the second face thereof opposite said first face is exposed upwardly to visual inspection, conveyor means for receiving said panel upon turning thereof and supporting said panel for further movement along said feed path, said panel turner means including a rotatable horizontal shaft disposed substantially in alignment with said feed path having its axis disposed transversely of said feed direction, means on said shaft supporting a pair of said panel turning arms for rotation therewith and for free sliding movement longitudinally of said arms along slide axes perpendicular to each other and to said shaft axis, said arms being rotated upwardly from said first position to a substantially vertical position projecting above said feed path during said stroke and then gravitationally sliding downward longitudinally relative to said shaft to a position lying substantially wholly below said feed path upon reaching said substantially vertical position, means supporting said shaft for upward movement about an axis paralleling and located below said shaft from a position substantially aligned with said feed path to a position slightly below the feed path, and means for selectively disposing to said shaft at either of said positions.
4. In apparatus as defined in claim 3, said means supporting said shaft for upward movement comprising a pair of supporting arms having bearing members at their upper ends journaling said shaft for rotation therein, said supporting arms having elongated portions extending downwardly in an inclined plane from a location below said shaft to pivot shaft means defining a horizontal transverse pivot axis therefor spaced below said shaft and laterally of the vertical plane through said shaft, and fluid powered cylinder means including a cylinder and a relatively movable piston rod coupled to said support arms at a position spaced from said pivot axis for rotating said support arms about said pivot axis to selectively dispose said shaft at either of said positions.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,527,024 10/1950 Mitchell 19833 2,692,670 10/1954 Lescallette 19833 3,247,963 4/1966 Fehely 198-33 3,306,422 2/1967 Bivans 198-33 3,306,427 2/1967 Spencer 19833 EVON C. BLUNK, Primary Examiner.
M. L. AJEMAN, Assistant Examiner.