US 3392851 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
5 Sheets-Sheet 1 F. J. PEARNE ET AL BRICK STACKER July 16, 1968 Filed March 22, 1965 July 16, 1968 v F. J. PEARNE ET Ax. 3,392,851
BRICK STACKER Filed March 22, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 July 16, 1968 F, J, PEARNE ET Al. 3,392,851
BRICK STACKER Filed March 22, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet I5 July 16. 1968 F. J. PEARNE ET AL BRICK STACKER 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed March 22, 1965 July 16, 1968 F, PEARNE ET AL BRI CK STACKER Filed March 22, 1965 2. vf f United States Patent O 3,392,851 BRICK STACKER Florentin J. Pearne, Alhambra, Frank S. Pearne, San
Gabriel, and Frederick G. Robson, Long Beach, Calif.,
assignors to Pearne and Lacy Machine Company, Inc.,
Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Mar. 22, 1965, Ser. No. 441,496 9 Claims. (Cl. 214-6) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A brick stacking machine providing two parallel conveyors each operable to deliver brick to a gripping station. Stops are provided at the gripping station to resist movement of the brick with the conveyors so that a compacted line of abutting and aligned bricks is formed on each conveyor. The stops are arranged to sense the length of the compacted line and are interconnected with a gripper transfer to prevent the operation of the latter when the compacted lines contain insufficient brick for rows of predetermined length. The gripper transfer is mounted on a reciprocating carriage for movement from the gripping station to a stacking station over a vertically movable platform. The gripper transfer provides a plurality of separate grippers which are each operable to individually grip a brick at the gripping station and which cooperate to carry rows of brick containing aligned abutting brick to the stacking station. The gripper transfer operates with a repeating cycle to position such rows on the platform and the platform lowers as the rows are positioned thereon -until a stack of rows is located on the platform. The gripper transfer is arranged to provide voids in predetermined rows, so that the resulting stack can be handled by conventional material handling equipment. A separator board transfer is mounted on the carriage and operates to position separator boards between predetermined rows within the stack and a pusher operates to slide the tinished stack off of the platform so that it may be carried to a strapper or the like.
This invention relates generally to machines for automatically handling rectangular block-like articles and more particularly to a machine for automatically stacking bricks or the like so that they may be packaged for convenient handling with conventional material handling machines.
In the illustrated embodiment of this invention iired brick moves along conveyors to the stacking machine which functions automatically to assemble stacks of brick having voids proportioned to receive the fork of a lift truck. The stacks are then automatically moved i-nto a tieing machine and assembled into a unitary package consisting of several stacks.
The package of brick is very compact so that storage and shipping space requirements are minimized. The automated handling of the brick eliminates not only the manual labor and its high cost, but also eliminates the accidental damage to the brick which often occurs with such manual operations. Further, the package itself provides substantial protection to the brick which minimizes the damage occurring during shipping and storage.
A preferred embodiment of this invention includes conveyor means which automatically transport the individual brick to the stacking machine. Stop means cooperate with the conveyor means to compact the brick on the conveyor so that gripper transfers can grip a row or course of brick and then carry it to an elevator on which the stack is formed. The elevator is automatically controlled to receive a course of brick from the gripper ICC transfer and then dr-op down so that a subsequent course can be placed on the previously positioned course. This operation is repeated until the required stack having the desired number of rows is formed on the elevator.
When the proper number of courses or rows are positioned `on the elevator a pusher moves the stack onto a roller conveyor which carries the stack to a strapping machine. The strapping machine then automatically ties the package together. The stacking machine is arranged so that voids are formed in the stack to receive the forks of a conventional lift truck and separator boards are placed over the voids to support the blick above the voids and also tie the stack together.
The stacking machine is arranged so that it can be used for both standard brick and Norman brick and can be adjusted to form substantially any size stack within the capacity of the machine.
Although the illustrated embodiment of this invention is utilized for the stacking and packaging of bricks it should be understood that a machine incorporating this invention can also be used for the automatic handling of other articles, for example boxes in which manufactured items are packaged, shipped and sold.
It is an important object of this invention to provide a novel and improved automatic stacking machine operable to form stacks of block-like articles suitable for convenient handling and shipping.
It is another important object of this invention to provide a novel and improved stacking machine arranged to automatically receive block-like articles from a conveyor, or the like, and form stacks of such articles wherein the stacks consist of a plurality of rows with each row containing a plurality of abutting articles, and wherein voids are automatically formed in predetermined rows.
It is another important object of this invention to provide a stacking machine operable to form stacks consisting of rows of block-like articles wherein separator elements are automatically positioned between predetermined rows.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a novel and improved brick stacking machine adapted to automatically form a stack including a plurality of rows of bricks with voids formed in predetermined rows and separator boards positioned over such voids so that the stack may be handled by conventional material handling machinery.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a stacking machine according to the last preceding object which automatically inserts different types of separator elements at spaced positions in the stack.
Further objects and advantages will appear from the following description and drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a completed package of brick consisting of a plurality of stacks formed by the illustrated stacking machine;
FIGURE 2 is a schematic plan view of the stacking machine incorporating this invention showing the general physical arrangement With parts removed for purposes of illustration;
FIGURE 3 is a side elevation of the machine;
FIGURE 3a is an enlarged fragmentary view 0f the retractable stop mechanism which limits movement of brick along the conveyor and functions to compact the brick forming a line of aligned and abutting brick;
FIGURE 4 is a section taken along 4-4 of FIG- URE 3;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged side elevation of the clamp carriage which reciprocates back and forth and transports a couse of brick from the conveyor to the stacking elevator;
FIGURE 6 is an end view of the clamping carriage illustrated in FIGURE 5;
FIGURE 7 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the center clamp mechanism of the clamping carriage illustrating the structural detail thereof;
FIGURE 8 is a perspective view of the hoppers for the -board separators which are positioned between predetermined courses in the stack;
FIGURE 9 is a fragmentary side elevation of the roller conveyor along which the stacks move from the stacking elevator to the strapping machine;
FIGURE 10 is a fragmentary section of the walking beam conveyor which transports the bricks to the stacking machine and the retractable fence for guiding the brick at the clamping location; and
FIGURE l1 is a fragmentary perspective view of the cam mechanism utilized to lock the fence in its operative position and which permits retraction of the fence during the clamping operation.
Referring to FIGURE l, a package of brick consists of a plurality of stacks 10 each of which consists of rows or courses 11 positioned one on top of the other. Each of the courses excepting the second course from the bottom includes thirteen individual bricks 12. In the illustrated package there are thirteen bricks in seven rows and nine bricks in the second row from the bottom, therefore, each stack includes one hundred bricks. The strapping machine ties five stacks together so the complete package includes five hundred bricks. In the illustrated package a wood veneer board 13 is positioned between the second and third rows from the bottom and a chip board 14 formed 1of paper-like material is positioned between the second and third rows from the top. Corner pieces 16 usually formed of heavy paper or cardboard extend along the lengthwise edges of the package and metal straps 17 are wrapped around each of the stacks tieing the entire package together.
In order to permit the transportation of the package by means of a lift truck, or the like, the second course from the bottom of each stack is formed with voids 18 having a width of two bricks proportioned to receive the fork arms of a lift truck. In the illustrated package the second course consists of two bricks on the outside of each void 18 and ve bricks between the two voids. Here again, various arrangements can be used as required by the handling equipment and the size of the bricks.
The veneer board 13 in each stack, extending between the second and third courses from the bottom, supports the lowermost :brick above the void 18. These boards also -provide protection against damage to the brick when the package is lifted by a lift truck or the like. The chip board 14 provides a tie between adjacent bricks in the rows and the corner pieces 16 provide a tie between the stacks in the complete package.
Referring now to FIGURE 2, the overall stacking machine includes two walking beam conveyors 21 and 22. The red bricks are loaded onto the right end of the conveyors 21 and 22, as viewed in FIGURE 2, from the kiln car, or the like. The conveyor 22 is normally longer than the conveyor 21 so that the loading area for the conveyor 22 is spaced from the loading area for the conveyor 21.
The bricks are carried along the conveyors 21 and 22 to a clamping station 23 where they are compacted to form a line of aligned abutting brick. Adjustable fences 20 are mounted adjacent to the conveyors 21 and 22 to insure proper positioning of the bricks on the associated conveyors.
A clam-ping carriage shown schematically at 24 is reciprocable along the machine frame 25 from a rearward position illustrated in which the carriage is located over the .stacking elevator and `a forward position over the loading 1or gripping station 23. Piston and cylinder actuators (not illustrated in FIGURE l) provide the power for moving the clamping carriage 24 back and forth between its two positions.
In the illustrated embodiment there are twenty-six piston and cylinder actuators 26 with thirteen actuators in a row along one side of the carriage and the other thirteen along the other side of the carriage. The spacing between adjacent actuators 26 is equal to the thickness of a brick, so each vactuator is operable to engage the end of one vbrick and clamp it inward against a central grip bar (not illustrated in FIGURE l) and thus grip a single brick on its ends to carry the brick from the clamping station 23 to a position over the elevator where the brick are stacked.
A board hopper assembly 27, which will be described in more detail below, is positioned on the side of the stacking elevator remote from the conveyors 21 and 22 and provides a supply of veneer boards 13 and chipboards 14. A pusher assembly cover 28 is located on one side of the machine at the stacking station and covers a pusher mechanism which operates to push completed stacks out of the stacking station onto a roller conveyor 29. The roller conveyor 29 in turn carries the stacks of brick to a strapping machine 31 which puts the corner pieces 16 on the stacks and `ties the straps 17 therearound to cornplete the package. The `strapping machine 4per se forms no part of this invention, so it has not been illustrated in detail.
Referring now to FIGURE 3, the bricks 12 move along the two conveyors to the clamping or gripping position 23. A retractable stop 32 is pivoted at 33 on the frame 25 and connected to a piston 34 of an actuator 36 which operates to move the stop 32 between the operative position, illustrated in FIGURE 2, and a retracted position wherein the stop is below the upper surface of the conveyors. Two stops are provided with one in alignment with each of the conveyors 21 and 22, however, they are bot-h pivoted on the same pivot shaft 33, as illustrated in FIGURE 3a.
A spring loaded plunger 37 is slidable in the associated arm 38 in Ialignment with each of the conveyors and is spring loaded by a spring 39 in a direction away from the arm. As the bricks move `along the conveyors they engage the associated plunger 37 and produce a force on the spring which is a direct function of the number of compacted bricks at the clamping station 23 When suflcient bricks are compacted at the clamping station of each conveyor suflicient force is produced to overcome the action of Ithe springs 39 and cause the plungers 37 to move into engagement with associated microswitches 41. The microswitches 41 are connected to initiate the operation of the clamping carriage 24. Preferably, the springs 39 are sized s-o that the switches 41 are not operated until there are about twenty-live lor thirty bricks compacted against the stops. This insures that there will always be the necessary thirteen bricks present for clamping. A pair of actuators 42, connected between the frame 25 and the clamping carriage 24, then move the clamping carriage 24 forward to the clamping station 23. A row of brick from each conveyor is then gripped and carried to the stacking position when the carriage returns to its rearward position to form two stacks.
A stacking elevator 43 is vertically movable along guide rods 44 by a piston 46 of an elevator actuator 47. The stroke of t-he actuator 47 is arranged so that the upper surface of the stacking elevator 43 can be moved to an upper extreme position substantially adjacent to the plane of the conveyors 21 and 22 and a lowered position substantially in the plane of the roller conveyor 29. After two side-by-side rows of brick 12 are positioned on the elevator 43 it drops down so that the upper surface of the top rows supported Ithereby is substantially in the plane of the conveyors and subsequent rows of brick can be positioned on the previous rows.
Referring now to FIGURE 4, a `pusher assembly 48 includes a pusher plate 49 movable from the left extreme position, illustrated in FIGURE 4, to push the two stacks of bricks 51 and 52 off of -the elevator 43 and onto the roller conveyor 29. This does not occur, however, until the stacking operation is completed and the elevator 43 is lowered so tha-t its upper surface is located substantially in the plane of the conveyor 29 and below the lower edge of the pusher plate 49. The pusher assembly includes a frame 53 carried by a plu-rality of screw jacks 54. The screw jacks 54 are journaled at their ends 56 on the frame assembly 53 and extend through nuts v57 mounted on the main machine frame 25 so that rotation of the screw jacks 54 moves the frame horizontally.
In orde-r to rotate the screw jacks a mot-or 58 is mounted in the frame 53 and is connected by a drive chain 59 to simultaneously rotate each of the screw jacks 54. Therefore, rotation of the motor in `one direction causes the screw jacks to move the pusher assembly 48 to the right and rotation of the motor in the opposite direction causes the pusher assembly to return to the illustrated position.
-Referring now to FIGURES 5 through 7, the clamping carriage 24 is provided with rollers 61 which move back and forth along channel members 62 on the frame 25. The clamping actuators 26 are carried by mounting plates 63. End plates 64, illustrated in FIGURE 5, are provided'on the ends of vthe plates 63 and are positioned adjacent to adjustment plates 66. Bolts 68 extend through slots 67 in the plates 66 and connect the end plates 64 -to the associated adjustment plates 66 permitting adjustment of the mounting plates laterally with respect to the carriage. The mounting plates 63 are normally positioned at the outward extreme position, illustrated in FIGURE 6, when the machine is use-d to stack larger bricks, such as Norman bricks, and is adjusted inwardly along the slot 67 for smaller bricks, such as common bricks.
The clamping actuators 26 of each lbank of actuators are mounted at their ends on an adjusting bar 69 which is adjustably relative to the adjusting plate 63 by means of screw jacks 71 threaded through a flange 72 on the mounting plate 63. The screw jacks provide fine adjustment and coarse adjustment is provided by the bolts 681 in the slots 67.
Each of the clamping actuators is provided with a clamping pad 73 engageable with the end of a brick 12 at the gripping station. Operation of the actuators 26 presses the bricks inwardly against a center clamping pad assembly 74, best illustrated in FIGURE 7.
Referring now to FIGURE 7, the central clamping assembly 74 includes two elongated clamping pads 76 and 77 which are supported on their ends by strap hangers 78K and 79. These hangers are formed with apertures at their upper end loosely fitting over the ends of a mounting sleeve 81 secured to the frame of the carriage 24 by a bolt 82. It should be -understood that similar strap hangers 78 and '79 are provided at each end of the associated clamping pads 76. The clamping pads are carried back and forth -with the carriage Z4 but are movable laterally from the full line position of FIGURE 7 to the phantom line position.
A bolt 83 extends through the strap hanger 78 and 79 and is provided wit-h springs 84 which resiliently urge the lower ends of the strap hangers inwardly to the full line position against a wedge bar 86. When the wedge bar 86 is in the lowermost position the clamping pads 76 and 77 are in the solid line position and when the wedge bar 86 is pulled up between the pads 76 and 77 the pads 76 and 77 are moved laterally to the phantom line positions.
4In order to operate the wedge bar -86 a pair of cylinder actuators 87 and 88, illustrated in FIGURE 5, are used. These actuators are supported at their upper ends on a support frame 89 o'n the carriage 24. The pistons 91 of the actuators 87 an-d 88 connect to the wedge bar 86 at its ends `so retraction and extension of the pistons 91 raises and lowers the wedge bar 86 to operate the clamping lpads 76 and 77.
Extension of the clamping actuators 26 slides the associated bricks 12 toward the clamping pads 76 and 77 so the ends of each brick are securely gripped permitting the carrying of the bricks from the conveyor to the stacking elevator.
The structural detail of the board hopper assembly 27 is illustrated in FIGURES 3 and 8. Since there are two stacks of bricks simultaneously formed, one from each of the conveyors 21 and 22, it is necessary to provide two board hoppers 91 and 92 for chip boards 14 and two hoppers 93 :and 94 for Wood veneer boards 131. The four board hoppers 91 through 94 are supported on a reciprocating carriage 96 provided with rollers 97 movable along xed track members 98. The piston and cylinder actuator 99 is connected between the ibase frame and the carriage 96 to move the carriage 96 back and fourth between a first position in which the hoppers 91 and 92 are in alignment with the stacks forme-d on the elevator 43 and a second position in which the hoppers 93 land 94 are in alignment with the stacks on the elevator. Therefore, when chip boards 14 are required between courses in the respective stacks the actuator 99 is operated to align the hoppers 91 and 92 with the stacks. When veneer boards are required the actuator 99 is operated to move the hoppers 93 and 94 into alignment with the stacks.
Each of the hoppers 91 through 94 is provided with rollers 101 (illustrated in FIGURE 3) which roll along side rails 102 on the carriage 96. Lock pins 103 extend through a tlange on each of the hoppers and through appropriately located holes in the side rails 102 to normally lock the individual hoppers against movement relative to the carriage 96. The purpose of providing rollers and lock pins on each of the hoppers is to permit their later-al adjustment relative to each other to compensate for variations in dimensions of brick. When shorter brick, such as common brick, are to beA stacked the hoppers are adjusted toward each other and when larger Norman type brick are t-o 'be stacked the hoppers are adjusted apart. However, the stroke of the actuator 99 and movement of the carriage 96 remains constant to provide proper alignment of the hoppers with the stacking elevator.
Referring to FIGURE 3, a pair of vacuum nozzles 104 and 106 lcarried by the clamping carriage 24 -are connected through a valve to a source of vacuum. When the clamping carriage is in the rearward position (illustrated in FIGURE 3) the nozzles 104 and 106 are positioned over the ends of the boards in the hoppers aligned with the `stacking elevator. When vacuum is supplied to the nozzles 104 and 106 the top boards raise up against the nozzles so that they can be carried forward onto the rows of brick located on the stacking elevator when the clamping carriage moves to the forward or clamping position to pickup subsequent row of brick. When wood veneer boards 13 are required the carriage 96 is moved to position the hoppers 93 and 94 in alignment with the stacking elevator and the nozzles operate to pickup and transport the wood veneer boards. Conversely when chip boards 14 are required the carriage 96 is moved to position the hoppers 91 and 92 in alignment with the stacking elevator and the nozzles 104 and 106 pickup and move chip boards 14 onto the rows of brick located on the elevator 43.
In order to feed the stack of boards lcontained within the hoppers up to the proper position each hopper is provided with a vertically movable bottom plate 107 connected to the piston of an actuator 108` fixed to the bottom frame of each hopper. As boards are removed from the stacks the pistons of the factuators 108 extend to raise the boards and maintain the top level thereof substantially constant. A control switch 109 is mounted adjacent to each hopper and is provided with an arm 111 resting on the top of each stack of boards. When boards are removed the level of the top of the stack is lowered and the associated arm 111 drops down causing the switch 109 to close and operate a valve 112 which opens to supply fluid under pressure to the associated actu-ator 108. This causes the piston to extend and raise the bottom plate 107 and raises the stack until the associated arm 111 reaches the position which indicates that the elevel of the boards is proper. When this occurs the switch 109 opens and the associated valve 112 closes causing the actuators 108 to lock and maintain the board level.
Chip boards and veneer boards do not lay flat because of warpage and the like, therefore, a pair of clamp bars 113 and 114 are provided to compress one end of the stacks so that the vacuum nozzles 104 and 106 can move over the stacks. The clamp bar 113 extends laterally over both of the hoppers 91 and 92 and the clamp bar 114 extends laterally over the two hoppers 93 and 94. A clamping actuator 116 supports the clamp bar 113 and a clamping actuator 117 supports the clamp bar 114. When the actuators 116 and 117 are retracted the associated clamp `bars 113 and 114, respectively, lare pulled downward to compress the associated boards and maintain the upper surface at a position immediately below the level of the vacuum nozzles 104 Iand 106, preferably, a distance in the order of one half inch. When vacuum is supplied to the nozzles 104 and 106, the associated actuator 116 or 117 is extended to raise the clamp bar and permit the stack of separator boards to expand toward the vacuum nozzles assisting the vacuum in lbringing the top boards against the nozzles. Also raising of the associated clamp bar permits the sliding of the top boards out from under the bar when the boards are carried to the stacking position.
An adjustable end member 118 is provided for each hopper and extends up through a slot in the bottom plates 107. These adjustable members 118 provide adjustment for boards of different lengths which may be used when different numbers of brick are stacked in each row.
Referring to FIGURE 9, the roller conveyor assembly 29 includes a plurality of rollers 121 journaled for rotation about their longitudinal axis on side frames 122. The elements are proportioned so that the upper surfaces of the rollers 121 are in alignment with the surface of the stacking elevator 43 when the stacks of bricks are pushed off of the elevator by the pusher plate 49.
In order to move the stacks of bricks 51 and 52 from the phantom position illustrated int-o the strapping machine, a roller 123 is journaled at its ends on a chain drive 124. A motor 126 is connected to the chains 124 by a drive chain 127 so that rotation of the motor 126 in one direction causes the chains 124 to carry the roller 123 to the right above the rollers 121 and rotation in the opposite direction moves the roller 123 to the left. The
motor 126 operates to position the roller 123 in the phantom line position 123a in alignment with the roller 121 as the pusher pushes the stacks of bricks 51 and 52 onto the roller conveyor. The motor 126 is then operated to move the chains 124 in a clockwise direction causing the roller 123 to move to the full line position at which time it engages the left end of the stacks of bricks 51. Further operation of the motor causes the stacks of bricks to roll along the rollers 121 off of the conveyor 29 into the strapping machine. After the two stacks are pushed off of the roller conveyor by the roller 123 the motor 126 is operated to return the roller to the position 123a so that additional stacks of bricks can be pushed onto the conveyor.
In the illustrated machine the walking beam conveyors 21 and 22 each have a structure as shown in FIGURE 10. Each conveyor includes two parallel xed rail elements 128 and two centrally located parallel movable or walking rails 129. The fixed rails 128 are U-shaped in section and provide opposed tracks to receive rollers 131 journaled on a cross shaft 132. The shafts 132 are mounted on eccentric bearings 133 journaled within sleeve bearings '134 supported in the rails 129. It should be understood that there are a plurality of similar bearing structures along the rails which provide support for the walking rails 8 129. An arm `136 is bolted to each of the eccentric bearings 133 and is connected to a longitudinally extending drive bar 137. The bar 137 is connected to the piston of a cylinder actuator 138 carried by a plate member 139 so that extension and retraction of the piston of the actuator 138 causes the eccentric bearings 133 to rotate about the axis of the cross shaft 132. This produces raising and lowering of the walking rails 129 because the bearings 133 have an eccentric outer surface with respect to the cross shaft. Therefore, the actuator 13S operates to raise and lower the walking rails 129. When the rails 129 are in the lowered position illustrated bricks 12 rest on the fixed rails 128 but when the walking rails 129 are raised by the operation of the actuator 138 the -bricks 12 are lifted by the walking rails 129 olf of the fixed rails 128.
A second actuator schematically illustrated at 141 is provided with a piston connected to the member i139 to reciprocate the walking rails 129 longitudinally along the conveyor. The two actuators 13S and 141 are controlled in a timed relationship so that the walking rails 129 are first raised and then moved longitudinally along the conveyor to carry the bricks 12 along the conveyor. The rails 129 are then lowered and returned axially to their original position. This process is repeated to move the bricks along the walking beam conveyor.
Retractable fence members 142 are provided between the conveyor at the clamping station to assist in guiding the bricks as they move along their respective conveyors. Support bars 143 are mounted at axially spaced points on the fence member 142 and are pivoted at 144 on the associated conveyor base. As the bricks are moving along the associated conveyors the retractable fence members 142 are held in the position illustrated in FIGURE l0 by a wedge plate 146, best illustrated in FIGURE ll.
The wedge plate 146 is provided with spaced camming enlargements 147 proportioned so that when they are positioned between the support bars 143 the fence members 142 are maintained in the illustrated position. However, when the wedge plate 146 is moved axially so that the portions 147 are not between the support bar 143 the fence member 142 can tip inwardly. An actuator 148 is connected to move the wedge plate back and forth as required.
Referring to FIGURE 7, the fence members 142 are normally held in the position illustrated which prevents the bricks from engaging the clamping pads 76 and 77. When the actuator 148 (illustrated in FIGURE l1) is operated to move cam portions 147 clear of the supports 1143 the fence members `142 can tip inwardly as the bricks are pressed against the clamping pads 76 and 77.
The various actuators of the piston and cylinder type are preferably hydraulically operated and controlled by solenoid valves. The rotary motors may be either hydraulic or electric motors. yIt should be understood that suitable limit switches are located at various places on the machine along with counters and in some cases photoelectric cells to control the operation of the various actuators and motors in a timed relationship. These limit switches have not been illustrated to simplify the understanding of this invention.
The operation of the machine is as follows. Bricks 12 are placed on the two conveyors 21 and 22 and carried thereby to the clamping station 23. The retractable stops 32 are positioned in alignment with the associated conveyors so that the bricks are compacted at the clamping or gripping station 23. When a sufficient number of bricks are compacted in a line of abutting bricks the friction of the bricks being -urged toward the retractable stop operates the microswitches 41 which in turn causes the actuators 42 to move the clamping carriage 24 to the right, as viewed in FIG-URE 3until the clamping actuators 26 are aligned with the trst thirteen bricks.
The actuator 138 then operates to raise the walking rails 129, illustrated in FIGURE l0, to lift the brick clear of the xed rails 128 but the actuator 141' `is not operated to move the walking rails axially. The fence actuator 148 is then operated to permit the fence members 142 to tip inward and the actuators 187 and -88 are operated to raise the wedge bar spreading the clamping pads 76 and 77 to their phantom position, as illustrated in FIGURE 7. The clamping actuators 26 are then operated to extend their clamping pads 73 and slide the bricks inwardly against the clamping pads 76 and 77, thus gripping the ends of the lirst thirteen bricks on each conveyor.
-The stops 32 are retracted and the actuator 138 is then operated to lower the walking rails 129 and the actuators 42 extend to move the clamping carriage 24 and the bricks carried thereby to the stacking position. At this time the bricks held in the clamping carriage are located immediately above the surface of the elevator 43 or the preceding row of bricks, as illustrated in FIGURE 3. The clamping actuators 26 are then retracted and the bricks are deposited on either the elevator or the previous row of bricks as the case may be.
In the event that a chip board or a veneer board is required at this point in the cycle of operation, the clamp'- ing actuator 116 between the hoppers aligned with the stacking station is extended and vacuum is supplied t the vacuum nozzles '4 and 106. This causes the top board of the two selected hoppers to be picked up by the nozzles.
As soon as a new course of brick is positioned on the stacking elevator a photoelectric cell operates and the actuator 46 lowers the elevator 43 until the light beam of the photocell is reestablished indicating that the upper surface of the top layer yof brick is properly positioned to receive a subsequent course of brick.
Movement of the clamping carriage 24 back to the forward gripping position causes the boards carried by the nozzles 104 and 106 to be carried to the stacking position and positioned on top of the top course of brick. The vacuum on the nozzles 104 and 106- is then released and the board is deposited on the top course of brick located on the stacking elevator.
In the event that the board projects upwardly and interrupts the light beam of the photocell the actuator 47 will operate to again lower the elevator 43 until the upper surface of the board is in the proper position to receive the subsequent course of brick. The cycle is repeated positioning ya course of brick on a stack with one row on the next until the proper number of rows are stacked on the elevator. At this time the upper surface of the elevator 43 is in position in alignment with the roller conveyor 29 and the pusher plate 49 moves to the right, as illustrated in FIGURE 4, pushing the two stacks of brick off of the elevator onto the roller conveyor.
When the second row of brick from the bottom is gripped a special sequence is provided automatically by the control system to produce the voids 18. When this course of brick is picked up the clamping carriage 24 is moved -over to the full right extreme position but only the left hand two clamping actuators 26 (as viewed in FIGURE 3) are operated to pickup two brick. The actuator 42 then moves the carriage to the left a distance equal to the width of ytwo brick and then the fifth through ninth actuators 26 of each bank of actuators is operated to clam-p the five bricks :between the voids 18. The actuator 42 is then operated again to move the clamping carriage 24 to the left a distance equal to the width of two bricks and the right hand two actuators 26 of each bank of actuators is operated to grip the two brick completing that row.
During this time the retractable stop 32 is retracted to clear the brick being carried to the left by the clamping carriage 24. The actuator 42 is then operated to move the clamping carriage to the left extreme position, as viewed in FIGURE 3, over the stacking elevator 42. During this operation the hopper operating actuator 99 moves the hoppers 93 and 94 containing the veneer boards 13 into alignment with the stacking elevator and veneer 10 boards are picked up 'by the vacuum nozzles 104 and 106. These boards are deposited above the row containing the voids 18 when the clamping carriage 24 returns to pick up the subsequent row of brick.
The machine can be programmed by suitable controls to form stacks of bricks containing rows with any number of brick up to thirteen and stacks having any number of rows up to eight. Also, the operation of the hop-per controls and the vacuum controls can be programmed to position a chip board of any predetermined row or rows of brick in the stack.
In the illustrated package of FIGURE 1 a chip board is located between the rows number two and three from the top and the voids 18 are located in the second row from the bottom with a veneer board 13 over the voids 18.
After the stacks 51 and 52 are completed and pushed onto the roller conveyor 29 the elevator 42 automatically raises to its upper extreme position and a subsequent stack is formed. The roller conveyor 29 operates to push the previously formed stacks into the strapping machine.
With a machine incorporating this invention uniform handling is achieved with full automation. Therefore, damage due to the inconsistent handling of the articles is substantially eliminated and the handling costs are greatly reduced.
Although a preferred embodiment of this invention is illustrated, it is to be understood that various modifications and rearrangements of parts may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.
1. A system for stacking rectangular articles comprising a platform, conveyor means forming a compacted line of aligned abutting articles at a gripping station, a transfer provided with a plurality of individually operable grippers, each gripper being operable to grip a single article on said conveyor means an'd cooperating with the other grippers to sequentially m-ove rows of abutting articles to said platform and form a stack of such rows of abutting articles thereon, predetermined gripper being inoperative when gripping articles in predetermined rows there-by leaving voids intermediate the ends of said predetermined rows, said predetermined rows including abutting articles on each side of said voids.
2. A brick stacking machine comprising a conveyor operable to deliver bricks to said machine, a vertically movable stacking platform, transfer means operable to move rows of bricks each containing a plurality of aligned and abutting bricks from said conveyor and stacking such -rows on said platform with subsequent rows placed on top of preceding rows, said platform lowering as rows are stacked thereon so that ther top row thereon is in position to receive subsequent rows, said transfer means producing voids in a predetermined row in said stack, means positioning a separator board over said voids, and pusher means moving the completed stack having a predetermined number of rows off of said platform.
3. A brick stacking machine comprising a conveyor operable to deliver bricks to said machine and form a compacted line of abutting brick at a gripping station, a vertically movable stacking platform, transfer means operable to move rows of bricks each containing a plurality of aligned and abutting bricks from said gripping station and stacking such rows on said platform, said transfer means including gripping means operable to grip opposed lateral faces of each brick in said row, said platform lowering as rows are stacked thereon so that the top row thereon is in position to receive a subsequent row, said transfer means producing voids intermediate the ends of a predetermined row in said stack, said predetermined row containing abutting and aligned bricks, means positioning a separator board over said predetermined row and a separator element formed of a material different than said separator board on at least another row spaced fnom said predetermined row.
4. A system for stacking rectangular block-like varticles comprising a stacking elevator adapted to support a stack of articles, said stacking elevator being vertically movable to automatically position the upper surface of supported articles at substantially a predetermined level, gripper means operable to successively grip a course of articles consisting of a plurality of aligned abutting articles at a first location and horizontally carry such course to a position over said elevator immediately above said predetermined level and thereafter release said course of articles for support by said elevator, repeated lowering of said elevator and repeated operation of said gripper means producing a stack of courses on said elevator, and pusher means operable to push said stack of courses laterally from said elevator :after -said stack contains a predetermined number of courses, said gripper means producing a void intermediate the ends of a predetermined course in each stack, said predetermined course including abutting articles on at least one side of said void, and means positioning a separator board over said void.
5. A stacking machine for block-like articles comprising a pair of parallel conveyors each operable to produce a compacted line of aligned and abutting articles, a stacking platform, transfer means operable to simultaneously grip a row of articles from each conveyor and release each row over said platform to simultaneously form two stacks, each row having a predetermined length, said pla-tform lowering as rows are positioned thereon so that the top r-ow thereon lis in position to receive a subsequent row, said transfer means producing voids intermediate the ends of corresponding predetermined rows on said platform, said predetermined rows including aligned abutting bricks on each side of the voids therein, separator means positioning a separator board on each predetermined row, and pusher means pushing both stacks of rows off said platform after each stack has a predetermined number of rows.
6. A system for handling rectangular block-like articles comprising a conveyor operable to move a plurality of spaced generally aligned articles toward a gripping station, stop means at said gripping station operable to prevent movement of said articles with said conveyor and cause a plurality of such articles to form a compacted line of aligned and abutting articles, sensing means operable to sense the length of said compacted line, a stacking platform, a gripper carriage movable from a forward position to` a rearward position, gripper means on said carriage operable when said carriage is in said forward position to grip a row of abutting articles of a predetermined length at said gripping station and carry such row to a position over said platform :as said carriage moves to its rearward position, then releasing such row for support by said platform, said sensing means preventing operation of said gripper means when said compacted line does not contain sufficient articles to form a full row, separator element storage means, a separator element transfer positioned over said storage means when said carriage is in said rearward position and yover said platform when said carriage is in said forward position, said separator transfer being operable to grip a separator element at said storage means and position such element on a row of articles supported by said platform as said carriage moves from its rearward position to its forward position.
7. A system for `stacking rectangular articles comprising means producing a compacted line of abutting articles at a gripping station, a gripper movable from said gripping station to a stacking station operable togrip a row consisting of a plurality of said articles at said gripping station and transfer such row to said stacking station, a vertically movable platform at said stacking station adapted to receive a stack of rows with the platform lowering as rows are stacked thereon, said gripper when gripping predetermined rows operating to leave selected articles at said gripping station thereby producing voids intermediate the ends of said predetermined rows, said predetermined rows including abutting and aligned articles between said voids, a source of separator boards, and means operable to position a separator board over said voids.
S. A system as set forth in claim 7 wherein said last named means is operable in response to movement of said gripper away from sai-d stacking station.
9. A brick stacking machine as set forth in claim 2 wherein said conveyor includes stop means operable to resist movement of said articles with said conveyor to form a compacted line of aligned abutting articles, said stop means operating to permit operation of said transfer means only when `said compacted line includes a sufficient number of articles to form said rows.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,933,207 4/1960 Edmonds 214-6 HUGO O. SCHULZ, Primary Examiner.
GERALD M. FORLENZA, Examiner.
I. E. OLDS, G. F. ABRAHAM, Assistant Examiners.