US 3491899 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 27, 1970 G. w. COPE FLUID-OPERATED UNCOUPLING MECHANISM 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 28, 1.967
Inventor: Geoffrey W. Cope his Attorney Jan. 27, 1970 G. w. COPE 3,491,899
FLUID-OPERATED UNCOUPLING MECHANISM Filed Aug. 28, 1967 ZSheets-Sheet 2 53 9' Inventor:
Geoffrey W. Cope BYMJLWMA;
his Attorney United States Patent 3,491,899 FLUID-OPERATED UN COUPLING MECHANISM Geoffrey W. Cope, Williamsville, N.Y., assignor to Dresser Industries, Inc., Dallas, Tex., a corporation of Delaware Filed Aug. 28, 1967, Ser. No. 663,660 Int. Cl. B61g 3/00, 7/00, 1/00 US. Cl. 213159 10 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Background of the invention Due to the interchange rules of the A.A.R., most railway couplers now in service are A.A.R. Standard couplers and, conventionally, such couplers are mechanically uncouplable by operating rods connected to their release means and operable from the sides of cars. As pointed out in Cope Patent No. 3,245,553, issued Apr. 1'2, 1966, there are definite advantages in fluid uncoupling over mechanical uncoupling, but, as the patent recognizes, the standardizing of couplers practically requires that any mechanism for enabling a coupler to be uncoupled by fluid pressure be adapted to act through the release means of a standard coupler. In keeping, the patent in disclosing a fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism, applies the mechanism as exemplary of the invention to an A.A.R. Stand ard F freight car coupler. Although the F coupler is widely used, some ninety percent of the freight car couplers now in service are the earlier developed Standard E couplers, which, while not possessing all of the advantages of E couplers, are suitable for most installations and under certain conditions preferable to the F.
In both E and F couplers, a pivoted knuckle on the head in coupling is automatically swung closed and locked in closed position by a gravity lock in the head and in uncoupling is unlocked and swung open as the lock is lifted by a release means known as a locklift assembly. In an F coupler the locklift assembly has a toggle that acts directly on the lock and a hook pivotally connected to the toggle and non-rotatably connected to a rotor for actuation thereby and in the exemplary embodiment of the patent it is the rotor to which the actuator of the uncoupling mechanism is connected. Most E couplers are bottom-operated through a lockiift assembly having, like that of the F coupler, a toggle and a hook but connecting those elements by a connector pivotally connected thereto and itself having no fixed axis. It is to the connector that the conventional lock operating rod applies an uncoupling force and it is with adapting a fluid-operated actuator also to apply an uncoupling force to the connector that the present invention is particularly concerned.
Summary of the invention An object of the present invention is to provide an improved fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism for an automatic knuckle type coupler, which is mechanically connected to and in uncoupling acts directly on a longitudinally swingable part of the couplers locklift assembly. Another object of the invention is to provide an improved fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism which acts on the ice assembly part not only in uncoupling the coupler but also in preventing accidental uncoupling.
In its preferred embodiment, the improved uncoupling mechanism includes an actuator mountable on a head of the coupler and having a pressure-advanced, spring-returned piston drivably connected to an operating shaft. A crank keyed to the shaft and directly engaging a connector or other longitudinally swingable part of the locklift assembly, swings the assembly in an uncoupling or locklifting direction on advance of the piston. When, as in the case of the standard E coupler, the assembly part engaged by the crank does not itself have a fixed pivot, the engagement is such as to control the swing of the part and prevent activation of an associated anticreep which otherwise could interfere with the uncoupling and is rendered unnecessary by the return spring of the actuator. If ever required, the coupler can be uncoupled mechanically by applying a turning tool to the operatingshaft or an uncoupling rod to the crank of the uncoupling mechanism.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear hereinafter in the detailed description, be particularly pointed out in the appended claims and be illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure description FIGURE 1 is a view, partly in side elevation and in balance in vertical section, of a preferred embodiment of the fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism of the present invention applied to a standard E coupler;
FIGURE 2 is a vertical sectional view taken along lines 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary horizontal sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along lines 4-4 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view taken along lines 55 of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional View on an enlarged scale taken along lines 6-6 of FIGURE 5.
Detailed description Referring now in detail to the drawings in which like reference characters designate like parts, the improved fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism of the present invention is particularly designed as a specific application of the mechanism of Cope Patent No. 3,245,553 to a coupler which is conventionally uncoupled by a rotary force applied directly to a longitudinally swingable part of its locklift assembly. The coupler so uncoupled now most used is the present bottom-operated, A.A.R. standard E coupler and it is to that coupler that the improved mechanism has been applied as exemplary of the invention.
The present standard E coupler, designated as 1, has a head 2 mounting at the front a pivoted knuckle 3. Inside the head 2 is a gravity lock 4, only the lower portion of the leg 5 of which is shown. In an uncoupling operation the lock 4 is lifted to unlock and throw open the knuckle 3. While an E coupler is adaptable for unlocking from the top or bottom, it is only the illustrated bottom or socalled rotary-operated type with which the present invention is concerned.
In the bottom or rotary-operated type of E coupler, the lifting of the lock 4 in an uncoupling operation is produced through a release train or so-called articulated locklift assembly 6 mounted on the underside of the head 2. The assembly 6 has three members or elements, one a toggle 7 suspended from and pin-and-slot or lost motion connected at its upper end to the lock leg 5, another a hook 8 suspended from and rotating, swinging or pivoting on a fixed cross-shaft or cross-bar 9 integral or rigid with and extending between and connecting laterally spaced socalled shaft walls integral with and depending from the head 2, and the third a connector 11 pivotally connected at opposite ends to and connecting lower ends of the toggle and the hook. Suspended from and swingable longitudinally of the coupler on members which themselves are swinga'ble or pivotable, the connector 11 itself does not have a fixed swinging or pivotal axis but nonetheless is limited in its swing relative to or independently of the toggle 7 and hook 8. Rearwardly, the independent swing of the connector 11 is limited by a stop shoulder 12 on the rear end of the connector which is engagable with the back 13 of the hook. The limit on the forward independ swing of the connector is imposed by a secondary anticreep lug 14 on the front end of the connector beyond its pivotal connection to the toggle 7 and a stop surface 15 for the lug on the underside of the head 2 forwardly of the opening 16 therein for the lock leg 5.
Depending on whether the coupler 1 is to be uncouplable from one or each side of a car, the connector 11 has on one or both sides an eye 17 for receiving the looped or J-end of a conventional operating rod (not shown). When the hooked end of the rod is engaged with the eye 17, the upper part of the end rides on the eyes upper side 18 and the lower part in a recess or cavity 19 in the underside of the connector. Rotation of the rod relative to the connector is limited by an upper rear shoulder 20 on the connector at the rear of the eyes upper side 18 and lower front and rear shoulders 21 and 22 respectively at the front and rear of the recess 19. As fully explained in Kayler Patent No. 2,393,912, issued Jan. 29, 1946, in which the construction and conventional operation of the illustrated locklift assembly 6 are described in detail, when in an uncoupling operation the operating rod is turned in an unlocking or uncoupling direction (clockwise in FIG. 4) the upper and lower parts of its hooked end engage, respectively, the upper rear shoulder or stop 20 and lower front shoulder or stop 21 on the connector and, by thereafter rotating the connector in the same direction, swing the stop shoulder 12 at the back of the connector into engagement of the back 13 of unison about the axis of the fixed cross-shaft 9.
In the course of the usual preliminary independent rotation of the connector or, as it is sometimes termed, rotor 11, the toggle 7 will be lifted by the connector and have its upper end guided upwardly and rearwardly by the containment of the integral pin 23 on its upper end in the diagonal slot 24 in the lock leg 25 to clear a primary anticreep lug 25 on the toggle of a previously confronting ledge 26 at the front of the lock cavity 27. Once the swinging axis of the connector becomes the fixed axis of the cross-shaft 9, the secondary anticreep lug 14 on the front end of the connector is positioned to pass the stop surface 15 and enter the lock leg opening 16 and further rotation of the connector in the same direction by the operating rod will lift the lock to unlock and throw open the knuckle 3.
Were it not that in a conventional uncoupling operation the operating rod forced the connector 11 to swing first about the rod axis and then about the axis of the fixed cross-shaft 9, the forward momentum given the connector by the rod would carry the secondary anticreep lug 14 on the connector forwardly beyond the lock leg opening 16 in position to engage the stop surface 15 on the underside of the head 2 and thus prevent lifting of the lock 4 sufficiently to unlock the knuckle 3. It is this secondary anticreep and the primary anticreep provided by the toggle lug 25 and cavity ledge 26, that ordinarily ensure against accidental uncoupling of the coupler under service shocks. However, as will be explained, the secondary anticreep, unless the connector 11 is replaced by one not having the anticreep lug 14, poses a problem in automatic uncoupling in which, as in the illustrated embodiment, the uncoupling force is applied to a member which itself does not have a fixed pivotal axis.
For adapting for fluid uncoupling an automatic knuckle type coupler having a locklift assembly 6, such as that of the illustrated rotary operated standard E coupler, the fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism 28 of this invention is comprised of a fluid-operated actuator 29 mounted on the head 2 of the coupler 1, conveniently by welding or otherwise fixing or securing a mounting bracket 30 to the outside of the outer of the shaft walls 10 and bolting or otherwise releasably attaching a housing or casing 31 of the actuator to the bracket. As does that illustrated in Cope Patent No. 3,245,553, the preferred actuator 29 has contained in the housing 31 a piston 32 having a head 33 slida'ble in an O-ring or otherwise sealingly engaging a side wall 34 of a pressure chamber 35 conveniently formed in the bottom portion of the housing. A plunger 36 of the piston slides in a slide bore 37 in the housing 31, above or beyond and coaxial with and of less diameter than the pressure chamber 35.
The preferred piston 32 has its plunger 36 connected for axial movement either in unison with or relative to its head 33, as by an axial pin 38 on the head slidably received in an axial socket 39 in the plunger. Of the one-way or fluid pressure-advanced, spring-returned type, the preferred actuator or fluid cylinder unit 29 has its piston 32 normally yieldably held at one limit of its axial movement at which the head 33 is at one, here the bottom, end of the pressure chamber 35, by a coil or other suitable return spring 40 acting between the opposite end of the chamber and a base flange or skirt 41 on the plunger 36 normally pressed by the spring against the head 33. The axial or translational motion of the plunger 36 is converted into rotary motion of an operating shaft 42 drivably connected thereto and journaled in and extending through the housing 31 normal or at right angles to the plunger, the driving connection suitably being by a pinion 43 keyed or otherwise fixed against relative rotation to the shaft and intermeshing with or driva'bly engaged by a rack 44 on the plunger.
For the operating shaft 42 to act as intended, its axis should both be horizontal and extend laterally of the coupler 1 at least parallel to and preferably coaxial or concentric with the axis of the fixed cross-shaft 9 pivotally or swingably mounting the hook 8 of the locklift assembly 6. The housing 31 of the actuator 29 is so mounted on the coupler head 2 as to be offset or outset laterally from the locklift assembly 6. In the preferred construction in which the conventional locklift assembly is not changed or modified and the operating shaft 42 is coaxial or concentric with the cross-shaft 9, both the housing and the inner or inboard end 45 of the operating shaft projecting inwardly therefrom are laterally offset or spaced from the outer or confronting side of the outer side wall 10 on the coupler head to which the mounting bracket 30 is fixed. Preferably, the operating shaft 42 projects at both ends from the housing 31 and has its outer or out-board end 46, as well as its inner end 45, square or otherwise out-of-round in cross section.
The rotary force or motion derivable from the operating shaft 42 is transmitted to the locklift assembly 6 by a crank or lever arm 47, fixed at an upper end, as by welding, to the inner end 45 of the operating shaft 42 and engaging the connector. The preferred crank or crank arm 47 is in the form of a bail or U-shaped member projecting downwardly or downstanding from the operating and cross-shafts 42 and 9 and laterally straddling or embracing both the locklift assembly 6 and the spaced walls 10 to and between which the cross-shaft is fixed. Of the spaced, downstanding, generally vertical outer and inner legs 48 and 49, respectively, of the bail 47, the outer is socketed to non-rotatably receive and be fixed to the inner end 45 of the operating shaft 42, while, to minimize bending, the inner leg is apertured at its upper end to rotatably receive a trunnion 50 concentric or coaxial with the operating shaft and fixed to or rigid with and instanding from a mounting plate 51, which in turn is Welded or otherwise fixed to the outside of the inner of the side or shaft walls 10. In the exemplary application of the mechanism 28, the horizontal, bottom or cross-leg 52 of the bail 47 underlies and fits or seats in the downwardly opening recess 19 in the bottom or underside of the connector 11.
Rotated or turned by the operating shaft 42, and forwardly when fluid pressure is applied to the actuator 29',
v the bail 47, by engagement of its bottom leg 52 with the shoulder 21 at the front end of the recess 19, can apply a forward rotary force or motion to the connector 11 and that force, transmitted through the toggle 7 to the lock 4, would uncouple the coupler if applied either slowly or in the absence of the'secondary anticreep lug 14 on the connectors front end. However, in the presence of that lug and on a rapid application of the uncoupling force, the tendency of that force, because of the connectors lack of a fixed pivot, would be to impart suflicient forward momentum to the connector to carry the lug 14 forwardly beyond the lock leg opening 16 and prevent uncoupling by engage-ment of the lug with the stop surface 15 on the underside of the head 2. To avoid this tendency without changing or modifying the locklift assembly 6, there is provided on the bails bottom leg 52 a rearwardly directed spur 53, which, together with the leg, is of substantially the longitudinal extent of the recess 19 and has its free rear end confronting and engageable with the shoulder 22 at the recesss rear end with either no or, for manufacturing tolerances, slight clearance therebetween when the leg is engaged with the front shoulder 21.
With the bottom leg 52 so spurred, and thereby substantially longitudinally filling the recess or seat 19, relative longitudinal or rotary movementof the bail and the connector is practically eliminated and the connector, although acted upon only at the bottom, will be forced to rotate about the common axis of theoperating and cross-shafts 42 and 9 about which thebail 47 rotates, even in the initial stage of an uncoupling operation in which the connector is otherwise free to rotate relative to the hook 8. However rapidly the uncoupling force is applied, the spur 53 on the bail 47 therefore will efiectively lock out or prevent activation of the secondary anticreep 14 and 15 and ensure that the applied uncoupling force will uncouple the coupler. The inactivation of the secondary anticreep does not increase the likelihood of accidental uncoupling, since the connection of the bail and connector against substantial relative motion enables the return spring 40 in the housing 31 to apply a positive anticreep force for holding or locking the connector against movement in a forward or uncoupling direction, except when fluid pressure is applied to actuate the actuator 29, and renders unnecessary both the primary and secondary anticreeps conventionally required. Too, the practical elimination of relative longitudinal movement or play between the bail and the connector and the lack of need for secondary or primary anticreep devices, enables the bail to be so normally positioned by the actuator 29 as normally to hold the connector with its shoulder 12 in engagement with the back 13 of the hook. In this preferred arrangement, as a consequence, the hook and coupler are in efiect unitary despite their pivotal connections, and in an uncoupling operation swing in unison about the axis of the hook.
After it is fitted with the above described uncoupling mechanism 28, the coupler 1 is adapted to be uncoupled by applying fluid pressure to the head or fluid end of the pressure chamber 35 in the housing 31 of the actuator 29 through a fluid supply or inlet pipe or tube 54. As the automatically and manually operable operating means and the fluid connections therebetween and the actuator, shown in Cope Patent No. 3,245,553 for automatically or manually operating the species of coupling mechanism illustrated therein, are equally suitable for the present coupling mechanism and described in detail in the patent, it will suflice to refer to that patent for an understanding of the manner in which actuating fluid is supplied to the actuator 29 through the supply pipe 54. However, it should be emphasized that, as in the patent, the preferred actuating fluid is a suitable liquid to avoid the lag in operation attendant the use of a compressible gaseous actuating medium, and at least the part of the supply pipe 54 adjacent the actuator 29 is flexible to accommodate the range of service movements of the coupler head 2. Also, as in the species illustrated in the patent, the present mechanism will fail safe in case of a failure in the fluid pressure system, since the force of the return spring 40, applied to the connector 11 through the bail 47, normally holds the locklift assembly 6 in its coupler locked or coupled position.
If a break or other failure in the fluid system should occur when the coupler 1 is coupled and uncoupling is necessary the uncoupling mechanism is adapted for mechanical actuation either by applying a suitably socketed turning tool (not shown) to the outer end 46 of the operating shaft 42 or by connecting the looped end of a conventional operating rod to the adjoining leg 48 or 49 of the bail 47. In either case, the separability of the plunger 36 and head 33 of the preferred piston 32 enables the plunger to be moved to uncoupling position against the force of the return spring 40 but without restraint by the frictional engagement of the then stationary head with the side wall 34 of the pressure chamber 35.
The mounting of the uncoupling mechanism 28 on the coupler head 2 is a simple operation. The bail 47 will have had its outer leg 48 fixed to the inner end 45 of the operating shaft 42 during assembly of the mechanism and the only preliminaries required on the coupler head 2 are the welding of the mounting bracket 30 and mounting plate 51 and its trunnion 50 in the proper positions on the side walls 10, suitably by using templates. In the actual mounting, the bail 47 will be slid under the connector 11 and canted upwardly toward its inner leg 49 so that the latter can be applied to the trunnion 50, this step being facilitated by beveling the upper part of the leg, as at 55, and downwardly elongating the slot or aperture 56 in the leg in which the trunnion is received. All that then remains to complete the mounting is to swing the actuator 29 up to position and bolt its housing 31 to the mounting bracket 30.
From the above detailed description it will be apparent that there has been provided a fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism for adapting for uncoupling by fluid pressure without change in the locklift assembly a coupler in which theuncoupling force conventionally is applied to a longitudlnally swingably member of the assembly. It should be understood that the described and disclosed embodiment is merely exemplary of the invention and that all modifications are intended to be included that do not depart from the spirit of the invention.
Having now described my invention, I claim:
1. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism for a bottom-operated automatic knuckle type coupler uncoupled by actuation of a locklift assembly depending from a head and including a part pivotally suspended from forward and rearward parts and normally swingable generally longitudinally of the coupler, comprising a fluidoperated actuator means mounted on said head, said actuator means including a fluid-advanced, spring-retracted piston and an operating shaft drivably connected to and rotatable about a fixed axis by said piston, crank means mounted on said shaft for rotation therewith and engaging said longitudinally swingable part of the locklift assembly for operating the assembly on application of fluid pressure to said actuator means and restriction means between said longitudinally swingable part and said crank means acting against said longitudinally swingable part concomitantly with rotation of said crank means by said shaft to restrict movement of said longitudinally swingable part to an uncoupling direction offset from its normally swingable direction.
2. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 1, wherein the crank means and the swingable part are connected against substantial relative movement longitudinally of the coupler.
3. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 1, whereinthe crank means is engageable with stop means on an underside of the swingable part.
4. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 3, wherein the stop means are front and rear stops longitudinally bounding a seat in the underside of the swingable part, and the crank means supports and restriction means fitting in said seat and acting through said stops for alternately moving the assembly in an uncoupling direction on application of fluid pressure to'the actuator means and in the absence of said pressure positively holding the assembly in coupling position under the spring force normally holding the piston in retracted position.
5. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 4, wherein the rearward part of the locklift assembly is suspended from and rotatable abouta cross-shaft fixed to the head, and the operating shaft is coaxial with the cross-shaft.
6. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 5, wherein the swingable part of the locklift assembly engageable by the crank means is pivotally connected at the rear to the rearward part of the assembly and the crank portion substantially longitudinally fills the seat in the swingable part between the stops and is so normally positioned as to force the swingable part and rearward part of the assembly to swing in unison about the axis of the cross-shaft throughout movement of the assembly in an uncoupling direction.
7. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism for a bottom-operated automatic knuckle type coupler uncoupled by actuation of a locklift assembly depending from a head, said locklift assembly including a rear portion suspended from and rotatable about a cross-shaft fixed to the head between laterally spaced longitudinally extending walls rigid with and depending vertically from the head and a part pivotally suspended from forward and rearward parts having front and rear stops longitudinally bounding a seat in the underside thereof and swingable longitudinally of the coupler, comprising a fluid-operated actuator means mounted on said head, said actuator means including a fluid-advanced, spring-retracted piston and an operating shaft coaxial with said cross-shaft drivably 'connected to and rotatable about a fixed axis by said piston, and bail crank means mounted on said shaft and acting through said stops for alternately moving the assembly in an uncoupling direction on application of fluid pressure to the actuator means and in the absence of said pressure positively holding the assembly in coupling position under the spring force normally holding the piston in retracted position, said crank means having outer and inner legs laterally straddling the locklift assembly and said walls and a bottom leg fitting in the seat in the swingable part, said outer and inner legs being respectively non-rotatably fixed to an end of the operating shaft outside one of said walls and rotatably mounted on the outside of the other of said walls.
8. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 7, wherein the bottom leg of the bail is engageable with one of the stops longitudinally bounding the seat in the=swingable part, and a spur fixed to and extending longitudinally from the bottom leg and therewith substantially longitudinally filling the seat is engageable with the other stop.
9. A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 8, including a mounting bracket fixed to the outside of one of the walls, a mounting plate fixed to the outside of the other wall, and a trunnion rigid with and outstanding from said plate and coaxial with the operating shaft, and wherein a housing of the actuator is releasably attached to the mounting bracket and the upper end portion of the inner leg of the bail is apertured to rotatably re- 'ceive said trunnion.
10. 'A fluid-operated uncoupling mechanism according to claim 9, wherein the aperture in the inner bail leg in which the trunnion is rotatably received is downwardly elongated and an upper portion of the inner leg is upwardly and outwardly beveled on a side thereof facing the plate.
' References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,393,912 1/1946 Kayler 213-148 2,408,653 10/1946 Kinne 2l3l53 2,836,307 5/1958 Wolfe 213159 3,245,553 4/1966 Cope 213--212 DRA YTON E. HOFFMAN, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 2l3166, 170, 212