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Publication numberUS3549152 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 22, 1970
Filing dateMar 1, 1967
Priority dateMar 1, 1967
Publication numberUS 3549152 A, US 3549152A, US-A-3549152, US3549152 A, US3549152A
InventorsGentiluomo Joseph A
Original AssigneeGentiluomo Joseph A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Automatic golf ball teeing means
US 3549152 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 3,549,152

[72] Inventor Joseph A. Gentiluomo 2,838,313 6/1958 Mozel 273/201 Schenectady Primary ExaminerRichard C. Pinkham [21 1 pp No 619 Assistant Examiner-Theatrice Brown [22] Filed Mar. 1, 1967 2 1970 [451 Patented Dec 2 ABSTRACT: This invention relates to an automatic ball-teeing unit featuring a servosystem in combination with a base 54] AUTQMATIC GOLF BALL TEEING MEANS means and a ball-elevating means. Said servosystem provides a 12 cl i 4 D i Fi novel means of controlling said ball-elevating means. The unit can be preprogrammed to offer unlimited flexibility as to tee U.S.(l. p i g The invention utilizes error detector means A63) 57/00 to measure the difference in signal between a position sensor [50] Fit of Search 273/201, and command transducers to provide an enopactuating (Acrylic Digest) signal. Said error signal is an indication of the lack of correspondence between the input and output of the servosystem.

[56] References Cited This lack of correspondence will start the prime mover mto UNITED STATES PATENTS action to reduce or eradicate the error, thus elevating the ball- ,335,280 1 1/1943 l'logeberg 273/201 elevating means to a preset position. Due to utilization of said 3,206,201 9/1965 Hendricks 273/(Acrylic Digest) servosystem, said ball-elevating means can be programmed to 2,884,252 4/1959 Thompson 273/55 provide a lowered ball-receiving position, an elevated ball- 2,6l8,480 l 1/1952 Williams..... 273/201 striking position and any preset intermediate ball-striking 2,789,824 4/1957 Willcox 273/201 position automatically.

l I x t M rt IO .2 s 8 PATENTED uaczmm 7 35491152 "iJEi-ZJ' x 3 B v C/ t X IO k L 8 24 Fxe. 2 CONTROLLER SWITCHING SENSOR ,--||,3o,42

ERROR DETECTOR CONTROLLER I9 22 23,47 PRIME MOVER 2| COMMAND TRANSDUCER |9,20, 2|

|2,34,45 POSITIONYSENSOR INVENTOR.

JOSEPH A. GENTILUOMO BY Mam AUTOMATIC GOLF BALL TEEING MEANS The said invention is particularly adaptable for use in both indoor and outdoor golf ranges, and in automatic installations of the type revealed in my copending patent applications Ser. No. 480,713 filed Aug. 18, 1965, Ser. No. 610,556 filed Jan. 20, 1967, and Ser. No. 610,557 filed Jan. 20, 1967.

Accordingly, objects of this invention are as follows:

To provide a ball-teeing means-that is structurally simple and low in cost of both manufacture and maintenance.

To provide an automatic ball-teeing means possessing the reliability demanded by completely automated-type golf ranges.

To provide a ball-teeing means possessing two ball-striking positions, automatically and alternately selective.

To provide an automatic ball-teeing means that will relieve the golfer of the duty of teeing balls manually.

To provide a ball-teeing means that can be utilized in both completely automated and nonautomated-type golf ranges.

To provide a ball-teeing means operable via servocontrol.

These objects and other objects of this invention should be discerned and appreciated from the description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in-

which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic side elevation view of the first embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic side elevation view of the second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic side elevation view of the third embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of the servosystem employed in the invention.

To utilize the disclosed embodiments of this invention, it is essential that thesaid embodiments be fixedly mounted with respect to floor A and operatively linked with a ball-delivery means C which provides balls B singly upon demand.

The invention consists essentially of a base means, a ballelevating means, and a servosystem to effectuate three-position action to the said ball-elevating means.

The first embodiment shown in-FIG. 1 consists basically of a base means having cup 1 and a mounting plate 2; a ball-elevating means 4, such as a spring reinforced flexible plastic hose; a switching sensor 11; a position sensor 12; and a prime mover 8, such as a fluid cylinder functionally associated as part of the servosystem to effectuate said three-position action.

The second embodiment shown in FIG. 2 consists basically of a base means having a cup 24 and amounting plate 25; a ball-elevating means 27, such as a close-wound helical spring; a switching sensor 30; a position sensor 34; and a prime mover 35, such as a servogearrnotor drives a flexible connector arrangement possessing sprockets and chain functional as the followup mechanism of the se rvosystem.

The third embodiment shown in FIG. 3 consists basically of a base means having a cup 37 and a mounting plate 38; a ballelevating means 40, such as a flexible tube; a switching sensor 42; a position sensor 45; and a prime mover 46, such as a servogearrnotor which drives a rack and gear arrangement functional as the followup mechanism of the servosystem.

Terms herein utilized should bear interpretation as follows:

Base means includes the cup with an aperture at the side for attachment of the ball-delivery means, an opening in the bottom for joumaling of the ball-elevating means, and a mounting plate for the mounting of the prime mover with followup mechanism and required ancillary elements.

Ball-elevating means encompasses such commercially available items as close-wound helical spring, spring reinforced flexible plastic hose, flexible plastic or rubber tube, plastic-coated rubber tube, etc. v

Servosystem is defined as a combination of elements for the control of a source of power in which the output of the system, or some function thereof, is fed back for comparison with the input and the difi'erence between these quantities is used in controlling the power. The servosystem also includes a fol lowup mechanism in conjunction with the basic components indicated by the block diagram of FIG. 4.

Prime movers encompass such elements as servogearmotors, lineal or rotary fluid actuators, etc.

Command transducers are utilized to provide the desired reference input and can exist as Potentiometers, linear-variable differential transformers, microsynchros, synchros, E- transformer's, etc. I

Switching sensors encompass such elements as photosensors, acoustic sensors, etc. 1

Position sensors are utilized to transform a displacement into an electrical signal that is the measure of the said displacement. Potentiometers, linear-variable differential transformers, microsynchros, synchros, E-transformers, etc. can be utilized to perform the indicated function.

The error detector consists of a position sensor and command transducers arranged into a computing-type circuit, thus functional in measuring the difference between the command and controlled variable, and in turn providing an actuating error signal. This actuating error signal exists as an electrical signal whose magnitude and polarity indicates the lack of correspondence between the said command and controlled variables.

Controller 14 is a device driven by a signal from the switching sensor and functional in amplifying the said signal, if required, to the magnitude necessary to actuate a control relay.

Controller 23 is a device driven by the actuating error signal and functional in amplifying the said error signal and providing it in proper form and magnitude to control the prime mover.

Followup mechanisms encompass such devices as flexible connectors, rack and gear drives, linkages, etc.

Flexible connectors appear in such forms as belts, cables, and chains associated with pulleys, sheaves, and sprockets respectively.

A fluid is construed to include both gaseous and liquid media.

In explaining the invention in detail it can be discerned that this invention is capable of many embodiments of which three are illustrated in the accompanying drawings and also herein described.

The first embodiment consists of a base means defined by cup 1 to which a mounting plate 2 is fixedly secured as shown in FIG. I. Said cup 1 has a ball inlet aperture 3 located within its cylindrical sidewall for mounting of ball-delivery means C in depending relation therefrom, and in registry with said aperture 3; an opening within the bottom for the journaling of ball-elevating means 4, such as a spring reinforced flexible hose; and an opening 5 at the top to provide for ball exit when placed in registry with opening in floor A.

Ball elevating means 4 is reciprocably mounted within bottom opening of said cup 1 with its lower end fixedly mounted to carrier 6, which in turn is fixedly mounted to end of rod 7 as shown. Said rod 7 is slidably mounted with respect to the prime mover 8, such as a fluid cylinder, which is fixedly mounted to said mounting plate 2. Said prime mover 8 has port 9 located at the rod end and port 10 located at the blind end for connection to external fluid control means such as a servovalve.

Fixedly mounted to carrier 6 and depending within central opening of ball-elevating means 4, is switching sensor 11 such as a photoelectric sensor. Leads of said switching sensor are disposed downwardly through and emerging from said carrier 6 thus providing accessibility for connection to electrical control means.

Position sensor 12 such as a linear motion potentiometer is fixedly mounted to mounting plate 2 with connective end of shaft 13 fixedly mounted to carrier 6 and the other end reciprocably mounted within the sensor. Said sensor 12, prime mover 8, and ball-elevating means 4 are all disposed with their translating longitudinal axes substantially parallel to each other as shown.

F l6. 4 shows a block diagram of the servosystem employed in the invention, having the prime mover 8, position sensor 12, and switching sensor 11 fixedly mounted to associated elements as shown inflG. 1 The remaining elements depicted in the said block diag'ram are contained ina remotely located a system control package. i' I a v ,Ball-B,'uponnconveyance through the .ball-delivarymeans C V and through ball. inlet aperture 3, will enter cup! and gravitate uponfthe teeportion of ball-elevating means 4. as

i shown inFlGI llln so doing, the switching sensor 11 will cf: fectuate a signal to associated" controller 14. Said. controller will function to closecoiitacts ls and open contacts 16, thus 2- conveying the said electrical signal tothe upper position com mand transducer 19 ihrough closed contacts 17. Contacts 17 and l8'are functionallyassociated with a' control relay whose ae'tio'n. be initiated itherl' manually or automatically to provide for the .selecti f either the upperor theinte'rmediate ball-strikingteeposition. j

tiometeris presetto providea command reference signal r, of

such'magnitudgas to bellepresentative of the ball-elevating Qtileans' at its-gqdesiredj ball-striking position. i This referencesignal r is fedto the error-detector'22 and compared the' agtuating error sighale which area to the .controller 23.

i Said controller consistsi basically of an amplif er and a servovalv'e which supplies controlledfluid, power to the prime mover 8iil'he said amplifierisfunctional in providing elec- J "trical signal to the servovalveto causeoperation thereof. Said "1" operation of the said'servovalvefrom null position will-cause to flow to port prime moverSLfIhis will cause 7 f i to retract within said prime. movers, in so doing,'carrier 6* UW-i Position. i mmand'tr u cs' Such w p i totheelectrical feedbaclt signal emitted fronithe position i sensor 12 as theexisting position indication ofthe" ball-elevat-J 'irigfmeans. The difference between thesaid signals constitutes a mediate ball-striking position. To promote this function,'contacts '17 are, opened andlcontacts l8 closed by way of relay actionLThis renders the'upper position command transducer 19 inoperative and the intermediate position command trans- A ducersuch a potentiometer operative along with the" lower position command transducer 2 1', thus making possible A the operation of the ball-elevating meansQbetween the lower 5 most ballrecieving and the ,intermediate;.biill striking posi l The second embodiment consists thejournalingof ball elevating means 27, such. as a close- I .woundhelical spring; an opertin'g28 at the top to provide will cause. shaft'13. of position-sensorl2 such as a potentiome-'- ter' to'i' be displaced- QAlso, the ball-elevating means 4 -willelevatef 'until thef ball B (emerges through opening S toLthe usag'eq'l'heresulting motioiifvof the primeinover 8 will cause. i the position sensor'sfeedback' signalgb to become equal to the command 'referencesign'al r, provided by the preset upper command transducer 19, so that the actuating error i signal is reducedgto zero, thereby, milling the servovalveto i chi biffiuid flow. to port19With thetermination of flow to ll-elevatingmeans dwilltstopand maintain this P9." 0 desired "ppermostposition,

w en.

elevatin g'liheans ,4, thes witching 11 will again effectuatei a signal to controller 14 to cause contacts l5io open: and

contacts l6 to close.u'l'hiswillproyidean electrical signal to I the loweraposition ,commandtransducer 21. such as a potentihmeterfwhichl'is preset to establish a command reference signal rof such magnitude as to be representative of the said hall-elevating means atits .desired lowermost ball-receiving position. 'l'hisreference signal r is fed to the error detector 22 and compared to theelectrical feedback signal I; emitted from the 'position' sensor 12.,The difference between the .two said signals con'stitutes thenew actuatingerror signal 8 which is-fed to:coiitroller '23 to cause J operation of the functionallyassociatedservovalye. Now, operation of' the said. servovalve rmm un will cause fluid to exhaust from port 9 and simul 3 tan eotisly direct flow into port 10 ofthe said prime mover 8 to d eiitendrod 7. In so doing,.ca rrier' 6 will cause shaft 13 of the position-sensor l2 to be again displaced and ball-elevating to .descendtoward the desired lowermost ball-receiving position. 'l'he resulting prime moi/fer displacement will cause'the position sensorfs feedback' signal b tobecome equal tothe command reference signal r provided by the lower position command transducer sothat the actuating errorsignal ballB dislodgedfrom the tee portion of theiballmountedto the backside of mounting plate 25 withits rotatable shaft (not shown) protrudingthroughsaidmounting plate. .Fixedly mounted on said rotatable shaft is drive sprocket 32. i Also, centrally and 'fixedly mounted within end of said prime r a mover shaftis the rotatably shaft not shown) of position sensor 34 such as a potentiometer whose housing is in turn fixedly j mounted with respect to mounting plate 25. Sprocket 3l" is*' rotatably'mounted to shaft 3 t5 which"is fixedly mounted to K egisi-again reduced to zero,thereby, nullin'gz the servovalve to.

; cutoff fiowto port 10. With the termination of flow to,

10, the ballelevating means 4 will stopand maintain this desired lowermostjball-receiv'ing position until another ball 8 isfedonto its tee'portion to initiate another ball-teeing cycle. 7

when required to utilize iron golf clubs in hitting balls from i a: t e" teet lthe ball elevatir g means i will elevate to the interemerge from botto forrball exitwhen placed in registry with opening in floor A.

1 Ball-elevatingmeans27 is re'ciprocably mounted within bottrical'con'trolmeahs.

Prime moverx35', @such as a seryog earmotor, is fixedly mounting .platef25 by conventional means. Chain 33 .is

drivably placed around displaced sprockets 31 and 32. in I closed-loop fashion asshown. The/distance between .said sprockets must be suchas to effectuate proper displacement of ball-elevating 'means27 between its lowermost ball-receiv- J ing and its uppermost ball-striking position. Flexible connec- 'torarrangement, ,consisting'of carrier 29,, chain 33, and

is operative as the servosystems folsprockets SI and '32,

lowup mechanism."

FIG. 4' shows the contained in a discretesystem controlpackage.

The third embodiment consists of a'base means definedyby ,cup 37. toiwhich a mounting plate $8 is fixedly secured-as: shown in FlG.'J;3. Said cup 37hasa ball inlet aperture 39 :1} located within its cylindrical sidewall for mounting of ball-5f I delivery means C in depending relation, therefrom, and in re- Q gistry with said aperture 39; an opening within the bottomforf the journaling of both the ball-elevating means 40, suchas-ai flexible tube, and a tubular rack 43;'and an opening 41 at the; top to provide for ball exit when placed in registry with openinginfloorA. '2' a I Ball-elevating means 40 a v of a base means defined by cup 24to which amountingpla'te 25 is fixedly secured as r shown in. FIG; 2. Said cup 24 has fa Iball inlet aperture 26 1'' located within its cylindrical sidewall, for mounting of balldelivery means'C in depending relation, therefrom, and in registry with said aperture 26; an opening within the bottom for block. diagram of the servosystem employed ,in-connection with this embodiment, having prime mover 35, position sensor 34, and switching sensor 30 fixedlygfl. mounted to associated elements asshown in FIG. 2. The} remainingelementsdepicted in the said block diagram are; i

a is reciprocably mounted; with respect to bottom opening of said cup 37, having its lowenen'd i fixedly mounted to top of tubular rack 43 as shown. Centrally j and fixedly mounted to top of reciprocably mounted rack 143i;

and depending within central opening of said ball-elevating means 40, is switching sensor 42. Leads of said sensor 42 such as a photoelectric sensor are disposed downwardly through and emerging from the bottom of said rack 43, thus providing accessibility for connection to electrical control means.

Prime mover 46, such as a servogearmotor, is fixedly mounted to the back side of mounting plate 38 with its rotatable shaft (not shown) protruding through said mounting plate. Fixedly mounted on said rotatable shaft is drive gear 44, which in turn is drivably engaged with said rack 43. Also, centrally and fixedly mounted within end of said prime mover shafi is the rotatable shaft (not shown) of position sensor 45 such as a potentiometer whose housing is in turn fixedly mounted with respect to mounting plate 38. Drive combination'of rack 43 and gear 44, is operative as the servosystems followup mechanism.

FIG. 4 shows the block diagram of the servosystem employed in connection with this embodiment, having prime mover 46, position sensor 45, and switching sensor 42 fixedly mounted to associated elements as shown in FIG. 3. The remaining elements depicted in the said block diagram are contained as a discrete system control package.

Due to the close similarity between the second and third embodiments, operation will be described to encompass and apply to both embodiments in order to evade repetitious disclosure.

Ball B, upon conveyance through the ball-delivery means C and through ball inlet aperture, will enter the cup and gravitate upon the tee portion of ball-elevating means as shown in H68. 2 and 3. In so doing, the switching sensor will effectuate a signal to associated controller. 14. Said controller will function to close contacts IS-and open contacts 16, thus conveying said electrical signal to the upper position command transducer 19 through closed contacts 17.

Upper position command transducer 19 is preset to provide a command reference signal r of such magnitude as to be representative of the ball-elevating meansat its desired uppermost ball-striking position. This reference signal r is fed to the error detector 22 and compared -to the electrical feedback signal b emitted from the position sensor as the existing position indication of the ball'elevating means. The difference between the said signals constitutes the actuating error signal e fed to the controller 47 such as an amplifier which in turn supplies controlled electrical'power'to the prime mover. Operation of the said controller 47 will cause the shaft of theprime mover to rotate in such a manner as to drive the ball-elevating means upwardly via the said followup mechanism. Rotation of the prime mover shaft will also cause the position sensors shaft to be displaced until the said ball-elevating means with ball B emerges through opening of floor A to the preselected and desired uppermost height. Atthisuppermost height, the position sensors feedback signal b will equal the command reference signal r provided by the preset upper position command transducer 19, thus reducing the actuating error signal e to zero and stopping the prime mover.

When the ball B is dislodged from the tee portion of the ball-elevating means, the switching sensor will again effectuate a signal to controller 14 to cause contacts 15 to open and contacts 16 to close. This will provide an electrical signal to the lower position command transducer21 which is preset to establish a command reference signal r of such magnitude as to be representative of the said ball-elevating means at its desired lowermost ball-receiving position. Reference signal r is then fed to the error detector 22 and compared to the electrical feedback signal b emitted from the position sensor. The difference between the two said signals constitutes the new actuating error signal e fed to controller 47 which in turn supplies controlled electrical power to the prime mover. Operation of the said controller 47 will cause the shafi of said prime mover to rotate in such a manner as to drive the ball-elevating means downwardly via the said followup mechanism. Rotation of the prime mover shaft will cause the position sensor's shaft to be displaced until the ball-elevatin means is lowered to its lowermost ball-receiving position. A this position, the position sensor's feedback signal b will equal the command reference signal r provided by the preset lower position command transducer 21, thus reducing the actuating error signal e to zero and maintaining the said ball-elevating means at this lowermost position until another ball B is fed onto its tee portion to initiate another ball-teeing cycle. Therefore, it can be discerned that if any signal exists at the input to the controller 23, the prime mover will rotate until that signal is reduced to zero.

When the intermediate ball-elevating means position is desired, contacts 17 are opened and contacts 18 are closed by relay action. This renders the upper position command transducer l9-inoperative and the intermediate position command transducer 20 operative along with the lower position command transducer 21, thus making possible the operation of the ball-elevating means between the lowermost ball-receiving and the intermediate ball-striking position.

The description of the sequence of operation, between the said intermediate ball-striking and the lowermost ball-receiving positions, is similar to that described in conjunction with the operation between the uppermost ball-striking and the lowermost ball-receiving positions. The only exception is that the command reference signal r, to elevate the ball-elevating means, is provided by the intermediate position command transducer 20 instead of the previously used upper position command transducer 19.

1 claim:

1. An automatic ball-teeing apparatus with provisions for accommodating a ball-delivery means, comprising in combination, a base means; a ball-elevator means disposed with respect to said base means; and a servosystem operatively associated with said ball-elevator means to effectuate reciprocating movement thereto between a plurality of positions, said servosystem including a sensor means for providing a signal which is dependent on the position of the ball-elevator means, an input command transducer means for providing a signal dictating a preselected position to be assumed by said ball-elevator means, and error detector means for measuring the difference in the signals provided by said sensor means and said transducer means to effectuate an output signal dependent on said difference to drive the servosystem until the ballelevator means moves to the preselected position.

2. The invention as defined in claim 1, wherein said ballelevating means is a spring reinforced flexible plastic hose.

3. The invention as defined in claim 2, wherein said servosystem includes a fluid actuator as the prime mover.

4. The invention as defined in claim 3, wherein said transducer means includes a photoelectric switching sensor operative as a ball detection means.

5. The invention as defined in claim 1, wherein said ballelevator means is a close-wound helical spring.

6. The invention as defined in claim 5, wherein said servosystem includes a flexible connector-type of followup mechanism to reciprocate the ball-elevator means.

7. The invention as defined in claim 6, wherein said servosystem includes a servogearmotor as the prime mover.

8. The invention as defined in claim 7, wherein said transducer means includes a photoelectric switching sensor operative as the ball detection means.

9. The invention as defined in claim 1, wherein said ballelevator means is a flexible tube.

10. The invention as defined in claim 9, wherein said servosystem includes a rack and gear-type of followup mechanism to reciprocate the ball-elevator means.

11. The invention as defined in claim 10, wherein said servosystem includes a servogearrnotor as the prime mover.

12. The invention as defined in claim 11, wherein said transducer means includes a photoelectric switching sensor operative as the ball detection means.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5133557 *Aug 16, 1991Jul 28, 1992Akitoshi SugimotoGolf practicing apparatus
US5282629 *Nov 23, 1992Feb 1, 1994Eckstein Randall SAutomatic golf ball teeing apparatus
US5351964 *Dec 1, 1993Oct 4, 1994Worldwide Golf Resources, Inc.Golf ball teeing device
US5356148 *Aug 3, 1993Oct 18, 1994Elder Jr John FSimplified mechanism for automatically teeing practice golf balls
US5549517 *Apr 28, 1995Aug 27, 1996Ikemoto Shatai Kogyo Co., Ltd.Golf ball setting apparatus
US5662526 *Apr 2, 1996Sep 2, 1997Sutherlin; DaveAutomatic golf ball teeing machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/133
International ClassificationA63B57/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B57/0006
European ClassificationA63B57/00A