US 3550964 A
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United States atent Inventor Chris 1E. Spyropoulos Washington, D.C. Appl. No. 807,335 Filed Mar. 14, 1969 Patented Dec. 29, 1970 Assignee The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army FLUERIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM 4 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 302/2, 271/26, 271/56, 271/74 Int. Cl B65g 53/06; -B65h 29/24 Field of Search 226/97;
[5 6] References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 3,136,539 6/1964 Lyman 271/26 3,160,443 12/1964 Harris et al. 302/2 3,285,608 11/1966 Lyman 271/74 Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant ExaminerAlfred N. Goodman Attorneys-Harry M. Saragovitz, Edward ll. Kelly, Herbert Berl and J. D. Edgerton PATENTEU niczslem .3550 964 INVE W R c HRIS E. SHROPOULOS This invention relates to systems for the handling of large volumes of items such as machine record cards, mail, etc. where it is required to transport the items one-by-one to and from various locations. Such systems typically employ mechanical parts moving at high speeds to handle and trans port the items Whenever high speed mechanical action is involved, there is always the problem of breakdown of the moving parts, or damage to the items causedby jamming or mishandling.
SUMMARY or THE INVENTION The present invention avoids the problems of conventional systems by providing a flueric system, which operates without moving mechanical parts in the transporting path and which maintains automatic control over the spacing between items to eliminate jamming.
The system comprises a horizontal, vertical or slanted guide of the required length between the points of transport. A plurality of fluid control devices for switching fluid flow in response to fluid control signals are provided to supply fluid to spaced propelling nozzles. Fluid discharge from the nozzles propels items along the guide path which also has spaced sensing ports to control the on-off action of the nozzles in predetermined fashion to maintain separation among the transported items.
The sensing port associated with a given fluid control device is located downstream of the propelling nozzle or nozzles associated with the same control device a distance predeter mined in accordance with the item lengths. When an item crosses a sensing port the associated control device is cause to switch off the rearmost nozzle output (where two nozzles are utilized) then driving the item. This rearmost nozzle remains off until the item has entirely cleared the sensing port. The switching action thus produced preserves the" series flow and prevents lighter items from overtaking heavier ones and jamming the flow.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic view of one system embodiment of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of the top of the guide path showing the relative location of selected system components; and
FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of a second system embodiment of the invention which requires only half as many fluid control devices as the preferred system.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS 7 FIG. 1 shows a diagrammatic view of one system embodiment of the invention employing biased fluid amplifiers as the fluid control devices. These amplifiers are indicated generally at 1, 3, S, 7, 9 and 11. A stack of items, such as cards, to be transported is shown at 13. The guide path means along which these cards are to be transported is indicated at 15.
The biased fluid amplifiers are conventional in structure, and, as seen in connection-with amplifier 1, a main fluid input 17 may be diverted either to output 19 or output 21 depending upon whether or not a bias input 23 is present. When an input is present at bias input line 23 the main input 17 is diverted to output 19. When bias input 23 is not present, the main input 17 switches back to output 21 which is shown as exhausting to the atmosphere, since this output is not utilized. When the main input 17 is diverted to output 19, the fluid is forced through nozzle 25, which is directed horizontally along the guide path 15. When the system is first energized by supplying a suitable fluid, such as air, to the fluid devices shown, the nozzles 25, 25', etc. will all be activated and will direct streams of fluid down guide path 15. This action will cause the top card 31 in the stack 13 to move to the right down the guide path 15.
Each amplifier has connected to its bias input 23, 23', etc., a sensing port 33, 33', etc. These ports receive fluid flow from control line 35, 35', etc. The fluid flow from the line 35, 35',
etc., is directed across the guide path 15 so as'to be interto insure that a positive fluid force will be exerted on a transported item at any given time. This spacing may be varied, and in some instances may exceed the length ofa transported item.
The essential requirement is that there always be a sufficient fluid force to propel the item along the guide path.
FIG. 2 is a top view of guide path 15 showing the relative location of selected system components. The fluid lines and amplifier structure have not been shown in order to preserve the clarity of illustration. 7
When the system is energized and card 31 begins moving to the right as shown in FIG. 1 under the action of propelling nozzle 25, card 31 very shortly comes into position where it will be acted upon also by propelling nozzle 25'. While the card 31 is still acted upon by both nozzles 25 and 25', the sensing, port 33 will be blocked by the leading edge of the card, thereby shutting off fluid flow from control line 35 to bias input 23 of amplifier 1. When bias line 23 no longer has an input, the main input 17 is switched from output 19 and exhausted through output 21. Output 19 of amplifier 1 will remain inactive until the trailing edge of card 31 clears sensing port 33 and allows fluid from control line 35 again to flow to bias input 23 and switch the output of amplifier 1 back to output line 19.
As card 31 moves further down guide 15, it will be acted upon by propelling nozzle 25" of amplifier 5, and still further down guide 15 card 31 will block sensing port 33 causing amplifier 3 to switch output from line 19' toexhaust through line 21. This action is repeated along the guide with each amplifier having its propelling nozzle output deactivated for a time interval equal to the length of time required for the transported item to clear the associated amplifier sensing port. It is this deactivation of the propelling nozzles that enables the present system to function without jamming.
The card in stack 13 located immediately under the top fashion as that previously described in connection with card 31. Each succeeding card will be removed similarly from stack 13 and the transporting will continue in serial fashion until all ofthe cards in stack 13 have been transported.
It will be appreciated that in transporting items there will be variations in size and weights which might well cause items of differentsizes and weights to attain different velocities in being transported along guide 15. Lighter items tend to overtake heavier items and cause a bunching or jamming effect which destroys the one-by-one transporting desired in such systems. By shutting off the propelling nozzle behind each item as it proceeds down the guide, the item immediately following is kept spaced to the rear so that overtaking and jamming does not occur. In the event that some unforseen trouble causes an item to jam in guide path 15, the system quickly deactivates itself as soon as all of the sensing ports are blocked, since the blocking of all sensing ports turns off all of the propelling nozzles. This deactivation feature prevents a serious jamming action, such as might occur in a mechanical system where items would be continually fed into a blockage.
A second embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 3 where like components are shown with like numbers. The basic difference between this system and the system of FIG. 1 is in the number of amplifiers employed and the way in which the amplifiers are connected. The system of FIG. 3 requires only half as many amplifiers as the system of FIG. 1. In FIG. 3 output lines 21, 21', etc., are connected to propelling nozzles 26, 26', etc., spaced along guide 15. When the system is first energized, the bias inputs on lines 23, 23', etc., cause the outputs of amplifiers 17, 17', etc., to activate propelling nozzles 25, 25'etc., thereby causing top card 31 to move to the right along guide 15. Propelling nozzle 26 is not activated until the leading edge of card 31 blocks sensing port 33, thereby causing the amplifier l to switch back to output 19 and reactivate propelling nozzle 25.
The system of FIG. 3 also differs from the system of FIG. 1 in that it will not be deenergized in the case of a blockage,
occurring through said sensing ports; and whereby an item to be transported will be propelled by fluid from the propelling nozzle ofa given device until the item crosses the sensing port associated with such given device and blocks the bias input whereupon the device will switch to the second output and the propelling nozzle will be deenergized until the item clears the sensing port. 2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein adjacent propelling nozzles are spaced along said guide path means at since blocking the sensing ports 33, 33', etc., does not shut off intervals so as to provide a propelling fluid force for items to all of the propelling nozzles. Half of the propelling nozzles remain activated even when all of the sensing ports are blocked.
The system of FIG. 1 and 3 may utilize other types of biased amplifiers or fluid switching devices which are well known in the art. The spacing and location of the propelling nozzles and sensing ports may be varied in accordance with the various sizes and shapes of items to be transported. It may also be desirable to locate propelling nozzles on both sides (above and below) of the items being conveyed instead of the top side only as shown.
1. A flueric transport system for transporting a series of separated items comprising:
guide path means;
a plurality of fluid-switching control devices spaced along said guide path means, each of said devices including:
a main input,
a bias input,
a first output activated by the bias input, and
a second output serving as an exhaust in the absence of a biasinput,
a plurality of propelling nozzles spaced along said guide path means, each of said nozzles being connected to the first output of an associated fluid-switching control device; plurality of sensing ports spaced along said guide path means, each of said sensing ports being connected to the bias input of an associated fluid-switching control device; and fluid source means for providing fluid flow to said main inputs and to said bias inputs, the flow to said bias inputs be transported at all points along the guide path.
3. A flueric transport system for transporting a series of separated items comprising:
guide path means;
a plurality of fluid-switching control devices spaced along said guide path means, each of said devices including;
a main input,
a bias input,
a first output, and a second output,
a plurality of propelling nozzles spaced along said guide path means, there being a nozzle connected to each of the first and second outputs of the spaced devices;
a plurality of sensing ports spaced along said guides path means, each of said sensing ports being connected to the bias input of an associated fluid-switching control device; and
fluid source means for providing fluid flow to said main inputs and to said bias inputs, the flow to said bias inputs occurringthrough said sensing orts; whereby an item to be transporte will be propelled by fluid