US 3590457 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent lnventor Stanley J. Gustetic Euclid, Ohio A ppl. No. 85 7,834
Filed Sept. 15, 1969 Patented July 6, 1971 Assignee Eaton Yale & Towne Inc.
Cleveland, Ohio APPARATUS FOR ASSEMBLING ANODES FOR ELECTROLYTIC CELLS 9 Claims, 6 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl. 29/203 R Int. Cl i. H011- 33/00 Field of Search 29/203 R, 204
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,706,33l 4/1955 Bartelheim et al 29/203 2,855,239 10/1958 Nokleby et a] 29/203 X Primary Examiner-Granville Y Custer, Jr. Attorney-Teagno & Toddy INVENTOR STANLEY J GUSTET/C ATTORNEYS PATENTEDJUL 6L9?! 34590.45?
sum 30F 3 INVENTOR 3 TA/VLEY J. GUSTET/C ATTY )RNEYS This invention relates to apparatus for assembling graphite or carbon anode sections to similar anodes in electrolytic cells for the production of light metals.
In the operation of such cells, the lower ends of the carbon or graphite anodes are consumed and provision is made for lowering the anode through a suitable clamping mechanism in the cell cover as necessary. Periodically, a new anode section must be secured to the anode in the cell and this may be accomplished by providing the lower end of the new anode section with a coarse thread which is threaded into a coarse threaded counterbore in the upper end of the anode already positioned in the cell. The graphite or carbon from which the anodes are made are quite brittle and subject to being fractured rather easily. Thus, extreme care must be taken in threading a new anode section to the anodes in the cell.
Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an apparatus for handling new anode sections, axially aligning the sections with anodes in an electrolytic cell and threadedly securing the section to such anode without fracturing the anodes.
A further object of this invention is to provide an apparatus for assembling a threaded anode section to a threaded anode in an electrolytic cell having means for floatably supporting the anode section as well as the means for clamping and rotating the anode section so that the contact pressure between the two anodes is insufficient to fracture either anode.
The invention, as well as additional objects and advantages thereof will be understood more fully when the following detailed description is read in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary transverse vertical sectional view illustrating the apparatus of this invention installed in an electrolytic cell facility.
FIG. 2 is a partial vertical sectional view taken along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1, but with the anode clamps in retracted position.
FIG. 3 isa view similar to FIG. 2, butwith the anode clamps in closed position.
FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but with the anode section misaligned with an anode in an electrolytic cell.
FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along the lines 5-5 ofFIG. 1.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the movable supporting plate.
As previously indicated, electrolytic cells for the manufacture of light metals are provided with a plurality of anodes 10 which are fixed to the electrolytic cell cover 11 by means of conventional adjustable clamp means 12 so that, as the lower end of the anodes 10 are consumed, the clamp 12 may be periodically loosened and the anode 10 lowered further into the electrolytic cell.
When the upper end 13 of the anodes approaches the upper end of the clamp means 12, new anode section 14 is moved into vertical axial alignment with an anode 10. The anode section 14 has a threaded stud 15 threadedly secured to a threaded counterbore 16. FIG. 5 is a partial sectional view of the threaded stud 15 which is shown threadedly secured to the threads 16 in the upper end of an anode l0 and threadedly secured to similar threads 17 in the lower end of the anode section 14. The upper end of the anode sections 14 have a metal connector plate 18 which is provided with a threaded stud 19 and threadedly secured to threads 20 at the upper end of the anode section 14. The connector plate 18 is provided with an axially projecting contacting member 21 having a radially extending flange 22 which is engaged by a tong mechanism 23.
The tong mechanism is supported by a hoist device 24 which may comprise a telescoping tubular hydraulically operated mast 25 attached to the trolley 26 which is movable longitudinally of the traveling crane 27. The crane 27 is supported on wheeled trucks 28 and 29 at each end which travel along longitudinally extending rails 3'0 and 31 so that the hoist and tongs may be moved longitudinally of the electrolytic cell facility 32. Since the trolley 26 may move longitudinally of the bridge crane 27, the hoist mechanism 24 may be positioned over any one anode in any electrolytic cell in the facility 32. A plurality of anode sections 14 are stored in a suitable container on the crane 27 or at some other location below the traveling crane 27 from which they are withdrawn and attached to an anode 10 as required.
The tong mechanism 23 comprises: a pair of pivotable tong links 33 pivoted around pins 34 and having an L-shaped tong 35 at one end thereof. When the links 33 are retracted, the tongs 35 will engage the underside of the flange 22 of the connector 21. The tong mechanism further includes a base member 36 for engaging the contact piece 21 of the connector 18. A link 37 is pivotably connected at 380 to the upper end of the tong link 33 and the upper end of each of the links 37 are connected to an actuating rod 38. The rod 38 is mounted for sliding reciprocal movement within the tong actuating shaft 39 and the upper end of the rod 38 is actuated by the rotatable piston of ram 40. The ram 40 is secured to the shaft 39 and suitably supplied with hydraulic fluid through hoses 41 via a nonrotating valve 42. With the tongs in the position shown in FIG. 2 and the base36 bearing against the member 21, the ram 40 is actuated to move the rod 38 in a downward direction into the position shown in FIG. 3 whereby the rod 38 causes the links 37 and tong links 33 to pivot into closed position as shown in FIG. 3 thereby moving the tongs 35 beneath the flange 22.
The base 43 of hoist 24 is provided with a supporting plate 44 having a cylindrical collar 45 for supporting a spherical bearing 46. The bearing 46 has an internal sleeve 47 in which the drive shaft 39 rotates. The upper end of the sleeve 47 is provided with a threaded control member 48 which is suitably fixed to the sleeve 47 and provided with internal threads 49 meshing with external threads 50 on the shaft 39. The pitch of the threads 49 and 50 is identical to the pitch of the threads 17 and 20 so that as the shaft 39 is rotated the shaft 39 together with the tong mechanism 23 are advanced axially by a distance per revolution which is equal to the pitch of the threads on the anodes.
The shaft 39 is secured to a pinion gear 51 which slides on spline 52 at the upper end 53 of the shaft 39 supported on bearings 54. Thus, the shaft 39 may slide relative to the gear 51 as it is being rotated by the gear 51.
The gear 51 is driven by a pinion gear 55 connected to the lower end of shaft 56 driven by a suitable motor 57 supported on a mounting bracket 58 which is axially aligned but radially offset to the shaft 39. It is thus seen that as the shaft 56 is rotated by motor 57, the shaft 39 is rotated via the gears 55 and 51 and the tongs are moved axially at a rate controlled by the control member 48.
A plate 59 which is shown in plan view in FIG. 6 is provided with a plurality of holes 60 through which studs 61 extend. The plate 59, of course, is welded or otherwise secured to the control member 48 and the entire weight of the tongs, sleeve 47, control member 48, shaft 39, the drive means for the shaft 39, the rod 38, and the ram 40 and valve 42 are supported by the plate 59. In turn, the plate 59 is supported on a plurality of springs 62, each of which surrounds one of a plurality the studs 61 extending through holes 60 of plate 59 shown in FIG. 6. The lower end of each of the studs 61 is fixed to a collar 63 which is secured to a member 64 bearing against the upper end 65 of the spherical bearing 46. It is thus apparent that the plate 59 which supports the entire weight of the tong mechanism and its drive is floatably mounted relative to the base 46.
A pin 66 depends from the housing 67 and extends through a hole 69 in the plate 59. Any reaction torque effected by the operation of the motor 57 is transmitted through the plate 59 via the pin 66. Moreover, the pin 66 may move relatively to the plate 59 to sense relative movement between the supporting structure and the clamping or tong assembly 23.
Whenever an anode is connected to the clamping assembly or tong mechanism 23, the weight of the anode will compress the springs 62 into the position shown in FIG. 3 of the drawings thereby decreasing the distance between the support 44 and the plate 59. Likewise, the pin 66 will move downwardly and engage and close a limit switch 70. The circuit to the motor 57 may then be energized to rotate the shaft 39. With theapparatus in this condition should the anode section 14 be misaligned with an anode 10 in the cell so that the threadedstud 15 engages the top of the anode as the tong rotating mechanism is actuated, the tong assembly as well as pin 66 will move upwardly and the limit switch 70 will be opened to deenergize the motor 57 and stop rotation of the shaft 39 and the anode section 14. It is noted that, since the entire weight of the tong mechanism 23 and its operating mechanisms, as well as the cathode, are floatably mounted on the support 44, very little contact pressure is required between a misaligned stud l4 and a cathode l to cause the pin 66 to move a sufficient distance to open the limit switch 70. This limited contact pressure is so low as to be insufficient to cause fracture of the frangible carbon or graphite material from which the studs are made.
When the lower end of one of the anodes in the cell cover 11 is consumed to the extent that a new anode section 14 must be added, the crane operator positions the tongs 23 over the connector 21 of a new anode which is stored in a suitable container on the crane 27 as previously explained. Assuming the tongs are in the position shown in FIG. 2 the operator lowers the hoist 24 until the base member 36 contacts the flange 22 of the connector. The operator then actuates valve 42 causing the piston of the ram 40 to move downwardly to actuate the rod 38 in a downward direction into the position shown in FIG. 3 causing the links 37 to pivot thereby moving the tongs 35 beneath the flange 22. The hoist is then actuated to raise the tongs and the attached new anode l4 and the crane is moved to convey the new anode into a position above an anode 10 in the cell as shown in FIG. 1. The motor 57 is then energized which rotates the sleeve 39 as well as the tong mechanism and the attached anode. Such rotation also causes the sleeve 39 and the attached anode to move downwardly by the control member 48 and threads the threaded stud at the lower end of the anode section 14 into the thread counterbore 16 at the upper end of the anode 10.
Since the tong mechanism and the new anode are floatably mounted, and in the event that the stud 15 is not properly aligned with the threaded counterbore 16 as shown in FIG. 4, the tong assembly as well as pin 66 will move upwardly a slight distance and the limit switch 70 will be open to deenergize the motor 57 and stop rotation of the shaft 39 and the anode section 14. The operator then reverses the motor 57 to cause the sleeve 47 to be retracted on the control member 48 and the crane is moved to respot the new anode 14 above the threaded counterbore 16.
I now claim:
1. An apparatus for securing a threaded anode section to a threaded anode in an electrolytic cell comprising in combination;
a supporting structure,
overhead means for horizontally moving said supporting structure relative to an electrolytic cell so that an anode section may be moved into vertical alignment with an anode in said electrolytic cell,
means secured to said overhead means for raising and lowering said supporting structure relative to said overhead means to position the threaded base of the anode section adjacent the upper end of said anode in said cell,
a clamping assembly including clamping means for engaging the upper end of an anode section, said assembly including power means for actuating said clamping means, means for rotating said clamping means, threaded means for controlling axial movement of said clamping means while said clamping means are rotated so as to axially move said clamping means at a rate equal to the pitch of the threads on said anodes, and means for floatably mounting said clamping assembly on said supporting structure whereby contact pressure between an anode section in said clamping assembly and an anode in the electrolytic cell will be reduced to an amount insufficient to fracture the anodes.
2. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which said means for floatably mounting said clamping assembly comprises spring means between said clamping assembly and said supporting structure which are compressed when an anode is supported by said assembly.
3. An apparatus as claimed in claim 2 in which said spring means includes a plurality of axially aligned springs.
4. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 in which said threaded means for axially moving said clamping means comprises a nonrotatable threaded control member, a threaded shaft for rotating said clamping means in threaded relationship with said control member, the threads on said shaft and control member being of the same pitch as the threads on the anode and anode section.
5. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 in which said shaft is driven through a gear which is slidably mounted on said shaft.
6. An apparatus as claimed in claim 5 in which said gear is driven by power means supported on said shaft.
7. An apparatus as claimed in claim 4 in which said shaft is provided with a longitudinal bore, an actuating rod extending through said bore and connected to said clamping means and a ram for actuating said rod.
8. An apparatus as claimed in claim 1 having means for sensing relative movement between the supporting structure and said clamping assembly due to contact of an anode section in said assembly with an anode in said cell.
9. An apparatus as claimed in claim 8 having means initiated by said sensing means to stop rotation of said clamping means whenever said relative movement exceeds a predetermined amount.