US 3590701 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [72| Inventor Terry K. Ten Broeck 33449 Road 168, Visalia, Calif. 93277 [2l] Appl. No1 739 122] Filed Jan. 5, 1970 (45] Patented July 6, 1971 [54| AUTOMATED LANE-DIVIDER BUTTON APPLYING MACHINE 38 Claims, 37 Drawing Figs.
 U.S. Cl 94/39, 94/l.5, 156/523 [5l] lnt.Cl E01c23/16  Field of Search 94/l.5, 22, 39; 156/523, 561,526
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,187,879 l/l940 Johnson 94/l.5
3,033,739 5/1962 Klein 3,086,431 4/1963 Perry 94/39 3,235,436 2/1966 Eigenmann 156/523 3,350,256 10/1967 Eckman 156/523 X 3,427,933 2/1969 Taylor-Myers 94/39 x Primary Examiner- Jacob L. Nackenoff Attorney-Huebner and Worrel ABSTRACT: An automated lane-divider button applying machine particularly suited for use in applying lane-divider buttons, frequently called Botts Dots, at selected intervals along lane-divider lines of surfaced highways, characterized by a self-propelled, steerable vehicle having mounted therein for automated operation a mechanism including a surfacing brush, adhesive mixer and applicator and a button ejector and applicator interrelated for automated and sequential operation for applying reoccurring series or spaced strings" of lane-divider buttons along highway lane-divider lines in a predetermined sequence and at predetermined spaced intervals.
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A TTOPNE'YS AUTOMATED LANE-DIVIDER BUTTON APPLYING MACHINE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to highway construction and repair machines, and more particularly to a self-propelled, fully automated machine for applying lane-divider buttons along lanedivider lines defining highway traffic lanes.
Lane-divider lines normally are employed in highway systems to define paths of travel for motorized vehicles. lt has been the practice to delineate the lanes using lane-divider lines formed by applying parallel stripes or lines of paint of particular colors, which for recognition purposes, are of colors contrasting with the colors of the highway surfaces in order that lanes are clearly and readily discernible for aiding vehicle operators in maintaining vehicle control. However, the painted lines are not entirely satisfactory as they do not effectively obviate wandering" such as that resulting from operator inattention or obscuration ofthe markings.
Numerous schemes have been devised, with varying degrees of success, for advising vehicle operators when vehicles wander"'f`rom a delineated highway lane. One of the more practical recent innovations has been to define the highway lanes by applying readily apparent strings of lane-divider buttons along the surface of the highways.
In practice, a combination of two types of buttonsv are ernployed in defining the lanes. The first being circular and fabricated from ceramic materials, normally white in color, each having a diameter substantially equal to the width of a common lane-divider line, and so configured as to have a planar supporting surface and a domed upper surface. The second type is rectangular, preferably square, having a least one substantially vertical planar reflecting side surface and a width equal to the diameter of the circular buttons. Preferably, the circular buttons are strung in strings of four, on 3-foot centers, with the strings being spaced at IS-feet intervals to define lane-divider lines readily visible to vehicle operators. Midway between alternate strings of four circular buttons there are arranged the second type of buttons, each having its refiecting surface directed towards the oncoming traffic. Hence, the reflector surfaces of the rectangular buttons are interspersed with the strings of white buttons so that under conditions of poor visibility light from the head lamps of approaching vehicles may be gathered and directed back toward the operators for aiding the operators in visually observing the divider lines. Furthermore, in executing lane changes, vehicle operators necessarily feel" the buttons as the wheels of the vehicle pass thereover so that the vehicles position relative to the selected lane is determined by feel" as well as by visual observation.
Use of these buttons, while effective, has been severely limited since heretofore it has been the practice to apply the buttons by hand. In manual applications, each of the areas which is to receive a button is first cleaned, through brushing or sand blasting operations to thereby enhance the button adhering characteristics of the surface, a glob" ofa convenient adhesive, such as epoxy, next is applied to the cleaned surface area and a selected button manually is deposited and seated in the glob of adhesive. As can readily be appreciated, manual application of the buttons proves to be excessively time-consuming and, in some instances economically prohibitive, even though the buttons have been quite effective in achieving a reduction of highway accidents.
SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION This invention overcomes the aforementioned disadvantage in the use of lane-divider buttons by providing an economic fully automated, self-propelled machine for cleaning selected areas of the button receiving surface of the highway, depositing selected quantities of adhesive in the selected and cleaned areas and subsequently applying and seating lane-divider buttons in the deposited adhesive.
Accordingly, an object ofthe instant invention is to provide an automated lane-divider button applying machine.
Another object is to provide a lane-divider button applying machine particularly suited for use in applying divider buttons at selected intervals along lane-divider lines of surfaced highways.
Another object is to provide an automated lane-divider button applying machine adapted to be driven along surfaces of highways for depositing lane-divider buttons at preselected intervals in an adhesive which is applied substantially simultaneously therewith.
Another object is to provide a self-propelled and automated lane-divider button applying machine adapted to be propelled and steered along lane-divider lines of surfaced highways for cleaning selected areas of the surfaces of the highway, mixing and depositing an adhesive in cleaned areas, depositing lanedivider buttons in the applied adhesive and positively seating the deposited buttons.
Another object is to provide an automated self-propelled and steerable lane-divider button applying machine adapted to be propelled and steered along a lane-divivider for cleaning selected surface arcas at predetermined intervals, applying an adhesive at the cleaned areas, applying highway buttons of alternate configurations within the applied adhesive and seating the applied buttons.
Another object is to provide in a lane-divider button applying machine a button magazine adapted sequentially to deliver the buttons in series and at predetermined intervals to be deposited in applied adhesive.
Another object of the instant invention is to provide in an automated lane-divider button applying machine means for orienting the buttons as they are delivered to be applied by the machine.
Another object is to provide for an automated lane-divider button applying machine and adhesive applicator particularly suited for use in depositing globs of adhesive at preselected intervals along the surface of the highway.
Another object is to provide for an automated lane-divider button applying machine and a button ejector adapted to deliver buttons from the machine to a button receiving surface at selected intervals.
Another object of the instant invention is to provide for a lane-divider button applying machine a surface cleaning mechanism adapted to clean selected areas of the highway at predetermined intervals as the machine is advanced therealong.
Another object is to provide for a lane-divider button applying machine a guide boom connected with the surface cleaning apparatus for dictating the machines direction of travel and the lateral displacement imposed on the machines cleaning mechanism as the machine is advanced along the surface of a highway.
Another object is to provide a timing mechanism for sequentially controlling the simultaneously performed operations of a lane-divider button applying machine, whereby the button applying machine is caused to clean the surface of the highway, at varied intervals, deposit adhesive thereon and selectively deposit selected lane-divider buttons within the applied adhesive.
These together with other objects and advantages will become more readily apparent by reference to the following description in light of the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view of the automated lane-divider button applying machine embodying the principles of the present in- Ventron.
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view of a preferred arrangement for strings of lane-divider buttons applied by the machine of FIG. l.
FIG. 3 is a plan view of the machine of FIG. l.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view, on an enlarged scale, of the adhesive and button delivery and gated track portion of the machine illustrated in FIG. 3.
FIG. S is a fragmentary side view of the portion of the button applying machine illustrated in FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a cross section taken generally on line 6-6 of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is a partially sectioned end view taken generally on line 7-7 of FIG. 5
FIG. 8 is a partially sectioned side view of the gated track, illustrating the gating, adhesive applicating and button ejecting mechanisms of FIGS. 4 and 5.
FIG. 9 is a cross section taken generally along the line 9-9 of FIG. 8.
FIG. I is a cross section taken generally along line 10-10 of FIG. 8.
FIG. Il is a top plan view illustrating -the button gating and the button ejecting mechanism shown in FIG. 8.
FIG. l2 is an inverted plan view, on an enlarged scale, of the button ejector and adhesive applicator mechanism of FIG. I l.
FIG. 13 is a partially sectioned side view of a portion of the adhesive applicating, button ejecting and sequence timing mechanism, particularly illustrated in FIGS. 5, 8 and 13.
FIG. I4 is a partially sectioned end view, taken generally along line 14-14 of FIG. 5, of a subsection of the button magazine section which may be employed in delivering circular divider buttons as illustrated in FIG. 2.
FIG. l is a partially sectioned plan view, taken generally at line 15-15 of FIG. 5, illustrating the endless belts employed by the magazine subsection of FIG. 14.
FIG. I6 is a top plan view of another subsection of the button magazine section employed in delivering rectangular reflector buttons of the type shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 17 is a fragmentary side view of the button magazine illustrated in FIG. I6.
FIG. 18 is a fragmentary, partially sectioned view, taken generally along the line 18-18 of FIG. I6, illustrating the ejecting mechanism employed by the magazine subsection of FIGS. I6 and 17. FIG. 19 is a partially sectioned end view of the magazine subsection of FIGS. I6 through I8, illustrating a manually actuated locking mechanism for retaining the subsection in an operative disposition.
FIG. 20 is a fragmented, partially sectioned view, taken generally along lirie 20-20 of FIG. 4, illustrating a portion of the button orienting mechanism provided for the gated track employed for orienting and conveying the buttons between the magazine section and the gating section of the machine.
FIG. 2l is a somewhat enlarged cross sectional view taken along line 2I-2l of FIG. 4, illustrating the two channels and interposed knife edge employed in delivering circular buttons on edge from the magazine subsection of FIG. 5.
' FIG. 22 is a plan view, on a somewhat enlarged scale, of the brush employed in cleaning surface areas preparatory to receiving adhesive applied by the adhesive applicator of FIG. 8.
FIG. 23 is a partially sectioned side elevational view of the structure illustrated in FIG. 22.
FIG. 24 is a partially sectioned front view, on a somewhat enlarged scale and taken generally along line 24-24 of FIG. 23, of the brush of FIGS. 22 and 23.
FIG. 25 is a partially sectioned side view of the guide boom forward portion of the vehicle illustrating boom structure employed in shifting the brush of FIG. 24.
FIG. 26 is a partially sectioned fragmentary end view of a portion of the structure of FIG. 22.
FIG. 27 is a partially sectioned view taken generally along line 27-27 of FIG. 23, of the control linkage employed for shifting the brush, as shown in FIGS. 22 and 23.
FIG. 28 is a top plan view taken generally along line 28-28 of FIG, I3.
FIG. 29 is a partially sectioned plan view taken generally along line 29-29 of FIG. 13.
FIG. 30 is a partially sectioned plan view taken along line 30-30 of FIG. I3.
FIG. 3l is a schematic diagram of the machine control circuit and circuit associated actuators.
FIG. 32 is an enlarged perspective view of a cam operated gang-switch employed in the circuit illustrated in FIG. 31.
FIG. 33 is a modified button magazine subsection which may be employed in delivering circular divider buttons with the machine of FIG. l.
FIG. 34 is a sectioned elevation of a portion of one of the modified button magazines taken generally along line 34-34 of FIG. 33.
FIG. 35 is a partially sectioned, fragmentary elevation of a modified form of the glue applicator and button ejector mechanism as may be employed by the machine of FIG. l.
FIG. 36 is a cross-sectional elevation taken generally along line 36-36 of FIG. 35.
FIG. 37 is a fragmentary plan view ofthe forward portion of the vehicle, illustrating successive positions for the boom and the brush.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT General Description As illustrated in FIG. l, the machine embodying the principles of the present invention is an automated, self-contained and motorized vehicle which is steered in a convenient manner for driving the vehicle along a given surface, such as a surfaced highway. While the machine of FIG. I is to be employed in depositing Botts Dots or lane-divider buttons along lane-divider lines iii a pattern similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2, it is to be understood that the machine may be employed to lay similar buttons in any desired combination along any given surface for any desired purpose.
The machine, illustrated in FIG. l, is provided with a power and steering section designated l0, which includes an internal combustion engine of a convenient design, an associated drive train and convenient vehicle steering mechanism mounted on a wheel supported frame, whereby the vehicle may be propelled along selected surfaces. Since the power plant and drive train form no specific part of the instant invention, a detailed description thereof is omitted.
Immediately preceding the power and steering section I0, the machine is provided with an adhesive button applicator section 20, `which functions to deliver and apply to the highway surface adhesive supplied from pressurized sources, such as heated pots 22, and buttons delivered from an adjacent button magazine section 30. As various types of adhesive pots may be employed, as desired, and since such pots are commercially available, a detailed description thereof is also omitted in the interest of brevity. In practice, an operator steers the vehicle so that it is caused to follow a selected lanedivider line so that the buttons are caused to be delivered from the section 30 to the section 20 and thereupon deposited in globs of the adhesive delivered from the pots 22 to the surface ofthe highway. In order that the adhesive may be deposited in cleaned areas, a power driven brush 32 is oscillated into and out of engagement with the surface at predetermined intervals.
While it totally is feasible to employ the machine to apply buttons of a single configuration, prevailing requirements derriand that the machine be able to employ two types of buttons, namely the hereinbefore described circular ceramic buttons and the generally rectangular buttons having the planar reflecting surfaces. Therefore, the magazine section 30 is provided with magazine subsections 34 and 36 for retaining both types of buttons to be applied.
Both the circular and the rectangular buttons are delivered from the magazine-30 to an inclined gated track, generally designated 38, FIG. 3, and deposited within the adhesive and button applicator section 20. Passage of the buttons, of both aforementioned types, through the gated track is inhibited by an advance gating section, generally designated 40. This secf tion sequentially releases the buttons for delivery to a final gating and adhesive applicating section, generally designated 42, which serves to deliver the adhesive and buttons to the spot cleaned on the receiving surface of the highway.
Therefore, it should be readily apparent that as the vehicle ofthe present invention advances along a highway surface, the brush 32 spot cleans selected areas of the surface, arranged at predetermined intervals, applies adhesive to the cleaned areas and finally applies and seats the buttons as they are selectively delivered from the magazine section 30, to the final gating section 42, via the gating section 40 of the gated track 38.
BUTTON MAGAZlNE As described, in order to supply the lane-divider buttons of both the aforementioned types, the magazine section 30 conveniently is divided into the two magazine subsection 34 and 36. As shown in FlG. 3, the magazine subsection 34 includes a receptacle ofa boxlike structural configuration into which the circular buttons randomly are deposited.
As a practical matter. the machine is intended to deliver eight circular buttons for each rectangular button. Therefore, the capacity of magazine subsection 34 normally is much greater than the magazine subsection 36 and includes parallel side and end walls 44 and 46, respectively, forming a boxlike receptacle 49 having a horizontal bottom wall 48 for supporting the circular buttons therein.
The bottom wall 48 is divided into two coplanar sections having an elongated conveyor belt 50 disposed therebetween and trained about an idler roller and a driven roller 54. These rollers are, in practice, driven through a convenient motor and chain drive coupling 55 in a manner such that the upper run of the conveyor belt continuously advances buttons towards one end of the receptacle 49, which serves as the discharge end of the receptacle, whereby the buttons continuously are advanced to be discharged from the magazine subsection 34.
As best illustrated in FIGS. 5, 6, 14 and l5, the discharge end of the receptacle 49 includes a pair ofcoplanar, vertically disposed wall sections having a driven agitator belt S6 disposed therebetween. The agitator belt S6 is operatively supported by an idler roller 58 and driven roller 60 in a manner such that a vertical run of the belt is in communication with the buttons retained and continuously advanced within the magazine receptacle.
lt is intended that the belts S0 and 56 cooperate for serially delivering the buttons`from an opening 6l, FIG. 5, formed at the discharge end of the receptacle of magazine subsection 34. Therefore, the belt 56 also is driven by the motor and chain drive coupling 55 and is driven in a manner such that the run thereof adjacent to the buttons within the receptacle 49 is advanced in a vertical direction as the randomly oriented buttons simultaneously are advanced by the conveyor belt 50, whereby the buttons are continuously agitated. As the belts are spaced a distance sufficient for accommodating passage of only one button at a time, it can be appreciated that the agitator belt 56 continues to reorient or stir" the buttons as they are delivered by the belt 50. The buttons thus become horizontally aligned and properly seated relative to the belt 50 whereupon passage through the openings 6l is accommodated and the buttons are thereupon serially delivered from the receptacle 49.
ln practice, it is preferable to mount the agitator belt 56 within a housing defined by walls 62. These walls are provided with convenient openings for affording access to the belt 56 and its supporting rollers. Adjacent to the opening 6l the housing is provided with a depending pivotally hinged trap door 64, FlG. 5, which serves as a bang board" for intercepting the buttons as they are discharged from the opening 6l, whereupon the buttons crop in a vertical direction to be deposited on edge within the uppermost portion of the gated track 38 disposed adjacent thereto.
While the circular buttons are delivered to the gated track 38 from the magazine subsection 34, the magazine subsection 36 simultaneously serves to deliver the rectangular buttons to the gated track 38 at appropriate intervals between the delivery of the circular buttons As better illustrated in FIGS; l and 3, the magazine subsection 36 includes a plurality of adjacent channular segments forming a plurality ofvertically arranged chutes 66, coupled into a unitary button dispenser 68. As best shown in FIGS. 16 through 19, the chutes 66 of the dispenser 68 are arranged in an in-line and contiguous relationship and receive therein vertical stacks of rectangular buttons to be retained therein and subsequently dispensed thereby.
As shown, the dispenser 68 includes four chutes 66, however, it should readily be apparent that the dispenser 68 may include any convenient number. The chutes 66 receive the rectangular reflector buttons deposited therein from the uppermost end in a manner such that the buttons are retained by the chutes in vertically aligned stacks and are discharged, in orthagonal displacement, at a discharge station 70 and delivered to an extended portion 71 of the track 38.
The discharge station 70 includes a convenient structure defining a button receiving chamber 72 having a button receiving and supporting surface 73 into which the buttons are permitted to drop from the chutes 66. Mounted for reciprocation along the surface 73, within the receiving chamber 72, there is a button ejector ram 74. This ram includes an uppermost button supporting surface 76 and a vertical kicker" face 78. The ram is aligned for reciprocation in a plane common to the adjacent portion 7l of the gated track 38 in order that the buttons may be delivered thereto from the dispenser 68. lt is to be understood that as the ram 74 is retracted or drawn outwardly relative to the chamber 72 a reflector button is permitted to drop and seat within the chamber so that as the ram 74 is extended its kicker face 78 engages the horizontal edge portion of the button and advances it towards the section of the gated track. As the ram is extended into the chamber along the surface 73, the surface 76 thereof engages the lowermost surface of the next-in-line button retained within the chute so that as the ram 74 is inserted its surface 76 serves to support the stack of reflector buttons while the button engaged by the kicker face 78 is being ejected or conveyed from the chamber.
While various means can be employed in driving the ram 74, a convenient actuator 80, including a rectilinearly reciprocating pneumatic piston, has been employed quite satisfactorily.
ln practice, each of the chutes 66 is iilled with a stack of buttons to be successively delivered. Therefore, it is necessary, in order for all of the buttons to be delivered from the dispenser 68, for the chutes 66 to be adjustably aligned with the chamber 72. This is achieved by providing a tracklike supporting base 82, including convenient dispenser supporting surfaces arranged thereon and adapted releasably to receive in supporting engagement therewith supporting lugs 83 which depend from the walls of the dispenser 68. It is to be understood that the dispenser may be adjustably indexed or horizontally displaced along the supporting base for aligning the various chutes with the chamber, while being continuously supported by the tracks ofthe base.
ln order to secure the dispenser 68 in an appropriate disposition relative to the station 70, a spring-biased toggle linkage, including a conveniently pivoted locking lug 86, FlG. 19, is provided and employed for engaging one ofa plurality of stop surfaces defined by appropriately formed openings 88, FIGS. 16 and I9, for retaining the dispenser in its desired rela tionship relative to the receiving chamber 72. Where desired, it is to be understood that the dispenser may include laterally extended bearing supports 89 for assisting in establishing and maintaining a vertical alignment for the chutes 66.
lt will be appreciated that the button magazine section 30 is divided into subsections 34 and 36, which include the button receptacle 49 and the button dispenserf68 which together serve to deliver both types of the divider buttons to the gated track 38. While the circular buttons are delivered in a continuous manner from the opening 61 of receptacle 49, the rectangular buttons are delivered from the chutes 66 of the dispenser 68 in a selected sequence, the timing of which is dictated by controlling the rectilinear reciprocation of the button ejector ram 74.