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Publication numberUS3612255 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 12, 1971
Filing dateMay 22, 1969
Priority dateMay 22, 1969
Also published asDE2024651A1
Publication numberUS 3612255 A, US 3612255A, US-A-3612255, US3612255 A, US3612255A
InventorsBaxter Calvin H, Tassie Douglas P
Original AssigneeGen Electric
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Endless conveyor system
US 3612255 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [72] Inventors Douglas P. Tessie St. George;

Calvin H. Baxter, Milton, both of Vt. 211 Appl. No. 826,796 r 22 Filed May 22, 1969 [45] Patented Oct. 12, 1971 [73] Assignee General Electric Company [54] ENDLESS CONVEYOR SYSTEM 12 Claims, 7 Drawing Figs.

3,258,109 6/1966 Breitensteinetal. 3,429,221 2/1969 Kirkpatrick 1.

ABSTRACT: An endless conveyor system includes a train of links, each link being coupled to its next adjacent link by a pivot member, the distance between the center lines of immediately adjacent pivot members being fixed, the pivot members being guided between the distal pairs of mutually confronting guide surfaces but not guided between the distal ends of the pair of guide surfaces, i.e., the turnarounds, the distance between the centerlines of the pairs of guide surfaces being the same as the distance between the center lines of the pivot members, and both runs being engaged by the driving means.

a 1% y as L o g to set 56 1 a 6:: -1 o c E A 0 2C K, I, I v .t v H A I, k I 7* l2 18W s k 79 a d I "Yaw! 14 -Que. IQ 29 1 lieu-1 PATENTEDHCT 12 $971 3,612,255 SHEET 3 BF 5 INVENTORS. l CL CALVIN H, 5/41 75/? By flouag/gsw ENDLESS CONVEYOR SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to endless conveyor systems, and particularly to such systems for supplying cartridges to automatic guns.

2. Background of the Invention Aircraft armament now requires extremely high rates of fire, e.g., 60 to 12,000 shots per minute, in short or sustained bursts. While the modern Gatling-type weapon disclosed by H. McC. Otto in US. Pat. No. 2,849,921 on Sept. 2, 1958 and by R. E. Chiabrandy et al. in US. Pat. No. 3,3 80,343 on Apr. 30, 1968 is admirably suited to this task, the supplying of cartridges to the weapon becomes a more critical limitation as the individual mass and total number of cartridges to be accelerated and conveyed from the cartridge source to the weapon increased.

The original Gatling gun utilized an on-the-gun, gravity-feed hopper. Subsequently J. G. Accles in US. Pat. No. 290,622 on Dec. 18, 1883 disclosed a positive, helical magazine feed for the Gatling gun. Thereafter, under the lead of F. Bailey and H. P. Maxim, belt feeds, either continuous or link, became the mode. See The Machine Gun Belt, by Col. Jim Crossman, in The American Rrfleman, Dec. 1966, pp. 46-49. Departing from the belt approach, A. Miclaus, Jr. in US. Pat. No. 1,136,695 on Apr. 20, 1915 proposed a linear, linkless feed system. The magazine had a pluralityof vertical storage channels, each containing a column of cartridges under downward spring bias. An endless conveyor belt below the magazine emptied each channel completely starting from the most remote channel, and serially conveyed the train of cartridges to the weapon. Recently, to supply a Gatling gun of the Otto type, B. Dorsie and R. H. Casler, in US. Pat. No. 2,935,914 on May 10, 1960 disclosed a linkless, positive, helical feed magazine, of drum shape, in the spirit of Accles. A feed chute permits the magazine to be spaced from the weapon. This type of magazine becomes quite complex, and the drum shape is uneconomical in its use of aircraft interior space.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an endless conveyor system for a cartridge storage and feed system including a magazine of relatively flat, rectangular configuration, for storing and positively feeding cartridges to an endless stripping conveyor belt for delivery to a remote weapon. The system is of relatively simple construction and capable of high acceleration of the train of cartridges.

A feature of this invention is the provision of an endless conveyor including a train oflinks, each link being coupled to its next adjacent link by a pivot member, the distance-between the centerlines of immediately adjacent pivot members being fixed, the pivot members being guided between two spacedapart pairs of mutually confronting guide surfaces but not guided between the distal ends of the pair of guide surfaces, i.e., the tumarounds, the distance between the centerlines of the pairs of guide surfaces being the same as the distance between the centerlines of the pivot members, and both runs being engaged by the driving means.

RELATED CASE Subject matter disclosed but not claimed in this application is disclosed and claimed in Ser. No. 826,814 filed concurrently by E. Ashley et al. The disclosure in this application is an abridgement of the disclosure in Ser. No. 826,814 to which reference may be had for a complete understanding of the complete system.

ltl lll'fl DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 'l'hcsc lttltl other objects, features and advantages will be pparcnt from the following specification of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing in which:

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a cartridge storage and feed system embodying this invention;

FIG. 2 is a left side view in elevation, in partial cross section, of the system of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective detail view of the turnaround of the scoop conveyor of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective detail view (from the from looking up) of a scoop and sprocket of the stripping conveyor of FIG.

FIG. 5 is a perspective detail view of the left rear of the stripping conveyor of FIG. ll;

FIG. 6 is a view in cross section taken along plane 6-6 of FIG. 2 illustrating the guide and drive for the stripping conveyor;

FIG. 7 is a front detail view in elevation of the scoop and the delivery conveyor cradles.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The cartridge storage and feeding system shown in FIG. 11 includes a main plate assembly 10, a stripping conveyor assembly 12 and a delivery conveyor assembly 114. The main plate assembly includes a plurality of side-by-side channels 16, each channel adapted to receive and to hold a column of cartridges l8, and a pressure bar assembly 20 adapted to advance the cartridges contiguously forward into engagement with the stripping conveyorassembly 112. The: stripping conveyor assembly withdraws the leading cartridge from each column serially and transfers these cartridges as a train of cartridges to the delivery conveyor assembly, which delivers the cartridges serially to the weapon (not shown).

The stripping conveyor is an endless belt encircling the lower portion of the main plate assembly and consisting of a plurality of wedge and sprocket assemblies or series. Each wedge assembly includes a plurality of ramp elements 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 of which all except 22 are L-shaped. The leading element 22 is of maximum height and the trailing ele' ment 34 is of minimum height. The difference between the maximum and minimum heights is equal to the maximum diameter of the cartridge. The leading edge 36 of the lead element is arcuate, or scooped, and is spaced from a sprocket 38 having a plurality of cutouts 40 and which is carried ahead of the leading element.

It will be seen that each wedge assembly advances across the front of the main plate assembly from left to right, its ramp elements gradually lower the lead cartridges in each channel to a level whereat the leftmost cartridge, which rides off the trailing ramp element, rides into a sprocket cutout 40 and under the leading edge or scoop 36 of the adjacent leading element of left adjacent wedge assembly. The sprocket carries the scooped cartridge counterclockwise around and down and onto a cradle 42 of the delivery conveyor assembly. The upper run of the delivery conveyor assembly advances from left to right under the stripping conveyor assembly and receives the scooped cartridge therefrom.

The stripping conveyor assembly 12 includes an endless chain of links ofsubstantially modified double-U-construction driven by the sprockets 72 and 74. In each wedge assembly or series, the sprocket 38 is carried by a link 174, the leading ele' ment 22 is carried by a link 1176, the elements 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 are carried by a respective link 178, and the element 34 is carried by a link 1180. Each link has a central web portion 182 with a boss extending therefrom, and angled web extension portion 184, a lower sidewall having a trailing extension 1186 and a leading extension 188, and an upper sidewall having a trailing extension and a leading extension 1192. A pin 1194 having a sleeve 194a interconnects the extension of immediately adjacent links, and has a lower roller 1196 and an upper roller 198. An intermediate pin 194i) having a sleeve 1941. is fixed within each link to provide a full complement of pins I94 and 194!) to be driven by the sprockets 72 and 74. The rollers I96 and 198 are adapted to ride in the rear guide surfaces 64, 66, and the front guide surfaces 68, 70. The

bosses 200 on the links 178 are cylindrical and respectively support the elements 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 spaced from the respective web portions. The bosses 202 on the links 180 support the element 34 spaced from the respective web portion, and has a cutout 2020 to clear the adjacent sprocket. The element 34 also has a cutout 34a to clear the adjacent sprocket. The bosses 204 on the links 174 have a respective shaft 206 upstanding therefrom on which the sprocket 38 is mounted for rotation between a lower thrust washer 208 and an upper washer 210 and is captured by a cotter pin 212. The sprocket 38 includes a central tube portion 214, an upper end plate 216 having five teeth 218 and five cutouts 220, and a lower end plate 222 having five teeth 224 and five cutouts 226. The lower plate 222 has a peripheral groove 228 therein, and each tooth 224 has an arcuate groove 230 in its lower surface. The leading element 22 is substantially a hollow box, including a rear wall 232, a front wall 234, a top wall 236, a sidewall 238 and a rear wall extension 240. The edges of the sidewall are arcuately shaped to provide the leading edges 36. The front surface of the rear wall extension 240 is immediately behind the rear surface of the lower end plate 222 of the sprocket. An arcuate guide finger 242 is fixed on a pivot rod 244 which is journaled throughand between the front and rear sideplates 238, 232. A spring 246 biases the finger away from the sprocket. The leading edges 36 and the inner face of the guide finger are concentric with the sprocket. A plurality of regularly spaced-apart disks or buttons 248 are fixed to the upper surface 250 and the front surface 252 of the horizontal beam 62. As each sprocket 38 is transported transversely across the main plate assembly by the train of links 178, the buttons sequentially engage the lower level of the cutouts 226, like cogs, and cause the sprocket to rotate about its shaft 206.

It will be noted that the train of links 178 passes between the rear guide surfaces 64, 66 and the front guide surfaces 68, 70, Le, around the returns, without any guidance. This is accomplished by (1) making the distance between the centerlines of adjacent link pins 194 equal to the distance between centerlines of the rear guide surfaces 64, 66 and the front guide surfaces 68, 70; and (2) meshing the drive means, i.e., sprocket 72 and/or 74, with both lengths of the train. The dynamic characteristics of the linkage during turnaround are such that the center of gravity of the link decelerates at a uniform rate and then accelerates at a uniform rate. The path of the center of gravity forms a true semicircle. Also, the link rotates about its center of gravity. Thus the link is under control both geometrically and dynamically.

The buttons 248 adjacent the front and rear lengths of the train of links 178 serve to synchronize the rotation of sprockets thereon. However, the sprockets swing away from the horizontal beam when going around the returns. To maintain synchronization of the rotation of the sprockets between the front and rear lengths a left cam plate 254 and a right cam plate 256 are respectively mounted to the ends of the beam. In going around a return, as a sprocket lower plate cutout 226 leaves the last button adjacent one length, one of the arcuate grooves 230 in the sprocket lower plate engages the edge of the cam plate 254 or 256 and remains engaged until a lower plate cutout engages the first button adjacent the other length. While an even number of links 178 has been shown, an odd number may be utilized. Further, while a sprocket and rod drive combination has been shown, a rack may be formed on each link, and be driven by a gear.

What is claimed is:

1. An endless conveyor system comprising:

an endless train of link assemblies,

each said link assembly being coupled to its immediately adjacent link assembly by and including a pivot means having an axis of rotation,

the respective axes of rotation of immediately adjacent pivot means being spaced apart a first distance;

a first and a second pair of mutually confronting, spacedapart, guide surfaces,

at any position of said train some of said pivot means being disposed between and guided by said first pair of guide surfaces for movement of said respective axes of rotation along a first plane of travel, and others of said pivot means being disposed between and guided by said second pair of guide surfaces for movement of said respective axes of rotation along a second plane of travel;

the mutually adjacent distal ends of said first and second planes of travel, between which a turnaround is traveled by a traveling pivot means, being spaced apart by said first distance; and

driving means concurrently engaged with at least one of said link assemblies whose respective pivot means is disposed between said first pair of guide surfaces, and with at least one of said link assemblies whose respective pivot means is disposed between said second pair of guide surfaces;

whereby, after a traveling one of said pivot means departs one of said pairs of guide surfaces during a turnaround it does not engage any guide surface until it enters the other one of said pairs of guide surfaces.

2. A system according to claim 1 wherein:

each of said pivot means includes a respective roller having a diameter of a second distance and equal to and disposable in the spacing between said first pair of guide surfaces and the spacing between said second pair of guide surfaces.

3. A system according to claim 2 further including:

a first additional pair of mutually confronting guide surfaces, spaced apart said second distance, and parallel to and spaced from said first pair of guide surfaces by a third distance;

a second additional pair of mutually confronting guide surfaces, spaced apart said second distance, and parallel to and spaced from said first pair of guide surfaces by said third distance; and

each of said pivot means includes an additional respective roller having a diameter of said second distance equal to and disposable in the spacing between said first additional pair of guide surfaces and the spacing between said second additional pair of guide surfaces.

4. A system according to claim 2 wherein:

said train has an even number of link assemblies;

said rollers of at least one-half less two of said number of link assemblies being disposed between said first pair of guide surfaces;

said rollers of at least the remaining half less two of said number of links being disposed between said second pair of guide surfaces; and

said rollers of at least the remaining half less two of said number of links being disposed between said second pair of guide surfaces.

5. A system according to claim 4 wherein:

the lengths of said first and second pairs of guide surfaces is equal including: one-half said number of link assemblies less one multiplied by said first distance.

6. An endless conveyor system according to claim 3 further including:

a shaft mounted on one of said links;

a sprocket joumaled on said shaft;

said sprocket having a plate with a plurality of radially spaced-apart cutouts therein;

a plurality of disks, spaced apart and mounted adjacent said guide surfaces;

whereby as said sprocket-carrying link advances, said sprocket cutouts sequentially engage said disks causing said sprocket to rotate about said shaft.

7. An endless conveyor system according to claim 6,

wherein:

said sprocket plate has a plurality of radially spaced-apart grooves formed therein; and further including two cam plates, one disposed adjacent each end of said guide surfaces,

whereby as said sprocket leaves the last of said disks and its link enters the turnaround, one of said grooves engages one of said cams to preclude free rotation of said sprocket until second link leaves said turnaround and said sprocket engages the first of said disks. 8. A cartridge storage and feed system comprising: a magazine assembly having a plurality of channels, each channel for storing a column of cartridges; an endless stripping conveyor assembly for withdrawing the leading cartridge from the respective leading end of each of said plurality of channels including: an endless train of link assemblies,

each said link assembly being coupled to its immediately adjacent link assembly by and including a pivot means having an axis of rotation, the respective axes of rotation of immediately adjacent pivot means being space d apart a first distance; a first and a second pair of mutually confronting spacedapart, guide surfaces, at any position of said train some of said pivot means being disposed between and guided by said first pair of guide surfaces for movement of said respective axes of rotation along a first plane of travel, and others of said pivot means being disposed between and guided by said second pair of guide surfaces for movement of said respective axes of rotation along a second plane of travel, the mutually adjacent distal ends of said first and second planes of travel, between which a turnaround is traveled by a traveling pivot means, being spaced apart by said first distance; and driving means concurrently engaged with at least one of said link assemblies whose respective pivot means disposed between said first pair of guide surfaces, and with at least one of said link assemblies whose respective pivot means disposed between said first pair of guide surfaces, and with at least one of said link assemblies whose respective pivot means is disposed between said second pair of guide surfaces; whereby, after a traveling one of said pivot means departs one of said pairs of guide surfaces during a turnaround it does not engage any guide surface until it enters the other one of said pairs of guide surfaces.

9. A system according to claim 8, wherein:

each of said pivot means includes a respective roller having a diameter of a second distance and equal to and disposable in the spacing between said first pair of guide surfaces and the spacing between said second pair of guide surfaces.

110. A system according to claim 9, further including:

a first additional pair of mutually confronting guide surfaces, spaced apart said second distance, and parallel to and spaced from said first pair of guide surfaces by a third distance;

a second additional pair of mutually confronting guide surfaces, spaced apart said distance, and parallel to and spaced from said first pair of guide surfaces by said third distance; and

each of said pivot means includes an additional respective roller having a diameter of said second distance equal to and disposable in the spacing between said first additional pair of guide surfaces.

1111. An endless conveyor system according to claim 10,

further including:

a shaft mounted on one of said links;

a sprocket joumaled on said shaft;

said sprocket having a plate with a plurality of radially spaced apart cutouts therein:

a plurality of disks, spaced apart and mounted adjacent said guide surfaces;

whereby as said sprocket-carrying link advances, said sprocket cutouts sequentially engage said disks causing said sprocket to rotate about said shaft.

12. An endless conveyor system according to claim ll wherein:

said sprocket plate has a plurality of radially spaced-apart grooves formed therein; and further including two cam plates, one disposed adjacent each end of said guide surfaces,

whereby as said sprocket leaves the last of said disks and its link enters the turnaround, one of said grooves engages one of said cams to preclude free rotation of said sprocket until second link leaves said turnaround and said sprocket engages the first of said disks.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2334511 *Feb 17, 1942Nov 16, 1943Petersen Oven CompanyConveyer
US3258109 *Aug 18, 1964Jun 28, 1966Automatic Cauteen Company Of AConveyor belt construction for vending machines
US3429221 *Dec 18, 1967Feb 25, 1969Gen ElectricConstant velocity conveyor mechanism
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4263837 *Mar 22, 1979Apr 28, 1981General Electric CompanyEndless conveyor system
US4526270 *Mar 21, 1983Jul 2, 1985Dichter Hans JoachimAppliance for feeding glass tubes to glass-processing machines
Classifications
U.S. Classification198/450
International ClassificationF41A9/00, F41A9/30, F41A9/76, F41A9/04, F41A9/01, B65G47/68
Cooperative ClassificationF41A9/76, B65G47/681
European ClassificationF41A9/76, B65G47/68B