US 3613864 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventors Gerhard Lingg;
Welsch Leimen, both of Hans-Juergen, Mannheim, Germany Appl. No. 19,636 I Filed Mar. 16, 1970 Patented Oct. 19, 1971 Assignee Mannesmann-Geisel GmbH & Co. Mannheim, Germany Priority Mar. 15, 1969 Germany TRANSPORT SYSTEM WITH ROLLER TRACKS, CONTAINERS AND AT LEAST ONE SWITCH FOR THE TRACKS 10 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 198/38, 198/81, 193/36 51 Int. Cl B65g 43/00  Field of Search 198/38, 81, 127; 104/130; 193/36  Reierenoes Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,098,454 7/1963 Maestrelli 104/ 1 30 X 3,307,162 2/1967 Fink 198/38 X Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant ExaminerHadd S. Lane Attorney-Smyth, Roston 81. Pavitt ABSTRACT: A switch in a roller track system with a single, low level switch blade controlling passage of a single guide pin in the bottom front of a container across the switch, and into the appropriate branch of the roller track; additional guide pins and guide rolls on the container run in appropriate tracks, to guide the container without bouncing.
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CONTAINERS AND AT LEAST ONE SWITCH FOR THE TRACKS i The present invention relates to conveyor and transport system which includes a switch in a roller track system for conveying and transporting containers on a continuous basis and at a high rate. The switch is to be controlled directly or through stored signals and the containers are to be provided with particular guiding means.
Switches are known having two switch blades, one of which being position controlled by a solenoid operating in response to signals defining the destination of a container. After the container has passed the first blade, the container itself shifts the second blade mechanically into position for the same direction. Guide bars and rods are provided additionally in the switch for engagement withfrontal and rear end guide pins and rolls on the container to cause passage thereof across the switch without bouncing and lateral oscillations.
The purpose of the invention is to improve on switches of this type. In accordance'with one aspect of the inventionin the preferred embodiment thereof it is suggested to provide a relativ'ely low-level switch blade and guide rail means in and above the blade, but still below the plane of container bottom, roller train engagement. The containers are provided with code bars from which signals for position control of 'the switch blade ahead can be derived as'the container approaches the switch. The container isprovided with guide pins and rollsrunning in the rail means and preventing lifting of the container off the track.
Guide pins and rolls extend from the container, as is known per se' generally; however, theirparticular construction differs. Near the front end of the'container bottom there are provided guide rolls from which extends a pin further down, the pin may be an extension of the roll journal. Near the rear end of the container bottom, there are provided additional guide rolls centrally disposed and two guide pins laterally displaced from these rolls. The guide rail means in the switch are positioned'to engage these rolls and pins to guide the container across the switch and into the path as determined by the switch blade position. I
The simplified construction of the container, wherein the guide pins and rolls cooperate with the automatically controlled switch, permits the container topass across the switch without lateral oscillation, bouncing or shaking. The front guide pin and the guide rolls thereat steer the container first to point into thedirection as determined by the position of the switch blade. After the front guide means of the container have passed, the switch blade and have determined the direction of further container propagation, the rear end guide means engage appropriately positioned rail means to supplement directional guiding, i.e., steering and further propagation of the container. I i
Evenclosely spaced containers can pass the switch and can be redirected at high speeds. Successive containers should not collide, so that it is advisable to cause crossing'of the switch and withdrawal therefrom at a higher speed than the approach speed of the containers until the switch hasbeen crossed completely. Thereafter, the original speed may be resumed.
A switch constructed in accordance with the invention establishes a rather simplified element within a roller track system,'and canbe employed with particular success in those cases which previously did not permit sufiiciently flawless operation, for example, because the transport capacity was too high or because oscillation or collision occurred or the containers experienced lateral shocks when crossing a'conventional switch.
While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as the invention, it is believed that the invention, the objects and features of the invention and further objects, features and advantages thereof will be better understood from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in'which:
guiding a container for straight through propagation;
FIG. 3 is a bottom view of a container to be used on a track system having a switch of the type shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a front view of the container'shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 illustrates a section view'taken along lines A-B in FIGS. 1 and 2 and showing additionally the frontal guide means of a container when in approach position of the switch;
FIG. 6 illustrates a section view taken along lines C-D in FIG. 1, showing also the rear end guide means of a container as passing into the branch track; 1 I
FIG. 7 illustrates a section view taken along lines E-F in FIG. 2, also showing the rear end guide means of a container as continuing in the straight track;
FIG. 8 is a section view taken along lines G-H in FIGS. 1 and 2; and
FIG. 9 is a section view taken along lines K-L in FIGS. 1 and 2.
Proceeding now to the detailed description of the drawing, in FIGS. land 2 there is illustrated a principal roller conveying track and a branch roller track linked to the principal track by an automatic switch l0l.lt is presumed that containers move generally from left to right. The principal roller track as continued through the straight through operating portion of the switch includes tran'sport rollers 102, the branch portion of the roller track includes the transport rollers 103. The rollers l02 are driven through chains or tooth belts I04, and rollers 103 are separately driven by similar belts or chains 105. The belts or chains are, in turn, driven through separately positioned motors. I
A switch blade or tongue 106 is disposed in the lowest operating level of the switch (see FIGSf 8 and 9) and is included in a guide system 107, 108, to act in the same level. The guide system is constructed from symmetrically arranged angle irons, the inner surfaces of which defining the guide track or track switching and container steering channel I08. That track, groove or channel may be coated with plastic material.
The channel 108 as defined by these bars 107 has a straight portion and a curved portion emerging from the straight portion of channel 108 at the leading side, where facing the arriving containers onthe roller track. The channel is designed to steer a container across the switch and through guidance of a steering pin extending from the container. The switch blade 106 in particular controls presence of a continued straight channel or of a curved channel portion,'depending upon the position of blade 106. In FIG. I, the blade 106 is shown in a position for providing an operating curved portion of container steering channel 108, blocking off the straight through portion, while FIG. 2 shows the blade 106 in the alternative position, blocking the curved portion of channel 108 and providing a straight through container steering channel.
The switch includes additionally a system of guide bars or rails and chutes. There is a first rail 109 extending straight through the switch colinear with a straight through travel path. Another rail 110' has a first, straight portion at the switch entrance but curves into the branch track to be continued colinear therewith. Opposite to the continued portion of rail 110 there is a complementary rail I09, beginning in the switch a short distance behind the'switch blade pivot point. A complementary rail 110 begins likewise at'thatpoint to continue in effect the portion of rail I10 adjacentrail 109, but now behind the switch.
Guide bars or rails 109 and 110', I09 and 110 (as continued) and 109, 110 are symmetrically arranged to each other and surround respectively in parts the guide system 107, 108, but they extend into a higher vertical level. (See FIGS. 5 et seq.) The particular sides ofthe guide bars or rails 109, I10 or 109', 110' as facing each other across the space occupied by system 107, 108 are differently'contoured and offset in cross section (see FIGS. 5 to 8).
To provide safe guidance during passage of containers across the switch and to avoid oscillatory motions and bouncing there are provided additional guide rails 111 and 112 defining horizontal guide channels or chutes for pins extending from the bottom of the containers respectively. Guide rail chute 111 takes care of straight on guiding, while the slightly curved rail chute 112 provides for guiding during switch branching. The rails 111 and 112 are spaced somewhat to the right and to the left respectively from the central guidance system as provided by bars 107 defining the track switching and container steering channel 108. The runways established by rails 111 and 112 may likewise be covered with plastic.
An electromagnet, such as a solenoid 113, is connected to operate switch blade 106. A container 114 travelling on the roller track and approaching the switch will be guided across the switch in accordance with the particular position of switch blade 106 and by means of structure on the container depicted in FIGS. 3 and 4. The container is constructed from plastic components having drawn walls, frame 115 and stiffening ribs etc. as needed. The frame 115 serves also as undercarriage and provides elongated skids for travelling.
To the left as well as to the right of container 114 there are provided bars 116 serving as code carriers. Magnetization codes on the bars provide commands to the track defining the particular travel path to the particular container. The providing of two bars 116 as code carriers was found necessary as usually a single carrier is insufficient for storing all of the required commands to be transmitted.
The container 114 is basically constructed symmetrically but the encoding on bars 116 establishes requirement for a particular orientation for the propagation of the container on the track. In order to avoid improper placement of the container onto the track, guide means are provided defining the front of the container. The different contours of guide rails 109, 109', 110 and 110' do not only serve to prevent lifting of the container from the roller track but also prevent reversal of rotation of guide rolls to be described next.
The bottom of a container 114 is provided with the required guide means. In front, i.e., near the end of the container serving as front there are provided two guide rolls 119 and 120. These rolls are rubberized or made of an elastic-plastic material. The smaller rolls, 117 and 120, are placed on first and upon suitable journals, and the larger diameter rolls 118 and 119 are respectively placed on top (as seen from the bottom of the container). The differently sized rolls engage laterally different contour tracks of guide rails 109, 110 etc., as can be seen, for example, in FIG. 5 for the two front rolls and in FIGS. 6 and 7 for the two rear rolls.
The front roll arrangements 117 and 120 are additionally provided with a guide or steering pin 121, the pin may actually be a downward extension of the journal for the rolls. The bottom of the container is additionally provided with guide pins 122 and 123, but they are provided in the rear and laterally displaced from the rear guide rolls. The three pins 121, 122 and 123 provide for steering and guiding of container 114, whereby particularly steering pin 121 runs in steering channel 108 when the container passes the switch; pins 122 and 123 respective cooperate with chutes 111 and 112.
As was mentioned generally above, the direction of propagation of the container is defined by the guide means and specifically by the orientation of placing these pins, whereby particularly the position of steering pin 121 defines the front end of the container. This way it is prevented that a container is reversedly placed on the roller track. The correct direction of transport and propagation of the container is represented by the arrow in FIG. 3.
FIGS. 5 through 7, taken in conjunction with FIGS. 1 and 2, depict situations of guiding the container into and through the switch. The switch is constructed with the guide rail, channels and chutes, that run through the switch to permit safe guidance of the containers when passing through without undergoing oscillatory motions. As a container enters the switch (FIG. 5-section A-B in FIGS. 1 and 2), suitably placed scanners interrogate the encoding on one of the code carrier bars 116. The scanners provide signals representing the readout result and feed these signals to a computer which, in turn, provides as an output, a control and actuating signal to operate solenoid 113, either to retain the position of the switch blade 106 or to change it.
It may be assumed that solenoid 113 operates the switch blade 106 to retain or to assume branch off position, as shown in FIG. 1. As the container continues, steering pin 121 enters channel 108 and is switched by the tongue 106 into the curved branch track portion of that steering channel. The guide roll 117 continues in engagement with the curved portion of guide rail while guide roll 118 recedes from the straight through rail 109, but that roll soon engages rail 109 behind the switch blade 106 to support guiding of the container into the branch track.
As the container is rolled further, the rear guide rolls likewise roll along continued rail 110'. Roll 119 recedes from 109 but soon engages with 109. This rear guiding makes it possible for the container to propagate correctly into the branch track. For controlling the roller path switching further, it has to be observed that first pin 121 steers the container towards the branch track, making it impossible for rear pin 122 to enter guide chute 111. On the other hand, guide pin 123 is deflected to meet guide rail or chute 112 completing now guiding of the container into the curve and further into the branch track. The pin 123 runs and is guided in the rather narrow chute 112 until the rear roll system 119, 120 is in engagement with both rails, 110' and 109'. FIG. 6-along section line C-D in FIG. l-depicts this situation, as the container is assumed to have entered the branch track. Pin 123 is still chute 112 while roll 119 hasjust engaged rail 109'.
A container guided as aforedescribed, will not undergo lateral oscillations nor will it be susceptible to lateral bouncing or shocks as is known from other roller tracks. The crucial part is correct and complete guidance of the container out of its original (straight) direction of propagation along a curved switch path and into the different direction of the branch track. Always one of the guide rolls of each pair (117, 118-119, 120) is in engagement with a guide rail, and the rear portion of a container is properly reoriented by the particularly positioned guide chute 112.
Tipping of a container 114 is always a danger to be considered on fast moving roller tracks and must be avoided; tilting may occur basically for reasons of interruption in the regular sequence of transport rollers of the track in the switch. Now, there is provided, in the switch, a plurality of support rolls 124, which prevent tilting and, therefore, tipping of the containers from the track.
Turning now to the situation ofa desired continuation of the transport path of a container along the straight, principal track, reference is made to FIG. 2, showing the switch blade 106 in the alternative position. Accordingly, the steering pin 121 of a container is guided to continue in a straight path. Thus, guide roll 118 continues engagement with straight rail 109, while roll 117 engages guide rail 110 when the steering pin 121 is still in the straight guide groove 108. The rear guide rolls 119, 120 find their path already prepared and continue analogously. Finally, guide pin 122 enters guide chute 111 to enforce straight on continuation of the container without oscillatory interlude. As one can see from FIG. 2, pin 122 runs in chute 111 while guide roll 120 is off the rail 110' and until engaging rail 110. Bouncing is, thus, positively inhibited. Concurrently thereto, pin 123 misses curved guide chute 112.
Again it has to be considered that there are no transport rollers 102 right at the exit of the switch proper. In order to avoid tipping of the container, suitably placed rolls 125 in the switch area support the container as and where needed.
The containers follow each other usually at a high speed. In order to prevent collision contact among the containers, particularly upon branch off of one and straight on continuation of the preceding container or of the succeeding one, the containers are withdrawn from the switch (either branch) at a higher speed than the speed with which they enter. Thus, the
particular rollers 102, 103 adjacent the switch exit are driven at a higher speed than the rollers in front of the switch. The transmission ratio is appropriately selected for this purpose accordingly.
The switching system has been described for right-hand switching, but it is apparent, that a left-hand switch can be constructed similarly, and actually symmetrically. The switch blade 106, guide bars 107 (channel 108), guide rails 109, 110 and guide chute 111 and 112 are to be modified for left-hand branching and transport path curving.
The rather simple construction of the switch is of advantage to meet all requirements for high transport speeds. The container will pass safely across the switch and without bouncing lateral oscillations or shocks, regardless whether entering the branch or whether continuing straight ahead.
The invention is not limited to the embodiments described above but all changes and modifications thereof not constituting departures from the spirit and scope of the invention are intended to be included.
1. In a conveyor and transport system which includes a roller track system, at least one switch and containers for being rolled on the track system, comprising:
a relatively low-positioned switch blade in the switch governing operative direction of a pin steering channel in the switch;
a solenoid coupled to the switch blade for controlling and adjusting the position of the switch blade:
code carrier means on a container storing manifestations of signals representing the destination of the carrier on the track system for the control of the solenoid;
a plurality of guide rails on the switch, the container provided with guide rolls for engaging the guide rails, to guide the container through the switch and preventing lifting of the container from the track system;
guide chutes in the switch adjacent the guide rails; and
a plurality of guide pins on the container, one thereof running in the steering channel for steering the container in direction in accordance with the position of the switch blade, the remaining guide pins cooperating with the guide chutes to provide additional guidance of the container in and across the switch.
2. In a conveyor and transport system which includes a roller track system, at least one switch, and containers for being rolled on the track system, comprising:
a switch inserted in the roller track system, including a steering channel means and a switch blade having first position to complete a first steering channel and a second position to provide a second steering channel branching off a common entrance portion of the two channels,
the switch further including guide rails including a first one extending along the direction of the first guide channel, and a second one extending along the second guide channel; and a container for passage over the track system and having at least one steering pin extending down near the front end thereof for guiding in and through the steering channel means, selectively through the first and the second steering channel in dependence upon the position of the switch blade, the container further having guide roll means journaled about the pin for selective engagement with the first or the second rail as the container passes through the switch. 3. In a system as in claim 2, the switch further including a first guide chute along the first guide rail but laterally displaced therefrom, and a second guide chute along the second guide rail, laterally displaced therefrom;
the container including a first rear guide pin positioned to enter the first guide chute only when the switch blade steers the container, through operation of the front guide pin thereof, so that the front pin passes through the first guide channel, the container including a second rear guide pin positioned to enter the second guide chute onl when the switch blade steers the container, throug operation of the front guide pin thereof, so that the front pin passes through the second guide channel.
4. In a system as in claim 3, there being rear guide rolls means on the container, there being additional guide rails positioned in relation to the first and second guide rails for coacting with the guide roll means respectively when running along the first or second guide rails, the rear guide roll means engaging the additional guide rails prior to completed passage of the first or of the second rear guide pin through the first or the second guide chute.
S. In a system as in claim 4, the front and the rear guide roll means each comprising a pair of rolls of different diameters, respective one thereof for engagement with the first rail, the respective other one for engagement with the second rail, the first and second rails having differently offset portions in cross-sectional profile.
6. In a system as in claim 5, at least some of the rolls having rubberized reeling surface.
7. In a system as in claim 5, at least some of the rolls made of plastic material.
8. In a system as in claim 4, at least some of the guide rails having plastic coated runways.
9. In a system as in claim 3, the guide chutes having plastic coated runways.
10. In a system as in claim 2, the roller track operated so that the container enters the switch at lower speed than upon crossing the switch.