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Publication numberUS3650567 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 21, 1972
Filing dateNov 14, 1969
Priority dateNov 14, 1969
Publication numberUS 3650567 A, US 3650567A, US-A-3650567, US3650567 A, US3650567A
InventorsDanielson Worrel M
Original AssigneeMiner Enterprises
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hopper outlet assembly
US 3650567 A
Abstract
A hopper outlet assembly with a frame defining a discharge opening, a slidable gate, a slidable plenum chamber, and control latch means carried by the plenum chamber. The control latch means is selectively engageable either with the frame for holding the plenum chamber across the discharge opening or with the gate whereby conjoint movement of the gate and plenum chamber may be effected.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Danielson [4 Mar. 21, 1972 [54] HOPPER OUTLET ASSEMBLY 3,348,501 10/1967 Stevens et a1. ..l05/282 X 3,393,017 7/1968 Smith ..302/52 [72] 3,446,538 5/1969 Danielson "302/52 [73] Assignee: Miner Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Primary Examiner-Joseph Wegbreit [22] Flled: 1969 Assistant Examiner-Bruce H. Stoner,.lr. 21 1 APPL 876,676 Attorney-Edward F. Jurow and Clifford A. Dean [57] ABSTRACT [52] U.S. Cl ..302/52, 105/282 P I [511' Int. Cl ..B65g 53/40 A hopper Qutlet assembly 8 frame definmg a d'scharge 58 Field of Search ..302/52 53 54 55- Waning, a Slidable gate, Slidable Plenum chamber and 105/282 trol latch means carried by the plenum chamber. The control latch means is selectively engageable either with the frame for [56] References Cited holding the plenum chamber across the discharge opening or with the gate whereby conjoint movement of the gate and UNITED STATES PATENTS plenum chamber may be effected.

3,580,642 5/1971 Nagy ..302/52 1 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures Patented March 21, 1972 3,650,567

3 Sheets-Sheet 1 //IIIIIIIIIIII' fvu/enfo 2v h/awell Mflam'elsofu Patented March 21, 1972 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention pertains generally to hopper outlet assemblies,which are adapted for use in connection with railroad hopper cars, and through which lading, such as finely comminuted or granulated commodities in bulk, is adapted to be discharged from the car either pneumatically or by gravity.

2. Description of the Prior Art A hopper outlet assembly, of the general type to which the present invention pertains-that is, one through which lading is adapted to be discharged either pneumatically or by gravity, comprises a frame structure having a discharge opening. A gate is slidably mounted on the frame structure for movement between a first position across the discharge opening and a second position away from the discharge opening. Also, a plenum chamber, having pneumatic inlet and outlet ports, is slidably mounted on the frame structure beneath the gate for movement between a first position across the discharge opening and a second position away from the discharge opening.

Heretofore, complete independent movement of the gate and plenum chamber has been considered necessary. As a consequence, existing hopper outlet assemblies of the general type described embody two separate operating mechanisms for the gate and plenum chamber. In one typical arrangement, for example, movement of the gate is effected by rotation of a first operating shaft carried by the gate and having first pinion gear means meshing with first stationary rack means, while movement of the plenum chamber is effected by rotation of a second operating shaft carried by the plenum chamber and having second pinion gear means meshing with second stationary rack means. With this arrangement, gravity discharge is achieved by first moving the plenum chamber into its second position and then moving the gate into its second position; pneumatic discharge is achieved by moving the gate into its second position while the plenum chamber is disposed in its first position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Like the hopper outlet assemblies of the general type described, the hopper outlet assembly of the present invention includes a frame structure defining a discharge opening, a slidable gate, and a slidable plenum chamber.

In contrast to prior assemblies, however, the hopper outlet assembly of the present invention embodies only one operating mechanism for both the gate and the plenum chamber. This operating mechanism is comprised of a rotatable operating shaft carried by the gate with pinion gear means on the shaft meshing with stationary rack means.

The single operating mechanism is complemented by control latch means carried by the plenum chamber. Operationally, the control latch means is selectively engageable with the gate whereby conjoint movement of the gate and plenum chamber may be effected to condition the hopper outlet assembly for gravity discharge of lading. The control latch means is optionally selectively engageable with the frame for holding the plenum chamber across the discharge opening while the gate is moved to condition the hopper outlet assembly for pneumatic discharge of lading. Also associated with the control latch means is counterweight means which serves to bias the latch means into either of its two basic operative engaged positions.

The described arrangement of the present invention permits movement of the gate and plenum chamber with a single operating mechanism, eliminates one of the two operating mechanisms heretofore required in prior assemblies for operation of the gate and plenum chamber, and introduces a new mode of operation of the gate and plenum chamber for gravity and pnuematic discharge of lading. As a result, the number of parts is reduced, the cost of manufacture and assembly is decreased, and the efficiency and flexibility of operation of the hopper outlet assembly is increased.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF Til-IE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a. perspective view of the hopper outlet assembly of the present invention and shows the gate slid substantially away from, and the plenum chamber in position across, the discharge opening;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the hopper outlet assembly, with both the gate and plenum chamber being shown in position across the discharge opening;

FIG. 3 is a partially. broken side elevational view of the hopper outlet assembly, with the control latch means being disposed to hold the plenum chamber is position across 'the discharge opening;

FIG. 4 is a partially broken side elevational view of the hopper outlet assembly, with the control latch means being disposed to interconnect the gate and plenum chamber for conjoint movement;

FIG. 5 is a partially broken transverse sectional view, taken substantially along the line 5--5 of FIG. 3, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view, partly in section and partly in elevation, showing the control latch means disposed to interlockthe gate and plenum chamber for conjoint movement; and

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view showing the control latch means disposed to hold the plenum chamber in position across the discharge opening.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, there is indicated generally by the reference numeral 10 a hopper outlet assembly which, as shown in FIGS. 3-5, is secured to the lower end portions 12 of the sloping walls of a conventional hopper section of a covered railroad hopper car. As indicated generally in FIG. 1,

the hopper outlet assembly 10 of the present invention comprises a frame structure 14, a slidable gate 16, operating means 18 for effecting sliding movement of the gate 16, a slidable plenum 'or vacuum chamber 20, and control latch means 22 for controlling sliding movement of the plenum chamber 20.

The frame structure 14 includes a pair of side walls 24, a front wall 26 and a rear wall 28 which define a discharge opening. As best shown inFIGS. 3 and 5, the side walls 24 and the front wall 26 are generally Z-shaped in cross section and have lower inwardly directed flange portions 30. The rear wall 28 is comprised of an angle bar 32 and a seal plate 34. Projecting away from the side walls 24 in parallel relationship are generally Z-shaped extensions 36 which have upper outwardly directed flange portions 38 and lower inwardly directed flange portions 40 in alignment with the flange portions 30 of the side walls 24. The rear ends of the extensions 36 are interconnectedby a transverse angle bar 42. Secured along the web portions of the side walls 24 and extensions 36 are inwardly projecting rail members 44, and secured to the web portion of the front wall 26 is an inwardly projecting rail member 46. Conventional boot flanges or clips 47 are secured to the outboard faces of the side and front walls 24,26; and conventional lock means 48 is arranged at the rear wall 28.

The slidable gate 16 is of conventional design and is slidable along the rail members 44 between a first position across the discharge opening to close the same and a second position away from the discharge opening. In this connection, the rail member 46 on the forward wall 26 serves to support the front edge of the gate 16 when the latter is in its closed position. Secured to the top of the gate 16 at the trailing edge thereof (FIG. 3) is a transverse strip 49 which is adapted to engage the seal plate 34 on the rear wall 28 and thereby act as a stop when the gate 16 is moved into its closed position.

As best shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 5, the gate operating means 18 includes a pair of rack members 50 which are secured to the upper flange portions 38 of the extensions 36. Located above the rack members 50 is an operating shaft 52 rotatably pair of pinion gears 56 are secured on the operating shaft 52 and have meshing engagement with the rack members 50. Rotation of the operating shaft 52 and pinion gears 56 serves to effect movement of the gate 16 between its closed and open positions. The operating shaft 52 extends laterally beyond the side walls 24 and at each end thereof is provided with a conventional head member 58 which is adapted to receive a removable operating bar (not shown).

The slidable plenum or vacuum chamber 20 as best shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 5, includes two generally vertical side walls 60, a slanting front wall 62, an oppositely slanting end wall 64, and a generally flat bottom 66. The upper edges of the side walls 60 are bent outwardly to form flanges 68 which are slidably supported on the flange portions 30 and 40 of the frame side walls 24 and extensions 36. The upper edge of the front wall 62 is bent forwardly to form a flange 70 which in the closed position of the plenum chamber 20 is supported on the flange 30 of the forward frame wall 26. Secured along the forward flange 70 is a transverse strip 72 which is adapted to engage the gate supporting rail member 46 and thereby provide a stop when the plenum chamber 20 is moved across the discharge opening. The front wall 62 of the plenum chamber 20 also has secured thereto a generally L-shaped forwardly projecting bracket 74 which is spaced below the flange 30 of Y the forward frame wall 26 and is adapted to prevent the plenum chamber 20 from moving upwardly. The rear wall 64 terminates in a rearwardly and downwardly turned flange 76.

Arranged within the plenum chamber 20 is a centrally disposed inverted V-shaped hood 78 which is removably supported on suitable support members 80 between the side walls 60 and the bottom 66 whereby to define with the bottom 66 a conduit section 82 that extends transversely through the plenum chamber 20 between the side walls 60. Openings are provided between the lower edges of the hood 78 and the bottom 66 of the plenum chamber 20 in order to accommodate passage of lading from the upper portion of the plenum chamber 20 into the conduit section 82 at each side thereof. Within the conduit section 82, the lading is entrained in the air of the pneumatic system in a conventional manner for discharge of the same from the plenum chamber 20. The side walls 60 are each provided with an opening which communicates with the inner conduit section 82 and to which is connected a conventional external conduit section 84. The two external inlet and outlet conduit sections 84 have cylindrical outer ends which are adapted to be connected to a pneumatic system in a known manner. The cylindrical ends are provided with conventional caps 86 which are secured thereon by a known bale and locking cam arrangement 88 whereby to seal the plenum chamber 20 when the latter is not in use.

The control latch means 22, as best shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7, comprises a control shaft 90 rotatably mounted on the trailing edge of the plenum chamber 20 by means of brackets 92. Secured to and extending radially from the control shaft 90 area pair of axially spaced inner latch members 94 each having a throat portion 96, and a pair of axially spaced outer latch members 98 each having a throat portion 100. The latch members 94 are circumferentially spaced from the latch members 98. A pair of spaced rearwardly projecting clevise-like apertured brackets 102 are secured to the trailing edge of the gate 16 for cooperation with the latch members 94, while a pair of brackets 104 are secured to the outboard faces of the frame sidewalls 24 adjacent the rear ends thereof for cooperation with the latch members 98. Through rotation of the control shaft 90, either the latch members 94 may be engaged with the clevises 1020f the gate 16 whereby to interlock the plenum chamber 20 and gate 16 for conjoint movement, or the latch members 98 may be engaged with the brackets 104 of the frame structure 14 whereby to hold the plenum chamber 20 in position across the discharge opening. A pair of counterweights 106 are secured to the ends of the control shaft 90 and serve to bias either the latch members 94 or the latch members 98 to their operative engaged positions. Preferably, the counterweights 106 are formed with pointed ends 108 which serve to indicate whether the hopper outlet assembly is conditioned to be used for gravity or pneumatic discharge of lading. The operation of the above-described hopper outlet assembly is as follows:

When gravity discharge is desired, the control shaft is rotated to dispose the latch members 94 in the position shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, and the operating shaft 52 is rotated to move the gate 16 away from the discharge opening. The trailing edge of the gate 16 engages the throat portions 96 of the latch members 94, and the plenum chamber 20 is thereby pulled conjointly with the gate 16 from the position shown in solid lines in FIG. 4 to the position shown in dash lines. After the lading has been discharged by gravity in a conventional manner, the operating shaft 52 is rotated to return the gate 16 to its closed position across the discharge opening. At the same time, the clevises 102 engage the head ends of the latch members 94 and the plenum chamber 20 is thereby pushed conjointly with the gate 16 from the position shown in dash lines in FIG. 4 to the position shown in solid lines.

When pneumatic discharge is desired, the control shaft 90 is rotated to dispose the latch members 98 in the position shown in FIGS. 1, 3 and 7, and the operating shaft 52 is rotated to move the gate 16 away from the discharge opening. The brackets 104 of the frame structure 14 are engaged by the throat portions 100 of the latch members 98, and the plenum chamber 20 is thereby held in position across the discharge opening as the gate 16 is moved toward its open position as shown in FIG. 1. With the gate 16 in an open position, the lading is free to enter the plenum chamber 20 by gravity, and to be discharged therefrom pneumatically or under vacuum in a conventional manner. The latch members 98 also serve to hold the plenum chamber 20 in proper position in the event a vibrator is used in conjunction with pneumatic or vacuum unloading. After the lading has been discharged, the operating shaft 52 is rotated to return the gate 16 to its closed position. It will be appreciated that the gate 16 may be used to control or shut off flow of lading to the plenum chamber 20 at any point where this might be desired during the pneumatic discharge of lading.

During conjoint operation of the gate 16 and plenum chamber 20 as discussed above in connection with gravity discharge, the latch members 94 may be disengaged from the gate 16 when the plenum chamber 20 is in full open position or in any position intermediate full open and full closed positions. Then, the gate 16 may be closed and the plenum chamber 20 thereby exposed for cleaning, inspection and the like. If the hook members 94 are positioned for engagement with the gate 16 when the gate 16 and the plenum chamber 20 are not vertically aligned, the clevises 102 or gate 16 will interengage with the hook members 94 while passing thereover after which the plenum chamber 20 will move with the gate 16 toward open or closed position as required. When an unloading boot or sock is to be used for completely sanitary unloading of foodstuffs or other contaminable ladings under gravity discharge conditions, the latch members 94 and 98 are first disengaged from both the frame brackets 104 and the gate 16, the plenum chamber 20 is then moved manually to its full open position, a boot frame is attached to the boot flanges 47 in a conventional manner, and the gate 16 is operated as required. In the foregoing circumstances, it will be appreciated that the hopper outlet assembly 10 affords maximum convenience and flexibility in operation.

While there has been shown and described a preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various modifications and rearrangements may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

I claim:

1. A combination gravity-pneumatic hopper discharge assembly comprising:

a four-sided frame structure adapted to be attached to a hopper bottom and defining a discharge opening,

a pair of parallel beam members extending from side members of said frame structure to define extensions thereof,

a pair of slightly vertically spaced inwardly directed horizontally disposed slide support means on each of said side frame and extension members,

a slide gate slidably movable on the uppermost ones of said slide support means,

an open-top plenum chamber having end walls, a bottom,

and side walls having outwardly turned upper flange portions which are slidably supported on the lowermost ones of said slide support means,

said plenum chamber having pneumatic inlet and outlet conduits mounted in said side walls and being disposed immediately below said slide gate, and both said gate and plenum chamber being slidably movable between first positions across the discharge opening and second positions away from the discharge opening adjacent said extension members,

rack means provided on the upper surface of outwardly directed upper flange portions of said extension members,

an operating shaft journaled on the trailing edge of said slide gate and having a pair of pinion gears secured thereon for engagement with said rack means whereby rotation of said shaft in opposite directions moves said slide gate between its first and second positions,

a control shaft rotatably mounted on the trailing edge of said plenum chamber for rotation between two positions,

a first pair of hooklike latch members secured in axially spaced relationship on said control shaft and projecting radially therefrom,

a pair of brackets mounted on the trailing edge of said slide gate and adapted to be engaged by said hooklike latch members when said control shaft is rotated into one of its two positions whereby to interlock said plenum chamber with said slide gate for movement therewith between said first and second positions whereby to provide gravity discharge from the hopper,

said first pair of brackets being provided with apertures for receiving said hooklike latch members whereby to pro-. vide movement of said plenum chamber in both directions upon opening and closing movement of said slide gate, opposite edges of said apertures engaging said latch members upon movement of said slide gate in opposite directions,

a second pair of hooklike latch members secured on said control shaft outwardly of each of said side frame members and projecting radially therefrom,

said second latch members being disposed at approximately angles from said first latch members with the hook portions thereof facing oppositely from the hook portions of said first latch members,

a pair of forwardly facing brackets mounted on said side frame members and adapted to be engaged by said second pair of hooklike latches when said control shaft is rotated into its other position whereby to interlock said plenum chamber to said frame structure while said slide gate is being moved into its away position during pneumatic unloading, and

counterweight means tangentially secured to said control shaft in a manner such that said control shaftis biased in both of its positions with either the first or second pair of hooklike latch members in engagement with their respective brackets,

Said first pair of hooklike latch members being manually disengageable from said first pair of apertured brackets when both said slide gate and said plenum chamber are in said second positions away from the discharge opening whereby said slide gate only may be slidably moved into said first position across the discharge opening thus exposing the top of said plenum chamber to facilitate cleaning and inspection of same

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3348501 *Oct 19, 1965Oct 24, 1967Acf Ind IncSliding gate hopper car discharge structure
US3393017 *May 22, 1967Jul 16, 1968Keystone Railway EquipDischarge unit for railway hopper cars
US3446538 *May 25, 1966May 27, 1969Railway Equipment Co EnterprisHopper discharge arrangement
US3580642 *Mar 10, 1969May 25, 1971Pullman IncCombination gravity and pneumatic gate arrangement for hoppers
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5613446 *May 2, 1995Mar 25, 1997Trinity Industries, Inc.Railway hopper car gate valve and operating assembly
US6263803Sep 18, 1998Jul 24, 2001Miner Enterprises, Inc.Gate assembly for a railroad hopper car
US6286437Oct 5, 1998Sep 11, 2001Asf-Keystone, Inc.Railway car outlet gate assembly
US6357361Mar 16, 2001Mar 19, 2002Miner Enterprises, Inc.Assembly for closing a pneumatic discharge outlet
US6363863Jul 18, 2000Apr 2, 2002Miner Enterprises, Inc.Gate assembly for a railroad hopper car
US6412421Apr 6, 2001Jul 2, 2002Miner Enterprises, Inc.Gate assembly for a railroad hopper car
US6571718Feb 11, 2002Jun 3, 2003Aero Transportation Products, Inc.Railway car outlet gate assembly
US7124693Apr 17, 2003Oct 24, 2006Aero Transportation Products, Inc.Railway car outlet gate assembly
US7140303Aug 25, 2004Nov 28, 2006Powerbrace CorporationLock assembly for a gate assembly of a railroad hopper car
US7234401Jul 11, 2006Jun 26, 2007Powerbrace CorporationLock assembly for a gate assembly of a railroad hopper car
Classifications
U.S. Classification406/130, 105/282.3
International ClassificationB65D90/54, B65D90/58, B65D90/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D90/587, B65D90/545
European ClassificationB65D90/58C, B65D90/54A