US 3687367 A
A rail connection for overhead or suspended conveyors or the like in which the rail ends are connected with one another by connection means. According to the invention, the connection means comprises at least one centering bolt member arranged at the rails of a rail joint, this centering bolt member being displaceable in the direction of the rails and serving to interconnect both rail ends.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Schurch et a1. Aug. 29, 1972  RAIL CONNECTION FOR OVERHEAD  References Cited CONVEYORS UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventors 1,216,990 2/1917 Hankovich ..238/179 3 641,101 1/1900 Hachmann ..238/2l9  Assignee: Von Roll AG, Gerlafingen, Switzer- 3,327,644 6/1967 Black ..l04/106 land 3,147,714 9/1964 Appelt et a1. 104/120 1,342,228 6/1920 Rizzuto ..238/l79  May 1970 3,438,336 4/1969 Kalve ..238/l 21 Appl. No.: 35,718
Primary ExaminerArthur L. La Point Assistant Examiner-Richard A. Bertsch  Foreign Application Priority Data A,t0rney wmer Kleeman May 16, 1969 Switzerland ..7510/69  ABSTRACT 1 A rail connection for overhead or suspended con- 104/124 veyors or the like in which the rail ends are connected  Int. Cl. ..E01b ll/OO with one another by connection means. According to  Field of Search....238/ 1, 10, 151, 179, 180, 122, the invention, the connection means compn'ses at least one centering bolt member arranged at the rails of a rail joint, this centering bolt member being displaceable in the direction of the rails and serving to interconnect both rail ends.
3 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures Patented Aug. 29, 1972 INVENTORS 065 JCIURCJI R Mama e ATTORNEY Background Of The Invention The present invention relates to a new and improved rail connection arrangement for suspended or overhead conveyors or the like wherein the rail ends are connected with one another by connection members or elements.
In overhead or suspension conveyor systems the track rails are produced by joining together the rail profiles which possess a length determined through their fabrication process. The rail profile typically possesses a travelling flange upon which there is moved with the aid of a suitable drive mechanism the transport unit. Notwithstanding careful laying of the rails it is impossible to prevent non-alignment of the rail ends at a rail joint. Additionally, if the rails are elastically or resiliently suspended at the building or structure in order to prevent the transmission of sound or noises, there cannot be prevented that the travelled (loaded) rail is disposed somewhat lower than the non-travelled or unloaded rail, so that upon crossing from the travelled to the non-travelled rail the travelling carriage or vehicle is subjected to a jolt or impact which is therefore transmitted to the carried load. Consequently, owing to the non-alignment of the ends of the rail flanges, the transport unit and the loads are additionally subjected to impacts.
By virtue of the foregoing phenomena which appear at these overhead conveying systems, there have been used different constructions of rail connection devices, for instance in the form of welded or threaded brackets or plates which are arranged adjacent the actual travelling flange and the remaining components of the rail profile. During the arrangement or mounting of such connection means there must be taken into account that by virtue of temperature differentials appreciable changes in length can occur in the track rails which must be taken up by the rail joints. The connection means therefore must be constructed in such a way that they can accommodate the changes in length of the individual rail profiles. Hence, it is for these reasons that a relatively expensive construction for the connection means has resulted up to now. Additionally, since the connection means for instance are welded to a rail end, dismantling operations, which can become necessary during replacement of such a rail, are difficult to perform because of the overlapping connection means and, as the case may be, requires additional dismantling work.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Therefore, a real need exists in the art for an improved type of connection means for the rails of overhead conveyor systems or the like which effectively overcomes the aforementioned drawbacks of the prior art constructions. It is a primary objective of the present invention to provide just such a rail connection arrangement which effectively and reliably fulfills this need.
Another, more specific object of the present invention relates to an improved rail connection arrangement for suspended or overhead conveyors or the like which can be simply mounted and which does not hinder dismantling and mounting of the rails.
Yet a further significant object of the present invention relates to an improved rail connection arrangement for the rails of conveying systems wherein such rail connection arrangement can be easily placed into its rail connecting position and out of such rail connecting position without the use of complicated accessory tools and without requiring a large number of manipulative steps and lengthy and complicated working procedures.
Now, in order to implement these and still further objects of the invention, which will become more readily apparent as the description proceeds, the inventive rail connection for suspended or overhead conveyors of the present invention is generally manifested by the features that it incorporates at least one centering bolt member arranged at the rails of the rail joint and mounted to be slidable in the direction of the rails and serving to interconnect both rail ends.
According to a preferred manifestation of the invention the centering bolt is arranged in at least one marginal portion of the travelling flange of the rail, this marginal portion possessing a partially open hollow profile and simultaneously forming the travelling track for the travelling rollers of the transportation units. Further, it is advantageous if the centering bolt can be completely displaced into the end region of one of the rails.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The invention will be better understood and objects other than those set forth above, will become apparent, when consideration is given to the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a fragmentary view depicting the rail connection of the present invention for interconnecting two rail ends; and
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the rail connection arrangement shown in FIG. 1, taken substantially along the line IIIl thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Describing now the drawings, in FIG. 1 there are schematically illustrated the adjacent confronting rail ends 10 of two neighboring rail profiles or rails 2, 2, defining therebetween a substantially vertically extending parting plane, and as such for instance are used in suspended or overhead conveyor installations or the like. In FIG. 2 it will be observed that each such rail, for instance looking at the rail profile or rail 2, possesses an actual travelling flange portion 1 at which joins an upstanding web member 2. This web member 2 can be greater in height than shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and, for instance, can be provided at its upper end with a further flange serving as an attachment flange. Now the confronting ends 10 of the rail members 2, 2 are arranged from one another at a small spacing 3 serving for compensation of the changes in length of the individual rails 2 and 2'.
Continuing, it will be observed that the rail flange 1 possesses a thickened region 1 1 at the neighborhood of its free marginal end portion 5 and which can serve as the travelling track or surface for both partially illustrated travelling rollers 4 and 4' of a non-depicted transportation unit for carrying a load or the like. In the illustration of FIG. 2 a further thickened portion would be arranged symmetrically with respect to the web member 2 and which would then serve for guiding further travelling rollers.
Now according to an important aspect of the invention, the neighboring ends of both rail members 2, 2 are centered by means of a suitable bolt member 6 which extends into recessed or hollow portions 7, 8 of both of the confronting rail ends. At the region of these recesses 7, 8 the marginal portion 5 forms a hollow profile having a partially circular-shaped cross-sectional configuration. In other words, this marginal portion 5 does not define a closed or solid profile, rather the bolt member 6 is not covered towards the outside, as best observed by referring to FIG. 2. Consequently, it is possible to apply to this bolt member 6 a suitable tool in order to drive such bolt member completely into one of the recesses 7 or 8 which possess a suitable length or depth. In this manner it is possible to perform without obstruction the mounting and dismantling operations, so that upon completion thereof the bolt member 6 can again be brought into the position depicted in FIG. 1 in which it serves to center and interconnect both of the rail ends 10.
The rail connection of the present invention, by means of which the centering bolt member 6 is arranged in the direction of the rails, is not only very simple in construction but also insures for an extremely good alignment of the rail joint since it is arranged in the direct region of the travelling or running track portion of the rail arrangement. Furthermore, when performing assembly and disassembly operations it is possible to easily displace this centering bolt member out of the position shown in FIG. 1 so that it does not get in the way during these operations. Finally, any changes in length of the-rails can be readily compensated without difficulty by this rail connection arrangement of the invention.
While there is shown and described present preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A rail connection for connecting the confronting ends of adjacent rails of an overhead conveyor system or the like, comprising at least one pair of adjacent rails having confronting rail ends, each of said rails incorporating a respective rail traveling flange having a free end equipped with at least one marginal portion providing a rail traveling surface, said confronting ends of adjacent rails forming therebetween a substantially vertically extending parting plane to permit removal of any one given rail without having positionally to alter the next adjacent rail, a single centering bolt means for interconnecting the confronting rail ends with one another arranged at such adjacent rails for sliding movement in the direction of said rails, said single centering bolt means being located at the marginal portion of said flange yet not directly on said traveling surface, at least one of said adjacent rails being equipped with means at the region of its rail end for slidably completely receiving said single centering bolt means, said receiving means comprising a recessed portion provided at s -d rail en 2. A ra i l connec on for connecting the confronting ends of adjacent rails of an overhead conveyor system or the like, comprising at least one pair of adjacent rails having confronting rail ends, each of said rails possessing a rail traveling surface, said confronting ends of adjacent rails forming therebetween a substantially vertically extending parting plane to permit removal of any one given rail without having positionally to alter the next adjacent rail, a single centering bolt means for interconnecting the confronting rail ends with one another arranged at such adjacent rails for sliding movement in the direction of said rails, said single centering bolt means being located in the immediate neighborhood of said rail traveling surface yet not directly thereat, at least one of said adjacent rails being equipped with means at the region of its rail end for slidably completely receiving said single centering bolt means, said receiving means comprising a recessed portion provided at said rail end, each of said adjacent rails incorporates a respective rail traveling flange having a free end equipped with at least one marginal portion providing said rail traveling surface, said marginal portion forming a profile member which at the region of its rail end forms a hollow profile which is partially slotted and open towards the outside and defining said receiving means for slidably receiving said single centering bolt means.
3. A rail connection as defined in claim 1, wherein the confronting ends of adjacent rails are each provided with recessed portions defining said receiving means for slideably receiving said centering bolt means.