US 3695539 A
An unwind stand, for unwinding multiple webs of sheet materials such as paper or thin board simultaneously from a plurality of large and heavy reels, in which the reels are mounted for the unwinding operation in a single set of pairs of shaftless heads which correspond in number to the reels, and a transporter or conveyor is provided for moving the reels from a reel preparation station to the unwind station. The shaftless heads may be stationarily mounted on the transporter or conveyor, which moves in the direction of web run-off, e.g., back and forth or in a closed loop. The shaftless heads are preferably mounted on cantilever supports pivotable about a vertical axis for squaring adjustment of the reels.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Umted States Patent 1 9 ,539 Lindstaedt [451 Oct. 3, 1972 MULTIPLE REEL UNWIND STANDS 2,599,720 6/1952 Prevost ..242/58.6 2,389,443 11/1945 Lyle ..242/58.6 X 72 I t. H tK 1L dstaedt,Londn,E- 1 Or 31;, n 433,800 8/1890 Mayo ..198/84  Assignee: Scott Thrissell Engineering priman, Examiner stanley Gilreath Llmted Assistant Examiner--Mi1ton S. Gerstein 22 Filed: July 2, 1970 Attorney-Young & Thompson An unwind stand, for unwinding multiple webs of  Forelgn Apphcat'on Pr'omy Dam sheet materials such as paper or thin board simultane- July 5,1969 Great Britain ..33,986/69 ously from a plurality of large and heavy reels, in which the reels are mounted for the unwinding opera- 98/84, 2 2/ tion in a single set of pairs of shaftless heads which 242/79 correspond in number to the reels, and a transporter [5 Clor conveyor is provided for moving the reels from a  Field of Search ..242/58.6; 198/84 reel preparation station m the unwind Station The shaftless heads may be stationarily mounted on the  References C'ted transporter or conveyor, which moves in the direction UNITED STATES PATENTS of web run-off, e.g., back and forth or in a closed loop. The shaftless heads are preferably mounted on 3,276,71 1 10/1966 Martin ..242/58.6 cantilever supports pivotable about a vertical axis for 3,424,394 1/1969 Moore ..242/58.6 squaring adjustment of the reels 2,441,791 5/1948 Bostwick ..242/58.6 UX 3,015,147 1/ 1962 Croxton et a1. ..242/58.6 X 5 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTEDnms I872 SHEET 2 0F 9 INVENTOR Homsr k4 LIA/0374507 BY fiQw fJA W ATTORNEYS PATENTEDncrs m2 SHEET 8 OF 9 INVENTOR Haas? IVA/e4 [Wk 087345.07
ATTORNEYS MULTIPLE REEL UNWIND STANDS This invention relates to unwind stands for delivering a plurality of webs of sheet material, such as paper or thin board, simultaneously from a number of reels, and is particularly, though not exclusively, applicable to heavy duty stands designed to support reels having wound diameters of up to or exceeding 3% feet and axial lengths of up to 7 or 8 feet. Such reels may weigh in excess of 2 tons and present considerable problems in preparation and loading into the operative unwinding position.
When such an unwind stand is used in conjunction with an automatic slitter or cutter accepting simultaneously a plurality of webs, for example between two and eight, it is important that the downtime, i.e., the time involved in changing fresh reels for used reels and gathering the webs of the new reels for insertion into the cutter, should be reduced to a minimum, since during this period the cutter system is idle. A considerable amount of preparation work can be performed on fresh reels while unwinding is in progress but the actual changeover time is critical. Conventional unwind stands may involve a changeover time of 30 to 45 minutes or more to change eight reels, whereas the time taken to readjust and reset a cutting machine may be as little as minutes or less, thus involving an excess downtime of as much as 25 minutes or more per changeover. With short runs and at faster cutting speeds this problem becomes aggravated and it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved unwind stand which will enable the changeover time to be reduced and which may facilitate removal of empty cores or partly unwound reels, all preferably within a'minimum floor area.
One conventional method of supporting heavy reels in unwind stands is by means of steel shafts through the core centers, the ends of the shafts being mounted in open bearings on the stand, into which the reels are maneuvered manually or by means of overhead lifting gear. This procedure is laborious and sometimes dangerous and the shafts are subject to hard treatment and can be damaged. Moreover, the shafts tend to droop under the weight of the reels and can be otherwise distorted so that the reels fail to run true, and in some cases the reels with their cores skid on the shafts, further adding to the problems. In place of shafts it is known to use pairs of shaftless heads arranged to move inwards to engage opposite ends of the cores, but such heads are relatively expensive and existing heads suffer from certain limitations if attempts are made to adjust the axes of the reels for squaring purposes. Squaring is necessary if a wound reel is slightly tapered conically in the winding process, so that when the web is .drawn off the tension varies across the width of theweb. To compensate for this variation in tension and to maintain correct tracking of the web, the axis of the reel on the unwind stand can be adjusted to produce uniform tension across the web, or an additional squaring roller can be introduced to vary the path of the run-off web and thus compensate for this tension variation. It has been proposed to adjust shaftless heads for squaring purposes by moving one of the heads relative to the other in a direction parallel to the web run-off, but although this method varies the axis of the reel the heads do not remain aligned with one another and this can result in the reel failing to run true, and the ends of the core may be damaged.
Accordingly it is anobject of the present invention to provide an improved unwind system which will at least partly overcome some of the disadvantages of existing systems.
From one aspect the invention consists in an unwind apparatus for supplying multiple webs simultaneously from a plurality of reels, including a preparation station and an unwind station, a single :set of shaftless heads corresponding in number to the reels, and transporter or conveyor means for transporting the wound reels between the two stations.
Preferably, the shaftless heads are supported on a moving structure and themselves form part of the transporter, which is conveniently arranged for movement in the same direction as the web run-off.
According to a preferred feature of the invention each pair of shaftless heads is mounted on a cantilever support, which may be pivotable about a vertical axis for squaring adjustment of the heads.
From another aspect the invention consists in an unwind system for supplying multiple webs simultaneously from a plurality of reels, including a preparation station and an unwind station, and transporter means for moving wound reels between the two stations, the overall floor area utilized being less than three times and preferably not substantially greater than twice the floor area of the unwind station.
Preferably the movable transporter is arranged to inter-leave within the support structure of the unwind station or the preparation station so that the transporter itself occupies little or no further floor area than either of the said stations.
From yet another aspect the invention consists in an unwind system for supplying multiple webs simultaneously from a plurality of reels, including a preparation station and an unwind station and a plurality of stands or supports for wound reels at both stations, the supports being movable around a path or paths forming a closed loop as seen from the side of the system. For example the stands may be connected to an endless conveyor having upper and lower runs passing around guides at opposite ends, and preferably each support or stand includes shaftless heads and a squaring roller for adjusting the tension of the take-off web.
The invention may be performed in various ways and a number of embodiments will now be described by way of example, and with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic side elevation of the whole apparatus, with parts omitted for clarity,
FIG. 2 is a side elevation, to a larger scale, of part of the loading section and preparation section, incorporating a separate weighing station,
FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of a subsequent part of the preparation section,
FIG. 4 is an end elevation of the unwind section,
FIG. 5 is a perspective view ofa cantilever arm as sembly forming part of the unwind section,
FIG. 6 is a partial sectional view of the unwind section illustrating the removal of an empty core,
FIG. 7 is a cross-section, to a much larger scale, through one form of shaftless head,
FIG. 8 is a longitudinal section through an alternative form of shaftless head,
FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic elevation similar to FIG. I of a second embodiment,
FIG. 10 is an end view of the unwind section of the embodiment of FIG. 9, to a larger scale,
FIG. 11 is a diagrammatic elevation of a third embodiment,
FIG. 12 is an enlarged view of part of the unwind section of the assembly of FIG. 1 1,
FIG. 13 is a diagrammatic elevation of a fourth embodiment,
FIG. 14 is a plan view of a feed trolley used in the assembly of FIG. 13,
FIGS. 15 and 16 are end views of the unwind section of the assembly of FIG. 13, and
FIGS. 17 and 18 are diagrammatic elevations of a fifth embodiment.
In the example illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 6, the complete unwind stand system is in three section; a loading section 10, a preparation section 11 and an unwind section 12. These sections are conveniently built as separate units and finally assembled to form one complete continuous assembly extending in an in-line manner parallel to the direction of web run-off to a subsequent automatic multiple cutter (not shown) to the right of the assembly shown in FIG. 1. The cutter forms no part of the present invention and need not be described. It is, however, significant that the unwind assembly occupies little more lateral width, if any, than the cutter itself, so that a number of such assemblies can be arranged in parallel rows closely adjacent to one another, feeding a number of closely spaced cutting machines. The unwind assembly illustrated is designed to feed webs simultaneously from up to eight reels 14 having diameters up to 42 inches and varying widths between say 12 and 94 inches, arranged in two decks of four. The whole unwind assembly has continuous upper and lower levels to locate the reels at the two different heights.
The first, loading, section 10 comprises upper and lower inclined platforms 15, 16 to receive fresh reels 14 delivered by a forklift loader, stacker truck or lift (not shown) at the loading end 17. The reels 14 run down the inclined platforms 15, 16 and are checked at the lower end by a double gate system of inclined chocks 18, or plates or bars, which stop the reels and deliver them one by one as required to the next section 11.
As delivered to the loading section 10, the reels l4 usually have torn or otherwise useless outer windings, due to damage caused by mechanical handling. They are therefore delivered first to a cleaning station 24 also having upper and lower levels. At each level, the cleaning station 24 has a turntable 26, whose diameter is equal to the width of the largest reel to be handled, recessed into a platform 28. The turntable 26 may have a diametral recess 261 or a pair of ridges one each side of a diameter, to locate the reel on it. In the modification illustrated in FIG. 2, the reels first arrive at a separate weighing station 20 having upper and lower levels, at each of which is a small platform 21 supported on a load cell 22. Each reel 14 in turn comes to rest on the platform 21 and its weight is registered by the load cell 22. It is then rolled over platform 28 to the cleaning station 241 which in this embodiment comprises at each level a pair of horizontal support rollers 25 mounted on a turntable 262 attached to the top of a vertical hydraulic jack 27. A fresh reel 14 is rolled manually in position over the two rollers 25 and the jack 27 is then elevated to the position shown in FIG. 2 to lift the reel above the level of the adjacent platforms 28, 29 so that the turntable 262 can be rotated through and the reel 14 can be turned on the rollers 25. The turntables 26 and 262 may be supported for rotation on their associated jack standards in the manner shown in US. Pat. No. l,570,730.
With the reel in this position, as shown on the upper level of FIG. 1, and the lower level of FIG. 2, as many of the outer windings of the paper as may have been damaged are removed, and this waste material is delivered directly downwards into a collection bin (not shown) below and alongside the turntable. Instead of having a separate weighing station 20, the turntable 26 of FIG. 1, or the turntable 262 or the jack 27 of FIG. 2, may include weighing mechanism such as load cells to determine the initial weight of the reel and the weight when finally cleaned so as to check the amount of waste. While supported on the turntable 26 or 262, the reel 14 can also be turned through about the vertical axis of the turntable, manually or by any desired power means, as may be necessary to ensure that the web pull-off will occur in the desired direction. When the reel 14 is ready, it is pushed off the turntable onto the platform, manually or by any desired power means, the jack 27 being first lowered in the example of FIG. 2,
and it then continues into the next part of the preparation section 1 l.
The next part of the preparation section 11 is an alignment station 30 which comprises two support platforms 31, 32 one at each level, each platform having four reel positions. At each reel position there is provided a pair of supporting horizontal rollers 34 (FIGS. 1 and 3) extending transversely to the longitudinal axis of the assembly. The two rollers 34 are mounted on shafts 35 rotatably supported at both ends in a transverse frame member 36. The frame member is movable vertically within an aperture 33 in the platform 31 or 32 by means of a pair of screw jacks 37, 38, operated through a cross-shaft 39 and gearing 40 by an electric motor 41. When a reel 14 is received at one of the reel positions, an operator manipulates controls 42 to operate motor 41, and this elevates the pair of rollers 34 by means of the jacks 37, 38 to raise the reel center to the correct height for subsequent engagement with a pair of the shaftless heads, as described below. It will be appreciated that the diameters of the reels may vary so that the height of lift of the jacks must be variable. The operator can judge visually or can measure to determine when the reel center has reached the desired elevation, whereupon he shuts off motor 41.
When all eight reels are correctly positioned in the alignment station 30, the leading ends of the paper webs are pulled off the reels and led to the front reels on the upper and lower platforms 3], 32 and secured to them ready for the subsequent changeover. No squaring rollers are provided and therefore no web threading operations are necessary.
The unwind section 12 comprises an open frame 45 easily accessible from both sides and from opposite ends. Within this frame, and extending also into the preparation section 11, are mounted two parallel horizontal longitudinal rails 46 (FIGS. 1 and 4) guiding a movable transporter 47 which also acts as an unwind stand. The transporter 47 comprises four parallel heavy rigid upright tubes 48 (FIG. 4) arranged in a longitudinal row and attached at their upper ends to a horizontal framework 49 having rollers 50 longitudinally spaced along both opposite sides, running on the longitudinal rails 46. The lower ends of the tubes 48 are attached to a lower horizontal beam 51 carrying heeling rollers 52 on vertical axes engaging a fixed heeling rail 53 mounted at the bottom of the main frame. Each vertical tube 48 supports two identical cantilever arm assemblies 54, 55 at heights corresponding respectively to the two levels at which the reels 14 are handled. Each cantilever arm assembly comprises a pivotal collar 56 closely located around the tube 48 and bearing on a fixed positioning collar 57 secured to the tube, so that the pivotal collar 56 is capable of pivotal movement about the tube axis. From each pivotal collar 56 project two parallel horizontal carrier tubes 58, and on these tubes two brackets 59, 60 are mounted by means of sleeves 61, 62 slidable on the carrier tubes 58. Each bracket 59, 60 has a depending plate or lug 63, 64 carrying at its lower end an expanding type shaftless head 65, 66 for engaging one end of a reel core 72. The two brackets 59, 60 with the attached heads 65, 66 are movable towards and away from one another, symmetrically, by means of a lead screw 67 (FIG. 5) having threads of opposite hand enclosed within gaiters 68, 69 and engaging in the brackets 59, 60. The lead screw 67 is parallel with the carrier tubes 58 and is rotatable by means of an individual geared motor drive (not shown) to draw the brackets 59, 60 together or to move them apart.
Each expanding shaftless head 65, 66 includes a stub shaft 70, 71 projecting towards the opposite head and capable of entering into the respective open end of the reel core 72. As shown in FIG. 7, the stub shaft 70 there seen in section may carry a number of axially extending radially movable gripper strips 90 each of which has a bottom flange 91 received in a channel 92. An inflatable tube 93 bears against the bottom face of the flange 91. The tubes 93 can be connected to a common source of pneumatic pressure to expand the gripper strips 90 outwards to grip a reel core 72.
In the alternative form of expanding shaftless head shown in FIG. 8, the head comprises a hexagonal section spigot or arbor 94, and three clamping segments 95 with corrugated outer surfaces 96, retained by rings 99, 100 secured to the arbor 94. The segments 95 each have two flat inner surfaces 97 at 120 so that the inner surfaces of the three segments 95 together form a hexagonal section surrounding the arbor 94. The segments 95 are drawn together by coil springs 98, but are forced apart by a camming action on rotation of the arbor 94 relative to the segments 95, so as to grip a reel core 72.
' Each head 65, 66 also includes braking means 73, 74 (FIGS. 4 to 6) to control the run-off web tension. It may further include automatic core ejector or push-off devices (not shown) to ensure that a reel core 72 will be discharged from both ends when the two heads 65, 66 are separated at the finish of an unwind operation. Alternatively, means indicated diagrammatically at 86 in FIG. 6 may be provided for gripping the mid-portion of the reel core 72 when the heads 65, 66 are being separated.
Each complete cantilever arm assembly 54, 55 including its two shaftless heads 65, 66 can be pivoted about the axis of the respective vertical tube 48 in order to adjust the reel axis in a horizontal plane in relation to the web run-off direction so as to compensate for conical tapering of the wound reel 14. This squaring adjustment may be achieved by a screwthreaded adjusting rod 75 (FIG. 5) pivotally attached at one end to a fixed anchor bracket 76 on the vertical tube 48 and engaging a screwthreaded collar 77 attached to one of the carrier tubes 58. The shaft 75 may be manually rotated in either direction by means of a hand-wheel 78 to cause the cantilever arm assembly 54 or 55 to pivot through a limited angle about the vertical axis. It will be noted that the heads 65, 66 will remain aligned coaxially with one another during this pivotal adjustment.
Each cantileverarrn assembly 54, 55 is designed to be capable of supporting the weight of a wound reel 14, Le, 2 tons or more, but in the actual unwinding operation it may be desirable that the free end of the cantilever arm assembly should be additionally supported or clamped, if only to reduce vibration. For this purpose the outer bracket 59 at the free end of the assembly may have a roller 79 designed to run on a horizontal track (not shown) supported by another part'of the main open frame 45 and braking :means such as a friction clamping pad or a magnetic bracket (not shown) may be provided to lock or clamp this outer end of the cantilever assembly.
It will be seen that this system provides the advantages of shaftless heads and also provides for socalled squaring adjustment while maintaining the axes of the two heads in alignment. Moreover the arrangement of cantilever supports for the shaftless heads provides other advantages in association with the transporter system for moving fresh reels into position,-as will become apparent.
As explained above it is also important to provide means for rapidly removing empty reel cores 72, or partly unwound reels, and in such a manner that the cores or partly unwound reels will not cause damage or injury. Accordingly the open frame 45 at the unwind station 12 also includes means for supporting two clearing platforms 80, 81 (FIG. 4) in cantilever manner from the side thereof opposite that from which the cantilever arm assemblies 54, 55 extend from the vertical tubes 48 of the transporter 47. Each clearing platform 80, 81 extends the full length of the unwind station 12 and in their normal positions the platforms are positioned a short distance below the reels 14 in each level. The platforms are maintained in the horizontal position by rollers 82 engaging opposite sides of a vertical guide rail 83. Each platform 80, 81 is vertically movable by means of a power operated hoisting system shown diagrammatically in the case of platform as comprising a cable 84 passing over a pulley 85 and wound on a power-driven winch (not shown) in housing 86 for selective actuation by the operator. In this way, platforms 80 and 81 can be raised to meet and support any partly unwound reel to be removed from the unwind stand. This may occur, for example, if one reel has a defective web in which case it is normal to cut the web and continue winding from the remaining reels until the next changeover. The defective reel must, of course, be
removed before a fresh reel can be inserted and the defective reel may weigh up to the full initial weight of a wound reel.
Since the clearing platforms 80, 81 are arranged as cantilevers projecting in the opposite direction from the cantilever arm assemblies 54, 55 supporting the shaftless heads on the transporter 47, the complete transporter can be moved longitudinally between the unwind station 12 and preparation station 11 without conflicting with the clearing platforms. Moreover, when the transporter 47 is out of the unwind station 12 the platforms 80, 81 can both be moved vertically. In use, at the end of an unwinding operation, the two platforms 80, 81 are raised to meet and support any partly unwound reel, the pairs of shaftless heads 65, 66 are moved apart by the lead screw 67 under remote control means to disengage'from the reel cores 72 and to drop any empty core centers on to the platforms 80, 81, and the transporter 47 is then moved out of the unwind station 12 to pick up eight fresh reels 14 from the preparation station 11. When the transporter 47 is clear of the unwind station 12 the lower clearing platform 81 can be cleared of empty reel cores and any broken-out reels. The upper clearing platform 80 is then lowered down on to the lower platform 81 and cleared in the same manner. The two platforms are than returned to their original positions before the transporter 47 returns to the unwind station 12 and interlocks are provided to prevent the return of the transporter until the platforms are correctly positioned.
At the preparation station 11 the two stationary platforms 31, 32 supporting the fresh reels 14 are similarly mounted in cantilever fashion on the same side as the clearing platforms 80, 81 so that the transporter 47 with its cantilever arm assemblies 54, 55 supporting the shaftless heads 65, 66 can interleave as it enters this area longitudinally. The fresh reels 14 have previously been aligned correctly as explained above so that each pair of shaftless heads 65, 66 can be engaged rapidly in the ends of each core center 72, whereupon the pairs of support rollers 34 at each reel station are retracted, leaving the reels 14 supported entirely by the transporter 47. The transporter 47 is then returned rapidly to the unwind station 12 by suitable power operated mechanism (not shown). An operator then picks up the four gathered web ends fastened to the front reel at each level and introduces them to the automatic cutting machine. It is anticipated that the total changeover time may be of the order of minutes or less, i.e., of approximately the same duration as the time taken to reset the cutter machine itself, if such resetting is necessary. Unless difficulties are encountered in disposing of the reel cores and broken-out reels the excess downtime may be greatly reduced or completely eliminated. Moreover the disposal of the heavy defective reels can be performed rapidly and under complete control, almost entirely eliminating any dangerous manual operations. The system avoids the use of squaring rollers which can only be threaded when the reels are in the unwind area and which, therefore, tend to increase the downtime. Moreover, the system avoids the need for duplicate shaftless heads at the unwind and preparation stations, which would occur with a turntable arrangement, and thus considerably reduces the overall cost of the equipment. The whole assembly can be arranged in line with each cutting machine and occupies little or no greater width than the cutting machine itself so that a bank of cutting machines can be arranged closely adjacent one another, or the unwind stands may be provided in alignment with existing cutting machines positioned in this manner, without the need to re-site the machines. The loading arrangements are greatly simplified since loading is performed atone end only, e.g., by a forklift or stacker truck or by a lift, and thereafter the graded incline along the machine to the preparation station facilitates the maneuvering of the reels into position.
In the second embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, the unwind equipment has three main sections as in the previous example, that is to say a loading section 101, a preparation section 102 and an unwind section 103 with a reel-cleaning station 104 at the entry to the preparation section 102.
The apparatus is in many respects similar to the previous example and the loading section 101 and reelcleaning station 104 may be identical. In this example, however, the shaftless reel heads 105, 106 remain stationary in the unwind section 103, that is, they do not move transversely of their axes, and the fresh reels 14 are moved into the unwind section 103 from the preparation section 102 by two separate transporters 107 at the two levels. The shaftless heads 105, 106 (FIG. 10) in the unwind section 103 are mounted in aligned pairs, and are moved toward and away from each other by conventional motors a and 106a, each head being supported in an overhung manner on a framework 108 at the respective side of the machine. The transporters 107 each comprise a moving carriage 109 carrying rollers 110 engaging guide rails 111 on the framework 108. In this arrangement it may be necessary to provide additional squaring rollers 112, one for each pair of heads, even though this may tend to increase the downtime, since each web must then be threaded over the respective squaring roller 112 after the reels 14 have been introduced into the unwind section 103.
Each of the moving transporters 107 includes pairs of supporting rollers 113 and jacking mechanisms 114 as in the previous example so that the fresh reels 14 can be raised to the correct center line in the preparation section 102. As shown in FIG. 10, the jacking devices 114 may be operated from either side of the machine by hand wheels 115 provided on each end of crossshafts 116. 1
After the reels have been transported into the unwind section 103 and engaged by the shaftless heads 105, 106, the supporting rollers 113 are lowered so that the two transporters 107 can be withdrawn manually or by conventional mechanical means.
In order to facilitate clearing of empty reel cores or partly unwound reels, a pair of fixed platforms 117 are mounted on the framework 108 at'each level, one on either side of the path of the rollers 113, and a pair of elevating clearing platforms (not shown) may also be provided, preferably arranged to be introduced from the front end of the unwind stand (the right-hand end in FIG. 9). To reduce the floor area these clearing platforms may be of relatively short dimensions longitudinally, sufficient to support one reel only, the platforms being movable longitudinally to any one of the four reel positions at each level.
In the third embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12, the equipment again comprises a loading section 120 and a pre-cleaning station 121 as in the previous examples but the major portion of the preparation and unwinding sections are effectively combined in one section 122, though arranged in line as before. A heavy-link chain conveyor 123 of the continuous endless type, with parallel horizontal upper and lower runs 124, 125 respectively, is guided over large pin wheels or sprockets 126 at opposite ends of this combined section 122 and the links 127 of the chain are arranged to locate sixteen pairs of shaftless heads 128, eight being at the two levels in the unwind area 129 and eight similarly in the preparation area 130. The conveyor 123 also carries brackets 131 supporting squaring rollers 132, one for each pair of heads 128, and power-operated means (not shown) are provided for advancing the conveyor 123 through one complete half cycle at each changeover so that a complete fresh set of eight reels 14 is introduced into the unwind area 129 and the previous set of reels returned to the preparation area 130. The weight of the reels carried by the heads can be supported by rollers 133 carried by the links.l27 and running on rails 134 located alongside the conveyor 123.
Empty reel cores and partly unwound reels are conveniently removed as each reel 14 returns along the lower run 125 of the conveyor. For this purpose a trolley indicated diagrammatically at 135 with an elevating receiver may be movable below the lower run 125 and any selected pair of heads 128 can be opened to eject a reel core or an unwound reel into the receiver. The conveyor 123 may be halted briefly for this discharge procedure.
Although squaring rollers 132 are employed in this system, to avoid the expense of squaring shaftless heads, the downtime is not effectively increased since the webs can be threaded over the squaring rollers 132 in the preparation area 130 and led to the respective end roller so that when the reels are introduced into the unwind area 129 the webs can rapidly be introduced into the cutting machine 136.
In the fourth embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 13 to 16, the equipment has a reel storage section 140, a preparation section 141 and an unwind section 142, but in this case the reels 14 are loaded at one level only, each reel disposed vertically, i.e., with its axis vertical. The reels 14 are lifted from the storage section 140 by an electrically operated travelling hoist 143 having an expanding core gripper 144, which places:each reel on a horizontally movable feed trolley 145 with its lower open core end over one of a number of vertically movable spigots or pins 146 mounted in the base 147 of the preparation section 141. The spigots 146, when in the raised positions as shown in FIG. 13, extend through longitudinal apertures 148 (FIG. 14) in the trolley 145 and serve to locate the reels 14 in the desired relative positions, corresponding to the positions which they are to occupy in the unwind section 142. The spigots 146 each incorporate individual turntables 149 on vertical axes. By further elevating the spigots 146 the reels 14 are lifted clear of the trolley 145, and can be rotated to allow any spoilt outer windings of paper to be removed. When the reels 14 are fully prepared, the spigots 146 and turntables 149 are withdrawn downwardly by retractable jacks 150 so that the reels stand properly positioned in two rows of four on the trolley 145. The trolley 145 can then be moved on rollers 158 into the unwind section 142.
In this embodiment the unwind section 142 comprises a rotary barrel frame 151 capable of rotating about a horizontal axis parallel with the web run-off direction. Each end of the barrel frame 151 is provided with a large bearing ring or flange 152 running on ground-mounted rollers 153 and power-operated means (not shown) comprising a. roller chain wrapped round one end ring 152 and driven by a motor via a gearbox and pinion are provided for rotating the barrel frame 151 as required. The barrel frame 151 is provided with eight pairs of shaftless heads 154 for locating the eight wound reels in position in two rows of four. In order to provide for squaring adjustment of the heads 154 to compensate for tapered reels, a retractable alignment shaft 155 is arranged to pass centrally through each pair of heads 154 so that the two heads of each pair can be pivoted about a common transverse axis and will remain in alignment. These retractable center shafts 155 do not constitute support shafts and merely act as alignment guides for each pair of heads 154. The shafts 155 are withdrawn manually or by conventional mechanical means as shown in FIG. 15 during the loading and unloading operations.
When loading a set of eight fresh reels 14, assuming that the barrel frame 151 is empty and the shafts I withdrawn vertically, the feeder trolley is moved forwards to carry the eight fresh reels 14 into the barrel frame 151, for which purpose the barrel frame is provided with guide rails 156 on to which the trolley 145 runs. When the reels are in position, the shaftless heads 154 are engaged in the upper and lower ends of each reel core and the alignment shafts inserted downwardly through each reel. The lower heads 154 lift the reels off the trolley 145 which is withdrawn rearwardly to the preparation secton 141. The barrel frame 151 is then rotated about its axis through 90 to bring the eight reels 14 into their horizontal positions as shown in FIGS. 13 and 16 and the squaring adjustment of each pair of shaftless heads is performed in the normal manner. The webs, which .had previously been drawn off, are inserted in the cutting machine 157 and the unwind operation then proceeds in the conventional manner.
Finally, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 the shaftless heads 160 are mounted one at each end of a series of links 161 connected by further links 162 into a Concertina type linkage. The linkage can be ex tended as shown in FIG. 17 to enable the reels 14 to be engaged by the heads 160 while "the reels are at floor level. The linkage is then compressed lengthwise to the position shown in FIG. 18, e.g., by a motorized trolley device pushing the links 161, 162 together, thus bringing the reels 14 into a two-deck formation in which the webs 163 can be drawn off as shown.
1. An unwind apparatus for supplying multiple webs simultaneously from a plurality of reels, including a preparation station, an unwind station, a single set of shaftless heads for carrying the reels, when unwinding, at predetermined locations and corresponding in number to the reels, transporter means carrying said shaftless heads for transporting the wound reels between the two stations in the same direction as the web runsoff, and means regulating, at the preparation station, the spacing of the reels to accord with the spacing of said set of shaftless heads for unwinding.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, in which a cantilever support forming part of the transporter means carries each pair of shaftless heads.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2, in which the cantilever support is pivotable about a vertical axis for squaring adjustment of the heads.
4. An unwind apparatus for supplying multiple webs simultaneously from a plurality of reels, including a preparation station, an unwind station, a single set of shaftless heads for carrying the reels, when unwinding, at predetermined locations and corresponding in number to the reels, structure at the unwind station on which said shaftless heads are mounted whereby said shaftless heads remain in the unwind station, transporter means separate from said structure for transporting the wound reels between the two stations in the same direction as the web runoff, means for regulating, at the preparation station, the spacing of the reels to accord with the spacing of said set of shaftless heads for unwinding, and means on said transporter means for maintaining said reels with that spacing to present them in the correct relationship at the unwind station.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4, in which said transporter means has a flat platform for receiving the ends of reels arranged with their axes vertical, said reels having central cores, the platform being apertured to allow passage of said regulating means to cooperate with the cores of said reels, said unwind station including a barrel frame rotatable about an axis parallel to the web take-off direction and carrying said shaftless heads, one set of which can engage the reel cores through 'the platform apertures when the transporter means is at the unwind station.