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Publication numberUS3713554 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 30, 1973
Filing dateFeb 22, 1971
Priority dateFeb 22, 1971
Publication numberUS 3713554 A, US 3713554A, US-A-3713554, US3713554 A, US3713554A
InventorsClements W, Gilbert W, Martin J, Thompson L
Original AssigneePeterson Ind Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container dumping apparatus
US 3713554 A
Images(6)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

ttes EQE 1 1 Thompson et al.

[ 1 .lan.3t),1973

[54] CONTAINER-DUMPING APPARATUS [75] Inventors: Larry 0. Thompson, Lake Wales; William J. Gilbert, Plymouth; Louis R. Thompson, Winter Garden; James W. Martin, Jr., Apopka; William Lamar Clements, Windermere,

2"14/147 AS, 147 G, 214/302, 314, 31s

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,618,800 11/1971 Collins ..214/147 G 3,447,705 6/1969 Stone ..2l4/147 G 3,330,056 7/1967 Woodside et a1. ..214/l47 G 3,468,352 9/1969 Larson et a1. ..2l4/147 R Primary Examiner-Drayton E. Hoffman Assistant ExaminerLawrence J. Oresky AttorneyDawson, Tilton, Fallon & Lungmus [57] ABSTRACT A container-dumping apparatus is provided which is particularly suitable for use with citrus and the like. The apparatus includes a lift bar which is rotatably mounted on the end of a lift device such as a crane or boom. The lift bar carries clamp arms on each end thereof which are operatively connected to hydraulically operated pistons carried by the lift bar for movement into and out of a container-engaging position. The lift bar is supported on the end of a cylindrical shaft which is rotatably supported by a connecting block swingably mounted on the end of the lift device. A vane is fixed to the shaft within the fluid chamber of a rotary actuating device secured to the connecting block, and the shaft may be rotated as desired by introducing pressurized hydraulic fluid into the chamber on one or the other side of the vane. A generally L- shaped support arm is also swingably mounted on the end of the lift device and is operatively connected to a hydraulic piston and cylinder assembly for swinging the support arm and the container about the end of the lift device.

15 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEUJAN 30 1915 SHEET 1 BF 6 @Ztys' PATENTEDJAN 30 I975 SHEET 2 [IF 6 PAIENTEUMso 1975 saw a or 6 PAIENTEDJAN30 ma SHEET 5 OF 6 PATENTEUJAH30 I975 SHEET 8 BF 6 wm Oh 1 CONTAINER-DUMPING APPARATUS BACKGROUND This invention relates to a container-dumping apparatus, and, more particularly, to an apparatus for use in emptying the contents of one container into another container.

The invention finds particular utility in the citrus harvesting industry in which citrus, such as oranges, grapefruit and the like, is picked from trees and placed in a container near the tree. When the container is filled, it may either be emptied into a large container carried by a truck at the picking site, or the container may be transported to the edge of the grove where it is emptied into a large semi-trailer truck body or the like. One type of apparatus for emptying the contents of the container into the container body of a truck at the picking site is illustrated in co owned US. Pat. No. 2,981,424. In this patent the container is provided with a hinged bottom, and the container is emptied by releasing the hinged bottom to permit the contents of the container to fall into the container body of the truck.

The apparatus disclosed in said prior patent uses baskets having hinged bottoms. However, since containers without hinged bottoms are frequently used in citrus groves, it is desirable to provide an apparatus for emptying the contents of these containers. Machines have been provided in the past for emptying specially designed containers by lifting the containers and tilting the container to a somewhat upside-down position so that the contents flow over the side of the container. However, these machines have not proved entirely satisfactory for several reasons. For example, the machines can be used only with the specially designed containers. Further, the tilting operation has generally required the machines to withstand considerable stress, and the machines at times are unable to withstand this stress.

The containers which are to be dumped generally have a capacity of about l field boxes, the field box being a legal unit of measure for citrus in Florida. The contents of a field box weigh about 90 pounds, and a IO-box container will therefore weigh about 900 pounds plus the weight of the container itself. If the machine breaks down because of excessive stress, the entire picking crew, which may number from to 30 men, is idled.

Also, the containers are often randomly positioned, and prior container-dumping devices sometimes had difficulty in picking up a container which was not rather precisely aligned with respect to the device.

SUMMARY The inventive apparatus includes a lift bar which is rotatably and swingably mounted on the end of a lift device, and the lift bar can be rotated as desired to clampingly engage a container in any position relative to the lift device. A generally L-shaped support arm is also swingably mounted on the end of the lift device and is connected to a hydraulic cylinder and piston assembly for swinging the support arm about the end of the lift device. When the container is lifted from the ground, the support arm can be operated by the cylinder and piston assembly to swing the container and lift bar about the end of the lift device to dump the contents of the container. If the lift bar was rotated to pick up the container, a bypass in the rotating mechanism will allow the lift bar to return to is original position as the container is engaged by the support arm. After the container is dumped, it may be returned to the ground, to a transporting vehicle, or the like, while the lift bar is rotated to position the container as desired.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The invention will be explained in conjunction with an illustrative embodiment shown in the accompanying drawing, in which FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of the containendumping apparatus dumping a container filled with fruit;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the container-dumping apparatus mounted on the end of the lift boom shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view, partially in section, of the container-dumping apparatus shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view similar to FIG. 2 showing the support arm being moved to an alternate position;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary front elevational view taken along the line 55 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along the line 77 of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is an exploded view of the bypass conduit for the rotary actuator;

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the connecting block and trunnion mounts;

FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along the line 10-- 10 of FIG. 5;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view of the lift bar;

FIG. 12 is a front elevational view showing the lift bar clampingly engaging a container to be dumped; and

FIG. 13 is a schematic view illustrating the rotating feature of the lift bar to permit engagement with containers in various positions.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, a container 15 filled with citrus is shown being lifted by a lift device 16 for dumping into a large container or bin 17. The container 15 is clampingly engaged by a lift bar 18 which is swingably mounted on the end of the lift device and is supported in the dumping position by a generally L-shaped support arm 19 which is also swingably mounted on the end of the lift device.

The particular lift device 16 shown is a hydraulically operated two-part boom of the type commonly used in the citrus industry as well as other industries. Since this type of lift device is well known to those skilled in the art, it is believed that only a brief description is necessary. The lift device 16 includes a primary boom 20 which may be pivotally and rotatably supported by a suitable base and a secondary or tip boom 21 which is pivotally mounted on the end of the primary boom. A suitable hydraulically operated cylinder and piston assembly may be provided for raising and lowering the primary boom, and a hydraulical fluid motor 22 connects the primary boom and the secondary boom and permits the secondary boom to be pivoted about the end of the primary boom.

The lift device may be carried by a truck an is operated to position the lift bar 18 above the container which is to be dumped. As will be explained more fully hereinafter, the lift bar is operated to clampingly engage the container, after which the lift device is operated to raise the container over the large bin 17, which may be the container body of the truck carrying the lift device, the container body of a separate truck, or the like. Thereafter, another hydraulic fluid motor 23 is operated to swing the support arm 19 about the end of the boom to tilt the container and empty the contents thereof.

Referring also to FIGS. 2-5, the elongated cylindrical lift bar 18 carries container-engaging clamp assemblies 24 and 25 on the ends thereof. Clamp assembly 24 includes a pair of elongated clamp arms 26 and 27, and clamp assembly 25 includes a pair of elongated clamp arms 28 and 29, all of which are pivotally mounted on top of the lift bar. For example, referring to FIG. 11, a cylindrical shaft 30 is supported above the lift bar 18 by a generally U-shaped bracket 31 which is welded to the lift bar. The shaft 30 passes through and rotatably supports the upper ends of the clamp arms 26 and 27. Each of the clamp arms is somewhat L-shaped, the clamp arm 27 including an upper portion 27a which extends outwardly from the shaft 30 and a downwardly extending portion 27b. The lower end of the clamp arm 27 is provided with an inwardly extending ledge or shoulder 270 for engaging the outer rim of the container. The other clamp arms are similarly shaped, and the clamp arms are joined for common pivoting movement about the shaft 30 by connecting rod 32. The clamp assembly 25 carried on the other end of the lift bar is similarly constructed, having a support bracket 33 (FIG. 2), shaft 34 and connecting rod 35.

A pair of hydraulic pistons is carried within the tubular lift bar 18 for pivoting the clamp assemblies 24 and 25 into and out of container-engaging position. The particular cylinder and piston assembly illustrated in FIG. 11 is single acting, and includes cylinder 36 secured within the lift bar and piston or ram 37. A piston rod 38 extends through an annular spring abutment 39 secured within the cylinder and a support bushing 40 secured adjacent the outer end of the cylinder. The outer end of the piston rod is bifurcated, and a link 41 is pivotally connected to the bifurcated end by pin 42 and is also secured to the connecting rod 32 for the clamp arms.

A helical return spring 43 is ensleeved on the piston rod between the rod end of the piston and the spring abutment 39 for returning the piston to the right when hydraulic pressure within the cylinder is relieved. A suitable fluid fitting 44 extends through the lift bar and the cylinder, and hydraulic fluid may be supplied to the interior of the cylinder through hydraulic hose 45 which is connected to the fitting. As fluid is forced into the cylinder, the piston 37 is forced axially outwardly, pivoting the clamp assembly 24 outwardly away from the container-engaging position illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12. When the pressure within the cylinder is relieved, the return spring 43 moves the piston 37 axially inwardly and moves the clamp arms back to the container-engaging position. A similar piston assembly is provided within the other end of the lift bar for operating the clamp assembly 25, and both pistons are operated simultaneously by fluid introduced to the common cylinder 36 through the fitting 44.

The lift bar 18 is secured to a plate 48 by a pair of U bolts 49, and, as can be seen best in FIG. 6, a cylindrical collar 50 is welded to the central portion of the plate 48. The lift bar is supported by an elongated cylindrical shaft 51 which is received by the collar 50 and removably locked therein by pin 52 which extends diametrically through the collar and the shaft. The shaft 51 is in turn supported by a connecting block 53 which is swingably mounted between the bifurcated end of the lift device 16 as will be explained more fully hereinafter.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 and 9, the support shaft 51 passes through a central bore 54 provided through the connecting block, and the upper end of the shaft includes a radially enlarged head portion 56 which is received in a radial enlargement 57 of the bore 54. The lower surface of the enlarged head 56 engages a thrust bearing assembly 58, which includes upper and lower races 59 and 60 and ball bearings 61, and the thrust bearing and head 56 are supported by the shoulder 62 which is provided by the radially enlarged recess 57.

The upper end of the enlarged head 56 extends above the upper flat surface 63 of the connecting block, and a stop key or lug 64 extends radially outwardly from the head 56 above the surface 63. The lug 64 is engageable with an upstanding arcuate wall 65 of the connector block to limit rotational movement of the shaft 51. The circumferential extent of the arcuate wall 65 and the size of the lug 64 are advantageously sized and arranged to permit the lift bar to rotate about 90 in either direction from the neutral or centered position illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5 in which the lift bar extends generally perpendicularly to the plane formed by the primary and secondary booms 20 and 21.

The support shaft 51 also passes through a rotary actuator assembly designated generally by the number 68 which permits the shaft to be rotated as desired by hydraulic fluid. The rotary actuator is conventional and wellknown to those in the hydraulic art, and it is believed that a detailed description thereof is unnecessary. The particular rotating means shown is similar to those available from the Buffalo Hydraulics Division of Houdaille Industries, Inc.

Briefly, the rotary actuator 68 includes an outer casing formed by generally cylindrical upper and lower plates 69 and 70, and an intermediate cylindrical plate 71. The plates 69-71 are secured by axially extending bolts 72 (see particularly FIG. 7) spaced circumferentially around the periphery of the plates, and the intermediate plate 71 is seen to have an internal diameter substantially greater than the internal diameters of the upper and lower plates to provide an internal fluid chamber 73. A cylindrical shaft 74 is ensleeved on the support shaft 51 and secured for rotation therewith by the lock pin 52 which secures the bottom of shaft 51 to the lift bar (FIG. 6), and the shaft 74 extends from the plate 48 through the rotary actuator.

A radially extending vane 75 is secured to the shaft 74, as by welding, and extends from the shaft 74 to the inner wall of the intermediate cylinder 71 between the upper and lower plates 69 and 70. Suitable sealing means such as gasket 76 are provided to provide a fluid-tight seal between the outer end of the vane and the intermediate cylinder 71 and between the upper and lower surfaces of the vane and the upper and lower plates 69 and 70. Similarly, suitable sealing means (not shown) are provided between the plates 69-71 and between the shaft 74 and the upper and lower plates 69 and 70. The fluid chamber 73 is divided into two separate chambers by the vane 75 and a partition block 78 which extends from the inner wall of the cylinder 71 to adjacent the shaft 74 and which includes a sealing gasket 79 which provides a fluid-tight seal with the shaft 74. Fluid ports 80 and 81 extend through the partition block 78 and the lower plate 70 for introducing pressurized hydraulic fluid on either side of the vane 75. If fluid is introduced through port 80, the vane and the shaft 51 will rotate clockwise as viewed in FIG. 7, and if fluid is introduced through port 81, the shaft 51 will rotate counterclockwise. The stop lug 64 on the upper end of the shaft is engageable with the arcuate wall 65 to provide a positive stop for the shaft to protect the internal parts of the rotary actuator.

Referring to FIG. 5, hydraulic fluid is supplied to port 80 by hydraulic hose 83, metal conduit 84 and T fitting 85. Similarly, hydraulic fluid is introduced to port 80 through hydraulic hose 86, conduit 87, and T fitting 88.

The rotary actuator is prevented from rotating and rotational torque is transmitted to the connecting block 53 by three bolts 89, 90 and 91 (FIGS. 5 and 6) which extend through a triangular mounting plate 92 (FIG. 9) provided as part of the connecting block and through the three cylindrical plates of the rotary actuator. If desired, spacers 93 (FIG. 6) may be ensleeved on the bolts 8991 between the mounting plate 92 and the upper plate 69 of the rotary actuator to position the rotary actuator with respect to the connecting block.

Referring to FIG. 5, the connecting block 53 is seen to be relatively snugly received between the two spaced-apart end portions 95 and 96 of the bifurcated end of the secondary boom 21 and is thereby prevented from rotating when fluid is introduced to the rotary actuator. Additional restraint against rotation of the connector block is provided by the trunnion mounts or pins 97 and 98 (FIGS. 9 and which extend through the end portions of the secondary boom and swingably mount the connector block therebetween. Each trunnion mount 98 is seen to be formed of a plurality of coaxial cylindrical portions-an end portion 99 of relatively small diameter which is snugly received in cylindrical recess 100 provided on either side of the connecting block 53, an intermediate cylindrical portion 101 of slightly larger diameter which is relatively snugly received in an opening 102 provided in each of the end portions 95 and 96 of the bifurcated end of the boom 21, and a larger head end portion 103.

A pair of spaced-apart parallel side plates 105 and 106 curve rearwardly and downwardly from the end of the boom 21 as viewed in FIG. 3, and the forward end of each of the plates 105 and 106 is provided with a circular opening 107 (FIGS. 9 and 10) sized to be relatively snugly inserted over the head portion 103 of the trunnion mount 98. An outer annular ring 108 can be welded to the outer portion of the trunnion mount to ensure that the side plates and 106 will not slip off the trunnion mounts.

Each of the connecting block 53, the bifurcated end of the boom 21, and the side plates 105 and 106 can swing freely relative to each other in a vertical plane by virtue of the trunnion mounting. In order to ensure that the trunnion mounts do not become disengaged, each trunnion mount can be secured to one of the parts through which it extends. In the particular embodiment illustrated, each trunnion mount is secured to one of the end portions of the boom by bolts 109 which extend axially through the head portion 103 of the trunnion and are threadedly engaged with the boom. Although the trunnion is fixed relative to the boom, the connecting block 53 may swing freely on the opposed end portions 99 of the trunnions, and the side plates 105 and 106 may swing freely on the head portions 103 of the trunnions. Alternatively, the trunnions could be secured to the side plates 105 and 106 or to the connecting block.

A connecting plate 110 (FIGS. 2 and 3) extends between the lower ends of the side plates 105 and 106 and is secured thereto as by welding and supports a generally L-shaped support arm 19. The support arm 19 includes a first generally horizontally extending leg 112 as viewed in FIG. 2 which may be welded to the plate 110, and a second generally vertically extending leg 113. The particular leg portions 112 and 113 are formed of square stock, and the vertical leg 113 includes a horizontal portion 114 which is telescopingly received by the somewhat larger leg 112 to permit the leg 113 to be adjustable toward and away from the lift bar 18. The tube 114 is provided with a plurality of openings therethrough, and a lock pin 115 can be inserted through openings in the leg 112 and the selected openings in the leg 113 to releasably lock the vertical leg portion 113 in the desired position.

The support arm 19 and the side plates 105 and 106 can be swung about the end of the boom 21 as desired by means of the hydraulic fluid motor 23. The motor includes a double acting hydraulic cylinder 117 which is pivotally secured between a pair of spaced-apart ears 118 extending from the boom 21 by means of a pin 119. A piston 120 extends from the cylinder 117 and is pivotally secured between a pair of generally T-shaped links 121 by means of a pin 122.

The forward end of each of the T-shaped links 121 is pivotally secured to a lug 123 of the boom 21 by pin 124, and the rearward end of each of the links 121. is pivotally secured to one end of an elongated rod or link 125 by pin 126. The rod 125 extends between the side plates 105 and 106, and the other end of the rod is pivotally secured therebetween by pin 127.

It will be appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 3 that, as the piston 120 is extended from the cylinder 117, the T-shaped links 121 will pivot clockwise about their pivot connection 124, and the like 125 will cause the side plates I05 and 106 and the L-shaped support arm 19 to swing clockwise about the end of the boom. As the leg 112 of the support arm approaches a generally horizontal position, the angled forward edges 128 of the side plates 105 and 106 will contact the top plate 69 of the rotary actuator 68 and cause the rotary actuator and the connecting block 53 to swing about the boom with the support arm. The T-shaped links 121 which interconnect the piston and the link 125 provide a good lever arm for rotating the support arm as the piston extends even after the support arm has rotated clockwise substantially from the position shown in FIG. 3. If the piston were connected directly to the side plates 10S and 106, the lever arm between this interconnection and the pivot or fulcrum provided by the trunnion mounts would decrease substantially as the support arm was rotated.

The cylinder 117 is double acting, and retraction of the piston 120 will lift the links 121 and 125 and cause the side plates and support arm to rotate counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 3 to bring the leg portion 112 to an angle with respect to the horizontal. Retraction of the piston 120 does not cause movement of the connecting block 53 when the connecting block is hanging freely as shown in FIG. 3 since the connecting block and the side plates are independently mounted on the trunnion mounts.

The side plates are provided with aligned openings 130, and when the apparatus is to be used merely to lift containers and not to dump them, the support arm 19 can be manually swung upwardly out of the way of the containers as shown in FIG. 4. The support arm and side plates are swung about the trunnions until the openings 130 pass the links 121, and the side plates can be held in this position by inserting a pin 131 through the openings which will bear against the links 121 and hold the side plates in the raised position.

The support shaft 51 and the lift bar 18 can be rotated as desired by introducing hydraulic fluid through the hydraulic hoses 83 and 86. The ports 80 and 81 of the rotary actuator are interconnected by means of a bypass conduit 132 (see particularly FIGS. 5 and 8) which is connected to the T fittings 85 and 88. Referring now to FIG. 8, the T fitting 88 is seen to include three externally threaded male couplers 133, I34 and 135 for connecting with, respectively, the conduit 87, the port 81 of the rotary actuator, and the bypass conduit 132. Similarly, the T fitting 85 includes externally threaded male couplers 136, 137, and 138 for connection with, respectively, the conduit 84, the port 80, and the bypass conduit 132.

The bypass conduit 132 is provided with an effective internal diameter substantially smaller than the internal diameters of the fluid supply conduits 84 and 87 so that, as fluid is supplied to one of the ports 80 or 81 of the rotary actuator, fluid will also be supplied to the other port although at a substantially reduced rate. One means of reducing the effective internal diameter of the bypass conduit 132 is shown in FIG. 8, in which the male coupler 135 is internally threaded to receive an orifice-restricting plug 139. The outer end of the plug 139 can be provided with a hexagonal opening to facilitate insertion of the plug into the T fitting with an Allen wrench, but the other end of the plug 139 has a substantially reduced diameter opening.

In conventional applications, the fluid supply conduits 84 and 87 as well as the bypass conduit 132 might have an internal diameter of about three-eighths inch. In one specific embodiment of the invention, a restricting plug 139 was used which had an opening of about 0.025 to about 0.045 inch.

As will be explained more fully hereinafter, the bypass conduit not only serves to prevent damage to the rotary actuator if the lift bar encounters some obstruction during rotation, but it also permits the lift bar to return to its original or centered position after the container is lifted from the ground.

OPERATION The operation of the apparatus will be explained in conjunction with a conventional pallet box used in the citrus industry, but the apparatus can be used to lift other types of containers. Pallet boxes are commonly used in the citrus industry and usually hold the equivalent of about 10 field boxes, or about 900 pounds of oranges.

The particular pallet box 15 illustrated in constructed of wood and includes a plurality of vertically extending slats 141 (FIG. 12) which form a generally rectangular enclosure. The slats 141 are secured by upper, intermediate, and lower sets 142, 143, and 144 of four horizontally extending slats which extend around the sides of the container formed by the vertically extending slats. The container may also include wood beams 145 on the bottom thereof to space the bottom of the container from the ground to permit lifting by a fork truck.

The lift device 16 is operated to advance the secondary boom 21 so that the end thereof is generally centered above the container. The lift device is preferably advanced with the container-dumping piston 120 in a retracted position to lift the support arm 19 to a slightly inclined position and to permit the connector block 53 to hang freely from the boom. In this position, the support shaft 51 for the lift bar will extend generally vertically, and the lift bar will extend generally horizontally. As the lift bar approaches the container, pressurized fluid may be introduced to the rotary actuator to rotate the lift bar in a generally horizontal plane so that it extends generally transversely between a pair of opposite sides of the container. Referring to FIG. 13, the lift bar 18 is shown properly positioned with respect to the container 15. However, if the container were positioned slightly askew with respect to the direction of advancement of the boom 21, as at 15' or 15", the lift bar could be rotated as desired to position the clamping arms with respect to the container. If. the container were positioned as at 15, the rotary actuator would be operated to rotate the lift bar counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 13, and if the container were positioned as at 15", the lift bar would be rotated clockwise.

When the lift bar is positioned above the container to extend generally transversely between the central portions of a pair of opposing sides of the container, hydraulic fluid may be introduced through the fluid conduit 45 into the cylinder within the lift bar to extend the clamping arms outwardly. The boom is then lowered sufficiently to bring the shoulders 270 of the clamping arms below the upper slats 142 of the container. The hydraulic pressure within the lift bar cylinder is then relieved, and the clamp arms return to a container-engaging position in which the shoulders are engageable with the lower edges of the slats 142.

The boom may then be operated to lift the container from the ground and swing the container over the dumping bin 17 illustrated in FIG. 1. When the container is positioned over the bin, the dumping piston 120 may be extended to swing the side plates and 106 and the support arm 19 toward the container. As the leg portion 1 13 of the support arm engages the container side which extends between the sides which are held by the clamping arms, the box will be tilted. If the lift bar was rotated from its centered position in which it extends perpendicularly to the plane defined by the primary and secondary booms, the leg 113 of the support arm will engage the container side outwardly from the center thereof, and as the dumping piston 120 extends, the leg 113 will cause the container and lift bar to rotate to the centered position. This can be seen in FIG. 13. If the container is located as at 15, downward movement of the support arm will cause the leg 113 to engage the container at a distance greater than the minimum distance between that container side and the support shaft 51. Accordingly, continued movement of the leg 113 toward the shaft 51 will rotate the container and the lift bar until the container side engaged by the support arm extends generally transversely to the upper leg 112 of the support arm.

The lift bar 18 is permitted to rotate to the centered position under the urging of the support arm by means of the bypass conduit 132 which allows fluid to drain from one of the ports 80 and 81 to the other as the shaft 51 and vane 75 (FIG. 7) are urged to rotate by the support arm. The fluid pressure to the rotary actuator can be relieved as soon as the lift bar has been rotated into the proper position to pick up the container, and the lift bar can thereby be returned to its central position.

After the support arm rotates the lift bar to the centered position, continued downward swinging movement of the support arm causes the container and the bar to swing about the end of the boom. As the dumping piston 120 is extended, the cylinder and piston assembly 22 which operates the secondary boom 21 may also be extended, and the combination of the action of both pistons causes the support arm to rotate through an arc of slightly more than 90, thereby tilting the container to empty the contents thereof into the bin 17 as illustrated in FIG. 1. As the container is tilted, it is prevented from sliding with respect to the clampingassemblies 24 and 25 by the leg portion 113 of the support arm. As the leg portion 113 becomes more and more inclined from its original substantially vertical position, more of the weight of the container is supported thereby, and when the container reaches its dumping position, substantially the entire weight of the container is supported by the leg 113. The force on the support is transmitted directly to the boom through the trunnions and the other parts of the apparatus are not required to withstand excessive torque.

After the container has been emptied, the dumping piston 120 and the secondary boom may be retracted to return the container to an upright position while the boom is being operated to return the container to the ground or some other supporting surface, such as a flatbed truck or the like. While the container approaches the supporting surface, the lift bar can be rotated to orient the container as desired, and when the container has been positioned on the supporting surface, fluid can be introduced to the cylinder within the lift bar to move the clamping arms outwardly to disengage the apparatus from the container. The apparatus may then be advanced to another container for dumping.

The previously described operation is generally employed in so-called bulk operations in which the fruit is being picked for canneries. In fresh fruit operations, the fruit is generally not dumped from one container to another. Conventionally, the fruit is placed in a pallet box or another container by the picker, and the pallet boxes are then loaded onto a flatbed truck for transportation away from the groves.

The container-dumping apparatus can readily be converted for used in fresh fruit picking operations. Since the support arm 19 will not be used, the support arm and the side plates and 106 can be manually rotated counterclockwise as viewed in FIG. 3 until the openings are positioned above the T-shaped legs 121 as shown in FIG. 4. A suitable rod 131 can then be inserted through the openings 130, andengagement of the rod 131 with the links 121 prevents downward pivoting of the side plates and support arm. The leg 113 can also be removed from the leg 112 by removing the pin 115.

When the apparatus is used for fresh fruit operations, the lift bar can be rotated as desired as hereinbefore described to pick up a container regardless of its orientation with respect to the boom, and the container can be repositioned on a flatbed truck or the like in any orientation by rotating the lift bar to the position desired.

While in the foregoing specification, a detailed description of a specific embodiment of the invention was set forth for the purpose of illustration, it is to be understood that many of the details liereingiven may be varied considerably by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Iclaim:

1. In a container lifting apparatus having a power operated lift device, an elongated generally horizontally extending lift bar, means on each end of the lift bar for engaging a container to be lifted, a support shaft secured to the central portion of the lift bar and extending generally perpendicularly therefrom, a connecting block swingably secured to the lift device for swinging movement in a generally vertical plane, the connecting block having a central bore rotatably receiving the support shaft and the support shaft being mounted on the connecting clock for rotation within the bore, rotary actuator means carried by the connecting block and operatively connected to the support shaft for rotating the shaft whereby the lift bar can be rotated in a plane transverse to the support shaft, a generally L-shaped support arm swingably secured to the lift device for swinging movement in a generally vertical plane, the support arm including a first leg portion extending generally perpendicularly to the lift bar and a second leg portion extending generally perpendicularly to the first leg portion, and hydraulic motor means interconnected between the lift device and the support arm for swinging the support arm about the lift device.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the connecting block is provided with a shoulder extending transversely from the bore therethrough, the support shaft including a transversely enlarged head portion, the head portion of the shaft engaging the shoulder of the connecting block whereby the support shaft is supported by the connecting block.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 including thrust bearing means between the enlarged head portion of the supporting shaft and the shoulder of the connecting block.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 including lug means extending transversely from the head portion of the supporting shaft and stop means on the connecting block engageable with the lug means after predetermined rotation of the shaft in either direction.

5. In a container lifting apparatus having a power operated lift device, an elongated generally horizontally extending lift bar, means on each end of the lift bar for engaging a container to be lifted, a support shaft secured to the central portion of the lift bar and extending generally perpendicularly therefrom, a connecting block swingably secured to the lift device for swinging movement in a generally vertical plane, the connecting block having a central bore rotatably receiving the support shaft and the support shaft being mounted on the connecting block for rotation within the bore, rotary actuator means carried by the connecting block and operatively connected to the support shaft for rotating the shaft whereby the lift bar can be rotated in a plane transverse to the support shaft, the lift device including a pair of spaced-apart end portions, each of the end portions having a generally horizontally extending opening therethrough, the connecting block being received between the end portions of the lift device and having a pair of opposed generally horizontally inwardly extending recesses, each recess in the connecting block being aligned with the opening in one of the end portions of the lift device, a pair of spaced-apart plates extending transversely to the lift bar, each plate being positioned adjacent one of the end portions of the lift device and having a generally horizontally extending opening aligned with the opening in one of the end portions, a pair of generally horizontally extending trunnion pins, each trunnion pin extending through the aligned openings of a plate and an end portion into one of the recesses of the connecting block whereby the side plates, connecting block and lift device can swing relative to each other in a generally vertically extending plane, and an arm secured to the side plates and extending generally perpendicularly to the lift bar for engagement with the container to be lifted.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 including hydraulic motor means interconnected between the lift device and the arm for causing swinging movement of the arm and the side plates about the lift device.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 in which the rotary actuator means includes a hydraulic cylinder surrounding the support shaft and providing an internal fluid chamber, the hydraulic cylinder being provided with a pair of ports for introducing hydraulic fluid into the fluid chamber, a fluid supply conduit for each port for connecting the port to a source of pressurized hydraulic fluid, each fluid supply conduit having an internal passage of approximately the same size, and a bypass conduit interconnecting the fluid supply conduits and having an internal passage smaller than the internal passages of the fluid supply conduits.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 in which the bypass conduit includes an orifice-restricting plug having a central opening smaller than the internal passages of the fluid supply conduits.

9. In a container dumping apparatus having a power actuated lift boom, an elongated generally horizontally extending lift bar, clamp means on each end of the lift bar for engaging q container to be dumped, hydraulically operated piston means carried by the lift bar for moving the clamp means into and out of container-engaging position, a generally cylindrical support shaft secured to the central portion of the lift bar and extending generally perpendicularly therefrom, a connecting block swingably secured to the lift boom for swinging movement in a generally vertical plane, the connecting block having a circular bore rotatably receiving the support shaft and a radially enlarged recess, the support shaft including a radially enlarged head portion engageable with the recess of the support block for supporting the support shaft within the connecting block, first hydraulic motor means carried by the connecting block and operatively connected to the support shaft for rotating the shaft whereby the lift bar can be rotated in a plane transverse to the shaft, a generally L-shaped support arm swingably secured to the lift boom for swinging movement in a generally vertical plane, the support arm including a first leg portion extending generally transversely to the lift bar and a second leg portion extending generally perpendicularly to the first leg portion, and second hydraulic motor means interconnecting the support arm and the lift boom for swinging the support arm about the lift boom.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 in which the lift boom includes a pair of spaced-apart end portions, each of the end portions having a generally horizontally extending opening therethrough, the connecting block being received between the end portions of the lift boom and having a pair of opposed generally horizontally inwardly extending recesses, each inwardly extending recess in the connecting block being aligned with the opening of one of the end portions of the lift boom, a pair of generally horizontally extending trunnion pins, each trunnion pin extending through the opening of one of the end portions of the lift boom into one of the recesses of the connecting block whereby the connecting block can swing relative to the lift boom in a generally vertically extending plane.

11. The apparatus of claim 9 in which the lift boom includes a pair of spaced-apart end portions, each of the end portions having a generally horizontally extending opening therethrough, the connecting block being received between the en portions of the lift boom and having a pair of opposed generally horizontally inwardly extending recesses, each inwardly extending recess in the connecting block being aligned with the opening in one of the end portions of the lift boom, a pair of spaced-apart plates extending transversely to the lift bar, each plate being positioned adjacent the outside of one of the end portion of the lift boom and having a generally horizontally extending opening aligned with the opening in one of the end portions, a

pair of generally horizontally extending trunnion pins, each trunnion pin extending through the aligned opening of a plate and an end portion of the lift boom into one of the inwardly extending recesses of the connecting block whereby the side plates, connecting block and lift boom can swing relative to each other in a generally vertically extending plane, the support arm being secured to the side plates for movement therewith.

12. The apparatus of claim 9 in which the first hydraulic motor means includes a a hydraulic cylinder surrounding the support shaft and providing an internal fluid chamber, the hydraulic cylinder being provided with a pair of ports for introducing hydraulic fluid into the fluid chamber, a fluid supply conduit for each port for connecting the port to a source of pressurized hydraulic fluid, each fluid supply conduit having an internal passage of approximately the same size, and a bypass conduit interconnecting the fluid supply conduits and having an internal passage smaller than the internal passages of the fluid supply conduits.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 in which the bypass conduit includes an orifice-restricting plug having a central opening smaller than the internal passages of the fluid supply conduits.

14. The apparatus of claim 9 in which the second hydraulic motor includes a hydraulic cylinder and an extendible piston, one end of the second hydraulic motor being pivotally connected to the lift boom and the other end of the hydraulic member being pivotally connected to an intermediate portion of an elongated link, one end of the link being pivotally connected to the lift device and the other end of the link being pivotally connected to the side plates.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 including a second link for pivotally connecting said other end of the first link with the side plates, the second link having a pair of ends, one end of the second link being pivotally connected to said other end of the first link and the other end of the second link being pivotally connected to the side plates.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4175903 *Dec 20, 1976Nov 27, 1979Carson William SPick-up apparatus and containing assembly
US4201511 *May 24, 1978May 6, 1980Potain Poclain Materiel (P.P.M.)Device for handling containers
US4552501 *Sep 14, 1983Nov 12, 1985Clark Raymond WBig bale handling system
US6120231 *Jun 7, 1999Sep 19, 2000Hauni Maschinebau AgMethod of and apparatus for emptying containers for flowable materials such as comminuted tobacco leaves
US6220811Aug 18, 1999Apr 24, 2001Michael J. BerneckerApparatus and method for handling and transporting bales
US6371717May 11, 2000Apr 16, 2002Abb Automation Inc.Device for mechanically gripping and loading cylindrical objects
US8079799May 9, 2007Dec 20, 2011Petersen Industries, IncApparatus and method for lifting containers
US8567836Jun 7, 2010Oct 29, 2013Lavalley Industries, LlcGripping assembly and gripping members for a grapple attachment
Classifications
U.S. Classification414/731, 414/422, 414/732, 414/739
International ClassificationB66C1/42, B65G65/23, B65G65/00, B66C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationB66C23/54, B66C1/42, B66C3/005
European ClassificationB66C1/42, B66C3/00B, B66C23/54