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Publication numberUS3719348 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 6, 1973
Filing dateDec 15, 1971
Priority dateDec 15, 1971
Publication numberUS 3719348 A, US 3719348A, US-A-3719348, US3719348 A, US3719348A
InventorsH Wells
Original AssigneeBell Telephone Labor Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cable-handling machine
US 3719348 A
Images(5)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 6, 1973 H. A. WELLS 3,719,348

CABLE- HANDLING MACHINE Filed Dec. 15, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 6, 1973 H. A. WELLS BfiWfifi CABLE-HANDLING momma Filed Dec. 15, 1971 5 Shasta-Sheet 2 March 6, 1973 H. A. WELLS 3,719,348

CABLE-HANDLING MACHINE Filed Dec. 15, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 FIG. 4

March 1973 H. A. WELLS CABLE-HANDLING MACHINE 5 Sheets-Sheet 4.

Filed Dec. 15, 1971 March 6, 1973 H. A. WELLS 3,719,348

CABLE- HANDLING MACHINE Flled Dec. 15, 1971 5 Sheets-Sheet 0 FIG. 6'

TROLLEY CARRIAGE United States Patent O 3,719,348 CABLE-HANDLING MACHINE Herbert Arthur Wells, Westfield, N.J., assignor to Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated, Murray Hill and Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Filed Dec. 15, 1971, Ser. No. 208,127 Int. Cl. B65h 54/00 U.S. Cl. 254-134.3 SC 14 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An improved cable-handling machine for controlling the feeding of cable into and out of a stowage tank. The machine comprises a radial boom having one end rotatably mounted on the top of a core structure in the tank. The other end of the boom is suspended from a motordriven trolley having wheels which are supported on a flange of a circular beam attached to the rim of the tank. A cable carriage is slidably mounted on the boom and has a portion which projects outwardly and downwardly. A separate radial drive system causes the carriage to travel back and forth along the boom for varying the radial distance between the core structure and the projecting portion of the carriage independently of the movement of the trolley.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACT The invention herein claimed was made in the course of or under a contract with the Department of the Navy.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to cable-handling equipment and, more particularly, to an improved machine for controlling and directing the movement of cable either into or out of a cable stowage tank. The invention is especially useful for handling ocean communication cable that is integrally provided at spaced intervals with heavy instrumentality housings of considerably greater diameter than the cable.

In laying an undersea cable, such as a transatlantic telephone cable, the usual procedure is to manufacture the cable in long sections each having a length of approximately 200 miles. This cable is stowed in the hold of a cable-laying ship which carries it to the point where it is to be laid. In order to restrain the cable securely while it is being carried in the ship, it is customary to construct a large cylindrical tank in the ships hold for receiving the cable. The dimensions of this tank may, for example, be forty feet in diameter and twenty-five feet in height. To prevent kinks from being formed in the cable when it is subsequently pulled out of the tank, a central core structure, commonly referred to as a cone, is constructed in the center of the tank. The configuration of this'core structure may be either conical or cylindrical and it may have a base diameter of six to ten feet.

Heretofore, the process of stowing cable in the tank has required a number of men to handle the cable. The procedure has been to lower an end of the cable to the bottom of the tank where the men pick it up and manually carry it to the wall of the tank. From this starting point, and while the cable continues to be lowered into the tank, the men coil the cable in a clockwise direction, turn against turn, until it reaches the central core structure thus forming the bottom layer of coiled cable. This procedure is repeated by the men so that successive layers of coiled cable are formed one upon another until the tank is filled.

This process of manually coiling the cable in the stowage tank involves much heavy labor because of the long lengths of the cable turns. Furthermore, the cable 3,719,348 Patented Mar. 6, 1973 is usually provided at spaced intervals with lump-type housing structures connected integrally thereto. These housing structures contain electric instrumentalities constituting such equipment as repeaters or equalizers. They are each usually several feet in length and have a diameter that is considerably larger than the diameter of the cable. Since each instrumentality housing ordinarily weights several hundred pounds, their handling by the men in the tank requires a great amount of work.

There are a number of disadvantages inherent in this process of stowing cable. One disadvantage is that, due to its laborious nature, it requires a large crew of men and is therefore costly. Another disadvantage is that the procedure is hazardous because the men must walk on top of the layers of coiled cable which have curved surfaces that form insecure footings for the men. An additional hazard is that the men are liable to stumble against the instrumentality housings which are stowed in the tank. Also, while the men are coiling the cable, they must take care to avoid being struck by the incoming cable and instrumentality housings which are continually being lowered into the tank. A further disadvantage is that, due to the necessarily slow maneuvering of the men, this process of coiling cable in the stowage tank consumes a large amount of time.

Accordingly, there has long existed a need for an improved cable-stowing method which will not involve the expense of a large crew of men, which will not be hazardous, and which will operate at a faster speed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is designed to overcome the above-mentioned disadvantages and also to fulfill the requirements of the above-mentioned needed cable-stowing method by providing an improved cable-handling machine for controlling the feeding of cable either into or out of a cable stowage tank. The machine comprises a radial boom which has one end mounted on the top of the central core structure of a stowage tank by means of pillow block bearings which permit vertical tilting movement of the boom. The pillow block bearings are, in turn, mounted on top of a rotatable vertical shaft which is supported by large flange bearings in the core structure for enabling the boom to rotate in either direction.

The other, or outer, end of the boom is pivotally attached to a trapeze that is pivotally suspended from a peripheral drive system comprising a motor-driven trolley assembly. This trolley assembly is provided with wheels which are supported on a flange of a circular beam that is attached to the rim of the stowage tank. Electric power for driving the trolley assembly around the rim of the stowage tank in either direction is supplied from a circuit that extends through slip rings mounted inside the central vertical shaft and passes along the boom to the trapeze and thence to the trolley assembly. When the trolley assembly is driven, it carries the trapeze with it around the rim of the stowage tank. Since the outer end of the boom is attached to the trapeze, it will follow the movement of the trapeze and will thus rotate about its inner end which is rotatably mounted on the central core structure.

A cable carriage is slidably mounted on the boom and has a portion which projects outwardly from one side of the boom and extends downwardly therefrom. The boom is provided with a separate radial drive system for causing the carriage to travelback and forth along the length of the boom for varying the radial distance between the central core structure and the projecting end of the carriage independently of the movement of the boom. A series of steel rollers are rotatably mounted transversely along the middle portion of the boom with each roller being disposed in parallel to each other and with the series of rollers being in parallel with the longitudinal axis of the boom. Two other series of steel rollers are rotatably mounted on opposite sides of the middle series of rollers in such a manner that the longitudinal axis of each of their rollers is disposed at an angle with respect to the longitudinal axis of an associated roller in the middle series thereby defining a trough for conveying a cable. The trough is of sufiicient size to accommodate the passage of the large instrumentality housings that are connected into the cable at spaced intervals. A somewhat similar combination of rollers is mounted on the reciprocating carriage so that cable conveyed along the trough will be deflected into the stowage tank.

A control console is provided for enabling an operator to control both the speed and the direction of movement of the trolley assembly and, independently thereof, to control both the speed and direction of movement of the cable carriage. By thus controlling the movements of the cable carriage and the trolley assembly, which carries with it the trapeze and the outer end of the boom, cable can be easily and quickly conveyed into the tank to positions varying from the wall of the tank to its central core structure. When it is desired to remove the cable from the tank, a similar procedure is followed except that the console is so operated as to reverse the direction of the movement of the trolley assembly thereby reversing the direction of the rotation of the boom.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The features of this invention are more fully discussed in connection with the following detailed description of the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a simplified perspective view of a cablehandling machine constructed in accordance with this invention and attached to a cable stowage tank;

FIG. 2. is a detailed perspective view of the cablehandling machine that is shown on a smaller scale in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an end view of the bearing structures for supporting the inner end of the boom;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the motor-driven trolley assembly and its trapeze for supporting the outer end of the boom;

FIG. 5 is a detailed perspective view of the roller structures for slidably conveying a cable and its integral instrumentality housings along the boom and its reciproeating carriage; and

FIG. 6 is a front view of the control console showing in particular the various legends associated with its control switches.

In the exemplary embodiment of the invention that is shown in FIG. 1, a cable-handling machine 1, which is constructed in accordance with this invention, is attached to the top of a cable stowage tank 2 having a central core structure 3, commonly referred to as a cone." The tank 2 is situated in the hold of a cable-laying ship and its vertically disposed upper portion is surrounded by a mezzanine deck 4. The rim, or upper edge, of the tank 2 is encircled by a protective guard wall 5 which projects upwardly about three feet above the surface of the mezzanine deck 4.

A control console 6 is positioned on the mezzanine deck 4 and is provided with a plurality of control instrumentalities, or switches, arranged in three columns. As is best indicated in FIG. 6, the switches in the middle and left columns are adapted for controlling the operation of the peripheral drive system while the switches in the right column are adapted for controlling the radial drive system. Electric conductors extending from these control switches are combined in an electric cable 7 for supplying control currents to the cable-handling machine 1. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the cable 7 passes from the console 6 and travels downward through an opening in the mezzanine deck 4 to the bottom portion of the tank 2. The cable 7 then enters the tank 2 through an appropriate Opening and passes upward through the interior of the cone 3 where an electrical connection to the cable-handling machine 1 is efiected as is described in detail hereinafter.

As can be seen in FIG. 1, the main deck 8 of the ship has an opening cut in it directly above the center of the tank 2. A bellmouth casing 9 is mounted in this opening for guiding the passage of an ocean communication cable 10 and its associated instrumentality housings 11, which are connected integrally therein at spaced intervals. As is also represented in FIG. 1, the weather deck 12 of the ship has an opening cut in its directly above the bellmouth casing 9 in the main deck 8. This opening in the weather deck 12 is surrounded by a vertically disposed protective guard wall 13. A cable-conveying trough 14, which is positioned above the weather deck 12, has a curved end that projects downwardly through the guard wall 13 and into the opening in the weather deck 12.

Thus, during the cable stowing process, the cable 10 and its instrumentality housings 11 are fed along the trough 14, through the opening in the weather deck 12, through the bellmouth 9 in the main deck 8, and then down into the center of the stowage tank 2. Conversely, during cable paying-out operations, the cable 10 and its instrumentality housings 11 are pulled upward out of the stowage tank 2, passing through the bellmouth 9 to the trough 14, and are then pulled oil? the ship.

As is shown in FIG. 1, and more clearly in FIG. 2, the cable-handling machine 1 comprises a radial boom 15 made of structural steel and comprising two flanged beams 16 which, in this embodiment of the invention, are ten inches wide. The inner end of the boom 15 is rotatably mounted on the top of the cone 3 by means that are fully described hereinafter. The outer end of the boom 15 is pivotally attached to a trapeze 17 that, in turn, is pivotally suspended from a motor-driven trolley assembly 18 which is described in detail hereinafter.

The trolley assembly 18 is provided with suspensory means constituted by a plurality of wheels .19 that are supported on the lower flanges formed on each side of a circular flanged beam 20 which, in this exemplary embodiment, is ten inches Wide. This beam 20 is attached to the guard wall 5 and the rim of the storage tank 2 by any suitable means, such as by a number of brackets 21, so that it is disposed in the shape of a circle with the plane of the circle parallel to the plane of the bottom portion of the tank 2.

It can thus be understood that. the circular beam 20 forms a track for the suspended trolley assembly 18 to travel around the rim of the tank 2 in either a clockwise direction or a counterclockwise direction. This movement of the trolley assembly 18 carries with it the trapeze 17 which, in turn, pulls the outer end of the boom 15 and thereby effects the rotation of the boom 15.

This rotary movement of the boom 15 is permitted by its bearing structures which constitute pivot means or rotatable means for rotatably attaching this end of the boom 15 to the top of the cone 3. This structure will now be described with reference to FIG. 3 which shows two pillow block bearings 22 positioned under the boom 15. These pillow block bearings 22 are attached by pins 23 to flanges 24 that are welded to the bottom surface of a crossbar 25 which is disposed between the two rails 16 at a point near the inner end of the boom 15, as is best seen in FIG. 2. This crossbar 25 is securely fastened to the rails 16 by any convenient means, such as by weldmg.

The bottom portions of the pillow block bearings 22 are suitably mounted on the upper surface of a metallic plate 26 that is attached to the top of a rotatable vertical shaft 27. Since the plate 26 thus supports the weight of the inner end of the boom 15, it is reinforced with a plurality of gussets, or brackets, 28 suitably attached to both the plate 26 and the shaft 27. The bottom ends of the gussets 28 abut against a metallic ring 29 which tightly encircles the shaft 27 and is securely welded thereto. The ring 29 is supported upon the top of a conventional large flange bearing 31 that is held by a circular metallic plate 32. As is best seen in FIG. 2, the plate 32 is mounted on the top of the cone 3 and is securely attached thereto by a plurality of bolts 33.

The large flange bearing 31 that is mounted upon the plate 32 comprises a race 34 holding a plurality of roller bearings 3-5 which embrace the vertical shaft 27. This bearing 31 is so designed as to resist any tendency by the boom 15 for causing thrust movement. Since, as was mentioned above, the ring 29 is positioned upon the upper surface of the race 34, it is evident that the race 34 thus provides the chief support for the weight of the inner end of the boom 15.

The bottom surface of the plate 32 has a plurality of brackets 36 attached thereto. These brackets 36 function as suspensory means for suspending a plate 37 which supports another large flange bearing 38. This lower bearing 38 is similar to the upper bearing 31 and includes roller bearings for embracing the lower portion of the vertical shaft 27. Thus, the upper and lower flange bearings 31 and 38 serve to provide steady supports for the rotation of the shaft 27.

As is shown in FIG. 3, the lower end of the vertical shaft 27 extends into a metallic box 39 that is suspended by a plurality of brackets 41 which have their upper ends attached to the bottom surface of the plate 37. The bottom of the box 39 has an opening therein for admitting the electric cable 7 which, as was explained above, extends from the control console 6, through the bottom of the tank 2, and then upward through the interior of the cone 3 to the box 39. At this point, it should be noted that the vertical shaft 27 is hollow and that one portion of another electric cable 42 extends from the boom 15 into the top of the shaft 27 and passes downward through the interior of the shaft 27 and then into the box 39. A conventional slip ring assembly is mounted inside the box 39 for transfering electric energy from the cable 7 to the cable 42, particularly during the rotation of the shaft 27. Other portions of the cable 42 lead to a radial drive system and a peripheral drive system that are described in detail hereinafter.

As was stated above, the outer end of the boom 15 is pivotally attached to the trapeze 17. This connection is illustrated in FIG. 2 wherein it can be seen that the outer end of the boom 15 is provided with a lug 40 which is attached to one portion of a clevis 43 by means of a vertical pin 50. Another portion of the clevis 43 is inserted between two brackets 44 that are securely mounted on the horizontal bar 45 of the trapeze 17. A horizontal- 1y disposed pin 46 passes through holes in the brackets 44 and this portion of the clevis 43. Thus, the pins 46 and 50 constitute a double joint for pivotally attaching the clevis 43 and the outer end of the boom 15 to the brackets 44 and the trapeze 17. It should be noted that, as is shown in both FIGS. 2 and 4, the trapeze 17 also includes two vertically disposed plates 47 which are securely fastened to opposite ends of the horizontal bar The trolley assembly 18 has two portions 48 and 49 that are positioned above the trapeze 17 and that are each equipped with a plurality of wheels 19 rotatably held in a respectively associated frame 51. As can be seen in the drawing, each frame 51 has two pairs of wheels 19 with each pair being in engagement with a respectively different lower flange on opposite sides of the circular beam '20. This construction enables the trolley assembly 18 to travel around the track constituted by the beam 20 without falling off.

Each of the frames 51 has its lower portion provided with a pair of parallelly disposed crossplates 52 rigidly attached thereto. The inner surfaces of the crossplates 52 in each pair have depressed portions, or sockets, for receiving therein a conventional spherical bearing 60 that is attached to the upper end of the respectively associated vertical plate 47 of the trapeze 17. These spherical bearings act as hinge means for enabling the trapeze 17 to swing freely for accommodating variations in the radial distances from the center of the cone 3 to various portions of the track constituted by the circular beam 20. This accommodation is further facilitated by reason of the outer end of the beam 15 being pivotally attached to the trapeze 17 by means of the clevis 43 and pivot pin 46. Thus, both the trapeze 17 and the boom 15 can rotate on the pivot pin 46. It is appropriate at this point to state that variations in the height of the track 20 are accommodated because the pins 23 in the pillow block bearings 22 on the top of the cone 3 enable the boom 15 to tilt up and down during its rotation.

The trolley assembly 18 also includes a third portion 53 that is similar to the first and second portions 48 and 49 and which, in like manner is equipped with two pairs of wheels 19 rotatably held in a frame 51. As is shown in the drawing, the lower ends of the trolley portions 49 and 53 support a chassis, or platform, 54 which is rigidly attached thereto. The chassis 54 carries a reversible motor 55, a brake 56, and a conventional gear reducer 57 which are each securely fastened to the chassis 54 and which constitutes a peripheral drive system.

Electric power for operating this peripheral drive system is suplied by a portion of the above-mentioned electric cable 42 over a path extending from top of the cone 3, along the length of the boom 15, and then along the chassis 54 as is indicated in FIG. 4. Since, as was explained above, the electric cable 42 is coupled by the slip ring assembly in the box 39 to the electric cable 7 which extends to the control console 6, it can be understood that the operation of the peripheral drive system can be easily effected by manually operating the appropriate controls in the console 6.

As is best seen in FIG. 2, this peripheral drive system controls both the speed and direction of rotation of a driving sprocket wheel 58 connected at the gear reducer 57. The driving sprocket wheel 58 drives a sprocket chain 59 which passes around a driven sprocket wheel 61 that is securely fastened to one side of a friction wheel 62. The friction Wheel 62 is disposed immediately beneath the bottom surface of the circular beam 20 and its axle is normally biased upward by conventional spring means so that the rim of the friction wheel 62 presses against the beam 20. Good frictional engagement between the friction wheel 62 and the beam 20 is obtained by providing the rim of the friction wheel 62 with a coating of polyurethane. Thus, operation of the drive wheel 58 will effect corresponding operation of the friction wheel 62 which will, accordingly, drive the trolley assembly 18 around the circular track constituted by the beam 20. In this manner, the trapeze 17 will pull the outer end of the boom 15 in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

As was mentioned above, a series of steel rollers 63 are rotatably mounted transversely along the length of the middle portion of the boom 15. Each of the rollers 63 is disposed in parallel with each of the other rollers 63 and the entire series of rollers 63 is in parallel with the longitudinal axis of the boom 15. A second series of similar rollers 64 is rotatably mounted on the boom 15 along one side of the first series of rollers 63. A third series of similar rollers 65 is also rotatably mounted on the boom 15 along the opposite side of the first series of rollers 63. Thus, the three series constitute a middle series 63 having end series 64 and 65 disposed on each side thereof.

As is best seen in FIG. 5, each of the rollers is rotatablv held by a suitable bracket 66 which is securely attached to the boom 15 in any convenient manner, such as by welding it thereto. Thus, each roller is so mounted as to be adapted for rotation about its longitudinal axis. It can be seen in the drawing, that the rollers in the middle series 63 have their longitudinal axes parallelly disposed in a plane which is parallel to the main plane of the boom 15. It can also be seen that the rollers in the left end series 64 have their longitudinal axes parallelly arranged in a plane which is angularly disposed with respect to the plane of the middle series 63. In a somewhat similar manner, the rollers in the right end series 65 have parallel longitudinal axes which are placed in a plane that intersects the plane of the middle series 63 at the same angle as the left series 64 but at the opposite side thereof. This angular configuration of the roller instrumentalities serves to define a low friction trough for conveying both the ocean cable and its instrumentality housings 11 which are integrally connected therein at spaced intervals.

This trough, or boom 15, is further provided with deflecting means adapted for deflecting the ocean cable 10 from the roller trough and for directing the cable 10 toward the bottom portion of the stowage tank 2. These deflecting means comprise a cable carriage 67 mounted upon the trough, or boom, and having a structural steel framework 68 with a number of brackets 69 fixedly attached thereto for rotatably supporting three series of steel rollers. The rollers and their brackets 69 are so disposed as to form a middle series 71 with one end series 72 at one side thereof and another end series 73 along the other side.

These three series 71, 72, and 73 of rollers are so situated as to project outwardly from one side of the boom 15 for forming a curve or bend in the path followed by the cable 10. In order to confine the cable 10 to this curved path, the brackets 69 are mounted in such a manner that the longitudinal axes of the rollers in each of the end series 72 and 73 are perpendicularly disposed at opposite ends of the longitudinal axes of the rollers in the middle series 71 thus constituting a channel for guiding the cable 10.

As is shown in the drawing, the roller members forming that part of the channel which is nearest to the cone 3 are positioned above the roller instrumentalities forming the trough 15. It can be further seen in the drawing that the curved path formed by the three series 71, 72, and 73 of rollers subsequently dips, or curves, downward so that the projecting exit end of this path is substantially lower than the outer end of the trough 15. This construction results from at least portions of the roller members in this section of the channel being positioned below the roller instrumentalities in the trough 15. Accordingly, one part of the deflecting channel is positioned above the trough 15 while another part is disposed below the trough 15.

It should be noted that the framework 68 of the carriage 67 surrounds a portion of the trough, or boom, 15 and includes mounting means comprising two channel members, or mounts, 74 which are adapted for engaging both the upper and lower flanges of the two beams 16 of the boom 15 so that the carriage 67 can slide along the track constituted by the flanged beams 16 in a direction corresponding to a radius of the tank 2. Such sliding movement of the carriage 67 is facilitated by equipping the interior surfaces of the channel members 74 with suitable rollers so that the carriage 67 can slide easily back and forth along the beams 16.

The reciprocating movement of the carriage 67 is effected by driving means comprising two lead screws 75 that are loosely held on the outer side of each of the beams 16 in a plurality of pillow block bearings 76 which are fixedly attached to the beams 16. In addition, the lead screws 75 are threaded through a plurality of nuts 77 which are fixedly secured to the outer side of each of the channel members 74 as is best seen in FIG. 2. Thus, rotation of the lead screws 75 in one direction will cause the carriage 67 to move toward the outer end of the boom 16 while rotation of the lead screws 75 in the opposite direction will eflect the movement of the carriage 67 toward the inner end of the boom 16. In this way, the rotation of the lead screws 75 produce reciprocating motion of the carriage 67 in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of the roller trough, or boom, 15 for thereby varying the radial distance between the inner end of the boom 15 at the cone 3 and the projecting exit end of the carriage 67.

The rotation of the lead screws 75 is effected by means of a radial drive system including a suitable reversible motor 78 and a reducer 79 which are connected by a conventional system of sprockets and timing belts 81 to each of the lead screws 75, as is best seen in FIG. 2. The radial drive system is equipped with forward, reverse, and stop controls including a conventional limit switch 82. Thus, this radial drive system is designed to effect the movement of the carriage 67 either toward or away from the vertical wall of the stowage tank 2 at a constant speed of about six feet per minute.

Electric power for operating the radial drive system is supplied by a portion of the above-mentioned electric cable 42 which is coupled by the slip ring assembly in the box 39 to the electric cable 7 extending to the control console 6. Thus, the operation of the radial drive system can be conveniently regulated by manually operating the appropriate control instrumentalities in the console 6.

When the cable-handling machine 1 is to be used for loading the cable 10 into the tank 2, the beginning end of the ocean cable 10 is first fed along the trough 14, through the opening in the weather deck 12, through the bellmouth 9 in the main deck 8, and then down into the stowage tank 2. At this point, the cable It) meets the inner end of the boom 15 and passes along the trough constituted by the rollers 63, 64, and 65 until it meets the carriage 67 which lifts the cable 10 slightly off the boom 15 to a somewhat elevated position and guides the cable 10 along the curving channel formed by the rollers 71, 72, and 73. When the cable 10 reaches lower portion of the roller channel at the exit end of the carriage 67, it drops downward to the bottom portion of the stowage tank 2 where it is to be coiled.

Although the cable 10 can be coiled in either direction, it is customary to coil it in a clockwise direction. One preferred procedure is to begin at a position adjacent to the vertical wall of the stowage tank 2 and then form concentric coils of diminishing radii until the wall of the cone 3 is reached. At this point, an upper layer of coils is formed beginning around the cone 3 and extending outward toward the wall of the tank 2 with increasing radii. This procedure is repeated until the tank 2 is filled.

Accordingly, in performing the above loading operation, the attendant at the console 6 will first operate the Carriage Forward switch 83, as shown in FIG. 6, for operating the radial drive motor 78 in such a direction as to cause the carriage 67 to move toward the wall of the tank 2. When the exit end of the carriage 67 is close to the wall of the tank 2, the limit switch 82 will become operated and will stop the motor 78. The attendant next adjusts the Trolley Speed switch to a slow speed, places the Jog-Run switch 85 in its Jog position, puts the Brake switch 86 in its Off position, and depresses the Trolley Forward switch 87. This will start the peripheral drive motor 55 which will drive the trolley assembly 18 thereby causing the boom 15 to rotate slowly in a clockwise direction.

During the rotation of the boom 15, the cable 10 will slide off the exit end of the carriage 67 and will be deposited upon the bottom of the tank 2 and will form a coil against the wall of the tank 2. When the turn of this coil nears completion, the attendant actuates the Carriage Reverse switch 88 for reversing the operation of the radial drive motor 78 and thereby causing the carriage 67 to move toward the cone 3. This will cause the cable 10 to drop at a point that is spaced apart from the wall so as to form a second coiled turn. At about this time, the attendant can manipulate the Speed control switch 84 for increasing the speed of rotation of the boom 15. This procedure is continued until the coils approach the cone 3. At this time, the Speed control switch 84 should be adjusted to reduce the speed of rotation of the boom 15 because the coils will now be of shorter radii. Thus, by coordinating the speed of rotation of the boom 15 with the radial movement of the carriage 67, a layer of coiled cable will be deposited upon the bottom of the tank 2.

When the carriage 67 reaches the inner end of the boom 15, the limit switch 82 will again be operated to stop the radial drive motor 78. Accordingly, the attendant will now actuate the Carriage Forward switch 83 for causing the motor 78 to drive the carriage 67 toward the wall of the tank 2. This action causes a second layer of coiled cable 10 to be deposited upon the first layer, but this second layer will start at the cone 3 and the turns will progressively move toward the wall of the tank 2. When this second layer is completely formed, a third layer will next be deposited in the same manner as the first layer. This process of coiling from the wall toward the cone 3 and then from the cone 3 toward the wall is repeated until the tank 2 is filled.

It should be noted that when one of the heavy instrumentality housings 11, which are integrally connected into the cable 10 at spaced intervals, is fed onto the carriage 67, the attendant must be particularly careful to coordinate the speed of the peripheral drive system with that of the radial drive system so that the housing 11 will not be placed in a skewed position. If there should be any difliculty, the attendant can actuate either the Trolley Stop control switch 89 which will stop the trolley motor 55 or the attendant can operate the Carriage Stop switch 91 which will stop the motor 78. The attendant also has the option of operating the Trolley Reverse switch 92 which will effect the reverse operation of the motor 55 for causing the trolley assembly 18 to be driven in the reverse direction thereby producing rotation of the boom 15 in a counterclockwise direction.

After the cable 10 has been stowed in the tank 2, the cable-laying ship can proceed to the point where the cable is to be laid. It will now become necessary to feed the cable 10 out of tank 2 and to convey it over the deck of the ship and into the ocean. Accordingly, the procedure described above will now be reversed so that the cable 10 will move upward from the tank 2, through the bellmouth 9, and then along the trough 14 to the point Where the cable 10 is overboarded into the ocean. As this procedure involves uncoiling the cable .10, the Trolley Reverse switch 92 is operated for causing the trolley assembly 18 to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. Since this process of paying out the cable -10 is normally performed at a faster rate of speed than the loading, or stowing, process, the attendant will ordinarily find it convenient to operate the Jog-Run switch 85 in its Run position and to retard the movement of the trolley assembly 18, when necessary, by putting the Brake control :86 in its On position. During this paying out process, the attendant must operate the carriage controls 83 and 88 so as to coordinate the reciprocating motion of the carriage 67 with the peripheral movement of the trolley assembly 18.

If it should be desired to obtain full access to the interior of the stowage tank 2 for maintenance or other purposes, the boom 15 can be readily moved out of the way. This can be easily accomplished by first withdrawing the pivot pins 23 from the pillow block bearings 22 at the inner end of the boom 15. This function to detach the boom 15 from the top portion of the cone 3. Upon being thus released, the boom 15 can be moved about the double joint comprising the clevis 43 and the pins 46 and '50 which couple the boom 15 to the trapeze 17. Accordingly, the inner end of the boom 15 can be swung away from the cone 3 and moved in a direction toward the wall of the tank 2. Alternatively, the inner end of the boom 15 can be moved upward in a vertical direction by means of any convenient hoist.

What is claimed is:

1. A cable-handling machine for guiding cable into a cable stowage tank having a central core structure,

said core structure having a top portion,

said tank having a bottom portion and a vertically disposed wall,

a track fastened to the upper portion of said wall and disposed in the shape of a circle with the plane of said circle parallel to the plane of the bottom porof said tank;

a trapeze normally positioned below said track,

suspensory means for suspending said trapeze from said track,

said suspensory means including rotatable means in engagement with said track for movement thereon,

means for driving said rotatable means for producing movement of said suspensory means and said trapeze beneath and along the length of said track,

a boom adapted for conveying a cable along at least a portion of the length of said boom,

said boom having first and second ends,

pivot means for pivotally mounting said first end of said boom on said top portion of said core structure,

attaching means for attaching said second end of said boom to said trapeze for movement therewith whereby said boom is caused to revolve around said pivot means,

and deflecting means adapted for deflecting a cable conveyed along said boom and for directing said deflected cable toward said bottom portion of said stowage tank.

2. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said deflecting means comprise a first portion positioned above said boom and adapted for lifting a cable off said boom and for thereby raising it to an elevated position above said boom,

and wherein said deflecting means further comprise a second portion disposed below said boom and adapted for conveying said cable from said elevated position to a position below said boom.

3. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said deflecting means is slidably mounted on said boom for sliding movement in a direction parallel to the longitudinal axis of said boom,

and further comprising driving means for efiecting the sliding movement of said deflecting means back and forth along the length of said boom,

and control instrumentalities adapted for controlling the operation of said driving means independently of the movement of said boom.

4. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim .1 wherein said suspensory means include hinge means for enabling said trapeze to be swung toward and away from said vertically disposed portion of said tank for accommodating variations in the radial distance from said core structure to said track.

'5. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 1 wherein said attaching means include a double joint,

and further comprising means for obtaining full access to the interior of said stowage tank,

said last-mentioned means comprising removable means for detaching said first end of said boom from said top portion of said core structure whereby said boom is released 'for rotation about said joint so that said first end of said boom can be moved away from said core structure in a direction extending toward said circular track and alternatively can be moved in an upward direction away from said central core structure.

6. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 1 and further comprising a plurality of series of rotatable means,

each of said rotatable means being mounted transversely on said boom in parallel with each other,

and each of said series of rotatable means being disposed in parallel with the longitudinal axis of said boom.

7. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 6 wherein said parallelly disposed series of rotatable means comprise a middle series of rotatable means with an end series of rotatable means on each side thereof,

wherein each of said rotatable means has a longitudinal axis about which it is adapted to rotate,

and wherein said longitudinal axes in each of said end series of rotatable means are disposed at an angle with respect to said longitudinal axes in said middle series of rotatable means in such a manner as to define a trough adapted for conveying a cable.

8. A cable-handling machine for feeding a cable into and out of a stowage tank,

said tank having a bottom portion with a core structure disposed at the center thereof,

said tank further including a circular wall vertically disposed at a distance from said central core structure and having a peripheral track attached to its upper portion,

said cable-handling machine comprising instrumentalities constituting a trough adapted for conveying said cable along the length of said trough,

first mounting means for mounting said trough radially in said tank so that it extends from the top of said central core structure to said wall of said tank,

said first mounting means including rotatable means for rotatably attaching a first end of said trough to the top of said central core structure and further including suspensory means for connecting a second end of said trough to said peripheral track for movement therearound,

a peripheral drive system adapted for driving said second end of said trough around said track whereby said first end of said trough rotateson the top of said core structure,

deflecting means adapted for deflecting a cable from its passage along said trough and for diverting it in a direction extending toward said bottom portion of said tank,

second mounting means for mounting said deflecting means on said trough for movement in a direction corresponding to a radius of said tank,

a radial drive system adapted for driving said deflecting means back and forth along the length of said trough whereby a cable conveyed along said trough is deflected therefrom at varying points therealong and is diverted toward said bottom portion of said tank,

and control means for operating both said peripheral drive system and said radial drive system independently of each other.

9. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 8 wherein said second mounting means include means fixedly attached to said deflecting means for embracing said trough along opposite sides of its longitudinal axis,

wherein said deflecting means comprise a plurality of members constituting a channel adapted for conveying a cable along the length of said deflecting means,

and wherein some of said members are positioned above said instrumentalities constituting said trough and at least portions of other of said members are positioned below said instrumentalities whereby one portion of said channel is positioned above said trough while another portion of said channel is disposed below said trough.

10. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 8 wherein said peripheral drive system comprises at least one drive wheel in engagement with said peripheral track,

a motor adapted for operating said drive wheel,

a trolley adapted for supporting said motor,

and mounting means for rotatably mounting said trolley on said peripheral track for movement therearound.

11. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 10 wherein said radial drive system includes a motor mounted on said trough for movement therewith,

wherein said control means comprise a plurality of control instrumentalities positioned completely outside of said tank, and wherein a first group of said control instrumentalities are adapted for controlling said motor that is supported by said trolley while a second group of said control instrumentalities are adapted for controlling said motor that is mounted on said trough,

and both said first and said second groups of instru mentalities being adapted for operation separately from each other whereby both of said motors have their operations independently controlled.

12. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 10 wherein said suspensory means of said first mounting means include a trapeze having a horizontally disposed member and at least one vertically disposed member,

attaching means for attaching a portion of said vertically disposed member to said trolley for movement therewith along said peripheral track,

and coupling means attached to said horizontally disposed member and adapted for engaging said second end of said trough.

13. A cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 12 wherein said coupling means include a double joint for pivotally holding said second end of said trough,

and wherein said rotatable means of said first mounting means is detachable from said central core structure whereby said first end of said trough is released for movement about said double joint in a direction extending toward said wall of said tank and for alternative movement in a vertical direction extending upwardly from said top of said core structure.

14. A'cable-handling machine in accordance with claim 12 wherein said attaching means comprise means for accommodating variations in the radial distances from said top of said central core structure to respectively difierent portions of said peripheral track,

said last-mentioned means including a spherical hearing adapted for movement of said vertically disposed member thereabout whereby said trapeze is adapted for swinging motion toward and away from said wall of said tank.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,973,919 3/1961 Goldrick 254-1343 SC 3,236,467 2/1966 Short 242-54R 3,247,674 4/ 1966 Macardier 24254R OTHELL M. SIMPSON, Primary Examiner R. C. WATSON, Assistant Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R. 2.4254R

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Classifications
U.S. Classification254/134.3SC, 242/361.4, 242/390.8
International ClassificationF16L1/12, F16L1/20, B65H75/34, B65H75/36
Cooperative ClassificationB65H75/364, F16L1/202
European ClassificationB65H75/36B2, F16L1/20C