US 3722662 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Wakabayashi et al.
 SUCCESSIVE TRANSFER APPARATUS FOR SURFACE TREATMENT OF ELONGATE ARTICLES  Inventors: Ikuzo Wakabayashi; Tsutomu Sasaki, both of Yokohama,- Japan  Assignee: Nippon Kakon Kabushiki Kaisha  Filed: Mar. 26, 1971  Appl. No 128,452
 1 Foreign Application Priority Data Oct. 20, 1970 Japan ..45/9l613 52 US. Cl ..198 82, 198/218 51 7 Int. Cl. ..'...B65g 37/00, B65g 25/04  Field ofSearch ..19s/27,31,21s,219,75
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 14 1 Mar. 27, 1973 2,708,501 5/1955 Boehm ..198/27 3,061,078 10/1962 Davies.... .....198/218 2,961,729 11/1960 Colliva l98/27 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 618,670 3/1961 Italy ..198/219 Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter Attorney-Flynn & Frishauf  ABSTRACT transfer of the articles into, through and from the plating bath or coating tank, and so mechanically coordinated that the plating or coating operation can be performed automatically and without interruption of operation.
12 Claims, 22 Drawing Figures 3,060,786 12/1962 Allgeyer ..19s 27 I200 m 120: 120 A a 12o 300 471 700 o k 470 470 o D I 0 0 o O 2302001: 2 20 o o no W a o l 552 L 555 550 PATENTEUHARZYIQH 3, 7 ,552
SHEET 10F s PATENTEDMAR271973 SHEET 2 [IF 8 PATENTEDHARZYISYS SHEET 8 OF 8 FIG. 2|
SUCCESSIVE TRANSFER APPARATUS FOR SURFACE TREATMENT OF ELONGATE ARTICLES face processing tank, such as a plating, bath, coating bath, or the like.
In automatic machining or assembly devices, a chute or a chain conveyor system is sometimes used for the transport of small-sized articles such as screws, pins, or the like successively and in trim order. In the case'of the plating devices, however, no devices are known and utilized whereby small articles such as screws, pins, or the like can be transported in succession through the plating bath for a plating operation as these articles are difficult to process severally without lowering the operational efficiency. However, in recent days, there is an increasing demand for devices enabling the positive and uniform surface processing of these articles on their entire peripheral surfaces.
Moreover, it has often been experienced that the plating step requires usually much more timethan the pre-processing steps, suchas a pickling step. In consequence, by having one processing line divided or branched into a desired number of lines, the efficiency of the transport operation can be remarkable improved.
The present invention seeks to provide an apparatus comprising various component units which are mechanically inter-related to each other so as to fully satisfy the above-mentioned requirements.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention resides in means forming a plurality of processing lines forthe elongate articles, each line having a path comprising in succession a section leading into a processing tank or other vessel, a section leading through the tank or vessel, and a section leading from the previous section out'of the tank or vessel. Means are provided for feeding articles in singleline or row into each processing line for progress therethrough. A vertically disposed transfer unit is located in the downwardly first section and has means for stepwise movement of articles from a position above the tank to a position in the lower portion of the tank. The section in the tank base member with a plurality of articlereceiving recesses arranged in a row, one end recess of which is arranged to receive articles in succession from the transfer unit. Crank means connected to various members of the section in the tank imparts a succession of forward and rearward strokes thereto to move articles in the row from one to the other of the recesses while rotating the articles about their axes. As each article arrives at the other end recess it is picked out of the recess and lifted out of the tank by a graspingunit.
The present invention will now be described in detail' with reference to the accompanying drawings showing a preferred embodiment thereof, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a topplan view of the overall apparatus;
FIG. 2 is a side elevationalview thereof;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of section A of FIG. 2 showing the detailed construction of the distributing unit;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line IV IV of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a front view of the gripping/transport unit;
FIG. 6 is a side elevational view thereof;
FIG. 7 is a front view of the relay/delivery unit;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line VIII VIII of FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is afront view of the vertical transfer unit,
part thereof being broken away;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of section B of FIG. 9;
FIG. 11 is a top plan view of FIG. 9; FIGS. v12 to 14are the views similar to FIG. 9 and showing several operative phases of the same unit;
FIG. 15 is a-partial front view of the movable combshaped segment of the same unit; I
' FIG. 16 is a partial side elevation thereof;
FIG. 17 is a partial front view of the fixed combshaped segment of the same unit;
FIG. 18 is a partial side elevation thereof; FIG. 19 is an enlarged view showing the details of the horizontal transfer groove; FIG. 20 is an enlarged view of section C of FIG. 2 showing the double-comb type transfer unit in partial perspective; FIG. 21 is a front view of the lifting unit; and FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line XXII XXII of FIG. 21.
Referring to FIG. 1, the elongate articles 20"t0 be processed by the present apparatus are fed by a suitable feed device 10 in trim order and at a fixed-interval, and
divided in a number of, herein four, transfer-lines through the distributing units 100. Each unit comprises a movable table and a gripping delivery unit arranged between the branch 'point.of the line and said table 110. The table 110 is reciprocable in-aplan'e transverse to the transfer lines at a certain desired pitch. Referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, the gripping/delivery unit 120 comprises a pair of pincers 121 for gripping the articles, a stopper 122 cooperable with said pincers 121, and a cam mechanism 123 forimpar ting vertical and swinging movements to both said pincers 121 and stopper 122. While the article 20 is fed stepwise on the end recess of the feed device 10, the pincers 121 and 6) which, in turn, is fitted with a pair of pincers 121 at its lower end. Thus, the pincers 121 are lowered together with shaft 128, with swinging of the lever 126, so as to grip article 20. As the cam 125 further rotates to contact with said lever 126 by its elevated cam surface, shaft 128 is again raised with the article 20 held by pincers 121. A cam 129 mounted on shaft 124 coaxially with cam 125 carries a roller 130 engaging with periphery of a pincers guide member 131. The contour of cam 129 is so selected that, when the shaft 128 slides to its upper stationary position, the pincers guide member 131 is moved in an arc about shaft 132 to a cams 125, 129 acts on a second lever 134 which,.in'
- turn, is kept in direct contact with stopper 122. As the pincers guide member 131 is brought to a stop in the above-described manner, both the pincers 121 and stopper are lowered through levers 126, 134 kept in direct contact with cams 125, 133. The contour of cams 125, 133 is selected so that the pincers 121'and stoppers 122 are lowered with a fixed distance thercbetween. When the pincers 121 and stopper means 122 are brought to the predetermined positions, the stopper means 122 are brought to a stop, and the pincers 121 alone start to be raised, on account of specifically selected cam surfaces of cams 125, 133. Thus, the article so'far held by-the pincers 121 is now released and placed on the movable table 110. Then,
- the stoppers 122 start to be raised and both the pincers rotating shaft 112 connected to a drive unit 900 (FIG.
1). A lever 115 swung at 116 is kept in pressure contact with cam 113 through its roller 114 under the action of a compressed spring 136. A rack 118a secured to some stationary device has two rack portions on either sides of the lever 115. These rack portions engage with two gears 119a secured to a short shaft 117 slidably received in an oblong hole on the upper partof the lver 115. Thus, the shaft 117 is moved horizontally as viewed in FIG. 4 as the drive shaft 112 rotates. Gear 1191; is also secured to shaft 117 and meshes with a rack 11% secured to the bottom of the movable table 110. Thus, as the shaft 117 is moved back and forth in FIG. 4, gear 119b is set into rotation, and the desired reciprocating motion imparted to the table 110.
In the present embodiment, the articles are placed on a fixed table2l through gripping/delivery unit 120,
placed on and conveyed by the movable table 110 to the two i transfer lines, and transferred to the gripping/delivery units 120a, 12%.
Reference is nowmade to FIGS. 7 and. 8 showing a preferred embodiment of the relay/transmitting unit 200, comprisingan inner comb-shaped segment 210 1 and outer comb-shaped segment 220 and two pairs of cranking means 230a, 230b secured to their peripheral portions. Each comb-shaped segment 210, 220 has a series of projections on its upper side edge in the form of comb-teeth defining a plurality of article-receiving recesses and performs a crank motion phase shifted 180 relative to each other through the linkage thereof with the cranking means 2300,2301), so as to transport articles 20 stepwise towards the distributing units 120e, 120d. This relay/transmitting unit 200 may be designed in the same way as the feed unit 400 to be described, or in any desired way, provided that articles can be 7 relayed between the distributing units horizontally and. at a fixed distance from each other. Following therelay/transmitting unit 200, the two lines are branched into four through'the way of distributing unit 120e,
movable tables 110a, 110b and gripping/delivery units 120d, 120e, 120f, 120g, 120k. The articles 20 can then be fed into the processing bath in the four transfer lines by means of vertically disposed transfer units 300a, 300b, 3000, 300d arranged on the respective line ends.
reiay ltransrrtittin'g units 200a, 2006 through the.
Reference is now made to FIGS. 9 to 11 showing a preferred embodiment of the vertical transfer unit 300 comprising a movable segment 310 and a fixed segment, with comb-shaped strikers 370 provided optionally. A guide plate 311 for the segment 310 is secured to two guide plates 312 for articles 20 being transported. As shown in FIG. !1, shafts 317, 354 are secured to the projected sides 313, 314 of the movable segment 310 and the projected sides 351, 352 of the fixed comb 350. These shafts 317, 354 are passed through oblong holes on the comb-shaped strikers 370a, 370b. Said projected sides 313,314, 351, 352 and the comb-shaped strikers 370a, 370b are placed in opposition and close proximity to each other with a' small gap 315 adapted for prevention of articles 20 from droppingunintentionally, and provided with substantially horizontal grooves 316, 353,371, 372 at a fixed vertical distance therebetween equal to the pitch of transfer of the articles through the unit 300/This vertical distance, which is equal to that between the article 20 and the article 20a, should be selected to the proper value for the particular transfer apparatus and in function of the vertical stroke of the movable comb 310, as will become more apparent from the following description.
The vertical transfer unit 300 operates as follows:
When the movable comb 310 has reached its uppermost position as shown in FIG. 9, the article 20 is charged from the direction shown by the arrow mark.
As will be later described, the comb-shaped striker 370b suspendcdly attached to the fixed comb 350 is raiseda small distance equal tothe vertical extent of vthe oblong hole on the fixed comb 350. Thus, the artitogether. with the comb-shaped striker 370a suspendedly attached thereto, the articles 20a, 20b, 2,0e
are received within the horizontal grooves 316, 371 and moved down therewith. At this time, the combshaped striker 370b, urged into the impulsory movement, is now lowered to the initial position. I
When the movable comb 310 approaches its lower- I most position (FIG. 12), the comb-shaped striker 370a moving downwards therewith is brought to a stop with the lever 318 abutting on the lower edge of the elongated openings formed on the guide plates 312. The movable comb 310 can descend further downwards the small distance equal to the vertical extent of the oblong hole. Thus, the comb-shaped striker 370a will perform moved upwards therewith. The articles 20, 20a 20d are now received in the horizontal grooves 353, 372 (FIG. 13) and the movable comb 310 is raised with comb-shaped striker 370a with the articles 20, 20a
20d freed from the grooves 316, 371 (FIG. 14), until it reaches its upper position shown in FIG. 9 for receiving the following article.
Referring now to FIGS. 15, 16, the comb-shaped striker 370a is suspendedly attached to the movable comb 310 through several shafts 317 secured to the projected sides 313, 314, said shafts 317 passing through the oblong holes on the comb-shaped striker 370a with vertical extent equal to the short distance in the above sense. On each article guide plate 312, there is an elongated opening in which slides a lever 318 formed on the comb-shaped striker 370a. The vertical extent of such opening is selected to be equalto the stroke of the movable comb 310 when the oblong hole is added to the lower end thereof. Supposing that the movable comb 310 is moving downwards with the comb-shaped striker 370a and brought to the position higher than the lower end of its travel by the short distance above referred to, the comb-shaped striker 3700 is brought to a stop, with its lever 318 abutting on the lower edge of the elongated opening. But, on account of the mounting mode of the movable comb 310 to the comb-shaped striker -370a, explained in the foregoing, the movable comb 310 can descend further the small distance in the above sense for causing impulsive upward movement of the comb-shaped striker 370a with respect to the movable comb 310.
Referring to FIGS. 17 and 18, the comb-shaped striker 370b is suspendedly attached to the fixed comb 350 by several shafts 354 passed through oblong holes equal to the distance the comb-shaped striker 370b is hit to move upwards. On the article guide plate 312, there is a slit equal in vertical extent to the same distance as above. A lever 355 secured to the combshaped striker 370b and slidable within said slit has its two edges bent as shown a lever 356 is secured to said movable comb 310 and movable therewith between the bent edges of the lever 355. Supposing that the short distance equal to the vertical extent of the oblong hole, when added to the upper end portion of the space defined by the bend edges of the lever 355, is equal to the stroke of the movable comb 310, or of the lever 356 secured thereto, the lever 356 will be brought into abutting contact with the upper bent edge of the lever 355 as the comb 310 is moved to the position lower than the upper end of its stroke by the short distance in the above sense. Thus, the comb-shaped striker 370b accompanies the movable comb 310 with an impulse movement.
FIG. 19 shows the shape of the horizontal grooves 316, 371, 353, 372. The lower edges of these grooves are sloped with a gradient of to 45 so that the article 20 is always inclined to slide down by its own gravity. Therefore, the comb-shaped striker 370a, 370b are by no means essential to the construction of the transfer unit 300. When the articles 20 are smeared with machine oil or like adhesive agents, however, they can hardly be transferred smoothly from the grooves 316, 371 to the grooves 353, 372 or vice versa. In this case, thecomb-shaped strikers 370a, 370b will come into operation for compulsorily positioning articles on the bottom portion of the aligned grooves.
To the lower portion of the vertical transfer unit 300 inside the surface processing reservoir 30, there are provided the same number of the double-comb type feed or second forwarding units 400 as the transfer lines. As shown in FIG. 20, the unit 400 comprises a central comb-shaped section 410, two lateral combshaped sections 450 and cranking devices 470 as shown in FIG. 2 for imparting cranking movements to said sections 410, 450. On the upper surface of the central comb-shaped section 410, there are formed a number of paired parallel projections 41 1 defining a plurality of cut-outs 412. The lateral comb-shaped sections 450 are arranged on both sides of the section 410 and formed with similar cut-outs 451 and 452 as those on the section 410. These sections 410, 450 are suspended by means of the cranking devices 470 adapted for imparting cranking movements phase shifted relative to each other. The cranking device 470 in the present embodiment comprises a crank 471, suspenders 472 and shafts 474, 475 interconnecting the lower portions 473 of the sections 410, 450 and secured to the lower parts of the suspenders 472. The unit 400 may also be arranged in the same way as the unit 200 already explained, and the embodiment shown herein is not limitative. The offset distance of the cranks is designed to be equal to half the pitch of the cut-outs 451, 452. Numeral 476 denotes a stopper on the lateral combshaped sections 450. The crank movements performable with the double-comb type transfer unit may be of any types as desired. In the present embodiment, the cranking movement is such that the central combshaped section 410 moves in arc towards the upper right while the lateral sections 450 move towards lower left. The articles 20 can be transported by the transfer unit 400 from left to right in FIG. 2 as they are rolled about their axes, and are lifted in trim order from the reservoir 30 through a lift unit 500 provided to each processing line.
The lift unit 500 is shown in detail in FIGS. 21 and 22- and comprises a grasping device 510 and a lift device 550. The former device 510 includes a body member 511 and a drive cam assembly 530. Said body 511 is swingably mounted about, shaft 501 and has a movable cylinder 512 therein which is acted upon by a compressed spring 517 to move downwards inside the body member 511. A central shaft 525 is disposed inside the cylinder 512 and acted upon by a compressed spring 518 so as to move dounwards inside the cylinder 512. Central shaft 525 has a cut-out 526 and acompressed apring 519 secured thereto and acts on a coupling shaft 520. The coupling shaft 520, urged in this way to move downwards inside the cylinder 512, has apin 521 towards its bottom slidably engaged within c'am slots 522, 523 on the fittings 515, 516 adapted for grasping the article 20 therebetween. These fittings 515, 516 are swingable about pins 514, 513 formed on the bottom of the cylinder 512. Thus, when the coupling shaft 520 is moved downwards, and the cylinder 512 encircling it remains stationary, the fittings 515, 516 swing about the pins 514, 513 for grasping or releasing the article 20 therebetween.
Next, the drive cam assembly 530 will be described. Numeral 531 denotes a drive shaft secured to cam plates 532, 532, 533 which are kept in direct pressure contact with rollers 538, 538, 539 fitted on levers 536, 536, 537, respectively. These levers 536, 536, 537 are swingably mounted on a common shaft 535. The free ends of the levers 536, 536 are urged to move downwards by abutment with pins 524, 524 of the cylinder 512 acted upon, as described, by the compressed spring 517. The free end of the lever 537 is received within the cut-out 526 on the center shaft 525 acted upon, as described, by the compressed spring 518. [n this way, the three levers 536, 536, 537 are kept in pressure engagement with the cam plates 532, 532, 533 through the rollers 538, 538, 539, respectively. Numeral 527 denotes a bracket fitted to the body member 511 and carries a roller 528 at its foremost portion. Numeral 529 dcnotes a further bracket fitted to the top of the body member 511 and acted upon by a compressed spring 540 so as to cause the body 511 to turn clockwise about shaft 501. The roller S28 is thus kept in pressure engagement with cam plate 534. Thus, the cam plates 532, 533, 534 are set into rotation simultaneously with rotation of the drive shaft 531, so as to cause the levers 536, 536, 537 to oscillate in conformity with the respective cam surface configuration.
vIt will be realized from the foregoing that by suitably selecting thesev cam surface configurations the article 20 grasped by the grasping fittings 15, 516 and lifted to the predetermined position with elevation of said fittings 515, 516 can be transferred to a position above support 555 of thelifting device 550 and there released with swinging of the body-511', brought about by rotation of the cam plate 534. I
The lifting device 550 comprises two parallel arms 551, 552 swingable about shafts 553, 554 and a support 555 connected by a pin connection to the ends of the arms 551, 552. Numeral 556 denotes a drive shaft fitted with a crank 557 having a roller 558 at its end engaging in an elongated slot 559 formed on the arm 551. Said arm 551 is swung about shaft 553 through the rotational movement of the crank 557 thus causing the supportSSS to move in an arc in retaining its horizontal position.
Thus, the article 20, grasped by the grasping device 510 is placed on the lift device through the grasping, lifting and swinging motions of the grasping device 510 and lifted to the next feed unit 600 through the lifting device'550.
This unit 600 has the same construction as the units 200 or 400'already described, and is used for feeding articles sequentially towards right in FIGS. 1 and 2. So far, the articles 20 have been fed in the desired number of lines but they are not collected in one place by means of a hopper 700, and charged into a container 800. The drive unit 900 for driving each unit is so designed that a main shaft 903 is set into rotation from drive power source 901 comprising a motor and a speed reducer, for example, through a torque limiter 902,'and each unit is driven from this main shaft 903 through bevel gears 904. in the case of the grasping and temperatures and corrosive atmosphere, in the case of a plating operation, and satisfactory operation may be assured.
What is claimed is:
l. A successive transfer apparatus for surface treatment of a plurality of elongate articles in a processing reservoir comprising:
feed means for feeding said articles in at least one feed line;
a distributing unit receiving the articles from said feed means, said distributing unit having a grasping and delivery device and a support block for longitudinally separating or branching the articles from said feed line of said feed means into a plurality of branch feed lines and distributing said articles into respective branch transfer systems;
a relay-transmitting unit receiving the articles from each of said branch feed lines of said distributing unit, each relay-transmitting unit having a plurality of comb-shaped segments provided with a number of longitudinal constant pitch grooves in which said articles are received, said comb-shaped segments carrying out a cranking movement with a phase shift of relative to each other for feeding said articles from groove-to-groove in a spaced manner from each respective branch feed line;
a processing reservoir a vertical transfer unit receiving articles from each of said relay-transmitting units, each vertical transfer unit having a vertically movable comb and a fixed comb of a constant width and a given length, said combs being mounted vertically in close proximity and in opposition to each other and having on the opposing sides thereof a number of constant pitch grooves, said vertical transfer units moving said articles in said grooves vertically to said processing reservoir;
a double-comb type transfer unit receiving the articles from each of said vertical transfer units, each of said transfer units being immersed in said processing reservoir and including comb-shaped segments provided with a plurality of longitudinal constant pitch grooves in which said articles are received, said segments being cranked with a phase shit of- 180 relative to each other for rolling axially and advancing said articles groove-bygroove in a spaced manner through said processing reservoir, said double-comb type transfer units being similar in construction to said relay-transmitting units; and I a grasping unit for removing processed articles from said double-comb type transfer units in said processing reservoir, said grasping unitcomprising a swingable grip device for selectively gripping an article, a driving-cam mechanism operably coupled to move said grip device, and a lift device for lifting said grip device, the lift device including a plurality of levers swingable in parallel relation and a support fitted to the ends thereof. 2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said relay-transmitting units transfer said articles in a stepby-step manner.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said double-comb type transfer units transfer said articles in a step-by-step manner.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3 wherein said processing reservoir is located below said relay-transmitting unit, and wherein said relay-transmitting unit is downwardly inclined toward said processing reservoir.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said double-comb type transfer units are upwardly inclined.
6. Apparatus according to claim 1 comprising a common drive means operatively coupled to said feed means, distributing unit, relay-transmitting unit, vertical transfer unit and double-comb type transfer unit.
7. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said distributing unit includes a conveyor-type means reciprocably movable substantially perpendicular to said feed line of said feed means for branching said articles.
8. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said distributing unit includes a plurality of grasping and delivery devices for branching said articles.
9. Apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said distributing unit includes a plurality of cascaded grasping and delivery devices to first branch said feed line into a first plurality of lines, and to then branch said first plurality of lines into a second plurality oflines.
10. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the comb-shaped segments of each relay-transmitting unit have an eccentricity of one half the pitch of the comb.
11. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the comb-shaped segments of each double-comb type transfer unit have an eccentricity of less than one half of the comb pitch.
12. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said grasping unit includes a plurality of swingable grip devices, the number of which is the same number as the number of branch lines passing through said processing reservoir.