US 3724644 A
A short pitch conveyor chain for hydrostatic cookers has stop fingers on alternate links and back to back C-shaped carrier members that can be employed with spacer blocks to form pockets that accommodate a range of can sizes without changing the conveyor chains.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 1111 3,724,644 Reimers I [451 Apr. 3, 1973 s41 UNIVERSAL CARRIER CHAIN FOR 2,358,292 9/1944 1x11111101: ..l98/131 COOKERS 3,288,271 11/1966 Burford ..198 1 31 inventor: James L. Reimers, San Jose, Calif.
Assignee: FMC Corporation, San Jose, Calif. Filed: July 13, 1971 Appl. No.: 162,078
US. Cl ..l98/l31 Int. Cl ..B65g 17/00 Field of Search ..198/131, 129,179, 131 UP,
198/129 UP, 179 UP References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Van Der Winden ..198/l3l Primary Examiner-Evon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-l-ladd S. Lane Attorney-F. W. Anderson, et al.
 ABSTRACT A short pitch conveyor chain for hydrostatic cookers has stop fingers on alternate links and back to back C- shaped carrier members that can be employed with spacer blocks to form pockets that accommodate a range of can sizes without changing the conveyor chains.
8 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTEUAPR3 I975 3.724.644
sum 7 OF 9 ,T'II3-IEI 1 UNIVERSAL CARRIER CHAIN FOR COOKERS DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART This invention presents an improvement over the carrier chain conveyor in the hydrostatic cooker of the type shown in the United States patent to Lee, U.S. Pat. No. 3,286,619, Nov. 22, 1966. However, the invention is illustrated for use in the single chain type of cooker shown in the United States patent to Reimers, U.S. Pat. No. 3,452,858, July 1, 1969. The United States patent to Webster, U.S. Pat. No. 3,818,012, Dec. 31, 1957 shows a similar cooker in which the invention could be utilized.
The United States patent to Beauvais et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,418,918, Dec. 21, 1968 shows a chain having cooperating C-shaped channels with a link between them to form can pockets, the channels being mounted back to back on adjacent links.
The carrier chain of the present invention is particularly useful for cookers of the type referred to above which are commonly referred to as hydrostatic cookers. These cookers have a central steam leg flanked by water legs which form U-tubes that close the steam chamber. These cookers may be as high as 75 feet and the length of a single continuous carrier chain conveyor in such a cooker may be in the order of over 1,000 feet. As disclosed in the Lee and Reimers patents, it is customary to pass an outer vertical reach of the carrier chain around small diameter sprockets which open up the carriers for feed and discharge of containers such as cans or the like.
The patents to Lee and Reimers show special l-beam carrier members of the type commonly employed in these cookers by the FMC Corp. The ends of the I- beams are connected to successive links along the two side chains and the opposed sides of adjacent I-beams cooperate to provide container pockets. The web connected flanges of the I-beams forming the individual carrier members are not of the same width in order that the cans can be fed and discharged between the outermost flanges when the chains pass over the relatively small diameter feed sprockets. Thus when the carriers pass'over the feed sprockets, the narrower flanges are spread apart to provide for feed and discharge, yet these narrower flanges must be wide enough to prevent the cans from falling out around the lower major loop of the cooker. The wider I-beam flanges cannot be so wide as to interfere with the aforesaid spreading action at feed and discharge yet must be wide enough to prevent drop out or pinching as the carriers leave the feed and discharge sprocket. Because of these characteristics of the prior conveyors of the type described, only a small range of can sizes can be accommodated with a given chain and carrier assembly. Accordingly, to accommodate a large range of can sizes, a number of conveyor chains of different pitch and their associated carriers must be available and since these chains are long and costly, the replacement of entire chains for different processing conditions represents a major expense.
In accordance with the present invention, a single basic changeover in the form of individual C-shaped carrier members bolted across one set of conveyor chains (with the use of spacing devices) accommodates a range of can sizes. More specifically, this is accomplished by giving the basic chains a pitch that is about one half the pitch of the chains previously utilized for the largest can size in the range.
Under the present invention, the carrier members instead of being a single I-beam are formed of individual, oppositely facing C-shaped channel members. These paired channel members are bolted to brackets and the brackets are connected to every other link instead of to every link, as in the prior I-beam devices described above. In order to prevent the cans from dropping out from between the channel members forming the carriers at certain zones along the conveyor, cooperating unidirectional stops are provided at every other pivotal connection between the chain links. Thus, when the carrier chains pass around a certain loop and sprocket in the cooker, the stops hold the links at every other pivotal connection in a straight line while accommodating relative movement of the links at the other pivotal connections. As will be seen, this combination of short links, alternate link carrier mounting and stops accommodate feed and discharge as before, and even though the carriers are mounted on every other of the short links, the stop construction just described prevents drop out in passing around some of the more critical zones in the cooker.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS be used in FIGS. 1A and 2 are substantially the same.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the cooker at the feed and discharge sprocket.
FIG. 4 is a further enlarged fragmentary view of a small carrier chain loop between the steam and water legs of the cooker.
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary diagram of the large bottom loop through the cooling leg of the cooker.
FIGS. 6 and 7 are front and side views of one carrier chain with the carriers removed.
FIGS. 8 and 9 are side and front views of the carrier chain with carrier members attached for the largest size cans in the range illustrated.
FIGS. 10 and 11 are similar views with intermediate sized carrier members attached to the chain.
FIGS. 12 and 13 are similar views with smaller size carrier members bolted to the chain.
FIGS. 14 and 15 are similar views showing the intermediate size carriers mounted for an intermediate can size.
FIGS. 16 and 17 are similar views showing the smaller sized carriers mounted for a smaller intermediate can size.
FIG. 1 is a diagram of a hydrostatic cooker I-I having a conveyor or carrier chain assembly D that can be either a prior art conveyor or that of the invention. FIG. 1A shows an I-beam conveyor D1 and FIG. 2 the conveyor D2 of the present invention. The cooker partially shown in FIG. 1A will first be described (along with FIG. 1) in order to provideabackground frame of reference for the improvement of the present invention. This cooker embodies a carrier conveyor of the type shown in Lee US. Pat. No. 3,286,619, and is also of the type generally shown in Webster U.S. Pat. No. 2,818,012.
The prior conveyor D1 of FIG. 1A includes a pair of roller chains 10, only one of which appears in the figure, it being understood that a similar chain is spaced laterally of that shown in the figure and that the carriers extend between these chains. This general construction is described, for example, in the patent to Lee and other patents and represents a type of construction manufactured by the FMC Corp. Each carrier side chain is made up of pin links 12 and roller links 14, the links being connected by pivot pins 15 carrying guide rollers 16. The rollers 16 pass over sprockets and also ride in guide channels 18 provided at various portions along the path of the chain to the cooker.
Carriers in the form of I-beam members 19 are connected to every pin link and to every roller link of chains 10 by conventional brackets (not shown). The carriers 19 are provided with wide flanges 19a, narrower flanges 19b and connecting webs 190. These carriers form opposed C-shaped channels which cooperate to form pockets that carry rows of cans K in a manner well known in the art. The cooker itself embodies a steam leg 20 flanked by two water legs 22, only one of which appears in FIGS. 1A and 2. At the lower portion of the cooker a cooling water leg 24 (FIG. 1) is provided for a large lower loop of the conveyor.
Paired feed-discharge sprockets 26 (only one being shown) are provided in an outside vertical reach of the conveyor, which sprocket has a radius small enough (about 6 /4 inches in the example) to fully open the narrower flanges 19b of the carriers, in accordance with conventional design. After leaving the feed and discharge sprockets 26, the conveyor extends vertically to upper idler sprocket 28 whereupon it descends into one water leg 22. The carrier then passes around a smaller lower loop 30, which in the example given has a radius of about 14 inches, and thereupon goes up the steam leg 20. The conveyor then passes around an upper steam chamber sprockets 32 and returns down through the steam chamber 20, around another small loop 30, and up the other water leg 22. The conveyors then train over another pair of upper sprockets 28, down an outside vertical reach and around a large radius lower loop 34 in the water leg 24, as previously described. The conveyor then continues around another larger radius loop 34 at the exit end of the water leg 24 and returns to the feed and discharge sprockets 26. In the form illustrated, the radius of curvature at the lower cooling loop 34 may be in the order of 54 inches and the over all height of the cooker may be in the order of 75 feet. The over all length of the conveyor is about 1,000 feet, requiring 2,000 feet of chain.
As is well known in this art, the maximum width of the narrower flanges 19b of the I-beam carriers 19 is limited by the requirement that cans must enter and leave the conveyor at feed and discharge stations around the sprockets 26. The maximum width of the wider carrier flanges 19a is limited by an interference situation that could otherwise exist around the sprockets 26. On the other hand the wider carrier flanges 19a must be wide enough to prevent the cans from dropping out around the smaller radius loops 30 between the steam and water legs. Also, the narrower flanges 19b cannot be so narrow as to permit cans to drop out around the larger loops 34 at the bottom of the cooker.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A for a predetermined can size such as a No. 404 can (4 4/16 inch diameter can) the pitch P of the chain links 12 and 14 will be in the order of 5 inches. Any attempt to use this chain with cans of substantially smaller diameter will cause the cans to fall out at-either the lower loop 30 or the loop 34 or both and hence in order to use the basic cooker installation for smaller cans, an entirely different conveyor chain and carrier assembly must be provided.
It is a feature of the present invention that replacement of both chains is obviated, even though a range of can sizes is accommodated. When it is recalled that these chains are very long and must support their own weight plus that of hundreds of filled cans, it will be recognized that not only are they costly, they must be conformed to high standards of safety and reliability. Thus, even though the carriers themselves may have to be partially or completely replaced, the fact that the load bearing chains need not be replaced in accordance with the present invention represents an important advantage of the invention.
Reference is now made to FIG. 2 which shows the container conveyor D2 embodying the invention as employed in a hydrostatic cooker like that shown in FIGS. 1 and 1A. The principle difference between the two cookers is that in the cooker of FIG. 2, the sprockets 26, 28 and 32 have teeth pitched to work with a chain 11 that has half the pitch of the chain 10 in FIG. 1A. It will be recalled that in the specific example given in FIG. 1A, the pitch P of the chain links was 5 inches, whereas in the chain of FIG. 2, under the present invention the pitch p of the chain links will be half of the previously described pitch, namely it will be 2 A inches.
Reference is made to FIGS. 6 9'for construction of one of the chains 11 and the mounting of the container carriers thereon. The chain is of the roller type and has pin links 40, 40a and roller links 42, there being alternate short pins 44 and long pins 45 along the chain. The usual guide rollers 46 for riding in the channels 18 and for co-action with the sprockets are provided.
In order to mount the carrier members on the chain, T-shaped brackets 48 have base flanges 50 that are secured to the inside pin links 40a by means of bolts 52. The base flanges 48 are slotted at 54 to fit around the long chain pins 45, thereby locating the brackets in a fixed position on the chain. It will be noted that the brackets 48 are mounted on every other chain link so that the spacing between these brackets corresponds to the pitch P of the larger chain shown in FIG. 1A. This spacing in the example given is roughly 5 inches.
The brackets 48 have carrier mounting flanges 56 which mount end stop plates 58 and back to back channel shaped carrier members A by means of through bolts 60. Small spacers a, U1 6 of an inch in thickness in this example are mounted between the channels A, giving a maximum pocket dimension of 4 /8 inches, which will receive a No. 404 can (4 4/16 inches in diameter).
In order to prevent pivoting of alternate links on what may be termed inside bends" (such as the bends entering and leaving'the feed sprockets 26) stop fingers 62 are mounted on the pin links 40a for engaging one adjacent roller link 42. Thus, at the inside bends pivoting can only occur about the alternate short pins 44 in one direction, whereas it can occur about both pins 44 and 45 in the other direction (outside bends) as will be seen presently. As also will be seen presently, the channels A, which are the largest channels of a set of interchangeable channels, can be replaced on the brackets 48 to accommodate a range of can sizes.
The conveyor D2 and the side chains 11 of the invention will now be traced through critical locations in their path of movement around the hydrostatic cooker H.
FIG. 3 shows at an enlarged scale the action at the feed and discharge sprockets 26. The conveyor approaches this sprocket from a vertical reach and is guided by channel 18 around what has been termed an inside loop before it is trained around the sprockets 26. At this inside loop, the stop fingers 62 engage the links 42 and prevent pivoting at the long pins 45 so that pivoting can only occur about every other chain pin, namely, the pins 44. This prevents the approaching flanges of the channels A from interfering with one another and from pushing the cans against the opposite each of the chain link pins 44, 45. The stop fingers 62 are merely pulled away from the links 40. Thus the sprockets are opened sufficiently for the feed and discharging of cans K.
Conveyor chains 11 are next trained by guide channels 18 around an upper inside loop as theconveyor leaves the feed sprockets. On this loop gravity urges the cans K towards the spread apart inner flanges of the channels A. However, because of the pivot restrictions provided by the stop pins 62, these channels do not open wide enough to drop out the cans. A pan 64 is illustrated as extending around the lower portion of the upper inside loop just described. Since the cans could protrude somewhat between the spread-apart flanges of the channel members A (as shown in phantom), they will engage the pan 64 which limits such protrusion and obviates the cans being pinched between the channel member flanges as the members return to their normal parallel positions.
The conveyor 11 is then guided along a vertical reach until it reaches the upper sprockets 28. This forms an outside loop like that around the discharge sprocket 26 but the diameter of the sprocket 28 is large enough so that even if there were forces tending to lift the cans to rise off their pockets, they would be restrained by the uppermost flanges of the channels A.
. The chain then descends on a vertical reach through the water leg 22 and is guided in a straight line along this path. The cans are fully restrained by the carriers. The chain is then guided by the channels 18 around a lower inside loop 30 between the legs 22 and of the hydrostatic cooker. This loop, in the example being given has a radius of about 14 inches, and now the stop fingers 62 are on the inside of the conveyor chains. As
seen in FIG. 4, the stops 62 restrict pivoting action to alternate links, so that even though the carriers run horizontally at the bottom of the loop, the lower flanges of channels A cannot be separated sufficiently to permit the cans K to drop out of their pockets.
The conveyor then passes up through the steam leg 20 and around the sprocket 32, which has an action like that of the sprocket 28. The chain goes down and around another lower loop 30 (FIG. I), up around another upper sprocket 28 and back to the large lower loop 34, through the water leg 24 to the second large lower loop 34 (see FIG. 5). The loops 34 have a larger radius than the radius of the loops 30 previously described, namely, a radius of about 54 inches in the present example. In the loop 34, the stop fingers 62 are on the outside and hence do not restrict pivoting of alternate links. However, the radius of the loop 34 is great enough so that the lower flanges of the channels A are not separated sufficiently to permit the cans to drop out along the loop.
Thus, it can be seen that even though the pitch p of the chain 11 is half that of the chains previously employed, the provision of stop fingers 62 prevents can drop out around the relatively small loops 30 and the inside bends entering and leaving the discharge sprockets 26. On the other hand, the chains can articulate sufflciently for feed and discharge at the sprockets 26, as shown in FIG. 3.
As previously mentioned, the carrier chain of the present invention can accommodate a range of can sizes without changing the basic chains 11. A 4 "'6 inch spacing for No. 404 cans is illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. FIGS. 10 and 11 show, in the example being given, an adaptation of the assembly for a 3 /8 inch spacing which will accommodate No. 307 cans. in this construction, smaller width channels 18 replace the channels A previously described. These are mounted on spacer blocks b1 and b2, which in the examples given, are 5/32 and inches thick, respectively.
FIGS. 12 and 13 show another assembly wherein still smaller channel members C are mounted on spacers b2 inch) and a spacer c1 (1 inch) in thickness. This provides a 3 inch pocket space which is suitable for No. 211 or No. 202 cans.
FIGS. 14 and 15 show intermediate dimensions obtainable under the invention. Here intermediate channels B are mounted on blocks bl and b2 on one of the brackets 48 and are mounted directly on the alternate brackets 48 using the spaces a, giving a pocket dimension of 4 inches. This will accommodate No. 401
FIGS 16 and 17 show intermediate pocket sizes attainable with the smaller channels C. Each of the brackets 48 mount the channels C by means of spacer blocks b2 inch) giving a pocket dimension of 3 It; inches which is suitable for No. 300 cans.
Thus it can be seen in addition to making possible the use of one chain over a range of can sizes due to the use of short links and the stop fingers 62 as previously described, the present invention also makes possible the adaptation to the size range by the use of individual pocket forming channel members and a selected set of spacing blocks distributed in a manner to provide the desired pocket dimensions.
What is claimed is:
over relatively small feed and discharge sprockets; the
improvement wherein said carriers are mounted only on every other link of each chain, and cooperating unidirectional stop means at every other pivotal connection between the chain links for restricting articulation of the links at said connections in one direction when the links fall in a straight line, said stop means accommodating relative pivoting of said restricted articulation links in the other direction for opening the container pockets as the chains pass around said feed and discharge sprockets.
2. The conveyor system of claim 1, comprising brackets on the inside of said every other link of each chain said brackets having inwardly projecting flanges that extend transversely to their links for mounting said carriers, said oppositely facing channel means of each carrier being formed of individual C-shaped channel members detachably secured to said brackets at the channel midsections for straddling said chains.
3. The conveyor system of claim 2, wherein said C- shaped channel members have equal height, freely projecting side flanges.
4. The conveyor system of claim 1, comprising brackets on said every other link of each chain for mounting said carriers, said oppositely facing channel means of each carrier being formed of individual C- shaped members detachably secured to said brackets, and removable spacers between the C-shaped channel members and their brackets for determining the pocket size formed by adjacent channel members.
5. The conveyor system of claim 1, comprising brackets on said every other link of each chain for mounting said carriers, said oppositely facing channel means of each carrier being formed of individual C- shaped members detachably secured to said brackets and, wherein said brackets have base flanges that are bolted to the pin links only of said carrier chains, said base flanges having apertures formed therein to fit around one of the chain pins, said channel member mounting flanges projecting laterally from the base flanges of said brackets.
6. The conveyor system of claim 5, comprising spacer blocks removably mounted between the channel member mounting flanges of said brackets and said channel members.
7. The conveyor system of claim 6, comprising through bolts passing through the bases of the channel members, the spacer blocks and the mounting flanges of said brackets.
8. The conveyor system of claim 7, comprising container confining plates at the ends of said carriers and mounted by said through bolts.