US 3739108 A
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United States Patent [191 Payen 1 June 12, 1973 HIGH SPEED VEHICLE CURRENT COLLECTING DEVICE  Inventor:
 Assignee: Merlin Gerin, Societe Anonyme,
Grenoble, France 22 Filed: Feb. 3, 1971 21 App1.No.: 112,291
Jean-Pol Payen, Grenoble, France  U.S. Cl. 191/58, 191/59.l
 Int. Cl B601 5/08  Field of Search 191/58, 57, 59.1,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,210,171 8/1940 l-lorn 191/58 X 1,370,018 3/1921 I-lipple 191/59 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,251,397 12/1960 France 191/59.1
Primary ExaminerGerald M. Forlenza Assistant ExaminerGeorge H. Libman Attorney-Stevens, Davis, Miller & Mosher [5 7] ABSTRACT Electric current collecting device for feeding of a high speed vehicle which comprises a movable shuttle, or current collecting head, mechanically guided by feed rails and contact shoes biased against these rails. Movable and stationary guide shoes are secured to the shuttle to reinforce the guide action by excessive offcentering of the shuttle, the guide shoes being in normal operating positions spaced from the feed rails.
1 Claim, 2 Drawing Figures PATENIEBJUN 2 2 ma SHEET 1 0F 2 YOE PATENTEDJUN 1 zma 3139,1053
saw 2 or 2 1 HIGH SPEED VEHICLE CURRENT COLLECTING DEVICE This invention relates to a current collecting device, particularly for feeding an electric motor propelling a very high speed vehicle which is supported by a fluid cushion, said device comprising a movable frame member which supports the current pickup or collecting members and which is guided mechanically by said lastmentioned members along a path extending parallel to that of the said vehicle and defined by fixed current feed conductors in the form of contact rails which are arranged spatially around the moving part so as to confine a corridor of passage of the moving frame member which bears, staggered and opposite each of said rails, a plurality of shoe shaped collecting members which are elastically urged into electrical and mechanical contact with the rail by elastic means.
During the displacement of the movable frame member or assembly bearing the current collecting members, for instance contact shoes rubbing against the contact rails, the current collecting assembly is subjected to oscillations of greater or lesser amplitude which can bring about mechanical contact between the body of the current collecting assembly and one of the guide rails. Such accidental or unintended contact is generally accompanied by a shock which may unbalance the assembly and cause its derailment.
An object of the invention is to overcome this drawback and to provide a current assembly, or shuttle, the guiding of which is increased when the shuttle becomes substantially off-centered with respect to the rail constituting the guide track.
The current collecting device in accordance with the present invention comprises furthermore auxiliary guidance shoes or abutment means which are arranged on the moving frame member opposite each of said rails and in the vicinity of the ends of the moving frame member and are held in retracted position with respect to the position of the collecting members which assure the guiding of the moving frame member in normal operation so as to come into contact with the associated rail, in the active position of guidance, solely upon excessive off-centering and corresponding withdrawal of the collecting members.
In normal operation the centering and guiding effect exerted by the current collecting members is sufficient for the guiding of the shuttle, the shoes not entering into action.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a current collecting device in which draw-back force is increased by excessive off-centering.
The guidance shoes are preferably made of insulating material of low coefficient of friction and substantial resistance to wear. Such materials may beplastic or synthetic materials which are well known to those skilled in the art.
Additional guide shoes may be rigidly fastened to the moving part set back from the elastic guide shoes so as to enter into operation subsequently to the latter for additional guiding of the moving frame member. The stationary guide shoes protrude from the body of the shuttle and prevent any direct contact between the rail and the shuttle. These additional shoes consist, of course, of the same material as the elastically mounted guide shoes or of a similar material.
The guide shoes may advantageously be arranged in the vicinity of the ends of the current collecting shuttle but, of course, shoes may be interspersed at any place between the brushes or contact shoes. The height of protrusion of the guide shoes with respect to the body of the shuttle may differ depending on the location of the guide shoes on the shuttle.
Other advantages and characteristics of the invention will become evident from the following description of one embodiment of the invention shown in the accompanying drawings in which FIG. 1 is a view in elevation, the lefthand part being shown in axial section, of a moving current collecting member in accordance with the invention, the feed rails not being shown FIG. 2 is a section along the line II-II of FIG. 1, only one of the collecting devices being shown in detail.
In the figures, an electric feed track 10 is composed of three conductor rails l2, 12', 12'' which extend parallel to the path of a vehicle (not shown), the propulsion motor of which is fed by a current collecting on the rails 12, 12, 12". The device according to FIG. 2 has already been described in the patent application Ser. No. 78,551, of the present applicant, filed Oct. 6, l970,and in the following there will be described only the essential elements of this collecting device which are necessary for an understanding of the description of the present invention. For further details, it is advantageous to refer to the said patent application.
On the inside of the track 10 composed of the contact rails 12, 12', 12" arranged in an equilateral triangle, a shuttle current collecting head or 14 is adapted to move while being guided mechanically by contact shoes 16, l6, 16" arranged facing the rails 12, 12', 12" against which they rub in order to collect the feed current.
Each of the rails l2, 12', 12'' has a contact surface 18, cross-section in the shape of a concave dihedral, mating with the conjugated surface of a contact shoe 22 under the action of a spring 24 which urges the contact shoe towards the rail 12. The contact shoe 22 is slidably mounted in a sheathing 26 the ends or lips 28 of which are spaced from the associated rail so as to prevent any accidental contact between the sheath 26 and the rail during the displacement of the shuttle 14.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 1, it can be noted that a plurality of contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22", arranged side by side, are staggered along the body of the shuttle 14 so as to cooperate simultaneously with one and the same feed rail 12, 12, 12". The use ofa plurality of contact shoes makes it possible to maintain a permanent collecting of current even in the case that one or more of the contact shoes moves away. In the example shown in FIG. 1, two groups 50, 52 of contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22' cooperate with the feed rail 12', but, of course, a larger number of groups of contact shoes could be used. An identical number of collecting groups, only one of which, 54, is shown in FIG. 1, cooperates with each feed rail.
On the two sides of a group of contact shoes 22, 22, 22", 22" there are arranged abutment means or guide shoes 56, 58 mounted elastically on the shuttle 14. The guide shoes 56, 58 are subjected to the action of a compression spring 60, 62 inserted between the base of the guide shoes and the body of the shuttle so as to urge the guide shoes towards the rail 12'. A holding member or stop means 64, 66 indicated schematically in the figure by a flexible connection limits the stroke of the guide shoe 56, 58 in such manner that its surface 68, 70 which is adapted to come into contact with the rail 12 is retracted with respect to the surface of the contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22" in the normal operating position of the shuttle 14. The contact surface 68, 70 of the guide-shoes 56, 58 is shaped in a manner similar to the surface of the contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22". The guide shoes 56, 58 consist of a material of low coefficient of friction, for instance of synthetic material, and preferably insulating material. A damping device (not shown) can be associated with each guide shoe in order to damp the oscillations of the shuttle.
A second pair of guide shoes 72, 74, similar to the guide shoes 56, 58 but rigidly fastened, for instance by screws 76, 78, to the shuttle l4, surround the guide shoes 56, 58 on both sides. The stationary guide shoes 72, 74 are arranged retracted with respect to the guide shoes 56, 58, their guide surface protruding from the body of the shuttle 14 so as to come into contact with the rail 12 prior to any contact between the latter and the body of the shuttle 14.
Of course, there is associated with each group 50, 52, 54 contact shoes 22, 22' 22",22', a series of guide shoes 56, 58 and 72, 74, the number of shoes and their relative arrangement being possibly different.
The collecting device in accordance with the invention operates in the following manner During its displacement along the track 10, the shuttle 14 is guided by contact rails 12, 12, 12", the contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22" which mechanically guide the shuttle 14 being urged into contact with said rails. In normal operation, the guide shoes 56, 58 and 72, 74 whose contact surface is retracted with respect to that ofthe contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22" are spaced from the associated rail and do not participate in the guiding. Upon a decentering or a hopping of the shuttle 14 which cannot be controlled by the action of the contact shoes 22, 22', 22", 22", the elastically mounted guide shoes 56, 58 come into contact with the associated rail so as to reinforce the guide action of the contact shoes. The stiffness of the springs 60, 62 permits an effective guide action which is possibly reinforced, in exceptional cases, by the fixed guide shoes 72, 74 coming into contact with the feed rail. It is easy to understand that in this way all contact is avoided between the body of the shuttle 14 and the rails 12, 12', 12" of the feed track, the recentering action taking place progressively. The use of a material of high resistance to wear for the guide shoes 56, 58, 72, 74 permits reliable operation.
What is claimed is:
1. An electrical distribution and current collecting system of the type having a stationary rail and a contact shoe assembly movable along said rail, said contact shoe assembly comprising:
a support member;
at least one row of normal duty contact shoes individually guided by said support member for movement perpendicularly to said rail;
a plurality of contact pressure springs, at least one for each normal duty contact shoe, to resiliently bias said normal duty contact shoes individually against said rail in electrical sliding contact engagement therewith;
a plurality of emergency contact shoes longitudinally aligned with said normal duty contact shoes and individually guided by said support member for movement perpendicularly to said rail;
a plurality of further springs, at least one for each emergency contact shoe, to individually bias said emergency contact shoes resiliently towards said rail; and
stop means to limit the stroke of movement of said emergency contact shoes in the direction of said rail so that said emergency contact shoes engage said rail only when said normal duty contact shoes are excessively urged against said contact pressure springs.