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Publication numberUS3770106 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 6, 1973
Filing dateJun 1, 1971
Priority dateJun 1, 1971
Publication numberUS 3770106 A, US 3770106A, US-A-3770106, US3770106 A, US3770106A
InventorsDepietro A, Kuehl G
Original AssigneeGuenther Systems Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Platform assembly for multiple chain transport device
US 3770106 A
Abstract
As disclosed herein, a platform for a multiple chain pair transport device includes a plurality of spaced rigid linear members coupled at their ends to selected chain pairs and a plurality of support members which span the distance between the chain pairs. Selected support members are secured to the spaced rigid linear members and supported thereby, and the support members have double-barreled configurations with keyways formed therein. Successive support members include overlapping portions that are hinged together by pin members which permit the support members to flex upwardly in the absence of a load bearing thereagainst and to be rigidly locked in horizontal position in response to loads bearing downwardly against the support members.
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[4 1 Nov. 6, 1973 PLATFORM ASSEMBLY FOR MULTIPLE CHAIN TRANSPORT DEVICE [75] Inventors: Guenther L. Kuehl, Peekskill;

Alfonso Depietro, Valhalla, both of N.Y.

[73] Assignee: Guenther Systems, Inc., Buchanan,

22 Filed: June 1, 1971 21 Appl.No.: 148,385

Franz 198/195 1,358,494 11/1920 Arndt 305/47 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 171,317 12/1965 U.S.S.R [98/154 Primary ExaminerEvon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner-W. Scott Carson AttorneyBrumbaugh, Graves, Donohue & Raymond [57] ABSTRACT As disclosed herein, a platform for a multiple chain pair transport device includes a plurality of spaced rigid linear members coupled at their ends to selected chain pairs and a plurality of support members which span the distance between the chain pairs. Selected support members are secured to the spaced rigid linear members and supported thereby, and the support members have double-barreled configurations with keyways formed therein. Successive support members include overlapping portions that are hinged together by pin members which permit the support members to flex upwardly in the absence of a load bearing thereagainst and to be rigidly locked in horizontal position in response to loads bearing downwardly against the support members.

4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEU NOV 6 I973 SHEET 1!]? 3 FIG. 3

'INVENTORS. GUENTHER L. KUEHL 8| ALFONSO DEPIETRO their ATTORNEYS PATENIEmmv 6 ms 3770.106

SHEET 2 BF 3 F/GZ INVENTORS. GUENTHER L. KUEHL a ALFONSO DEPIETRO M 4/ M, llgoolum 5 A47 06 their ATTORNEYS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to platform assemblies and, more particularly, to platform assemblies for use in transport devices of the multiple chain pair type.

In the recently issued U.S. Pat. No. 3,578,145, assigned to the assignee of the present invention, there is disclosed a multiple chain pair transport device that represents a totally new and unique development in the field of lift and transport devices. In connection with the disclosed multiple chain pair transport device, there is provided a platform that effectively comprises a plurality of independent platforms connected at their ends to selected chain pairs which move together to form one platform. The multiple narrow platforms move together during horizontal and vertical movement and simply breakup into units when the chains go around the drive and guide sprockets.

This unique feature of the foregoing platform assembly makes it possible to combine many lifting and transporting units into one continuous system, and combining numerous vertical and horizontal movements into one continuous flow, notwithstanding the direction of movement. Furthermore, by virtue of the multiple chain pair configuration of the transport device and the multiple platform construction of the platforms, the load carrying capability of the device is vastly improved. This improvement is due to the even distribution of the load throughout the platform.

The foregoing type platforms are adapted particularly to carry unit loads of material, e.g. containers, which are of such size that they span adjacent members of the platforms. Smaller unit loads ofmaterial which would otherwise drop between the members of the platforms must be either bound or placed in containers, or on skids and the like.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a platform for multiple chain pair transport devices that are designed to carry unit loads of material without limitation as to the sizes of the unit loads of material.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a platform comprising in combination the multiple independent platform members of the type disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,578,145, and selectively flexible interconnecting members spanning the length of the platform formed by the multiple platform members.

These and other objects are accomplished by the platform of the present invention which comprises a plurality of spaced rigid linear members, each member being connected at its ends to one pair of a plurality of pairs of offset and movable endless flexible support members adapted to be driven in a plurality of directions, and a plurality of support members for spanning a selected distance between the chain pairs. Selected ones of the support members are supported by the spaced rigid linear members. Further provided are a plurality of coupling members which interconnect successive support members, the coupling members being fixed to one of the support members and rotatable through a predetermined arc in the other of the successive support members to enable relative movement between successive support members.

In one embodiment of the invention, successive support members are connected together by one or more relatively short connecting members which enable relative and predetermined rotational movement between the successive support members. In a second embodiment, successive support members include overlapping portions that are hinged together by pin members that permit the support members to flex upwardly in the absence of a load bearing thereagainst and to be rigidly locked in a load supporting position in response to loads bearing downwardly against the support members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a four chain pair transport device with a platform assembly of the type disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,578,145;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a platform assembly in a four chain pair transport device arranged according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the platform assembly of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3 and looking in the direction of the arrows; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of a platform assembly in a four chain pair transport device arranged according to the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of a transport device 10, with a platform assembly of the type disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,578,145, and comprising four pairs of chains of the type disclosed in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,583,550, which is also assigned to the assignee of the present invention. In particular, the transport device 10 comprises four chain pairs, 12, 14, 16 and 18 that are driven and guided in prescribed endless loops by drive and guide members (not shown), such as sprockets. The chain pairs 12, 14, 16 and 18 comprise laterally spaced chains 12a, 12b; 14a, 14b; 16a 16b; and 18a, 18b, respectively. Because of the configuration of the chains, only two of the four chain pairs are offset. Specifically, the chains 12a, 18a and 12b, 18b are arranged to interlock and thereby move in the same plane and over the same sprockets. Similarly, the chains 14a, 16a and 14b, 16b are arranged to interlock and move in the same plane over the same sprockets.

In this arrangement, the lateral spacing between the chain pairs 14 and 16 is greater than the displacement between the chain pairs 12 and 18. Thus, the chain pairs 12 and 18 may be referred to as the inner chain pairs and the pairs 14 and 16 may be referred to as the outer chain pairs. For a more detailed disclosure of the construction and operation of chain drive systems comprising chains of the type shown in FIG. 1, reference may be made to the U.S. Pat. No. 3,583,550.

As shown in FIG. 1, the longitudinal distance between the chain pairs 12 and 18 is determinative of the required longitudinal extent of a load carrying platform which is conveyed by the chain pairs 12, 14, 16 and 18. In particular, a platform 20 is provided which includes four tube members 21, 22, 23 and 24 which are attached to the chains 12a, 12b; 14a, 14b; 16a, 16b;and 18a, 18b, respectively, through load carrying rollers 21a, 21b; 22a, 22b; 23a, 23b; and 24a, 24b,

respectively. In order to provide a platform having a uniform lateral dimension, load carrying rollers 22a, 22b and 23a, 23b which affix the bars 22 and 23 to the outer chain pairs 14 and 16 are located inwardly of the chain pairs 14 and 16 to a greater extent than are the rollers 21a, 21b and 24a, 24b spaced from the chain pairs 12 and 18. As described in detail in the US. Pat. No. 3,578,145, sets of offset and stationary lateral and vertical guides may be mounted on the frame that supports the chain pairs and related accessory equipment. The rollers 21a, 21b; 22a, 22b; 23a, 23b; and 24a, 24b are adapted to travel in the guides, the guides providing support for the chain pairs 12, i4, 16 and 18 and reducing lateral vibration between the chain pairs.

In accordance with the present invention there is shown in FIG. 2 a unique and novel platform assembly 30 in a four chain pair transport device of the type illustrated in FIG. i. In FIG. 2, the elements of the transport device corresponding to the same elements in the FIG. 1 transport device are identified by the same numbers. The platform assembly 30 comprises a plurality of notched support members 32-39 having doublebarreled configurations, which may be, for example, extruded aluminum slats or tubes, that are coupled together by hinge members 40a, 40b, 40c 46a, 46b, 46c, respectively. The hinge members 40a-46c have the same double-barreled configurations as the support members 32-39. The support members 32-39 span the distance between the support rollers 2la-24a and 21b-24b disposed on either side of the platform 30.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the hinge members 40a-46a fit into aligned notches formed in successive support members 32-39. The support members have double-barreled configurations formed with keyways therein as shown and the metal defining the openings 32a, 32b 39a, 39b forming the double-barreled configuration of each support member includes an arcuate cutout formed therein. The hinge members are similarly provided with keyways and arcuate cutouts in the metal forming the circular openings in the hinge members. A plurality of splined tubes 48-63 are fitted through the double-barreled openings 32a-39b formed in the support members and through the corresponding openings formed in the hinge members 40a-46c when the hinge members are located in the aligned cutouts formed in successive support members.

The protruding keys of the end splined tubes 48 and 63 extend into the keyways formed in the openings 32a and 39b of the end support members to secure the end support members to the linear tubes 21 and 24 as will be described in detail hereinbelow.

Because, however, of the offset relationship between the support members 32-39 and the hinge members Mia-46c when the hinge members are located in aligned cutouts formed in successive support members, the protruding keys of the tubes 49-62 extend into the protruding keys of the tubes 54-56, for example, extend into the keyways formed in the hinge members 4211-430 to thereby fix the hinge members to the tubes, but not into the keyways formed in the openings of adjacent support members 35 and 36. Rather, the protruding keys of the tubes 54-56 extend into the free spaces defined by the arcuate cutouts formed in the metal defining the openings of the support members 35 and 36. In this manner, the support members 35 and 36 are rotatable with respect to the hinge members 4241-430 through an angular distance that is defined by the extent of the cutouts in each of the openings in the support members 35 and 36. The above-described relationship of the tubes to the support members and hinge members may, of course, be reversed, as illustrated by tubes 59-62 and the corresponding support members 37-39 and hinge members 45a-46c. The splined tube members 48-63 may be pinned or otherwise mounted within the support and hinge members to prevent the tubes from moving lengthwise of the members once the tubes have been inserted, as will be understood.

In light of the foregoing, it will be seen therefore that the support members 32-39 can bend downwardly from a horizontal plane until the protruding keys of the tube members 49-62 engage the metal, referred to as the upper stop," defining the openings in the support members 34-36 and the hinge members 40a-41c and 45a-46c. Upward deflection by the support members 32-39 is precluded by the engagement between the protruding keys of the tubes 49-62 and the metal, referred to as the lower stop, defining the openings in the support members 34-36 and the hinge members 40a-41c and 45a-46c. Thus, the platform 30 is unidirectionally flexible, i.e. in the upper direction, which enables it to bend around and under sprockets, as the case may be, as the platform is conveyed between its unloading and loading locations. On the other hand, the platform 30 is maintained flat and inflexible as the platform is conveyed from the location where unit loads of material are deposited onto the platform to the location where the unit loads of material are unloaded.

As best shown in FIG. 3, it will be seen that the splined tube members 48, 53, 58 and 63 are fitted around the tube members 21, 22, 23 and 24, respectively. Thus, the tube members 21-24 carry the platform 30 and full advantage is taken of increased load carrying capability provided by the plurality of chain pairs 12, 14, 16 and 18, as described in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,578,145. As shown in FIG. 3, the tube member 24 has an outside diameter which is significantly less than the inside diameter of the splined tube 63 with the result that there exits a clearance between the member 24 and the tube 63. Accordingly, there will exist during travel by the platform 30 relative movement between the splined tube 63 and the tube member 24. Although not shown, the other end tubemember 21 is similarly constructed with the'result that there exits a clearance between end tube member 21 and the splined tube 48 and movement is permitted therebetween. Thus, the platform 30 possesses flexibility at its ends, which is highly desirable, and is not locked into place.

Unlike the end tubes 21 and 24, the center tubes 22 and 23 have a radially thickened construction with the result that there is a correspondence between the out-.

side diameter of the tubes 22 and 23 and the inside diameters of the splined tubes 53 and 58. In practice, unit loads of material are generally centrally disposed on the platform 30 so that the center tubes 22 and 23 are required to support the greatest amount of weight. This then is the reason that the center tubes 22 and 23 are constructed for a greater load carrying capability than are the end tubes 21 and 24.

In operation, the platform assembly 30 provides a flat and rigid supporting surface on which unit loads of material can be deposited and conveyed from a loading platform or the like through a prescribed flow path to an unloading platform or the like. Once the unit loads of material have been unloaded, the assembly 30 is guided through a prescribed return flow path to its loading position. It is in this return flow path where platform flexibility is required and the configuration of the platform of the present invention provides the requisite flexibility.

In a second illustrative platform assembly arranged according to the present invention, as shown in FIG. 4, there is shown a platform assembly 70 comprising a plurality of support members 72-86 having overlapping portions which are interlocked in the manner described below. Again, the elements of the transport device corresponding to the same elements in the FIG. 1 device are identified by the same numbers. The support members 72-86 span the distance between the support rollers Zia-24a and 2lb-24b disposed on either side of the platform 70.

The support members 72-86 have double-barreled configurations within the openings of which a plurality of interconnecting splined tubes 88-103 extend. As with the support members shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, each of the double-barreled openings is formed with a keyway on one side and an arcuate cutout formed on the other side. As with the platform assembly 30 of FIGS. 2 and 3, the splined tubes 88, 93, 98 and 103 are fitted about the supporting tube members 21, 22, 23 and 24. The protruding keys of the tube members 88 and 103 fit into keyways formed in the left and right side barrels of the support members 72 and 86, respectively. To impart unidirectional flexibility to the platform 70, the protruding keys of the tubes 89-102 extend into the keyways of alternate support members, e.g. members 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84 and 86 and into the arcuate cutouts formed in the metal defining the circular openings in the other support members, e.g. members 73, 75, 77, 79, 81, 83 and 85. In accordance with this construction of the platform 70, the platform will flex in the upper direction to enable the platform to be driven around and under sprockets, as the case may be, and will be maintained in a rigid position to convey unit loads of material from a loading platform to an unloading platform.

Although the invention has been described herein with reference to specific embodiments, many modifications and variations therein will readily be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, springs may be mounted within the double-barreled support members of either the FIG. 2 or FIG. 4 platform to exert an upwardly or downwardly directed force on the support members as may be necessary or desirable. Accordingly, all such variations and modifications are included within the intended scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.

We claim:

1. In a platform assembly for a multiple chain pair transport device having a plurality of spaced rigid linear members coupled at their ends to selected chain pairs, the improvement comprising a plurality of support members for spanning a selected distance between the chain pairs, selected ones of said members being supported by the spaced rigid linear members, and a plurality of coupling means interconnecting successive support members, successive support members including overlapping portions adapted to fixedly receive and rotatably receive, respectively, a coupling means, the support members having double-barreled configurations formed with keyways therein, each of the openings forming the double-barreled configuration of each support member comprising a incomplete circuit to thereby provide an arcuate cutout, each coupling means comprising a splined pin member extending into a keyway of the support member adapted to fixedly receive the pin member and into an arcuate cutout of the opening of the support member adapted to rotatably receive the splined pin member to enable relative movement between successive support members.

2. A platform assembly according to claim 1 wherein the splined pin members comprise splined tube members, selected ones of which are adapted to receive the spaced rigid linear members. 1

3. In a platform assembly for a multiple chain pair transport device having a plurality of spaced rigid linear members coupled at their ends to selected chain pairs, the improvement comprising a plurality of support members for spanning at least a selected distance between the chain pairs, selected ones of said members being supported by the spaced rigid linear members, and a plurality of coupling means interconnecting the support members, each coupling means interconnecting two adjacent support members and being fixedly received and rotatably received, respectively, in overlapping portions of said two adjacent support members, the support members having double-barreled configu rations formed with keyways therein, each of the openings forming the double-barreled configuration of each support member comprising an incomplete circle to thereby provide an arcuate cutout, each coupling means comprising a splined pin member, a protruding key of the pin member extending into a keyway of the support member fixedly receiving the pin member and into an arcuate cutout of an opening of the support member rotatably receiving the pin member to enable relative movement between said two adjacent support members, the support members including main support members having selectively spaced cutouts formed therein and hinge support members extending between and into the cutouts of adjacent main suport members.

4. A platform assembly according to claim 3 wherein the splined pin members comprise splined tube members, selected ones of which are adapted to receive the spaced rigid linear members.

zgz g v UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,770,106 Date-d November 6, 1973 lnven fl Guanine]; 1,, b] and A] fgnso Degietro 7 It is certified that error appears in the aboveidentified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Column 3, line 15, after "invention" insert a comma; Column 3, line 56, delete "protruding keys of the tubes 49-62 extend into the";

Column 4, line 41, "exits" should be --exists; Column 4, line 46, "exits" should be -exists; and Column 6, line 12, "circuit" should be -circle-.

Signed and 'sealed this 9th day of April 197A. 4

(SEAL) Attest:

EDWARD M.FLETCHER,JR. C. MARSHALL DANN Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4155444 *Jun 5, 1978May 22, 1979Mayfran, Div. Of Fischer Industries, Inc.Conveyor belt slat link
US5118099 *Jul 13, 1990Jun 2, 1992Iron Mountain ForgeArticulated playground bridge
US5151556 *Dec 24, 1990Sep 29, 1992General Electric CompanyPropellant magazine for field artillery piece
US5613597 *Jun 6, 1995Mar 25, 1997Kvp Systems, Inc.Transfer method for plastic conveyor belts
US6422418Oct 5, 2000Jul 23, 2002Dt Industries, Inc.Article dispensing machine and method
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US6651842 *Apr 1, 2002Nov 25, 2003Dt Industries, Inc.Article dispensing machine and method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification198/793, 52/108, 108/67, 198/853
International ClassificationB65G17/06
Cooperative ClassificationB65G17/06, B65G17/067, B65G2812/02811, B65G2201/02
European ClassificationB65G17/06, B65G17/06G