US 3772481 A
A conveyorized electrical contact system for electrifying work piece carriers traveling on first conveyor, the system providing for establishing as desired electrical contact with an electric rail and the carriers.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Saponaro Nov. 13, 1973 CONVEYORIZED ELECTRICAL CONTACT  References Cited SYSTEMS UNITED STATES PATENTS  Inventor: Joseph P. Saponaro, 24455 N. 2,821,146 1/1958 Mahrle 191/6 Cromwell Dr Franklin, Mich 3,080,792 3/1963 Johnson 198/1 48025 3,586,805 6/1971 Ziegler 200/38 E 7 3,002,059 9/1961 'Mageoch 191/6  Filed: July 21, 1972 [211 App] NOJ 274,076 Primary Examiner-Gerald M. Forlenza Assistant Examiner-D. W. Keen Attorney--R0bert A. Sloman  11.8. C1 191/6, 198/1, 339/9 R,
E d R A conveyorized electrical contact system for e1ectrif 200/38 E, 47, 247; 307/139; 340/282; 198/1; 324/158 P, 158 F, 73 AT; 191/1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 49, 50, 66, 7
ing work piece carriers traveling on first conveyor, the system .providing for establishing as desired electrical contact with an electric rail and the carriers.
6 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures PATENTEU NOV 13 I973 sum 10F d PATENIEB REV 13 I975 .SHEET 3 or 4 PATENTEDNBY 13 4975 SHEET 4 BF 4 NOE CONVEYORIZED ELECTRICAL CONTACT SYSTEMS GENERAL DISCUSSION In industry there are being used today conveyorized electric contact systems. Work piece carriers travel on a conveyor and at desired points of travel the carriers are electrified from an electrical supply source, as for example from an electrified rail.
ln known systems, brushes or shoes are often used to scrape the work piece carriers or to scrape the rail, with consequent friction, arcing, pitting, sparking, grooving, wear, breakage of the parts and contamination of areas below the carriers, such areas for example,'as plating areas, paint areas, and so forth. I
The invention hereof aims to provide a system wherein connection between an electric rail and the traveling work piece carriers is established through two series of traveling contactor assemblies, which travel along with the work piece carriers, and which engage respectively the electric rail and the work piece carriers so that once contact and engagement is established between these contactors and the electric rail and the carriers respectively, such contact is maintained throughout the travel of the carr iers. As a result, there is no objectionable scraping, arcing, etc., found in systems known at present.
A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT This is shown in the appended drawings. It is understood that such drawings are schematic or diagramatic.
FIG. 1 is an elevation view of part of a system as a whole, showing only the left or entrance end of such system.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an elevation view of a contactor assembly for establishing electrical contact between itself and a work piece carrier.
FIG. 4 is a view like FIG. '3 but in. somewhat greater detail.
FIG. 5 is an elevation view of a second contactor'assembly, one which establishes contact between itself and an electric rail.
FIG. 6 is an elevation view of a camming or timing arrangement for controlling electrical contact at the left or work piece entrance area of the system.
FIG. 7 is a plan view of such camming or timing arrangement.
FIG. 8 is a diagramatic view.
FIG. 9 is a diagram of the synchronizer for the contact conveyor.
INTRODUCTION the fixed rail of the first conveyor.
The system also includes a contactor carrying chain conveyor of the type having a fixed rail and an endless conveyor chain. The second or contactor carrying conveyor, has aforward flight and a return flight. It is parallel to and alongside the first or work piece conveyor and the electric rail and as shown it is between the first conveyor and the electric rail.
Hence there is one outside conveyor for the work piece, an outside electric rail, and an intermediate contactor conveyor.
The second or intermediate conveyor carries two series of electrical contactor assemblies in alternate arrangement. The first series has spring biased contactors which are movable transversely of the second conveyor for engaging and making contact with contact parts of the carriers on the first or outside conveyor. The second series of contactor assemblies, alternated with the first series, also has spring biased contactors and these also are movable transversely of thesecond or intermediate conveyor.'They move oppositely to the contactors of the first set of contactor assemblies and move toward the outside rail for engaging and making contact with the electrical rail.
Flexible connections are employed, preferably of the pig tail type, for connecting the contactor assemblies of the two series and thus connecting the electric rail through the two contactor assemblies of a pair to the carriers as and when the two sets of contactors of the pair engage the carriers and the electric rail.
The drive and take-up means of the second conveyor is so constructed or controlled that the two conveyors move in unison and in synchronism.
Accordingly, when, as happens, at the entrance or take-up end of the system, the contactors establish rail. In this way, there is no making and breaking of electrical contact, no arcing or sparking, in the line of movement of the carriers.
Also, in the preferred embodiment shown, the cam means are so constructed as to ensure sudden contact engagement of the contactors and the rail so that in effect a fast switching action takes place to complete the electrical circuit between the rail and the carriers, such switching action taking place when the contactors engage the electric rail suddenly and with substantial force and without chattering or loosening of contact, thus ensuring maximum freedom from sparking or arcing.
It will be understood that to a considerable extent the parts of the system, herein disclosed, are standard and conventional and well known and whose selection and design are well within the skill of the designer and no claim is made here to novelty in the design of the specific parts employed. Instead, the novelty resides in the main in the provision of two separate conveyor systems, operating in unison, the first carrying the work pieces, and the second carrying two series of contactors, one series for engaging the rail and the other series for engaging the carrier, with connection means be tween the contactors of a pair of the two series to complete the circuit between the rail and the carriers. The invention also may be found in the arrangement of the camming means for ensuring proper sequence of establishing contact and circuit completion of the contactors and the carriers and the rail respectively, all without regard to the specific form or detailed construction of the parts employed in the system.
DETAILED DISCUSSION FIGS. 1 and 2 diagramatically and schematically show the entrance or take-up end of a conveyorized electrical contact system.
FIG. 3 discloses a first or outside work piece conveyor, having a fixed rail 40 and conveyorchain 42 from which depend work piece carriers 44, each such carrier having a shoe or contact plate 46 to be engaged by a contactor of one of the contactor assemblies previously mentioned.
Such contactor assembly, shown in detail in FIG. 4, includes fixed rail structure 50 on which rides a chain conveyor 52 and to which are connected the complete series of contactor assemblies 54, each assembly having riding rollers 55 and including a contactor 56 biased by a spring 58 towards the contact shoes 46 of the carriers 44 of the first conveyor 40-42.
FIG. 5 shows a contactor assembly 64 having rollers 65 and also connected to chain 52 and having a contactor 66 biased by a spring 68 towards afixed electric rail 70 supported in an insulated manner on fixed structure 72.
The orientation of the parts is as follows. Rail 50 and chain conveyor 52 and the series of assemblies 54-64 are alongside the first conveyor 40-42 and the rail 70, between, parallel to and fairly close to, both the rail 70 and the first conveyor 40-42.
Flexible connectors in the form of pig tails PT connect contactors 56 and 66 of the two contactor assemblies 54 and 64 of a pair to establish a circuit, 70-6- 6-PT 56-46.
It will be understood that the two series of contactor assemblies 54 and 64 are alternated and spaced as desired, preferably in a desired relation to the spacing of the work piece carriers 44 on the first conveyor 40-42.
At the right end of the system is a drive means of any suitable design (not shown) which is so constructed or so controlled as desired that the two conveyors 40-42 and 52 move in unison and synchronism.
From the foregoing it can readily be understood that when the two conveyors move in unison, and the contactors 66 and 56 are permitted to be biased by their springs 68 and 58 into engagement respectively with the rail 70 and the various carrier contact shoes 46, that all of the parts will move in unison with electrical contact, once established, maintained from rail 70 to the various carrier shoes 46.
CAMMING AND TIMING FIGS. 6 and 7 diagramatically illustrate a cam type of timing means at the take-up end of the system for determining the times of contact and engagement of the contactors with the electrical rail and the carriers. An elongated cam 82 is positioned to be engaged by rollers of the contactor assembly 54 for causing the contactors 56 to move gradually to and engage shoes 46 of the carrrers.
Further along the path of travel of the conveyor 50-52 is positioned a cam 84 which is engaged by rollers R of the contactor assembly 64 for moving contactors 66 transversely well away from rail 70 which is still further along in the path of travel of the conveyor 50-52.
Cam 84 has an end part 86 so formed that when the rollers R of contactor assemblies 64 reach the end of the inclined part of the cam 84 and have moved contactors 66 further away from rail 70, suddenly these rollers will drop sharply off cam 84 at end 86 so that contactors 66 will suddenly be biased by springs 68 transversely into engagement with rail 70.
The relationship of cams 82 and 84, and the moving carriers 44 and the rail 70, as illustrated, is such that cams 82 and 84 will ensure contact engagement of the contactors 56 with the carrier shoes 46 before there is established a contact engagement of the contactors 66 and the electric rail 70. Furthermore, the shape of cam 84, at its end 86, also ensures sudden and maximum pressure contact engagement of the contactors 66 and the rail 70.
FURTHER DISCUSSION If desired, two or more rail engaging contactors 66 may be connected in parallel by flexible connections or pig tails to a single carrier engaging contactor 56 to increase the supply of current from the rail to a carrier. This is sometimes useful where the load to be supplied to a carrier exceeds the carrying capacity of a single contactor 56 which engages that carrier. The parallel connection permits increasing the load supply to a carrier.
The electrical rail may be of copper, aluminum or steel as desired, and of the necessary cross sectional area to transmit the desired loads. The contactor parts 56 and 70 and the shoes 46 are generally to be made of copper.
Suitable insulation is provided between parts for insulation of parts as necessary.
It will be understood that the system hereof is particularly useful in such processing as electroplating, or electropainting, or electrostatic spray painting, or in any processing where it is desired to have the work pieces being processed, electrified as desired during the processing.
For structural reasons the supporting and rail structures could be made of standard, as well as special sections, facilitating assembly of a system of the standard and some special parts.
For electrical reasons the rails may be sectionalized as desired, and feed of electrical current to such rails could be located where desired, either for feeding the rail at a single point, or feeding the rail at several points based upon the length of the rail. Parts of the rail may be electrified, or all of it, as desired.
The drive parts of the system is not shown. It will be understood that, if desired, the drive assembly may be provided with cams generally similar to those shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 at the entrance or take-up area, but arranged in reverse, if desired, to ensure that the contactors 66 are separated from rail 70 before contactors 56 are separated from carrier shoes 46.
The provision of camming, such as shown, and particularly at the entrance or take-up area of the system, provides the customer or user of the system with a variety of options enabling him to electrify the work pieces as they enter the processing area, or not, as he desires; and whatever he the desires of the customer, they may be satisfied by proper design of the cams.
It will also be observed that scraping contact on the carriers is prevented. Contact isestablished by spring influenced transverse movement of contactors with carrier shoes in one case and with a rail in the other case, and once contact is made, by such contactors, the contact is maintained by the springs which back up and bias these contactors.
For synchronizing the two conveyors of the system,
they may be operated through a common drive, with common and mutual intercontrol between the two drives.
To insure a synchronism at all times between contact conveyor 52 and work piece conveyor 42 there is pro vided, FIG. 9, a timing sprocket 90 in mesh with work piece conveyor chain 42. Shaft 92 on sprocket 90 actuates a sensor 94 through a sprocket and chain drive 93.
, The sensor through lead 96 actuates a D.C. control 98 connected by lead 100 to drive motor 102. The latter through a conventional sprocket and chain drive 104 drives the contact conveyor actuating sprocket 106.
D.C. control 98 is energized by an A.C. power source Thus, the contact conveyor moves at all times in synchronism with the work piece conveyor. If there is any interruption in the movement of the work piece conveyor, there will be a simultaneous corresponding interruption in the movement of the contact conveyor. This assures that the power carrying contacts will at all times remain in contact with the respective work piece holder contacts.
Referring to FIG. 9, it is understood that sensor 94 could be more directly controlled by a connection to the work piece conveyor drive mechanism.
The parts are shown here only in as much detail as necessary to provide a clear understanding of the system as a whole. The design of the specific parts may vary in accordance with variations in standard parts from which a selection is made for the fabrication of the system as a whole.
CONCLUSION Now having disclosed one preferred embodiment of the system of the invention, and without limitation to the details herein disclosed, reference should be made to the claims which follow which determine the scope of the inventive concepts of this application.
Having described my invention, reference should now be'had to the following claims.
1. A conveyorized-electrical contact system for electrifying work piece carriers travelling on a first or work piece conveyor; said system comprising:
an electric rail;
a second conveyor including a contactor carrying chain having a forward flight and a return flight, and having drive and take-up means; said second conveyor being parallel to and alongside said rail and said first conveyor and being between them;
a series of electrical contactor assemblies on the second conveyor and having spring biased contactors movable transversely of the second conveyor for engaging and making contact with contact parts of the carriers on the first conveyor;
a second series of electrical contactor assemblies on the second conveyor, alternated with the first series, and having spring biased contactors movable transversely of the second conveyor and oppositely of the first contactors for engaging and making contact with the electric rail;
and flexible connections connecting contactor assemblies of the two series for connecting the elec tric rail through two contactor assemblies of the carriers as and when the contactors engage the carriers and the electric rail.
2. A system according to claim 1 wherein the drive and take-up means are so constructed and arranged that the two conveyors move in unison and in synchronism.
3. A system according to claim 2 including cam means for determining the times of contact and engagement of the contactors with the electric rail and the carriers.
4. A system according to claim 3 wherein the cam means ensures contact engagement of the contactors and carriers before contact engagement of the contactors and electric rail is established.
5. A system according to claim 4 wherein the cam means also ensures sudden contact engagement of the contactors and rail.
6. A system according to claim 1, having means for synchronizing the movements of the second conveyor with the first conveyor, said synchronizing means including a drive for the first conveyor; a timing wheel engaging and driven by said drive; a sensor connected to the timing wheel; a motor connected to the drive means of the second conveyor; and a D.C. control connected to said motor and to said sensor.