US 3779405 A
Apparatus for unloading material from a vehicle supported upon a platform tilted to a desired elevation by a fluid ram. The flow of material from the vehicle into a receiver and subsequently to a take-away conveyor assembly is regulated by a gate member mounted for pivotal movement as well as longitudinal displacement within the receiver.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
nited States Patent Kavanaugh, J r.
[ Dec. 18, 1973 VEHTCLE UNLOADING APPARATUS Daniel E. Kavanaugh, Jr., Far Hills, NJ.
Assignee: Mail Express, llnc., Elizabeth, NJ.
Filed: Jan. 22, 1973 Appl. No.2 325,752
Related 1.1.5. Application Data Continuation of Ser. No. 21,835, March 23, 1970, abandoned.
U.S. C1 214/46, 222/544, 214/49, 214/307, 214/314 lint. Cl. 365g 67/40 Field of Search .Q 214/45, 44, 46, 49, 214/49 A, 302, 303, 312, 313, 314, 307, 46.26; 222/544, 354
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 4/1933 Mott 214/314 X 2,038,811 4/1936 Taylor 214/4226 X 8/1959 Belk et al 214/314 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 254,035 7/1963 Australia 214/314 Primary Examiner-Robert J. Spar Att0rneyDavid Rabin  ABSTRACT Apparatus for unloading material from a vehicle supported upon a platform tilted to a desired elevation by a fluid ram. The flow of material from the vehicle into a receiver and subsequently to a take-away conveyor assembly is regulated by a gate member mounted for pivotal movement as well as longitudinal displacement within the receiver.
8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEU DEC 1 8 I975 sum in! 2 INVENTOR DANIEL E. KAVANAUGH, JR.
VEHICLE UNLOADING APPARATUS This is a continuation of US. Pat. application Ser. No. 21,835, filed Mar. 23, 1970 now abandoned.
BACKGROUND, BRIEF SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION The present invention generally relates to apparatus for unloading materials from containers, and more par ticularly to an improved mechanism for controlling the 1 flow of parcels, bundles and bags containing mail from a vehicle to a designated location.
It has been the normal practice to unload mail packages from post office vehicles by manually placing individual parcels either into wheeled receptacles or onto take-away conveyors positioned, within or adjacent the vehicles where the parcels are transferred to various locations for sorting. However, such unloading operations are time consuming as well as costly.
Briefly, this invention relates to a platform adapted to receive thereon a vehicle loaded with mail parcels. The platform is combined with cylinder and piston means for pivoting or tilting the platform adjacent one end portion for displacing the parcels toward an open door at the rear of the vehicle. The rear of the vehicle abuts against a receiver assembly which controls the flow of mail to a series of conveyors. The receiver assembly includes a gate mounted for pivotal movement as well as for displacement relative to the receiver for regulating the discharge of mail packages from the tilted vehicle. The packages or bundles flow passed the gate, down an inclined slide and onto the conveyor arrangement for transferring it to a designated location for subsequent sorting operations.
One of the primary objects of the invention is to provide a mechanism for rapidly and easily unloading the contents of a container in a controlled manner.
Another object of the invention is the provision of means for regulating the flow of material so that it is discharged from the container at a steady rate.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of means for tilting a loaded container to various adjusted positions for facilitating discharge of packages therefrom.
A further object of the invention is the provision of an unloading mechanism which is simple and durable in construction.
Another important feature of the invention is the provision of a mail unloading mechanism which increases the unloading operation efficiently by reducing time and operating costs.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIGURES FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the unloading mechanism illustrating a vehicle positioned against the receiver assembly upon the tiltable support platform;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged side elevational view of the receiver assembly with parts removed illustrating the pivotal and longitudinally displaceable receiver gate; and
FIG. 3 is a schematic rear elevational view of the unloading assembly with parts removed illustrating the receiver and conveyors for transporting the contents of a vehicle to a remote location.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION While this invention may be employed for unloading different articles or materials from various types of containers or vehicles, in the preferred embodiment it has been illustrated and described in connection with the unloading of mail sacks or parcels from trucks. Referring to the drawings, the unloading mechanism 10 includes a vehicle supporting assembly 2, a receiver 0 assembly 14 and a conveyor arrangement 16.
The supporting assembly 12 includes a tiltable platform 18 adapted to receive a conventional truck or trailer 20 thereon, the platform being supported by beams 19 and transversely extending tie beams, not shown. The platform 18 normally is supported in a substantially horizontal plane, as shown in dotted outline in FIG. l, by a plurality of spaced support members 22 and 24 such that the upper surface thereof is substantially flush with the uppermost surface of a ramp 26. The end of the platform remote from ramp 26 is mounted for pivotable movement about the spaced pivot means 28, only one of which has been shown, mounted on supports 24, which supports are positioned at each side of the platform 18. The platform is arranged to be tilted about pivot means 28 by a pair of spaced, fluid rams 30, each ram having its end portions pivotably secured to a fixed support 32 and a pin 34 fixed to the longitudinal beams 19 through connector beams 36 and 38. Each ram consists of a cylinder 40 and a telescoping multisectional piston 42.
The truck 20, when properly positioned upon platform 18, is in abutting relation with the receiver 14 which is mounted upon the supporting assembly 12 for displacement about pivot means 28. The receiver includes side walls 46 secured to and maintained in spaced relation by a base 44 and a top frame AfiQThe horizontal spacing between the side walls 46 substantially corresponds to the width of platform 18 and vehicles positioned thereon. At the end of each side wall 46 remote from the vehicle 20, generally triangular shaped plates 50 have been provided for confining the flow of material to the conveyor arrangement 116. The receiver assembly 114 further includes a displaceable gate member 52 for regulating and controlling the flow of articles or materials from the container. The gate member 52 generally corresponds in size to the rear door opening of standard containers or truck tailers and is mounted for pivotable movement as well as for displacement longitudinally of the receiver assembly 114.
The top frame 418 comprises a pair of spaced longitudinally extending I-beams 541, one beam being secured to the uppermost portion of each side wall 46, interconnected by brace members 56. A longitudinally extending plate 56 is secured to and cooperates with each I- beam 54 defining a guide or track for receiving a wheeled carriage 60. The gate 52 is pivotally secured to brackets 62 depending from the forwardmost portion of carriage 6%. Depending from each side of carriage are frame members 64, 66, for supporting double-acting fluid cylinders 68. The piston rods of the cylinders are pivotally secured to brackets 72 which are fixed to each side of gate 52. The upper ends of frame members 64 which extend above carriage 60 are suitably secured to rods 74 of the double-acting fluid cylinders 76. The cylinders '76 are fixedly mounted on beams 54. As can be readily observed from FIG. 2, cylinders 68 control the pivotable displacement of the gate 52 relative to the brackets 62 while cylinders 76 control the position of the carriage 60 in gate 52 longitudinally of the receiver side walls 46. A ramp or slide 78 is positioned adjacent the entrance end of the re ceiver side walls 46 and below the gate 52 for directing the flow of material from the trunk bed 80 to the receiver base 44. When the gate 52 is in the closed position, as shown in full lines in FIG. 2, the uppermost portion of ramp 78 adjoins the lower end 80 of gate 52 to prevent flow of material from the vehicle positioned upon the inclined platform 18.
A receiver exit slide or ramp 82 is provided for transferring material from the receiver 14 to the conveyor arrangement 16. The upper end of the slide 82 is pivotally secured as at 84 to the receiver 14 while the lowermost end is provided with a tube or roller 86 supported by spaced rails or tracks 88. A side wall 90 is secured adjacent each end of slide 82 for guiding the flow of material between the receiver side walls 46 and plates 50 in the side walls 92, 94 of conveyor assembly 16.
The conveyor assembly 16 includes a number of par allel belt conveyors 96 supported by rollers 98, 100 and driven through a suitable drive arrangement 102. Note that the conveyor assembly 16 is substantially wider than the receiver assembly 14. The conveyors 96, rails 88 and the side walls 92, 94 are mounted upon support members 104. Conveyors 96 transfer the material to a conveyor assembly 106 which directs the material to designated locations.
Although not shown on the drawing, the fluid rams are connected to a suitable source of fluid pressure for tilting the platform 18 to various adjusted positions up to approximately 45 above the horizontal. A gauge 108 has been provided on the platform for indicating the platform angle above the horizontal. Similarly, the fluid cylinders 68 and 76 are operatively connected through suitable valves and fluid lines to a fluid source for adjusting the location of gate 52 relative to the rear door opening of a vehicle supported upon the platform 18.
Alternatively, the platform may be tilted and the gate displaced to various adjusted positions by mechanical means such as chains, sprockets, gears, etc. In addition, while the rams 30, cylinders 68 and cylinders 76 have been disclosed in pairs with one being positioned at each side of the support 12 or receiver 14, it is to be understood that a single ram or cylinder could be positioned centrally of the support 12 or receiver 14 for controlling displacement of the platform and gate.
FIG. 1 illustrates the supporting assembly 12, receiver 14 and conveyor arrangement 16 supported above ground level, the ramp 26 providing vehicle access to the platform. However, the present invention would function equally well located within a pit with the top of the platform positioned at ground level.
In the operation of the device, a vehicle having the rear doors open is positioned upon platform 18 against the receiver 14. With the gate 52 in the closed, solid line position, as shown in FIG. 2, the rams 30 are actuated to tilt the platform about pivot means 28 to the desired elevation. As the platform 18 and receiver 14 are tilted, the tube 86 provided on the hinged receiver exit slide rolls along rails 88 to the right, as shown in FIG. 1. At this time the gate 52 can be displaced longitudinally of the receiver in a direction away from the vehicle by cylinders 76 and/or pivoted about bracket 62 by cylinders 68 to regulate the flow of material from the vehicle down slide 88 into the receiver 14. The longitudinal and/or pivotable displacement of the gate would depend upon the elevation of the platform, the particular cargo being unloaded, the conveyor speeds, etc.
After the vehicle has been unloaded the platform is lowered by rams 30 permitting the lower end of the hinged receiver exit slide tube to roll along rails 88. The trailer or container then is removed from the platform.
1. Apparatus for unloading material from a container having an opening comprising, means for supporting a container thereon, means for displacing said supporting means to preselected positions for regulating the discharge of material from the container, means for positively controlling the rate of flow of material from the container, said means for positively controlling the rate of flow of material including a receiver mounted rearwardly of the container upon said supporting means, and means supported by said receiver for pivotable and longitudinal displacement relative thereto, said receiver including laterally spaced side walls, a base and a top frame, said top frame including guide means thereon, said means supported by said receiver for pivotable and longitudinal displacement relative thereto including gate means generally corresponding in size to the container opening and to the width between said spaced side walls, and means supported upon said top frame guide means for mounting said gate means for pivotable displacement relative to said container and receiver and for longitudinal displacement along said guide means towards and away from the container opening.
2. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 1, wherein said container supporting means is pivotably mounted adjacent an end portion thereof, said displacing means comprising cylinder and piston means for tilting said support means.
3. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 1, further including means for conveying material discharged from the container to a remote location.
4. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 1, wherein said container comprises a vehicle.
5. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 1, wherein said means mounted upon said top frame for mounting said gate means includes a carriage displaceable along said guide means.
6. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 1, said supporting means including a platform tiltable about one end portion thereof to preselected positions, said means supported upon said top frame including a carriage for displacement upon said receiver guide means, said container comprising a vehicle having a rear material discharge opening therein positioned in abutting relation with said receiver base and side walls, and said means supported upon said top frame including means for pivoting said gate means to a preselected position relative to said receiver and for displacing said gate means and carriage longitudinally of said receiver.
7. Apparatus for unloading material as defined in claim 6, and further including means for conveying the material to predetermined locations, and means pivotably secured to said receiver for transferring material from said receiver to said conveying means, said means for displacing said supporting means to preselected positions comprising fluid means for tilting said platform.
8. Apparatus for unloading material as recited in claim 6, wherein said means for pivoting said gate means and for displacing said gate means and carriage comprises a plurality of fluid cylinders.