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Publication numberUS3851593 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 3, 1974
Filing dateAug 27, 1973
Priority dateAug 27, 1973
Publication numberUS 3851593 A, US 3851593A, US-A-3851593, US3851593 A, US3851593A
InventorsGagnon P, Laforest P
Original AssigneeGagnon P, Laforest P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Concrete block plant
US 3851593 A
Abstract
A transportation system having a first carrier for carrying a load. The first carrier runs on tracks at a plurality of stations. A second carrier carries the first carrier, on other tracks, between the stations. Cable means supply power from the second carrier to the first carrier when it is on or off the second carrier. The first carrier can have a vertically movable platform for lifting and lowering the load. The second carrier has means for positioning and aligning it with the first carrier tracks at each station. The system is readily adaptable for part or full automatic operation.
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 'Gagnon et al. Dec. 3, 1974 CONCRETE BLOCK PLANT 3,732,992 5/1973 Busam 104/48 [76] Inventors: Pierre Gagnon, 5637 Wilderton Ave; Pierre LaForest, 1945 Primary ExamznerM. Henson Wood, Jr. Bruxelles St., both of Montreal, Amman! EmmmerfD' Keen Quebec, Canada [22] Filed: Aug. 27, 1973 [57] ABSTRACT A transportation system having a first carrier for car- [211 App!" 390608 rying a load. The first carrier runs on tracks at a plurality of stations. A second carrier carries the first car- 52 us u 104 214/16 1 DB, 191/12 R rier, on other tracks, between the stations. Cable [51] Int. Cl. B65g 35/00 means supply P from the second Carrier to the [58] Field of Search 104/48, 88, 127; first Carrier when it is Oh or Off the Second when The 214/ 1 191/12 R, 122 R 2 2 A 124 first carrier can have a vertically movable platform for lifting and lowering the load. The second carrier has 5 References Cited means for positioning and aligning it with the first car- UNITED STATES PATENTS rier tracks at each station. The system is readily adaptable for part'or full automatic operation. 1,058,635 4/1913 Sess1on l9l/l2.2 A l.879,7l3 9/1932 Scott 2l4/l6.l DB

7 Claims, 20 Drawing Figures PATENTEL 55E 74 SHEEI 30F 8 PATENTEQ 3|974 I SHEET 5 [IF 8 PATENTEL 55C 3!!!" 3.851.593 sum sor a FIG 7a PAIENTE-U 3,851,581,

SHEET 8 BF 8 CONCRETE BLOCK PLANT This invention is directed towards a transportation system.

The invention is particularly directed towards a transportation system which can be readily adapted for semi-automatic oreven fully automatic operation.

The transportation system of the present invention, while not limited thereto, is particulary adapted for use in a concrete block manufacturing plant. In this type of plant, the blocks are transported to and from kilns for curing. Normally, several operators may be required to carry out the tedious job of loading and unloading the kilns with racks stacked with blocks.

The present invention provides a system whereby the blocks can be transported to and from the kilns with equipment that can be readily adapted to semiautomatic or fully automatic operation, thus reducing or even eliminating the operators normally employed. Also, the disadvantages of having to locate a source of power within the kilns are eliminated.

In the broadest sense, the invention is directed towards a transportation system having a first carrier for carrying a load and a second carrier for carrying the first carrier. The second carrier is moved between two or more positions. Means are provided for moving the first carrier on or off the second carrier at each position. Cable means supply power to the first carrier from the second carrier when the first Carrier is on or off the second carrier.

Preferably, both the carriers run on tracks with the first carrier tracks extending perpendicular to the second carrier tracks. The second carrier also has tracks on which the first carrier rides.

The second carrier can be looked in any of the positions with the tracks on it aligned with the first-carrier tracks at that position.

If desired, means can be provided for adjusting the ends of the first carrier tracks adjacent the second carrier tracks to provide proper alignment.

The first carrier preferably has a platform which can be moved vertically.

Means are provided for maintaining the cable in a taut condition as the first carrier moves on its tracks, away or towards the second carrier.

In another embodiment, the invention is directed towards a device moving a motor for driving it, the device movable by the motor to or away from a fixed position. A cable is connected to the motor from the fixed position. Means maintain the cable taut as the device moves to or from the fixed position.

The invention will now be described in detail having reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a layout of a plant for making concrete blocks employing the transport system of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 2-2 in FIG. 1 showing details of the tracks employed in the transport system in the plant;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 33 in FIG. 1 showing a detail of the kiln tracks in the plant;

FIG. 3a is a schematic view showing further details of the kiln tracks;

FIG. 4 illustrates schematically the carrier employed in the transport system;

FIG. 5 is a side view, in partial section, along line 55 in FIG. 6 of the main carrier;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of the main carrier;

FIG. 6a illustrates further details of the main carrier;

FIG. 7 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 6 showing a detail of the carrier lock device;

FIG. 7a is a partial cross-sectional view taken along line 7a-7a in FIG. 7 showing further details of the carrier lock device;

FIG. 7b is a schematic cross-section taken along line 7b7b in FIG. 7a showing how the lock device cooperates with the kiln track;

FIG. 8 is a cross-section taken along line 88 in FIG. 6 showing details of the drive wheels on the main carrier;

FIG. 9 is a cross-section taken along line 99 in FIG. 5 showing details of guide wheels on the main carrier;

FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of the transfer carrier;

FIG. 11 is a cross-section of the transfer carrier taken along line 1ll1 in FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a cross-section of the transfer carrier taken along line l2l2 in FIG. 11 showing details of the wheels;

FIG. 13 is a cross-section of the wheels of the transfer carrier taken along line 13-l3 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is another cross-section of'the wheels of the transfer carrier taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 is a detail of the electric motor mounting on the transfer carrier; and

FIG. 16 is a detail of the drum stop.

The plant 1 for making concrete blocks, as shown in FIG..1, has a mixing station 3 where material for making the blocks is mixed, and a moulding station 5 where the blocks are automatically transferred onto racks 7 which are on a loading track 9. The racks 7 are then picked up one at a time and moved from the loading track 9 by a first or transfer carrier 11 onto a second or transport carrier 13 which travels on atransfer track 15. The transfer track 15 is perpendicular to loading track 9. The carrier 13 transports carrier-11, with the rack 7, to a drying or curing area 17.

In the curing area 17, there are a plurality of curing ovens or kilns 19. Each kiln has a track 21 running into it. The tracks 21 also extend substantially perpendicular to the transfer track 15. Transport carrier 13 stops at one of the kilns l9 and transfer carrier 11 moves off the main transport carrier 13 onto the tracks 21 to deposit the rack 7 it is carrying in the kiln. After the blocks on the rack 7 placed in the kiln have been cured,

they are then moved back out along the kiln tracks, by

transfer carrier 11 onto transport carrier 13 and back along the transfer track 15 to an unloading track 23. Transfer carrier 11 moves the rack 7 onto unloading track 23. From the unloading track 23, the blocks are moved to a cubing machine 25 where they are placed or stacked on pallets ready for shipment from the plant. It is noted that the loading track 9, kiln tracks 21, and unloading track 23 are all substantially perpendicular to the transfer track 15 and also on the same side of it.

The main transport carrier 13, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, has a platform 29. The platform 29 has a track 31 on its upper surface for receiving the transfer carrier 11. The track 31 has the same gauge as the kiln tracks 21 and the loading and unloading tracks 9, 23. The track 31 extends perpendicular to the transfer track 15. The platform 29 includes four rack supports 32 on its upper surface, two on each side of track 31.

The platform 29 is supported by four wheel sets 33. Each wheel set 33 comprises a pair of spaced-apart side plates 35, 37, as shown in FIG. 8, attached to the bottom of the platform. Rotatably mounted between each part of side plates 35, 37 are a pair of wheels 39, 41, positioned one behind the other. The wheels are separated by a spacer block 43 located between the side plates 35, 37. The wheels 39, 41 run on the rails of transfer track 11. One wheel 41 of each pair in each wheel set has a hydraulic motor 45 connected to it to drive the wheel 41. All wheels 41 thus can drive the carrier 13 along track 15.

The hydraulic motors 45 are operated through a pump 47. The hydraulic pump 47, and the motor 49 for operating the pump, are located beneath a catwalk 51 located at the rear of platform 29. An electrical control panel 53 is mounted at the rear of catwalk 51 by a frame 55. Electricity can be supplied to the panel 53 by any suitable known means such as, for example, a third rail" connection. Electrical power from panel 53 operates motor 49 and also the transfer carrier 11 as will be described.

The carrier 13 also has a pair of grooved wheels 57 beneath the catwalk 51 for guiding the carrier 13, as shown in FIG. 9.

The transport carrier 13 includes means 61 along the side of the platform 29 which is adjacent the other tracks 21, 9 or 23 for positioning and locking the carrier 13 with its track 31 aligned with a selected kiln track 21 or the loading and unloading tracks 9, 23. The positioning and locking means 61, as shown more clearly in FIGS. 7, 7a, and 7b, includes a pair of blocks 63 which are each fixedly attached to a horizontal plate 65 by suitable means. Each plate 65 is in turn pivotally mounted from the platform 29 by a pivot pin 67. A hydraulic actuator 69 is mounted pivotedly at each end by suitable pins 71 to and between the plates 65. The actuator, at each end, is mounted to plate 65 intermediate the plate mounting pin 67 and block 63.

When the hydraulic actuator 69 is retracted, the blocks 63 are positioned in and under a cover 72 facing each other. When the hydraulic actuator 69 is operated through connection pump 47 by suitable means, its connection to the plates 65 is such that the blocks 63 are pivoted out and away from each other to locate in notches 73 provided on the inside of the ends 74 of the rails 75 of the kiln, loading or unloading tracks, adjacent to the transfer track 15.

The rails 75 are preferably free to move laterally at their ends 74 adjacent the transfer track. A bar 77, as shown in F 1G. 30 extends between the rails 75 adjacne their free ends. The bar has bolts 79 on either side of each rail 75, so as to adjust the rails in the proper spaced-apart position. Screws 81, adjustable in height, can be mounted on the foundation 82 beneath the rails, adjacent their free ends. These screws 81 can be adjusted to change the height of the rails 75, so as to locate them at the height as the platform track 31. The adjustable screws 81, together with the unfixed ends 74 of the rails 75, permit them to be adjusted relative to the carrier 13.

Mounted on the frame 91 is a platform in which i the racks 7 sit. Means are provided by which the platform can be raised or lowered with respect to the frame 91. These means include inner and outer side plates 107, 109 extending down from each side of the platform. The side plates 107, 109 on each side enclose the upper part of the pair of dollies on that side. Guide wheels 111, 113 are mounted between the side plates 107, 109 for each dolly. The guide wheels bear on the ends of the dolly. More particularly, the guide wheels 111, 113 bear on the vertical end edges 115, 117 respectively of the wheel plates 99, 101 to guide the platform'during its vertical movement relative to frame 91.

Each dolly has a freely rotatable cam wheel 119 mounted between the wheel plates 99, 101 and the wheels 95, 97. A cam member 121, carried between side plates 107, 109, bears on each cam wheel.

Preferably, the front cams 121a, 121b are joined by a front axle 123 and the rear cams 1210, 121d are joined by a rear axle 125. The front axle 123 has a crank arm 127 fixed to it. The rear axle also has a crank arm 129 fixed to it. A connecting rod 131 is pivotably connected between the crank arms. A hydraulic actuator 133 is pivotably connected at one end to one of the inside side plates 107.Th e other end of the actuator 133 is connected to the front crank 127.

When the actuator 133 is operated, all the cam members 121 are rotated and, bearing against fixed, rotatable cam wheels 119, cause vertical movement of the platform 105 relative to the frame 91. The platform 105 is guided in its movement by guide wheels 111, 113. To limit vertical movement, stops 135 are provided on the wheel plates 99, 101 in the path of the guide wheels.

The transfer carrier 13 is driven by four hydraulic motors 137, one attached to each wheel 95 in each dolly 93. The carrier 13 has a pump unit 139 for supplying hydraulic fluid, through suitable controls, to the hydraulic motors 137, and also the actuator 133.

The pump unit 139 is operated by an electric motor 141. The motor 141 is mounted within a drum 143 which is rotatably mounted between supports 145, 147 on the frame 91. The drum 143 is mounted transverse to the length of the carrier 13. The drum 143 has end walls 149, 151 with the motor 141 bolted to one end wall 149. The motor 141 operates pump unit 139 through a belt and pulley system 153. Power is provided to the motor 141 by an electric cable 155. One end 157 of the cable passes through a hole 159 in the cylindrical wall 161 of the drum and connects to the motor 141. The cable 155 is wound about cylindrical wall 161 of the drum and then travels from beneath the drum to a support 163 on main carrier 15. The cable 155 is attached to support 163 with the aid of a spring 165. From support 163, the cable connects with the control panel 55.

The end wall 151 of the drum has conductor rings 167, 169 on its outer surface. An extension 171 of the cable 155 is connected to the rings. Brushes 173, 175,

fixed on the frame 91, connect with rings 167, 169 to provide power to sensing means on the carrier 11.

A brake pin 181 is mounted on frame 91. The pin 181 can be biased towards end wall 149 of the drum to stop rotation of the drum 143 when desired.

The system operates in the following manner. The transfer carrier 11 picks up a rack 7 on the loading track 9. The carrier 11 moves off the main carrier 13 which has been positioned to have its rails 31 aligned with loading tracks 9. The main carrier is locked to tracks 9 by the positioning means 61. After the positioning means 61 has been actuated to lock the carrier 15, suitable control means actuate motor 141 to operate pump unit 139 and to operate wheel motors 137 in a forward direction. This drives carrier 1 1 off carrier 15 onto tracks 9. At this time, platform 105 is in a lowered position.

The carrier moves forwardly along track 9 and under the first rack 7. Suitable sensor means stop the carrier under the rack in proper loading position. When the carrier stops, suitable means automatically operate the actuator 133 to raise the platform 105 and thus the first rack. A limit switch 205 on the platofrm, actuated by an actuator 207 on the rear axle 125, can be used to control the vertical movement of the platform in a manner well known. Stops 135 limit upward movement of the platform. After the platform is raised, the carrier is started again to move back along track 9 and onto the rails 31 on transfer carrier 13. The front of carrier 11 has a sensor bar 209 which, when ithits a switch 211 on carrier 13, actuates switch 213 on carrier 11 to stop its movement. If desired, the platform 105 can now be lowered placing the rack 7 on rack supports 32. Positioning means 61 are withdrawn due to activation of switch 211. Carrier 13 is now moved along its track 15 by operation of motors 45. Near a position opposite one of the kiln tracks 21, the carrier 13 is stopped by suitable sensing means, such as a light source 215 on carrier 13 shining on a reflective mirror (not shown) suitably mounted to reflect the light to a photocell 217 carried on carrier 13 which then stops the carrier. The positioning means 61 are then actuated to swing out the blocks 63 into the notches 73 in rails 75 of selected track 21, and thus align carrier track 31 with rails 75. Rails 75 .can be moved laterally to a smallextent by blocks 63, if necessary, to achieve alignment.

When blocks 63 are positioned, the platform 105, if previously lowered, is again raised, and the carrier 11 is then moved forwardly off carrier 13 onto track 21. Carrier 11 moves along track 21 to the end of the kiln 19 or up to the last rack placed in the kiln. The carrier 11 is then stopped by suitable sensors and platform 105 is lowered to place the rack in' the kiln.

As the carrier 11 moves into the kiln, electrical supply cable 155 is unwound from drum 143, drum 143 rotating counter-clockwise. The cable 155 is maintained taut, however, since a clockwise reactive torque is exerted by the motor 141 operating within the drum which tends to try to rotate the drum counterclockwise. The torque is sufficient to keep cable 155 taut at all times.

The empty carrier 11 returns to carrier 13 which is then unlocked and moved back to the loading track to pick up another rack. The racks are unloaded from the kiln after the blocks are cured in a similar manner.

While some sensing means have been described, it is obvious that any suitable sensing and switching devices may be used to achieve partial or full automatic operation. The invention is primarily directed to the construction which permits automatic operation and not the automatic operational means per se.

If desired, the carrier 11 can be set up to run at two speeds: a slow speed when approaching the end of its travel at either the main carrier or the kiln, loading or unloading tracks, and a high speed in between. This can be arranged by setting up the four hydraulic motors 137, so that for high speed, the motors are connected in series in the hydraulic circuit, and for slow speed, the motors are connected in parallel.

What we claim is:

1. A transportation system having a first carrier for carrying a load; a second carrier for carrying the first carrier; means for moving the second carrier between two or more positions, means for moving the first carrier on or off the second carrier at each position; cable means for supplying power from the second carrier to the first carrier when on or off the second carrier, first track means at each position for receiving the first carrier, second track means between the positions receiving the second carrier, third track means on the second carrier for receiving the first carrier, means on the second carrier for locking it at each position with the third track means on it aligned with the first track means,

and wherein that portion of the first track means at each position, adjacent each position, is loose so it can be adjusted vertically and gauge-wise relatvive to the second track means to facilitate alignment.

2. A transportation system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and third track means extend substantially perpendicular to the second track means.

3. A transportation system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the locking means on the second carrier comprise a pair of pivotal blocks movable into notches on the said portion of the first track means at each position. i

4. A transportation system having a first carrier for carrying a load; a second carrier for carrying the first carrier; means for moving the second carrier between two or more positions, means for moving the first carrier on or off the second carrier at each position; cable means for supplying power from the second carrier to the first carrier when on or off the second carrier, a frame on the first carrier, a platform mounted on the frame, and means for moving the platform vertically relative to the frame.

5. A transportation system as claimed in claim 4, including co-operating means on the frame and platform for guiding the platform during its vertical movement.

6. A transportation system as claimed in claim 4, including an electric motor on the first carrier, the cable means extending between the motor on the first carrier and the second carrier, and means for maintaining the cable taut at all times.

7. A transportation system as claimed in claim 5, wherein said taut maintaining means comprises a drum mounted in a freely rotatable manner on the platform with its axis of rotation transverse to the direction of movement of the first carrier, the cable wound about the drum, and motor mounted within the drum with its axis parallel to the drum axis and providing a reactive torque to the drum when running, counter to the cable unwinding direction.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1058635 *Feb 16, 1909Apr 8, 1913Jeffrey Mfg CoCable-reeling mechanism for electric locomotives.
US1879713 *Nov 14, 1930Sep 27, 1932Scott Henarie LSelf loading and unloading elevator
US3732992 *Dec 30, 1971May 15, 1973Interlake IncSelf adjusting track extension
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4008668 *Apr 21, 1975Feb 22, 1977Construction Mills-KElectric circuit for self-propelling trolleys in storage installations
US4505630 *Dec 5, 1983Mar 19, 1985Besser CompanyArticle transfer apparatus
US5314143 *May 12, 1993May 24, 1994Fuselage Engineering Services Ltd.Aircraft cabin construction
US6149366 *Jul 30, 1998Nov 21, 2000Fata Automation S.P.A.Cellular depot with hydropneumatically-driven conveyor cars
US6827021 *Aug 16, 2002Dec 7, 2004Teruaki ItohSpecimen conveying system
US20030044319 *Aug 16, 2002Mar 6, 2003Teruaki ItohSpecimen conveying system
EP0894740A1 *Jul 28, 1998Feb 3, 1999FATA AUTOMATION S.p.A.Cellular depot with hydropneumatically-driven conveyor cars
Classifications
U.S. Classification104/88.1, 191/12.00R
International ClassificationB65G1/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65G1/0414
European ClassificationB65G1/04B2