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Publication numberUS3878792 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 22, 1975
Filing dateAug 9, 1971
Priority dateNov 3, 1969
Publication numberUS 3878792 A, US 3878792A, US-A-3878792, US3878792 A, US3878792A
InventorsLarson Walter F
Original AssigneeLarson Walter F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Switching mechanism for monorail conveyors
US 3878792 A
Abstract
A switch for a monorail system, such as used in factories and the like, to enable a trolley to be moved along the main line of the monorail conveyor or diverted onto a spur or branch track by a switch that is remotely actuated. The switch is so constructed that, when it is moved into place either manually, mechanically or by electric power means, it will remain in this position until it is intentionally moved to another position. The switching mechanism is so constructed that the manual, mechanical or electrically actuated systems may be changed by interchanging the switch actuating element only. When the switch is moved into one position, blockage of the open portion of the switch is provided to prevent trolleys from moving off the ends of the conveyor monorail system. Provision is made to actuate the system manually to direct a weight over center to hold the switch in a given position or to actuate the switch mechanism by fluid pressure, which may be either hydraulic or air pressure. Still further provision is made to actuate the switch by electrically actuated mechanism, such as a solenoid.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1 1 Larson [451 Apr. 22, 1975 1 SWITCHING MECHANISM FOR MONORAIL CONVEYORS [22] Filed: Aug. 9, 1971 [21] Appl. No.: 170,301

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation of Ser. No. 873,302, Nov. 3, 1969,

abandoned.

[52] US. Cl. 104/101; 104/96; 104/130 [51] Int. Cl E0lb 25/22 [58] Field of Search 104/96, 101, 130; 14/21; 301/5 BA; 49/25, 390; 246/381, 489; 74/95,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 331,450 12/1885 Rothe 301/5 BA 651,561 6/1900 Werner 104/101 709,590 9/1902 Werner 104/101 797,850 8/1905 Hauptman 104/101 1,094,037 4/1914 Tye 104/101 1,160,506 11/1915 Goss 14/21 1,201,080 10/1916 Nikonow 104/101 1,262,168 4/1918 Brown 74/100 3,404,637 10/1968 Lerch 104/101 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS United Kingdom 104/101 Primary E.\-uminerM. Henson Wood, .lr. Assistant Examiner-D. W. Keen Attorney, Agent, or FirmWayland D. Keith [57] ABSTRACT A switch for a monorail system, such as used in factories and the like, to enable a trolley to be moved along the main line of the monorail conveyor or diverted onto a spur or branch track by a switch that is remotely actuated. The switch is so constructed that, when it is moved into place either manually, mechanically or by electric power means, it will remain in this position until it is intentionally moved to another position. The switching mechanism is so constructed that the manual, mechanical or electrically actuated systems may be changed by interchanging the switch actuating element only. When the switch is moved into one position, blockage of the open portion of the switch is provided to prevent trolleys from moving off the ends of the conveyor monorail system. Provision is made to actuate the system manually to direct a weight over center to hold the switch in a given position or to actuate the switch mechanism by fluid pressure, which may be either hydraulic or air pressure. Still further provision is made to actuate the switch by electrically actuated mechanism, such as a solenoid.

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BY W HIS AGENT SWITCHING MECHANISM FOR MONORAIL CONVEYORS THIS APPLICATION IS A CONTINUATION OF US. Pat. APPLICATION Ser. No. 873,302 filed Nov. 3, 1969, NOW ABANDONED.

This invention relates to switches for conveyor systems and more particularly to the monorail switches for monorail type conveyor systems which utilize beams or bars on which a trolley is supported.

Diverting conveyor trolleys onto spur or branch tracks on the usual monorail conveyor system left a number of things to be desired to give positive switching and to prevent the trolley, of the conventional systems, from moving off the track at open switches, when a multiplicity of trolleys are used.

The present switching arrangement enables a section of track to be so moved as to direct a trolley of a conveyor from the conveyor rail onto a branch or spur conveyor track and to be blocked on the normally open track, against a trolley passing off the open end thereof. Further provision is made to enable the monorail tracks, which are switched, to be held in fixed relation until it is desired to switch to another position.

The present trolley switching arrangement enables a prefabricated switch to be placed within a monorail conveyor system and the switching thereof remotely controlled, either manually, mechanically, by fluid power, or by an electrically actuated mechanism, as desired.

An object of the invention is to provide a switch for a monorail conveyor system which may be prefabricated and installed within the monorail system in a minimum of time and with a minimum of inconvenience.

Another object of the invention is to provide a monorail conveyor switching system which will positively guard the open ends of the conveyor rails against trolleys passing off the ends of the open switches.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a switching mechanism which will hold the switch in fixed position while in use, until intentionally moved from one position to another.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a monorail switching system which may be manually operated from a remote position.

Still a further object of the invention is to provide a monorail switching system for a conveyor, whereby the switch mechanism may be mechanically actuated from a remote position.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a monorail switching system which may be electrically controlled from a remote station.

Another object of the invention is to provide a monorail switching system for a conveyor, which system has interchangeable components to enable a manually controlled system to be changed to a mechanically controlled or an electrically controlled system without removing the switching mechanism proper from the conveyor system.

With these objects in mind and others which will become manifest as the description proceeds, reference is to be had to the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters designate like parts in the several views thereof, in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view, taken from above and an end, of the manually controlled form of switching mechanism, showing a curved portion of the conveyor track of a conveyor system shifted into place;

FIG. 1A is an enlarged fragmentary view of a portion of the horizontal support shaft with a sleeve journalcd thereon;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a monorail conveyor track system, with parts broken away and with parts shortened, and showing two monorail switches in place;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 2, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken on the line 55 of FIG. 2, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of FIG. 2, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows;

FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 3 but of a fluid actuated mechanism to perform the switching action;

FIG. 7A is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the tubular member shown in FIG. 7, and showing a portion of the sliding piston therein;

FIG. 7B is a sectional view taken on the line 7B-7B of FIG. 7, looking in the direction indicated by the arrows, and showing fastening means to attach the tubular member to the track support member;

FIG. 8 is a further modified form of a fluid actuated switching mechanism; and

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIG. 8, but showing an electrically actuated switching mechanism.

With more detailed reference to the drawing, FIGS. 1 through 6, disclose the form of the invention in which the numeral 1 designates generally an overhead, monorail conveyor system, supported from trusses or the framework of a building or the like, by support members S, which conveyor system is usually of the I-beam type, however, the present system is not to be considered as restrictedto an I-beam, monorail conveyor system per se, but may be used on any type monorail system on which trolleys are operated and which require switching. The numeral 2 designates generally a switch which has a straight rail 4 and a curved rail 6, which rails 4 and 6 join end to end with the conveyor rail 8, with the rail 4 joining in end to end relation to complete the straight line of the conveyor when in one position and with the curved rail 6 joining in end to end relation with the rail portion 8, when the switch is moved to another position. The upper side of the respective switch rails 4 and 6 is connected to support members 10 and 12 at their respective ends. The support members are mounted on a sleeve 14 to journal the support members on a horizontal support shaft 116 which is mounted on upstanding lugs 18 which are secured to the upper face of conveyor rail portions 8 and 22. The shaft 16 extends outward through a support member 20, which member 20 connects between rail 22 and rail 24 so as to hold the component parts of the switch in assembled relation.

The sleeve 14 is fitted in bearing relation on shaft 16, as will best be seen in FIG. 1A and it is preferable to have a lubrication fitting 26 associated therewith so as to permit the sleeve to be lubricated thereby to allow the sleeve to turn freely on the shaft, when the switch mechanism is actuated.

The support member 10 has an outward extending neck 11, forming a support for the elongated tubular member 32, which neck is apertured to receive bolts 28 therethrough, which enables a lug 30, which is welded to tubular member 32, to be bolted, or otherwise secured, to the neck 11, which forms the support for the tubular member. The tubular member 32 extends outward on each side of the neck 11 a sufficient distance to enable a movable weight 34 to slide freely within the tubular member 32 when one end thereof is lowered. Pulling one of the cords or ropes 36 or 38 causes the tubular member 32 to move about the axis of shaft 16, which cords or ropes are secured to eyes 40 and 42 respectively, on the respective ends 33 of the tubular member 32. The slidable weight 34 has resilient bumpers, one bumper on each end thereof, to engage the end 33 of tubular member 32 when one end of the tubular member 32 is lowered by one of the ropes or cords 36 or 38. The slidable weight 34 is of sufficient weight to prevent the tubular member 32 from being accidentally moved to another position. This arrangement of cords or ropes enables an operator, at a lower level, remote from the switch 2 to operate the switch so as to divert a trolley either onto the straight track 4 or onto the curved track 6. Upon movement of the switch rails 4 and 6 from one position to another, the lower end of the support member 12 swings into place to block a trolley T from moving into the open portion of switch 2.

The support members and 12 each has a stop 44 and 46 respectively, thereon to engage upstanding lugs 18, when the switch is shifted from either position to assume an end to end alignment of the rails 4 or 6 of the switch with the portion 8 of the conveyor monorail.

SECOND FORM OF THE INVENTION A modified form of the invention is shown in FIGS. 7, 7A and 7B, in which a tubular member 32A has a lug 30 secured to the bottom thereof. which lug is secured to the upper, apertured end 11 of support member 10 by bolts 28. The tubular member 32A forms a cylinder in which a slidable, weighted piston 34A is positioned, which position 34A has sealing rings 34B therearound, and which rings may be of the O-ring type which are fitted within grooves 34C formed annularly of the piston. An apertured cylinder head 51 is provided in each end of the tubular member 32A, which cylinder heads are held in place, as by snap rings 52, with conduits 54 and 56 being in fluid communication with the respective ends of the tubular member 32A. The conduits 54 and 56 connect with a four-way valve. 58, which enables fluid to be selectively switched to either end of the tubular member 32A, whereupon, the pressure within the cylinder will direct the slidable piston 34A to the desired end of the tubular member 32A, which piston is of such weight as to cause the movable track section 4 or 6 to be moved into end to end relation with a portion of the track 8, with the support member 12 blocking the open end of the track in the manner set out for the aforementioned form of the invention.

The four-way switching valve 58 may be positioned remotely from the tubular member 32A, which forms a cylinder, and the conduits, which connect to the ends of the tubular member 32A may be flexible to accomodate the rocking action of the tubular member 32A about the axis of shaft 16. It is to be pointed out that the tubular member 32A has an apertured lug 30 on the bottom thereof, which enables the lug 30 to be secured to the neck 11 by bolts 28. Therefore, the manual system, as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6, may be readily converted into a fluid actuated system, as shown in FIG. 7, as all other parts of the monorail conveyor and of the switching system are the same as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6.

THIRD FORM OF THE INVENTION The form of the invention as shown in FIG. 8 uses the same switching mechanism as shown in FIGS. 1 through 6 and 7, except an upwardly extending lever 1 1A is bolted to the upper portion 1 1 of switch rail support 10. A cylinder 32B is pivotally mounted on an upstanding, apertured lug 61 by a pivot pin 62, so, upon applying pressure through conduit 64 to cylinder 32B, the plunger 66, which is pivotally connected to upwardly extending lever 11A will move the switch rails 4 and 6 about the axis of shaft 16 so the curved rail portion 6 will pivot about shaft 16 and move the rail 4 of switch portion 2 into alignment with conveyor rail 8, in the same manner as disclosed in the first form of the invention. A four-way valve 68 is provided for directing fluid under pressure, either through conduit 64 into one end of cylinder 32B or through conduit 70 into the opposite end of cylinder 32B, so as to move lever 11A about the axis of shaft 16 to enable the straight track 4 to be moved into aligned position with rail 8 when curved track 6 is moved out of alignment therewith. The movement of the switch 2 performs the same function and in the same manner as set out for the first form of the invention.

FOURTH FORM OF THE INVENTION The form of the invention, as shown in FIG. 9, uses the same monorail switching system as the aforementioned forms of the invention, however, this form of the invention is electrically actuated, as by a solenoid which is designated generally at 32C, which solenoid is pivotally mounted, at 81, to lug 82, so upon directing current through two of the electrical conductors 84, which lead to the solenoid 32C, the armature 86 will be moved in one direction to move the lever 11B in one direction, which lever is pivotally connected to a clevis 88. The lever 11B is bolted, or otherwise secured, to the upper end of neck 11 which is connected to switch rail support member 10, and which will rock switch rails 4 and 6 about the axis of shaft 16 in the manner hereinbefore set out for the first form of the invention.

The travel of the solenoid armature 86 is such as to rock the lever 11B about the axis of shaft 16 so as to move the switch rails 4 and 6 the proper arcuate distance to engage the stops 44 and 44 to properly engage lugs 18.

Upon energization of two conductors of the circuits 84, by moving switch to the position indicated at L or R, electric current will be directed from electrical conductors 92 through switch 90 through two of the conductors 84 to energize the solenoid 32C to move the armature 86 to the left or to the right, depending on the position of the switch. The magnetic field of the solenoid 32C will be reversed upon movement of the switch to the opposite position, whereupon, the armature 82 will be moved in the opposite direction to perform the desired switching action.

A source of electrical power 92 and a switch 90 are well known in the art, and are not specifically described, but may be provided to properly direct current to solenoid 32C to perform the monorail switching operation.

What is claimed is:

l. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor rail system. which conveyor rail system is supported on a structure, the rails of which system receive trolleys thereon for movement therealong. which switch comprises;

a. upstanding lugs mounted on the upper side of the rails of the conveyor system, adjacent the ends of the switch unit,

b. a substantially horizontal shaft mounted on said lugs and supported thereby,

c. rail support members on and secured to said shaft for arcuate movement about the axis of said shaft,

cl. at least two switch rails mounted on said rail support members for arcuate movement about the axis of said shaft,

1. one of said switch rails being adapted to register with one of the rails of the conveyor system, when said switch rails are in one position,

2. another of said switch rails, mounted on said support members, being adapted to register with one of the rails of the conveyor system, when said switch rails are in another position,

e. a support, for an elongated tubular member, mounted on and secured to said shaft, and movable therewith, which support extends upwardly from said shaft,

1. an elongated tubular member, having at least partially closed ends, mounted on and secured to said support member near the upper end thereof, to support said elongated tubular member transversely of said shaft for areuate movement about the axis of said shaft, which elongated tubular member extends outwardly on each side of said shaft,

f. an elongated weight positioned in said elongated tubular member and being slidable longitudinally therein, over the center of gravity, to one end of said tubular member to hold said switch in this position until the tubular member is moved, and

g. mechanical actuator means fixedly connected to each end of said elongated, tubular member to selectively move said elongated, tubular member through an are about the axis of said horizontal shaft to slide said weight therein over the center of gravity to the opposite end of said tubular member to hold said switch in fixed relation with respect to said conveyor system.

2. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor system, as defined in claim 1; wherein a. an eye is secured to each end of said elongated tubular member, and

b. said mechanical actuator means connected to each 3. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor system, as defined in claim 1; wherein a. one of said support members of each switch has an upstanding end portion thereon, and

b. said elongated, tubular member on each switch being detachably connected, intermediate the ends of said tubular member, to the upstanding end portion of said support member.

4. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor system, as defined in claim 1; wherein a. resilient bumpers on each. end of said elongated weight, which elongated weight is slidably positioned within said elongated tubular member, and

b. said resilient bumpers adapted to engage the respective ends of said elongated tubular member when the ends of the tubular members are lowered to a predetermined position.

5. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor system, as defined in claim 1; wherein a. an end of said support member is movable about the axis of said horizontal shaft to move into blocking relation with respect to the open end of the rail of the switch, when said switch is in one position, and

b. said support member is movable about the axis of said horizontal shaft, in the opposite direction, to block the open end of the other of said rails, when the switch is in another position.

6. A composite, self-contained switch for a conveyor system, as defined in claim 1; wherein a. an end of said support member is movable about the axis of said horizontal shaft, when said support member is in one position, to block the open ends of the rails against unintentional movement of a trolley off an open end of a rail.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US331450 *Sep 28, 1885Dec 1, 1885 rothe
US651561 *Apr 12, 1900Jun 12, 1900Paul F WernerSwitch for overhead-trolley tracks.
US709590 *Apr 7, 1902Sep 23, 1902Paul F WernerTrolley-track switch.
US797850 *May 6, 1904Aug 22, 1905George E HauptmanSwitch for overhead tracks.
US1094037 *Nov 25, 1913Apr 21, 1914Anna R TyeAutomatic stop.
US1160506 *Jul 29, 1913Nov 16, 1915George H Frothingham CoFerry-landing mechanism.
US1201080 *Apr 23, 1915Oct 10, 1916Westinghouse Electric & Mfg CoTelpherage system.
US1262168 *May 14, 1917Apr 9, 1918John BrownSwitch-actuating mechanism.
US3404637 *Nov 26, 1965Oct 8, 1968Loren W. LerchTrolley choke
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4389942 *Dec 5, 1980Jun 28, 1983Siemens AktiengesellschaftSwitch for a carriage of a two track suspension railroad
US4476787 *Apr 23, 1982Oct 16, 1984Edwards Lawrence KRailway switch
US4973219 *Jul 15, 1988Nov 27, 1990Sea-Land CorporationGrid rail container transport and storage system
Classifications
U.S. Classification104/101, 104/96, 104/130.5
International ClassificationE01B25/00, B61L23/00, E01B25/24
Cooperative ClassificationE01B25/24, B61L23/005
European ClassificationE01B25/24, B61L23/00A1