US 3902701 A
A payout sheave for a cable connecting an underwater transducer array or instrumentation package to processing and display equipment directs the cable as it is payed out and in toward a reel and level wind mechanism carried in a platform vehicle such as a boat or helicopter. The supporting frame for the sheave includes a cross member supported along a first axis in bearings in the frame and which carries additional bearings at its center. These center bearings carry an intermediate support structure which is rotatable thereon along a second axis perpendicular to the axis of the cross member. This intermediate support structure carries a pair of journals and bearings oriented along a third axis perpendicular to each of the first and second axes. A fork member is attached to the intermediate support structure through the bearings, and the sheave is carried in the bifurcated section of this member and thus, in effect, is gimbaled for movement along all three axes. A first rotary linear transformer is mounted on the frame such that its rotor moves with the cross member, and a second such transformer is carried on the intermediate support structure with its rotor responsive to movement of the fork member relative to the intermediate support member. These rotary linear transformers each provide electrical output signals varying with the departure of the cable from a null position with respect to the first and third axes, and such signals are used in a navigation or autopilot system for the platform vehicle. A second embodiment provides for movement along the described three axes through the use of a monoball structure carried on a journaled cross member with the fork carried on its monoball and the electrical position signals being supplied by a lamp mounted on the fork which moves its beam over the surface of a two-axis photocell. The output of the photocell varies with the direction and extent of departure of the beam from a null position.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 2, 1975 United States Patent [191 Orme nism carried in a platform vehicle such as a boat or 1 GIMBALED SHEAVE WITH CABLE ANGLE SENSORS helicopter. The supporting frame for the sheave in- Inventor:
' cludes a cross member supported along a first axis in M s P E Orme Canoga ark bearings in the frame and which carries additional bearings at its center. These center bearings carry an Calif.
North  Assignee: The Bendix Corporation,
Hollywood, Calif. intermediate support structure which is rotatable Sept. 24, 1973 Appl. No.: 400,478
thereon along a second axis perpendicular to the axis  Filed:
of the cross member. This intermediate support structure carries a pair of journals and bearings oriented along a third axis perpendicular to each of the first and second axes. A fork member is attached to the in-  US. 254/190 R; 242/158  Int.
termediate support structure through the bearings, B66d 1/36 190 A and the sheave is carried in the bifurcated section of this member-and thus, in effect, is gimbaled for movement along all three axes. A first rotary linear transformer is mounted on the frame such that its rotor  Field of Search............ 254/190 R, 161, 254/150, 198, 135 CE, 173 A, 175 R; 242/157 R, 158 R, 157.1; 340/29 moves with the cross member, and a second such transformer is carried on the intermediate support structure with its rotor responsive to movement of the  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5 198 fork member relative to the intermediate support member. These rotary linear transformers each provide electrical output signals varying with the departure of the cable from a null position with respect to 242,158 the first and third axes, and such signals are used in a navigation or autopilot system for the platform vehicle. A second embodiment provides for movement along the described three axes through the use of a monoball structure carried on a journaled cross member with the fork carried on its monoball and the electrical position signals being supplied by a lamp mounted on the fork which moves its beam over the 8/1896 Thompson.......................... 628 12/1931 Merriman 463 8/1939 Wunsch 405 11/1965 Walsh 298 10/1970 Deslierres 988 6/1972 Leonard..............................
Primary ExaminerRobert J. Spar Assistant Examiner-Kenneth Noland Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Robert C. Smith; William F. Thornton  ABSTRACT A payout sheave for a cable connecting an underwater surface of a two-axis photocell. The output of the photocell varies with the direction and extent of departure transducer array or instrumentation package to proof the beam from. a null position cessing and display equipment directs the cable as it is payed out and in toward a reel and level wind mecha- 7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTED SEP 21975 SPEET 1 [IE 3 GIMBALED SHEAVE WITH CABLE ANGLE SENSORS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION There are a number of applications for a reeling machine used in connection with a device which is suspended or lowered at the end of a cable from a platform such as a ship or a helicopter. In the case of a device suspended from a helicopter, it may become im portant that the angle of the cable as it leaves the reeling mechanism be sensed and used as an input to the helicopter controls to keep the helicopter hovering over the suspended device. Cable angle sensors have been used in the form of rollers held in contact with the cable. This operates reasonably satisfactorily, but does increase wear on the cable. Also, the payout sheave itself has, in the past, been built to rotate in only one plane, and since it is used in conjunction with a level wind mechanism on or associated with the reel, the angle of contact of the cable with the sheave asit leaves the level wind mechanism may vary such as to cause substantial additional wear on the cable. In recent applications for such reeling machines, the reeling speeds and the length of cable reeled have been increased such that the wear and scuffing problem resulting from nonalignment of the cable with the sheave has become quite severe.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With a high speed reeling operation, it has been found that the scuffing or wear of both the cable and the flange of the payout sheave has been quite severe, at least partly because of the large angles of approach .of the cable to the sheave when the level wind mechanism is reeling cable near the outer edges of the reel. To solve this problem, applicant has devised a suspension mechanism for the payout sheave which permits the sheave to follow the angle of approach or departure of the cable to or from the reel. Since the platform vehicle also may not be perpendicular to the cable as it is suspended therefrom, it is also desirable that the suspension mechanism permit the payout sheave to follow this angle. Thus, a gimbaled suspension mechanism has been designed which permits the payout sheave to seek an angle in any of three planes which minimizes the force components perpendicular to the instantaneous direction of travel of the cable. This has been accomplished by attaching the support or fork for the payout sheave to a pivoted support structure wherein a first pair of bearings permit the sheave to rotate around an axis which projects to substantially the center line of the cable as it rides on the top of the sheave to or from the level wind mechanism. A third pivot permitsrotation around an axis which projects to substantially the center line of the cable as it leaves the sheave toward the suspended device, and a third pivot permits rotation normal to the first two axes.
Since the support structure for the payout sheave is gimbaled to follow the cable angle, it becomes possible to make use of the fact that the positions of parts of the support structure are directly related to the cable angle to avoid the need for cable-contacting rollers tosense cable angle. Applicant has therefore utilized followers in the form of rotary linear transformers positioned to sense movement around two of the three axes of rotation. This transformer is designed such that it has no voltage out at null and with the phase and magnitude of its output responsive to the direction and magnitude of departure of the support structure from a null position.
A second embodiment of the support structure uses a monoball pivot structure to permit movement in all three dimensions in combination with a lamp and photocell arrangement wherein a lamp is located on the sheave fork and the four-axis photocell is positioned on the support structure. As the cable pulls the sheave and fork off a null position, the lamp is directed to one of the separate photocell quadrants, thus producing a control signal whose polarity and magnitude is indicative of the direction and departure of the sheave from its null position.
DESCRIFTIONZOF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side view, partly in section, of a gimbaled sheave support made according to my invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the device of FIG. 1 taken along line 22 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view, partly in section, of another embodiment of my invention, and t FIG.4 is a partial sectional view taken along line 44 of the device of FIG. 3.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring now to FIG. 1, a payout sheave 10 is sup ported in a fork member 12 fastened to a support structure shown generally at numeral 14. An underwater transducer or instrumentation package is suspended into the water at the lower end of a cable 16 which is directed around sheave 10 toward a level wind mechanism, not shown. The level wind mechanism, which could be any of several available devices known in the art, winds the cable 16 on a cable reel, also not shown, and which is or may be conventional.
Fork 12 is supported on a pair of bearings 18, 20 such that it is free to rotate around an axis 21 in direct alignment with the groove at the top of sheave 10, as shown. Movement around this axis is transmitted from fork 12 through a pin 22 to an arm 24 fastened to the center shaft of a rotary linear transformer 26. The fork l2 and its support 14 are pivotable around a vertical axis through the center line of a pin 28 which passes through a bearing block 29 and a roughly cup-shaped bearing support member 30, providing the lower support fora set of bearings 32. This arrangement permits movement of sheave 10, fork 12 and support 14 around the pin 28 as bearing block 29 rotates on bearings 32. A second set of bearings 33 provides for relative movement between pin 28 and support member 30.
FIG. 2 is a section taken along line 22 of FIG. 1 and shows the structure permitting the sheave 10 to rotate in a fork 12 around a horizontal axis 44. The support of fork 12 by member 14 through bearings 18 and 20 is shown only on F IG. 1. Bearing block 29 is shown riding on bearings 32, and the bearing support member 30 is seen in this view as having laterally extending arms 30a and 30b, which are carried in a frame 34 by means of bearings 36 and 38. Splined to an extension of arm 300 by means of a collar 40 is a second rotary linear transformer 42 which responds to rotation of the sheave 10 around the axis 44 by generating an electrical signal varying with the direction and extent of departure of the sheave 10 from a null position.
In considering the operation of the device of FIG. 1, it will be recognized that the organization shown therein is supported in a frame structure only suggested a numerals 34. Normally attached to this frame structure is a level wind mechanism which, in turn, controls the winding and unwinding of the cable 16 from a conventional reel. Depending upon the width of the reel and the geometry of the frame structure, the level wind mechanism, which also functions during unwinding, may typically cause the angle of cable 16 as it approaches the sheave to depart significantly from axis 21. In applicants particular installation, this angle was found not to exceed about 7 on each side of the line represented by axis 21, but even this angle is sufficient to cause appreciable scuffing. Movement about this vertical axis, which is largely the result of the level wind mechanism, is not of significance insofar as the control of the platform vehicle is concerned. Movement around axis 21 as shown in FIG. 2, however, would indicate that the platform vehicle is no longer directly over the load device at the end of cable 16, and the cable is not descending vertically, but at an angle. This departure angle is sensed by the rotary linear transformer 26, and a signal varying with the direction and extent of departure from vertical is provided to the navigation system to produce a correction. Essentially the same may be said with respect to movement around axis 44 resulting in output signals from transformer 42. The cable 16 will normally not depart from vertical by more than about and movement of the various members described above is normally within this range.
Another embodiment of my invention is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. In FIG. 3, a sheave 50 is shown carried in a fork member 52 supported in a frame 54 by means vof a cross-shaft 56 and a monoball structure 58 (see FIG. 4). The monoball member 58 is attached to shaft 56. The fork member 52 is movable relative to the monoball 58 in the plane of the sheave 50, as shown by the lines indicating the travel of fork 52 on FIG. 3. From observation of the monoball on FIGS. 3 and 4, it is apparent that fork 52 can also rotate around an axis indicated by numeral 60 which is essentially the same axis shown at numeral 21 in FIG. 2. The monoball is also so constructed as to permit movement around an axis 62 passing vertically through the monoball, and it is movement around this axis which enables the sheave to follow the movement of the cable 64 as it is directed by the level wind mechanism.
Attached to the top of the fork member 52 above the monoball 58 is a small lamp 66. This lamp directs a beam of light toward a two-axis photocell 68 fastened to the lower side of frame member 54. As a means of keeping both the lamp 66 and the photocell 68 clean, both are housed within a flexible bellows member 70 which may be formed of any suitable flexible material such as synthetic rubber. This bellows 70 is shown broken away, but it will be understood that its top end is sealed to the bottom side of frame member 54 around the photocell 68. A photocell which has been found operative for this purpose is one called Pin Spot/8D, manufactured by United Detector Technology, Inc., 1732 21st Street, Santa Monica, California 90404. It will be recognized that the monoball structure shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 provides essentially the same kind of swiveling operation as that provided by the structure of FIGS. 1 and 2. As the sheave 50 is moved in its own plane as shown in FIG. 3, the lamp 66 will have a directly corresponding movement and its spot of light will contact photocell 68 in a new location spaced from null. This photocell, having four quadrants and being electrically connected such that its output varies in a desired proportion with the distance of the light spot from the center of the cell, thereby produces a signal indicating the direction of movement and the magnitude of the movement away from the null position. A completely analogous kind of output results from the movement of the sheave around axis 60, where again the photocell will respond to movement of the beam of light directed by lamp 66 to produce an output representing both the direction and magnitude of movement away from the null position. Rotation around vertical axis 62, however, unless accompanied by movement at the same time in another axis as well, results inno change in the position of the light beam and no output from the photocell.
While only two embodiments have been shown and described herein, those skilled in the art will recognize that modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Thus the rotary linear transformers, which actually have an alternating current output, could also be replaced with other types of ac. or d.c. electrical signal-producing devices of which the simplest might be a potentiometer. In some installations an electrical response in only one plane of movement may be needed. The magnitude of movement dealt with herein was limited to a cone of cable angle departing from the vertical by about 15, but larger or smaller angles may be involved in any particular installation.
1. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor comprising:
a frame and a first support member in said frame including means permitting said sheave to rotate in its own plane,
a second support means including a support structure rotatably supported on first support member permitting said sheave to rotate in a second plane perpendicular to said first named plane and a third plane perpendicular to both said first named.
and second planes,
said second support structure including journal and bearing means and a fork member carrying said sheave, and said fork member being attached to said support structure through said bearing means for rotation in said third plane.
2. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor as set forth in claim 1 wherein electrical signalgenerating means are connected to respond to movement away from a null position in said first and second planes.
3. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor as set forth in claim 2 wherein said electrical means includes a first rotary transformer device connected to said frame and to said first support member, and a second rotary transformer device connected to said support structure and to said fork member.
4. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor comprising:
a first support member including means permitting said member to rotate in the plane of said sheave,
a second support member carried on said first support member and including pivot means permitting said second support member to rotate in a plane perpendicular to the plane of rotation of said first support member,
a third support member carried on said second support member including pivot means permitting said third support member to rotate in a plane perpendicular to the plane of rotation of both said first and second support members, said third support member including a fork for supporting said sheave, said sheave being positioned in said fork such that the axis of rotation of said second and third support members are in substantial alignment with a cable on said sheave.
5. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor as set forth in claim 4 including rotary transformer means generating electrical signals responsive to movement of said first and third support members from a null position.
6. A cable-directing sheave and support structure therefor as set forth in claim 4 wherein movement of said first and third support members are limited to approximately each way from a center position.
7. For use with a reeling machine having a frame, a reel and level winding means therefor,
a payout sheave over which cable is directed as it is reeled either off or on said reel and means supporting said sheave comprising an elongated bearing support member having a vertically directed bore therethrough and bearings supporting each end of said member in said frame,
a rotary linear transformer connected to said bearing support member and said frame for generating an electrical signal varying with the direction and extent of rotation of said bearing support member from a null position,
a bearing block member having a vertical bore therethrough in alignment with the bore in said bearing support member and a set of bearings positioned therebetween to permit rotation of said bearing block member relative to said bearing support member,
a support structure carried on said bearing block member including a vertical bore therethrough in alignment with said first and second named vertical bores and two aligned bores therethrough perpendicular to the axis of said bearing support member and to the aforesaid vertical bores and a set of bearings in each of said aligned bores,
a fork member supporting said sheave, a journal positioned around each of said aligned bearings, and an axially extending pin spaced from the axis of said aligned bearings, and
a second rotary linear transformer carried in said support structure and having an arm connected to said pin such that movement of said fork member relative to said support structure results in generating an electrical signal varying with the direction and extent of rotation of said fork member from a null position relative to said support structure. l= l l