US 3910621 A
A suction device for supporting an article having a flat surface comprises a pad having a surface with a plurality of open ended chambers therein, each chamber being connected by a tube to one end of a respective opening in a plate, suction is applied to the other end of the openings in the plate and an apertured template is associated with the plate in order to close off some of the openings when the effective size of the pad is to be reduced.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Hillier Oct. 7, 1975 SUCTION DEVICES  Inventor: Geoffrey Philip Hillier,
Borehamwood, England  Assignee: Go-Con Concrete Limited, London,
England 22 Filed: Jan. 23, 1974 21 Appl. No.: 435,867
 Foreign Application Priority Data Jan. 23, 1973 United Kingdom 3326/73  US. Cl. 294/64 R; 269/21  Int. Cl. B66C 1/02  Field of Search.; 294/64 R, 65; 214/1 BS,
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,l26,l92 3/1964 Stein 248/362 3,230,001 1/1966 Hirt 294/64 R 3,379,466 4/1968 Hughes 294/65 3,598,439 8/1971 Dahlquist 294/65 3,652,075 3/1972 Thompson 269/21 Primary Examiner-Evon C. Blunk Assistant Examiner.lohnny D. Cherry Attorney, Agent, or FirmBrisebois & Kruger [5 7] ABSTRACT A suction device for supporting an article having a flat surface comprises a pad having a surface with a plurality of open ended chambers therein, each chamber being connected by a tube to one end of a respective opening in a plate, suction is applied to the other end of the openings in the plate and an apertured template is associated with the plate in order to close off some of the openings when the effective size of the pad is to be reduced.
8 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure US. Patent Oct. 7,1975
1 SUCTION DEVICES This invention relates to a suction device for holding from above articles having a flat face and in particular to a suction device for lifting articles of large surface area, for example uncured concrete panels. Because of the low rigidity and mechanical strength of uncured concrete the effective area of the suction device has to be of comparable size to the face of the article to be held so that the face may be fully supported over sub- .stantially its whole area. If however concrete articles of a number of substantially different sizes are being manufactured at a site, in the past either a corresponding number of suction pads of different sizes have had to be employed to carry the articles in their uncured state from the mould to the curing station or a suction device -of variable effective size has had to be provided.
In British Pat. specification No. 1,249,294 a suction pad is described in which the holding surface of the pad is divided into a plurality of chambers and control means adapted to connect different chambers to a vacuum source is provided thereby to determine which part of the surface is effective at any instant for the application of a holding force on to an article. The control means take the form of displaceable valve members which are controllable by pressure differences acting across the valve member.
According to the present invention a suction device for holding from above an article having a flat face comprises a pad having a surface engageable with a face of the article and made up of a plurality of chambers individually in communication with one side of respective separate openings in a plate means for applying suction to the other side of the openings in said plate and means for fitting a template to said plate to close off selected ones of said openings whereby to change the effective size of the pad for holding the article.
Where articles, such as concrete panels, of two or three different sizes are being produced on a site, it is necessary for the pad to be substantially equal in size to the largest article to be supported and for a template for each of the different smaller sizes of article to be provided. To support a panel, the appropriate template is inserted into engagement with the plate to close off those openings which are not required to have suction applied to them and the suction is then only applied to those openings, and hence to those chambers, which are required to lift the chosen panel.
In order that the invention may be more readily understood it will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawing which shows diagrammatically a suction device in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.
A suction pad 1 has a flat surface 2 of resilient material of generally rectangular form. The surface has a multiplicity of open-ended cavities or chambers 3 formed in it. The chambers are conveniently arranged in rows and columns. The flat surface is engageable with a flat face of an article to be supported.
A manifold 4 is fitted over a plate 5 and a pipe 6 extends into the manifold. The same number of openings 7 as there are chambers 3 are formed through the plate 5. A plurality of securing pegs 8 project downwardly from the plate 5 into holes 9 formed in a further plate 10. By means of nuts or other fastening means (not shown) the plates 5 and 10 are removably securable together. The upper face of the plate 10 is recessed as shown at 11 and through the base of the recess there are formed the same number of openings 12 as there are chambers 3. Each chamber 3 is connected by a separate pipe 13 to the end of a respective opening 12 which lies on the underside of the plate 10.
A vacuum source (not shown) is connectable to the manifold 4 by way of the pipe 6 to apply suction to the upperside of the openings in the plate 10 by way of the openings in the plate 5. lf all the openings in the plate 10 are uncovered, the suction is applied to each of the chambers in the pad and the pad is capable of supporting an article of the same size as the overall size of the pad.
If however it is desired to support an article which is smaller than the overall size of the pad, then it is only necessary to apply suction to some of the chambers in the pad and to this end an apertured template 14 is employed to block off those openings in the plate 10 which correspond with the chambers in the pad which are not to be used. The template 14 is either clamped between the adjacent faces of plate 5 and'plate 10 or located in the recess 11. Simply by introducing a preprepared template into the manifold the number of chambers in the pad which are used can be quickly altered thereby adjusting the effective overall size of the pad.
When an article is supported below the pad, the pad may be raised or lowered by conventional means (not shown) in order to raise or lower the article.
The apparatus comprising the plates 5 and 10 and the manifold 4 may be secured in fixed relation with respect to the pad 3 so that this apparatus moves with the pad.
1. A suction device for holding an article having a flat face, the device comprising a pad having a surface so positioned that it can contact said flat face and with a multiplicity of cavities formed in the surface, a plate having the same number of openings therethrough as there are cavities in the surface, each of said cavities being connected to one end of a separate one of said openings in the plate through passage means having a cross-sectional area smaller than that of said cavity, a template associated with the plate to close off selected ones of said openings, and means for applying suction to the other end of all of the openings in the plate which are not closed off by the template.
2. A suction device as claimed in claim 1 in which the template is insertable between the plate and a further plate having a corresponding number of openings therethrough, the openings in the further plate being aligned with the openings in the first-mentioned plate and the suction is applied to the ends of the openings in the further plate which are away from the firstmentioned plate.
3. A suction device as claimed in claim 2 in which the template is clamped between said plates.
4. A suction device as claimed in claim 3 in which the template is positioned in a recess in one of the plates.
5. A suction device as claimed in claim 2, in which the suction is applied to a manifold fitted over the further plate.
6. A suction device as claimed in claim 1 in which the area of said plate is substantially smaller than that of said pad and the cavities are in communication with the ends of the openings in the plate by way of separate therewith.
tubes. 8. A suction device as claimed in claim 1 in which 7. A suction device as claimed in claim 1 in which said plate is rigid.
means for raising and lowering the pad are associated