Abstract: An automated rack loading system for loading trays of products, especially bakery products, into racks for transport by delivery trucks. An empty transport rack is brought to the loader, and its shelf structure is scanned on each side to locate shelf brackets and to detect any left-over trays still residing on the supposedly empty rack. The precise height of each bracket on each side is noted, and pairs of brackets are compared to determine vertical height differentials, missing brackets, and damaged brackets. Filled trays are advanced on a conveyor to the loader station, where individual trays are loaded into a lift mechanism having lift brackets capable of carrying trays from the lowermost rack shelf position to the uppermost. A loading program, based on the original scan of the transport rack, moves flights of the lift mechanism, filled with trays, to the nearest available open rack position.
Abstract: A robotic apparatus, and components thereof, which is characterized by a high degree of modularity, enabling complex robotic mechanisms to be assembled on a customized basis from relatively standardized components on an efficient and economical basis. Individual numbers of a multi-axis device may be comprised of inverted channel-like support members, cut to predetermined length and provided at the extremities of their flange walls with opposed, longitudinally extending track strips. A movable carriage mounts series of guide rollers engageable with and guided and confined by the track strips for movement along a predetermined axis defined by the support member. A drive sprocket, driving by a digitally controlled stepping motor, with a drive sprocket, is mounted at one end of the support member and an idler sprocket at the opposite end.
Abstract: A three-way clamp for the assembly of structural frameworks is disclosed. The clamp includes a block-like clamp body provided with a first bore extending through the block and second and third bores intersecting with the first at right angles and intersecting with each other at right angles. The clamp body is slotted in the plane of the axis of the second and third bores, to form cantilever extension portions of the block body capable of being squeezed together by a single compression bolt. Strut-like tubular structural elements are received in the several bores, one passing through the block, the other two being inserted endwise into the second and third bores. By tightening the single compression bolt, the clamp body is caused to be tightened down into secure gripping relation with structural elements in each of three right-angularly related, intersecting axes, significantly expediting assembly, disassembly and adjustment of frame structures.
Abstract: A product gripper mechanism, particularly for gripping a plurality of products in a product group, such as bakery products, for transfer to and loading into a shipping basket or tray. The gripper is constructed of a material, such as rigid PVC tubing, which is easily obtainable, lightweight and of substantial strength. The gripper frame includes spaced-apart lateral supports, which carry a plurality of adjustably positionable cross members carrying suction devices. The suction devices are adjustably positionable on the cross members, and may easily be added to or removed from the cross members. The assembly of the tubing elements is such as to accommodate rapid disassembly and reassembly, in order to reconfigure the gripper for different product types. The gripper has pivoting end flaps of L-shaped configuration provided with thin, flexible, inwardly projecting bottom plates.