Longitudinal Rotary Shafts Patents (Class 104/166)
  • Patent number: 9766258
    Abstract: A carrying apparatus includes a holder which houses an object to be carried and which comprises a holder side member; a carrying path which guides the movement of the holder; a helical member which generates, between the holder side member and the helical member, a first force in a direction to depart from the holder side member or a second force to attract the holder side member and which is disposed along the carrying path; and a rotation unit which rotates the helical member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2017
    Assignee: AOI SEIKI CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Teruaki Itoh
  • Patent number: 9519001
    Abstract: A carrying apparatus includes a holder which houses an object to be carried and which comprises a holder side member; a carrying path which guides the movement of the holder; a helical member which generates, between the holder side member and the helical member, a first force in a direction to depart from the holder side member or a second force to attract the holder side member and which is disposed along the carrying path; and a rotation unit which rotates the helical member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 13, 2016
    Assignee: AOI SEIKI CO., LTD.
    Inventor: Teruaki Itoh
  • Patent number: 8800754
    Abstract: A conveyor system is provided that comprises at least two types of drive tube couplings that are interchangeable. In one embodiment, the conveyor system comprises a plurality of first drive tube couplings and a plurality of second drive tube couplings. The first drive tube couplings comprise a base portion and an elongated portion that extends from the face of the base portion. The second drive tube couplings comprise a coupling spacer and a coupler comprising an elongated member that abuts the face of the coupling spacer and extends substantially perpendicular thereto. In this embodiment the thickness of the base portion of each of the first drive tube couplings is substantially equal to the thickness of the coupling spacer of each of the second drive tube couplings.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 8, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 12, 2014
    Assignee: OCS Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles P. Tabler
  • Patent number: 8191483
    Abstract: A rotating shaft drive system is configured to propel a load along a conveying path of an overhead conveyor system. A stationary frame extends along the conveying path and supports the rotating shaft drive system. A movable carriage is suspended from the stationary frame and engages with a rotating shaft of the shaft drive system to propel the carriage and the load. The rotating shaft comprises a plurality of shaft segments supported pillow blocks at each end of the rotating shaft segments, and the pillow blocks create a gap between adjacent shaft segments. The movable carriage has at least one canted driven roller configured to engage with adjacent rotating shaft segments and to create a helical loci of tractional engagement that provides sufficient drive force to propel the carriage and the load along the conveying path. The drive system is further configured to provide continuous propulsion as the canted driven roller moves across the gap between adjacent shaft segments.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2012
    Assignee: OCS Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles Paul Tabler
  • Patent number: 8191481
    Abstract: A material handling system includes a composite beam including an upper rail and a lower track connected through a plurality of spaced apart transverse members. A trolley includes an upper set of wheels and a lower set of wheels. The lower set of wheels is received within two parallel channels defined by the lower track. A drive tube is positioned between the upper rail and the lower track such that the upper set of wheels are in frictional engagement with the drive tube. A drive system is configured to rotate the drive tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2012
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: John M. Spangler, David G. Bilson
  • Patent number: 8127687
    Abstract: A material handling system includes a first independent track assembly configured to transport a forward trolley along a first path, and a second independent track assembly configured to transport a trailing trolley along a second path. The second path is substantially parallel to the first path. A carrier is configured to support an article and has a first end pivotably supported by the forward trolley and a second end pivotably supported by the trailing trolley. The material handling system also includes a third independent track assembly configured to transport the forward trolley and the trailing trolley along a third path. Each of the first independent track assembly, the second independent track assembly, and the third independent track assembly includes an independent drive system for independently moving a respective one of the forward trolley and the trailing trolley and a station control system including a microprocessor in communication with the independent drive system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 9, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2012
    Assignee: Caterpillar Inc.
    Inventors: John M. Spangler, David G. Bilson
  • Patent number: 7814839
    Abstract: A conveyor is powered by a rotating, generally horizontal drive tube or shaft engaged by angularly disposed trolley wheels, in which trolleys support the conveyed products or materials above the drive tube and clear of any parts of the conveyor structure that would interfere with the desired path of travel. Each of the trolleys is provided with load wheels which ride on load rails above the drive tube and associated drive wheels, thereby providing a structure upon which a platform or other support may be mounted for bearing the transported products.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2008
    Date of Patent: October 19, 2010
    Assignee: OCS Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventors: Donald E. Owens, Charles P. Tabler
  • Patent number: 7562763
    Abstract: In a drive system for an overhead conveyor, a first drive shaft presents a path of travel for a trolley, and a second drive shaft spaced from the first drive shaft provides a continuation of the path of travel. A flexible drive cable spans the gap between the shafts and interconnects the terminal end of the first shaft with the receiving end of the second shaft to transfer torque thereto to rotate the second shaft. The cable comprises spiral wound strands joined together to preclude unraveling thereof and thus the second shaft may be driven by the first shaft when their longitudinal axes are not collinear.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2009
    Assignee: OCS Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles P. Tabler
  • Publication number: 20090078149
    Abstract: A rotating shaft drive system is configured to propel a load along a conveying path of an overhead conveyor system. A stationary frame extends along the conveying path and supports the rotating shaft drive system. A movable carriage is suspended from the stationary frame and engages with a rotating shaft of the shaft drive system to propel the carriage and the load. The rotating shaft comprises a plurality of shaft segments supported pillow blocks at each end of the rotating shaft segments, and the pillow blocks create a gap between adjacent shaft segments. The movable carriage has at least one canted driven roller configured to engage with adjacent rotating shaft segments and to create a helical loci of tractional engagement that provides sufficient drive force to propel the carriage and the load along the conveying path. The drive system is further configured to provide continuous propulsion as the canted driven roller moves across the gap between adjacent shaft segments.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 19, 2008
    Publication date: March 26, 2009
    Inventor: CHARLES PAUL TABLER
  • Patent number: 7421953
    Abstract: A device for an overhead conveyor system of the type where a plurality of carriages (7) by contracting a rotating drive shaft (5) are propellable along a rail (2). The device comprises an operating arm (28) arranged in connection with a first carriage (7b) and adapted to actuate, by turning about an axis of rotation (26), a power transmission element (24) to disconnect the carriage from contact with the drive shaft, and an angled supporting surface (20) arranged in connection with a second carriage (7a). One end of the operating arm (28) is further adapted, when said carriages (7a, 7b) are moved towards each other, to contact said angled supporting surface (20) and be moved along the same, so that the operating arm (28) thus performs a turning motion and disconnects said first carriage (7b). According to the invention, the drive of the carriage will thus be interrupted as soon as its operating arm is contacted with the supporting surface of an anteriorly situated carriage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 9, 2008
    Assignee: OCS Overhead Conveyor System AB
    Inventors: Hardy Johansson, Palle Johansson
  • Patent number: 7337894
    Abstract: A chain drive overhead conveyer extends through an oven to move carriages between exit and entrance ends of respective rotary drive shafts that are outside the oven. Driven wheels of the carriages are canted with respect to the rotary drive shafts so that when a drive shaft is rotated, a helical loci of engagement between the drive shaft and engaged driven wheels provides sufficient traction to propel the carriages along the conveying path outside the oven. Weight of loaded carriages is carried through carriage support wheels to a load support structure adjacent to and independently of the rotary drive shafts and the chain conveyer through the conveying path. Heat sensitive portions of the carriages, e.g. the driven wheels, are chilled at the exit of the oven.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 4, 2008
    Inventor: Charles P. Tabler
  • Patent number: 6668737
    Abstract: The invention relates to a transport system comprising rails arranged next to each other and a vehicle which is characterized by good cornering performance, can be moved on said rails and has running gears which can be pivoted about vertical axes and are mounted on a frame. Seen in the longitudinal direction of travel, the running gears on one vehicle side are mounted on the frame such that they can be moved in relation to the running gears of the opposite vehicle side. In particular, the running gears (8) of one side of the vehicle (1) are mounted on the frame (10) such that they can be linearly displaced at right angles to the longitudinal direction of travel (Q) of the vehicle (1).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 19, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2003
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: J├╝rgen Obst, Oliver Remsberger
  • Patent number: 6457418
    Abstract: The invention relates to an overhead conveyor system which includes a rail, at least one carriage which is provided with wheels and which is adapted to run along the rail and support a load suspended from the carriage, a rotatable drive shaft which extends along the rail and is located perpendicularly above the rail, and a drive arranged on each carriage and adapted to drive, in contact with the drive shaft, the carriage along the rail. The drive includes at least one wheel which is inclined relative to the longitudinal direction of the drive shaft and has a contact surface spring-loaded against the drive shaft, the spring load of the drive being independent of the load suspended from the carriage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 18, 2001
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2002
    Assignee: OCS Overhead Conveyor System AB
    Inventor: Anders Persson
  • Patent number: 6425579
    Abstract: An envelope hopper having a plurality of bottom rods to form a supporting surface for supporting a stack of envelopes and a paddle to push the envelopes towards an envelope feeder at the downstream end. A scrub wheel is rotatably mounted on a fixed, rotation axis on the paddle and is in contact with one of the bottom rods. The rotation axis of the scrub wheel is oriented at an angle relative to the rotation axis of the contacting rod, so that when the contacting rod rotates, it causes the scrub wheel to rotate, thereby producing a force on the paddle urging the paddle to move towards the downstream end. Preferably, the envelope hopper has a side rod on one side of the envelope stack, and the supporting surface is tilted from the horizontal surface, so that the envelopes are moved towards the side rod by gravity in order to register against the side rod. Preferably, the side rod also rotates in order to reduce the friction between the envelope stack and the side rod.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 30, 2002
    Assignee: Pitney Bowes Inc.
    Inventors: James B Andreyka, Boris Rozenfeld, John W. Sussmeier, Jeffrey E. Vill
  • Patent number: 6305295
    Abstract: Stopping device for a transport trolley which can be moved along guidances or rails (2-3), whereby the transport trolley (4) is provided with driving wheels (7) which cooperate with a driving axle (6) and which, by means of a lever (14) with a contact wheel (17), can be set at different angles in respect to said driving axle (6), characterized in that this stopping device (1) consists of at least a lever (20) with an ascending edge (40) and a descending lateral edge (41), prolonged by an acceleration lever (24), the transition of which is formed by a tip (T), and a hydraulic, pneumatic or electric drive which can position said levers (20) and (24) in three positions, namely, with said tip (T) outside the path of said contact wheel (17) and out of contact with levers (20) and (24); with lever (20) and tip (T) entirely in the path of the contact wheel (17); and with the tip (T) outside of the path of the contact wheel (17), however, with the contact wheel (17) in contact with the acceleration lever (24).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2000
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2001
    Assignee: Elektrieiteit voor Goederenbehandeling Marine en Industrie in het kort Egemin naamloze vennootschap
    Inventor: Walter Buck
  • Patent number: 6293388
    Abstract: Overhead conveying system trolleys supported by canted driven rollers engage on and form spiral loci of engagement with a rotated drive shaft in a powered section, and each has a top wheel used to lift the driven rollers off of the drive shaft as the trolley enters a gravity rail section where the wheel is supported on a rail and where a step feeder releases trolleys one at a time from or along the gravity rail section. A pivoted step feeder arm in a receiving and holding position receives the wheel of the lead trolley, which actuates a release limit switch, to cause the arm to rotate and release the trolley. In this release position, the retention abutment mounted on the accumulation side of the arm, prevents any following trolley from actuating the release limit switch. The arm remains in the release position until a second limit switch is actuated by the released trolley moving away, to cause the arm to rotate to the receiving and holding position to receive the next lead trolley.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 25, 2001
    Assignee: OCS - Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Christopher L. Felter
  • Patent number: 6267060
    Abstract: A factory preassembled drive module is assembled between opposed spaced apart ends of load beams and opposed rotatable shafts supported by the load beams are assembled drivingly to a rotatable drive shaft coupling of the drive unit or module in a job site where the overhead conveyor is installed. The drive unit module includes a motor driving a transmission, in turn driving pulleys that drive belts in turn driving the rotatable portion of the drive shaft coupling. The drive motor and transmission are mounted on a bracket with lost motion permitting tension adjustment of the belts, and the bracket is formed with flanges to respectively abut and overlap correspondingly shaped portions of the adjacent load beams for connection thereto.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2001
    Assignee: OCS-Intellitrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Donald E. Owens, Jr.
  • Patent number: 6267059
    Abstract: A train positioning system for moving railroad cars by engaging bogey frames from one side includes a dog carriage guideway spaced from and parallel to a railroad track, a dog carriage mounted to operate along the guideway, a first dog pivotally attached to the dog carriage to pivot in a generally horizontal plane between a retracted position and an extended position. The first dog is positioned to engage a bogey frame in a first direction and be deflected by the bogey frame in a second direction in the extended position. A second dog may be mounted in opposed spaced relation to the first dog also to pivot in a generally horizontal plane between a retracted and an extended position. The second dog is configured to engage a bogey frame in the second direction and be deflected by the bogey frame in the first direction. A system is provided for reversibly operating the dog carriage along the guideway.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 11, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2001
    Assignee: Motion Controls, Inc.
    Inventor: Calvin J. Brandt
  • Patent number: 6044766
    Abstract: In accordance with the present invention, a playground carriage (10) is provided for moving people (100) from one play area to another. The playground carriage comprises a rotatable support pipe (12) having a first end (14) and a second end (16). The support pipe extends between a first vertical column (18) and a second vertical column (20). A manually-operated crank extends between the first vertical column and a third vertical column (48). The first end of the crank is coupled to the first end of the support pipe so that manually turning the crank rotates the support pipe. A carriage (28) for carrying people is mounted to the support pipe. The carriage is advanced along the support pipe by a carrier assembly (102). The carrier assembly comprises a carrier (30) which propels the carriage and a brake (104) which is capable of bringing the carriage to a stop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2000
    Assignee: Kompan, Inc.
    Inventors: John M. Underbrink, Russell Lee Keeler
  • Patent number: 6032785
    Abstract: With respect to an overhead conveyor of the type wherein a carriage travels along a rotatable generally horizontal drive shaft by being supported on the top periphery of the drive shaft through skewed driven rollers, carriage construction is minimized by forming a portion or all of the carriage from a uniform cross sectional shaped elongated member extending through skewed apertures within the hub of one or all of the driven rollers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2000
    Assignee: OCS-IntelliTrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas E. Beall, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5953995
    Abstract: A transport system for passive vehicles which move by way of wheels on treadways of a track includes guide surfaces for guiding the vehicles along the track. Each vehicle includes at least one drive roller propelling the vehicle through contact with rotary tubes. An axis of the drive roller is steerable with respect to the axis of the tubes. The vehicle also includes guide rollers adapted to cooperate with guide surfaces of the track. The track includes a trench containing the rotary tubes and a cover disposed atop the trench and having a lengthwise slit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 21, 1999
    Assignees: Marc Treviso, Jean-Claude Mourer
    Inventor: Yves C. D. Saillant
  • Patent number: 5881649
    Abstract: To provide a magnetic transfer system capable of smoothly delivering a carrier between chambers by providing a independently-rotating carrier-feed driving shaft for each chamber without using a synchronous control mechanism and used for a semiconductor fabrication equipment or the like provided with a plurality of chambers. The magnetic transfer system is provided with a rotational driving member which is divided into two portions serving as a fixed driving shaft and a movable driving shaft in the axial direction and in which the fixed driving shaft is secured to a shaft core member and the movable driving shaft is set to the shaft core member so as to be limited in the rotational direction but so as to be freely movable in the axial direction at a certain width, and spiral magnetic coupling sections are formed on the surface of each driving shaft at the same pitch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 1997
    Date of Patent: March 16, 1999
    Assignee: Anelva Corporation
    Inventors: Yoshiro Hasegawa, Naoyuki Suzuki, Tomoaki Abe
  • Patent number: 5816167
    Abstract: In accordance with the present invention, a playground carriage (10) is provided for moving people (100) from one play area to another. The playground carriage comprises a rotatable support pipe (12) having a first end (14) and a second end (16). The support pipe extends between a first vertical column (18) and a second vertical column (20). A manually-operated crank extends between the first vertical column and a third vertical column (48). The first end of the crank is coupled to the first end of the support pipe so that manually turning the crank rotates the support pipe. A carriage (28) for carrying people is mounted to the support pipe. The carriage is advanced along the support pipe by a carrier assembly (102). The carrier assembly comprises a carrier (30) which propels the carriage and a brake (104) which is capable of bringing the carriage to a stop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 6, 1998
    Assignee: Kompan, Inc.
    Inventors: Paul Danforth, Daniel York, Russell Keeler, John Underbrink
  • Patent number: 5806655
    Abstract: A standard wheeled dolly frame or pallet is connected to a carriage at one or opposite sides thereof. Each carriage has an elastomeric material for biasing a plurality of pivotally mounted driven wheels against a rotatable drive shaft extending along a transporting direction. The driven wheels are canted with respect to the drive shaft so that when the drive shaft is rotated by a belt driven by an electric motor and a mechanical transmission, a helical loci of engagement between the drive shaft and driven wheels provides sufficient traction through the engagement force of the bias member to propel the wheeled vehicle along the transporting path. Preferably, the drive shaft is composed of a number of discontinuous driving sections that are aligned or alignable for diverting transporting paths so as to each be driven by a separate set of a drive motor, mechanical transmission and drive belt. The drive shaft may include curved sections so that the transporting path may take on any desired shape.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: OCS-IntelliTrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles P. Tabler
  • Patent number: 5785168
    Abstract: A load of an overhead conveyor is connected to a carriage, that has elastomeric material biasing a plurality of pivotally mounted driven wheels against a rotatable drive shaft extending along the transporting direction. The driven wheels are canted with respect to the drive shaft so that when the drive shaft is rotated, a helical loci of engagement between the drive shaft and driven wheels provides sufficient traction through the engagement force of the bias to propel the hanger along the transporting path. A first portion of weight of the load is carried through the bias member and through the driven wheels to the drive shaft, and thereafter a next portion of weight of the load is carried through a support wheel to a load support structure independently of the drive shaft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1996
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: OCS-IntelliTrak, Inc.
    Inventor: Thomas E. Beall, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5758581
    Abstract: The invention consists of a conveyor system with a drive shaft that can be rotated around its longitudinal axis, and at least one conveyor car with at least one frictional wheel, which for propulsion does roll off on the drive shaft with an/the axis of rotation inclined against the longitudinal axis of the drive shaft, where the conveyor system additionally contains first guiding devices with a first distance from the drive shaft that remains constant in longitudinal direction of the drive shaft, on which the conveyor car or cars are guided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 2, 1998
    Assignee: Henke Maschinenbau GmbH
    Inventor: Karlheinz Uhlenbusch
  • Patent number: 5443012
    Abstract: In accordance with the present invention, a playground carriage (10) is provided for moving people (100) from one play area to another. The playground carriage comprises a rotatable support pipe (12) having a first end (14) and a second end (16). The support pipe extends between a first vertical column (18) and a second vertical column (20). A manually-operated crank (22) having a first end (24) and a second end (26) is also included. The manually-operated crank extends between the first vertical column and a third vertical column (48). The first end of the crank is coupled to the first end of the support pipe so that manually turning the crank rotates the support pipe. A carriage (28) for carrying people is mounted to the support pipe. The carriage is advanced along the support pipe by a carrier (30).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 22, 1995
    Assignee: BigToys, Inc.
    Inventors: John M. Underbrink, Russell L. Keeler
  • Patent number: 5076172
    Abstract: Transport carts without internal drive which are bound to rails are moved in a returning system on a transport line from a common main drive. In the end area of the transport line, a secondary drive system is provided so that the transport carts are transferrable along a vertical curve into an inverted position onto a return line which is disposed parallel beneath the transport line and is provided with a second main drive system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 1991
    Date of Patent: December 31, 1991
    Assignee: Schott Glaswerke
    Inventors: Erwin Grimm, Christian Koch, Volker Hausler, Helmut Pfenning, Hubert Christ
  • Patent number: 5001987
    Abstract: A lightweight car-on-track system having a pair of spaced-apart rails and an associated rotatable drive tube with a captive carrier movable along the rails and having a drive wheel in driving engagement with the rotatable drive tube. The drive wheel is spring-loaded against the rotatable drive tube and the capture of the carrier to the rails results in a controlled drive force achieved regardless of the weight of the carrier or of a load supported thereon. The system is made up of a selected number of modular units, each having adjustably mounted frame members supporting opposite ends of a rail section and a drive tube section. Adjustable mounting of frame members to an alignment plate assures alignment between rail and drive tube sections when assembling the system. A transfer device is utilized for transferring a carrier from the end of one track section to the spaced-apart end of another track section with the transfer device being oscillatable about a pivot axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 1988
    Date of Patent: March 26, 1991
    Assignee: Heico Inc.
    Inventors: Barry L. Ziegenfus, Russell H. Scheel
  • Patent number: 4998481
    Abstract: Transport carts without internal drive which are bound to rails are moved in a returning system on a transport line from a common main drive. In the end area of the transport line, a secondary drive system is provided so that the transport carts are transferrable along a vertical curve into an inverted position onto a return line which is disposed parallel beneath the transport line and is provided with a second main drive system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 1990
    Date of Patent: March 12, 1991
    Assignee: Schott Glaswerke
    Inventors: Erwin Grimm, Christian Koch, Volker Hausler, Helmut Pfenning, Hubert Christ
  • Patent number: 4964343
    Abstract: Transfer apparatus having a pallet which is advanced along rails by a rotating shaft disposed between and parallel to the rails. The pallet has a roller frictionally engaging the shaft with its rotary axis adapted for adjustment between a position parallel to the shaft axis and a position transverse to the shaft axis such that the steeper the transverse angle, the faster the pallet is driven. The driven roller is mounted for gyratory adjustment by a lever having a forward end projecting from the pallet with a first roller to engage a stop plate on the preceding pallet which may actuate the lever to displace the roller axis towards the parallel position and thereby reduce the speed of the pallet and eventually stop the same as the pallet approaches the preceding pallet. A second roller is mounted on the lever to depend below the pallet so that it may engage a stop element fixed in the path of the second roller but out of the path of the remainder of the pallet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 4, 1989
    Date of Patent: October 23, 1990
    Assignee: Tsubakimoto Chain Co.
    Inventors: Hideaki Haruna, Hiroki Azeura
  • Patent number: 4922831
    Abstract: A lightweight car-on-track system having a pair of spaced-apart rails and an associated rotatable drive tube with a captive carrier movable along the rails and having a drive wheel in driving engagement with the rotatable drive tube. The drive wheel is spring-loaded against the rotatable drive tube and the capture of the carrier to the rails results in a controlled drive force achieved regardless of the weight of the carrier or of a load supported thereon. The system is made up of a selected number of modular units, each having adjustably mounted frame members supporting opposite ends of a rail section and a drive tube section. Adjustable mounting of frame members to an alignment plate assures alignment between rail and drive tube sections when assembling the system. A transfer device is utilized for transferring a carrier from the end of one track section to the spaced-apart end of another track section with the transfer device being oscillatable about a pivot axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1988
    Date of Patent: May 8, 1990
    Assignee: Heico Inc.
    Inventors: Barry L. Ziegenfus, Russell H. Scheel
  • Patent number: 4909153
    Abstract: The invention concerns a variable speed transportation system using passive vehicles. The passive vehicles (1) are driven at variable speed by tubes (4) rotating in bearings (13) mounted on cross-bars (14) supporting the rails (2 and 3) and by rollers rolling on the tubes (4) and orientable through an articulated parallelogram linkage (7) actuated by a lever (8) and a maneuvering sprocket wheel (9) controlled by cams situated at the edge of the track or at the rear of the preceding vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 1988
    Date of Patent: March 20, 1990
    Assignee: Critt Productique
    Inventors: Serge Lacroix, Marc P. Treviso
  • Patent number: 4846074
    Abstract: An improved moving work pallet construction includes a cantilever pallet supported on a single track by a wheel or roller. A drive shaft parallel to the track serves to counterbalance the weight of the pallet and also cooperates with a drive wheel on the pallet construction that is selectively positionable between a rest and a drive position due to coaction with a stop member projecting from the next adjacent pallet or mounted at each work station. In this manner, the cantilevered pallet construction can accumulate on the track as well as stop at a work station where it is possible to lock it into position at the work station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 1988
    Date of Patent: July 11, 1989
    Assignee: Rockford Automation
    Inventor: Bruce E. Block
  • Patent number: 4838171
    Abstract: In a transfer apparatus in which a pallet is stationary when the crossing angle between the axes of rotation of a driven roller and a driving shaft is zero, and the pallet may be driven when the angle is greater than zero, a stop-start apparatus comprising a cam follower roller supported by a support member of said driven roller, a stopper block guided and supported at a stop position of the pallet so as to move to and fro in the directions of the transfer and having a notch into which said cam follower roller fits so as to keep said angle zero, a cam the proximal end of which is pivotally supported at a forward position of said stop position having a cam surface on which said cam follower roller makes a rolling contact, a spring urging said cam to a predetermined position, the distal end of said cam, in said predetermined position, being near said notch and said cam being so shaped as to increase said angle from zero to 45 degrees from said distal end toward the proximal end.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 1988
    Date of Patent: June 13, 1989
    Assignee: Tsubakimoto Chain Co.
    Inventors: Satoru Yokoi, Toru Kai
  • Patent number: 4825135
    Abstract: Method and apparatus are disclosed for providing mechanical amplification particularly suited for the driving system of mechanical robots. An electronic control system is provided for interfacing a user with the robot driving system. The robot driving system includes a mechanical motion control system coupled to receive electric control signals from the electronic control system and to provide in response thereto precision linear movement indicative of the movement required of the mechanical driving system. A high-power motor is provided for rotating a cylinder to thereby provide the input driving power to the mechanical amplifier. A linear drive system responds to rotation of the cylinder and the precision movements of the mechanical motion controller to traverse the cylinder and thereby provide the mechanical motion output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 17, 1987
    Date of Patent: April 25, 1989
    Assignee: Hypermotion, Inc.
    Inventor: Keith J. Perez
  • Patent number: 4798147
    Abstract: A driverless vehicle having swivel-mounted support wheels which ride on track rails and at least first and second drive wheels adapted for frictional contact with a drive tube. The drive wheels are interconnected by a linkage permitting limited independent movement of the drive wheels through a track curve, and they are maintained in substantially synchronous angular orientations relative to the drive tube by means of a stationary cam and a follower mounted on one of the drive wheels or by means of a linkage interconnecting one of the support wheels with one of the drive wheels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 1987
    Date of Patent: January 17, 1989
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Roger A. Pyle, Per E. Lindovist
  • Patent number: 4791872
    Abstract: A vehicle for use in a track system of the type having a rotating drive shaft extending along and parallel to an elongated track has a drive wheel mounted to extend from the side of the vehicle for driving contact with the rotating drive shaft. The vehicle has a speed control means actuated by control members extending from both the front and the rear of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 1987
    Date of Patent: December 20, 1988
    Assignee: PSi
    Inventor: Terrance E. McGinn
  • Patent number: 4782760
    Abstract: A vehicle precision location assembly including a precision shoe mounted on the vehicle and having planar surfaces which converge towards an end of the shoe and intersect along an edge inclined with respect to the horizontal and a pair of rollers mounted alongside a track and having their axes of rotation canted with respect to each other such that each roller contacts the shoe surfaces along a line substantially parallel to the axis of the roller whereby the vehicle will be centered in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the vehicle and without any play in the transverse direction regardless of wear.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 14, 1986
    Date of Patent: November 8, 1988
    Assignee: S I Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter Rohrbach, Per E. Lindquist
  • Patent number: 4763539
    Abstract: This disclosure relates to an apparatus for converting rotational movement into linear movement. The apparatus includes a roller unit and a rotatable screw. The roller unit is adapted to be journaled on a fixed body, and has peripheral flanges axially spaced so as to have a substantially constant pitch. The screw is adapted to be journaled on a movable body in parallel with the roller unit, and to be rotatably driven. The screw includes an outer thread having a pitch for engagement with the flanges, and rotation of the screw causes the movable body to travel along the roller unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 1986
    Date of Patent: August 16, 1988
    Inventor: Takeshi Kume
  • Patent number: 4718350
    Abstract: A driverless vehicle is provided with support wheels on one side and drive wheels on the opposite side. The drive wheels perform the dual function of supporting one side of the body and propelling the vehicle by frictional contact with a drive shaft. The drive wheels are coupled together for oscillation about a vertical axis and are biased to a drive position. The vehicle body is provided with a cam for causing accumulation upon contact with another vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 1981
    Date of Patent: January 12, 1988
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Charles E. Jacoby, Per E. Lindqvist
  • Patent number: 4691641
    Abstract: An accumulation system for driverless vehicles of the type which are propelled along a track by contact between the drive wheel and a rotating drive shaft. Accumulation being caused by contact between a swing arm extended from the front end of a driverless vehicle. The swing arm pivots towards the front end of the driverless vehicle causing a corresponding rotation of the drive wheel with respect to the rotating drive shaft. The change in position of the drive wheels with respect to the axis of the drive shaft causes a deceleration of the driverless vehicle and/or accumulation of the vehicle with respect to the adjacent driverless vehicle on the track.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 21, 1986
    Date of Patent: September 8, 1987
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Peter Rohrbach, William Benzak
  • Patent number: 4648325
    Abstract: A linear drive unit having a carriage reciprocal along a path of travel and having a plurality of pairs of angularly adjustable drive wheels engaging opposite sides of a rotatable drive tube whereby rotation of the drive tube imparts linear motion to the carriage. The angle of the drive wheels is controlled by a remotely-operable air motor mounted directly on the carriage. A plurality of cams provide controlled acceleration and deceleration of the carriage adjacent the ends of its path of travel. A selectively operable inching control is remotely operable to provide for a reduced speed of travel of the linear drive unit. The linear drive unit is easily associated with the mass to be moved, such as a travelling hoist, and the forces generated by opposed drive wheels compressively engaging the drive tube are self-contained within the carriage. Additional control cams can be provided along the path of travel, if additional stopping locations are desired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 1985
    Date of Patent: March 10, 1987
    Assignee: Heico Inc.
    Inventors: Stanley K. Gutekunst, Russell H. Scheel, Barry L. Ziegenfus
  • Patent number: 4646649
    Abstract: A driverless vehicle, propelled by a longitudinal drive shaft, is provided with a load supporting substrate coupled to the vehicle body by a floating mount which permits the substrate to be moved relative to the body in a limited manner. A precision locator for use with said vehicle orientates the substrate in three directions, namely fore-aft, transversely, and vertically.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1984
    Date of Patent: March 3, 1987
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: James L. Thatcher, Per E. Lindquist
  • Patent number: 4628823
    Abstract: The speed of a driverless vehicle is controlled along the length of the module from an incoming high speed to an outgoing low speed or vice versa. The module includes first, second and third aligned drive tubes between tracks adapted to support a vehicle. A first motor is coupled to the first drive tube for driving the same at a first (high) speed. The second drive motor is coupled to the third drive tube for driving the same at a second (low) speed. The second drive tube is maintained out of mechanical engagement with the first and third drive tubes. A variable speed motor is coupled to the second drive tube to drive the second tube between the first (high) and second (low) speeds, independently of the first and second motors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 1984
    Date of Patent: December 16, 1986
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Edmund L. Mangan, Barry Conklin
  • Patent number: 4620280
    Abstract: An intelligent driverless vehicle rolls on a track and has a pair of drive wheels which engage with a rotating drive shaft. The angular position of the drive wheels relative to the drive shaft determines the speed of the vehicle. Each vehicle has a microcomputer associated therewith, a position encoder for supplying information regarding the position of the vehicle to the microcomputer, an angular position encoder for providing information regarding the angular position of the drive wheels to the microcomputer for the computation of vehicle speed, and a drive wheel control means and associated linkage for changing the angular position of the drive wheels and thus vehicle speed in response to commands from the onboard microcomputer. The microcomputer communicates with a central computer via a bidirectional communications link. The central computer controls the speed and acceleration of each vehicle by selectively communicating with the microcomputers on board the vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 1983
    Date of Patent: October 28, 1986
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Barry C. Conklin
  • Patent number: 4619204
    Abstract: A driverless tugger vehicle is adapted to shuttle back and forth and push or pull another driverless vehicle each time it moves in a forward direction. The tugger vehicle is propelled by frictional contact between a drive wheel and a drive shaft with the drive wheel being mounted for pivotable movement through an arc of approximately 90 degrees so that the vehicle may reciprocate in opposite directions without changing the direction of rotation of the drive shaft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 1983
    Date of Patent: October 28, 1986
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Per E. Lindquist
  • Patent number: 4612861
    Abstract: A driverless tugger vehicle adapted to contact another driverless vehicle and push or pull the latter to a source of power includes a body having support wheels for riding on tracks. The body has a drive wheel adapted for frictional contact with a drive shaft. A contact member on the body is provided for pushing or pulling the other driverless vehicle. A switch actuator is provided on the body for initiating reversal of direction of movement of the body when the contact member is coupled to said other driverless vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 1983
    Date of Patent: September 23, 1986
    Assignee: Si Handling Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Per E. Lindquist
  • Patent number: 4603720
    Abstract: A drive wheel for driverless vehicle has a tire portion. The tire portion has discrete recesses for enabling the tire portion to be frictionally driven by a drive shaft whose surface is wet or oily.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 1981
    Date of Patent: August 5, 1986
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Charles E. Jacoby
  • Patent number: 4603639
    Abstract: The device controls the speed of a driverless vehicle by way of a cam having an acceleration surface and a deceleration surface for contact with a cam follower on the driverless vehicle. The cam is mounted for reciprocation in a horizontal direction between an operative position wherein the deceleration surface will cause a driverless vehicle to stop and an inoperative position wherein the cam will not cause such vehicle to stop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 1984
    Date of Patent: August 5, 1986
    Assignee: SI Handling Systems Inc.
    Inventor: Craig F. Sleep