GB2161282A - Dispensing fluent material - Google Patents

Dispensing fluent material Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2161282A
GB2161282A GB08416918A GB8416918A GB2161282A GB 2161282 A GB2161282 A GB 2161282A GB 08416918 A GB08416918 A GB 08416918A GB 8416918 A GB8416918 A GB 8416918A GB 2161282 A GB2161282 A GB 2161282A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
container
arrangement
emitter
calibration
feeder
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB08416918A
Other versions
GB8416918D0 (en
GB2161282B (en
Inventor
Robin William Sadler
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY LIMITE
Original Assignee
AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY LIMITE
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY LIMITE filed Critical AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY LIMITE
Priority to GB08416918A priority Critical patent/GB2161282B/en
Publication of GB8416918D0 publication Critical patent/GB8416918D0/en
Publication of GB2161282A publication Critical patent/GB2161282A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of GB2161282B publication Critical patent/GB2161282B/en
Expired legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01GWEIGHING
    • G01G13/00Weighing apparatus with automatic feed or discharge for weighing-out batches of material
    • G01G13/16Means for automatically discharging weigh receptacles under control of the weighing mechanism
    • G01G13/18Means for automatically discharging weigh receptacles under control of the weighing mechanism by valves or flaps in the container bottom
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01GWEIGHING
    • G01G13/00Weighing apparatus with automatic feed or discharge for weighing-out batches of material
    • G01G13/02Means for automatically loading weigh pans or other receptacles, e.g. disposable containers, under control of the weighing mechanism
    • G01G13/022Material feeding devices
    • G01G13/026Material feeding devices by mechanical conveying means, e.g. belt or vibratory conveyor
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01GWEIGHING
    • G01G3/00Weighing apparatus characterised by the use of elastically-deformable members, e.g. spring balances
    • G01G3/02Weighing apparatus characterised by the use of elastically-deformable members, e.g. spring balances wherein the weighing element is in the form of a helical spring
    • G01G3/04Weighing apparatus characterised by the use of elastically-deformable members, e.g. spring balances wherein the weighing element is in the form of a helical spring using a plurality of springs

Abstract

An arrangement for calibrating feeders such as are used for dispensing concentrated dry feed to animals comprises a container (1) for receiving material from a feeder (10), the container being arranged such that its vertical location depends on the weight of the container and contents; two vertically spaced sensors (7,8) or emitters fixed adjacent the container; and a cooperating emitter (9) or sensor fixed to the container, each emitter/sensor pair being arranged to generate a signal when in horizontal alignment. In use, material is fed to the container from the feeder at a constant flow rate and the time interval between generation of signals or horizontal alignment of the emitter or sensor associated with the container with the two fixed cooperating components is measured. This time interval represents the time required to disperse a given weight of material, and is used to provide a basic time unit for calibration of the feeder. <IMAGE>

Description

SPECIFICATION Improvements in or relating to dispensing Field of invention This invention relates to dispensing and concerns calibration of feeders such as are used for dispensing concentrated dry feed to animals although the invention is equally suited to other dispensing requirements such as blending.
Background to the invention Present feed meters used for dispensing concentrated feed which have an output related to time are generally of the auger type, although other arrangements using vibrating or rotating mechanisms are also used. Calibration of this type of feed meter can be based on running time or motor speed. Generally the former basis is used and the feed meter is calibrated so that the time to dispense 0.5kg is used as a basic unit of time. Feed rations can then be dispensed using multiples of units of running time.
A problem exists with these types of dispensing mechanisms in that they measure the volume dispensed rather than the weight of the material. It is weight which is important in the majority of cases.
The density of the concentrates can vary from batch to batch and also on a seasonal basis. Compensation for this variation can be achieved either by varying the speed of the discharge or the length of running time. This means recalibration by the operator every time a new batch of concentrates is used. This is inconvenient and is often not undertaken, resulting in errors with feeding which can be quite substantial.
An object of this invention is to enable calibration of such dispensing arrangements.
The invention According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a calibration arrangement comprising a container for receiving material from a feeder, the container being arranged such that the vertical location of the container varies in dependence on the weight of the container and contents; two vertically spaced sensors or emitters fixedly mounted adjacent the container; and a cooperating emitter or sensor, as appropriate, fixed with respect to the container, each emitter/sensor pair being arranged to generate a signal when in horizontal alignment.
In use, material is fed to the container from the feeder at a constant flow rate. As material is supplied, the weight of the container and contents increases, causing the vertical position of the container to change, generally to fall. At a certain point the emitter or sensor on the container will be in horizontal alignment with one of the fixed cooperating components (generally the upper such component) causing a first, start, signal to be generated. Continued addition of material to the container causes the container to move further and a stage will be reached when the emitter or sensor on the container is in horizontal alignment with the other fixed coperating component causing a second, stop, signal to be generated. The time interval between the two signals represents the time required to dispense a given weight of material.This time is then used to provide a basic time for the feeder unit, i.e. the length of feeder running time for dispensing a given amount of material, e.g.
0.5kg. Larger or smaller quantities can then be dispensed by allowing the feeder (or other similar feeders) to run for appropriate multiples or fractions of the basic time unit. The amount dispersed in a given time could also be varied by using the signals to vary the feeder motor speed.
In a further aspect the present invention provides a method of calibrating a feeder arranged to supply material at a constant rate, comprising supplying material from the feeder to the container of a calibration arrangement in accordance with the present invention; measuring the time interval between generation of signals on horizontal alignment of the emitter or sensor associated with the container with the two fixed cooperating components; and calibrating the feeder on the basis of the measured time interval.
The time interval between the start and stop signals can be measured manually or automatically, e.g. using appropriate electronic circuitry and components.
Similarly, calibration of one of more feeders on the basis of the basic time unit measured can be carried out manually or automatically.
A typical installation for dispensing animal feed will comprise several feeder units or feed meters.
Typically only one calibration arrangement will be required to be fitted to the outlet of one feed meter. The other feed meters in the installation can be calibrated individually to deliver the same amount of material for a given time as the feed meter fitted with the calibration arrangement.
The container may be of any suitable material and configuration, and conveniently comprises a cylindrical metal component, e.g. of circular, square or rectrangular cross-section.
In order to provide suitable movement of the container in response to changing weight the container is conveniently suspended by one or more suitably rated springs. Suitable damping means may be provided if required.
The container preferably includes a closeable outlet, so that an associated feeder can be used in normal manner after calibration. The outlet conveniently comprises an opening at the base of the container with a movable, e.g. pivotable, flap. The flap is conveniently controlled by a motor and gearbox through a mechanical linkage.
The container preferably has an emitter associated therewith, for use in conjunction with two fixed cooperating sensors.
The sensors are conveniently conventional optical, magnetic or other similar types of sensors. The emitter may be active, e.g. an optical solid state unit, or passive, such as a reflector or diffuser, for use in conjunction with combined emitter/sensor units.
The vertical spacing between the fixed compo nents, e.g. sensors, may be adjustable for calibration purposes.
The invention has various advantages, including the following:- 1. Use of the invention avoids the necessity to physically weigh material dispensed in a given time -a procedure which is inconvenient and rarely undertaken.
2. The arrangement does not depend on a "zero" position of weighing, as only a portion of the material dispensed during operation is actually weighed. Because there is no "zero" positions a build up of material adhereing to the container will have no effect, providing that the build up is not sufficient to cause the container to pass the first fixed component, e.g. sensor.
3. Initial calibration of the arrangement is simple. A weight equal to the amount of material to be weighed during the calibration process is used to adjust the distance between the two fixed components, e.g. sensors, accurately. The vertical position of the fixed components in relation to the container is not critical provided that some material has to be added before the first component is reached.
One embodiment of calibration arrangement in accordance with the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawing, the single Figure of which shows the general arrangement of the calibration unit when attached to the outlet of an auger type feed dispenser for dispensing concentrated dry feed to animals.
The automatic calibration unit consists of a cylindrical metal container 1 of rectangular cross-section which is suspended by suitably rated springs 5 from a mounting plate 14 below the outlet 17 of an auger type feed dispenser 10. Dampers 15 may be necessary to prevent oscillation of the container 1 when some types of materials are being used. Additionally, a stabilising linkage (not shown) such as a parallel linkage may be used if necessary.
A flap 2 is fitted over an outlet 11 at the lower end of the container 1. The flap 2 is movable between a fully closed position, shown in solid outline, and a fully open position, shown as a dotted outline. The position of the flap 2 is controlled by a motor and gearbox 3 through a link 4 and crank 16. One or more limit switches 12 working with one or more cams 13 enable the flap to be stopped and held in the fully closed or fully open position as required.
Two sensors 7 and 8 which are conveniently of the more common types of sensor e.g. optical or magnetic, are fixed to the mounting plate 14. An emitter 9 is attached to the side of the container 1.
The emitter may be active, e.g. an optical solid state unit, for use with appropriate sensors 7 and 8. Alternative the emitter 9 may be passive, such as a reflector or diffuser, for use in conjunction with combined emitterxsensor units which would be fixed to the mounting plate 14 in place of the sensors 7 and 8. The distance between the sensors 7 and 8 (or emitterisensor units) can be adjusted for calibration purposes.
The unit has been designed to operate in conjunction with an electronic feed dispenser control system (not shown) where additional signals can be generated to operate the calibration unit automatically. The unit can, however, alternatively be used with manual controls and a stop watch or with a simple elctronic clock to measure the time between the start and stop signals.
The basic sequence of operation is as follows: The flap 2 is closed and material is then delivered into the container 1 from dispenser 10 at a constant rate, causing the container to move downwardly as the load in the container increases.
When the container has moved sufficiently to bring the emitter 9 into horizontal alignment with the upper sensor 7, this sensor will then transmit a first, start, signal. This signal indicates the start of the time interval tobe measured. As the load in the container 1 increases further, the container moves further downwardly until the emitter 9 draws level with the lower sensor 8 causing this sensor 8 to transmit a second, stop, signal. This second signal indicates the end of the time to be measured. The time that has elapsed between the start and stop signals is the time required by the feed dispenser 10 to dispense a preset weight of material. The weight of material measured in this way can be altered by adjusting the distance between the sensors 7 and 8. Typically the amount will be 1 or 2 kg.The measured time is then used to provide a basic "time unit" from which a variety of different rations can be dispensed by using sub-divisions or multiples of these 'time units". The second signal can also be used to open flap 2 by means of the motor 3 and link 4.
In a typical concentrate feeding system several dispensers are used to dispense various feed rations to different animals at the same time. Generally all the dispensers can be calibrated to deliver the same amount of feed in a given time with relatively insignificant errors. In this type of system only one automatic calibration unit will be required since the "time unit" will be common to all feed meters.
Calibration need only be undertaken once a day and the control system would be designed accordingly. Accuracy can be improved by using several calibration readings to calculate the "time unit".
Calibration readings which deviate from the previous readings by more than a predetermined amount can provide a warning signal to the operator.
Calibration can alternatively be carried out manually. In this case the calibration unit can either be linked to indicators which would enable an operator to measure the time interval using a stop watch or linked to a simple clock which would measure the time and display the result. The time so measured would then be used to manually adjust the running time of all the feed meters.

Claims (22)

1. A calibration arrangement comprising a container for receiving material from a feeder, the container being arranged such that the vertical location of the container varies in dependence on the weight of the container and contents; two vertically spaced sensors or emitters fixedly mounted adjacent the container; and a cooperating emitter or sensor, as appropriate, fixed with respect to the container, each emitter/sensor pair being arranged to generate a signal when in horizontal alignment.
2. An arrangement according to claim 1, including means for measuring the time interval between signals generated by the emitter/sensor pairs.
3. An arrangement according to claim 1 or 2, including means for calibrating one or more feeders on the basis of information obtained from the calibration arrangement.
4. An arrangement according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein the container comprises a cylindrical metal component.
5. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the container is suspended by one or more suitably rated springs.
6. An arrangement according to claim 5, further comprising damping means.
7. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the container includes a closeable outlet.
8. An arrangement according to claim 7, wherein the outlet comprises an opening at the base of the container with a movable flap.
9. An arrangement according to claim 8, wherein the flap is controlled by a motor and gearbox through a mechanical linkage.
10. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the container has an emitter associated therewith, for use in conjunction with two fixed cooperating sensors.
11. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the sensors are conventional optical or magnetic sensors.
12. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the emitter is an active optical solid state unit.
13. An arrangement according to any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the emitter is a passive reflector or diffuser, for use in conjunction with combined emitter/sensor units.
14. An arrangement according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the vertical spacing between the fixed components is adjustable for calibration purposes.
15. A calibration arrangement substantially as herein described with reference to, and as shown in, the accompanying drawing.
16. An installation for dispensing animal feed, comprising one or more feeder units or feed meters, and a calibration arrangement in accordance with any one of the preceding claims associated with the outlet of one feeder unit or feed meter.
17. A method of calibrating a feeder arranged to supply material at a constant rate, comprising supplying material from the feeder to the container of a calibration arrangement in accordance with any one of claims 1 to 15; measuring the time interval between generation of signals on horizontal alignment of the emitter or sensor associated with the container with the two fixed cooperating components; and calibrating the feeder on the basis of the measure time interval.
18. A method according to claim 17, wherein the time interval between the start and stop signals is measured manually.
19. A method according to claim 17, wherein the time interval between the start and stop signals is measured automatically.
20. A method according to claim 17, 18 or 19, wherein calibration of one of more feeders on the basis of the measured time interval is carried out manually.
21. A method according to claim 17, 18 or 19, wherein calibration of one of more feeders on the basis of the measured time interval is carried out automatically.
22. A method of calibrating a feeder substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawing.
GB08416918A 1984-07-03 1984-07-03 Dispensing fluent material Expired GB2161282B (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB08416918A GB2161282B (en) 1984-07-03 1984-07-03 Dispensing fluent material

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB08416918A GB2161282B (en) 1984-07-03 1984-07-03 Dispensing fluent material

Publications (3)

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GB8416918D0 GB8416918D0 (en) 1984-08-08
GB2161282A true GB2161282A (en) 1986-01-08
GB2161282B GB2161282B (en) 1987-10-21

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Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4949570A (en) * 1988-12-22 1990-08-21 American Cyanamid Company Method and apparatus for calibrating agricultural granular material applicators
DE19541167A1 (en) * 1995-11-04 1997-05-07 Claas Ohg System for calibrating measurement of material flow on agricultural working machine
WO1999049726A1 (en) * 1998-04-01 1999-10-07 Foerster Martin Method for automatically calibrating a device for providing domestic animals with a feed
WO2001001764A1 (en) * 1999-07-05 2001-01-11 Foerster Martin Method for automatically calibrating a device for supplying domestic animals with a feed
CN105460250A (en) * 2015-12-08 2016-04-06 无锡万能胶粘剂有限公司 Blending device for chemical additives

Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB632260A (en) * 1946-08-20 1949-11-18 Comm Engineering Pty Ltd Improvements in weighing devices

Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB632260A (en) * 1946-08-20 1949-11-18 Comm Engineering Pty Ltd Improvements in weighing devices

Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4949570A (en) * 1988-12-22 1990-08-21 American Cyanamid Company Method and apparatus for calibrating agricultural granular material applicators
DE19541167A1 (en) * 1995-11-04 1997-05-07 Claas Ohg System for calibrating measurement of material flow on agricultural working machine
FR2740872A1 (en) * 1995-11-04 1997-05-09 Claas Ohg DEVICE AND METHOD FOR CALIBRATION OF A DEVICE FOR MEASURING A CROP FLOW RATE ON AN AGRICULTURAL MACHINE
US5750877A (en) * 1995-11-04 1998-05-12 Claas Kgaa Device for and method of calibrating the measurements of a product stream
DE19541167C2 (en) * 1995-11-04 2001-04-05 Claas Ohg Device and method for calibrating the measurement of a material flow
WO1999049726A1 (en) * 1998-04-01 1999-10-07 Foerster Martin Method for automatically calibrating a device for providing domestic animals with a feed
US7107931B1 (en) 1998-04-01 2006-09-19 Martin Forster Method for automatically calibrating a device for providing domestic animals with a feed
WO2001001764A1 (en) * 1999-07-05 2001-01-11 Foerster Martin Method for automatically calibrating a device for supplying domestic animals with a feed
CN105460250A (en) * 2015-12-08 2016-04-06 无锡万能胶粘剂有限公司 Blending device for chemical additives

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
GB2161282B (en) 1987-10-21
GB8416918D0 (en) 1984-08-08

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PCNP Patent ceased through non-payment of renewal fee