US20170113897A1 - Rope auto spooler machine - Google Patents

Rope auto spooler machine Download PDF

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Publication number
US20170113897A1
US20170113897A1 US15/334,485 US201615334485A US2017113897A1 US 20170113897 A1 US20170113897 A1 US 20170113897A1 US 201615334485 A US201615334485 A US 201615334485A US 2017113897 A1 US2017113897 A1 US 2017113897A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
rope
spool
guide
auto spooler
axis
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Abandoned
Application number
US15/334,485
Inventor
Andrew Michael Logan
Daniel John Marben
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Greenlee Tools Inc
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Textron Innovations Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US201562246253P priority Critical
Application filed by Textron Innovations Inc filed Critical Textron Innovations Inc
Priority to US15/334,485 priority patent/US20170113897A1/en
Assigned to GREENLEE TEXTRON INC. reassignment GREENLEE TEXTRON INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LOGAN, ANDREW MICHAEL, Marben, Daniel John
Publication of US20170113897A1 publication Critical patent/US20170113897A1/en
Assigned to TEXTRON INNOVATIONS INC. reassignment TEXTRON INNOVATIONS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GREENLEE TEXTRON INC.
Assigned to GREENLEE TEXTRON INC. reassignment GREENLEE TEXTRON INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: TEXTRON INNOVATIONS INC.
Assigned to GREENLEE TOOLS, INC. reassignment GREENLEE TOOLS, INC. CHANGE OF NAME (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: GREENLEE TEXTRON INC.
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H54/00Winding, coiling, or depositing filamentary material
    • B65H54/02Winding and traversing material on to reels, bobbins, tubes, or like package cores or formers
    • B65H54/28Traversing devices; Package-shaping arrangements
    • B65H54/2884Microprocessor-controlled traversing devices in so far the control is not special to one of the traversing devices of groups B65H54/2803 - B65H54/325 or group B65H54/38
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B65CONVEYING; PACKING; STORING; HANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL
    • B65HHANDLING THIN OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL, e.g. SHEETS, WEBS, CABLES
    • B65H2701/00Handled material; Storage means
    • B65H2701/30Handled filamentary material
    • B65H2701/35Ropes, lines

Abstract

A rope auto spooler is configured to spool rope onto a cable spool. The rope auto spooler includes a frame, a spool mounting and driving assembly rotatably mounted on the frame around a first axis, the spool mounting and driving assembly configured to mount the spool thereon, a guide linearly translatable along the frame along a second axis, the guide being configured to accept rope therethrough, and a drive apparatus to which the guide is operatively coupled, the drive apparatus configured to linearly translate the guide relative to the frame along the second axis.

Description

  • This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 62/246,253, filed on Oct. 26, 2015, the contents of which are incorporated herein in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • The present disclosure relates to a rope auto spooler machine which automatically spools rope onto a spool or reel and provides a proper tailing force during a cable pull by an associated cable puller.
  • BACKGROUND
  • When rope is pulled through conduit, an operator pulls the rope of the tailing end of a rope puller capstan. This rope must be managed and is usually manually wound onto a spool. The prior art uses a manual winch system with steel cable, which exert all the forces directly on the spool.
  • SUMMARY
  • A rope auto spooler in accordance with some example embodiments is configured to spool rope onto a cable spool. The rope auto spooler includes a frame, a spool mounting and driving assembly rotatably mounted on the frame around a first axis and configured to mount the spool thereon, a guide linearly translatable along the frame along a second axis, the guide being configured to accept rope therethrough, and a drive apparatus to which the guide is operatively coupled, the drive apparatus configured to linearly translate the guide relative to the frame along the second axis. The first and second axes extend in the same direction or in substantially the same direction. In an embodiment, a capstan is additionally provided.
  • This Summary is provided merely for purposes of summarizing some example embodiments so as to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the disclosure. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the above described example embodiments are merely examples and should not be construed to narrow the scope or spirit of the disclosure in any way. Other embodiments, aspects, and advantages of various disclosed embodiments will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the described embodiments.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The organization and manner of the structure and operation of the disclosed embodiments, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, wherein like reference numerals identify like elements in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a rope auto spooler machine which has a spool mounted in a vertical orientation;
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a rope auto spooler machine which has a spool mounted in a horizontal orientation;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternate rope auto spooler machine which has a spool mounted in a vertical orientation;
  • FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate rope auto spooler machine which has a spool mounted in a horizontal orientation;
  • FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a cable puller which is used with the rope auto spooler machine;
  • FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a drive apparatus of the rope auto spooler machine;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternate drive apparatus of the rope auto spooler machine;
  • FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another alternate drive apparatus of the rope auto spooler machine;
  • FIG. 9 is a perspective view of yet another drive apparatus of the rope auto spooler machine;
  • FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing a spool mounting and driving assembly;
  • FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing an alternate spool mounting and driving assembly;
  • FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing yet alternate spool mounting and driving assembly;
  • FIG. 13 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing a further alternate spool mounting and driving assembly;
  • FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view along line 14-14 of FIG. 13;
  • FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing an even further alternate spool mounting and driving assembly;
  • FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the rope auto spooler machine showing yet another further alternate spool mounting and driving assembly; and
  • FIG. 17 is a block diagram of an apparatus that may be implemented on the rope auto spooler machine.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • A rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ automatically spools rope 22 (not shown in FIGS. 1 and 3) onto a spool or reel 24 and provides a proper tailing force during a cable pull by an associated cable puller 26, see FIG. 5. The proper amount of tailing force will stop the rope 22 from slipping on the cable puller 26 and will produce a sufficient amount of pulling force to pull in the rope 22 and associated cable (not shown). The rope 22 is neatly wrapped onto the spool 24 by the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′. The rope auto spooler machine 20 uses a two-motor axis system to spool the rope 22; the rope auto spooler machine 20′ uses a three-motor axis system to spool the rope 22. The rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ functions as a tensioning device for pulling and automatically winding the rope 22.
  • The spool 24 includes a pair of enlarged end flanges 28, 30 having a reduced diameter core 32 therebetween. The rope 22 is would around the core 32 and the enlarged end flanges 28, 30 prevent the rope 22 from coming off the ends of the core 32. A central passageway 34 extends through the flanges 28, 30 and through the core 32. The core 32 defines a rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 which extends along the length of the passageway 34.
  • Attention is invited to the rope auto spooler machine 20 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 which provides a two-motor axis system for pulling and automatically winding the rope 22 onto the spool 24. The rope auto spooler machine 20 includes a frame 36, a rope guide assembly 38 mounted on the frame 36 and which includes a guide 40 which can translate relative to the frame 36, and a spool mounting and driving assembly 42 which is mounted on the frame 36 and is used to mount the spool 24 on the frame and to rotate the spool 24 relative to the frame 36. The frame 36 may be formed of metal as to as to be robust.
  • The guide 40 translates along an axis 40 a. The direction of the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the direction of the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are the same such that the axes 23 a, 40 a are parallel to one another, or at least substantially aligned such that the axes 23 a, 40 a are substantially parallel to one another, in order for the rope 22 to be wound properly on the spool 24. In an embodiment, the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 fall in a common plane. In an embodiment, the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 fall in different planes which are parallel to each other. In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 1, the spool 24 is vertically mounted on the frame 36 such that the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are vertical. In and embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, the spool 24 is horizontally mounted on the frame 36 such that the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are horizontal. The axes 24 a, 40 a may also be provided at an angle relative to the ground, provided the direction that the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the direction that the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are the same or are substantially the same. The multiple axes minimize the load experienced by the spool 24.
  • As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the frame 36 defines a surface 44 upon which the spool 24 is mounted by the spool mounting and driving assembly 42. The rope guide assembly 38 is mounted on the frame 36 proximate to the spool 24 when the spool 24 is mounted on the spool mounting and driving assembly 42. In FIG. 1, since the spool 24 is vertically mounted, the rope guide assembly 38 extends upwardly from the surface 44. In FIG. 2, since the spool 24 is horizontally mounted, the rope guide assembly 38 extends parallel to the surface 44.
  • The rope guide assembly 38 includes a support 46 attached to the frame 36, the guide 40, and a drive apparatus 48 including a motor 50 for moving the guide 40 relative to the support 46. The guide 40 is operatively coupled with the drive apparatus 48. In an embodiment, the guide 40 is directly engaged with the drive apparatus. In an embodiment, the guide 40 is indirectly engaged with the drive apparatus. The drive apparatus 48 is actuated to cause the guide 40 to linearly translate relative to the support 46 and thus relative to the spool 24.
  • The guide 40 may take a variety of forms. In an embodiment, the guide 40 is formed of a frame 52 having a surfaces 54 a, 54 b mounted thereon; the frame 52 and the surfaces 54 a, 54 b forming a central passageway 56 through which the rope 22 can be fed. The rope 22 contacts the surfaces 54 a, 54 b which promote the passage of the rope 22 through the guide 40. In an embodiment, the surfaces 54 a, 54 b are formed of one or more rollers rotatably mounted to the frame. In an embodiment, the one or more surfaces 54 a, 54 b affixed to the frame 52 but promote the rope 22 sliding over the surfaces 54 a, 54 b by being configured to resist friction and abrasion of the rope 22; for example, the surfaces 54 a, 54 b may be substantially smooth and may be coated with slip promoting material, such as a material sold under the tradename TEFLON. The rope 22 contacts the surfaces 54 a, 54 b which promote the passage of the rope 22 through the guide 40. A combination of roller(s) and surface(s) which promote sliding may be provided.
  • The drive apparatus 48 may take a variety of forms.
  • In an embodiment, as shown in FIG. 6, the drive apparatus 48 includes a belt 58 mounted between two rotatable pulleys 60, 62 which are rotatably mounted on the support 46. Pulley 60 is attached to, and driven by, the motor 50. The guide 40 of this embodiment is attached to the belt 58. When the motor 50 is actuated, the pulley 60 rotates which causes the belt 58 to travel around the pulleys 60, 62. When the belt 58 travels, the attached guide 40 travels to move the guide 40 in relation to the support 46 and to the spool 24.
  • In an embodiment, as shown in FIG. 7, the drive apparatus 48 includes a rail(s) 64 upon which the guide 40 slides. The rail(s) 64 is mounted between a motor 50, and the support 46 or between two portions of the support 46. The guide 40 of this embodiment is attached to a screw 66 which is driven by the motor 50 and may have an opposite end which is mounted to the support 46. As the motor 50 rotates, the screw 66 rotates which causes the attached guide 40 to translate in relation to the support 46 and to the spool 24.
  • In an embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8, the drive apparatus 48 includes a piston 68 mounted on the support 46. The guide 40 is attached to the piston 68. The piston 68 may, for example, be actuated by a hydraulic/pneumatic pump (not shown in FIG. 8) which is driven by the motor 50 (not shown in FIG. 8).
  • In any of the embodiments shown in FIGS. 6-8, the support 46 may, for example, be formed as a box-like housing 70 having a slot 72 provided therethrough. The drive apparatus 48 may be mounted within the box-like housing 70 and the guide 40 of such embodiments may extend through the slot 72 and outwardly from the box-like housing 70.
  • In an embodiment, as shown in FIG. 9, the box-like housing 70 has a pair of rails 74 (only one of which is shown) provided thereon which extend in the same direction as the travel direction of the guide 40. A slider 76 is mounted on the rails 74 and the guide 40 of this embodiment extends through the slider 76. When the drive apparatus 48 is actuated, the slider 76 moves with the guide 40. The rails 74 and the slider 76 provide additional support for the guide 40 during movement.
  • Attention is invited to FIGS. 10 and 11 which show examples of the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 for vertically mounting the spool 24 on the frame 36. The spool 24 seats on the spool mounting and driving assembly 42.
  • In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 10, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes a seat formed as a platform 78 having at least a pair of clamps 80 attached thereto and a motor 82 for rotating the platform 78. The platform 78 is mounted on an axle 82 a of the motor 82 and rotates with the axle 82 a. The spool 24 seats on the platform 78 such that the enlarged end flange 28 is clamped by the clamps 80 onto the platform 78. The clamps 80 securely hold the spool 24 on the platform 78 during rotation of the platform 78, and thus the spool 24, by the motor 82. In an embodiment, the clamp 80 are eliminated and the spool 24 seats on the platform.
  • In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 11, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes a seat formed as a platform 84 which has a plurality of freely-rotatable idler rollers 86 mounted thereto and a spindle 88 which extends outwardly from the platform 84. The platform 84 is fixed on the frame 36. The spool mounting and driving assembly 42 further includes a roller 90 attached to a motor 82 and which is rotated by the motor 82. The motor 82 is mounted on the frame 36. The spool 24 seats on the platform 84 such that the spindle 88 extends through the passageway 34 and the end flange 28 seats on the idler rollers 86. The roller 90 engages, or is moved to engagement, with one or both of the end flange 28 and end flange 30. When the motor 82 is driven, the roller 90 rotates, which causes rotation of the spool 24 relative to the platform 84. The idler rollers 86 rotate under the end flange 28 to allow for relative movement between the spool 24 and the platform 84. Additionally, or alternatively, in an embodiment, the motor 82 can be configured to rotate one of the rollers 86 to provide rotation to the spool 24.
  • Attention is invited to FIGS. 12-16 which show examples of the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 for horizontally mounting the spool 24 on the frame 36. The spool 24 seats on the spool mounting and driving assembly 42.
  • In some embodiments, such as that shown in FIG. 12, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes spaced apart, vertical support walls 92, 94 which extend upwardly from the frame 36. A roller 96 is rotatably mounted between the support walls 92, 94 and is driven by a motor 82. An idler roller 100 is rotatably mounted between the support wall 92, 94. The spool 24 seats between the rollers 96, 100, such that the rollers 96, 100 form a seat for the spool 24. When the motor 82 is driven, the roller 96 rotates, which causes rotation of the spool 24, which in turn causes rotation of the idler roller 100.
  • In some such embodiments, such as the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 12, each support wall 92, 94 has an elongated slot 96 having a plurality of spaced apart openings 98 extending downwardly therefrom to enable adjustment of the position of the idler roller 100 relative to the support walls 92, 94 for accommodation of various sizes of the spool 24. In this regard, the idler roller 100 of such embodiments may seat within aligned openings 98 and the idler roller 100 can be moved to different positions relative to the support walls 92, 94 by moving the idler roller 100 along the slot 94 to reposition the roller 100 into a new opening 98 so as to position the idler roller 100 into an engaging position with the end flanges 28, 30 of the spool 24.
  • In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 13, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes vertical support walls 102, 104 extending upwardly from the frame 36 which are spaced apart by vertical end walls 106, 108 extending upwardly from the frame 36. At least a pair of freely rotatable idler rollers 110, 112 are mounted between the support walls 102, 104. In an embodiment, the idler rollers 110, 112 are mounted to the support walls 102, 104 by their shafts engaging through the support walls 102, 104; in an embodiment, the idler rollers 110, 112 are mounted to the support walls 102, 104 by their shafts engaging within recesses in the upper surfaces of the support walls 102, 104. In an embodiment, the walls 102, 104, 106, 108 form the outside surfaces of a block which has a top surface with recesses therein in which the idler rollers 110, 112 seat. In any of the embodiments, the idler rollers 102, 104 rotate relative to the walls 102, 104, 106, 108. The spool 24 seats on the idler rollers 110, 112 such that the rollers 110, 112 form a seat for the spool 24. The spool mounting and driving assembly 42 further includes a roller 116 having an engagement 118 attached to an end thereof. The engagement 118 is affixed to the flange 28 of the spool 24 such that rotation of the roller 116 causes rotation of the spool 24. The roller 116 forms a seat for the spool 24. In an embodiment, the engagement 118 is teeth, a clamp, an expanding collet, or a combination thereof. In an embodiment, such as that shown in FIG. 14, the engagement 118 may have two parts 120, 112; one part 120 of which is outside of the flange 28 and the other part 122 of which seats within the passageway 34 and connects to the first part 120 to secure the flange 28 therebetween. The spool mounting and driving assembly 42 of some embodiments further includes a pulley 124 mounted on the opposite end of the roller 116, a belt 126 extending around the pulley 124 and further extending around a pulley 128 which is mounted on the axle 82 a of a motor 82. When motor 82 is driven, the roller 128 rotates, causing rotation of the belt 126, causing rotation of the roller 116 and the attached spool 24.
  • In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 15, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes the roller 116 having the engagement 118; the roller 116 being cantilevered from an upstanding portion 130 extending upwardly from the frame 36, and a motor 82 for rotating the roller 116. When the motor 82 is driven, the roller 116 rotates, causing rotation of the attached spool 24.
  • In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 16, the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 includes an idler roller 132 which is cantilevered from an upstanding portion 134 extending upwardly from the frame 36. The spool mounting and driving assembly 42 further includes a roller 136 mounted on an axle 82 a of a motor 82. The spool 24 is mounted on the idler roller 132 by the idler roller 132 passing through the passageway 34 of the spool 24. The roller 132 forms a seat for the spool 24. The flange 28 engages with the roller 136. When motor 82 is driven, the roller 136 rotates, causing rotation of the spool 24 around the roller 132.
  • The motor 50 for driving the drive apparatus 48 and the motor 82 for driving the spool mounting and driving assembly 42 may, for example be embodied as a gear motor, a brushless DC servo motors, a Permanent Magnet DC (PMDC) motor an AC induction motor with modulated control signal and switches to control speed and direction of rotation, some combination thereof, or the like. In some embodiments, the motor 50 and/or motor 82 may include an on-board motor controller, which may control operation of the motors 50, 82, and which may form part of and/or interface with the apparatus 400 (e.g., the processing circuitry 410 and/or motor control module 418 of the apparatus 400) illustrated in and described with respect to FIG. 17. The motors 50, 82 may be in communication with each other and/or may be indirectly interfaced via and controlled by control circuitry, such as may be provided by the apparatus 400 (e.g., the processing circuitry 410 and/or motor control module 418 of the apparatus 400), in order to coordinate movement between the drive apparatus 48 and the spool mounting and driving assembly 42.
  • In use, the tailing end of the rope 22 which extends from the cable puller 26 is fed through the central passageway 56 of the guide 40 and wrapped around the spool 24. The motors 50, 82 are then actuated to cause the spool 24 to rotate and the guide 40 to linearly translate. As the spool 24 rotates and as the guide 40 linearly translates, the rope 22 is wound around the spool 24. Rotation of the spool 24 provides tension to pull the rope 22 off the tailing end of a capstan 58 of the cable puller 26. The rope 22 travels through the central passageway 56 of the guide 40 which guides the rope 22 to line neatly next to itself on the spool 24 as the guide 40 linearly translates relative to the support 46. The guide 40 can translate back and forth relative to the support 46. The motor control module 418 is configured to sense the speed of the motor 82 or motors 50, 82 and adjust the speed of the motor 82 or the motors 50, 82 to provide an appropriate level of tension on the rope 22.
  • Attention is invited to the rope auto spooler machine 20′ shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 which provides a three-motor axis system for pulling and automatically winding the rope 22 onto the spool 24. The rope auto spooler machine 20′ shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 is identical to the rope auto spooler machine 20 shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, expect for the differences described herein. Like reference numerals shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 denote like elements as that disclosed in the rope auto spooler 20 of FIGS. 1 and 2.
  • In this three-motor axis system, a capstan assembly 158 is additionally included. The capstan assembly 158 includes a capstan 160 rotatably mounted on an upstanding support 162 which is attached to the frame 36, and a motor 164 for driving the capstan 160. The capstan 160 has a rotational axis 160 a. As shown, the support 162 extends from the frame 36 on the same side as where the spool 24 is mounted. The rope guide assembly 38 is between the capstan assembly and the spool mounting and driving assembly 42. The capstan 160 is spaced from the surface 44 of the frame 36. In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 3, the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are vertical or substantially vertical, and the rotational axis 160 a of the capstan 160 is horizontal or substantially horizontal. In an embodiment as shown in FIG. 4, the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24 and the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates are horizontal or substantially horizontal, and the rotational axis 160 a of the capstan 160 is horizontal or substantially horizontal. The axes 24 a, 40 a, 160 a may also be provided at an angle relative to the ground, provided the direction of the rotational axis 24 a of the spool 24, the direction that the axis 40 a along which the guide 40 translates, and the direction of the axis 160 a of the capstan 160 are the same or are substantially the same. The multiple axes minimize the load experienced by the spool 24.
  • The motor 164 for driving the capstan 160, may, for example be embodied as a gear motor, a brushless DC servo motor, a Permanent Magnet DC (PMDC) motor, an AC induction motor with modulated control signal and switches to control speed and direction of rotation, or the like. In some embodiments, the motor 164 may include an on-board motor controller, which may control operation of the motor 164, and which may form part of and/or interface with the apparatus 400 (e.g., the processing circuitry 410 and/or motor control module 418 of the apparatus 400) illustrated in and described with respect to FIG. 17. The motors 50, 82, 164 may be in communication with each other and/or may be indirectly interfaced via and controlled by control circuitry, such as may be provided by the apparatus 400 (e.g., the processing circuitry 410 and/or motor control module 418 of the apparatus 400), in order to coordinate movement between the capstan 160, the drive apparatus 48 and the spool mounting and driving assembly 42.
  • In use, the tailing end of the rope 22 which extends from the cable puller 26 is wrapped around the capstan 160, fed through the central passageway 56 of the guide 40 and wrapped around the spool 24. The motors 50, 82, 162 are then actuated to cause the capstan 160 to rotate, the guide 40 to linearly translate and the spool 24 to rotate. The drive apparatus 48 causes the guide 40 to linearly translate relative to the support 46 and relative to the capstan 160 and to the spool 24. As the capstan 160 and spool 24 rotate and as the guide 40 linearly translates, the rope 22 is wound around the spool 24. Rotation of the capstan 160 and spool 24 provides tension to pull the rope 22 off the tailing end of the capstan 58 of the cable puller 26. The rope 22 travels through the central passageway 56 of the guide 40 which guides the rope 22 to line neatly next to itself on the spool 24 as the guide 40 linearly translates relative to the second part 40 of the frame 36. The guide 40 can translate back and forth relative to the second part 40 of the frame 36. The motor 82 of the spool 24 pulls the rope 22 onto the spool 24. The motor control module 418 is configured to sense the speed of the motor 82 or motors 50, 82 and is configured to adjust the speed of the motor 82 or the motors 50, 82 to provide an appropriate level of tension on the rope 22. In addition, the motor control module 418 is configured to sense the speed of the motor 164 and is configured to adjust the speed of motor 164 to provide a predetermined tension in the rope 22 between the capstan 160 and the cable puller 26.
  • In operation, the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ may be positioned on the floor by resting the frame 36 on the floor. In some deployments, the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ may be mounted to the floor, such as by bolting the frame 36 to the floor. The frame 36 may have wheels 200, for example see FIG. 13, to support the frame 36 on the floor and to enable the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ to be easily moved. Alternatively, the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ may be suspended from a ceiling by attaching suitable struts and/or cables to the frame 36, or by providing a suspended platform upon the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ is seated.
  • Attention is invited to FIG. 17 which illustrates a block diagram of an apparatus 400 that may be implemented on the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ in accordance with some example embodiments. In this regard, when implemented on the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′, apparatus 400 may enable the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ to energize and control operation of motors 54, 56 and motor 164, if provided, in accordance with one or more example embodiments. In this regard, the apparatus 400 may be configured to control operation of motors 54, 56, and/or 164 to substantially maintain an appropriate tension on rope 24 so as to provide proper tailing force and to wind rope 22 on the spool 24 during a cable pull. It will be appreciated that the components, devices or elements illustrated in and described with respect to FIG. 17 below may not be mandatory and thus some may be omitted in certain embodiments. Additionally, some embodiments may include further or different components, devices or elements beyond those illustrated in and described with respect to FIG. 17.
  • In some example embodiments, the apparatus 400 may include processing circuitry 410 that is configurable to perform actions in accordance with one or more example embodiments disclosed herein. In this regard, the processing circuitry 410 may be configured to perform and/or control performance of one or more functionalities of the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′, such as to energize and control operation of motors 54, 56 and motor 164, if provided, in accordance with various example embodiments. The processing circuitry 410 may be configured to perform data processing, application execution and/or other processing and management services according to one or more example embodiments. In embodiments in which one or more of motors 54, 56, 164 include an on-board motor controller, the processing circuitry 410 may comprise the on-board motor controller(s) and/or may be communicatively coupled with the on-board motor controller(s) to enable the processing circuitry 410 to communicate with and control operation of the motors 54, 56 and motor 164, if provided, in accordance with various example embodiments.
  • In some embodiments, the apparatus 400 or a portion(s) or component(s) thereof, such as the processing circuitry 410, may include one or more chipsets and/or other components that may be provided by integrated circuits.
  • In some example embodiments, the processing circuitry 410 may include a processor 412 and, in some embodiments, such as that illustrated in FIG. 17, may further include memory 414. The processing circuitry 410 may be in communication with or otherwise control a motor control module 418.
  • The processor 412 may be embodied in a variety of forms. For example, the processor 412 may be embodied as various hardware-based processing means such as a microprocessor, a coprocessor, a controller or various other computing or processing devices including integrated circuits such as, for example, an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), an FPGA (field programmable gate array), some combination thereof, or the like. Although illustrated as a single processor, it will be appreciated that the processor 412 may comprise a plurality of processors. The plurality of processors may be in operative communication with each other and may be collectively configured to perform one or more functionalities of the apparatus 400 as described herein. For example, in some embodiments in which the processor 412 comprises a plurality of processors, the plurality of processors may comprise one or more on-board motor controllers, such as may be implemented on the motors 54, 56 and/or 164 of some embodiments. In some example embodiments, the processor 412 may be configured to execute instructions that may be stored in the memory 414 or that may be otherwise accessible to the processor 412. As such, whether configured by hardware or by a combination of hardware and software, the processor 412 is capable of performing operations according to various embodiments while configured accordingly.
  • In some example embodiments, the memory 414 may include one or more memory devices. Memory 414 may include fixed and/or removable memory devices. In some embodiments, the memory 414 may provide a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium that may store computer program instructions that may be executed by the processor 412. In this regard, the memory 414 may be configured to store information, data, applications, instructions and/or the like for enabling the apparatus 400 to carry out various functions in accordance with one or more example embodiments. In some embodiments, the memory 414 may be in communication with one or more of the processor 412, the user interface 416, and the motor control module 418 via one or more buses for passing information among components of the apparatus 400.
  • The motor control module 418 may be embodied as various means, such as circuitry, hardware, a computer program product comprising a computer readable medium (for example, the memory 414) storing computer readable program instructions that are executable by a processing device (for example, the processor 412), or some combination thereof. In some embodiments, the processor 412 (or the processing circuitry 410) may include, or otherwise control the motor control module 418. The motor control module 418 may be configured to control the energization of the motor 82 and motor 164 if provided, so that the motor 82 and motor 164, if provided, spins the spool 24 and the capstan 160, if provided, at a level of rotation to provide an appropriate tension on the rope 22. The motor control module 418 may be configured to control the energization of the motor 50 of the guide 40 to move the guide 40 along its path to appropriately wind the rope 22 onto the spool 24. In some example embodiments, the motor control module 418 may be configured to control energization of one or more of motors 54, 56, and 164 based on input from one or more sensors, which may sense size and status information of the rope 22, as described further herein below.
  • The desired tension provided by the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ is dependent upon providing the proper tailing force to the cable puller 26. The inner diameter of the rope 22 and the type of rope 22 are limiting factors for the maximum tension to which the rope 22 can be subjected. The inner diameter of the rope 22 determines how many wraps of rope 22 can be placed on the spool 24 per revolution of the spool 24. In an embodiment, a user interface 416 may be provided and is in communication with the processor 412, memory 414, and/or motor control module 418. The user interface 416 may include any user interface element that may enable an operator to input information and/or that may be used to display operating status information to the operator. By way of non-limiting example, the user interface 416 may include one or more buttons, one or more switches, a keypad/keyboard, a display, a touch screen display, some combination thereof, or the like. An operator may use the user interface 416 to input information regarding rope type, rope diameter, spool size, etc. which information may be used by the motor control module 418 to control the energization of the motors 54, 56 and motor 164 if provided, so that the motors 54, 56 and motor 164 if provided, work in concert. The motor control module 418 may use an algorithm to determine the speed of movement of the guide 40 in relation to the speed of rotation of the spool 24 and the capstan 160, if provided. The motor control module 418 may be configured to access (e.g., from memory 414) a table or other structure which stores various profiles based on rope type, rope diameter, spool size, etc. and the motors 54, 56 and motor 164 if provided, may be controlled in accordance with the appropriate profile to maintain proper tension, appropriately level wind the rope, etc.
  • In some embodiments, the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′ may include one or more sensors which may be configured to sense rope size/type information and/or status information (e.g., rope tension) for the rope 22. The sensor(s) may be communicatively coupled to the apparatus 400 (e.g., to the processor 412 and/or motor control module 418), and information received from a sensor(s) may be used by the motor control module 418 to control operation of one or more of motors 54, 56, 164. In an embodiment, a sensor 500, see FIGS. 1-4, may be provided on the guide 40 proximate to the central passageway 56. This sensor 500 detects the presence of the rope 22 and detects the inner diameter of the rope 22. The processor 412 may generate a warning to the operator when the tension limit of the rope 22 is reached based upon the inner diameter of the rope 22 and the type of rope 22. The maximum value for each inner diameter of the rope 22 and the type of rope 22 is known.
  • Other sensors (not shown) can be incorporated into the rope auto spooler machine 20, 20′. Such sensors may be in communication with the processor 412 to provide data inputs that may be used for controlling energization of the motors 54, 56 and motor 164, if provided, as described herein. For example, a limit switch type sensor may be provided to determine the end of travel for the guide 40; a linear displacement sensor may be provided to determine the outer diameter of the rope 22; a pressure sensor may be used to determine when the guide 40 is in the proper location with respect to rope 22 on the spool 24. Such a pressure sensor may be mounted on the guide 40. When the rope 22 is fed through the guide 40 and wrapped around the spool 24, when the guide 40 and the rope 22 are in the same plane, there will be no force exerted onto guide 40. This will allow the guide 40 to adjust its location to align with the location of the current wrap on the spool 24.
  • Many modifications and other embodiments of the inventions set forth herein will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which these disclosed embodiments pertain having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed herein and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the disclosure. Moreover, although the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings describe example embodiments in the context of certain example combinations of elements and/or functions, it should be appreciated that different combinations of elements and/or functions may be provided by alternative embodiments without departing from the scope of the disclosure. In this regard, for example, different combinations of elements and/or functions than those explicitly described above are also contemplated within the scope of the disclosure. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A rope auto spooler configured to spool rope onto a cable spool, the rope auto spooler comprising:
a frame;
a spool mounting and driving assembly configured to mount the spool thereon and configured to rotate the spool relative to the frame around a first axis, the spool mounting and driving assembly including a seat onto which the spool is mounted and a motor configured to rotate the seat;
a guide linearly translatable along the frame along a second axis, the guide being configured to accept rope therethrough; and
a drive apparatus to which the guide is operatively coupled, the drive apparatus is configured to linearly translate the guide relative to the frame along the second axis.
2. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the first and second axes extend in substantially the same direction.
3. The rope auto spooler of claim 2, further comprising a capstan mounted on the frame and rotatably mounted on the frame around a third axis.
4. The rope auto spooler of claim 3, wherein the third axis extends in the substantially same direction as the first and second axes.
5. The rope auto spooler of claim 3, wherein the third axis extends in a different direction from the first and second axes.
6. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, further in combination with a cable puller.
7. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the first and second axes are horizontal.
8. The rope auto spooler of claim 7, further comprising a capstan rotatably mounted on the frame around a third axis.
9. The rope auto spooler of claim 8, wherein the third axis is horizontal.
10. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the first and second axes are vertical.
11. The rope auto spooler of claim 10, further comprising a capstan rotatably mounted on the frame around a third axis.
12. The rope auto spooler of claim 11, wherein the third axis is horizontal.
13. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, further comprising a capstan rotatably mounted on the frame around a third axis.
14. The rope auto spooler of claim 13, wherein the guide is mounted between the capstan and the spool mounting and driving assembly.
15. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, further comprising processing circuitry configured to control the motor to rotate the seat.
16. The rope auto spooler of claim 15, wherein the processing circuitry is further configured to control the drive apparatus to linearly translate the guide.
17. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the drive assembly includes a second motor.
18. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, further comprising a sensor mounted on the frame configured to sense the presence of a rope in the guide.
19. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the seat is provided by a platform.
20. The rope auto spooler of claim 1, wherein the seat is provided by a roller.
US15/334,485 2015-10-26 2016-10-26 Rope auto spooler machine Abandoned US20170113897A1 (en)

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US15/334,485 US20170113897A1 (en) 2015-10-26 2016-10-26 Rope auto spooler machine

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US6811112B1 (en) * 2003-01-14 2004-11-02 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy Active feedback levelwinding system
US20050087644A1 (en) * 2003-10-13 2005-04-28 Hyupwoo Trading Co., Ltd. Labor reduction type agricultural chemical spraying system having automatic hose winding and unwinding apparatus
US20060071116A1 (en) * 2004-09-27 2006-04-06 Quenneville Steven R Cable dispensing and retrieval
US20150353318A1 (en) * 2013-01-07 2015-12-10 Macgregor Pusnes As Cable guide device for multi-diameter cables

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US5388781A (en) * 1991-01-30 1995-02-14 Sauber; Charles J. Cable pulling and reeling apparatus having anti-spill device and method
US5211203A (en) * 1992-05-15 1993-05-18 Vollweiler Timothy J Portable self-contained ground water testing assembly
US6811112B1 (en) * 2003-01-14 2004-11-02 The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Navy Active feedback levelwinding system
US20050087644A1 (en) * 2003-10-13 2005-04-28 Hyupwoo Trading Co., Ltd. Labor reduction type agricultural chemical spraying system having automatic hose winding and unwinding apparatus
US20060071116A1 (en) * 2004-09-27 2006-04-06 Quenneville Steven R Cable dispensing and retrieval
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