Mm W7@ F. s. PEARNE ET M UNLOADER 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 25, 1967 M u 0 y ,C www; T#0 a M, 7 E M f 7 Wy?? ,L fw M M. Zn. fw? ,f/ A m F w, W M
Jan. v6, 1970 F. s. PEARNE ET AL 3,487,959
UNLOADER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Aug. 25. 1967 INVENTORS Arrow/ vr United States Patent O 3,487,959 UNLOADER Frank S. Peame, San Gabriel, and Florentin J. Pearne,
Alhambra, Calif., assignors to Pearne and Lacy Machine Company, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Aug. 25, 1967, Ser. No. 663,394 Int. Cl. B65g 59/02, 47/90 U.S. Cl. 214-85 t v 12 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE An automated brick machine for unloading kiln cars having stacks of grids thereon, each grid includes a plurality of spaced rows of endwise abutting pairs of brick. A gripper is automatically positioned with gripper plates on opposite sides of the upper grids on each stack and is operable to slide adjacent rows into engagement to compact the grid. The gripper plates then grip the entire grid for transfer to a table upon which the grid is released. Each row is a double row including an upper brick resting on each lower brick and the gripper operates to shift the upper bricks of each grid laterally to break any bonds existing between adjacent bricks. A transfer operates to progressively move groups of -brick from the release table to two conveyors which carry the brick out of the machine. lEach group of brick transferred to. the conveyors includes a brick from each grid row. An inverter removes the upper bricks from each group on one-conveyor and transfers such upper brick to a second conveyor while inverting such upper brick during the transfer.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION This invention relates generally to machines for auto? matically handling brick or the like and more particularly to a novel and improved machine operable to automatically remove tired brick orthe like from a platform such as a kiln car.
In the manufacture of bricks or the like the brick is formed in the green or unred state. The unred brick is usually then placed on a kiln car and is carried thereby through various drying and burning operations. After burning the fired brick is preferably stacked and tiedin packages suitable for convenient storage, handling and shipping.
In the pending applicatiom'Ser. No."`478,913, filed Aug. 11, 1965, an automated brick cutter-and `hacker is disclosed which operates to form the brick and stack the unred brick on a kiln car in a pattern in which grids are alternately positioned on the car at right angles to the adjacent grids in each stack. Each grid consists of a plurality of spaced and parallel rows of pairs of endwise abutting brick. Stacks of this type' are particularly desirable since they are stable, permit the stacking of a large number of bricks on a single kiln car, and result in even burning of the brick.'
In another pending application, Ser. No. 616,125, led Feb. 14, 1967, an automated stacker is disclosed. This machine operates automatically to remove rows of tired brick from a conveyor and form them in stacks for strapping in packages suitable for storage, shipment and handling in an efficient manner.
A machine according to the present invention is operable to automatically remove iired bricks from stacks of the type formed by a machine as disclosed in the application, Ser, No. 478,913, described above, and to automatically position such tired brick on conveyors which may be used to deliver the brick to the stacker of the type described in the pending application, Ser. No. 616,125. Consequently, the machine according to the pres- 3,487,959 Patented Jan. 6, 1970 rice ent invention can be combined with machines of the types described in these two pending applications to provide a completely automated system for the manufacture of brick. With such machines the material forming the brick is automatically formed, red and stacked for strapping. Each of the machines is capable of operating at relatively high production rates, so the total production of the combined system is high. Since such a system substantially eliminates all manual operations, the cost of production is reduced and a uniformly high quality product is provided with a minimum of scrap or waste.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION A machine incorporating the present invention is oper able to grip grids of brick or the like from a stack of grids wherein each grid consists of a plurality of spaced parallel rows of pairs of endwise abutting brick. During the gripping operation the rows are pushed together so that the gripped grids consist of rows of brick abutting both on their ends and their sides. This provides a compact grid. Each row is a double row consisting of pairs of brick with an upper brick resting on each lower :brick of the pair. The gripping is arranged so that the lower rows are gripped to support the brick of the grid while the upper rows are shifted slightly in a lateral direction during the gripping to break any bonds between adjacent bricks which might be formed during the forming and firing operations.
The gripper is carried by a transfer carriage which is operable to turn the gripper as grids are progressively gripped so that the gripper is properly aligned with each grid in the stack. When the transfer carries the gripper to the table upon which the grids are deposited, it is always turned to a position in which the rows are aligned with the table.
In the illustrated embodiment there are four stacks of grids on each kiln car and the gripper is operable to simultaneously grip and transfer one grid from each stack. These grids are deposited on a table or platform in a spaced relationship. After the grids are positioned on the table, a pusher operates to slide the grids along the table assembly corresponding grids in abutting relationship so that two spaced rows of grids are positioned for movement onto conveyors. The conveyors may vbe used to deliver the brick from a machine according to the present invention to two stacking machines of the type illustrated in the copending application, Ser. No. 616,125. A puller is intermittently operated to pull groups of pairs of brick onto a rst conveyor and cooperates with an inverter which grips the upper-brick of each group and positions them on a second conveyor. Consequently the ma- OBJECTS OF INVENTION It is an important object of this invention to provide a novel and improved automated machine for handling bricks or the like which is automatically operable to remove bricks from a stack and deliver the bricks to conveyors which subsequently transport the bricks to other locations.
It is another important object of this invention to provide a novel and improved gripper mechanism for use in a machine according to the preceding object which is operable to grip and compact grids of brick or the like wherein the grids initially consist of spaced parallel rows and are compacted during gripping so that the rows of the grid are in abutting relationship after gripping.
It is another important object of this invention to provide a novel and improved gripper according to the last preceding object wherein the gripper is operable to grip rows of pairs of brick or the like in such a manner that the upper brick of the grid are shifted slightly with respect to the lower brick during the gripping operation to insure that pairs of brick do not stick together.
It is another object of this invention to provide a novel and improved automated machine according to any of the preceding objects wherein the machine is perable to progressively grip grids of brick or the like from stacks consisting of grids each providing spaced rows of brick positioned perpendicular to the rows of the adjacent grids.
It is another important object of this invention to provide an automated machine for handling brick or the like which automatically supplies two spaced conveyors with groups of brick.
Further objects and advantages will appear from the following description and drawings wherein:
FIGURE 1 is a schematic plan view of an automated machine incorporating this invention;
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of the machine illustrated in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevation of the gripper transfer illustrating its operation in gripping grids for transfer from a kiln car or the like;
FIGURE 4 is a schematic perspective view of the drive for the first puller; and
FIGURE 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of the inverter drive.
Referring to FIGURES 1 and 2, the kiln cars 10 with stacks of tired brick thereon are moved along track by car positioning means (not illustrated) to an unloading position at 11. In the illustrated embodiment each car is loaded with four stacks of brick 12 through 15. These stacks are symmetrically positioned on the kiln car and each of the stacks 12 through 15 includes a plurality of grids 16 through 22.
The grids each include a plurality of spaced substantially parallel double rows 23 with each row 23 consisting of a plurality of endwise abutting pairs of brick. In the illustrated embodiment there are ten rows in each grid with each row four bricks long and containing eight bricks. Consequently each grid includes eighty bricks arranged in ten parallel double rows. Further, in the illustrated embodiment seven grids are provided in each stack so each stack includes 560` bricks. Since there are four stacks on each kiln car 10, each kiln car is loaded with 2240 bricks. It should `be understood that a machine incorporating this invention may be arranged to unload cars having greater or lesser numbers of stacks on each car, grids in each stack, and rows or brick in each grid. The disclosed embodiment is illustrated by way of example only to lprovide a clear understanding of the structure and operation of a machine incorporating this invention.
As best illustrated in FIGURE 2 the lowermost grid 16 is positioned on the cars 10 with the rows 23 extending laterally of the cars. The next grid 17 above the grid 16 is positioned with its rows 23 perpendicular to the rows of the grid 16 and lengthwise of the car. Similarly the successive grids are each positioned with their rows extending perpendicular to the rows of the next adjacent grids. In order to provide stack stability the grids 20 and 21 `are positioned with their lower course of each row offset lengthwise of the row to provide tying of the stacks. Reference may be made to the pending application, Ser. No. 478,913, for a detailed description of an automated machine for stacking kiln cars with stacks consisting of grids of this type. Attention is also directed to the pending application, Ser. No. 644,024, tiled June 6, 1967, which discloses a modied form of the basic machine of Ser. No. 478,913, which provides the tying by the lengthwise offset o f rows within the grids 20 and 21.
A gripper assembly 26 is provided to automatically and progressively grip the grids and transfer them from the kiln car 10 at the unloading station 11 to a receiving table 27.I The gripper assembly 26 is mounted on a carriage 28 which is reciprocable along overhead tracks 29 from a release position (shown in full line in FIG- URE 2) to a gripping position (shown in phantom in FIGURE 2). An actuator 31 provides the power to reciprocate the carriage 28.
Mounted on the carriage 28 is a vertically movable column 32 which is guided between spaced bearings 33 mounted on the carriage 28. The power for raising and lowering the column 32 is provided by a pair of actuators 34. Mounted at the lowerend of a column 32 is a bearing plate 36 on which a gripper base 37 is pivotally mounted for rotary reciprocation about the central axis of the column 32. Rollers 38 on the gripper base 37 engage the lower side of the bearing 36 to maintain the gri-pper base 37 perpendicular to the axis of the column 32 and in the horizontal position illustrated. An actuator 39 is connected between the bearing plate 36 and the gripper base 37 and is operable to rotate the gripper base 37 relative to the bearing plate 36 through 90 from the position illustra-ted in full line in FIGURE 2 to the position illlustrated in phantom in FIGURE 2.
Mounted on the gripper base 37 are four gripper assemblies 41 which are each positioned to grip one entire grid from each of the stacks 12 through 15 in a manner discussed in detail below. Referring to FIGURE 3, each ofthe gripper assemblies 41 includes a piston and cylinder actuator 42 having a cylinder 44 slidably mounted on the gripper base 37 by means of a bearing 46. Mounted on'each cylinder 44 is a downwardly extending gripper plate 47 which cooperates with an associated gripper 4plate 48 carried by the piston 49 of each actuator 42.
Extension of the actuators 42 move the gripper plates apart, to the phantom position, so they may be positioned alongside a grid and retraction of the actuator moves the gripper plates toward each other for gripping as illustrated .in full line. The stops 51 and 52 cooperate to locate the gripper plate in the open position and the stop 50 cooperates with the bearing 46 to locate the gripper plates in the gripped position. The stop S0 and the bearing 46 are; proportioned so that full gripping occurs before they limit retraction of the actuators.
When the gripper assemblies 41 are properly positioned with `each gripper plate 47 and 48 on opposite sides of the associated grid, the actuators 42 are operated to retract and pull the gripper plates toward each other. When this occurs, the gripper plates slide the rows 23 of the associated grids toward each other until all of the rows areuin abutting engagement and the grid is compacted as illustrated in FIGURE 3.
In order to insure that the upper bricks 53 in each row 23 are released from the corresponding lower bricks 54, each' clamping plate 47 is provided with a projection 47a which engages only the lower bricks and each clamping plate 48 is provided with a projection 48a which engages onlyfthe upper bricks of the rows. Therefore, when the rows are completely clampedas illustrated in FIGURE 3, theiupper bricks 53 in each of the rows is shifted slightly sideways or laterally with respect to the adjacent lower bricks 54 to break any lbonds that may be created during thevring of the bricks and to insure that the bricks will release from each other in the subsequent handling operation. The various elements are proportioned so that only the lower bricks are gripped.
`After the bricks are gripped as illustrated in FIGURE 3, .the actuators 34 retract slightly to raise the gripped grids clear of the remaining grids on the stack and the actuators 31 is operated to move the entire carriage to the position over the table 27. If necessary the turning actuator 39 is operated to turn the grippers so that the rows 23 are in alignment with the table. The actuators 34 then extend until the bricks are positioned on the table and the gripping actuators 42 extend to release the `bricks so that they rest on the table as four compacted grids.
Two puller devices are provided to move the bricks along the table 27 to the conveyors. The rst puller 56 is mounted for reciprocating movement along a rst pair ot tracks 57, supported lby the table 27, between a retracted position illustrated in full line and a phantom position at 56'. The puller S6 is supported at its ends by carriages 58 which roll along the tracks 57. A motor 59 (best illustrated in FIGURE 4) is connected to a cross shaft 61 journaled at the end of the table 27 and provided with sprockets `65?. at its ends. Chains 63 extend over the sprockets 62, 62a and `62b and are connected to each of the carriages 58 so that the motor 59 operates to move the puller 56 back and forth between its extreme positions of movement. The puller 56 is in the full line position at the left end of the table, as viewed in FIGURE 2, when the compacted grids 66 through 69 are deposited on the table 27 by the gripper transfer. The puller 56 then operates to slide the grids 66 and 69 to the right as viewed in FIGURES 1 and 2 until they engage the corresponding grids 67 and 68. Continued movement of the puller moves the grids to a position to the right of the phantom position l56. This operation sweeps the gripper release portion of the table clear of brick and the puller returns to its original position so that the gripper transfer may subsequently deposit four additional grids on the table.
A second puller 71 is mounted at its end on carriages 72 which move back and forth along the tracks 73. This puller 71, however, is pivoted at 74 so that it may be raised by an actuator 76 up above the bricks resting on the table. These tracks 73 are also mounted on the table. A chain drive similar to the drive for the puller 56 is provided to move the carriages 72. Here again a motor motor 77 is mounted on the table 27 and is provided with a cross shaft, sprockets, and chains 81 connected to the carriages 72 to reciprocate the carriage and in turn the puller 71 along the tracks 73.
In the illustrated embodiment each row 23 of the grids contains four endwise aligned bricks. Since there are two grids in abutting engagement after the puller 56 operates, Vthe rows of bricks initially contain eight aligned bricks. The length of the table 27 is arranged so that when the puller 56 reaches the position 56 end bricks of each row are positioned on a rst power conveyor 82. The bricks on the conveyors are hereinafter referred to as groups 99. While the puller 56 is moving to the operated position 56', the puller 71 is raised by the actuator 72 and moved to the phantom position at 71. Thereafter as the puller 56 moves back to its full line or retracted position, the actuator 76 extends to drop the second puller 71 down behind the bricks located at the right end of the table 27 Thereafter as the conveyors carry the groups of brick away, the motor 77 is operated intermittently to progressively slide the grids along the table progressively positioning groups 99 on the conveyor 82.
In order to provide clearance between the group of bricks 99 resting on the conveyor 82 and the adjacent bricks remaining on the table 27, the table is moved back slightly by an actuator 83 to the position illustrated after the puller 71 positions the end group of bricks on the conveyor 82. This clearance permits the groups 99 to be moved along the conveyor without disturbing the bricks remaining on the table. The tracks 57 and 73 are carried by the table 27 so the pullers move back slightly when the clearance is provided by table movement. The actuator 83, however, moves the table 27 to the right as the puller operates to pull the subsequent groups 99 of bricks onto the conveyor 82. The puller 71 operates sequentially to pull each group of bricks along the table onto the conveyor 82 until all of the bricks of a group of four grids are positioned on the conveyor and then returns to operate on the subsequent group of four grids.
An inverter mechanism 86 is provided to transfer the upper bricks 53 of each group 99 from the conveyor 82 to a second conveyor 87. This inverter mechanism includes a shaft 88 joumaled on the base of the machine. Referring to FIGURE 5, the shaft 88 is rotatable through 180 by an actuator 89 provided with a rack 91 engaging a gear sector 92 on the shaft. Extension of the rack 91 causes the shaft 86 to rotate in an anticlockwise direction to a gripping position illustated in FIGURES 1 and 2 and retraction of the actuator rotates tbe shaft 88 through 180 to the inverted release position.
Mounted on the shaft 88 are two gripper assemblies 93 and 94. Each gripper assembly 93 and 94 includes opposed arms 96 and 97 which are pivoted on support arms 95 carried by the shaft 88. The opposed arms are, therefore, movable toward and away from each other. An actuator 98 is connected between each pair of arms 96 and 97 and operates when extended to position the opposed gripping arms 96 and 97 a distance apart greater than the width of a group 99 of bricks on the conveyor 82. The various elements are proportioned so that when the actuator 89 extends, the ends of the gripper arms 96 and 97 are adjacent to only the upper bricks 53 so that retraction of the actuators 98 causes only the upper lbricks of each group to be gripped. After the actuators 98 are operated to grip the upper brick 53, the actuator 89 is retracted causing the shaft 88 to pivot through 180 and carry the upper bricks to a position over the conveyor 87. During this movement the bricks are turned The actuators 98 are then released and the upper bricks 53 of each group 99 are deposited on the conveyor 87.
The conveyors 82 and 87 are powered by an intermittent drive (not illustrated) and are stationary during a period when the bricks are deposited thereon. After the groups 99 are positioned on the conveyors, the conveyors operate to carry the groups out of the machine to stackers of tne type illustrated in the pending application, Ser. No. 616,125, or other processing machines.
ln the illustrated embodiment all of the actuators eX- cepting the motors 59 and 77 are piston and cylinder actuators which may be of the pneumatic or hydraulic type. The motors 59 and 77 may be fluid motors or electric motors as desired. The control circuits for operating the various actuators in the proper time sequence are not illustrated since a person skilled in the art can provide suitable electrical controls for the sequencing and operation of the actuators and the inclusion of the control circuit itself would only complicate a clear understanding of this invention. Also suitable limit switches and sensing switches are provided to insure proper operation of the machine.
OPERATION Briefly the operation of the machine is as follows. A kiln car 10 with four stacks of grids is moved into the unloading position 11. The gripper assemblies 26 operate sequentially to grip a grid from each stack and transfer the grid to the table 27. The gripper assemblies 26 are turned on alternate cycles of operation so that they are properly positioned to grip the grids remaining on the stacks. The compacted grids are deposited on the table 27 with their rows in alignment with the table. The puller 56 slides the four grids along the table until the end bricks of the grids 67 and 68 are positioned on the conveyor 82. While this occurs the conveyor 82 is stationary. The puller 56 then returns to the full line p0- sition so that a subsequent group of four grids may be positioned on the table. The inverter mechanism 86 operates to remove the upper bricks of each group 99 from the conveyor 82 and deposit the upper bricks on the conveyor 87. The conveyors 82 and 87 then operate to carry the bricks out of the machine. The puller 71 then operates sequentially to position subsequent groups on the conveyor 82 until all of the bricks of the four grids are positioned on the conveyors 82 and 87 and are carried out of the machine. This operation continues until 7 all of the bricks are removed from the kiln car at the unloading position 11. Subsequent kiln car is then moved into the unloading position and the operation is repeated.
The machine operates continuously at a high production rate and completely eliminates manual unloading of the kiln cars. When this unloader is used in conjunction with a cutter hacker of the type illustrated in the pending application, Ser. No. 478,913, and a pair of stackers as illustrated in the pending application, Ser. No. 616,125, a completely automated system is provided for the manufacture of bricks.
Although a preferred embodiment of this invention is illustrated, it is to be understood that various modifications and rearrangements of parts may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed herein.
What is claimed is:
1. An unloader adapted to progressively remove grids of block-like articles from stacks of grids wherein each grid includes a plurality of spaced parallel rows of aligned articles and said stacks include a plurality of grids positioned on top of each other comprising power operated means for progressively gripping grids at said stack and progressively positioning said grids on a platform in compacted form in which said rows are abutting, conveyor means, and transfer means operable to progressively transfer groups of abutting articles from said platform to said conveyor means, each row includes a pair of articles with an upper article resting on each lower article, said conveyor means including two separate conveyors, and said transfer means is operable to position the lower articles of each group on one conveyor and the corresponding upper article of each group on the other conveyor.
2. An unloader as set forth in claim 1 wherein said transfer means inverts the articles positioned on one of said conveyors.
3. An unloader adapted to progressively remove grids of block-like articles from stacks of grids wherein each grid includes a plurality of spaced parallel rows of aligned articles and said stacks include a plurality of grids comprising a gripper, a power operated carriage supporting said gripper for movement between a gripping position at said stack and a release position at a platform, said gripper operating when in said gripping position to move said rows of a grid laterally into abutting engagement and then gripping such grids for movement to said platform, said carriage then operating to move said gripper to a release position at said platform, said gripper then operating to release such grids onto said platform, said unloader then operating through a subsequent similar cycle to remove and transefr a subsequent grid, conveyor means are provided to transport said articles from said unloader, and transfer means are provided to progressively move groups of abutting articles from said platform to said conveyor means, each grid includes rows of pairs of articles with an upper article resting on each lower article, said conveyor means includes two conveyors, and said transfer means operate to position the upper article ofeach group on a rst of said conveyors and the lower article of each group on a second of said conveyors.
4. An unloader as set forth in claim 3 wherein said carriage progressively positions said gripper in a lower gripping position as grids are removed from said stack until the entire stack of grids is gripped and transferred to said platform.
5. An unloader as set forth in claim 3 wherein said transfer means inverts the group of articles placed on one of said conveyors.
6. An unloader adapted to progressively remove grids of block-like articles from stacks of grids wherein each grid includes a plurality of spaced parallel rows of aligned articles and said stacks inclu-de a plurality of grids comprising a gripper, a power operated carriage supporting said gripper for movement between a gripping position at said stack and a release position at a platform, said gripper operating when in said gripping position to move said rows of a grid laterally into abutting engagement and then gripping such grids for movement to said platform, said carriage then operating to move said gripper to a release position at said platform, said gripper then operating to release such grids onto said platform, said unloader then operating through a subsequent similar cycle to remove and transfer a subsequent grid, each grid includes rows of pairs of articles with an upper article resting on each lower article, and said gripping shifts each upper article a predetermined amount with respect to its associated lower article to break any bonds therebetween.
7. An unloader as set forth in claim 6 wherein said gripper is operable to simultaneously grip and remove a grid from each of a plurality of stacks.
8. A brick transfer for gri-ds of bricks containing a plurality of spaced parallel rows of abutting brick comprising a gripper frame, a pair of opposed grippers mounted on said frame for movement toward and away from each other, power means connected to move said grippers toward and away from each other, said grippers being operable to engage the outermost rows of said grid and move them toward each other until said rows abut and thereafter being operable to press against said outermost rows with suicient force to grip and support the entire grid, each row including a pair of bricks with an upper brick resting on a lower brick, said grippers operat- Ving to shift each upper brick with respect to each associated lower brick to insure that the bricks do not stick together.
9. A brick transfer as set forth in claim 8 wherein one gripper of said pair of grippers is provided with a gripping portion adapted to engage the lower brick of one outermost row and a recessed portion aligned with the upper brick of said one outermost row, and the other gripper of said pair of grippers if provided with a gripping portion adapted to engage the lower brick of the other outermost row and a projecting portion adapted to engage the upper brick of said other outermost row, said projecting portion operating to laterally shift each upper brick with respect to its associated lower brick when said gripping portions grip said lower brick.
10. A method of unloading stacks of grids wherein each grid includes a plurality of spaced parallel rows with each row including a pair of vertically aligned articles comprising moving the outermost rows of the grids toward each other until all of the rows abut, shifting the upper article of each pair relative to the associated lower article, and supporting the entire grid by pressing the lower articles of the outermost rows toward each other.
11. An unloader adapted to progressively remove grids of block-like articles from stacks of grids wherein each grid includes a plurality of spaced parallel rows of aligned articles and said stacks include a plurality of grids positioned on top of each other comprising power operated means for progressively gripping grids at said stack and progressively positioning said grids on a platform in compacted form in which said rows are abutting, conveyor means,l and transfer means operable to progressively transfer groups of abutting articles from said platform to said conveyor means, each row includes a pair of articles with-an upper article resting on each lower article, and said transfer means operates to remove groups of articles consisting of said upper articles fromv corresponding groups of lower articles so that the groups transferred to said conveyor means do not include pairs of upper and lower articles.
12. An unloader as set forth in claim 11 wherein said rows consisting of upper articles are inverted by said transfer means.
(References ou following page) 9 10 References Cited FOREIGN PATENTS 1,176,332 4/ 1962 Germany.
UNITED STATES PATENTS Ladd 294-63 X GERALD M. FORLENZA, Primary Examiner :Ilzgf 5 G. F. ABRAHAM, Assistant Examiner Johnson 214--6 X Eason 214 6 U.S. Cl. X.R.
Lingl 214-6 214-1, 152; 294--63