APPARATUS FOR MOVING CONTAINERS OR OTHER STANDARD LOADS, MAINLY FOR APPLICATION IN MULTIDIRECTIONAL ROLLER CONVEYOR SYSTEMS
The object of the present invention is an apparatus for moving containers or other standard loads, mainly for application in multidirectional roller conveyor systems.
It is known that the loading of railway or public vehicles is not up to the modern technologies or to the development pace of the vehicles.
To overcome this problem the EP 0345503B1 discloses an installation for moving and/or arranging objects or containers by means of rollers or roller paths. The rollers are arranged in rectangular fields such that the rollers provided within the individual fields are disposed parallel to each other while including an angle with the rollers disposed in the adjacent fields and that the invidual fields are adapted to be vertically movable. At least part of the rollers disposed in the individual fields are driven rollers provided with an independent or a common drive means.
The installation may be applied as a ramp, loading platform, parking lot etc and enables moving and/or manoeuvring of containers and other large objects an easy and precisely controlled way. Manoeuvring is simpler, quicker and needs smaller place than in the traditional systems and at the same time enables automatic tracking and recording of the object moved in the system from the moment of entry to exit, preferably by a computer system.
During practice, however, it turned out that auxilliary devices are needed to make moving of the containers more easy and quick.
Accordingly, the object of the present invention is to provide an apparatus for moving containers or other standard loads, mainly for application in multidirectional roller conveyor systems.
The present invention is therefore an apparatus which comprises a horizontal table arranged on stands of adjustable height, slides movable by drives along the table and transverse fork-lifts movable in the slides and provided with conveyors.
The fork-lifts are generally flat beams provided with grooves for the slides on their sides and throughs for the conveyor in their upper and lower surfaces.
There are preferably chain wheels in the slides for driving the conveyors.
A mode switch is also provided in each slide for fixing or releasing the conveyor with respect to the fork-lift.
There is at least one spindle within the table for driving the slides the stands are provided with hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders and/or spindles.
The apparatus according to the present invention can move the containers on both sides of the apparatus, moving is quick, simple and precise. The apparatus may be operated automatically or manually.
The novel features of the invention are set fort with particularity in the appended claims. The invention will best be understood from the following description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein
Figure 1 is a side view of the a preferred embodiment of the present invention, partly in section,
Figure 2 is the section of Figure 1 , according to line ll-ll,
Figure 3 is the front view of the apparatus of Figure 1 ,
Figure 4 is the top view of the apparatus of Figure 1 and
Figures 5 to 9 show the steps of loading with the apparatus according to the invention.
The embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 4 comprises stands 1 of adjustable height, table 2 arranged on the stands 1 and slides 3 movable along table 2. All the slides 3 are provided with a fork-lift 4 surrounded by conveyor 5.
Stands 1 are sleeves 6 fixed in a concrete base and spindles 7 are arranged in the sleeves 6. A worm wheel 8 and a scroll 9 is arranged at the upper end of sleeves 6 cooperating with the outer thread of the spindles 7. The scroll 9 is driven by drive 10.
Stands 1 are welded to a base plate 11 which in turn is provided with a guide plate 12 on both sides of the base plate 11. Guide plates 12 prevent the damage of the stands 1 by the wheels of the trucks. Table 2 is actually a frame construction consisting of beams 13 and bracing 14. Table 2 supports slides 3 on the one hand, and transfers the load to stands 1 on the other hand.
Table 2 is provided with two spindles 15 which provide for moving slides 3. These spindles 15 are connected to drive 16. Another spindle 17 for moving conveyors 5 is arranged between spindles 15.
Fork-lifts 4 are arranged in the slides 3 and are guided by grooves 18 in the side walls of fork-lifts 4 and by ribs of the slide 3 (not shown). Fork-lift 4 can be moved in horizontal direction with respect to slide 3. If the conveyor 5 is fixed with respect to fork-lift 4, the fork-lift 4 is moving with respect to slide 3. The conveyors are guided in throughs 19 arranged in the upper and lower sides of the fork-lifts 4.
Conveyor 5 comprises rolls 20 connected by chains 21. The chains 21 are driven by a chain wheel 22 arranged in slide 3. The chains 21 are supported by rollers 23.
Slides 3 are provided with a mode switch 24 for changing the function of conveyor 5. In one position of mode switch 24 conveyor 5 is fixed with respect to fork-lift 4 and accordingly, the moving conveyor 5 will move the fork-lift 4 in the slide 3. In the other position of mode swith 24, the fork-lift 4 is fixed with respect to slide 3 and conveyor 5 moves then the load on the fork-lift 4.
Operation of the apparatus according to the invention is as follows.
Figure 5 shows a loading platform 25 and a truck 26 with containers 27 arriving to the loading platform 25. Truck 26 stops between the loading platform 25 and the apparatus according to the present invention. Than, the stands of the apparatus 28 are lifted or lowered to a level, wherein the fork-lifts are in the level of the pockets at the bottom of the containers 27 and at the same time the slides are driven to horizontal positions corresponding to the positions of the pockets on the containers, as shown in Figure 6. Mode switches are fixing the conveyors to the fork-lifts and, accordingly, the conveyors will push the forks into the pockets of the containers.
Mode switches then release the conveyors with respect to the forks and, at the same time, the forks are fixed with respect to the slides. The table will then be rised until it is in the level of the loading platform 25 (Figure 7).
Loading platform 25 comprises rectangular blocks 29 and the containers 27 should be brought in line with this blocks 29 as shown in Figure 8. At the same time, container 27 is moved by conveyors to the loading platform 25 wherein the rollers move the container 27 to the required position (Figure 9).
When loading from the platform to a truck, the steps shown in Figures 5 to 9 are carried out in reverse order.
The apparatus according to the invention is of course suitable for moving the containers from one vehicle to the other as well.
The main advantage of the apparatus according to the invention with respect to the conventional systems is that loading is simpler, quicker and more precise. The loading platform and the apparatus according to the invention can be controlled as a common system, wherein moving of the containers is perfectly automatized. Adjusting the height of the table is preferably controlled by appropriate sensors. Nevertheless, the apparatus can also be operated manually.
It will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that many departure may be made from the structures shown in the examples without departing from the basic concept of the invention. The embodiment which are the result of such departures are to be deemed included within the scope of the following claims unless these claims expressly state otherwise.