This invention proposes a handling-switching apparatus comprising
a number of conveyor tables, each constituted by a rotating carpet on which the
piece to be handled is placed and that is dragged along a loop path developing
on a vertical plane.
A characteristic of the invention is that means suitable to keep
in the horizontal position the carriages even in that part of their path that connects
the upper to the lower section of the path and conversely are provided.
Handling-switching apparatuses in which the pieces to be handled
are placed on a carriage fitted with a rotating carpet that constitutes the conveyor
table and that is dragged along a fixed path, specifically a loop path developing
on a vertical plane, are known.
In some of such apparatuses unloading takes place by tilting the
carriage and setting to rotation the carpet, to unload the piece towards underlying
One of such apparatuses is known through the Italian Patent Application
MI A 2213 dated 06.08.1991 of the same applicant.
In such handling-switching apparatuses carriages with carpets are
dragged by a pair of belts or chains, that are driven by gearwheels provided at
both ends of the apparatus.
The path includes then two sections, an upper and a lower one, said
sections being essentially rectilinear and connected by two semicircular sections.
The pieces are introduced into the machine in correspondence with
loading areas provided at the apparatus head ends and are unloaded when they come
to pass in correspondence with some collecting devices suitably predisposed, associated
with that piece in a known way by means of a coding operation at the moment of
In known apparatuses the carriages, passing from the upper to the
lower section of their path or conversely, perform a 180° rotation, thereby overturning.
Owing to this reason, it is necessary that the pieces be unloaded
before the carriage reaches the end of the rectilinear section of its path, and
this constitutes a remarkable operating limitation.
To make up for this inconvenience, this invention proposes a handling-switching
apparatus as hereinbefore described, that is however characterized by the presence
of means suitable to keep in the horizontal position the carriages even when they
run through the section connecting the upper to the lower part of the path, or
In greater detail, these means are constituted by a number of shafts
mounted in such a way that only allows them to rotate on the wheels which drive
the carriage dragging chains.
Each shaft is provided with a pair of gearwheels that engage respectively
with a fixed gearwheel that is coaxially arranged with the shaft of the wheels
that drive said chains and with a gearwheel integrally connected with the carriage
By properly selecting the ratios between the toothings of such wheels
it is possible to compensate for the rotation of carriages, thereby keeping them
This invention will now be described in detail, as a non-limiting
example, referring to the attached figures, where:
- figure 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus according to the invention;
- figure 2 is the schematic side view of a head end of the apparatis according
to the invention;
- figure 3 is a perspective view of the machine driving wheels;
- figure 4 shows a carpet during the conveyed piece unloading step;
- figure 5 is a schematic perspective view of the dragging devices in a machine
according to the invention;
- figure 6 is a schematic vertical section of the handling-switching apparatus;
- figure 7 shows a detail of figure 6.
With reference to figure 1, the apparatus according to the invention
includes a number of conveyor tables, indicated by numeral 1, each constituted
by a rotating carpet mounted on a carriage dragged along a loop-shaped path developing
on a vertical plane.
The path includes an upper and a lower section, both of which are
substantially horizontal, connected by two circle-arc sections, at the machine
All the machine operations are managed, in a known way, by a central
computer that assigns a given carriage to each piece, when the latter is loaded
onto the machine, and controls its unloading when the carriage comes to pass in
correspondence with the collecting device provided for.
Such collecting devices are preferably placed below the carriage
path and unloading takes place by inclining the carpet and setting it to rotation
to cause the piece to fall into the underlying collecting device, as shown in
The carpets move in a substantially horizontal position or all inclined,
to later recover the horizontal position at the end of every rectilinear path,
while the carriages by means of wheels or the like lean on side rails placed in
correspondence with the upper and lower sections of the path, and the problem the
invention aims at solving is keeping such carpets in the horizontal position along
the sections connecting the upper rectilinear path to the lower one and conversely.
The machine (see figure 5) includes a frame 2 on which a pair of
driving wheels 3 are mounted, that are operated by an electric motor 4 or the like
and that drag as many belts or chains 5.
Carpets 1 are mounted on a frame or carriage 6 fitted with a shaft
7, which shaft is connected to belts 5.
Wheels 3, then, through belts 5 drag carriages 6 along the path.
Every carriage is provided with wheels 8 or the like that lean on
rails 9 placed along the horizontal sections of the path, thus keeping the carriage
in its plane.
The wheels 3 are connected by a shaft 10.
A bevel gear 11, which is coaxial with shaft 10, is fixedly mounted
on a support A shown in figure 3.
Gear 11 engages a series of bevel gears 12, each one of which is
keyed on a shaft 13 that is in turn mounted in a radial position on wheel 3 by
means of bearings 14.
Shafts 13 are consequently dragged by wheel 3 with respect to which,
however, they can freely rotate on their axle.
At the opposed end of each one of shafts 13 there is another bevel
gear 15 which, when the carriages arrive in correspondence with wheels 3, engages
the toothing of a corresponding gear 16 keyed on shaft 7 of the carriages (figure
Specifically (see figure 3) wheels 3 exhibit, on their perimeter,
a number of notches 17 inside of which blocks 18 or the like, fixed to belts 5,
The shafts 7 of carriages 6 are connected to such blocks 18, while
shafts 13 are mounted on wheels 3 in correspondence with notches 17.
During the machine movement, therefore, the shafts 13 follow wheels
3 and perform, consequently, a kind of revolution around fixed bevel gear 11.
This causes then, owing to the engagement of gears 11 and 12, the
rotation of shafts 13 and gearwheels 15 on their axles.
This, by engaging gears 16 integrally connected with carriage shafts
7, sets to rotation such shafts.
By properly selecting the ratios between the toothings of bevel gears
11-12 and 15-16 it is then possible to provide for the rotation of shaft 7, during
the passage of the carriage from one to another section of the path, to be equal
By this way the carriage with rotating carpet 1 keeps perfectly horizontal
during such movement.
A skilled person will then be able to plan many modifications and
changes, that shall anyway be deemed to all be comprised within the scope of this