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Publication numberUS20070062243 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/229,827
Publication date22 Mar 2007
Filing date19 Sep 2005
Priority date19 Sep 2005
Also published asCA2551423A1
Publication number11229827, 229827, US 2007/0062243 A1, US 2007/062243 A1, US 20070062243 A1, US 20070062243A1, US 2007062243 A1, US 2007062243A1, US-A1-20070062243, US-A1-2007062243, US2007/0062243A1, US2007/062243A1, US20070062243 A1, US20070062243A1, US2007062243 A1, US2007062243A1
InventorsMontgomery Childs, Jason Lickver
Original AssigneeChilds Montgomery W, Jason Lickver
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Support assembly for workpiece transfer system
US 20070062243 A1
Abstract
A support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations is movable vertically on a carriage assembly during use of the system. The assembly movably supports an elongate transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices mounted thereon. The assembly comprises a support body adapted for slidably mounting a horizontal support member having a forward end on which the transfer bar is mounted. The support body is constructed substantially of aluminum alloy panels and adhesive which rigidly connects the panels. A drive system is provided for moving the support member relative to the support body. Preferably, the support body has a vertical section and a horizontal section extending rearwardly from the bottom end of the vertical section.
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Claims(31)
1. In a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations in a stamping press, said system including a transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices mounted thereon, a support member for moving said transfer bar in a lateral direction towards and away from said die stations and connectible to said transfer bar, and a support assembly for reciprocating said support member in said lateral direction towards and away from said die stations, said support assembly including a support body on which said support member is slidably mounted for movement in said lateral direction and a lateral drive system for moving said support member relative to said support body in the lateral direction, said die transfer system further comprising a carriage assembly for reciprocating said support assembly in a vertical direction, said carriage assembly including a movable carriage body on which said support body is mounted for vertical movement and a vertical drive system for moving said support body relative to said carriage body in the vertical direction, the improvement wherein said support body is constructed substantially of aluminum alloy panels and adhesive rigidly connects together said aluminum alloy panels to form the support body.
2. A die transfer system according to claim 1 wherein said support body has a vertical body section and a horizontal body section extending rearwardly from a bottom end portion of said vertical body section and said vertical body section is constructed of vertically extending front and rear panels, vertically extending side panels, and a series of horizontally extending, spaced-apart connecting panels, the latter extending between and connecting said front and rear panels, substantially all of said panels being constructed of aluminum alloy.
3. A die transfer system according to claim 2 wherein said connecting panels include a top panel, a bottom panel, and at least three spaced-apart intermediate connecting panels located between said top panel and said bottom panel and having edge flanges formed thereon for bonding said connecting panels to the front, rear and side panels.
4. A die transfer system according to claim 2 wherein said aluminum alloy comprises aluminum alloy 6061.
5. A die transfer system according to claim 2 wherein said adhesive comprises Dev-thane 5.
6. A die transfer system according to claim 2 wherein said side panels form two vertical flange sections that extend rearwardly from said rear panel and two vertical guide rails are mounted respectively along rear edges of said flange sections.
7. A die transfer system according to claim 6 wherein said support body includes two aluminum alloy, support brackets projecting inwardly towards one another and each connected along one edge to a respective one of said flange sections, a horizontal support plate extending rearwardly from a central section of said rear panel and supported by said support brackets, and a ball nut mounted in said support plate, said ball nut being part of said vertical drive system.
8. A support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations, said support assembly during use of said die transfer system being movable vertically on a carriage assembly and movably supporting a transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices mounted thereon, said support assembly comprising a support body adapted for slidably mounting a horizontally extending support member having a forward end on which said transfer bar is mounted during use of said die transfer system, said support body being constructed substantially of aluminum alloy panels and adhesive which rigidly connects together said panels, and a drive system for moving said support member relative to said support body.
9. A support assembly according to claim 8 wherein said support body has a vertical body section and a horizontal body section extending rearwardly from a bottom end portion of said vertical body section and said vertical body section is constructed of vertically extending front and rear panels, vertically extending side panels, and a series of horizontally extending, spaced-apart connecting panels, the latter extending between and connecting said front and rear panels, substantially all of said panels being constructed of aluminum alloy.
10. A support assembly according to claim 9 wherein said connecting panels include a top panel, a bottom panel, and at least four spaced-apart intermediate connecting panels distributed between said top panel and said bottom panel.
11. A support assembly according to claim 9 wherein said aluminum alloy comprises aluminum alloy 6061-T6.
12. A support assembly according to claim 9 wherein said adhesive comprises Dev-thane 5.
13. A support assembly according to claim 9 wherein said connecting panels include a bottom panel member forming a bottom end of said support body, including a bottom of the horizontal body section, and wherein said support assembly includes ball slides for slidably connecting the support member to said bottom panel member so that support member is located at least substantially below the support assembly.
14. A support assembly according to claim 13 wherein said drive system includes a servo motor mounted on said vertical body section, a drive pulley operatively connected to said servo motor, and a drive belt extending around said drive pulley and connectible to said support member, said drive belt extending through an aperture formed in said bottom panel member.
15. A support assembly according to claim 14 wherein at least a major portion of said servo motor is mounted within said vertical body section and said servo motor is located in a lower half of said vertical body section.
16. A support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations in a stamping press, said support assembly during use of said die transfer system being movable on a support apparatus of the die transfer system and movably supporting a transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices thereon, said support assembly comprising a support body adapted for slidably mounting a support device having an end on which said transfer bar can be mounted, said support body having a vertically extending body section with an upper end and a bottom end, a front side adapted to face towards one side of said stamping press during use thereof, a vertical rear side, and a vertical guide rail arrangement for facilitating vertical movement of said support body relative to said support apparatus, said body section including a first front panel forming said front side, a second panel extending vertically and spaced from said front panel, two side panels extending between and connecting said first and second panels and located on opposite sides of said body section, and a series of spaced apart, connecting panels extending between and rigidly joining said first and second panels, said connecting panels including a horizontally extending, bottom panel with at least one aperture formed therein, said support assembly further including a belt drive system for moving said support device relative to said support body, said belt drive system including a drive motor mounted to and supported by said body section, a drive pulley operatively connected for rotation by said drive motor and located within said body section, and a drive belt extending around said drive pulley and adapted for connection to said support device, said drive belt in use extending through one of said at least one aperture in the bottom panel for connection to said support device.
17. A support assembly according to claim 16 wherein said connecting panels extend substantially horizontally during use of the support assembly and include a top panel and at least three intermediate panels distributed between said bottom and top panels.
18. A support assembly according to claim 16 wherein said support body includes a horizontally projecting body section extending from a bottom end section of said vertically extending body section and having a rearwardly facing side substantially covered by a vertical panel section.
19. A support assembly according to claim 17 including a vertical, central partition wall located between said two side panels and providing support for said drive motor, said partition wall being fixedly connected to at least two of said connecting panels.
20. A support assembly according to claim 16 wherein said front panel has a plurality of access openings formed therein and has a plurality of access plates for covering said openings during use of said support assembly, at least some of said access plates being removable.
21. A support assembly according to claim 16 wherein said body section including at least most of said panels are made of aluminum alloy 6061 and each of said panels is fixedly connected to one or more adjacent panels by a suitable, strong adhesive.
22. A support assembly according to claim 21 including a vertical channel having a width extending most of the width of said support body, one side of said channel being formed by said second panel, a horizontal support plate mounted in said channel approximately midway between said bottom and upper ends of the vertically extending body section and having a central aperture, and a ball nut for a vertical drive unit mounted in said central aperture in said support plate.
23. A support assembly according to claim 22 including two aluminum alloy support brackets extending inwardly towards each other and each connected to a respective one of two vertical edge flanges formed on said second panel, said support brackets being connected to said horizontal support plate along a rear edge thereof and supporting same.
24. A light weight support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces, said support assembly during use of the die transfer system being movable by a power drive unit, said support assembly comprising a support body adapted for movably mounting a support member and including outer panels forming exterior sides of the support member and connected to one another along adjacent edges thereof and interior connecting panels extending between and connecting at least two of said outer panels, said outer panels and connecting panels being made substantially of aluminum alloy and being rigidly connected together by a suitable adhesive, said support assembly further including at least a drive component of said power drive unit mounted on said support body.
25. A support assembly according to claim 24 wherein said aluminum alloy is aluminum alloy 6061.
26. A support assembly according to claim 24 wherein said adhesive comprises Dev-thane 5.
27. A support assembly according to claim 24 wherein said outer panels include top and bottom panels and two opposing side panels and said connecting panels include at least three, spaced-apart intermediate panels distributed between said top and bottom panels and substantially parallel thereto.
28. A support assembly according to claim 24 including vertical, spaced-apart rails mounted on the exterior of said support body in order to facilitate and guide vertical movement of the support assembly caused by said power drive unit during use of said die transfer system.
29. A support assembly according to claim 24 wherein said support assembly includes a rigid support member slidably mounted on a bottom end of said support body and adapted for horizontal movement during use of the transfer system and a horizontal drive system for moving said support member horizontally relative to said support body, said horizontal drive system including a drive motor mounted on or in said support body.
30. A support assembly according to claim 29 wherein said drive motor is an electric servo-motor having at least a major portion thereof located within said support body, within a lower half section of said support body, and between two of said connecting panels.
31. A support assembly according to claim 25 where said aluminum alloy is aluminum alloy 6061-T6.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates to transfer systems for transferring workpieces between successive die stations in a stamping press and to components for use in such systems.
  • [0002]
    It is well known for metal fabrication and stamping industries to use automated systems for conveying or transferring Workpieces between workstations where particular operations are carried out. Many metal parts on automobiles and appliances are formed by means of a stamping procedure employing a series of dies that are situated on a number of aligned workstations within the bed of a transfer press. Known automated transfer systems can grasp a workpiece, remove it from one set of dies, and then transport it longitudinally through the press bed to the next adjacent station where it can be stamped a further time with another set of dies.
  • [0003]
    One such known workpiece transfer system is described and illustrated in co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/805,787 filed Mar. 22, 2004 and entitled WORKPIECE TRANSFER SYSTEM FOR STAMPING PRESS. The specification and drawings of this pending application are incorporated herein by reference. This known transfer system includes at least one and preferably two elongate bars each having a series of workpiece grippers mounted thereon for engaging workpieces. It is also possible for this system to support four such bars with one bar mounted on each mounting head. A primary support arrangement is mounted adjacent the stamping press and two elongate support beams are mounted on this arrangement and positioned on opposite sides of the stamping press. One or two mounting heads are mounted on each support beam and are horizontally movable in the longitudinal direction on their respective support beam. Each mounting head includes a coupling for detachably connecting one of the elongate bars to the mounting head. The mounting head further includes a vertical transfer mechanism for moving the coupling vertically and a lateral transfer mechanism for moving the coupling in a front-back direction relative to the press.
  • [0004]
    In addition to making such a transfer system as reliable and as maintenance free as possible and to making them sufficiently flexible that they can be adapted to carry out a wide variety of transferring operations on different workpieces, it is also desirable to reduce the energy consumption required for operation of the transfer system. Energy, particularly in the form of electrical power, is a major portion of the expense in the operation of relatively heavy machinery of this type and generally speaking, energy is becoming more expensive as the price of oil and natural gas increases and the availability of further hydro-electric sources is reduced in relation to overall energy consumption. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that considerable energy can be consumed in not only raising and lowering the workpieces as they move through the stamping press but also in raising and lowering the elongate bars on which the workpieces grippers are mounted and the support sections of the mounting heads that are raised and lowered with the bars. However, if one endeavors to reduce the weight of the major support components of the transfer system, one must at the same time maintain the necessary rigidity of the moving components of the mounting heads, for example, in order for the transfer system to operate correctly and within operational requirements so that the workpieces are stamped and shaped properly.
  • [0005]
    Another known form of workpiece transfer system is that described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,792,787 issued Sep. 21, 2004 to HMS Products, Co. One side of this known transfer assembly includes a horizontal carrier beam that extends in the longitudinal direction of the press, which beam can be moved vertically, and a pair of horizontal arms that extend transversely to the carrier beam for supporting and moving a transfer bar into and out of the press. A horizontal drive system is provided for moving the arms laterally and horizontally and this system includes a pair of so-called trolleys suspended from the carrier beam and movable along a pair of horizontal tracks. A transverse drive motor is connected via a shaft to a rack-in-pinion drive associated with a transverse track for moving each arm laterally. Alternatively, a drive belt can be used to move each of the horizontal arms into and out of the press.
  • [0006]
    It is an object of one aspect of the invention to provide an improved support assembly for use in a die transfer system, this support assembly including a support body which is constructed substantially of lightweight aluminum alloy panels connected together by adhesive.
  • [0007]
    It is an object of a further aspect of the invention to provide an improved support assembly for use in a die transfer system that includes a support body adapted for slidably mounting a support member on which can be mounted a transfer bar, the support body having a vertically extending body section with a front side, a vertical rear side and a vertical guide rail arrangement for facilitating vertical movement.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0008]
    According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations, this support assembly during use of the die transfer system being movable vertically on a carriage assembly and movably supporting a transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices mounted thereon. The support assembly comprises a support body adapted for slidably mounting a support member having a forward end on which the transfer bar is mounted during use of the die transfer system. The support body is constructed substantially of aluminum alloy panels and adhesive which rigidly connects together the panels. There is also a drive system for moving the support member relative to the support body.
  • [0009]
    Preferably the support body has a vertical body section and a horizontal body section extending rearwardly from a bottom end portion of the vertical section. The preferred vertical body section is constructed of vertically extending front and rear panels, vertically extending side panels and a series of horizontally extending, spaced-apart connecting panels.
  • [0010]
    According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces between successive die stations in a stamping press, this support assembly during use of the die transfer system being movable on a support apparatus of the die transfer system and movably supporting a transfer bar having workpiece engaging devices thereon. This support assembly comprises a support body adapted for slidably mounting a support device having an end on which the transfer bar can be mounted. The support body has a vertically extending body section with an upper end and a bottom end, a front side adapted to face towards one side of the stamping press during use thereof, a vertical rear side, and a vertical guide rail arrangement for facilitating vertical movement of the support body relative to the support apparatus. The body section includes a first front panel forming the front side, a second panel extending vertically and spaced from the front panel, two side panels extending between and connecting the first and second panels and located on opposite sides of the body section, and a series of spaced-apart connecting panels extending between and rigidly joining the first and second panels. The support assembly further includes a drive system for moving the support device relative to the support body. This drive system includes a drive motor mounted to and supported by the body section and having at least a major portion thereof located within the body section. A drive pulley is operatively connected for rotation by the drive motor and is located within the body section. A drive belt extends around the drive pulley and is adapted for connection to the support device. The drive belt in use extends through the bottom end of the support body for connection to the support device.
  • [0011]
    In a preferred embodiment, the connection panels extend substantially horizontally during use of the support assembly and include a bottom panel with at least one aperture, a top panel and at least three intermediate panels distributed between the bottom and top panels.
  • [0012]
    According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a lightweight support assembly for use in a die transfer system for transferring workpieces, this support assembly during use of the system being movable by a power drive unit. The support assembly comprises a support body adapted for movably mounting a support member and includes outer panels forming exterior sides of the support member and connected to one another along adjacent edges thereof and interior connecting panels extending between and connecting at least two of the outer panels. The outer panels and connecting panels being made substantially of aluminum alloy and being rigidly connected together by a suitable adhesive. This support assembly further includes at least a drive component of the power drive unit mounted on the support body.
  • [0013]
    The preferred aluminum alloy is aluminum alloy 6061.
  • [0014]
    Further features and advantages will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0015]
    FIG. 1 is a plan view of a stamping press and transfer system incorporating the support assembly of the invention with a mezzanine of the press not shown for sake of illustration;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 2 is a side view of the stamping press and transfer system of FIG. 1 with a known feeder mechanism being shown on the left side of the platform on which the stamping press is mounted;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 3 is an end elevation of the stamping press and transfer system with the feeder mechanism and control panels omitted for clarity;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a movable support body for a mounting head used in the transfer system, this view being taken from above, showing the beam facing side and left side of the support assembly, and showing a servo-motor partially projecting from the left side of the body;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the support body of FIG. 4, this view being taken from above and showing the vertical side thereof that faces away from the beam;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 6 is an exploded view of the movable support body of FIGS. 4 and 5 showing many of the components and plates used to construct the support body;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the support assembly including working components with the main portion of the support body being seen from above and from the beam facing side;
  • [0022]
    FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an assembled movable support assembly, this view being taken from below showing the assembly with the right side panel removed for sake of illustration;
  • [0023]
    FIG. 9 is a perspective view of one of the vertical panels used in the support body;
  • [0024]
    FIG. 10 is an exploded detail view of a central portion of the support assembly, this view being taken in the encircled area indicated in FIG. 7;
  • [0025]
    FIG. 11 is a perspective view taken from above and from a rear side thereof, this view showing a carriage assembly on which the support assembly of FIGS. 7 and 8 can be mounted for vertical and horizontal movements; and
  • [0026]
    FIG. 12 is a perspective view of the support member which can be slidably mounted on the support assembly, this view showing the top side and the front end.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0027]
    Illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3 is a stamping press 10, the construction of which is known per se in the metal stamping industry. This stamping press is fitted with an improved die transfer system 12 for transferring workpieces between successive die stations in the stamping press. An example of such a known press is the model 2000T Jinan Toledo Press which has a bolster measuring 240 inches by 96 inches and a stroke of 30 inches. The press is symmetrical about a longitudinal center line L so that the front side 26 of the press is similar in its appearance to the rear or backside 28. Located at one end of the press there can be provided a feeder 302 to feed workpieces to the press. Also shown is an electrical box 304 for the system and a standard operator's console 306. The press includes four steel corner pillars including pillars 90, 92 which can be constructed of large steel beams. A series of die stations (not shown) are arranged in a row or rows on a bolster 94 arranged between the pillars. Additional features of the press shown in FIG. 3 include the crown 308 of the press, an end window 310, and a press mezzanine 312. With the known die transfer system described and illustrated in the assignee's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/805,787 filed Mar. 22, 2004, the specification and drawings of which are incorporated herein by reference, parts can be transferred between successive die stations by either a left-right part flow or a front-back part flow. As used herein, the term “left-right part flow” refers to and includes not only a flow of parts in the left to right direction of the press but also in the right to left direction of the press. Similarly, the expression “front-back part flow” when used herein shall refer to include part flow that is either from the front side 26 towards the rear side 28 or in the opposite rear to front direction where the context permits.
  • [0028]
    In order to transfer the parts or workpieces between the work stations using the transfer system, this system is equipped with at least one transfer rail or transfer bar (not shown) situated adjacent to the press bed and aligned with the various work stations. It will be appreciated that the bars extend horizontally in the longitudinal direction of the press in order to transfer workpieces in the longitudinal direction. As is well known, the transfer rail is equipped with a series of workpiece grippers, fingers, or suction devices, herein also referred to as workpiece engaging devices, which are of standard or custom construction and which are mounted either directly or indirectly on the transfer rail. As these grippers or holding devices are of known construction in the metal stamping industry, a detailed description thereof in the present application is deemed unnecessary. It will be appreciated, however, that the support assembly of the present invention facilitates the support of and movement of these grippers and the transfer rail to which they are attached.
  • [0029]
    The transfer system preferably has four vertical beam supporting posts 14, one at each corner of the press with two at the front and two at the rear 28 of the press (but it is known to construct such a system without the posts 14). Each post is adapted for mounting to the stamping press 10 and, in particular, can be mounted to the aforementioned pillars 90, 92. There are two elongate support beams 16 mounted on the posts for vertical movement and positioned on the front and rear sides respectively of the press. Each end of each support beam is movably mounted on a respective one of the posts 14 and there is a vertical drive unit 18 at each end of the beam for moving same upwardly or downwardly. The vertical drive unit can be a jackscrew fixedly mounted on a respective one of the posts 14 and a screw jack that rotatably engages the jackscrew. If the posts 14 and the jackscrew units are not provided, then the support beams do not move vertically in the transfer system.
  • [0030]
    Preferably two mounting heads 20 and 22 are mounted on each support beam and are horizontally movable on the beam in the longitudinal direction. The present invention relates to an improved movable support body or support as illustrated in FIGS. 4 to 8, the support assembly being a main component of each mounting head 20, 22. In the preferred form of the transfer system 12, the mounting heads are independently movable on their respective support beams and each is selectively connectible by means of the transfer bar or rail to either the mounting head located on the same beam or a mounting head on the opposite beam 16, depending on the desired direction of workpiece flow. Although two mounting heads on each beam are preferred, it is also possible to construct a transfer system employing the support assembly of the invention with only one mounting head mounted on a single support beam for horizontal movement or, alternatively, a transfer system having two independent mounting heads located on opposite sides of the press and each mounted on its own support beam.
  • [0031]
    Each of the mounting heads 20, 22 include a carriage assembly 100 which is shown separately in FIG. 11 and which can also be referred to as a support apparatus. The carriage assembly can be constructed in a manner similar to that illustrated and described in applicant's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/805,787 entitled “WORKPIECE TRANSFER SYSTEM FOR STAMPING PRESS” and therefore a detailed description of this component herein is deemed unnecessary. The support assembly 25 is mounted for vertical movement on the carriage assembly or support apparatus 100 which in turn is mounted for horizontal movement on its respective support beam 16. The illustrated carriage assembly includes a support bracket 102 which is substantially rectangular in shape and extends vertically. The support assembly 25 is slidably mounted on the side 105 for vertical movement while the opposite side 104 is adapted for slidably connecting the carriage assembly to the support beam for horizontal movement via ball slides 108 located along the top and bottom of the bracket 102. In order to slidably support the support assembly 25, there can be four ball slides 108 which engage two guide rails on the beam. It will be appreciated by those skilled in the transfer art that the support assembly 25 can be mounted on other forms of support apparatus (not shown) for various types of movement along different axes.
  • [0032]
    A drive motor 112, which is part of a ball screw drive assembly, is mounted at the top of the carriage assembly and optionally is equipped with a blower. The motor 112 can be a servo-motor mounted on a 90 degree gearhead 114. The gearhead housing is mounted to coupling housing 116. Projecting from the surface 105 is a support bracket 124 which includes horizontal support plate 126. Mounted on the plate 126 is the ball screw drive assembly which provides a vertical drive system for moving the support assembly 25 relative to the carriage assembly in the vertical direction. FIG. 11 also shows a cable track 132 and an electrical box for connecting same so that wires and cables can be connected to the ball screw drive motor 112.
  • [0033]
    Turning now to the construction of the support assembly 25 itself, this new support assembly has been constructed so that it is relatively light, making it maneuverable quickly and easily with relatively low power consumption while at the same time the support assembly is sufficiently rigid and strong to enable it to properly support and hold a support member or support device 140, also referred to as a Y-slide because of its ability to move in the lateral, horizontal direction. The support member or support device 140, one form of which is shown separately in FIG. 12, can be constructed in a manner similar to that described in the assignee's co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/805,787 and accordingly a detailed description herein is deemed unnecessary. The illustrated support member 140 is generally flat and rectangular in plan view. It has a top cover plate 280 with an elongate slot 282 formed therein. Extending along opposite longitudinal sides on the top of the member 140 are two guide rails 283, 284 which are engaged by ball slides on the bottom of the support assembly 25. Two quick connect couplings 286,288 (see FIG. 12) are mounted on the front end. Each coupling is for detachably connecting one of the elongate transfer bars of the system. In order to provide sufficient strength and rigidity, the preferred material for the various panels which make up the support assembly is an aluminum alloy. A preferred alloy is aluminum alloy 6061-T6 while an alternative alloy is aluminum alloy 2024-T3. The end designation T6 or T3 used in identifying these aluminum alloys is a well known code used in the aluminum alloy industry to indicate the tempering process used. Some less preferred versions of the support assembly described herein can be made of sheet steel, such as 1020 Steel, but such assemblies are generally substantially heavier. A preferred thickness of the alloy panels used in the support assembly is 50/1000ths inch. Preferably, these panels are rigidly connected together by means of a suitable adhesive in order to form the support body of the assembly 25. One suitable adhesive is one made by Devcon, namely Dev-thane 5 (a trademark). This adhesive was chosen because it does not require the application of heat for proper curing and this increased the simplicity of the manufacturing process and avoided the need for a furnace to heat the assembly box. This adhesive also requires minimal surface preparation, namely remove any oxidation from the surface and rub with alcohol. The adhesive is applied as a continuous bead using a pneumatic applicator. It is relatively easy to use and avoids the need to drill and align holes for rivets or other metal fasteners. By the use of aluminum alloy panels and adhesive as described herein, the weight of the support assembly can be cut to about 200 lbs for many systems which is one half or less the weight of comparable steel assemblies. In addition to Dev-Thane 5, other possible adhesives for constructing the support assembly are the following: 3M DP-810 Tan, 3M DP-820 Yellow, 3M VHB, Devcon HP 250, Devcon Metal Welder, Hysol EA 9309.3NA, Hysol H4500. However, one disadvantage of all these alternative adhesives is that, although they do not require the application of heat for curing, they all require at least 24 hours to cure. Dev-Thane 5 on the other hand can cure in only 8 hours.
  • [0034]
    The preferred support body includes a vertical body section 26 and a short horizontal body section 28 extending rearwardly from a bottom end portion of the vertical body section. The vertical body section is constructed of vertically extending front and rear panels 36 and 42, vertically extending side panels 30, 32, which are generally L-shaped, and a series of horizontally extending, spaced-apart connecting panels, the latter extending between and connecting the front and rear panels as well as the side panels. As indicated, substantially all or all of these panels are preferably constructed of aluminum alloy. Preferably two angle members or strips 320 extend along and reinforce the two front vertical corner edges where the front panel 36 meets the side panels. Preferably the connecting panels include a top panel 50, a bottom panel 52 and three, four or more spaced-apart intermediate connecting panels or brace panels, including panels 44 to 48. The intermediate panels are located between the top and bottom panels and are distributed substantially evenly between these panels as shown with the smaller panels 47, 48 being next to each other at the same height. Each of the top and intermediate panels are preferably formed with edge flanges 142 to allow adhesive connection between the respective panel and the adjacent panels. In the case of the top panel 50, the flanges 142 extend downwardly and connect the top panel to the front panel 36, the rear panel 42 and two short, upper, channel-shaped frame members 144, 146. In the case of the connecting panels 44 to 46, the edge flanges can extend upwardly and these panels are connected to the front and rear panels and the two side panels 30, 32. If desired, each of these connecting panels can be formed with two access apertures 148 for wiring or cables. The top panel 50 can also be formed with two apertures 150 located at opposite ends of the panel, these apertures being for cable access.
  • [0035]
    The front panel 36 is preferably formed with a plurality of access openings 152 in order to allow necessary access to working components in the interior of the support body. As illustrated, the panel 36 has six such openings including two upper openings allowing access to the internal space between panels 44 and 45 (where an pneumatic accumulator 250 can optionally be located) and four lower openings allowing access to the internal space between panels 46 and 47, 48 (where a servo motor and pulley to be described are located) and the space between the panels 47, 48, and the bottom panel 52. Preferably the openings in the front panel are provided with removable covers 156 that can, for example, be attached and reconnected by means of sheet metal screws (not shown). The rear panel 42 can also be provided with a plurality of access openings 154.
  • [0036]
    A preferred construction for the rear panel 42 is shown in FIG. 9 where this panel is shown separately. The panel includes a large, planar central section 158 and two vertically extending L-shaped edge flanges 160, 162. A relatively short, bottom flange 164 can also be provided for adhesively attaching the bottom panel 52. Outwardly projecting corner flanges 166 extend horizontally from the bottom ends of the flanges 160, 162 and are located at opposite ends of the flange 164. Each of the vertical flanges 160, 162 can be provided with a series of attachment holes 168 extending downwardly from the top of the flange. These holes are provided for detachably connecting two vertical guide rails 55, 56. These guide rails are mounted respectively along vertical rear edges 170, 172 of the flange sections. The guide rails 55, 56 are engaged by the aforementioned ball slides 110 on the carriage assembly.
  • [0037]
    Also mounted adjacent to the guide rails and forming part of the support assembly are two triangular support brackets 76, 78, each of which is substantially planar and made of aluminum alloy. To further reduce weight, each of these brackets can be formed with triangular openings 175, 176 (see FIG. 10). These brackets project inwardly towards one another and each is connected along one long edge section to a respective one of the rear edges of the edge flanges 160, 162. A horizontal support plate 75 is provided about midway along the height of the rear panel 42 and it is supported by the support brackets 76, 78 which are connected to the support plate by means of screws 178 and by the rear panel. A ball nut 80 is mounted in the support plate 75. It will be understood that a ball screw 290 (see FIG. 11) of standard construction extends through the ball nut and, by this engagement, the support assembly 25 can be moved upwardly or downwardly. The ball nut is part of the aforementioned vertical drive system for moving the support assembly. An alternative form of vertical drive system that can be used to move the support assembly upwardly or downwardly is a rack and pinion drive system, a well known type of drive system for moving one machine assembly relative to another.
  • [0038]
    Returning to the construction of each of the brackets 76, 78, in addition to the triangular section visible in FIG. 10, each bracket has an elongate upper extension 180 that extends to the top of the adjacent side panel 30, 32. Also, each bracket is formed with a series of screw holes 182 that extend in a straight line from the bottom end to the top end of the bracket. These screw holes are aligned with screw holes in the guide rails 55, 56 and with the holes 168 formed in the rear edges 170, 172. In this way, a number of screws can be used to securely connect together each guide rail 55, 56 to an adjacent support bracket 76, 78 and to the adjacent rear edge 170, 172. In addition, a reinforcing aluminum alloy strip 292 can be attached by the same screws to the forward facing surface of each rear edge section 170, 172 to provide additional strength. The strip 292 also is formed with a number of screw holes to receive the screws. This results in a very strong mounting arrangement for the support assembly that allows for a vertical, sliding movement.
  • [0039]
    The preferred construction for each of the side panels 30, 32 can be seen from FIG. 7. The side panel 30 can be provided with an access opening 182 allowing side access to the internal space between panels 46 and 47 and allowing a servo motor 60 to partially project from the side of the support assembly 25 as shown in FIG. 4. Inwardly extending edge flanges 184, 186 can be provided for adhesively connecting the horizontally projecting portion of the side panel to a bent panel 34 that connects together the two side panels. Elongate, bottom strips 188 can be connected to the bottom side edges of the support assembly as illustrated in FIG. 8.
  • [0040]
    With respect to the construction of the bottom panel or bottom panel member 52, it is preferably a flat, aluminum alloy panel that forms a bottom end of the support body, including a bottom of the horizontal body section 28. The preferred bottom panel has three apertures which can have a rectangular shape, these apertures indicated at 190 to 192. A drive belt 62 which is part of a drive system for moving the support member 140 relative to the support body extends through the aperture 191 as shown in FIG. 8. Rotatably mounted directly above the aperture 191 are two idler pulleys 68, 70 and the belt 62 extends between these pulleys. Extending along two opposite edges of the panel member 52 in the front to rear direction are two angle members 314, each with an upwardly extending portion 316 to which the adjacent side panel 30, 32 is connected by adhesive. Preferably a reinforcing strip 318 is bonded to the top of the horizontal portion of each angle member to provide additional bottom edge strength and rigidity. The bottom panel is further supported by two interior support panels 194, one of which is shown separately in FIG. 6. Each of these support panels has edge flanges 196 formed along all four edges to provide means for adhesively connecting the support panel to the bottom panel, the bent panel 34 and to the rear panel 42. Each panel 194 can be provided with an access aperture 198. Also, two further interior support panels 200 can be provided between the rear and front panels 42 and 36 and these can be formed with three edge flanges including top flange 201, outwardly projecting bottom flange 202 and a vertical flange 203, the latter for connection to the bottom end of the front panel 36. Top flange 201 is connected to a respective one of the panels 47, 48. Again, there is preferably provided in each support panel 200 an access opening 204. Providing additional strength and support capability in the lower section of the support assembly is a vertical, central partition wall 206 located midway between the two side panels 30, 32 and having two apertures formed therein. The wall 206 provides support for the electric servo-motor 60 and its gearhead (see FIG. 7) which are part of a lateral transfer mechanism that includes a belt drive system. The motor 60 is used to drive the aforementioned drive belt 62. This motor is mounted on the straight gearhead 64. This gearhead is connected to the drive pulley 66 around which the belt 62 extends. The pulley 66 is secured to its drive shaft by a taper lock ring 330. The gearhead 64 is mounted by its mounting plate and screws or bolts to the partition wall 206. Thus the drive pulley is located in the internal compartment between the panel 46 and the panel 48. Panel 48 has a large aperture for passage of the belt 62 downwardly from the pulley 66. The partition wall 206 is fixedly connected to at least two of the connecting panels and in the preferred illustrated version, panel 206 is connected to both panels 47 and 48, rear panel 46 and bottom panel 52, preferably by means of adhesive. Instead of the illustrated preferred belt drive system, an alterative lateral transfer drive that can be used is a rack and pinion drive system. The horizontal body section of the support body is covered on one side and on the top by means of the aforementioned bent panel 34. The panel 34 has two rectangular openings 210 and 212 formed therein in order to provide access to bolts connecting two ball slides 86 (see below) and for cable access. Preferably removable rectangular cover plates 38, 40 are provided to cover the openings 210, 212. These can be held in place by standard sheet metal screws distributed about the perimeter of each cover plate. The bent plate 34 also has an upper edge flange 214 to facilitate adhesively connecting the plate to the panel 42.
  • [0041]
    Mounted on the bottom of the bottom plate 52 are four ball slides 86 which can be seen in FIG. 8. Two of these ball slides are located adjacent each of the side panels 30, 32. These ball slides engage the two rails 283, 284 provided on the top side of the support member 140. As indicated, a lateral drive system, including the drive belt 62 is provided to move the support member 140 relative to the support body or support assembly 25 in the lateral direction.
  • [0042]
    As can be seen from FIGS. 4 and 7, the two side panels 30, 32 form the outer sides of two vertical wall sections indicated at 220 and 222, these wall sections extending rearwardly from the rear panel 42. The inner sides of these wall sections are formed by the aforementioned edge flanges 160, 162 of the real panel 42. The two guide rails 55, 56 are mounted respectively along the vertical rear edges 170, 172. Each of the aforementioned support brackets 76, 78 is connected along one edge to a respective one of these wall sections.
  • [0043]
    One improvement of the present support assembly is the location of the servo-motor 60 which is the drive motor for the belt drive system illustrated in FIG. 7. In particular, the preferred, illustrated construction of the support assembly 25 enables at least a major portion of the servo-motor to be located within the body section where it is substantially protected by the support body. The present support assembly 25 is constructed to hold the servo motor within itself as much as possible. The result is that the complete support assembly takes up less room in the widthwise direction and this in turn can provide a better range of longitudinal movement along the beam.
  • [0044]
    It will also be appreciated that in order to accommodate the vertical ball screw, the rear side of the support assembly is formed with the vertical channel 225 located between the aforementioned flange sections 220, 222 and extending most of the width of the support body. One side of this channel is formed by the panel 42 and the support plate 75 is mounted in this channel approximately midway between the bottom and upper ends of the vertically extending body section.
  • [0045]
    With further reference to the detail view of FIG. 10, there is shown in this figure components used in combination with the ball nut 80. Arranged on top of the ball nut are two annular brushes 226, 227 and axially aligned with these brushes is retaining ring 228. The brushes act as cleaners for the ball screw 290. Mounted above the ring is a grease reservoir or cap 230 for the ball screw. Extending downwardly through four holes in the plate 75 are four hexagon socket head cap screws which are used to mount a Z-box plate 234 disposed below the plate 75. The plate 234 has a central hole to capture the bottom of the ball nut and prevent its rotation. Located below the plate 234 is a circular, ball nut flange 82 which is connected by four hexagon cap screws 238 to the plate 234 and which has a circular central opening through which the ball screw extends. The flange 82 is internally threaded and can be threaded onto threads formed on the bottom of the ball nut in order to secure same. A further annular brush 240 is connected by four end clamps to the flange 82.
  • [0046]
    Mounted in the support assembly between connecting plates 44 and 45 is a pneumatic accumulator 250 (optional) connected at each end to the plate 44 by means of U-brackets 252, 254. The brackets are glued in place to the plate 44. The accumulator is only required for some stamping press applications. It stores a volume of pressurized air that can be provided on demand to the transfer bar by an airline (not shown). Also, bolted to the top of the plate 45 and shown in FIG. 7 is a solenoid pack 256 which is required if the system has the accumulator 250 with which it is used. The solenoid pack is application specific and is not required for all transfer systems. The solenoid pack is used to control the grippers, lifters, or pneumatic actuators on the transfer bar.
  • [0047]
    Mounted within the vertical channel of the support assembly is a standard grease cup 260 to provide grease under pressure to the ball nut (by means of a line not shown). This cup is located near the upper end of the support assembly and is supported on a small plate 325.
  • [0048]
    Extending down from the bottom plate member of the support assembly is a bracket 328 for a cable track that extends between the support assembly 25 and the support member 140, whereby electrical power can be provided to components mounted on the member 140 in order to operate the transfer system. The bracket 328 projects into the slot 282 in the top of the support member.
  • [0049]
    Of course it will be appreciated that suitable control stops are used on the support assembly to limit and control the amount of vertical and horizontal movement.
  • [0050]
    If desired, some or all of the exterior panel joints can be reinforced or strengthened further by the use of a suitable number of rivets in addition to the adhesive. The use of rivets as well may be desirable for some heavy duty applications.
  • [0051]
    It will be appreciated by those skilled in the construction of die transfer systems that various modifications and changes can be made to the above described die transfer system and support assembly without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. Accordingly, all such modifications and changes as fall within the scope of the appended claims are intended to be part of this invention.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8915348 *18 Mar 201123 Dec 2014Aida Engineering, Ltd.Breakage prevention mechanism of a transfer apparatus and transfer apparatus use of the breakage prevention mechanism
US9339861 *21 Nov 201417 May 2016Aida Engineering Co., Ltd.Breakage prevention mechanism of transfer apparatus and transfer apparatus using thereof
US20130008761 *18 Mar 201110 Jan 2013Aida Engineering, LtdBreakage prevention mechanism for conveying device and conveying device using breakage prevention mechanism
US20150132083 *21 Nov 201414 May 2015Aida Engineering, Ltd.Breakage prevention mechanism of transfer apparatus and transfer apparatus using thereof
Classifications
U.S. Classification72/405.11
International ClassificationB21J11/00
Cooperative ClassificationB21D43/055
European ClassificationB21D43/05B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
8 May 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: LINEAR TRANSFER SYSTEMS LTD., CANADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHILDS, MONTGOMERY;LICKVER, JASON;REEL/FRAME:017584/0692
Effective date: 20050914