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Title:
GROUPING STATION FOR LOADING PALLETS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/158822
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a grouping station for loading pallets. The grouping station (19) includes first transfer means (20) for moving loading pallets (14) to the grouping station (19) and second transfer means (21) for forwarding the loading pallets (14) from the grouping station (19). The first transfer means (20) and the second transfer means (21) are both arranged for two dif- ferent handling directions of the loading pallet (14).

Inventors:
VARTIAINEN, Jari (Routiontie 11, NAARAJÄRVI, 76850, FI)
PAKKANEN, Jukka (Rusakontie 21, SÄYNÄTSALO, 40900, FI)
VALO, Joonas (Särkiniementie 38 C 11, KUOPIO, 70700, FI)
Application Number:
FI2019/050118
Publication Date:
August 22, 2019
Filing Date:
February 14, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ACTIW OY (Voimapolku 2, NAARAJÄRVI, 76850, FI)
International Classes:
B65G47/08; B07C3/00; B07C5/00; B65G15/22; B65G17/26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KESPAT OY (Vasarakatu 1, JYVÄSKYLÄ, 40320, FI)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Grouping station for loading pallets, which includes first transfer means (20) for transferring the loading pal lets (14) to the grouping station (19) and second transfer means (21) for forwarding the loading pallets (14) from the grouping station (19), characterized in that the first trans fer means (20) and the second transfer means (21) are both arranged for two different handling directions of the loading pallet (14) .

2. Grouping station according to Claim 1, characterized in that the first transfer means (20) are arranged to assem- ble and centre two or three loading pallets (14) before for- warding the loading pallets (14) from the grouping station

(19) .

3. Grouping station according to Claim 1 or 2, charac- terized in that the first transfer means (20) are formed of conveyor tracks (22) arranged in parallel, which are arranged for two different handling directions of the loading pallet (14) .

4. Grouping station according to Claim 1 or 2, charac- teri zed in that the second transfer means (21) are formed of conveyor tracks (23) arranged in parallel (23), which are ar ranged for two different handling directions of the loading pallet (14) .

5. Grouping station according to Claims 3 or 4, charac terized in that the conveyor tracks (22) are formed of roller and/or chain conveyors.

6. Grouping station according to any of Claims 3 - 5, characterized in that the conveyor tracks (23) are formed of roller and/or chain conveyors.

7. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 6, characterized in that the first transfer means (20) and the second transfer means (21) are arranged to be set at differ ent levels vertically, so that the transfer means (20, 21) being used at any time is higher than the transfer means (20, 21) not being used.

8. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 7, characterized in that the direction of movement of the first transfer means (20) is transverse to the direction of move ment of the second transfer means (21) .

9. Grouping station according to any of Claims 3 - 8, characterized in that the conveyor tracks (22, 23) are ar ranged to cross and overlap.

10. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 9, characterized in that the grouping station includes a com bined loading pallet (14) turning and crossing station (24) for defining the handling direction.

11. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 10, characterized in that the grouping station is arranged for at least two different sizes of loading pallet.

12. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 11, characterized in that the size of the loading pallet (14) is

800x1200 mm or 1000x1200 mm.

13. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 12, characterized in that the base area of the loading pallet (14) is discontinuous. 14. Grouping station according to Claim 13, character ized in that the loading pallet (14) is a pedestal pallet.

15. Grouping station according to any of Claims 1 - 14, characterized in that there is one motor each in the first transfer means (20) and the second transfer means (21) .

Description:
GROUPING STATION FOR LOADING PALLETS

The invention relates to a grouping station for loading pal lets, which includes first transfer means for transferring the loading pallets to the grouping station and second trans fer means for forwarding the loading pallets from the group ing station.

In goods handling, such as in storage and transportation, loading pallets are used, on top of which the goods are placed. Loading pallets permit the mechanical handling of goods. Loading pallets are of different types and sizes, but the most usual are dimensioned according to the cargo spaces and each other. CHEP is a world-wide producer of returnable loading pallets. The most usual CHEP loading pallets are the Euro pallet or the FIN pallet. The dimensions of the Euro pallet are 800x1200 mm correspondingly the dimensions of the FIN pallet are 1000x1200 mm. A 2400-mm wide cargo space can then be utilized efficiently. In addition, both types of loading pallet can be handled in the same warehouse. Along with wooden loading pallets there are now also plastic load ing pallets .

When handling loading pallets individually, for example using a fork/lift truck, the loading pallet can be set in the cargo space with the short or long side in front. At the same time, different types of loading pallet can be used, so that the length of the cargo space can be utilized maximally. In auto matic load formation this is generally impossible, or at least demands numerous devices. Each device is dimensioned for a specific type and orientation of the loading pallet. In practice there has been a specific device for loading loading pallets with the long side in front and a specific device for loading loading pallets with the short side in front. In ad- dition, each device has been able to handle only a specific type of loading pallet.

The invention is intended to create a new type of grouping station for loading pallets, using which loading pallets can be handled more diversely than before using simpler devices than previously. The features of the grouping station accord ing to the present invention are stated in the accompanying Claims. Using the grouping station according to the invention a loading pallet can be handled facing either way, in prac tice with the long side or the short side in front. In addi tion, using the same grouping station it is possible to han dle different types of loading pallet. Thus using a single device the desired pallet orientation can be formed according to the cargo space used at the time and thus the cargo space can be utilized as well as possible.

In the following, the invention is described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawing showing one embodiment of the invention, in which

Figure 1 shows a grouping station according to the prior art arranged as part of the goods-handing chain,

Figure 2 shows an overall view of a grouping station accord ing to the invention,

Figure 3 shows the operation of the grouping station accord ing to the invention with one pallet orientation,

Figure 4 shows the operation of the grouping station accord ing to the invention with a second pallet orienta tion,

Figures 5a - 5d show the stages of the operation of the grouping station,

Figure 6 shows a partial enlargement of Figure 2. Figure 1 shows a known conveyor system 10, in which a load is formed on a transfer plate 11. In other words, in forming a load a conveyor system 10 is used, by which the load units 12 are fed to a filling device 13 arranged in connection with the transfer plate 11. In practice the transfer plate 11 is moved using the transfer means 18, on top of which the load units 12 on the transfer plate 11 are pushed by the filling device 13 to form a load. Pushing is an advantageous and rap id way to move the loading pallets, as there are freely ro tating rolling elements on the upper surface of the transfer plate. Here the load units 12 are pushed from the loading pallets 14 by using a buffer beam 15. The filling device then contains in itself a kind of grouping station, as two loading pallets are stopped on the end part of the roller track 16 and are pushed on top of the transfer plate 11 using the buffer beam 15. On the roller track 16 the loading pallets slide on top of rollers. In Figure 1, the load is already ready on top of the transfer plate 11. Using the transfer means 18 the transfer plate 11 together with the load units 12 and the loading pallets 14 is pushed into the cargo space 17, such as, for example, a container or vehicle. The load is supported and simultaneously the transfer plate is pulled out of the cargo space, so that the load remains in the cargo space. After this, the filling device 13 is used to start forming the next load on top of the transfer plate 11.

Figure 2 shows a grouping station 19 for loading pallets ac cording to the invention, which includes first transfer means 20 for moving the loading pallets 14 to the grouping station 19 and second transfer means 21 for forwarding the loading pallets 14 from the grouping station 19. Figures 3 and 4 show the loading pallets 14 and examples of their positioning. The first transfer means 20 and the second transfer means 21 are each arranged in two different handling directions of a load- ing pallet 14. Thus using one and the same device, i.e. the grouping station, a loading pallet can be handled in both of its handling directions, more specifically, with the short side or the long side in front. Thus the loading pallet can be handled in both handling directions.

More specifically, the said first transfer means 20 are formed of conveyor tracks 22 arranged in parallel, which are arranged for two different handling directions of a loading pallet 14. Correspondingly, the second transfer means 21 are formed of conveyor tracks 23 arranged in parallel, which are also arranged for two different handling directions of a loading pallet 14. A loading pallet can then be handled with either the short side and the long side in front. In prac tice, in both transfer means the parallel conveyor tracks are doubled or multiplied suitably, so that, despite the handling direction of the loading pallet, the loading pallet is suffi ciently supported. This then avoids particularly problems with pallets that have a discontinuous base. In practice, for example a Euro pallet is a pedestal pallet, with base planks only longitudinally, so that when being handled with the long side in front the base planking is discontinuous. Correspond ingly in a ring pallet, such as a FIN pallet, there is a base plank on all sides, so that there is no discontinuity.

In Figure 3, the loading pallets 14 are moved on top of the transfer means 18 with the long side in front. The loading pallets 14 arrive at the grouping station 19 with the short side in front, from either the right or left sides. Corre spondingly, in Figure 4 the loading pallets 14 are moved on top of the transfer means 18 with the short side in front. The loading pallets 14 arrive at the grouping station 19 with the long side in front, from either the right or left sides. In a corresponding way, two FIN pallets can be handled with the long side in front.

In the grouping station according to the invention, the first transfer means 20 are arranged to assemble and centre two or three loading pallets 14 before forwarding the loading pal lets 14 from the grouping station 19. An entire row of load ing pallets 14 can then be pushed onto the transfer means 18 at one time. At the same time, thanks to centring the loading pallets 14 settle in the centre of the transfer plate, so that taking the load into the cargo space succeeds without re-positioning. Figures 3 and 4 show the centre point, ac cording to which the loading pallets are centred, with a dot- and-dash line. In centring, the loading pallets are also run against each other, so that the load becomes dense.

In the embodiment shown, the longitudinal conveyor tracks 22 are formed of roller and/or chain conveyors. More specifical ly, the outermost are freely rotating roller tracks and in the middle are three chain conveyors. In addition, each roll er track is formed of two rows of rollers, which are similar, but the location of the rollers is staged. This avoids the formation of discontinuity points between the rollers in the direction of travel of a loading pallet. Correspondingly, the transverse conveyor tracks 23 are formed of roller and/or chain conveyors. More specifically, here there are three con veyor units, in the outermost of which there are three chain conveyors. In the middle conveyor unit there are four chain conveyors. By means of the described arrangement there are then two chain conveyors in parallel, to that the loading pallets are supported irrespective of the handling direction and size of the loading pallet. The longitudinal conveyor tracks can be formed of roller tracks, which advantageously allows even long transfers to be made. The consecutive roll- ers are arranged closely enough to avoid a loading pallet falling between the rollers. Otherwise too the transportation means and the distances between them are are arranged so that, despite a loading pallet's discontinuity points, the loading pallet will move without catching, never mind break ing .

In practice, the direction of movement of the first transfer means 20 is transverse to the direction of movement of the second transfer means 21. The grouping station is then made compact. In addition, the conveyor tracks 22 and 23 are ar ranged crosswise and overlapping, which further reduces the need for space. Discontinuity points can then be formed at the crossover points, but they are so small that, despite the handling direction, the loading pallet moves. In practice, the first transfer means 20 and the second transfer means 21 are arranged to be set on different levels vertically. When using the longitudinal conveyor tracks the transverse convey or tracks are not used. In specific cases, it can be decided which of the longitudinal and transverse directions move up- down. In the embodiment shown, the transverse conveyor tracks are below, when two or three loading pallets are brought to the grouping station on the longitudinal conveyor tracks. In other words, the transverse conveyor tracks are below and rise when taking loading pallets on top of the transfer means. In the embodiment shown, the transverse conveyor tracks move in a vertical direction and correspondingly the longitudinal conveyor tracks are fixed. In Figure 6, the transverse conveyor tracks 23 are in the upper position, so that they are clearly higher than the longitudinal conveyor tracks 22. The trade name of the transfer means made by the

®

applicant for handling a transfer plate is LoadMatic . In the embodiment shown, the grouping station includes a com bined turning and crossing station 24 for loading pallets 14, with which the direction of a loading pallet is defined, in practice arranged as desired. Then, for example, a loading pallet coming from an automatic warehouse can come any way round at all and the loading pallet will be turned to the de sired direction immediately before the grouping station. In Figure 2, there is a turning and crossing station 24 at both ends of the grouping station and both include a short feed conveyor, to which loading pallets are brought in one way or another, for example by a fork-lift truck or a conveyor ar rangement. Figure 3 shows the turning and crossing station 24 only partly.

The grouping station according to the invention is automatic, independent of the pallet orientation, and suitable for dif ferent loading pallets of different sizes. Loading pallets can be more simply termed pallets. For example, in a 2400-mm wide cargo space, two Euro pallets can be placed in parallel with the long side in front ( 2x1200mm=240 Omm) , or three Euro pallets with the short side in front (3x800mm=2400mm) , or two FIN pallets with the long side in front ( 2x1200mm=240 Omm) . By suitably combining these combinations the length of the cargo space too can be utilized maximally.

In the embodiment shown, there is one motor each in the first transfer means 20 and in the second transfer means 21. A third motor is used to move the transfer means vertically to different levels. The grouping station according to the in vention then contains the same functions as three known crossing stations, in which there would be a total of nine motors. In general, the number of motors is minimized in the grouping station according to the invention. The stages preceding the situation of Figure 4 are shown in

Figures 5a - 5d. Here what is shown is how the loading pal lets 14 are run against each other and centred, in practice using a single motor. In Figure 5a, one loading pallet 14 is already at the grouping station and two other loading pallets 14 are waiting at the turning and crossing station. In Figure 5a, there is a second loading pallet 14 fed from the left next to the first one. Next the two first loading pallets 14 are moved together to the right-hand turning and crossing station, at which a third loading pallet 14 is fed next to the first one (Figure 5d) . All three loading pallets 14 are then in the desired loading direction and against each other. The three loading pallets 14 are then moved to the left until the centre point is reached.

The grouping station according to the invention is suitable for handling a loading pallet in both of its handling direc tions. The grouping station can also be used for other types and sizes of loading pallet, within certain limits. In the grouping station, the loading pallets can be either way round, with either the short side or long side in front. Thus the grouping station is pallet-orientation-independent. Fur ther, at the grouping station the loading pallets are brought against each other, thus effectively utilizing the cargo space and making the load sturdy.