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Title:
A HOPPER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/063402
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A hopper (2) is provided that includes a bin (4) having an outlet (8) and being mounted on a frame (6) to be vibratable. The bin (4) has an open rectangular top (10) and is less than 2 metres in height to enable the hopper (2) to receive ore from a front-end loader in an underground working. The top (10) is covered by grizzly bars (20) and the floor (18) of the bin (4) is inclined downwardly toward the outlet (8). Two three-phase motors (34) connected to eccentric drives beneath the bin (4) serve as vibrators, and the frame (6) is collapsible for transport and storage.

Inventors:
SWART, Eduard Hermanus Jacobus (Plaas- Rietfontein, Derby, Rustenburg 0347, ZA)
Application Number:
IB2006/003428
Publication Date:
June 07, 2007
Filing Date:
December 01, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SWART, Eduard Hermanus Jacobus (Plaas- Rietfontein, Derby, Rustenburg 0347, ZA)
International Classes:
B65G65/23
Foreign References:
US5292006A
US3550752A
US4337878A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOWMAN GILFIAN INC. (JOHN & KERNICK) (165 West Street, Sandton, Johannesburg, ZA)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A hopper comprising a bin (4) having an outlet (8) and being mounted on a frame (6) to be vibratable.

2. A hopper as claimed in claim 1 which has a rectangular open top (10) and which is configured to receive ore from a front-end loader in an underground working.

3. A hopper as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 which is less than 2 metres in height.

4. A hopper as claimed in claim 2 or claim 3 in which the top (10) is covered by grizzly bars (20).

5. A hopper as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the floor (18) of the bin (4) is inclined downwardly toward the outlet (8).

6. A hopper as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which the frame (6) is collapsible for transport and storage.

7. A hopper as claimed in any one of the preceding claims in which two three-phase motors (34) connected to eccentric drives beneath the bin (4) serve as vibrators.

Description:

A HOPPER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a hopper, more particularly but not exclusively, to a hopper for use in underground mining operations.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In underground mining operations, crushed rock from the head of an underground mine shaft is placed in a bin for transport away from the mine working. The rock in this bin is then manually unpacked onto a conveyor belt which transports the rock to a location for further processing.

Unpacking such bins by hand is a tedious and laborious process and is extremely labour intensive. Attempts in the prior art to feed rock from a storage bin to a conveyor belt have suffered from the disadvantages that the rock tends to jam in the feeder chute and the conveyor belt becomes easily damaged from the impact of the rock falling from the bin onto the conveyor belt.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a hopper that, at least partially, alleviates some of the abovementioned problems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with this invention there is provided a hopper comprising a bin having an outlet and being mounted on a frame to be vibratable.

A further feature of the invention provides for the hopper to have a rectangular open top and to be configured to receive ore from a front-end loader in an underground working; preferably for the hopper to be less than 2m in height.

Further features of the invention provides for the floor of the bin to be inclined downwardly toward the outlet and for the top to be covered by grizzly bars.

There is further provided for the frame to be collapsible for transport and storage; and for two three-phase motors (34) connected to eccentric drives beneath the bin (4) to serve as vibrators.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

Figure 1 is a front elevation of an embodiment of a hopper;

Figure 2 is a top plan view of the hopper of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a side elevation of the hopper of Figure 1 ; and

Figure 4 is a side elevation of the hopper of Figure 1 in a collapsed position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to Figures 1 to 3, a hopper (2) has a bin (4) mounted on a frame (6). The bin (4) has a rectangular open top (10), shown more clearly in Figure 2, with a front (12), back (14), sides (16) and floor (18). The sides (16) are inwardly inclined from the top (10) while the floor (18) is inclined downwardly from the back (14) to the front (12). Grizzly bars (20) cover the top (10) and a square outlet (8) is centrally positioned in the front (12) extending upwardly from the floor (18).

The frame (6) has four legs (22), each leg movably mounted to skids (24) by means of two hinges (30, 31). A pair of spaced-apart cross beams (25) extend normally between the skids (24) and a pair of horizontal beams (28) are attached to the top of the legs (22) and extend on either side (16) of the bin (4). Diagonal bracings (26) join the legs (22) to the cross beams (25) and springs (32) are mounted on the horizontal beams (28) and support the bin (4) about its sides (16).

Two three-phase 2.2kW motors (34) connected to eccentric drives beneath the bin (4) serve as vibrators.

For transport and storage the hopper (2) can be collapsed as illustrated in Figure 4. In the collapsed position the legs (22) lie substantially parallel to and along the length of the skids (24) and the horizontal beams (28). Five anchor points (not illustrated) are provided on the frame (6) such that once the hopper (2) is maneuvered into its desired location the frame (6) can be lifted using a 5 ton chain and block attached to the anchor points. As the frame (6) is lifted the weight of the skids (24) pulls the legs (22) from their folded position into a vertical position by slidably rotating the hinge points (30, 31) in opposite directions along the skids (24) and the horizontal beams (28). When the frame (6) is in the fully open position locking brackets (not shown) and the supporting bracings (26) are inserted and bolted into place to stabilize the frame (6). Adjustable mounts can be attached to each leg of the frame to provide for leveling and final positioning of the bin (4). Each leg (22) of the

frame (6) is bolted to the ground using four bolts. Once erected the motors (34) can be mounted beneath the bin (4).

In use, a chute (not shown) is attached to the outlet (8) such that the chute is positioned above a conveyer belt. The top (10) of the hopper and the gaps between the grizzly bars (20) are sufficiently large that rock can be placed in the hopper (2) by means of a front end loader. Rock fed into the bin (4) through the opening at the top (10) using a front-end loader slides down the floor of the bin towards the outlet (8) and down the chute onto the conveyor. The vibrating motion of the bin (4) prevents the rock from becoming jammed in the bin (4) or the outlet (8). By controlling the weight settings on the motors (34) the feed from the bin (4) can be controlled. Ideally motors (34) set at 80% weight should deliver a feed of between 150 and 200 tons per hour. Both motors (34) should be set at the same weight settings to ensure a smooth delivery of rock and to prevent damage to the conveyor belt. Weight settings are adjusted by varying the off-centre adjustment of the eccentric drives in a known manner. One of the motors (34) causes a horizontal cyclical vibration while the other causes a vertical cyclical vibration so that, in combination, a desired diagonal cyclical vibration pattern is achieved.

The hopper allows for automatic loading by means of a front-end loader and rock is delivered automatically, continuously and at a constant rate to a conveyor belt avoiding the need for manual unloading of the hopper. The vibration of the hopper further prevents rock from jamming in the outlet or the chute. By controlling the weight settings on the motors the delivery rate can also be adjusted such that damage to the conveyor is substantially reduced if not completely eliminated.

It will be apparent that many variations and embodiments of the invention are possible without departing from the scope thereof. For example, variations to the shape and arrangement of the frame are possible as well as variations in the type, number and placement of the motors. Alternative means of making the hopper collapsible and transportable can be employed and variations on the means of loading the hopper with rock can also be envisaged.




 
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