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Patent Searching and Data

Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1988/002347
Kind Code:
Mechanical handling apparatus (1) comprises an elongate body (2) and a movable device (3) for carrying a load over the body, there being a prime mover in the form of a rodless air cylinder (4) connected with the device (3) for moving same longitudinally over the body (2). The device (3) is a pallet receiver.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
April 07, 1988
Filing Date:
September 22, 1987
Export Citation:
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International Classes:
B64C1/20; B65G67/20; (IPC1-7): B65G67/20; B64C1/20
Foreign References:
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1. Mechanical handling apparatus, comprising an elongate body, a movable device for carrying a load over the body, .and a prime mover connected with the device for moving same longitudinally of the body.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, the elongate body comprising a channel section housing inflatable means and a cover means for the body which rises and falls with said means.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2,the channel having inturned abutments which limit rising of the cover means.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, the cover means having longitudinally extending ridges or upstands which are substantially parallel and spaced apart for providing guide means of the movable device.
5. Apparatus according to claim 4, the movable device having an extension connected to the prime mover, the arrangement being that the extension can rise and fall as the inflatable means inflates or deflates.
6. Apparatus according to claim 5, the extension comprising a bifurcated arm including aligned slots through which projects from the prime mover a connector piece.
7. Apparatus according to claim 6, the connector piece comprising an elongate member the prime mover comprising a rodless pneumatic or hydraulic cylinder housing a reciprocable piston, the elongate member projecting from the piston through the alinged slots.
8. Apparatus according to claim 7, the cylinder comprising aluminium and having a slot along its length for the elongate member.
9. Apparatus according to claim 8, the guider bore being eccentric.
10. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, secured to a baseplate by releasable clip means.
11. Mechanical handling apparatus, substantially as hereinĀ¬ before described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

The invention relates to mechanical handling apparatus, particularly for use in aircraft or other flying machines which carry freight.

According to the invention there is provided mechanical handling apparatus, comprising an elongate body and a movable device for carrying a load over the body, there being a prime mover connected with the device for moving same longitudinally of the body.

Mechanical handling apparatus, particularly for installation in the cargo hold of an aircraft, is hereinafter described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

Fig. 1 is a plan view partly in section of apparatus according to the invention

Fig. 2 is a transverse sectional view, to an enlarged scale, of the apparatus of Fig. 1;

Fig.3 is a side elevational view, to an enlarged scale and partly in section, of part of the apparatus of Fig. 1; and

Fig. 4 is a section view of a typical prime mover of the apparatus.

Referring to the drawings, there is shown mechanical handling apparatus 1, comprising an elongate body 2, and a movable device 3, for carrying a load over the body, there being a prime mover 4 connected with the device 3 for moving same longitudinally of the body 2.

The elongate body 2 comprises a channel section 5 housing an inflatable means such as an elongate air bag 6 and a cover plate 7 for the bag 6 which rises and falls with it. The channel 5 has in-turned flanges 8 or shoulders which limit rising of the plate 7

which itself has longitudinally extending ridges or upstands 9 which are substantially parallel and spaced apart of sufficient width to receive rotatable means such as rollers 10 of the device 3 in the form of a pallet receiver or traveller 11 comprising an inverted channel shaped body which has a top surface 12 on which a load or a pallet is mounted for conveyance over the apparatus 1. The pallet carrier body 11 has an extension 13 to which is secured by means such as bolts 12 a downwardly (as considered in use) depending bifurcated arm 14 which has two vertical slots 15 through it for receiving respectively a stud 16. The slots 15 are just wide enough to receive the studs 16. The lower ends of the bifurcation are secured by a spacer 17 for rigidity.

The studs 16 proje'ct-from a saddle 18 which is secured to a piston mounting 19 of the prime mover 4 in the form of a rodless air cylinder 20 which extends longitudinally of the apparatus 1 substantially parallel to the air bag 6 on a housing 21 which is essentially of L-shape and also houses air pipes 22 for feeding the cylinder 20. The piston mounting 19 extends through a longitudinal slot 24 in the cylinder 20 and is connected to the piston 23, there being seals 24 to prevent egress of air from the cylinder or ingress of dirt- ' In the embodiment illustrated -the cylinder is of extruded anodised aluminium and has the slot along its entire length. To provide rigidity the bore is eccentric to the outside diameter. A flexible hardened stainless steel inner band running the entire length of the bore and passing through the piston provides a metal to metal seal. An outer band of the same material acts as a cover preventing the ingress of foreign particles. The piston is aluminium and is supported on low friction synthetic bearing rings and fitted with special seals at both ends.

The cylinder is "supported in the * -hox-sittg by spaced apart support blocks 25 such as Neoprene support blocks.

The body 1 comprising the channel 5 and housing 21 is secured to a base plate 26 as by welding, the baseplate 26 being lightened by etching or through holes. The baseplate 26 is secured to a floor module as by releasable clips 27-

All the main components such as the body, traveller and housing are made of suitable material such as anodised aluminium.

The body has end capping 28 and the traveller has a buffer 29 at each end, such as a nitrite rubber buffer.

In use the apparatus 1 is installed in a cargo hold of an aircraft as a modular track system for handling air freight cargo pallets. In a typical installation, in an aircraft, there are five or six pallet stations with an entrance cargo hatch little wider than a pallet. Module assemblies have been developed which can be offered through the cargo hatch and clamped to the floor in sequence to provide a continuous roller track system, the power system extending from the entrance to the end of the pallet station.

The complete system is contained within the fuselage compartment, without penetration into the floor, walls or bulkheads for any part of a power system such as a motor.

The modular track apparatus according to the invention is all contained within a height of approximately 31/4", width of approximately 60" and a length of 20' or more, each apparatus being approximately 11" wide and 31/4" deep and which is removable as a complete unit.

The rodless cylinder obviates the use of chain or the like, since the travel can be the full length of the cylinder.

In use, a cargo pallet is offered up to cargo hatch and placed on the traveller 3 with the bag 6 deflated. Inflation of the bag 6 raises the traveller 3 and pallet to the positon shown in Fig. 2,

the bifurcation 15 rising past the studs 16 to accomplish this. .The air cylinder;4 is then activated by ingress of air to move the piston 23 which is positively connected by the studs 16 engaging against the sides of the slots 15 to the arm 13 and thus to the traveller 3 . which is moved to the required position in the hold by the rollers 10 rolling along the plate. At the required position the piston 23 is stopped and the air bag 6 is deflated so that the pallet is deposited on a load support surface provided by an arm 30 of the housing and a lip 31 of the channel 3. The pallet is then "dead", in the required position where it can be strapped down. The pallet is unloaded or removed by inflating the bag again and moving the piston in the reverse direction.

It will be understood that the invention extends to an aircraft or other flying machine (including a machine which is capable of passage through extra-terrestial space).

It will be understood that although the embodiment described herein refers to air cylinders, any other equivalent means may be utilised, for example, an electric or electromechanical piston and cylinder arrangement.