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1. Apparatus for compressing fibrous substances into caked form, comprising a frame, means for forcing said fibrous substance through a conduit of circular shape, the section of which decreases from its inlet to its outlet, whereby said substance is progressively compressed, said conduit being defined by a central wheel and a series of satellite rollers distributed about said wheel at a progressively decreasing distance from said inlet to said outlet each one of said satellite rollers being fixed to a shaft mounted by means of bearings sliding in radial slots, said bearings being secured to threaded rods which are engaged in adjusting nuts fixedly mounted in a bore of said frame.
2. Apparatus for compressing fibrous substances into caked form comprising, means for forcing said fibrous substance through a conduit of circular shape, the section of which decreases from its inlet to its outlet, whereby said substance is progressively compressed, said conduit being defined by a central wheel, a series of satellite rollers distributed about said wheel at a progressively decreasing distance from said inlet to said outlet, a guide bar arranged between each two consecutive rollers with a certain play, said guide bars each having a substantially triangular section and being mounted on plane rings resting by their inner bores on cylindrical bearings fixed on each of said rollers, said rings resting one against another one after another.
3. Apparatus according to claim 2, wherein at least one of said guide bars is mounted on said rings by means of a shaft which bears against a flat element secured to at least two sockets each enclosing an insert having a hemispherical bearing which rests against a hemispherical head of a threaded rod mounted in adjustable manner in a threaded hole of a shaft integral with said frame.
4. Apparatus according to claim 3, wherein said guide bars are mounted on said rings by means of a shaft which bears against a flat element integral with at least two threaded rods mounted in adjustable manner in threaded holes of a shaft mounted to rotate on said frame.
5. Apparatus for compressing fibrous substances into caked form, comprising means for forcing said fibrous substance through a conduit of circular shape, the section of which decreases from its inlet to its outlet, whereby said substance is progressively compressed, said conduit being defined by a central wheel, a series of satellite rollers distributed about said wheel at a progressively decreasing distance from said inlet to said outlet, means for driving said central wheel, means for rotating said rollers, and scraping means mounted in said outlet from said conduit of decreasing section, said scraping device being constituted by a fixed element in contact with said wheel, and a member movable under the action of elastic means and in contact with the last of said rollers said fixed and movable members defining a conduit for passage of the caked product.
The present invention relates to apparatus for compressing fibrous substances, more particularly animal fodder.
There are various machines known and referred to as high density presses, which enable fibrous substances such as hay or other animal fodder crops to be compressed in such a manner as to obtain small cakes or pellets of fodder which facilitates handling thereof and even introduction into automatic cattle-feeding equipment, if desired.
In one type of known machine, a winding chamber is used on the periphery of which are arranged winding drums between which the fodder is wound into a roll, on a mandrel directed towards the outlet of the chamber.
In another type of known machine, shaping wheels are used in which the fodder is compressed to appear in the shape of slabs.
A further type of machine is known which comprises a series of open shaping passages, arranged radially in a circle about a conditioning chamber into which the fodder to be caked is introduced.
It is an object of the invention to provide apparatus enabling progressive compression of the fodder to be effected in a conduit of decreasing section. Other objects will become apparent in the description which is to follow.
According to the invention, the fibrous substance is compressed progressively by being forced through a conduit of circular shape, the section of which decreases from its inlet to its outlet, said conduit being defined by a central wheel and a series of satellite rollers distributed about the said wheel at a progressively decreasing distance.
As compared with known machines, apparatus according to the invention, in which pressure by laminating is used, enables the friction to be reduced and, consequently, the power of the motor required for driving the machine to be decreased.
Other characteristics and advantages of the invention will be better understood by studying the following description of several embodiments and by referring to the accompanying drawings given purely by way of example, and in which:
FIG. 1 shows a view in elevation and partial section of one embodiment of apparatus for compressing fibrous substances, more particularly fodder,
FIG. 2 shows a detailed view of the members for adjusting a satellite roller,
FIG. 3 shows a view in section along the line III--III of FIG. 2, and
FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of a modification.
Referring now to the drawings, the apparatus for compressing fibrous substances shown in FIG. 1, comprises a framework 1 on which is mounted a supply hopper 2 which receives fodder cut to length and fed more particularly from an ensilage harvester.
On each side of the framework 1 are provided openings 3, 3a in which engage pistons 4, 4a of a supply press which ensures a first compression operation of the fodder and directs it into a conduit 5 of rectangular section.
The pistons 4, 4a are reciprocated by a rod 6 connected to a crank 7 secured to the piston 4 which itself drives a rod 9 and a crank 10 secured to the second piston 4a via a second crank 8.
In the embodiment shown in the drawing, the supply press has double pistons, but it will be apparent that any of the known type of press could be used.
The conduit 5 is extended into a further conduit 11 for compressing the fodder in accordance with the invention. This conduit 11 is of semi-circular shape and its crosssection decreases from the inlet 11a to the outlet 11b.
The conduit 11 is defined by a central wheel 12 and a series of satellite rollers 13a to 13i distributed about the said wheel at a progressively decreasing distance.
The central wheel 12 is fixed to a shaft 14 which is mounted to rotate on the frame 1 of the machine, the wheel 12 being rotated by a motor having reduction gearing at a speed of 4 to 5 r.p.m., via the shaft 14.
The central wheel 12 has a peripheral channel defined by two flanges 15, 15a, and a base 16 the surface of which is grooved to ensure better feed of the product.
Between the flanges 15, 15a of the wheel 12 are partially engaged satellite rollers 13a to 13i which form, with the flanges 15, 15a, the conduit 11 of the compression device. The flanges 15, 15a are intended to prevent lateral creep of the fibrous substances under the increasing pressure caused by the satellite rollers 13a to 13i.
FIGS. 2 and 3 show details of the assembly and how the satellite rollers exemplified by the roller 13e are mounted. Roller 13e is fixed to a shaft 17 by means of a key 18, the shaft 17 being mounted to rotate on roller bearings 19, 19a engaged in rings 20, 20a capable of sliding between the guide surfaces 21, 21a of the frame. The rings 20, 20a are fixed to or integral with threaded rods 22, 22a which are screwed into nuts 23, 23a rotatably mounted and held captive in cross members 24, 24a fixed to the frame 1 by means of screws 25.
This arrangement enables the axial spacing between each roller 13 and the central wheel 12 to be adjusted in such a manner as to cause the section of the conduit 11 to vary from its inlet to its outlet.
By rotation of the nuts 23, 23a which are driven simultaneously by means of a chain 26 engaged in teeth 27 provided on the nuts, it is possible to move the threaded rods 22, 22a and consequently the bearings 19, 19a so as to adjust the position of the shaft 17 bearing the roller 13e.
At one of the ends of the shaft 17 of the rollers 13a to 13i is fixed a toothed pinion 28 which is connected by a chain 29 to a pinion (not shown) fixed on the shaft 14 for driving the central wheel. The speed of rotation of the central wheel 12 and satellite rollers depends on, and remains in permanent relation to, the supply speed set up by the press constituted by the pistons 4, 4a.
Between each two consecutive satellite rollers such as 13e and 13f in FIG. 2 is mounted a guide bar shown at 30 in that Figure, having a substantially triangular cross-section and which fills the space between the two consecutive rollers, to prevent or minimise any local piling of fibrous substance prejudicial to the flow of the material during agglomeration.
Each guide bar 30, which is mounted with a certain amount of play with respect to the rollers, is supported by two plane rings 31, 31a, the bore of which bears on two cylindrical bearings 32, 32a held tight by means of bolts 35 between a central shaft 33 and two flanges 34, 34a forming each roller 13a to 13i.
Moreover, the rings 31, 31a which are fixed with respect to the rollers, rest against one another, one after another.
According to this arrangement, the guide bars 30 automatically assume their position between the satellite rollers 13 and are not effected by the adjustment of the rollers.
The face 36 of the guide bars 30 which is in contact with the fibrous substance is hardened and polished to ensure good sliding.
According to a modification shown on FIG. 4, bearing is not effected directly between the rings 31, 31a, as described hereinbefore but by means of the guide bars 30a, 30b, 30c. The guide bar 30a rests, by a shaft 43, against a semicylindrical bearing of a flat support member 44 in which are engaged and pinned rods 45a of two sockets 45 each enclosing an insert 46 having a hemispherical bearing which rests against a hemispherical head 47 of a threaded rod 48 mounted in adjustable manner in a threaded hole of a shaft 49 secured to or integral with the flanges 1a of the frame. The rod 48 is provided at its end with a hexagonal head 50 for adjustment and a locking nut 51 is screwed onto the threaded part.
In this manner the shaft 43 may move slightly from right to left in dependance upon the position of the guide bar 30a which is resting on the two sets of rings 31, 31a coaxial to the two adjacent satellite rollers adjusted to any position whatsoever.
Moreover, the shaft 49 which carries the threaded rods 48 is fixed by welding to the frame and this arrangement necessitates a hemispherical bearing point 46, 47. As regards the end guide bars 30b, 30c, these are simply mounted by their shaft 43 on a flat bearing member 44 in which the ends 52 of threaded rods 53 are engaged and pinned, said rods being mounted in adjustable manner in a shaft 54 capable of turning in the flanges 1b of the frame. As in the preceding embodiment, the threaded rods 53 are provided at their end with a hexagonal head 55 and a locking screw 56 is screwed onto the threaded part.
The latter arrangements of the rings 31, 31a and guide bars 30 may be used over the entire extent of the conduit 11 or only on the final part of the conduit in combination with the arrangement shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.
At the outlet from the conduit 11 (FIG. 1) is mounted a scraping device formed by a fixed member 37 secured to or integral with the frame, in contact with the base 16 of the central wheel 12 and a member 38 movable under the action of a spring 39, and mounted on a rod 40 fixed at 41 to the frame.
The moving member 38 which is supported by two flat washers like rings 31, 31a is mounted like the guide bars 30 in an almost horizontal manner with a slight play with respect to the last satellite roller. This member 38 is arranged in a manner to provide a space 42 between the fixed member 37 and the moving member 38 for the passage of the product at the outlet from the device which is in the form of a ribbon of rectangular section which may easily be broken if necesary.
Naturally various modifications may be made by a man skilled in the art to the means or methods which have just been described solely by way of non-limiting examples, without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.