Title:
BRICK PROCESSING METHOD
United States Patent 3873658


Abstract:
Bricks are grouped and set onto kiln cars in courses having rows with a prescribed number of bricks therein, said prescribed number being determined by the number of bricks per row in the final package to be formed. The bricks are then processed through a kiln, unloaded a course at a time from the kiln car, and stacked for packaging while maintaining during the entire operation the same prescribed number of bricks in each row, so that the row size of the courses set on the kiln car remains constant throughout the operation.



Inventors:
Milholen, William F. (Siler City, NC)
Brown Jr., John Jones (Siler City, NC)
Stuart, Gerald L. (Siler City, NC)
Application Number:
05/317832
Publication Date:
03/25/1975
Filing Date:
12/22/1972
Assignee:
FORREST PASCHAL MACHINERY CO.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
264/148, 264/680, 414/791.6, 414/931, 425/316
International Classes:
F27B9/38; F27D3/12; F27D3/00; F27D99/00; (IPC1-7): C04B33/32
Field of Search:
264/146,148,151,57,58 425
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
White, Robert F.
Assistant Examiner:
Pavelko, Thomas P.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A method of processing brick between a clay extruding machine where raw clay is extruded and a strapping machine where finished bricks are formed into a final package having rows with a prescribed number of bricks therein comprising the steps of:

2. A method of processing brick between a clay extruding machine where raw clay is extruded and a strapping machine where finished bricks are formed into a final package having rows with a prescribed number of bricks therein comprising the steps of

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the manufacture of bricks, it is the customary practice to extrude a column of clay, cut the column into raw, uncured slabs approximately the size of a brick, stack the bricks onto kiln cars in multi-layer courses made up of a plurality of columns and rows with the bricks in each row being spaced from each other slightly in order to allow the heat to penetrate therebetween for better curing thereof. After the bricks are stacked on kiln cars, they proceed through the furnaces where they are fired for a period of time, whereupon they are unloaded from the kiln car and formed into finished packages having a prescribed number of courses and rows and columns in each course.

Until recently, all of the kiln car setting, unstacking, and final package stacking operations were substantially performed by hand. The first significant improvements in this process came about with the development of automatic stackers and strappers, in which the bricks were automatically grouped into rows of prescribed size, the rows being stacked atop each other to a desired height. Additional stacks of rows were formed successively behind the initial stack until the final packgage was formed. Due to the size and shape of shipping carriers, such as railroad cars and trucks, the number of bricks in each row, which determines the width of the completed package, has evolved to one standard prescribed number. For example, in the United States this number is generally 11 bricks per row. In the case of other than conventional sizes, the number of bricks per row may vary. For example, oversize brick are packaged with nine bricks per row while utility-sized bricks are packaged seven to the row. In any event the row length and package weight remains approximately the same as the conventional rows of 11. In other countries, the conventional number of bricks per row may vary somewhat, however for each size and in each country a standard number row size has evolved.

The next or possibly simultaneous improvement was in the field of setting apparatuses which group and transfer the raw uncured bricks as they are conveyed away from the cutter in single file, forming them into courses which are stacked on atop each other on the kiln car with the rows in one course extending in a direction perpendicular to the rows in adjacent courses above and below. The bricks in each row of each course are slightly spaced from each other by the setting apparatus during the transfer.

The third improvement relates to the development of an unstacker apparatus which automatically unloads the kiln cars after firing in the kiln by removing the bricks therefrom on course at a time, placing them on a conveyor. The courses are then broken down into single rows and transferred to a stacking apparatus, as described and illustrated, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,487,959. While such a method and apparatus represent an improvement over hand unloading, the breaking down of the courses into rows and regrouping into rows of proper size for the final package, requires extra steps and additional brick grouping equipment.

In the development of techniques and equipment to this point, there was no attempt or need for correlating the number of bricks per row on the kiln car with the number of bricks per row in the final package, since the bricks from the kiln car were either unloaded by hand or broken down by machine into single rows.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present invention, on the other hand, departs from the idea of either unloading kiln cars by hand or breaking down courses removed from the kiln car into single files or rows. Rather, the method disclosed herein is directed to a system where the bricks are initially stacked or set by automatic apparatus onto kiln cars with rows containing the same number of bricks as are in the rows of the finished package. Following the curing operation the kiln car is unloaded a course at a time, the courses being unloaded and handled as a unit (without breaking down into single rows) as they are transferred into the stacking area. As the courses move through the strapping area, the rows extend transversely to the direction of movement through the strapper, so that stacks of rows feed continuously therethrough. The result is that increased economy and efficiency of operation is achieved.

As used herein a "course" is considered to be a group of columns and rows either in one, two, three, or four layers lifted simultaneously by a setter or unloader head, although conventionally "courses" generally comprise two layers, and the present invention is described in connection with double-layer courses.

It is therefore on object of the present invention to provide an improved method for handling bricks in a brick plant between the time they are extruded and cut and the time they are strapped as a final package.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide an improved method of the type described wherein bricks are initially set onto kiln cars in courses having rows with the same number of bricks therein as the rows in the final package, whereby the courses do not have to be broken down into a single row and regrouped into rows of different lengths after unloading from the kiln car.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to set bricks onto a kiln car, unload the bricks from the kiln car and transfer them into a strapping station while at all times maintaining the same number of bricks in each row.

Other objects and advantages will appear from the following description and drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram schematically illustrating the sequential steps of the method according to the present invention.

The method according to the present invention evolves from the basic concept that if bricks are set onto kiln cars in courses having rows containing the same number of bricks as are in the rows of the final package, then a considerable amount of effort and equipment can be eliminated in transferring bricks from kiln cars to the final stacking and strapping operation. For example, it is no longer necessary to go through the steps of unloading and breaking down the courses and rows into individual rows of continuous length, followed by the regrouping necessary in preparation for the stacking and strapping operation.

Turning now to the drawing, the operation begins with the extruding of a clay column from a conventional pug mill. As the clay is extruded, it may be cut by a brick cutter of the type which includes rotating wires which pass through the clay column as it leaves the extruder. The individual bricks, having been cut, move down toward a grouping apparatus where the bricks are stopped and grouped into rows having a prescribed number therein, said rows being then sequentially transferred laterally to a setting station. A brick stopping and grouping apparatus which is workable in this situation is illustrated and described in assignee's co-pending application Ser. No. 126,673, filed Mar. 27, 1971.

Alternatively, as the clay column leaves the extruder, it may be cut into slabs equal in length to the combined width of the prescribed number of bricks which will be subsequently cut therefrom and formed into a row. The prescribed number hereinabove mentioned is, of course, determined by the number of bricks appearing in a row in the final package. The slab is moved along to a point where it is stopped, and pushed in the direction transverse to the longitudinal axis thereof through a series of cutter wires which form the slab into a row of bricks of said prescribed number substantially similar to the method disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,461,196.

By either method outlined above, a row of bricks has been formed and transferred to a setting station with a prescribed number of bricks therein. Alternate rows or groups of rows are then lifted by means of a conventional inverter or stacker atop the rows intermediate thereto to form a plurality of double-layer rows. The double-layer rows or groups of rows are further grouped into double-layer course in preparation for transfer to a kiln car. The grouping of the rows into courses forms a plurality of columns made up of corresponding bricks in adjacent rows.

One or more double-layer courses are then lifted and transferred by a setting apparatus, which grips the bricks at the ends of the columns, lifts and separates the columns, and deposits the course or courses onto the kiln car in a manner similar to that described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,480,161. The courses are stacked onto the kiln car in a plurality of stacks each comprising a plurality of alternating header-oriented and stretcher-oriented courses formed of a plurality of laterally spaced and double layer rows. In each row the horizontally adjacent bricks are spaced from each other for firing purposes.

After the kiln car is loaded, it is moved into the kiln where the bricks are fired or cured for relatively long periods of time. Upon removal from the kiln, the kiln car is taken to an unloading station.

There the courses are transferred from the kiln car to a stacking and strapping station, and since the courses have already been arranged to have rows of proper size for strapping, the courses may be transferred intact onto a conveyor from whence they proceed to the strapping station. The rows still are and have been maintained with the same number of bricks therein as were originally formed by the previously described stopping and grouping apparatus. In one possible embodiment, the kiln cars are unloaded and the courses thereof transferred onto the conveyor a course at a time, whereupon the conveyor begins to move while successive courses are placed on the conveyor immediately behind the preceding course. In such a manner the rows are moved successively into a stacking machine with the proper number of bricks in each row, whereupon the rows are merely stacked one atop each other to the prescribed height and move successively into the strapping machine in a well known manner. Alternatively, the courses may be unloaded from the kiln car and the same unloading head may stack the courses onto the conveyor to the proper height with the rows thereof extending transversely across the conveyor. The stacks of bricks are then fed into the strapping machine in a well known manner as illustrated by assignee's co-pending application Ser. No. 277,266 filed Aug. 6, 1972. In any event, during the transfer from the kiln car to the strapping stations the brick rows, initially formed by the stopping and gouping apparatus preparatory to setting the bricks on the kiln car, are maintained intact with the same prescribed number of bricks therein, i.e., each row formed by the stopping and grouping apparatus culminates in a row of the final strapped package.

During the unloading operation, if desired a tyne course layer may be automatically formed as taught by assignee's co-pending applications Ser. No. 249,031 filed May 1, 1972 or Ser. No. 267,251 filed June 28, 1972.

It is apparent that many substitutions, modifications and developments may be made to the specific equipment and sequence of operations outlined above, however, it should be pointed out that the heart of the present invention is directed to the initial forming and maintaining of rows having a prescribed number of brick therein, the prescribed number of brick being determined by the row size of the final package.

Although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been illustrated and described, it is to be understood that various modifications and rearrangements of parts may be resorted to without departing from the scope of the invention disclosed herein.