Title:
Device for guiding a carrier roller, and a rail vehicle comprising such a device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for guiding a carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6) on a vehicle part, this roller running about a shaft (16) on a predetermined track such as a rail, comprising, integrated into the said vehicle part, such as the chassis of a rail vehicle:

at least one follower means (7, 8, 9, 10) pressed on the track;

means forming a swivel articulation, with respect to the vehicle part, for the rotation shaft (22) of the carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6);

substantially rigid means (28) able to transmit, to the shaft (16) of-the carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6), the movements of the follower means.

The rigid means of the said device comprise two arms fixed to the mounting of the carrier roller rigidly fixed by their end to the shaft of the follower means.

A rail transport vehicle, notably for the automatic transportation of persons, with cable drive, provided with at least one device as above.




Inventors:
Mollet, Alain (Annecy Le Vieux, FR)
Application Number:
09/742794
Publication Date:
08/30/2001
Filing Date:
04/02/2001
Assignee:
POMA-OTIS Systemes de Transport
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
105/141
International Classes:
B61F3/16; B61F5/38; (IPC1-7): B61B13/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
JULES, FRANTZ F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Clarence A. Green (Fairfield, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A device for guiding a carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6) on a vehicle part, this roller running about a shaft (16) on a predetermined track such as a rail, this device comprising, integrated into the said moving object: at least one follower means (7, 8, 9, 10) pressed on the track; means forming a swivel articulation, with respect to the vehicle part, for the rotation shaft (16) of the carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6); substantially rigid means (28) able to transmit, to the rotation shaft (16) of the carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6), the movements of the follower means (7, 8, 9, 10), characterised in that the rigid means (28) comprise two arms (26, 27) fixed to the mounting of the carrier roller (3, 4, 5, 6) rigidly fixed by their end to the axis (22) of the follower means (7, 8, 9, 10).

2. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that the follower means (7, 8) is placed upstream of the carrier roller (3, 4), with respect to the direction of movement of this carrier roller (3, 4).

3. A device according to claim 1, characterised in that the follower means (9, 10) is placed downstream of the carrier roller (5, 6), with respect to the direction of movement of this carrier roller (5, 6).

4. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that the follower means (7, 8, 9, 10) is pressed against the track by its own weight.

5. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that the follower means (7, 8, 9, 10) is pressed against the track by a means integrated into the vehicle part such as a ram, a spring or any other equivalent means.

6. A device according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterised in that the follower means is a wheel (7, 8, 9, 10).

7. A rail vehicle, characterised in that it comprises at least one device according to any one of claims 1 to 6.

8. A vehicle according to claim 7, characterised in that it comprises two front carrier rollers each provided, upstream with respect to the direction of movement of the vehicle, with a guidance device, and two rear carrier rollers each provided, downstream with respect to the direction of movement of the vehicle, with a guidance device.

9. A vehicle according to claim 8, characterised in that the follower means are wheels produced from a material chosen from amongst the group comprising polymers, fibre-reinforced polymers and metallic alloys.

10. A vehicle according to claim 9, characterised in that the follower means are wheels made of aluminium alloy and have a diameter less than that of the steel carrier rollers.

11. A vehicle according to any one of claims 7 to 10, characterised in that at least one beam (19) connects, via two links (18), the two end parts of at least one rotation shaft (16) for a carrier roller (3).

12. A vehicle according to claim 11, characterised in that it is of the automatic drive type, for the transportation of persons and/or products.

13. A vehicle according to claim 11 or 12, characterised in that it is of the cable drive type.

Description:
[0001] The invention relates to the technical field of rail transport systems.

[0002] The invention relates more particularly, but not exclusively, to automatic railway systems for the transportation of persons.

[0003] As a concept, systems for the automatic transportation of persons (APM automatic people mover or AGT automated guideway transit) have been known for about thirty years.

[0004] The majority of APMs have a functioning such that the vehicles stop at a station, the interval between the vehicles being for example around 30 to 90 seconds.

[0005] Certain APMs have a semi-continuous functioning, the vehicles slowing down in the station to a speed compatible with passengers getting on and off.

[0006] The majority of APMs installed in the 1970s were located in complexes such as business centres, airports, amusement parks or university campuses. Known as SLTs (shuttle loop transit) these APMs comprise vehicles of average dimensions running on a system comprising few switching points.

[0007] Various suspensions have been employed or envisaged for these APMs: steel wheels, polyurethane tyres, rubber tyres, air cushion, or magnetic levitation.

[0008] Various propulsion techniques have been employed or envisaged: self-propulsion by electric motor or induction motor, or traction by cable.

[0009] In the case of traction by cable, the APM vehicles known in the prior art are:

[0010] fixed continuously to the tractor cable;

[0011] or provided with a clamp for gripping the tractor cable when the vehicle is stopped or running.

[0012] The diversity of technical solutions in terms of propulsion, suspension and the relative rarity of APMs, compared with traditional transportation means such as the metro, are signs which clearly reflect the technical complexity of the economically viable solutions for APMs.

[0013] The reliability of such transportation systems must in fact be very high, around 99.5% and more, in particular when they are provided for the transportation of passengers in an airport, since the users of APMs may be forced to pay extremely high penalties when breakdowns prevent APM passengers from catching their aircraft.

[0014] The speeds of movement of these APMs must also be very high, including on systems provided with many bends, because of the many buildings usually existing before the tracks were laid down.

[0015] Guidance systems are already known for railways through the documents EP 291 491 and FR 2 572 348.

[0016] The system described in the document EP 291 491 is complex and uses many articulated parts, and therefore increases the risk of wear.

[0017] In the document FR 2 572 348, the guidance wheels are connected by an arm to the vehicle chassis.

[0018] The invention reveals a novel structure of steered wheels for transportation on rails, notably for an installation of the APM type, allowing a higher speed of movement, notably on tight bends, than those accessible for the APMs known in the prior art, whilst reducing the travel noise and ensuring great reliability in operation.

[0019] This structure can find its application in the transportation both of goods and persons.

[0020] In the light of the above objectives, the invention relates, according to a first object, to a device for guiding a roller carrying a moving object, this roller running about a shaft on a predetermined track such as a rail, this device comprising, integrated into the said moving object:

[0021] at least one follower means pressed on the track;

[0022] means forming a swivel articulation, with respect to the vehicle part, for the rotation shaft of the carrier roller;

[0023] substantially rigid means able to transmit, to the shaft of the carrier roller, the movements of the follower means.

[0024] This device is characterised in that the rigid means comprise two arms fixed to the mounting of the carrier roller rigidly fixed by their end to the axis of the follower means.

[0025] The device also has, in various embodiments, the following characteristics, taken alone or in combination: the follower means is placed upstream of the carrier roller, with respect to the direction of movement of this carrier roller;

[0026] the follower means is placed downstream of the carrier roller, with respect to the direction of movement of this carrier roller;

[0027] the follower means is pressed against the track by its own weight;

[0028] the follower means is pressed against the track by a means integrated into the moving object such as a ram, a spring or any other equivalent means;

[0029] the follower means is a wheel.

[0030] The invention relates, according to a second aspect, to a moving object such as a rail vehicle, comprising at least one device as presented above.

[0031] According to various embodiments:

[0032] the vehicle comprises two front carrier rollers each provided, upstream with respect to the direction of movement of the vehicle, with a guidance device, and two rear carrier rollers each provided, downstream with respect to the direction of movement of the vehicle, with a guidance device;

[0033] the follower means are wheels produced from a material chosen from amongst the group comprising polymers, fibre-reinforced polymers, or metallic alloys such as aluminium alloys, the wheels having a diameter less than that of the steel carrier rollers;

[0034] at least one beam connects, via two links, the two end parts of at least one rotation shaft of a carrier roller;

[0035] the vehicle is of the automatic drive type, for the transportation of persons and/or products;

[0036] the vehicle is of the cable-drive type.

[0037] Other objects and advantages of the invention will emerge more completely during the following description of embodiments, a description which will be given with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0038] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a chassis-wheel assembly of an APM provided with a wheel structure according to one embodiment of the invention;

[0039] FIG. 2 is a detail plan view of the steering wheel/carrier wheel assembly and the articulations thereof;

[0040] FIG. 3 is a view along the plane III-III in FIG. 2;

[0041] FIG. 4 is a view along the plane IV-IV in FIG. 3;

[0042] FIG. 5 is a view along the plane V-V in FIG. 3;

[0043] FIG. 6 is a view in transverse section along the axis of a carrier wheel.

[0044] The following description of a novel structure of steered wheels for a vehicle running on rails will be given with reference to an application to systems for the automatic transportation of persons, known as APMs.

[0045] It is understood, however, that this steered wheel structure can find other applications in the field of rail transportation, for the transportation, automatic or not, of persons and/or products.

[0046] Reference is made first of all to FIG. 1.

[0047] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a chassis/wheel assembly on a rail vehicle.

[0048] The chassis of this vehicle fits, in the plane of FIG. 1, within a substantially rectangular envelope, elongate in a direction D1.

[0049] In the remainder of the text:

[0050] the terms “longitudinal” and “length” will be employed with reference to the first direction D1 of elongation of the vehicle 1;

[0051] the terms “transverse” and “width” will be employed with reference to a second direction D2, contained in the plane of FIG. 1, and perpendicular to the direction of elongation D1;

[0052] the terms “top” and “bottom” will be employed with reference to a third direction D3 forming a direct trihedron with the first and second direction D1, D2.

[0053] The chassis-wheel assembly as depicted in FIG. 1 is assumed to be such that the front of the vehicle corresponds to the left-hand side of the figure, the left-hand lateral face of the face of the vehicle being the one facing the arrow F.

[0054] It is understood, however, that this orientation of the vehicle is given here only in order to simplify the description, the terms “front” and “rear” being employed with reference to the direction of movement of the vehicle, this direction being able to be reversed.

[0055] The chassis-wheel assembly is, for the purpose of simplification, depicted in FIG. 1 in an arrangement corresponding- to the stoppage or the movement of the rail vehicle on a substantially straight portion of track.

[0056] In the embodiment considered in FIG. 1, the rail vehicle is of the cable traction type.

[0057] Two systems of disengageable clamps 2 allow, in the boarding and alighting stations, the gripping and release of a cable (not shown).

[0058] Other means of driving the rail vehicle can be used, whilst preserving the structure of steered wheels according to the invention, as will be clear to an expert.

[0059] In the embodiment considered in FIG. 1, the vehicle is provided with four carrier rollers 3, 4, 5, 6 and four steered wheels 7, 8, 9, 10.

[0060] The carrier rollers 3, 4, 5, 6 all support the load of the vehicle.

[0061] The four carrier rollers 3, 4, 5, 6 and the four steered wheels 7, 8, 9, 10 form four articulated assemblies, with substantially identical structures, only one of these assemblies, the front left-hand one, being hereinafter the subject of a detailed description with reference to FIGS. 2 to 6.

[0062] The axis of rotation of each carrier roller 3, 4, 5, 6 is situated vertically in line with the carrier roller/rail contact.

[0063] What will be stated for the front left-hand articulated steered wheel/carrier roller assembly can be transposed by symmetry to the other three articulated assemblies on the chassis in FIG. 1.

[0064] The carrier roller 3, made of metallic alloy such as steel, is mounted with a double tapered bearing 11 on a metallic sheath 12 made of steel.

[0065] In order to limit wear and fatigue phenomena whilst reducing operating noises, the bearing is lubricated.

[0066] In a first embodiment, oil lubrication by irrigation is provided, the oil being sprayed by centrifugal effect of the rotating parts.

[0067] In another embodiment, oil circulation is provided, a pump providing the circulation of the oil, which can be filtered and cooled, the oil being brought in a bearing groove or distributed in the form of jets by nozzles 13.

[0068] In another embodiment, an oil mist is obtained by injecting oil in fine droplets in compressed air.

[0069] A screwed roller cover 14 and joints 15 provide a seal for the mounting of the carrier roller 3.

[0070] The transverse shaft 16 of the carrier roller 3 is mounted towards the outside and towards the inside in a swivel connection with longitudinal housing guard shafts 17 substantially parallel to each other.

[0071] The shaft 16 is situated vertically above the roller/rail contact.

[0072] These shafts are substantially parallel to a longitudinal shaft projecting from the swivel housings and articulated at a first end part of a longitudinal link 18.

[0073] Each link 18 is articulated on an end part of one of the two arms of a transverse beam 19 returning the movement of the carrier roller 3.

[0074] The beam 19 is articulated in rotation about a substantially vertical shaft 20 situated half-way between its articulations with the links 18, this vertical shaft 20 being substantially contained in a plane P passing half-way across the carrier roller 3 and half-way across the associated steered wheel 7.

[0075] The vertical shaft 20 is connected to the vehicle chassis, so that the beam 19 is articulated on a fixed point 20.

[0076] A steered wheel 7 and its connection with an associated carrier roller 3 is now described.

[0077] Each steered wheel 7 is mounted with double tapered bearings 21 on a shaft 22.

[0078] Each steered wheel is produced from a material chosen from amongst the group comprising polymers, fibre-reinforced polymers, metallic alloys such as aluminium alloys, or any other equivalent material.

[0079] In a particular embodiment, the steered wheels are made from aluminium alloy in the 6000 series.

[0080] In the embodiment depicted, the steered wheels have a lesser diameter than that of the steering rollers.

[0081] In order to limit wear and fatigue phenomena whilst reducing operating noises, the tapered bearing of the steered wheel is lubricated.

[0082] In a first embodiment, a lubrication with oil by irrigation is provided, the oil being sprayed by centrifugal effect of the rotating parts.

[0083] In another embodiment, an oil circulation is provided, a pump providing the circulation of oil, which may be filtered and cooled, the oil being brought in a groove in the bearing or distributed in the form of jets by nozzles 23.

[0084] In another embodiment, an oil mist is obtained by injecting oil in fine droplets in compressed air.

[0085] A screwed roller cover 24 and joints 25 provide a seal for mounting the steered wheel 7.

[0086] Two arms 26, 27 of a frame 28 supporting the steered wheel 7 are rigidly fixed, by their first end 29, 30, to the shaft 22 of this steered wheel 7.

[0087] As is clear in FIG. 2, these two arms 26, 27 extend from the shaft 22 of the steered wheel to beyond the shaft 16 of the associated carrier roller and are fixed to the mounting of the carrier roller 3.

[0088] A support means such as a spring, ram or any other equivalent means exerts a force on the resultant arms 26, 27 such that the steered wheel is maintained in abutment against the rail, under normal conditions of use.

[0089] In particular embodiments, safety systems measure the reaction of the rail to the abutment of the steered wheels and/or the maintenance of contact between the rails and the steered wheels.

[0090] When passing on a curve, the steered wheels control the movement of the carrier rollers with respect to a common centre of rotation, which is a function of the radius of curvature of the rails.

[0091] The movement of the steered wheels 7, 8, 9, 10, transmitted by the support chassis 28 to the mounting of the carrier rollers 3, 4, 5, 6, causes a rotation of the carrier rollers, a rotation controlled by the assembly formed by the swivel housings, the links 18 and beams 19.

[0092] The rotation of the carrier rollers is effected vertically in line with the carrier roller/rail contact.

[0093] The four steered wheel/carrier roller assemblies thus function independently.

[0094] By this arrangement, the noises related to running are attenuated, by the reduction of friction, including when a vehicle is passing at high speed on track sections with low radii of curvature.

[0095] The reduction in friction is particularly appreciable when the carrier rollers are metallic, without any rubber cladding on their running band.

[0096] When two steered wheel/front or rear roller assemblies carry single-flange steered wheels or when one of the two steered wheel/front or rear roller assemblies carries a double flange steered wheel, the steered wheel in the other front/rear assembly being flat, for example, it is necessary to connect the front or rear assemblies by a link 33.

[0097] This link 33 is depicted between the front steered wheel/roller assemblies (6, 10) (5, 9) of the vehicle.

[0098] The two ends of this link 33 are connected to the arms 26, 27 of the two steered wheel/roller assemblies closest to each other (FIG. 1).

[0099] Thus, when the steered wheels of the two front or rear assemblies are of the single flange type, each steered wheel guides the corresponding carrier roller in a single direction. Guidance in the other direction being effected by the steered wheel of the other assembly by means of the link 33.

[0100] When, of two front or rear assemblies, a single steered wheel is of the two flange type, the other steered wheel being flat, the two-flange steered wheel provides guidance in both directions of the roller to which it is connected.

[0101] It transmits these directions to the steered wheel of the other assembly by means of the link 33.

[0102] A safety device is provided, in certain embodiments, in the case of derailment of at least one of the steered wheels.

[0103] In the embodiment depicted, this safety device comprises a piece 29, a first bottom end part 30 of which has a transverse profile complementary to that of the rail placed opposite.

[0104] This piece 29 is also connected, at its top end part, to the frame 28 supporting the steered wheel 7 and to a damping device with a substantially vertical axis such as a spring 32, a ram or any other similar device.

[0105] In the event of derailment of a guidance wheel, the piece 29 takes the function of guiding this wheel.

[0106] The profiles of the carrier rollers and of the guidance wheels, just like the profile of the piece 29, are of course chosen according to the profile of the rail in question.