Title:
Conveyor belt field splicing dispensing container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container is reconfigurable between a shipping configuration in which a roll of material is enclosed therein and a dispensing configuration in which an access passageway is exposed. A free edge portion of the roll may be withdrawn through the passageway in the dispensing configuration. A container sidewall door portion is pivotally attached to the container body and pivots between an open position to expose the passageway in the dispensing configuration and a closed position in the shipping configuration to close off the passageway. The door portion enclosing the passageway is substantially horizontal in the open position and supported by at least one leg, whereby forming a worktable. The free end of the roll may be drawn across the worktable and scored at an appropriate location. The side wall portion and the support leg may be pivoted against the container in storage positions when the container is transported between field sites.



Inventors:
Rengifo, Pedro Emilio (Marysville, OH, US)
Steven, Robin Bovair (Dublin, OH, US)
Dorstewitz, Bruce Charles (Powell, OH, US)
James III, Lee Coldiron (Jeffersonville, OH, US)
Application Number:
10/322976
Publication Date:
06/24/2004
Filing Date:
12/18/2002
Assignee:
RENGIFO PEDRO EMILIO
STEVEN ROBIN BOVAIR
DORSTEWITZ BRUCE CHARLES
COLDIRON JAMES LEE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H16/06; B65H23/06; (IPC1-7): B65H16/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
RIVERA, WILLIAM ARAUZ
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOD, HERRON & EVANS, LLP (CINCINNATI, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A dispensing container for a roll of bulk sheet material, comprising: a container body defined by a plurality of side panels defining therebetween an internal chamber dimensioned to rotatably house a roll of sheet material therein, the container body substantially enclosing the roll of material in a transportation configuration; at least one container side panel portion opening to configure the container body into a dispensing configuration in which an exposed access passageway communicates with the container chamber and through the passageway a free end of the material may be withdrawn at the option of a user as the roll of material rotates within the chamber; the container side panel portion closing the passageway at the option of the user to place the container body and the roll of material into the transportation configuration.

2. A container according to claim 1, wherein the container side panel portion pivotally attaches to the container body and moves between a closed position substantially covering the passageway and an open position substantially exposing the passageway.

3. A container according to claim 2, wherein the container side panel portion forms a work table in the open position for support of the free end of the material withdrawn from the roll.

4. A container according to claim 3, further comprising at least one support leg pivotally attached to the container side panel portion and pivoting between a storage position and a working position in which the support leg supports the side panel portion in a substantially horizontal orientation in the open position.

5. A container according to claim 1, wherein the roll of material is rotatably housed within the body chamber in an upright or an inverted orientation at the option of the user, the roll dispensing the free end of the material from the top of the roll in the upright orientation and dispensing the free end of the material from the bottom of the roll in the inverted orientation.

6. A container according to claim 1, wherein the roll of material includes a pivot shaft having protruding opposite ends and the container body comprises a slot channel in opposite side panels, each receiving a respective pivot shaft end therein to center the roll of material within the body chamber.

7. A container according to claim 1, wherein the container body further comprises guide rollers for supporting the roll of material in a freely rotating condition within the body chamber.

8. A container according to claim 1, wherein the container body further comprises means for regulating the speed at which the free end of material is withdrawn from the material roll.

9. A container according to claim 8, wherein the means for regulating speed comprises an elastic member in frictional engagement against an outer peripheral surface of a spool member supporting the roll of material.

10. A dispensing container for a roll of bulk sheet material, comprising a container body reconfigurable between a shipping configuration and a dispensing configuration, the body including a plurality of side panels defining therebetween an internal chamber dimensioned to rotatably house a roll of sheet material therein, the container body substantially enclosing the roll of material in the shipping configuration and the container body providing an access passageway in the dispensing configuration through which a fee edge portion of the roll of material may be withdrawn at the option of the user.

11. A container according to claim 10, wherein the access passageway of the container body is obstructed by a pivotally mounted side panel portion that moves between a closed position substantially covering the passageway and an open position substantially exposing the passageway.

12. A container according to claim 11, wherein the container side panel portion forms a worktable in the open position for support of the free edge portion of the roll withdrawn through the passageway.

13. A container according to claim 12, wherein the container side panel portion is supported by at least one support leg pivotally attached to the container side panel portion.

14. A container according to claim 12, wherein the roll of material includes a pivot shaft having protruding opposite ends resident within a respective slot channel in opposite side panels, whereby the roll of material is alternatively housed at the option of the user within the chamber in an upright, top dispensing orientation or an inverted, bottom dispensing orientation.

15. A container according to claim 14, wherein the container body further comprises means for regulating the speed at which the free edge portion of material is withdrawn from the passageway in the upright and inverted orientations.

16. A method of shipping and dispensing a roll of bulk sheet material, comprising the steps: rotatably seating the roll of sheet material within a container body, the body including a plurality of side panels defining therebetween an internal chamber dimensioned to receive the roll of sheet material; configuring the container body to substantially enclose the roll of sheet material in a shipping configuration; providing an access passageway through the container body through which a free edge portion of the roll of material may be withdrawn, the access passageway being enclosed by a side panel door portion pivotal between a closed position substantially covering the passageway and an open position substantially exposing the passageway; and pivoting the side panel portion into the open position to expose the access passageway in a dispensing configuration.

17. A method according to claim 16, further comprising positioning the side panel door portion into a substantially horizontal position adjacent the passageway in the open position to form a worktable for supporting the free edge portion of the roll of sheet material withdrawn through the access passageway.

18. A method according to claim 17, further comprising pivoting the side panel door portion into the closed position to enclose the access passageway and reconfigure the container body back into the shipping configuration.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to a container for shipping and dispensing rolled material and, specifically, to a conveyor belt field splicing dispensing container.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Conveyor belts are commonly used as a means to move material from one location to another. In large mining operations, the conveyor belt is generally formed of a rubber body embedded with steel cords or strands or textile reinforcement. A cover compound can be used at the surface wherein the material is to be conveyed. Generally the compound is abrasions and cut resistant and of sufficient thickness to prevent the rocks being conveyed from tearing the belt. A pulley compound can be used on the interior surface and is ideally suited for improved wear as the belt traverses over the pulleys used to drive the belt.

[0003] The steel corded or stranded belts may extend several miles and cost millions of dollars to fabricate and install. The fabrication of such belts occurs initially at a factory wherein steel strands or cords are arranged in a coplanar relationship parallel to the surface of the belt so that the belt will exhibit uniform expansion and minimize weaving that can otherwise damage the belt as it traverses its designated route.

[0004] The prior art method of fabricating belts requires the steps of vulcanizing the rubber belt and winding it onto large spools for shipping to the site. Once the spools of the belt are received at the site, the ends must be prepared for splicing by removing the vulcanized rubber from the strands over a distance determined to be sufficient to provide enough joint length to make a secure splice.

[0005] Removal of the rubber can be a very time consuming and tedious task. Often time's piano wire is used to peel the vulcanized rubber from the strands. In large belts of several feet in width over a hundred strands must be exposed at each joint end. Once exposed, the strands had to be cleaned of as much of the vulcanized rubber as possible. Various alternative methods of splicing a conveyor belt have been proposed in order to expedite and simplify the process. U.S. Pat. No. 3,487,871 teaches a joining member having a plurality of strand receiving grooves. Such a method for effecting a splice, however, proved less than optimal because the number of grooves must equate with the number of strands in the belt. Since conveyor belts are of not standardized in width, a custom connector member must be used for each size belt.

[0006] An improved method of effecting a splice between ends of a conveyor belt has been proposed comprising the steps: (a) removing a portion of the rubber from the belt ends to be joined exposing a plurality of strands; (b) providing at least two unvulcanized strips of rubber at least one strip being a bottom strip having a plurality of substantially parallel strand receiving grooves on an upper surface and the other strip being a top strip; (c) placing exposed strands of the belt ends being joined in the grooves of the bottom strip; (d) placing the top strip overlying the bottom strip and vulcanizing the strips together thereby forming the spliced joint. The strands may be at least partially sheathed in the vulcanized rubber.

[0007] To utilize the foregoing method, a preform splice is used, consisting of a multiple (e.g. 21 inch) uncured insulation gum slabs each having longitudinal grooves formed on one side into which the splice cords are laid. The groove spacing and diameter are carefully controlled. The preform slab is fabricated into rolls that are shipped to an end user that removes the roll from shipping container. Once removed, the user unrolls a desired length of material and scores the material. The free end portion of material is then manipulated until breakage along the score line occurs. The remaining roll of the material is then stored until needed for the next splice.

[0008] The quality of the resultant splice is influenced by a number of factors. First, the dimensional accuracy of the length of cut must be controlled for a high quality splice. Secondly, the dimensional and structural integrity of the roll must be protected and maintained. Damage to the roll can occur from handling during shipment, removal from its shipping container, during the cutting operation, or subsequent storage of the roll between repair occasions. Such damage to the roll can affect the structural integrity and performance the splice material removed therefrom and of the splice made therewith. A need, therefore, exists for an improved method for protecting the integrity of a roll of splice material from structural damage during its shipment to a field site, its use at the site, and in subsequent storage. The method should further accommodate convenient and accurate removal of desired lengths of splice material while protecting the material from damage. In addition, the method should facilitate easy and ergonomic transportation and dispensing of splice material from a roll source at a minimum cost.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides shipping and dispensing container for a roll of sheet material such as, but not limited to, a roll of material used in field splicing conveyor belt ends together. The container comprises a body reconfigurable between a shipping configuration in which the roll of material is enclosed and a dispensing configuration in which an access passageway is exposed. A free edge portion of the roll may be withdrawn through the passageway in the dispensing configuration. A container sidewall portion is pivotally attached to the container body and pivots to an open position to expose the passageway in the dispensing configuration and to a closed position in the shipping configuration to close off the passageway. Pursuant a further one aspect of the invention, the side wall portion enclosing the passageway is substantially horizontal in the open position and may be supported by at least one leg, whereby forming a worktable. The free end of the roll may be drawn across the worktable and scored at an appropriate location. The side wall portion and the support leg may be pivoted against the container in storage positions when the container is transported between fieldwork sites.

[0010] According to another aspect of the invention, the roll of material may optionally be dispensed from the top within the container or inverted and dispensed from the bottom. Appropriate guide rollers are provided to direct the free edge portion of the roll to the passageway in either roll orientation.

[0011] Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide means for regulating the speed at which the roll material is withdrawn from its roll. The roll is provided with a pivot shaft having protruding opposite ends resident within a respective slot channel in opposite side panels. The speed regulation means in one embodiment represents a cable disposed to exert controlled pressure upon the roll of material to reduce the rate at which the material is withdrawn.

[0012] Pursuant to yet a further aspect of the invention, a method of shipping and dispensing a roll of sheet material is provided, comprising the steps: rotatably seating the roll of sheet material within a container body, the body including a plurality of side panels defining therebetween an internal chamber dimensioned to receive the roll of sheet material; configuring the container body to substantially enclose the roll of sheet material in a shipping orientation; providing an access passageway through the container body through which a free edge portion of the roll of material may be withdrawn, the access passageway being enclosed by a side panel portion pivotal between a closed position substantially covering the passageway and an open position substantially exposing the passageway.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The invention will be described by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0014] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of the subject container shown with the access door in the closed position;

[0015] FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of a material roll and the subject container shown with the access door in the open, worktable orientation.

[0016] FIG. 3 is a partially assembled perspective view thereof shown with the lid removed and in a dispensing configuration;

[0017] FIG. 4 is a transverse section view through the center of the subject container;

[0018] FIG. 5 is a longitudinal section view through the center of the container;

[0019] FIG. 6 is a transverse section view of the container with the access door in a partially distended position.

[0020] FIG. 7 is a longitudinal section view of the container with the free edge portion of the roll extended across the work surface provided by the access door.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0021] Referring initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, the subject container for transporting and dispensing roll material is shown at 10. The container 10 comprises an elongate quadrilateral body having end panels 12, 14 and side panels 16, 18 terminating at peripheral edges of a bottom floor panel 20. A lid 22 is provided to enclose an internal compartment 23 of the container 10 defined by sides 12, 14, 16, 18, and floor panel 20.

[0022] A reinforcement edge flange 24 is provided to extend upward from the floor panel 20 along each corner of the container 10. Three elongate support flanges 26, 28, 30 are affixed to a lower surface of the floor panel 20 and extend across the container 10. Reinforcement panels 31 are affixed to the container against outward surfaces of side panels 16, 18 and function to provide structural support to the box in carrying the intended load. Further adding reinforcement for lateral stiffness are edge reinforcement strips 32 along top edges of the side panel 16, 18.

[0023] Extending downward into the midsection of each side panel 16, 18 are elongate and relatively narrow guide slots 34, 36, respectively. The slots 34, 36 each terminate at a lower slot end 38. Mounted to the interior wall of each panel 16, 18 in a spaced apart semi-circular pattern are support rollers 40, 42, 44, 46, and 48. The rollers may be fixedly attached or, as preferable, rotatable. The rollers support the roll of splice material as will be explained below.

[0024] A door panel 50 is pivotally coupled to the forward end panel 12 at hinge 52 and covers a generally rectangular through- passageway 54 that communicates with the interior compartment 23. Mounted along opposite sides of the door panel 50 are support legs 56. While preferably two support legs 56 are utilized, more or fewer legs may be employed if desired. The support legs 56 are elongate and hinge to upper corners of the door panel 50. In the storage, or shipping configuration, represented in FIG. 1, the legs 56 collapse along the panel 50 and align with the vertical reinforcement edges strips 24 extending along opposite sides of the panel 12. The door panel 50 pivots outward into generally a horizontal disposition as shown in FIGS. 2-7, representing a dispensing configuration. Each leg 56 has an abutment shoulder flange 60 at a top end. In the dispensing configuration the legs 56 are pivoted downward, the abutment flange 60 of each leg abuts an underside of the support panel 50. The legs 56 are thereby positioned to support the panel 50 on a work surface in a horizontal attitude. The panel 50 thus becomes a work table positioned adjacent to passageway 54 and passageway 54 provides an unobstructed access into the compartment 23

[0025] The lid component 22, as best seen from FIG. 1, is generally rectangular comprising a central panel 62 having peripheral reinforcement edge flanges 64 affixed to an upper surface. Extending transversely across an underside of the lid panel 62 are end reinforcement flanges 66.

[0026] As seen from FIGS. 2-7, a material roll 68 is intended for residence within the internal compartment 23 of container 10. While various types of rolled materials may be utilized in accordance with the invention, the invention has particular utility in the shipping and dispensing splice material for field splicing a conveyor belt. Such material 70 is wound around an, axial spool 72 through which an axial pivot shaft 74 extends. End portions of the spool 72 project outward a distance from edges of the material roll 70 and end portions 76, 78 of the pivot shaft 74 project outward a distance from the ends of the spool 72 as shown. The pivot shaft 74 may be eliminated by using another method of winding such as surface winding. The material 70 is formed of a non-vulcanized rubber compound and may have a liner formed from suitable material such as polycarbonate laminated to one or more surfaces. The material 70 is intended to splice together ends of a belt such as a conveyor belt having longitudinal cords disposed therein. Lengths of material are removed from the roll 70 as needed in the creation of a splice preform consisting of a wide (e.g. 21 inch) uncured insulation gum slab having longitudinal grooves formed on one side into which the splice cords are laid. In order to function as intended, it is important to maintain the structural and geometric integrity of the material roll 70 during shipment to and from a field work site, while dispensing material, and during subsequent storage between splice jobs. Fully wound, the spool and material roll weigh a substantial amount. Should such weight be brought to bear upon the material surrounding the spool in a misdirected manner, a tearing, folding, or collapse of the material sheet could result. Making a high quality splice from material so damaged would, accordingly, be rendered more difficult or impossible altogether.

[0027] Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, the material roll 68 is inserted into the internal compartment 23 of the container 10 with the lid 22 removed therefrom. The end portions 76, 78 are aligned with and enter into slots 34, 36 and proceed downward therein until the end portions of the spool 72 supportively engage the rollers 40, 42, 44, 46, and 48. The rollers cradle and support the spool 72 in a centered location within the compartment 23. Screws 80 are provided extending through apertures 82 of the side panels 16, 18 and are used for shipping purposes for securing the roll of material during transit and are removed for dispensing.

[0028] As will be noted, the roll 68 may be positioned within the compartment 23 upon rollers 40, 42, 44, 46, and 48 in the upright position so that a free edge portion 84 of the roll can be withdrawn from the top and unrolled in a forward direction. Preferably, however, the roll 68 is positioned as shown in the inverted position such that the edge portion 84 is withdrawn from the bottom. A bottom feed reduces the extraction force required to rotate the roll when the roll is full because the weight of the spool and the full roll is not bearing upon the edge portion 84. The free edge portion 84 may be drawn upward and fed through the passageway 54 whereby exiting the internal compartment 23. With the door panel 50 in the upright, or closed position, the container assumes a transportation configuration in which the roll 68 is centered, supported, and enclosed within the compartment 23. The material 70 is thereby protected from contact with surrounding structure and damage that may result therefrom during transit and storage. Bending, damage, or tearing of the material 70 that might otherwise occur is avoided and the quality of subsequent splices made from the material is not compromised.

[0029] The door 50 is positioned in the table configuration shown in FIGS. 3-7 prior to withdrawal of the roll edge portion 84. So positioned, the container assumes a dispensing configuration in which the edge portion 84 may be withdrawn threw the passageway 54 in a flat, undamaged condition and across the door panel 50 that is adjacent thereto. The door panel 50 protects and supports the free edge portion during the withdrawal procedure. As the edge portion is drawn over the door panel 50, a straight edge 86 may be positioned transversely across the edge portion 84, a cut is made through the material. A score line is made thereafter along the straight edge through the liner material. The edge portion 84 may thereafter be manually manipulated along the score line until a clean break results.

[0030] As more splices are made and the roll 68 is diametrically reduced, the speed at which the material 70 is withdrawn may increase to an undesirable level. In order to place drag on the rotation of the roll 68, speed regulation means in the preferred form of an elastomeric cable or band 88 may be utilized. The band 88 may be formed specifically for the application out of elastomeric material such as rubber or a commercially available band such as a “bunge” cord may be employed. The band 88 is attached as shown in FIG. 7 at end tie downs 90, 92 to the end panels 12, 14 a midsection 94 is drawn across the spool 72. The force applied against the spool and the frictional drag resulting therefrom may be adjusted by an appropriate selection of band length. As the spool 72 rotates, the band 88 frictionally impedes rotation and slows the spool rotation to a desired level.

[0031] After a field splice has been completed, the free edge portion 84 is placed inside the compartment 23 and the door panel 50 is pivoted from the horizontal, dispensing orientation into the closed position shown in FIG. 1. A latch (not shown) may be employed in conventional manner to releasable lock the door in the closed position. The roll of material may thereafter be safely transported to another work site or stored within the container fully protected from damaging contact with surrounding objects.

[0032] From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the subject container is economical to manufacture. The container may be formed from conventional materials such as wood, plastic, or metal by conventional means. The container further does not require a center shaft to support the roll of material therein, thereby reducing its weight and resultant cost of manufacture and shipping. Also, the container serves as both a shipping container and a dispensing container, fully protecting the roll during transit yet allowing for a protected withdrawal of material in the dispensing mode of operation. The door converts into a table surface as needed to support the material during the scoring and cutting operation. Maintaining the splice material in a flat, non-deformed condition assures that the grooves extending along the splice are maintained in a linear and uniform condition. The grooves thus are in condition to readily receive the belt cords therein and a high quality spice may be achieved. Finally, as discussed, the container functionally accommodates either an upright orientation of the roll therein for top withdrawal of material or an inverted orientation of the roll for a bottom feed of material.

[0033] Variations in the present invention are possible in light of the description of it provided herein. While certain representative embodiments and details have been shown for the purpose of illustrating the subject invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in this art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the scope of the subject invention. It is; therefore, to be understood that changes can be made in the particular embodiments described which will be within the full intended scope of the invention as defined by the following appended claims.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0034] Variations in the present invention are possible in light of the description of it provided herein. While certain representative embodiments and details have been shown for the purpose of illustrating the subject invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made therein without departing from the scope of the subject invention. It is, therefore, to be understood that changes can be made in the particular embodiments described which will be within the full intended scope of the invention as defined by the following appended claims.





 
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