Title:
Stacker crane
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
It is an object to provide a stacker crane that is configured to move on a single rail provided along one or more racks, and that includes: a first wheel that moves on the rail; a vehicle frame supported by the first wheel; a first motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the first motor is disposed on a right side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel; and a second motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the second wheel is disposed on a left side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel.



Inventors:
Ueda, Yuichi (Kasugai-shi, JP)
Application Number:
11/213616
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
08/26/2005
Assignee:
DAIFUKU CO., LTD. (Osaka, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61B13/04
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RUDAWITZ, JOSHUA I
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE WEBB LAW FIRM, P.C. (PITTSBURGH, PA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A stacker crane that is configured to move on a single rail provided along one or more racks, comprising: a first wheel that moves on the rail; a vehicle frame supported by the first wheel; a first motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the first motor is disposed on a right side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel; and a second motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the second wheel is disposed on a left side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel.

2. The stacker crane according to claim 1, further comprising: a second wheel that is disposed spaced apart from the first wheel in a fore-and-aft direction, and that supports the vehicle frame; a third motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the third motor is disposed on a right side of the second wheel, and that is capable of driving the second wheel; and a fourth motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the fourth wheel is disposed on a left side of the second wheel, and that is capable of driving the second wheel.

3. The stacker crane according to claim 2, wherein the first wheel is disposed at a front end portion of the vehicle frame; and wherein the second wheel is disposed at a rear end portion of the vehicle frame.

4. The stacker crane according to claim 3, wherein the vehicle frame comprises: a first support frame that supports the first wheel and the first and the second motors; a second support frame that supports the second wheel and the third and the fourth motors; and a connection frame that connects the first support frame and the second support frame.

5. The stacker crane according to claim 1, further comprising: a first support post that is fixed to the vehicle frame; a second support post that is fixed on the vehicle frame, spaced apart from the first support post in a fore-and-aft direction; and a vertically movable platform that is guided by the first support post and the second support post, and that is capable of moving vertically with respect to the vehicle frame; wherein the vertically movable platform is provided with a first article transferring device that is capable of transferring articles to the one or more of the racks.

6. The stacker crane according to claim 5, further comprising: a second article transferring device that is provided on the vertically movable platform, and that is capable of transferring articles to the one or more of the racks.

7. The stacker crane according to claim 5, further comprising: a guide portion that abuts against a roller provided on the vertically movable platform, and that is formed in each of the first and the second support posts.

8. The stacker crane according to claim 1, wherein a rotation axis of the first wheel and a rotation axis of the first motor are disposed coaxially, and the rotation axis of the first wheel and a rotation axis of the second motor are disposed coaxially.

9. The stacker crane according to claim 2, wherein a rotation axis of the second wheel and a rotation axis of the third motor are disposed coaxially, and the rotation axis of the second wheel and a rotation axis of the fourth motor are disposed coaxially.

10. The stacker crane according to claim 1, further comprising: a first restriction wheel that is supported by and rotatable with respect to the vehicle frame, and that restricts lifting of the first wheel from the rail.

11. The stacker crane according to claim 10, further comprising: a second restriction wheel that is supported by and rotatable with respect to the vehicle frame, and that works in collaboration with the first restriction wheel to restrict lifting of the first wheel from the rail.

12. The stacker crane according to claim 11, further comprising: adjustment means that is disposed between the vehicle frame, and the first restriction wheel and the second restriction wheel, and that adjusts the positions of the first restriction wheel and the second restriction wheel with respect to the vehicle frame.

13. The stacker crane according to claim 2, further comprising: a third restriction wheel that is supported by and rotatable with respect to the vehicle frame, and that restricts lifting of the second wheel from the rail.

14. The stacker crane according to claim 13, further comprising: a fourth restriction wheel that is supported by and rotatable with respect to the vehicle frame, and that works in collaboration with the third restriction wheel to restrict lifting of the second wheel from the rail.

15. The stacker crane according to claim 14, further comprising: adjustment means that is disposed between the vehicle frame, and the third restriction wheel and the fourth restriction wheel, and that adjusts the positions of the third restriction wheel and the fourth restriction wheel with respect to the vehicle frame.

16. The stacker crane according to claim 1, further comprising: an upper frame that is capable of engaging with a guide rail that is fixed to an upper position of the racks, and that is fixed to upper portions of the first and the second support posts.

17. A stacker crane that is configured to move on a single rail provided along one or more racks, and that is configured to be guided by a guide rail disposed spaced apart from the rail in a vertical direction, comprising: a first wheel that moves on the single rail; a vehicle frame supported by the first wheel; a first support post that is fixed to the vehicle frame; a second support post that is fixed on the vehicle frame, spaced apart from the first support post in a fore-and-aft direction; a vertically movable platform that is guided by the first support post and the second support post, and that is capable of moving vertically with respect to the vehicle frame, wherein the vertically movable platform is provided with a first article transferring device that is capable of transferring articles to the one or more of the racks; an upper frame that is capable of engaging with the guide rail, and that is fixed to an upper portion of each the first and the second support posts; a first motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the first motor is disposed on a right side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel; and a second motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the second wheel is disposed on a left side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel.

18. The stacker crane according to claim 17, further comprising: a second wheel that is disposed spaced apart from the first wheel in a fore-and-aft direction, and that supports the vehicle frame; a third motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the third motor is disposed on a right side of the second wheel, and that is capable of driving the second wheel; and a fourth motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the fourth wheel is disposed on a left side of the second wheel, and that is capable of driving the second wheel.

19. The stacker crane according to claim 17, further comprising: a second article transferring device that is provided on the vertically movable platform, and that is capable of transferring articles to the rack.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to stacker cranes.

Stacker cranes are provided with a travel motor that rotatively drives travel wheels, moving the stacker crane along a travel rail in order to transport articles. Conventionally, the travel wheels are rotatably supported at the left center and right center of the vehicle frame, and the travel motor is supported on the vehicle frame on only one side of the travel wheels. With this configuration, one travel motor is employed to rotatively drive one travel wheel (see JP 2002-046809A, for example).

In the conventional configuration described above, the travel motors are supported on the vehicle frame positioned on one side portion of the travel wheels, and therefore the weight of the travel motors was concentrated on one side portion of the travel wheels on the vehicle frame. There thus was room for improvement in terms of the lateral balance of the weight of the stacker crane.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention was arrived at in view of the above circumstances, and it is an object thereof to provide a stacker crane with improved lateral weight balance.

A stacker crane according to the invention is configured so as to move on a single rail provided along racks, and includes:

    • a first wheel that moves on the rail;
    • a vehicle frame supported by the first wheel;
    • a first motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the first motor is disposed on a right side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel; and
    • a second motor that is supported by the vehicle frame such that the second wheel is disposed on a left side of the first wheel, and that is capable of driving the first wheel.

Since the motors are arranged on both sides of the wheel, it is possible to provide a stacker crane that has better balance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a lateral view of a stacker crane.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a support post.

FIG. 3 is a lateral view of a travel vehicle.

FIG. 4 is a lateral view of a travel drive unit.

FIG. 5 is a front view of the travel drive unit.

FIG. 6 is a front cross-sectional view of the travel drive unit.

FIG. 7 is a plan cross-sectional view of the travel drive unit.

FIG. 8 is a lateral view of the adjustment means.

FIG. 9 is a front view of an adjustment mechanism.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, embodiments of a stacker crane according to the present invention are described with reference to the drawings. Throughout the specification the term “fore-and-aft direction” is used to indicate the orientation along which the stacker crane A moves.

As shown in FIG. 1, a stacker crane A travels over a single travel rail 2 disposed on a floor surface along a work path formed between storage racks. A travel vehicle 3 that travels along the travel rail 2 is provided with a pair of support posts 5, with a spacing between them in the longitudinal or the fore-and-aft direction, that serve as guides for raising and lowering a vertically movable platform 4. The upper end portions of the support posts 5 are linked to each other by an upper frame 7 that is guided along a guide rail 6 disposed above the work path. The stacker crane A automatically moves over the work path and transfers articles to and from the storage racks. The stacker crane A and the storage racks together make up an automated warehouse.

A raising and lowering wire 13 is connected to the front and rear end portions of the vertically movable platform 4, supporting the vertically movable platform 4 in a suspended manner. Two article transferring devices 14 are arranged side by side in the front-to-back direction, that is, the direction in which the travel vehicle 3 moves, on the vertically movable platform 4, and the article transferring devices 14 transfer articles between the storage racks and the stacker crane A.

As for the raising and lowering wire 13, one of its ends is connected to the vertically movable platform 4, its middle portion is wound over driven pulleys 15 that are provided on the upper frame 7, and its other end is connected to a winding drum 17 that is supported on one of the pair of front and rear support posts 5. Accordingly, the vertically movable platform 4 is drivingly raised and lowered through the action of winding out or winding in the raising and lowering wire 13 by rotatively driving the winding drum 17 forward and in reverse with an electric motor for raising and lowering M2.

As shown in FIG. 2, the support posts 5 serve as guides for guide rollers 8 (guided portions) provided on the vertically movable platform 4. A recessed portion is provided in the longitudinal direction in one face of each of the support posts 5, and a projecting portion 5a (guide portion) is provided within the recessed portion. The configuration is such that the guide rollers 8 are guided by the projecting portion 5a, thereby guiding the vertically movable platform 4 along the raising and lowering path.

As shown in FIG. 2, three guide rollers 8 that abut against the top surface and the two side faces of the projecting portion 5a, respectively, are provided at the front end portion and at the rear end portion of the vertically movable platform 4. When drivingly raising or lowering the vertically movable platform 4 by the electric motor for raising and lowering M2 rotatively driving the winding drum 17 in the forward or reverse direction, the vertically movable platform 4 is guidingly raised or lowered while movement thereof in the fore-and-aft and lateral directions on the support post 5 is restricted by the guide rollers 8 abutting against the projecting portion 5a, and thus the vertically movable platform 4 is raised and lowered along the raising and lowering path.

The travel vehicle 3 is described next.

As shown in FIG. 3, the travel vehicle 3 is provided with a pair of travel wheels 9, disposed with a spacing therebetween in the fore-and-aft direction, that are rotatively driven by drive means 10 and travel along the travel rail 2. The drive means 10 is fixedly supported on a vehicle frame 16 in the travel vehicle 3, and the travel wheels 9 are rotatably supported at the front end portion and the rear end portion of the vehicle frame 16. The drive means 10 is provided for each the travel wheel 9.

As shown in FIG. 5, the travel wheels 9 are rotatably supported to the left and right of the center of the vehicle frame 16, and the drive means 10 is provided with a pair of left and right travel motors M1 supported on the vehicle frame 16 and located to the right and the left of the travel wheels 9. The right and left travel motors M1 are configured so as to rotatively drive one travel wheel 9 each, and thus the two front and rear travel wheels 9 are rotatively driven by a total of four travel motors M1.

As shown in FIGS. 2 and 5, the vehicle frame 16 is configured by connecting a pair of front and rear support frames 25 that support the travel wheels 9 and the drive means 10, via a connection frame 12. The connection frame 12 is constituted by right and left frame members 12a located on the respective side of the travel rail 2.

Each support frame 25 is configured such that the travel wheels 9 are rotatably supported to the left and right of center, the travel motors M1 are fixedly supported on the right and left side portions, and the lower end portion of the support post 5 is connected to supported by the upper end portion. The travel wheel 9 and the drive means 10 are incorporated into a single unit with the support frame 25, thereby forming a travel drive unit 11.

The travel drive units 11 are described next.

As shown in FIGS. 4 to 7, in addition to the travel wheel 9, the drive means 10, and the support frame 25, each travel drive unit 11 is provided with a unit cover 19 that covers the drive means 10, a pair of guide wheels 20 that are in contact with the travel rail 2 in order to restrict lateral movement of the stacker crane A with respect to the travel rail 2 and that guide the stacker crane A along the travel rail 2, restriction wheels 21 that are in contact with the travel rail 2 so as to restrict upward movement and thereby restrict upward floating of the travel wheel 9 from the travel rail 2, and a servo-type adjustment means 24 for adjusting the contact pressure of the restriction wheels 21 against the travel rail 2 by raising or lowering the restriction wheels 21.

An annular travel tire portion 9a, which is an elastic member made of urethane rubber, is attached to the outer circumferential portion of the travel wheel 9, and restriction tire portions 21a, which are annular elastic members made of urethane rubber, are attached to the outer circumferential portion of the restriction wheels 21.

In other words, the configuration is such that lateral movement of the stacker crane A with respect to the travel rail 2 is restricted by the guide wheels 20 abutting against the side faces of the travel rail 2, so that the stacker crane A is moved over and along the travel rail 2 by rotatively driving the travel wheels 9 with the drive means 10 so that the travel wheels 9 travel over the upper face of the travel rail 2, which has a T-shaped cross-sectional shape when viewed in the fore-and-aft direction. Further, the travel wheels 9 are kept from floating upward from the travel rail 2 by the restriction wheels 21 abutting against the lower face of the travel rail 2, keeping the travel wheels 9 from floating upward when the stacker crane A is accelerated or decelerated and thereby preventing the travel wheels 9 from slipping.

As shown in FIG. 5, an extension guide rail 22 for guiding the guide rollers 8 of the vertically movable platform 4 upward and downward is provided on the support frames 25 in such a manner that it is continuous with the projecting portion 5a of the support post 5. These allow the raising and the lowering platform 4 to be lowered close to the lower end of the stacker crane A.

As shown in FIG. 6, the travel wheels 9 are supported in such a manner that they can rotate about an axis in the horizontal direction with respect to the support frame 25. The drive means 10 are supported on the support frame 25 in such a manner that they are located on either side of the travel wheels 9. The drive means 10 are configured such that the travel motors M1 are fixedly supported on the right side and the left side portion of the support frame 25, the right and left travel motors M1 together rotatively driving one travel wheel 9. It should be noted that the drive means 10 each are provided with a braking mechanism, which is not shown because it is conventional art, in addition to the travel motors M1. The drive means 10 can also include a deceleration gear mechanism.

Describing the support frame 25 more specifically, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, the support frame 25 includes a support platform portion 25a for supporting the lower end portion of the support post 5, and right and left support portions 25b that are positioned below the support platform portion 25a and that are for supporting the travel wheels 9 and the drive means 10.

The lower end of the support post 5 is connected to the support platform portion 25a through a flange provided at the lower end of the support post 5 and nuts and bolts, and the support post 5 is supported such that the lower end of the support post 5 is positioned above the upper end of the travel wheels 9 and the upper end of the drive means 10.

Furthermore, the travel wheel 9 is supported between the right support portion 25b and the left support portion 25b in such a manner that it can rotate about an axis in the horizontal direction. The travel motors M1 are fixedly supported to the outer face side of the right support portion 25b and the left support portion 25b, and each travel motor M1 is provided on the support frame 25 so that the drive shaft of the travel motor M1 rotates about the same axis as the travel wheel 9.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 7, the frame members 12a are connected to the rear end portions of the left and right support portions 25b of the front-side support frame 25 and to the front end portions of the left and right support portions 25b of the rear-side support frame 25, and thus the pair of front and rear support frames 25 are connected via the connection frame 12.

The guide wheels 20 are supported at the front end portions of the left and right support portions 25b of the front-side support frame 25 and at the rear end portions of the left and right support portions 25b of the rear-side support frame 25, in such a manner that they can rotate about a vertical axis via guide support members 23.

Further, the restriction wheels 21 are supported at a central portion in the front-to-back direction of the left and right support portions 25b of the front-side support frame 25 and at a central portion in the front-to-back direction of the left and right support portions 25b of the rear-side support frame 25, in such a manner that they can rotate about a horizontal axis via the adjustment means 24.

The restriction wheels 21 are supported by the support frames 25 in such a manner that they are in contact with the travel rail 2 with contact pressure that is due to the elasticity of the restriction tire portions 21a. The restriction wheels 21, being in contact with the lower face of the travel rail 2 with the contact pressure, keep the travel wheels 9 from floating upward from the travel rail 2. Each restriction wheel 21 is supported in such a manner that it can be raised and lowered with respect to the corresponding travel drive unit 11, and the contact pressure applied by the restriction wheels 21 to the travel rail 2 is adjusted by raising and lowering the restriction wheels 21 with the adjustment means 24 so as to elastically deform the restriction tire portions 21a.

Describing the adjustment means 24 more specifically, as shown in FIGS. 6, 8, and 9, the adjustment means 24 is a servo-type eccentric cam mechanism that is provided with an operation member 27 that is supported by a base holder 26, which is fixedly supported to the outer surface side of the right support portion 25b and the left support portion 25b of the support frame 25, in such a manner that it can freely rotate about a horizontal axis, and a support member 28 that rotatively supports the pair of front and rear restriction wheels 21 via bearings and that is fitted into and supported by the operation member 27 in such a manner that it can pivot deviated with respect to the rotation axis of the operation member 27. The adjustment means 24 is also provided with a lock mechanism 29 that can switch between a fastened state where rotation of the operation member 27 is locked and an unfastened state in which the lock on rotation is released.

As shown in FIG. 9, the configuration of the eccentric cam mechanism of the support member 28 is such that the shaft portion 28a of the support member 28 is supported by the operation member 27 in such a manner that its pivot axis Y is parallel to the rotation axis X of the operation member 27 but deviated from the rotation axis X, so that by rotatively actuating the shaft portion 28a about the rotation axis X, the shaft portion 28a rotates in a relative manner about the pivot axis Y due to its own weight and being abutted against the travel rail 2, causing the support member 28 to move along the rotation axis X while maintaining its orientation. As a result, the support member 28 is raised and lowered with respect to the travel drive unit 11. Also, by raising and lowering the support member 28 in this manner, the two restriction wheels 21 supported by the support member 28 are also raised and lowered with respect to the travel drive unit 11, causing the restriction tire portions 21a to be elastically deformed due to abutting against the lower surface of the travel rail 2 and therefore altering the contact pressure of the restriction wheels 21 with respect to the travel rail 2.

Other Embodiments

(1) In the foregoing embodiment, a pair of front and rear travel wheels 9 that are rotatively driven by the drive means 10 are arranged at the front end portion and the rear end portion of the vehicle frame 16. However, it is also possible to adopt a configuration in which a travel wheel 9 is provided at only one of either the front end portion or the rear end portion of the vehicle frame 16, and a driven wheel that freely rotates is provided at the front end portion or the rear end portion of the vehicle frame 16 that has not been provided with the travel wheel 9.

(2) In the foregoing embodiment, the vehicle frame 16 is achieved by connecting the front and rear support frames 25 via the connection frame 12, but it is also possible for the vehicle frame 16 to be made of a single frame.

In the aforementioned embodiment, the travel wheels 9 and the drive means 10 are supported by the support frames 25, but it is also possible for the travel wheels 9 and the drive means 10 to be supported by the connection frame 12.

(3) In the foregoing embodiment, the lower ends of the support posts 5 are connected to and supported by the upper portions of the support frames 25, but it is also possible for the lower ends of the support posts 5 to be connected to and supported by the lower, forward, or rear portions of the support frames 25, or alternatively, for the lower ends of the support posts 5 to connected to and supported by the vehicle frame 16.

(4) In the foregoing embodiment, each travel motor M1 is provided such that the drive shaft of the travel motor M1 rotates about the same axis as the travel wheel 9. However, it is also possible to provide each travel motor M1 in such a manner that the rotation axis of its drive shaft is oriented vertically, for example, and thus the drive shaft of the travel motor M1 does not rotate about the same axis as the travel wheel 9.

(5) In the foregoing embodiment, the restriction wheels 21 are supported by the support frame 25 in such a manner that they are in contact with the travel rail 2 with a contact pressure due to the elasticity of the elastic members 21a. However, it is also possible for the restriction wheels 21 to be supported by the support frame 25 in such a manner that they are in contact with the travel rail 2 with a contact pressure, without providing the elastic members 21a.