Title:
Process for artificially ageing blocks
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for artificially ageing blocks, in particular concrete blocks, vitrified bricks and natural stones, has an underlying surface, on which the blocks can be placed in such a way that the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges are exposed. Provided here are essentially freely movable distressing bodies for applying to the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges. Also provided is a vibration device, to set the blocks and the distressing bodies in motion in relation to one another in such a way that the distressing bodies act on the surface and the exposed edges of the blocks. A limiting device restricts the lateral or horizontal movement of the distressing bodies essentially to the surface of the blocks. Further provided is an extraction device which extracts dust and/or fragments during the distressing action of the distressing bodies, the extraction device having a suction region which at least almost encloses the surface of the blocks to be worked.



Inventors:
Rothdach, Martin (Holzguenz, DE)
Sauter, Hermann (Tannheim, DE)
Application Number:
11/239648
Publication Date:
04/20/2006
Filing Date:
09/29/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/596
International Classes:
E04C2/04; E04D15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070151194Lifting system and apparatus for constructing wind turbine towersJuly, 2007Livingston et al.
20050257451Moment frame links wallNovember, 2005Pryor et al.
20020100235Systems, methods, and articles of manufacture for use in panelized constructionAugust, 2002Weiss
20090071095Methods and Systems for Manufacture of a Rot-Resistant ShutterMarch, 2009Buchwald
20040093827Louvered dock system with roost inhibitorMay, 2004Waldron
20070028537Doorframe structureFebruary, 2007Chuang
20080307713SCUPPER FOR ENCLOSED PATIO, PORCH OR POOLDecember, 2008Smoronk
20080250748Joist HolderOctober, 2008Lewis et al.
20070074475Storm door insertApril, 2007Kopach
20070144109Method of Camouflaging a Structure Against a Background Having a Generally Uniform CompositionJune, 2007Larue
20090000232Floor Covering, Floor Panel and Method For Manufacturing Floor PanelsJanuary, 2009Thiers et al.



Primary Examiner:
ELEY, TIMOTHY V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Finch & Maloney PLLC (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:
1. 1-27. (canceled)

28. An apparatus for artificially ageing blocks, in particular concrete blocks, vitrified bricks and natural stones, with the following features: an underlying surface, on which the blocks can be placed in such a way that the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges are exposed; essentially freely movable distressing bodies for applying to the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges; a vibration device, to set the blocks and the distressing bodies in motion in relation to one another in such a way that the distressing bodies act on the surface and the exposed edges of the blocks; and a limiting device, which restricts the lateral or horizontal movement of the distressing bodies essentially to the surface of the blocks; with provision of an extraction device (6) which extracts dust and/or fragments during the distressing action of the distressing bodies (3), the extraction device (6) having a suction region (7) which at least almost encloses the surface (1a) of the blocks (1) to be worked.

29. The apparatus as claimed in claim 28, wherein the suction region (7) has a base area (8) which corresponds at least to the horizontal extent of the blocks (1) arranged in interlocking formation on the underlying surface (2), side walls (9) that are suitable for laterally enclosing the blocks (1) arranged in interlocking formation being formed.

30. The apparatus as claimed in claim 29, wherein the base area is formed by the underside (8) of a magnet (4) provided for at least one of depositing and removing of the distressing bodies (3).

31. The apparatus as claimed in claim 29, wherein the side walls (9) encloses at least an upper region of the blocks (1) during the ageing process and is formed as a limiting device for the distressing bodies (3).

32. The apparatus as claimed in claim 31, wherein the underside (8) of the magnet (4), the side walls (9) and the upper side (1a) of the blocks (1) to be worked forming an at least almost enclosing space (10) during the ageing process.

33. The apparatus as claimed in claim 32, wherein the side walls (9) have a height which ensures that the distressing bodies (3) do not contact the underside (8) of the magnet (4) during the ageing process.

34. The apparatus as claimed in claim 29, wherein the side walls (9) is formed as a frame and connected to the underside (8) of the magnet (4) one of directly and via at least one further element.

35. The apparatus as claimed in claim 28, wherein the extraction device (6) has a number of suction pipes (11), which open out into the suction region (7).

36. The apparatus as claimed in claim 28, wherein the extraction device (6) has a second suction region (13), through which the blocks (1) run after the distressing action by the distressing bodies (3).

37. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein the underlying surface (2) is formed as a conveyor belt.

38. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein the underlying surface (2) is formed as a plate and displaceable by a conveying device in the conveying direction.

39. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein the underlying surface (2) is formed as a stationarily arranged plate, the blocks (1) resting on the plate is displaceable on the plate by a conveying device in the conveying direction.

40. The apparatus as claimed in claim 39, wherein the plate (2) is formed as a vibration table (5a) connected to the vibration device (5).

41. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein the second suction region (13) is arranged after the first suction region (7) in the conveying direction.

42. The apparatus as claimed in one of claims 36, wherein the second suction region (13) reaches over the blocks (1) transversely in relation to the running-in direction.

43. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein the second suction region (13) is provided with stripping elements (14), preferably brushes, which strip dust, fragments and the like from the surface (1a) of the blocks (1).

44. The apparatus as claimed in claim 36, wherein a number of suction pipes (15) open out into the second suction region (13).

45. The apparatus as claimed in claim 28, wherein the extraction device (6) has a switching device (16) which connects a suction unit (17) of the extraction device (6) to at least one of the first suction region (7) and the second suction region (13).

46. The apparatus as claimed in claim 45, wherein the suction unit (17) operates with constant power and the switching device (16) connects the suction unit (17) to at least one of the first suction region (7) and the second suction region (13).

47. An apparatus for artificially ageing blocks, in particular concrete blocks, vitrified bricks and natural stones, with the following features: an underlying surface, on which the blocks can be placed in such a way that the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges are exposed; essentially freely movable distressing bodies for applying to the surface to be worked and the adjoining edges; a vibration device, to set the blocks and the distressing bodies in motion in relation to one another in such a way that the distressing bodies act on the surface and the exposed edges of the blocks; and a limiting device, which restricts the lateral or horizontal movement of the distressing bodies essentially to the surface of the blocks; with provision of an extraction device (6) which extracts dust and/or fragments after the distressing action of the distressing bodies (3) and reaches over the blocks (1) transversely or obliquely in relation to the running-through direction.

48. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein the blocks (1) are continuously movable by at least one of the underlying surface (2) and by the conveying device in the conveying direction.

49. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein the blocks (1) is discontinuously movable by at least one of the underlying surface (2) and by the conveying device in the conveying direction.

50. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein a suction region (7) of the extraction device (6) is provided with stripping elements (14), preferably brushes, which strip dust, fragments and the like from the surface (1a) of the blocks (1).

51. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein a vibration device (5) is provided to set the blocks (1) in motion during the extraction by the extraction device (6).

52. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein a covering shroud (19) is provided to reduce expulsion of at least one of dust and fragments during the distressing action of the distressing bodies (3) on the blocks (1).

53. The apparatus as claimed in claim 47, wherein the extraction device (6) has a suction region (7) which at least almost encloses the surface (1a) of the blocks (1) to be worked.

54. The apparatus as claimed in claim 28, wherein the extraction device (6) has a rotating brush (20).

Description:

This application claims priority from German Application Serial No. 10 2004 048 147.4 filed Oct. 2, 2004.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an apparatus for artificially ageing blocks, in particular concrete blocks, vitrified bricks and natural stones.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Blocks, for example paving elements, facade elements, sand-lime blocks, concrete blocks, bricks or vitrified bricks, natural stones and the like, are often subjected to subsequent treatment, irrespective of the nature of their material, in order in this way to lose their artificial appearance.

Particularly frequently, freshly produced, set concrete blocks, in particular concrete paving slabs, are subjected to such subsequent treatment, in the course of which the surfaces and/or the edges are distressed or broken, in order in this way to adapt the appearance to that of natural stones. For this purpose, the concrete blocks are introduced in relatively large numbers into a rotating drum, where they are “rumbled”, the surfaces and edges of the blocks striking against one another and the blocks treated in this way leaving the drum in an “aged” state. Such an apparatus is known from DE-A 29 22 393.

When concrete blocks are treated in a rotating drum, surfaces and edges which are not even visible, for example when the aged blocks are used in paving, are also worked. To this extent, energy and time are unnecessarily wasted. Furthermore, for shipping purposes it is necessary to arrange the concrete blocks which have been treated and have left the rotating drum in a regular arrangement on a pallet, which requires an inordinate amount of work and time.

The prior art discloses for the sorting of the blocks sorting installations which appropriately align the blocks and arrange them in pallet form. Such sorting installations cause high procurement and operating costs and also have a corresponding space requirement.

DE 36 21 276 C2 discloses a process in which concrete blocks are applied as a single layer in regular arrangement to an underlying surface in the form of a panel. Subsequently, the exposed surface and the adjoining exposed edges, or essentially only the edges, of the concrete blocks are distressed in an irregular manner by means of a vibrating striking or distressing device.

This process makes it possible to dispense with a subsequent sorting device, since the layer of blocks as they are produced is not changed. The distressing tools of the distressing device are arranged on a movable carriage, which takes them over the surfaces of the blocks, so that the free surfaces and the upper edges of the blocks are distressed in an irregular manner by the distressing tools.

However, a disadvantage of this process is that the blocks aged in this way look as though they have been artificially worked and not naturally aged. An ideal edge rupture of the blocks, as produced by the rumbling of the blocks in a rotating drum, is not obtained by using the process of the congeneric document

EP 0 860 258 B2 discloses an apparatus and a process in which the blocks are arranged in one or two layers, preferably in the layer in which they are produced, between two elements, preferably plates. In this arrangement, the lower plate, on which the concrete blocks rest, is in operative connection with a vibration device. The vibration device is used to bring the blocks into movement, so that they are moved back and forth between the plates. As this happens, the blocks strike against one another and against the upper and lower plates, whereby the edges are broken on the upper side and underside. Furthermore, the upper sides and undersides of the blocks are distressed by the respectively assigned plates. The vertical side edges of the concrete blocks and the side faces are broken or distressed by the respectively adjacent concrete blocks.

It has been found in tests that the edge rupture is that much worse the larger the size of the block to be aged. This is a result of the fact that the distressing angle is all the more shallow the larger the size of the block lodged between the plates. The shallow distressing angle results in unfavorable rupture of the edges.

In a way analogous to the ageing process by means of the rotating drum, there is the disadvantage that surfaces and edges of the blocks which are possibly not visible are worked, resulting in energy and time being unnecessarily wasted. In addition, the necessary working time, in particular in the case of set concrete blocks, is high and the edge rupture is not ideal.

The general state of the art discloses an ageing process used by the construction materials company Gebhart & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG in which the blocks are applied to an underlying surface. Subsequently, essentially freely movable distressing bodies are applied to the surfaces of the blocks that are to be worked. The blocks and the distressing bodies are set in motion in relation to one another by a vibrating motion of the underlying surface in such a way that the distressing bodies act in a distressing manner on the surface and the adjoining, exposed edges of the blocks. This produces rapid and effective ageing of the surface of the blocks and the adjoining exposed edges. The intensity of the motion of the blocks and of the distressing bodies is dependent on the vibration and the number of distressing bodies and their weight. The distressing bodies are repelled upward from the surface of the blocks on which they rest. Due to the force of gravity, the distressing bodies subsequently fall back again onto the surface of the blocks and collide with them, or have an “ageing” effect on them. The blocks are distressed in an irregular manner by the random upward propulsion of the distressing bodies and likewise random falling back of the distressing bodies. This produces a visual appearance corresponding to that of a naturally aged block.

In one embodiment of this ageing process it is provided that the blocks are aged in the layer in which they are produced. The blocks may in this case be applied to the underlying surface, preferably in the form of a panel, as a single layer. After that, the distressing bodies are placed onto the surface of the blocks, the underlying surface subsequently being made to vibrate, or made to vibrate already before the distressing bodies are placed on. The ageing of an entire layer of blocks produced can consequently be carried out in a time- and energy-saving manner. The result thereby corresponds at least to the result of blocks aged in a rotating drum.

Subsequent sorting of the blocks is not necessary in the case of the process of the construction materials company Gebhart & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG.

In one embodiment it is envisaged that the underlying surface on which the blocks are placed is provided with a surrounding border, by which the applied blocks are limited in their lateral movement. It is provided in this case that the surrounding border surrounds the blocks with play, so that the blocks can assume a distance from one another which permits the distressing bodies to act between two adjoining edges of the blocks and/or of one block and the surrounding border. It is provided in this case that the surrounding border rises up above the surface of the blocks in the vertical direction, so that a lateral limitation is formed for the distressing bodies. The lateral limitation thereby restricts the movement of the distressing bodies essentially to the surface of the blocks. After working, it is envisaged to remove the distressing bodies again from the surface of the blocks.

According to the process of the construction materials company Gebhart & Söhne GmbH & Co. KG, it is envisaged for the distressing bodies to be formed from hard metal, metal or steel, it being intended that the distressing bodies are lifted off the surface magnetically. For this purpose it is envisaged to arrange a magnet above the surface of the blocks. The distance of the magnet from the surface of the blocks is in this case chosen such that the distressing bodies do not touch the magnet during the working of the surface of the blocks.

In tests it has been found that, during the ageing of the blocks, i.e. while the distressing bodies are acting on the surface of the blocks, a thick cloud of dust forms, making it considerably more difficult to operate the apparatus. In addition, the distressing action produces fragments, both on the upper side of the blocks and between the blocks. Pushing the blocks together, in order subsequently to apply them to a pallet and stack them there, is made more difficult by the fragments.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is therefore based on the object of providing an apparatus for artificially ageing blocks which overcomes the aforementioned disadvantages of the prior art, in particular prevents the ageing process or further transportation of the blocks being made more difficult by clouds of dust and fragments.

By the solution achieving the object as provided by the invention, the fragments produced by the distressing action by means of the distressing bodies and the dust produced are extracted by suction immediately or during the ageing process. As a result, hindrance of the operator and pollution of the surroundings with mineral dust are avoided. Furthermore, fragments are largely prevented from penetrating between the blocks or coming to lie on the blocks and in this way hindering further processing or further transportation of the blocks.

The fact that the extraction device has a suction region which at least almost encloses the surface of the blocks to be worked ensures that the dust produced is largely extracted.

It is of advantage if the suction region has a base area which corresponds at least to the horizontal extent of the blocks arranged in an interlocking formation on the underlying surface, side walls that are suitable for laterally engageing the blocks arranged in the interlocking formation being formed.

Consequently, the suction region is formed somewhat in the form of a box, the open side face of the box-shaped suction region facing the surface of the blocks, and the side walls preferably laterally enclosing the blocks arranged in interlocking formation.

Consequently, when the side walls laterally enclose the blocks arranged in interlocking formation, the suction region represents an approximately enclosed space. The dust and the like produced by the working of the blocks is consequently restricted essentially to this enclosed space. This has distinct advantages not only with respect to the extraction but also with respect to the entire working environment and the operator.

A surprisingly good result has been found here in tests.

It is of advantage if the base area is formed by the underside of a magnet provided for depositing and/or removing the distressing bodies. The side walls may in this case preferably be arranged in the form of a frame and be connected to the underside of the magnet directly or by means of further elements. Formation of the suction region with a base area which represents the underside of the magnet and a frame-shaped arrangement of the side walls on the underside of the magnet has been found to be particularly suitable. It may be provided in this respect that the magnet, and consequently also the suction region, is brought up to the surface of the blocks by means of a guiding device or a lifting device (for example a hydraulic device or the like). Consequently, the same guiding device that is provided for lifting the distressing bodies off the surface and placing them on it is used at the same time for positioning the suction region of the extraction device in such a way that the dust and fragments produced during the ageing of the blocks can be reliably extracted. In a simple way, the side walls may have a height that ensures that the distressing bodies do not contact the underside of the magnet during the ageing process. It is advantageous in this respect if, during the ageing process, the side walls enclose at least an upper region of the blocks but the distance between the surface of the blocks and the underside of the magnet is so great that the distressing bodies cannot touch the underside of the magnet during the ageing process.

Even if lateral enclosure of the upper region of the blocks by the side walls of the suction region has been found to be advantageous, this is not absolutely necessary. The lower edge of the side walls may also be positioned above the upper edge of the blocks during the ageing process, so that the ageing process can be observed if need be. However, the difference between the surface of the blocks and the lower edge of the side walls should in this case not be greater than the diameter of the distressing bodies, in order to prevent the distressing bodies from escaping through the gap. In this case, an additional surrounding border, which surrounds or encloses the blocks, on the underlying surface is advantageous to restrict the lateral or horizontal movement.

In a development of the invention it is provided that the extraction device has a second suction region, which the blocks run through after the ageing station, in which the blocks are aged by the distressing action of the distressing bodies. Consequently, the blocks can be removed directly from the ageing station after completion of the actual ageing process. Any remains of dust, fragments or pieces of rock there may be can be subsequently extracted through the second suction region of the extraction device. This has been found to be advantageous with regard to rapid and efficient working of the blocks.

It is of advantage in this respect if the underlying surface is formed as a conveyor belt and the second suction region is arranged downstream of the ageing station in the conveying direction. The second suction region preferably reaches over the blocks transversely in relation to the running-through direction. This ensures that all the blocks run through the second suction region. It has been found to be advantageous if the second suction region is provided with stripping elements, preferably brushes, bristles or the like, which strip the fragments, the dust or the like from the upper side of the blocks. This simplifies the stacking of the layers of blocks in which they are produced on pallets or the like and improves the extraction through the second suction region of the extraction device.

In a structural refinement of the invention, it is also provided that the extraction device has a switching device, which connects a suction unit of the extraction device to the first suction region and/or the second suction region. It is preferably provided in this respect that the suction unit operates with constant power and the switching device connects either the first suction region or the second suction region to the suction unit. Consequently, the full suction power is fed either to the first suction region or to the second suction region. It is simple to organize the process flow in such a way that the two suction regions do not have to extract simultaneously. In an advantageous way, it is consequently only necessary for there to be one suction unit, which can operate with constant power and is connected as required to the appropriate suction region.

It goes without saying that it is also possible in alternative embodiments for more than two suction regions to be provided.

As an alternative to the underlying surface being formed as a conveyor belt which feeds the blocks to the ageing station or the suction regions, the underlying surface may also be formed as a plate which is displaceable by a conveying device. The blocks consequently rest on a plate which is fed to the ageing station or the suction devices by being driven by a corresponding conveying device, for which many solutions are suggested by the general state of the art.

As an alternative to this, it may also be provided that the underlying surface is formed as a stationary plate, i.e. not movable in relation to the ageing station and to the suction devices, preferably of metal. The blocks may in this case be applied to the plate and displaced in relation to the plate in the conveying direction. It is advantageous in this respect if the blocks are arranged in series next to one another, so that the newly fed-in blocks displace the blocks that are already on the plate in relation to the plate in the conveying direction. The blocks are consequently pushed through the ageing station or the suction regions in series next to one another. In one embodiment, it may be provided in this case that the plate is the vibration table connected to the vibration device. This represents a particularly low-cost solution.

In one configuration it may be provided that the extraction device extracts dust and/or fragments after the distressing action of the distressing bodies, the extraction device having a suction region which at least almost encloses the surface of the blocks to be worked.

Although it has been found in tests that extraction during the distressing action is particularly effective with regard to a short cycle time, it is also possible in principle to extract dust and/or fragments only after the distressing action on the blocks. The construction of such an extraction device may in this case be identical to the construction already described.

In an alternative configuration, furthermore, it is possible to provide an extraction device to which the blocks are fed after the distressing action by the distressing bodies, the extraction device extracting stones and/or fragments and reaching over the blocks transversely or obliquely in relation to the running-through direction. This allows the extraction function to be spatially separated from the ageing function. The extraction device may in this case correspond to the second suction region already described, without provision of a first suction region which carries out an extraction during the distressing action of the distressing bodies on the blocks.

The spatial separation makes it possible to extract dust and/or fragments after the distressing action without necessarily prolonging the cycle time. In the case of discontinuous conveyance of the blocks, it may be provided in this case that, once they have been aged by the distressing bodies, the blocks are further transported by a position and fed to the extraction device. At the same time, a new layer of blocks may be introduced into the actual ageing region. While the newly introduced layer of blocks is being aged by the distressing bodies, dust and/or fragments can be extracted from the already aged layer of blocks by the extraction device. This avoids a loss of cycle time by the downstream extraction device.

In the case of continuous conveyance of the blocks, it is likewise possible to avoid prolonging the cycle time by the downstream extraction. In the case of continuous conveyance of the blocks, the distressing bodies may be kept within a specific area by corresponding limitations, the blocks being conveyed through under the limitations. After running through this area or the ageing region, the blocks are conveyed through under the extraction device.

In the case of solutions which dispense with extraction during the actual ageing process, it may be provided that the ageing region is at least partially covered by a covering shroud, in order to reduce expulsion of dust during the ageing process.

In tests it has been found to be particularly advantageous if the blocks are made to vibrate during the extraction. The dust generated by the distressing action of the distressing bodies is made to swirled up by vibration of the blocks and can consequently be advantageously taken up by the extraction device, preferably by a horizontal air stream. The use of a vibration device to set the blocks in motion has been found to be particularly suitable here, it being possible in a structurally advantageous way to use the vibration device that is already present to set the blocks and the distressing bodies in motion in relation to one another.

In tests it has been found that the solution according to the invention in which extraction is carried out already during the ageing, and if need be subsequently, is particularly advantageous. However, the solutions in which extraction takes place after the distressing action likewise lead to serviceable devices—possibly with a more complex construction and greater cycle time.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Advantageous developments and refinements emerge from the exemplary embodiments. Two exemplary embodiments of the invention are presented in principle hereafter.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a layer of blocks as produced, during the ageing process;

FIG. 2 shows a side view of a layer of blocks as produced, which have been applied to an underlying surface, with an extraction device connected to a magnet arranged above them;

FIG. 3 shows a representation according to FIG. 2, the extraction device having been lowered to carry out the extraction process, and enclosing an upper region of the blocks;

FIG. 4 shows a view from below of the magnet and the suction region of the extraction device that is formed by the underside of the magnet and the side walls, according to the direction of the arrow IV of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 shows a detail of the suction region, of the magnet, of the distressing bodies and of the blocks to be aged during the implementation of the ageing process;

FIG. 6 shows a representation of the extraction device with two suction regions, the underlying surface on which the blocks rest, formed as a conveyor belt, and the blocks being transported from the first suction region to the second suction region by means of the conveyor belt;

FIG. 7 shows a representation of an alternative extraction device, which the blocks run through after the distressing action by the distressing bodies; and

FIG. 8 shows an alternative configuration of the extraction device with a rotating brush.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

According to the invention, any desired blocks, for example paving elements, facade elements, sand-lime blocks, concrete blocks, bricks or vitrified bricks or natural stones, can be aged, irrespective of the nature of their material. The ageing of blocks 1 which are formed as concrete blocks is presented below on the basis of the exemplary embodiment. However, it goes without saying that the invention is not restricted to this.

The production of concrete blocks 1, in particular of concrete paving slabs, is sufficiently known, for which reason it is not discussed in any more detail here. The concrete blocks 1 generally leave the production installation in a layer in which they are produced, i.e. in an arrangement in which a multiplicity of concrete blocks 1 are arranged next to one another as a single layer. Such a production installation is represented by way of example in FIGS. 1 to 3.

As can be seen from FIG. 1, the concrete blocks 1 are applied as a single layer to an underlying surface 2. The concrete blocks 1 are in this case arranged in such a way that the edges 1b respectively to be worked, or the surface 1a to be worked (=generally the side that will be visible later) of the block 1 lies at the top.

FIG. 1 shows a plurality of distressing bodies 3, which have been applied to or placed onto the surface 1a of the blocks 1. The distressing bodies 3 are freely movable with respect to the surface 1a. The distressing bodies 3 are likewise freely movable with respect to one another. The distressing bodies 3 may be produced from any desired material. In the exemplary embodiment, it is provided that the distressing bodies 3 are formed from hard metal, metal or steel. The form of the distressing bodies 3 may likewise be chosen as desired, it having been found to be advantageous to form the distressing bodies 3 in a spherical, annular, polygonal or cylindrical manner. In the exemplary embodiment represented, the distressing bodies 3 are formed in a spherical manner.

A magnet 4 is provided in order to deposit the distressing bodies 3 onto the surface 1a of the blocks 1 and remove them again from the latter. By appropriate magnetizing or demagnetizing of the magnet 4, the distressing bodies 3 are either attracted by the magnet 4 or fall from it (due to gravitational force) in the direction of the surface 1a of the blocks 1.

Once the distressing bodies 3 are resting on the surface 1a of the blocks 1, the vibration process, or the actual ageing process, begins. FIG. 2 shows a positioning of the layer of blocks 1 before the beginning of the ageing process. In an alternative embodiment, it may also be provided in this case that the vibration process is already in progress while the distressing bodies 3 are applied. FIG. 1 shows a possible representation or arrangement of the blocks 1 during the ageing process, i.e. during the vibration of the underlying surface 2. To produce the vibration, vibration devices 5, such as that represented for example in FIG. 2, 3 or 6, may be used. The vibration devices 5 may be formed, for example, as unbalanced mass vibration generators. The blocks 1 and the distressing bodies 3 are set in motion in relation to one another by the vibration device 5 in such a way that the distressing bodies 3 act on the surface 1a and the exposed edges 1b of the blocks 1. The vibrating motion of the underlying surface 2 causes the distressing bodies 3 to be repelled from the surface 1a of the blocks 1, in order subsequently to fall back again onto the surface 1a or the edges 1b.

The dust and pieces of rock produced during the ageing process, i.e. during the action of the distressing bodies 3 on the blocks 1, are extracted according to the invention by an extraction device 6. The extraction device 6 has a suction region 7, which at least almost encloses the surface 1a of the blocks 1 to be worked. In the exemplary embodiment, a layer of blocks 1 as produced is arranged on the underlying surface 2. The suction region 7 in this case encloses the surface of the entire layer of blocks 1 as produced. Generally, the blocks 1 arranged in a layer in which they are produced are placed onto the underlying surface 2 before the vibration devices 5 introduce the vibrations. The blocks 1 are in this case closely adjacent one another, generally in the way in which the blocks 1 were produced. It is only as a result of the vibration introduced that the blocks 1 move apart, so that the formation represented in FIG. 1 is obtained. In the exemplary embodiment it is provided in this respect that the suction region 7 has a base area 8 which almost corresponds to the horizontal extent of the blocks 1 arranged in interlocking formation on the underlying surface 2, even when the blocks 1 have taken up a defined distance from one another because of the vibrations. In this case, side walls 9 that are suitable for laterally enclosing the blocks 1 arranged in interlocking formation are formed.

The base area 8 of the suction region 7 is formed in the exemplary embodiment by the underside of the magnet 4 provided for the depositing and/or removal of the distressing bodies 3. As FIG. 3 reveals, the side walls 9 of the suction region 7 enclose at least an upper region of the blocks 1 during the ageing process. The side walls 9 are in this case formed as a limiting device for the distressing bodies 3. The lateral or horizontal movement of the distressing bodies 3 is consequently essentially restricted to the surface 1a of the blocks 1.

In the exemplary embodiment, the side walls 9 also serve for limiting the lateral or horizontal movement of the blocks 1. The side walls 9 in this case enclose an entire layer of blocks 1 as produced. The area enclosed by the side walls 9 is in this case greater than the surface area which the blocks 1 take up when they are adjacently arranged. Consequently—as a result of the vibrating motion of the underlying support 2—the blocks 1 have the possibility of assuming a distance from one another. This is represented in FIG. 1. For reasons of overall clarity, FIG. 1 does not show the side walls 9, which enclose the upper region of the blocks 1 and the distressing bodies 3 during the ageing process according to FIG. 3.

The side walls 9 make it possible that the blocks 1 can assume a distance from one another which permits the distressing bodies 3 to act on two adjoining edges 1b of two blocks 1 and/or of one block 1 and of a side wall 9, without the distressing bodies 3 being able to penetrate completely into the intermediate spaces produced.

As can be seen from FIG. 5 when considered together with FIG. 3, the underside 8 of the magnet 4, the side walls 9 and the upper side 1a of the blocks 1 to be worked form an at least almost enclosed space 10 during the ageing process. The distressing bodies 3 for working the blocks 1 move within the enclosed space 10. The side walls 9 have a height which ensures that the distressing bodies 3 do not contact the underside 8 of the magnet 4 during the ageing process.

As can be seen from FIG. 4, the side walls 9 are formed as a frame or connected to one another in the form of a frame. In the exemplary embodiment, the side walls 9 are directly connected to the underside 8 of the magnet 4. Many solutions for this are suggested by the general state of the art. The underside 8 and the side walls 9 (considered together) are formed as a dish, box or cup.

In the exemplary embodiment, the extraction device 6 has a number of suction pipes 11, which open out into the suction region 7. In the exemplary embodiment, the suction region 7 according to FIG. 3 and FIG. 5 corresponds to the enclosed space 10, so that the dust and the fragments generated during the working of the blocks 1 can be effectively extracted. The expulsion of dust from the enclosed space 10 is largely avoided, and in addition the suction power is not reduced by unnecessarily taking in “clean” ambient air.

As can be seen from FIG. 4, the side walls 9 are provided with air slits 9a or openings, through which air can flow into the suction region 7. This on the one hand avoids a negative pressure in the suction region 7, on the other hand it has the effect, as found in tests, that the arrangement of the suction pipes 11 and the air slits 9a can produce an advantageous and strong air stream by which dust and fragments can be effectively extracted. The air slits 9a are preferably arranged on the side lying opposite the suction pipes 11, so that a cross flow is created.

After the working of the surface 1a and/or the edges 1b of the blocks 1 (according to FIG. 3 and FIG. 5), the distressing bodies 3 are magnetically lifted off the surface 1a. For this purpose, the magnet 4, and consequently also the suction region 7 formed by the underside 8 and the side walls 9, is connected to a movable guiding device 12, which can lower and raise the magnet 4. Many solutions for the configuration of the guiding device 12 are known from the general state of the art.

FIG. 4 shows the suction region 7, formed by the underside 8 and the side walls 9, as well as the magnet 4 in a view from below. The distressing bodies 3 are in this case located on the underside 8 of the magnet 4 and are attracted by it. In order to begin the actual ageing process, the suction region 7 is lowered together with the magnet 4 by the guiding device 12 until the side walls 9 enclose an upper region of the blocks 1. This is represented in FIG. 3. After reaching this position, which is also represented in section in FIG. 5, the ageing process can begin. As a result of the vibration devices 5, the distressing bodies 3 are set in motion and repelled upward, so that subsequently, due to gravitational force, they fall back again onto the surface 1a or the edges 1b of the blocks 1 with distressing action. On account of the vibration, the blocks 1 move laterally or horizontally, so that the position represented in FIG. 1 is obtained.

After completion of the ageing process, the distressing bodies 3 are attracted or picked up again by the magnet 4, to adhere to the underside 8 of the magnet 4. After that, the magnet 4, and consequently also the suction region 7 formed by the underside 8 and the side walls 9, is raised again. The aged layer of blocks 1 as produced can be removed and a new layer of blocks as produced can be fed in. In this way, the starting position represented in FIG. 2 is re-established.

In the exemplary embodiment, the underlying surface 2 is formed as a conveyor belt. A vibration table 5a or an underlying vibratory surface is arranged between the underlying surface 2 formed as a conveyor belt and the vibration devices 5.

As can be seen from FIG. 6, the extraction device 6 has a second suction region 13, through which the blocks 1 run after the ageing station, in which the blocks 1 are aged by the distressing action by the distressing bodies 3. The second suction region 13 is arranged downstream of the ageing station in the conveying direction, and consequently also downstream of the first suction region 7. The second suction region 13 reaches over the blocks 1 transversely in relation to the running-through direction or the conveying direction of the conveyor belt 2. The second suction region 13 is provided with stripping elements 14, which strip dust, fragments and the like from the surface of the blocks 1. This may be, for example, dust and fragments which were not taken up by the first suction region 7 or have only subsequently become detached from the blocks 1, for example as a result of further transportation. The stripping elements 14 are formed in the exemplary embodiment as brushes arranged closely adjacent one another. A number of suction pipes 15 open out into the second suction region 13.

As can also be seen from FIG. 6, the extraction device 6 has a switching device 16, which connects a suction unit 17 of the extraction device 6 either to the first suction region 7 or to the second suction region 13. In the exemplary embodiment, the suction unit 17 operates with constant power, the switching device 16 controlling from which suction region 7, 13 extraction takes place. The switching device 16 may have, for example, a pneumatic cylinder for the switching.

FIG. 6 shows a layer of blocks 1 as produced, while they are being transported from the ageing station or the first suction region 7. The blocks 1 of a layer as produced that are at the front in the conveying direction in this case already run through the second suction region 13 while the blocks 1 at the rear in the conveying direction have not yet completely left the suction region 7. It goes without saying that the suction region 7 and the suction region 13 may also be spatially separate from each other to such an extent that the blocks 1 of a layer as produced that are at the front in the conveying direction only reach the suction region 13 when the blocks 1 at the rear in the conveying direction have already left the first suction region 7. In the exemplary embodiment it is provided that the switching device 16 has already switched off the first suction region 7, i.e. closed access to the suction pipes 11, when the blocks 1 of a layer as produced that are at the front in the conveying direction are being fed to the second suction region 13.

The magnet 4 and the suction unit 17 may be formed in a conventional manner.

The extraction device 6 described above in the exemplary embodiment may also be operated in such a way that the extraction extracts dust and/or fragments only after the distressing action of the distressing bodies 3. According to FIGS. 1 to 6 of the exemplary embodiment, otherwise no changes are structurally necessary for this purpose.

FIG. 7 shows the embodiment of the invention that is an alternative to FIGS. 1 to 6, with provision of an extraction device 6 through which the blocks 1 run after the distressing action by the distressing bodies 3, with the extraction device 6 extracting dust and/or fragments. The extraction device 6 reaches over the blocks 1 transversely in relation to the running-through direction. According to FIG. 7, the blocks 1 are moved continuously in the conveying direction. The underlying surface 2 is in this case formed as a conveyor belt. As an alternative to this, other structural measures are also known from the general state of the art—in particular measures that have already been described with respect to FIGS. 1 to 6—to convey the blocks 1 in the conveying direction.

The blocks 1 first run through a region in which the distressing bodies 3 are arranged. Provided here are lateral limitations 18, which restrict the lateral or horizontal movement of the distressing bodies 3 to a defined region. The blocks 1 run through under the lateral limitations 18 and, as they run through, are aged in the way already described. According to FIG. 7, the lateral limitations 18 are represented in principle as a frame. Once the blocks 1 have run through the region with the distressing bodies 3, they are fed to the extraction device 6, or run continuously through under the extraction device 6. As this happens, the blocks 1 are set in motion or kept in motion by the vibration device 5, so that the dust and fragments to be extracted are made to swirl up and can be taken up more easily by the extraction device 6.

The extraction device 6 according to the embodiment as shown in FIG. 7 may be configured in any way desired. The extraction device 6 may in this case be constructed in a way analogous to the extraction device 6 according to FIGS. 1 to 6, for example have a suction region 7. However, the suction region of the extraction device 6 according to FIG. 7 may also be configured according to the suction region 13 of FIGS. 1 to 6. In particular, the suction region of the extraction device 6 according to the embodiment of FIG. 7 may also be provided with stripping elements, preferably brushes, which strip dust, fragments and the like from the surface 1a of the blocks 1.

The embodiment according to FIG. 7 permits continuous or discontinuous operation of the apparatus according to the invention. In the case of discontinuous operation, it may be provided that the extraction device 6 has, by analogy with the embodiment according to FIGS. 1 to 6, a suction region which can be lowered.

In particular if continuous operation is envisaged, the extraction device 6 according to the embodiment as shown in FIG. 7 need not be adapted to the entire surface area of a layer of blocks as produced, since the blocks 1 can in any case be fed in independently of the layer. The dimensions of the suction region of the extraction device 6 according to FIG. 7 may be based in an advantageous way on the desired suction power.

Unless there is any reason to the contrary, the features described with respect to the embodiment according to FIGS. 1 to 6 may also be realized in the case of the embodiment according to FIG. 7.

FIG. 7 shows a covering shroud 19, which is suitable for at least partially covering the region in which the distressing bodies 3 acts with an ageing effect on the surface 1a of the blocks 1, so that expulsion of dust is reduced.

FIG. 8 shows a configuration of the extraction device 6 in which a rotating brush 20 is used. The rotating brush is in this case formed as a brush roller 20 and rotates counter to the running-through direction of the blocks 1. Consequently, dust and the like remaining on the surface 1a of the blocks 1 is brushed off and fed to a suction region 13. In the exemplary embodiment, the suction region 13 is arranged between the stripping elements 14, for example a brush strip 14, the suction region 13 preferably adjoining the brush strip 14. The brush strip 14 consequently serves as a limitation for the dust that is made to swirl up or stripped off by the brush roller 20.

According to the embodiment represented in FIG. 8, it is provided that the blocks 1 run through under the brush strip 14 and only large pieces of rock are retained by the latter. The brush elements of the brush strip 14 preferably are in this case at a small distance from the surface 1a of the blocks 1.

The exemplary embodiment according to FIG. 8 may be used in all the exemplary embodiments described above, for example instead of the suction region 13 of the embodiment according to FIG. 6 or the suction region 7 of the embodiment according to FIG. 7.





 
Previous Patent: Wall support and plumb brace

Next Patent: Wall panel system