Title:
Installation for gravimetrical combining of bulk product components
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An installation for gravimetric combining of individual bulk good components from a series of storage containers each having a dosage device and with a bulk product chute for combining into a mixture in a transport container, the transport container cooperating with a weighing device and can be disposed beneath the bulk good chutes of the storage containers and, in dependence on the recipe for mixture, can be brought into contact with the chutes of the corresponding storage container and, subsequent to weighing of the correspondent component, can be brought to a discharge location, is characterized in that a stationary weighing device is provided below each bulk product chute and rails are disposed between the chutes and the weighing devices for accepting a shuttle holding a transport container, wherein each weighing device has an a lifting device by means of which a transport container can be lifted out of the shuttle and be brought into contact with a chute disposed above same for weighing in a component.



Inventors:
Baumann, Rudolf (Osterburken, DE)
Application Number:
11/391425
Publication Date:
10/12/2006
Filing Date:
03/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B3/26
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NIESZ, JASON KAROL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENTANWAELTE LICHTI + PARTNER GBR (KARLSRUHE, DE)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An installation for gravimetric combining of individual bulk product components, the installation comprising: a plurality of storage containers, each storage container holding a product component and having a dosing device and an outlet bulk product chute; a plurality of stationary weighing devices, each weighing device disposed below at least one storage container, each weighing device having a lifting mechanism; rails disposed between said storage container chutes and said weighing devices; a shuttle disposed for translation along said rails; at least one transport container having a bulk product inlet, said transport container structured and dimensioned to be held by said shuttle, wherein said transport container is displaced by said shuttle along said rails and positioned below one bulk product chute and said lifting device lifts said transport container out of said shuttle towards one chute to accept a bulk product component from a storage container in dependence on a desired mixing component recipe, an amount of bulk product component in said transport container being determined by said weighing device, wherein said transport container is subsequently brought to a discharge location when said recipe is completed.

2. The installation of claim 1, wherein, after lifting out said transport container and during weighing-in of said components, said shuttle is displaced for acceptance of a new transport container and for introduction thereof to another storage container.

3. The installation of claim 1, wherein said shuttle consists essentially of two displaceable carriages which can be moved independently of each other and which are connected to each other by said transport container during transport thereof, wherein only one carriage is driven and the other carriage is moved along therewith upon release of a drive and, in the absence of a transport container, said carriages cane be separately moved.

4. The installation of claim 1, wherein a plurality of shuttles are provided on said rails.

5. The installation of claim 1, wherein said inlet of said transport container is disposed in a transport container lid.

6. The installation of claim 1, wherein, upon lifting out said shuttle, said transport container inlet is docked in a sealed manner to said storage container chute.

7. The installation of claim 1, wherein, upon lifting out of said shuttle, said transport container inlet forms a gap relative to said chute, said gap being suctioned during weighing.

8. The installation of claim 1, wherein two or more rows of storage containers and a plurality of said rails corresponding to said rows are provided with said shuttles and said weighing devices, and further comprising a transverse transport disposed at the head of said rails for acceptance of said transport containers.

9. The installation of claim 1, wherein each transport container has two seats disposed on each of opposite sides thereof and at differing heights, said seats having a separation from each other which is somewhat larger than a separation between said shuttle and said weighing device in a lowered position thereof.

10. The installation of claim 9, wherein said seats are part of a frame accepting said transport container.

11. The installation of claim 1, wherein said rails and said weighing devices are disposed on a support structure in a suspending and floor-free fashion.

12. The installation of claim 11, wherein said storage container with said dosing devices are disposed on a ceiling of a building or on a steel structure through which said chutes pass in a downward direction, wherein said support structure is attached to a lower side of said ceiling or of said steel structure.

13. The installation of claim 11, wherein said support structure is part of a steel structure on which said storage containers are disposed.

Description:

This application claims Paris Convention priority of DE 10 2005 014 930.8 filed Apr. 1, 2005 the complete disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention concerns an installation for gravimetric combining of individual bulk product components from a series of storage containers, each having a dosing device and a bulk product chute, into a mixture in a transport container, the transport container cooperating with a weighing device for positioning below the bulk product chutes of the storage containers and, in dependence on the mixture recipe, can be brought into sequential connection with the chutes of corresponding storage containers and can be moved to a discharge location subsequent to weighing-in of the corresponding components.

Conventional transport containers have been configured as weighing containers which have been sequentially positioned at storage containers containing the components of the mixtures in correspondence with the desired mixture recipe, with the corresponding components of the respective storage container being weighed until the complete mixture is finally achieved or until partial charges are contained in the weighing container, and then brought to an emptying location, in particular to a mixer. Such installations have a limited throughput since they must always be moved through one single weighing container.

It is the underlying purpose of the present invention to increase the throughput of the above-mentioned installation and, if required, to expand same by additional storage containers without having to reduce the throughput.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This purpose is achieved in accordance with the invention in that a stationary weighing device is provided below each bulk product chute and rails are disposed between the chutes and the weighing devices to accept a shuttle holding a transport container, wherein each weighing device has a lifting device by means of which the shuttle can be lifted out of the transport container and brought into connection with a chute for weighing-in a component.

In the installation configured in accordance with the invention, the transport container is suspended in the shuttle and is thereby moved between the rails. The shuttle, with its suspended transport container, can be positioned proximate each chute of each storage container. Each stationary storage device consists essentially of weighing cells disposed below the rails and parallel thereto, wherein the weighing cells can be lifted together with the lifting device and the transport container can be supported on the weighing cells and, with further motion of the lifting device, can be lifted out of the shuttle until the transport container is connected to the chute. During this time, the dosing device of the corresponding container doses an amount of material into the transport container as determined by the scale electronics. When the desired amount of the component contained in the storage container is deposited into the transport container, the dosing device is shut off by the scale electronics (if necessary, accounting for a certain amount of backlash) and the transport container is lowered onto the shuttle. The shuttle is then moved and positioned to a subsequent storage container in order to accept an associated component after lifting thereof. This cycle is repeated for as many storage containers and corresponding components as desired until the desired mixing recipe has been established in the transport container. Subsequent thereto, the transport container with the shuttle is brought out of the installation to a discharge location at which the contents is discharged e.g., into a mixer. The weighing device associated with each bulk product chute can extend along a plurality of bulk product chutes.

In a preferred embodiment, during weighing of the components, the shuttle can be displaced to another storage container for the acceptance of the new transport container and for introduction of same to another storage container.

In this manner, the dead time during weighing of the component is reduced and the shuttle is used to accept other transport containers and to position same for purposes of weighing-in other components in the vicinity of another storage container. This procedure can be automized to such an extent and in correspondence with the dwell time of a transport container on an individual storage container, such that practically no dead time occurs.

In a further preferred embodiment, the shuttle consists essentially of two carriages which can travel independently of each other on one rail each, and which travel together along with the transport container while being connected to each other by that transport container, wherein only one carriage is driven and the other carriage can be driven along therewith by freeing a drive mechanism. The carriages can be separately driven in the absence of a transport container.

In this embodiment, only one of the two carriages is driven and the other carriage moves along therewith, whereas, during travel without a transport container, the drives of each carriage are engaged and can position the carriages to new operational positions, independently of each other. A new transport container can be accepted at the new position in which each carriage is separately brought to once more combine two carriages into one shuttle. Clearly, a plurality of shuttles, each comprising two carriages, can also be positioned within the installation onto a guide rail system in order to facilitate a higher throughput for the transport containers.

Each transport container advantageously has an inlet on a lid region thereof that, upon lifting out of the shuttle, can be docked in a sealed manner to the chute of the storage container. Alternatively, it is also possible to position the inlet at a separation with respect to the chute and to suction the resulting gap during weighing-in of the components, in order to prevent the component from escaping.

In order to increase the throughput or to increase the number of different components, two or more rows (lines) of storage containers and a corresponding number of rows of guide rail systems can be provided with shuttles and with weighing devices, wherein a transverse transport system is disposed at the head of the guide rail systems onto which the storage containers can be introduced for e. g. transfer from one line to the other.

In an installation of this type, after having accepted certain components from storage containers in a certain row, the transport containers can be transferred to the head of the guide rail system and passed into another guide rail system to be able to extract components from storage containers located along that system. The transverse transport can also be used for exit from the installation and introduction to a discharge location.

In accordance with an advantageous embodiment, each transport container has two seats disposed on each of two opposite sides thereof and at different heights, whose separation with respect to each other corresponds approximately to the separation between the shuttle and the weighing device, in the lowered position thereof.

The transport container is suspended in the carriages of the shuttle using the upper seats, whereas the lower seats serve for lifting the transport container out of the shuttle via the lifting device of the weighing device.

The seats can be part of a frame system accepting the transport container.

The installation configured in accordance with the invention facilitates disposition of the guide rails and the weighing devices using a support structure in a suspended, and bottom-free fashion.

Most advantageously, the parts of the installation, in particular the moving parts, are not only accessible from the side, rather also from below, making it particular easy to clean the floor of the installation as is very important for food product and pharmaceutical industrial applications.

Towards this end, the storage containers can be disposed along with dosing devices on the ceiling of a building and the chutes can pass through same, wherein the support structure is attached to the lower side of the ceiling.

Alternatively, the support structure can also be part of a steel structure, which seats on the floor and onto which the storage containers are disposed.

The invention is described below with embodiments in the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 shows a schematic view of an installation;

FIG. 2 shows a view of a transport container;

FIG. 3 shows a view, rotated through 90 degrees, of the transport container in accordance with FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 shows a view corresponding to FIG. 2 of a part of the installation with inserted transport containers;

FIG. 5 shows a cut V-V in accordance with FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 shows a cut VI-VI in accordance with FIG. 4; and

FIG. 7 shows an installation with two parallel rows of storage containers and corresponding rail systems.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 shows an intermediate ceiling 1 of an operational building having two or more storage containers 2, 3 disposed in series or next to each other. Each storage container 2, 3 has a dosing device 4, 5 and a chute 6, 7 for the respective component disposed therein. Only the lower parts of the storage containers 2, 3 are shown. The devices are conventional silos or the like. The chutes 6, 7 pass through the intermediate ceiling 1 and have flanges 8 and 9 at lower ends thereof.

A support structure 10 made from hanging supports 11 and connecting beams 12 is disposed on the lower side of the intermediate ceiling 1 and accepts the parts of the installation which are be described below.

Each storage container 2, 3 has a stationary weighing device 13 or 14 associated therewith, each of which has two parallel, spaced apart beams 15, 16 (FIG. 5 and FIG. 6), which have weighing cells 17 and 18 respectively on upper sides thereof. Each weighing device also has a lifting device 19, 20 by means of which the beams 15 and 16 can be lifted out of the lowered position (right hand side of FIG. 1) into the raised position (left hand side of FIG. 1). Two parallel rails 21, 22 are attached to the support structure 10 between the chutes 6, 7 and each respective weighing device 13, 14. At least one carriage 23, 24 can be displaced on each rail 21, 22 in the direction of the double arrow. Each carriage 23, 24 has a drive 25 and has centering pins 26 on the upper side thereof for acceptance of the transport container, which then joins together the two carriages into a shuttle.

FIGS. 2 and 3 show an embodiment of a transport container 27 whose lid has an inlet 44 and whose lower end has a conical floor, which can be opened. The transport container 27 is inserted into a support frame 28 that has seats 29, 30 which project in an outward direction and which are disposed opposite to each other. These seats have a separation with respect to each other, which is somewhat larger than a separation between the centering pins of the shuttle 23, 24 and of the weighing cells 17, in the lowered position (see FIG. 1). In the transport position, the centering pins 26 of the carriages 23, 24 engage into the seats 29 so that the transport container 27 is suspended from the carriages 23, 24 of the shuttle and between the parallel rails 21, 22, as explained in more detail in FIGS. 4 through 6. The transport containers 27, which fit inside of the upper seats 29, can be moved, in the position shown at the right of FIG. 4, along the rails 21, 22 by means of the shuttle 23, 24 and one of the drives 25 so that the inlets thereof 28 are disposed below the flange 8 of the chute 6. The lower seat 30 moves with sufficient separation above and past the weighing cell 17 of the weighing device 30 (see FIG. 4 right side and FIG. 6). As travel proceeds, the transport container 27 arrives at the position above the weighing device 14 and below the chute 27 of the storage container 3 in order to accept a certain weight fraction of the component contained therein.

When the transport container 27 has reached its position, the lifting device 20 is switched-in to lift the beams 15, 16 along with the weighing cells 18 which grasp the lower seat 30 with appropriate cams. As lifting proceeds, the transport container 27 is lifted out of the sled 23, 24 and docked at its inlet 44 on the flange 9 of the chute 7 of the storage container 3 (FIG. 4 left side and FIG. 5). At this point in time, the dosing device 5 of the storage container 3 is set into operation and the component contained therein is discharged until the weighing cell 16 of the weighing device 17 registers the desired value. The dosage device 5 is then switched-ff by the scale electronics. During weighing, the free carriages 23, 24 can be driven separately and moved into another position in order, for example, to be able to accept a new transport container and to bring same into a position below one of the storage containers to weigh-in another component at that location. Subsequent thereto, the carriages 23, 24, which have been freed from the transport container, can once more be placed into position (FIG. 5) and stopped by means of a positioning register. Subsequent thereto, the lifting device 20 is lowered so that the lower seat 30 is freed, whereas the upper seat 29 fits into the shuttle in a centering fashion. The shuttle can then be moved into a position in accordance with FIG. 6 (right side of FIG. 4) for accepting an additional component from the storage container 2 after lifting out of the shuttle 23, 24 and docking on the chute 6. The same procedure is then repeated, as was described in connection with FIG. 5 (left side of FIG. 4).

FIG. 7 shows an embodiment with which two rows of storage containers (not shown) can be provided with differing components. Two parallel rail systems with rails 31 and 32 are each disposed below a row of storage containers. Each of the rails 31 and 32 is associated with a respective weighing device 33, 34 below each storage container. The configuration and structure of the weighing device is otherwise the same as previously described. In the example shown, three shuttles move on each of rails 31 and 32, respectively. In the upper line in FIG. 7, these three shuttles 35 each have a transport container 36. In the lower line of FIG. 7, two carriages 37 are indicated with associated drives 38 which are in stand-by mode for acceptance of a transport container, whereas two additional shuttles 39 are occupied by transport containers 40.

A transverse transport device 41 is provided at the head of the rails 31 and 32 on which the transport containers 43 can be introduced. The transport container 43 holds e.g. the components weighed-in in the upper line and can be brought into the dot-dashed position by means of the transverse transport 41 and passed to the lower line to accept further components at that location or to be moved out of the installation.