Title:
Monitoring device of an inductive sensor of a mechanical rope lift line
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Monitoring device of an inductive sensor of a mechanical rope lift line A monitoring device of an inductive sensor of a mechanical ropeway comprises support means securedly affixed to a sheave assembly with sheaves associated with a pylon. The device comprises an actuating ramp arranged on a test carriage and able to make the sensor go from a first position detecting presence of the rope to a second position detecting absence of the rope. The support means of the sensor comprise a fixed part securedly affixed to the corresponding sheave assembly, and a movable part mounted pivoting with respect to the fixed part and operating in conjunction with the actuating ramp of the test carriage to incline the sensor to the second position detecting absence of the rope when the test carriage passes.



Inventors:
Tamisier, Franckie (Saint Nazaire Les Eymes, FR)
Mugnier, Jean-francois (Grand Junction, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/071667
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
02/25/2008
Assignee:
Pomagalski S.A. (Fontaine, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61B12/00; G01M13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
KUHFUSS, ZACHARY L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A monitoring device of at least one inductive sensor of a line of a mechanical ropeway, the device comprising first support means of the sensor securedly attached to a sheave assembly with sheaves associated with a pylon of the line, and second means able to make the gap between the rope and sensor vary, a device wherein: the second means to make the gap vary comprise an actuating ramp arranged on a test carriage designed to operate in conjunction with the monitoring device to make the sensor go from a first position detecting presence of the rope to a second position detecting absence of the rope, the first support means of the sensor comprise a fixed part securedly attached to the corresponding sheave assembly, and a movable part mounted pivoting with respect to the fixed part and operating in conjunction with the actuating ramp of the test carriage to incline the sensor from the first position detecting presence of the rope to the second position detecting absence of the rope.

2. The device according to claim 1, wherein the fixed part of the first support means comprise a jointed plate having a first side fixed on the sheave assembly and parallel to the sheaves, and a second side perpendicular to the first side and provided at the end thereof with a swivel pin articulating the movable part of the support means.

3. The device according to claim 1, wherein the movable part of the first support means comprises: a salient portion with a rounded edge along which the actuating ramp of the test carriage presses and slides, securing means of the sensor designed to raise the sensor with respect to the fixed part and to place the sensor near the rope in the first position detecting presence of the rope.

4. The device according to claim 1, comprising flexible return means of the movable part of the first support means of the sensor from the position detecting absence of the rope to the position detecting presence of the rope.

5. The device according to claim 1, associated with a support sheave assembly and/or with a compression sheave assembly of a pylon of the mechanical lift line.

6. The device according to claim 5, and associated with a support sheave assembly, wherein: the securing means of the sensor are arranged between two adjacent sheaves of the sheave assembly, the sensor is placed under the rope in alignment with the sheaves of the sheave assembly in the first position detecting presence of the rope, and inclined with respect to the sheaves in the second position detecting absence of the rope.

7. The device according to claim 5, and associated with a compression sheave assembly, wherein: the securing means of the sensor are salient away from the sheaves, the sensor is placed facing the rope in a plane parallel to the sheaves of the sheave assembly in the first position detecting presence of the rope, and inclined with respect to the sheaves in the second position detecting absence of the rope.

8. The device according to claim 5, wherein the actuating ramp of the test carriage comprises a bottom ramp and a top ramp operating in conjunction with the movable part of the associated support means of the sensor respectively with a support sheave assembly and with a compression sheave assembly.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a monitoring device of at least one inductive sensor of the line of a ropeway, said device comprising first support means of the sensor securedly attached to a sheave assembly associated with a pylon of the line, and second means able to make the gap between the rope and sensor vary.

TEST OF THE ART

Testing operation of the inductive sensors of a mechanical ropeway of the carrying-hauling type generally requires disassembly of the sensors or a local monitoring and testing operation on the different pylons of the mechanical ropeway. Implementation of this monitoring operation is long and complicated and is performed once only before the installation is put back into operation. In the event of a sensor malfunction during the operating period, a possible misalignment or disengagement of the rope when passing the pylon on which this malfunctioning sensor is fitted will not be detected quickly enough. This then results in a risk of derailment or breakdown jeopardizing the safety of the installation.

One solution for monitoring and testing operation of inductive sensors has already been proposed in particular in Patents U.S. Pat. No. 6,720,873 and DE 198 27 388. Patent U.S. Pat. No. 6,720,873 in particular describes monitoring of the position of an inductive sensor by installation of a non-magnetic sleeve making the gap between the rope and sensor vary. The latter is supported by the sheave assembly at the level of the pylon, and the sleeve acts as actuating means causing a sudden forced separation of the sensor from the rope between a first position in which the sensor detects the presence the rope (first gap value) and a second position in which the sensor detects the absence of the rope (second gap value). The sensor is preferably connected to a data management and processing system, in particular to indicate whether the sensor is operating properly in reaction to the sharp gap variation.

Installing such a sleeve is however fairly complicated, the sleeve being made up of two parts to be assembled around the rope, and such a monitoring device is difficult to implement as it in particular requires an operator to perform the installation and the checking between the rope and sleeve.

OBJECT OF THE INVENTION

The object of the invention is to remedy all the above-mentioned shortcomings and has the object of providing an inductive sensor monitoring device improving existing operating tests while at the same time being easy to implement, monitoring being able to be performed at any time without disassembling the sensor.

The device according to the invention is characterized in that:

    • the second means for making the gap vary comprise an actuating ramp arranged on a test carriage designed to operate in conjunction with the monitoring device to make the sensor go from a first position detecting presence of the rope to a second position detecting absence of the rope,
    • the first support means of the sensor comprise a fixed part securedly affixed to the corresponding sheave assembly and a movable part mounted pivoting with respect to the fixed part and operating in conjunction with the actuating ramp of the test carriage to incline the sensor from the first position detecting presence of the rope to the second position detecting absence of the rope.

Such an automatic actuation by a specific test carriage and such support and actuating means mean that a test sleeve does not have to be fitted on the rope and no human intervention is required. This results in fully automatic monitoring by means of the test carriage passing at the level of the sensors to be monitored. Such a monitoring device is therefore very simple to use.

The fixed part of the first support means comprises a jointed plate having a first side fixed to the sheave assembly and parallel to the sheaves and a second side perpendicular to the first side and provided at the end thereof with a swivel pin articulating the movable part of the support means.

The movable part of the first support means comprises:

    • a salient portion with a rounded edge along which the actuating ramp of the test carriage presses and slides,
    • securing means of the sensor designed to raise the sensor with respect to the fixed part and to place the sensor near the rope in the first position detecting presence of the rope.

Flexible return means bias the movable part from the position detecting absence of the rope to the position detecting presence of the rope.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other advantages and features will become more clearly apparent from the following description of particular embodiments of the invention given for non-restrictive example purposes only and represented in the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 schematically represents a side view of a particular embodiment of a monitoring device according to the invention of an inductive sensor represented in a first position detecting presence of the rope.

FIG. 2 represents the monitoring device according to FIG. 1 with the sensor represented in a second position detecting absence of the rope.

FIG. 3 schematically represents a partial top view of the monitoring device according to FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 schematically represents a partial side view of the monitoring device according to FIGS. 1 to 3.

FIG. 5 schematically represents a side view of an alternative embodiment of a monitoring device according to the invention of an inductive sensor represented in a first position detecting presence of the rope.

FIG. 6 represents the monitoring device according to FIG. 5 with the sensor represented in a second position detecting absence of the rope.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

With reference to FIGS. 1 to 6, the monitoring device 10 according to the invention is designed for checking correct operation of an inductive sensor 11, preferably a pair of sensors 11 as represented in FIG. 4, on the line of a mechanical lift with a carrying-hauling rope 12. The following description refers to a single sensor 11, but it can apply to any number of sensors 11.

Monitoring the operation of sensor 11 consists in making it take two characteristic positions, i.e. a first position detecting presence of rope 12, near sensor 11 (FIGS. 1 and 5), and a second position detecting absence of rope 12, away from rope 12 (FIGS. 2 and 6). For example purposes, sensor 11 is connected to a management system taking these two characteristic positions into account and enabling the position of sensor 11 to be tested to ensure that it reacts properly in case of problems.

In the first embodiment represented in FIGS. 1 to 4, monitoring device 10 operates in conjunction with a test carriage 13, i.e. any vehicle of the cable car, chair lift, etc. type, specifically designed to perform monitoring of a sensor 11 positioned at the level of a mechanical lift line pylon. Test carriage 13, designed solely for the purpose of monitoring sensors 11 (FIG. 2), is intercalated between conventional carriages 14 (FIG. 1) so as to perform testing during operation of the mechanical lift line while rope 12 is running on the line. In FIGS. 1 and 2, only the top part respectively of a conventional carriage 14 and of a test carriage 13 are represented, with a grip 15 surrounding rope 12 and running along the mechanical lift line.

In FIGS. 1 to 4, monitoring device 10 is arranged on a supporting sheave assembly 16 comprising for example two sheaves 17 mounted rotating freely at the opposite ends of sheave assembly 16 (FIG. 4) which is connected to the support structure of a pylon (not shown for reasons of clarity).

In FIGS. 1 and 2, sensor 11 is supported by sheave assembly 16 by means of first support means comprising a first fixed part in the form of a jointed plate 18 (FIGS. 1, 2 and 4), with a first side 18a securedly affixed to the corresponding sheave assembly 16 and parallel to sheaves 17, and a second side 18b perpendicular to first side 18a and salient between two adjacent sheaves 17 of the sheave assembly (FIG. 4). A swivel pin 19 is arranged at the end of side 18b of fixed jointed plate 18 of the support means (FIGS. 1 and 2).

The first support means of sensor 11 also comprise a second movable part mounted pivoting with respect to jointed plate 18 around swivel pin 19. The movable part is for example in the form of a jointed cam 20 comprising a salient portion 21 extending substantially perpendicularly to sheaves 17 on the same side as the carriages running along the mechanical lift (FIGS. 1 and 2).

As represented in greater detail in FIG. 3, salient portion 21 of mobile cam 20 of the support means comprises a rounded edge 22 acting as contact surface for actuation of the movable part, i.e. cam 20 of the first support means of sensor 11, as described here below.

In FIGS. 1 and 2, the support means of sensor 11 also comprise a U-shaped securing means 23 securedly affixed to mobile cam 20 and also mounted pivoting with respect to fixed jointed plate 18 around swivel pin 19. In the particular embodiment of FIGS. 1 to 4, U-shaped securing means 23 comprise a first horizontal branch pressing against fixed jointed plate 18 of the support means in the first position of sensor 11 (FIG. 1), and a second horizontal branch encircling sensor 11 or pair of sensors 11 (FIGS. 3 and 4). In FIGS. 1 and 2, securing means 23 of sensor 11 in particular enable sensor 11 to be raised and to be placed near rope 12 in the first position detecting presence of the rope (FIG. 1).

Operation of monitoring device 10 will be described in greater detail with regard to FIGS. 1 and 2. In FIG. 1, sensor 11 is in its first position detecting presence of rope 12. Securing means 23 are vertical thereto and sensor 11 is aligned with sheaves 17 of sheave assembly 16. Salient portion 21 of mobile cam 20 is substantially perpendicular to sheave assembly 16 and sensor 11 is close to rope 12, just below the latter, so as to leave a slight gap. Such a position then enables a conventional carriage 14 to pass next to the corresponding pylon without triggering monitoring or testing of sensor 11.

In FIG. 2, the arrival of test carriage 13 solicits monitoring device 10 according to the invention. Test carriage 13 is equipped with an actuating ramp 24 constituting the second means of monitoring device 10 according to the invention. Ramp 24 is arranged at the level of the top part of the arm of test carriage 13 and is designed to operate in conjunction with rounded edge 22 of salient portion 21 of mobile cam 20 of the first support means of sensor 11.

Actuating ramp 24 is for example in the form of a fixed disk securedly affixed to test carriage 13 and comprising a bottom ramp 24a operating in conjunction with rounded edge 22 of salient portion 21 of mobile cam 20 of the support means. Bottom ramp 24a comes into contact with salient portion 21, sliding along rounded edge 22, then resulting in pivoting of mobile cam 20 around swivel pin 19, which then causes rotation of securing means 23 which then move sensor 11 away from rope 12 thereby forming a first angle of incline with respect to the vertical (FIG. 2). Sensor 11 is then in a limit position corresponding to the second position detecting absence of rope 12, in which it is away from rope 12 opposite actuating ramp 24a.

Device 10 further comprises a return spring 26 (FIGS. 1 and 2) acting as flexible return means enabling sensor 11 to go automatically from its second position detecting absence of rope 12 (FIG. 2) to its first position detecting presence of rope 12 (FIG. 1), after test carriage 13 has passed.

Test carriage 13 further comprises a top ramp 25b designed to operate in conjunction with movable part of the support means of a sensor 11 of a monitoring device 10 according to the invention securedly affixed to a compression sheave assembly 25, as described below for the alternative embodiment described in FIGS. 5 and 6.

In the alternative embodiment represented in FIGS. 5 and 6, monitoring device 10 differs from the monitoring device represented in FIGS. 1 and 2 by the shape of the support means of sensor 11 and by actuation of the movable part of the first support means. In FIGS. 5 and 6, the alternative embodiment of device 10 is associated with a compression sheave assembly 25, i.e. to the sheave assembly located above rope 12 (not represented in FIGS. 5 and 6 for reasons of clarity) running along the line of the mechanical lift. The top part of grip 15 operates in conjunction with the grooves of sheaves 17 of sheave assembly 25 to allow rope 12 to run.

As represented in FIG. 5, device 10 comprises fixed jointed plate 18 and mobile cam 20 articulated around swivel pin 19 with respect to fixed jointed plate 18. As represented in FIG. 6, test carriage 13, more particularly top actuating ramp 24b of test carriage 13, operates in conjunction with rounded edge 22 of salient portion 21 of mobile cam 20 to actuate the movable part of the support means and to incline sensor 11 to make it go from its position detecting presence of the rope (FIG. 5) to its position detecting absence of the rope (FIG. 6), as described before.

As represented in FIGS. 5 and 6, securing means 23 of sensor 11 present a different shape from that of the previous embodiment. Securing means 23 of sensor 11 are of substantially jointed asymmetric cross-section and are salient away from sheaves 17 of compression sheave assembly 25 so that sensor 11 is close to and facing grip 15, between two adjacent sheaves 17 and in a plane parallel to sheaves 17 (FIG. 5).

In FIG. 5, sensor 11 is positioned parallel to sheaves 17 on the side of grip 15 away from rope 12, with a predetermined distance, in the first position detecting presence of rope 12. In FIG. 6, top actuating ramp 24b of test carriage 13 has caused pivoting of mobile cam 20 around swivel pin 19, followed by incline of securing means 23 and therefore of sensor 11 to the second position detecting absence of rope 12.

Operation of monitoring device 10 of sensor 11 associated with a compression sheave assembly 25 is therefore identical to operation of device 10 associated with support sheave assembly 16, as described before. Monitoring device 10 also comprises return spring 26 accompanying return of sensor 11 to the position detecting presence of rope 12, as represented in FIG. 5.

Whatever the embodiment described above, such a monitoring device 10 according to the invention, with support means comprising a movable part actuated by a ramp 24 securedly affixed to a test carriage 13 for the purposes of making the sensor go from a position detecting presence of rope 12 to a position detecting absence of rope 12, is therefore very simple to use without any operator action and without any temporary installation of any kind. Automatic position change and a simple inclining of sensor 11 with respect to rope 12 when test carriage 13 passes at the level of the pylon associated with monitoring device 10 suffices to perform the tests checking correct operation of sensor 11, for it to be reactive in case of any problems of derailment or any other type occurring on rope 12.

Such testing enables operating safety of the mechanical rope lift installation to be checked without any disassembling of sensors 11 on all of the pylons. It is thus possible to quickly test the line performing automatic testing by running the test carriage along the mechanical rope lift line. If a sensor 11 is malfunctioning, monitoring device 10 of the pylon supporting the malfunctioning sensor is immediately spotted, thereby enabling swift action to be taken to replace it.

The invention is not limited to the different embodiments described above. The shape of the first support means and of the second actuating means of monitoring device 10 may be different, so long as it allows efficient and simple monitoring of sensor 11 without requiring operator action.

Monitoring device 10 according to the invention can be used with a support sheave assembly (FIGS. 1 and 2), with a compression sheave assembly (FIGS. 5 and 6) or with a mixed both support and compression sheave assembly. In a general manner, to be able to be usable in all situations, actuating ramp 24 of test carriage 13 in all cases comprises a preferably identical and symmetrical bottom ramp 24a and top ramp 24b.

The invention applies in particular to any type of mechanical lift installation with a carrying-hauling rope. It is clear that testing of sensors 11 for a steel rope 12 used for a lift of the chair lift or cable car type can be applied to a rail when the installation involved is a funicular railway.