Title:
WORK SHEET CONVEYING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a work sheet conveying system which enables a work sheet cabinet to be simplified and which allows palettes to be efficiently moved into and out from the work sheet cabinet. The work sheet conveying system according to the present invention includes a work sheet cabinet 3 having a housing portion 3a with a plurality of stages in which palettes 9 on which work sheets W can be loaded are housed and from which the palettes 9 housed on the respective stages of the housing portion 3a can be individually drawn out in a horizontal direction, and a work sheet conveying device 4 that conveys a work sheet W between a work sheet processing machine and the palette 9 drawn out from the housing portion 3a of the work sheet cabinet 3. The work sheet conveying device 4 has a draw-out direction moving portion 20 that is movable parallel to a draw-out direction of the palette 9, and the draw-out direction moving portion 20 has a draw-out member 25 that allows the palette 9 to be drawn out through movement in the draw-out direction.



Inventors:
Katsuyama, Daisuke (Inuyama-shi, JP)
Application Number:
12/104074
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/16/2008
Assignee:
MURATA MACHINERY, LTD. (Kyoto-shi, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ADAMS, GREGORY W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WESTERMAN, HATTORI, DANIELS & ADRIAN, LLP (TYSONS, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A work sheet conveying system characterized by comprising: a work sheet cabinet having a housing portion with a plurality of stages in which palettes on which work sheets can be loaded are housed and from which said palettes housed on the respective stages of said housing portion can be individually drawn out in a horizontal direction; and a work sheet conveying device that conveys a work sheet between a work sheet processing machine and said palette drawn out from said housing portion of said work sheet cabinet, and in that said work sheet conveying device has a draw-out direction moving portion that is movable parallel to a draw-out direction of said palette, and said draw-out direction moving portion has a draw-out member that allows said palette to be drawn out through movement in said draw-out direction.

2. A work sheet conveying system according to claim 1, characterized in that said draw-out member is a gripping portion that grips said palette or an engaging portion that engages said palette in said draw-out direction.

3. A work sheet conveying system according to claim 2, characterized in that said draw-out direction moving portion has paired moving posts that are movable parallel to said draw-out direction of said palette, an elevating and lowering member that can elevate and lower along the moving posts is extended between said paired moving posts, and said gripping portion or engaging portion is attached to said elevating and lowering member.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a work sheet conveying system that conveys work sheets between a work sheet processing machine and a work sheet cabinet in which material work sheets to be carried into the work sheet processing machine or product work sheets carried out from the work sheet processing machine are loaded on palettes for storage.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Some work sheet cabinets that store material work sheets to be carried into a work sheet processing machine or product work sheets carried out from the work sheet processing machine have a shelf with a plurality of stages in which palettes on which work sheets are loaded are housed. In such a work sheet cabinet, an elevator device transfers a palette onto and out from each stage of the shelf (for example, the Unexamined Japanese Patent Application Publication (Tokkai-Hei) No. 5-306003). A work sheet conveying device (for example, the Unexamined Japanese Patent Application Publication (Tokkai) No. 2000-117374) conveys work sheets between the palette in the work sheet cabinet and the work sheet processing machine.

The above-described conventional work sheet cabinet has the elevator device and a device that transfers the palette between the elevator device and each stage of the shelf or the work sheet conveying device. The conventional work sheet cabinet thus has a complicated structure. Furthermore, the conventional work sheet cabinet requires a power source that drives these devices. Moreover, since the palette is heavy, the speed at which the elevator is elevated and lowered cannot be sharply increased, and a long time is required to transfer the palette between the elevator device and each stage of the shelf or the work sheet conveying device. Thus, it has been difficult to improve the efficiency with which the palette is transferred into and out from the work sheet cabinet.

An object of the present invention is to provide a work sheet conveying system which enables a work sheet cabinet to be simplified and which allows a palette to be efficiently moved into and out from the work sheet cabinet. Another object of the present invention is to allow the palette to be reliably moved into and out from the work sheet cabinet. Yet another object of the present invention is to present a specific configuration for a work sheet conveying device which allows the palette to be easily moved into and out from the work sheet cabinet.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A work sheet conveying system according to the present invention comprises a work sheet cabinet having a housing portion with a plurality of stages in which palettes on which work sheets can be loaded are housed and from which the palettes housed on the respective stages of the housing portion can be individually drawn out in a horizontal direction, and a work sheet conveying device that conveys a work sheet between a work sheet processing machine and the palette drawn out from the housing portion of the work sheet cabinet, and the work sheet conveying device has a draw-out direction moving portion that is movable parallel to a draw-out direction of the palette, and the draw-out direction moving portion has a draw-out member that allows the palette to be drawn out through movement in the draw-out direction.

In this configuration, the draw-out member is provided in the draw-out direction moving portion of the work sheet conveying device. Thus, the draw-out direction moving portion of the work sheet conveying device moves parallel to the palette draw-out direction to draw out the palette from the housing portion of the work sheet cabinet. This eliminates the need to provide a separate mechanism that draws out the palette from the housing portion of the work sheet cabinet. The configuration can thus be simplified. The palette housed on each stage of the housing portion can be drawn out simply by elevating and lowering the draw-out member. This eliminates the need to provide an elevator device as in the case of the prior art, making it possible to further simplify the configuration. Furthermore, the absence of the elevator device eliminates the need for the operation of elevating and lowering the palette which is performed by the elevator device. The palette can thus be more efficiently moved in and out.

According to the present invention, the draw-out member is preferably a gripping portion that grips the palette or an engaging portion that engages the palette in the draw-out direction. Where the draw-out member is the gripping portion or the engaging portion, the palette housed in the housing portion of the work sheet cabinet can be reliably drawn out.

Furthermore, the draw-out direction moving portion may have paired moving posts that are movable parallel to the palette draw-out direction. An elevating and lowering member that can elevate and lower along the moving posts may be extended between the paired moving posts. The gripping portion or the engaging portion may be attached to the elevating and lowering member. Where the draw-out direction moving portion is configured as described above, elevating and lowering the elevating and lowering member enables the height of the gripping portion or the engaging portion to be changed such that the gripping portion or the engaging portion is located at the same height as that each stage of the housing portion. This allows the palette housed on each stage of the housing portion to be easily drawn out.

The work sheet conveying system according to the present invention comprises the work sheet cabinet having the housing portion with the plurality of stages in which the palettes on which the work sheets can be loaded are housed and from which the palettes housed on the respective stages of the housing portion can be individually drawn out in the horizontal direction, and the work sheet conveying device that conveys the work sheet between the work sheet processing machine and the palette drawn out from the housing portion of the work sheet cabinet. The work sheet conveying device has the draw-out direction moving portion that is movable parallel to the draw-out direction of the palette, and the draw-out direction moving portion has the draw-out member that allows the palette to be drawn out through the movement in the draw-out direction. The work sheet cabinet can thus be simplified, and the palette can be efficiently transferred into and out from the work sheet cabinet.

Where the draw-out member is the gripping portion that grips the palette or the engaging portion that engages the palette in the draw-out direction, the palette can be reliably transferred into and out from the work sheet cabinet.

Furthermore, where the draw-out direction moving portion has the paired moving posts that are movable parallel to the palette draw-out direction, the elevating and lowering member that can elevate and lower along the moving posts is extended between the paired moving posts, and the gripping portion or the engaging portion is attached to the elevating and lowering member, then the palette can be easily transferred into and out from the work sheet cabinet.

Other features, elements, processes, steps, characteristics and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the present invention with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a work sheet conveying system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of a work sheet cabinet and a work sheet conveying device in the work sheet conveying system.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the work sheet cabinet.

FIG. 4 is a partial front view of the work sheet conveying device.

FIG. 5A is a plan view of an engaging pin on a palette, and FIG. 5B is a side view of the engaging pin.

FIG. 6A is a plan view of an engaging portion of an elevating and lowering member, and FIG. 6B is a side view of the engaging portion.

FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating a palette draw-out operation.

FIG. 8 is a diagram illustrating a palette returning operation.

FIG. 9A is a plan view of an engaging portion of a different elevating and lowering member, and FIG. 9B is a side view of the engaging portion.

FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating a palette draw-out operation of the engaging portion in FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 7. FIG. 1 shows a work sheet processing machine 1 and a work sheet conveying system 2 that carries out work sheets processed by the work sheet processing machine 1. The work sheet conveying system 2 is composed of a work sheet cabinet 3 and a work sheet carry-out device 4.

The work sheet processing machine 1 comprises a function of performing drilling, punching, or the like on a material work sheet W0 on a table 5 to process the material work sheet W0 into product work sheets W. The work sheet processing machine 1 is composed of a punch press, a laser processing machine, or the like.

In this example, the work sheet processing machine 1 is a punch press comprising a processing portion 7 that elevates and lowers a punch tool (not shown in the drawings) with respect to a die tool (not shown in the drawings), and a work sheet feeding mechanism 8 that moves the material work sheet W0 forward and backward (Y direction) and rightward and leftward (X direction) on the table 5.

The work sheet cabinet 3 stores the product work sheets W loaded on palettes 9 together with the palettes 9. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the work sheet cabinet 3 has a housing portion 3a with a plurality of stages in which the palettes 9 are housed. The housing portion 3a is composed of lateral pairs of guide members 10 facing in a front-back direction. Each pair of guide members 10 slidably supports the palette 9 on a top surface thereof. The guide members 10 extend backward from the housing portion 3a, and the extending portion constitutes a loading and unloading portion 3b via which the work sheet is loaded on or unloaded from the palette 9. Two engaging pins 11 are provided at respective positions on a rear end surface of the palette 9 to allow the palette 9 to be drawn out from the housing portion 3a to the loading and unloading portion 3b. As shown in FIG. 5, each of the engaging pins 11 projects from the rear end surface of the palette 9 and is bent upward in the middle thereof. A tip portion 11a of the engaging pin 11 is tapered.

The work sheet carry-out device 4 is a device that conveys the product work sheet W processed by the work sheet processing machine 1 to the loading and unloading portion 3b of the work sheet cabinet 3. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, the work sheet carry-out device 4 comprises two tracks 12 installed parallel to each other between the work sheet processing machine 1 and the work sheet cabinet loading and unloading portion 3b, and facing in a lateral direction, and traveling members 13 that are independently travelable along the tracks 12. Each of the traveling members 13 has a work sheet holder 14. The traveling members 13 are provided on the tracks 12 so as to be travelable along the tracks 12 via guide members (not shown in the drawings). The traveling members 13 are self-propelled by traveling driving sources (not shown in the drawings) such as servo motors. The guide members are, for example, linear roll bearings or guide rollers.

The work sheet holder 14 is composed of a pad support frame 15 extending in the front-back direction and a plurality of suction pads 16 attached to the pad support frame 15. The suction pads 16 are connected to a vacuum source. The vacuum source is driven to set the suction pads 16 at a negative pressure to allow the suction pads 16 to suck the work sheet W. The work sheet holder 14 is attached to a moving up-down member 17 fitted into the traveling member 13. The moving up-down member 17 is moved up and down by an elevating and lowering driving source (not shown in the drawings) to elevate and lower the work sheet holder 14. The elevating and lowering driving source may be provided separately from the traveling member 13 or the traveling member 13 itself may be the elevating and lowering driving source.

The two tracks 12 are integrally coupled together at the opposite ends thereof and supported by a draw-out direction moving portion 20 that is movable in a draw-out direction of the palette 9, that is, in the front-back direction. The draw-out direction moving portion 20 has laterally paired moving posts 22 that are movable in the front-back direction along respective forward-backward moving rails 21. An elevating and lowering member 23 that can elevate and lower along the moving posts 22 is extended between the moving posts 22. Each of the laterally paired moving posts 22 can be moved forward and backward by a forward-backward movement driving source (not shown in the drawings). The forward-backward movement driving source is composed of, for example, a servo motor and a conversion mechanism such as a ball screw which converts rotation of the servo motor into linear motion. Furthermore, the elevating and lowering member 23 can be elevated and lowered by elevating and lowering means (not shown in the drawings). As the elevating and lowering means, for example, a configuration can be adopted in which a chain is provided along each of the moving posts 22 and engaged with a part of the elevating lowering member 23 and in which the chain is moved up and down by an elevating and lowering driving source such as a motor.

The elevating and lowering member 23 has two engaging portions 25 located at respective positions corresponding to the engaging pins 11 on the palette 9. The engaging portions 25 are draw-out members that allow the palette 9 to be drawn out from the housing portion 3a to the loading and unloading portion 3b through movement of the draw-out direction moving portion 20 in the draw-out direction. As shown in FIG. 6, each of the engaging portions 25 has a pin hole 25a which penetrates the engaging portion 25 in a vertical direction and into which the corresponding engaging pin 11 can be inserted. When the engaging pins 11 are inserted into the respective pin holes 25a, the elevating and lowering member 23 engages the palette 9 in the palette draw-out direction.

In the work sheet conveying system 2, the draw-out direction moving portion 20 of the work sheet carry-out device 4 operates as shown in FIG. 7 to draw out the palette 9 housed in the housing portion 3a of the work sheet cabinet 3, to the loading and unloading portion 3b. First, as shown in FIG. 7A, the elevating and lowering member 23 is positioned slightly higher than the palette 9 to be drawn out. As shown in FIG. 7B, the elevating and lowering member 23 is moved forward such that each of the engaging portions 25 lies above the corresponding engaging pin 11 on the palette 9. Then, as shown in FIG. 7C, the elevating and lowering member 23 is lowered to allow the engaging pin 11 to be inserted into the pin hole 25a in the engaging portion 25. Since the tip 11a of the engaging pin 11 is tapered, the engaging pin 11 is smoothly inserted into the pin hole 25a. In this condition, as shown in FIG. 7D, the elevating and lowering member 23 is moved backward to draw out the palette 9 to the loading and unloading portion 3b. The palette 9 housed on any stage of the housing portion 3a can be drawn out by elevating or lowering the elevating and lowering member 23 to vary the height of the engaging portions 25.

In the work sheet conveying device 4, the moving posts 22 move forward and backward along the forward-backward moving rails 21, and the traveling members 13 travel along the tracks 12. The work sheet holders 14 further elevate and lower to convey the product work sheet W held on the work sheet processing machine 1, onto the palette 9 positioned in the loading and unloading portion 3b of the work sheet cabinet 3. A relatively small product work sheet W is conveyed by one of the traveling members 13. A large product work sheet W is conveyed by the two traveling members 13 operating in corporation.

When each of the engaging pins 11 is pushed forward by a front surface portion of the corresponding engaging portion 25 as shown in FIG. 8, the palette 9 with the product work sheet W loaded thereon is returned from the loading and unloading portion 3b to the housing portion 3a. The palette 9 on any stage of the housing portion 3a can be returned from the loading and unloading portion 3b to the housing portion 3a by elevating or lowering the elevating and lowering member 23 to vary the height of the engaging portions 25.

In the work sheet conveying system 2, the draw-out direction moving portion 20 of the work sheet conveying device 4 operates to draw out and return the palette 9 between the housing portion 3a and loading and unloading portion 3b of the work sheet cabinet 3. This eliminates the need to provide a separate mechanism for drawing out and returning the palette 9, making it possible to simplify the configuration of the work sheet conveying system. Furthermore, the palette 9 can be drawn out and returned between the housing portion 3a and the loading and unloading portion 3b for each stage of housing portion 3a. This eliminates the need to provide an elevator device as in the prior art, making it possible to further simplify the configuration of the work sheet conveying system. Additionally, to be moved into and out from the work sheet cabinet 3, the palette 9 has only to be moved in the horizontal direction. This eliminates the need to elevate and lower the palette 9 as is the case with the elevator device, making it possible to improve the efficiency with which the palette 9 is transferred in and out.

In the above-described embodiment, the engaging portions 25 of the draw-out direction moving portion 20 are moved up and down to engage with the respective engaging pins 11 on the palette 9. However, the engaging portions 25 may be moved in the lateral direction to engage the respective engaging pins 11. FIG. 9 show an elevating and lowering member according to an embodiment that is an example in which the engaging portions 25 are moved in the lateral direction to engage the respective engaging pins 11. Each of the engaging portions 25 of the elevating and lowering member 23 has a notch 25b that is open rightward. Each of the engaging pins 11 can enter the corresponding notch 25b from the right side of the notch. When the engaging pins 11 enter the respective notches 25b, the elevating and lowering member 23 engages the palette 9 in the palette draw-out direction.

The notch 25b has a front-back width that increases as the notch approaches the opening end.

In the case of the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, an operation shown in FIG. 10 is performed. First, as shown in FIG. 10A, the engaging portion 25 is positioned at the same height as that of the corresponding engaging pin 11 and on the left side of the engaging pin 11. As shown in FIG. 10B, the elevating and lowering member 23 is moved forward so that the engaging portion 25 is located at the same position as that of the engaging pin 11 in the front-back direction. Then, as shown in FIG. 10C, the elevating and lowering member 23 is moved rightward to allow the engaging pin 11 to enter the notch 25b in the engaging portion 25. Since the notch 25b has a front-back width that increases as the notch 25b approaches the opening end, the engaging pin 11 smoothly enters the notch 25b.

In this condition, as shown in FIG. 10D, the elevating and lowering member 25 is moved backward to draw out the palette 9 to the loading and unloading portion 3b.

In the above-described embodiments, the draw-out member is the engaging portion 25 that engages the engaging pin 11 that is a member of the palette 9, in the palette draw-out direction; the draw-out member allows the palette 9 to be drawn out from the housing portion 3a to the loading and unloading portion 3b through the movement of the draw-out direction moving portion 20 in the draw-out direction. However, the draw-out member may be a gripping portion that grips the member of the palette 9 (not shown in the drawings). Regardless of whether the draw-out member is the engaging portion 25 or the gripping portion, the palette 9 housed in the housing portion 3a of the work sheet cabinet 3 can be reliably drawn out.

In the present embodiment, the work sheet conveying system 2 conveys work sheets between the work sheet processing machine 1 and the palette 9 in the work sheet cabinet 3, in which the product work sheets W processed by the work sheet processing machine 1 are stored. However, the work sheet conveying system 2 is applicable to a system that conveys work sheets between the work sheet processing machine 1 and the palette 9 in a work sheet cabinet 3 in which material work sheets W0 to be supplied to the work sheet processing machine 1 are stored.

While the present invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the disclosed invention may be modified in numerous ways and may assume many embodiments other than those specifically set out and described above. Accordingly, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all modifications of the present invention that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.