Title of Invention

APPARATUS FOR FORMING GROUPS OF BATTERY PLATES

Abstract This invention relates to a apparatus for forming groups of battery plates, comprising two main conveyors (15,15'). Each main conveyor (15, 15') having a station (12, 12') for the supply of battery plate separators, means (11, 11', 20) common to both said two main conveyors (15, 15') for supplying both of said two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery plates at locations upstream of said stations (12,12') with respect to a direction of travel of said main conveyors (15, 15'), and means (20,13, 13') common to both said two main conveyors (15,15') for supplying both of said two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery plates at locations downstream of said stations (12, 12') with respect to said direction of travel of said main conveyors (15,15').
Full Text Apparatus for forming groups of Battery Plates
This invention relates to apparatus for forming groups of battery plates.
In the manufacture of lead acid, and similar, batteries it is known to have
to assemble groups or stacks of battery plates for insertion in the compartments
of the battery box. Frequently alternate plates are enveloped in porous
separator material, although at times it is necessary that adjacent plates are
both enveloped or there may be an unenveloped pair in the group. Apparatus is
therefore provided for assembling appropriate groups and typically there is an
upstream plate feeder, which feeds plates onto a central conveyor upstream of
an enveloper, which envelopes the plates coming down that section of the
conveyor. One or more further plate feeders are provided downstream of the
enveloper so that desired sequences of enveloped and unenveloped plates
travel down the conveyor. At the end of the main conveyor the plates pass into
a pocketed conveyor, which is timed to receive the desired group or stack of
plates within its respective pocket. The stacking conveyor has a buffer zone
which passes under a group handling device, which removes the assembled
groups out of the stacker and places them onto a feed for a cast-on strap
machine, where the groups have their terminals cast-on, prior to insertion into
the battery boxes.
This arrangement used to work perfectly well, but in more recent years
the speed of the cast-on machines and the other parts of the line downstream
from the group forming apparatus, has increased significantly and thus more
rapid supply of formed groups has been required.
At first sight, a person not skilled in the art might have thought the
solution was simply to buy two stacking lines to feed the cast-on machine, but
this simply has the effect of doubling up the labour, quite apart from increasing
the capital cost and the approach is not economically acceptable to the industry.
Attempts have therefore been made to increase the speed of the existing
apparatus, in particular by doubling up the plate feeds both upstream and
downstream of the enveloper. Some high speeds, in terms of plates per minute,
have been claimed for such arrangements, but in practice there are significant
limitations when one comes to running the apparatus on a production basis.
This is because at speeds above about 150 plates per minute the plates and
enveloping material are travelling so fast that aerodynamic affects become
progressively more significant making it much harder, if not impossible, to
control the correct sequencing of the apparatus. Further at the point of transfer
the plate is expected to come to rest before it is picked up by the fingers on the
main conveyor. At these elevated speeds the plates have often not settled. The
resultant mis-timings and mis-aliginments will frequently cause jamming of the
machine and it will be appreciated that, at these very high speeds of operation,
any blockage on the main conveyor, quickly creates a significant pile up of
plates, even in the short time that it may take for such a jam to be detected.
According to the present invention there is provided apparatus for forming
groups of battering plates including at least first and second plates supply lines
each including a separator station and a downstream plate supply; the
apparatus further including a first common plate feed line for the envelopers and
a second common plate feed line for the downstream plate supplys.
The Applicants have appreciated that, by having a pair of parallel acting
envelopers and downstream plate supplys they can achieve very rapid group
forming, without either line needing to run at speeds which induce aerodynamic
instability, but by providing common plate feed lines for the envelopers and the
downstream plate supplies they are able to maintain the same level of manning
as conventional apparatus. As, over the life of the apparatus, the labour costs
far exceed any capital costs, this arrangement, surprisingly, overcomes the
problems of the previously suggested solutions.
In a preferred embodiment the separator station will be a plate enveloper
but alternatively it could be a leaf separator supply device or an advanced glass
mat supply device or indeed any suitable means for providing separation.
In a preferred embodiment the apparatus further includes plate handling
means for picking groups alternately from respective stackers.
Conveniently the stackers include a buffer zone from which the groups
can be picked.
It is particularly preferred that each supply line runs at a rate of between
80 and 150 plates per minute and it is believed that a rate of 130 plates per
minute provides a particularly good compromise between speed and stability. It
will be understood that in those circumstances the handling apparatus will
effectively receive 260 plates per minute, which is substantially over even the
highest theoretical rates of supply provided by other sources.
Although the invention has been defined above it is to be understood it
includes any inventive combination of the features set out above or in the
following description.
The invention may be performed in various ways and specific examples
will now be described in relation to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a plan view of a traditional apparatus for forming groups;
Figure 2 is a plan view of a prior art adaptation of Figure 1 ;
Figure 3 is a plan view of the Applicants specific apparatus; and
Figure 4 is a side view of the apparatus of Figure 3.
In Figure 1 an apparatus for forming groups is generally indicated at 10
and includes an upstream plate supply 11, an enveloper 12, a first downstream
plate supply 13 and an auxiliary plate supply 14. It will be seen that all of the
plate supplies deliver plates onto a main conveyor 15, which in turn feeds a
stacker 16, that delivers groups of plates into a buffer zone 17, where handling
apparatus, schematically illustrated at 18, laterally transfers the groups onto a
feed 19 for a cast-on strap machine not shown.
It will be noted that each of these supplys 11, 13 and 14 has a feed
conveyor 20. Currently a respective worker is required to maintain a supply of
plates onto the feed conveyor 20. As the use of the supply 14 is more
occasional, the worker on the feed conveyor 20 of supply 13 can also maintain
the feed supply at 14.
In use envelopes supplied onto the main conveyor 15 by the supply 11
pass through the enveloper 12, where they are enveloped. For many batteries
alternate enveloped and unenveloped plates are required and so the supply 13
inserts an unevenloped plate between each envelope plate. If, as is required in
some configurations, from time to time two unenveloped plates are required
between a pair of envelope plates, then the supply 14 delivers an additional
plate On the other hand if a pair of enveloped plates are required immediately
adjacent to each other, then the supply 13 is momentarily stopped.
This arrangement works very adequately up to 150 plates per minute.
However, as has been indicated above, a rate of 150 plates per minute is
insufficient to keep up with the now achievable greater battery production. An
attempt at a solution to this problem is shown in Figure 2, where each feed
conveyor 20 feeds dual parallel supplies 11, 11' and 13, 13' so as to be able to
increase the rate at which plates are dealt onto the main conveyor 15. It is
certainly possible to place plates onto the main conveyor 15 at a rate of 180
plates per minute and the Applicants have seen claims that 220 plates per
minute are achievable, although they have not seen that occur in practice.
However, even at 180 plates per minute the aforementioned aerodynamic and
settling effects become significant and it is extremely difficult to control the
machine over a production cycle.
Turning to Figures 3 and 4 the Applicants use dual supplys 11, 11' and
13, 13', but arrange them to feed, respectively, main conveyors 15, 15' and
envelopers 12, 12' so that each main conveyor 15, 15' only needs to travel at a
speed which will deliver up to 150 plates per minute and preferably no more than
130 plates per minute. Conveyors 15, 15' feed stackers 16, 16' which then enter
the buffer 17. Existing handling apparatus 18 can be readily modified to operate
at a sufficient speed to pick groups formed by stackers 16 and 16' alternatively
and in this way can supply up to 260 plates per minute to the cast-on strap feed
19.
Although there is some additional capital cost in the provision of the
second enveloper, main conveyor and stacker, the configuration achieves,
previously unachievable feed rates, without any increase in the workforce. In
addition each main conveyor 15, 15' is operating within a speed range at which
aerodynamic effects are not present or significant and the Applicants
configuration has a smaller footprint than could be achieved if two separate
supply lines were used.
If higher speeds still are required further supplys and conveyors can be
added.
WE CLAIM
1. Apparatus for forming groups of battery plates, comprising two main
conveyors (15, 15'), characterized in that each said main conveyor (15,
15') having a station (12, 12') for the supply of battery plate separators,
means (11, 11', 20) common to both said two main conveyors (15, 15')
for supplying both of said two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery
plates at locations upstream of said stations (12, 12') with respect to a
direction of travel of said main conveyors (15, 15'), and means (20, 13,
13') common to both said two main conveyors (15,15') for supplying both
of said two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery plates at locations
downstream of said stations (12, 12') with respect to said direction of
travel of said main conveyors (15, 15').
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising handling apparatus for
combining and handling battery plates from both said main conveyors (15,
15').
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein each said main conveyor (15,
15') feeding a respective one of two stackers (16, 16'), and a plate
handling device for picking groups of plates alternately from said stackers
(16,16').
4. Apparatus for forming groups of battery plates, comprising two feed
conveyors (20), each said feed conveyor (20) each feeding two battery
plate supplies (11, 11'; 13, 13'), two main conveyors (15, 15'), each said
main conveyor (15,15') having a station (12,12') for the supply of
battery plate separators, each of said two battery plate supplies (11, 11')
fed by one of said two feed conveyors (20) supplying a respective one of
said two main conveyors (15, 15') at locations upstream of said stations
(12, 12') with respect to a direction of travel of said main conveyors (15,
15'), each of said two battery plate supplies (13, 13') fed by the other of
said two feed conveyors (20) supplying a respective one of said two main
conveyors (15, 15') at locations downstream of said stations (12,12') with
respect to said direction of travel of said main conveyors (15,15').
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4, comprising handling apparatus for
combining and handling battery plates from both said main conveyors (15,
15').
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein each said main conveyor (15,
15') feeding a respective one of two stackers (16, 16')/ and a plate
handling device for picking groups of plates alternately from said stackers
(16,16').


This invention relates to a apparatus for forming groups of battery plates,
comprising two main conveyors (15,15'). Each main conveyor (15, 15') having a
station (12, 12') for the supply of battery plate separators, means (11, 11', 20)
common to both said two main conveyors (15, 15') for supplying both of said
two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery plates at locations upstream of said
stations (12,12') with respect to a direction of travel of said main conveyors (15,
15'), and means (20,13, 13') common to both said two main conveyors (15,15')
for supplying both of said two main conveyors (15, 15') with battery plates at
locations downstream of said stations (12, 12') with respect to said direction of
travel of said main conveyors (15,15').

Documents:

65-kol-2005-abstract.pdf

65-kol-2005-claims.pdf

65-kol-2005-correspondence.pdf

65-kol-2005-description (complete).pdf

65-kol-2005-drawings.pdf

65-kol-2005-examination report.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 1.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 18.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 2.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 26.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 3.pdf

65-kol-2005-form 5.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-abstract.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-claims.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-correspondence.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-description (complete).pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-drawings.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-examination report.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 1.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 18.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 2.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 26.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 3.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-form 5.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-reply to examination report.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-specification.pdf

65-kol-2005-granted-translated copy of priority document.pdf

65-kol-2005-reply to examination report.pdf

65-kol-2005-specification.pdf

65-kol-2005-translated copy of priority document.pdf


Patent Number 235900
Indian Patent Application Number 65/KOL/2005
PG Journal Number 36/2009
Publication Date 04-Sep-2009
Grant Date 03-Sep-2009
Date of Filing 03-Feb-2005
Name of Patentee TBS ENGINEERING LIMITED
Applicant Address LONGHILL, ELMSTONE HARDWICKE CHELTENHAM, GLOUCESTERSHIRE GL51 9TY
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 ROBERT TIMOTHY HOPWOOD 17 OLD PAWLETT ROAD, WEST HUNTSPILL HIGHBRIDGE SOMERSET TA9 3RH
2 TOBIN LEE KNIGHTON 4328 SE ERMINE STREET ALBANY OREGON 97322
3 CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN BARGE 11 LUTYENS CLOSE STOKE PARK STAPLETON BRISTOL BS16 1WL
PCT International Classification Number H01M 10/14
PCT International Application Number N/A
PCT International Filing date
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 60/541,237 2004-02-04 U.S.A.