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Патент USA US3070230

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Dec. 25, 1962
R. F. RIS 55
Filed Dec. 16, 1959
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
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Dec. 25, 1962
Filed D80. 16, 1959
2 Sheets—Sheet 2
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Patented Dec. 25, 1962
of'belt travel, the belt will be urged to a decentered or
detrained position.
It is highly desirable in any conveyor installation to
bring the ?exible strands in under the edge of the belt. By
Ralph F. Risse, Chicago, Ill., assignor to Goodman Man
ufacturing Company, Chicago, 111., a corporation of
Filed Dec. 16, 1959, Ser. No. 859,989
6 Claims. (Cl. 198-192)
the teetering point at the edge of the belt fall completely
off the conveyor and do not lodge in the pocked formed
between the edge of the belt and the ?exible strand.
so doing, lumps of conveyed material, such as coal, near
‘Should such a pocket exist, the movement of the belt will
10 tumble the lumps of conveyed material along this pocket
until it strikes the next downstream conveyor assembly
knocking it out of perpendicular alignment with the belt,
and into a detraining position, as explained above.
This invention relates generally to ?exible strand con
veyors and particularly to a troughing idler assembly for such a conveyor designed for use in low clearance oper
Such an arrangement whereby the strands are located
Flexible strand conveyors of the type lllustrated 1n the
Craggs et al. Patent No. 2,773,257 have come into increas-'
15 beneath the edge of the belt is also important from a
safety standpoint. Miners often ride the belts into and out
of the mine, and there is considerable danger to them as
they hop onto or off a moving belt. By placing the ?ex
features. Among these are low cost, high carrying capac
ible strands beneath the belt, the danger of catching an
ity and adaptability to practically any conveying environ
ment. As illustrated in the aforementioned Craggs et al. 20 arm, leg or loose clothing in the pocket is completely elim
inated, and the belts may be run at a relatively high rate
patent, these conveyors generally consist of a plurality of
of speed.
support structures spaced along a conveying course, such
Increasing the tension in the ?exible side frames to re
as a mine run, which support a pair of parallel ?exible
duce sag often raises other problems, particularly the prob
strands, such as wire ropes. A plurality of idler assem
blies are suspended from the strands at spaced intervals to 25 lem of installing the individual assemblies along the rope
strands. If, for example, it is desired to place the ?exible
form a bed for the conveying reach of a ?exible conveyor
strands under, or at least in general vertical alignment
' belt. _A‘ plurality of return roller assemblies are usually
with, the edge of the conveyor belt for belt-training and
supported by the support structures or, alternately, they
safety reasons, jacks or other special equipment may be
may besuspended from the ?exible strands or the roof to
form ‘a bedfor the return reach of the conveyor belt. 30 needed to force the strands close enough together to a
' point where the troughing idler assemblies can be con
Since the return roller assemblies support no load other
ingly widespread use due to their many inherent desirable '
nected thereto. This is a cumbersome process at best even
than the weight of the belt, they are generally spaced. at
where adequate head room is available, and in low seam
work the difficulties become acute.
' somewhat greater intervals than the troughing idler as
lustrated in the Craggs et al. patent, or partly or entirely ‘
Another factor affecting the amount of training effect
exerted by the troughing idler assembly on the belt is the
amount of contact between the belt and assembly. If
rigid. In a fully ?exible assembly, the outer ends of the
there is substantial contact between the center roller in a
roller assembly are free‘ to move both inwardly and down
wardly in response t'o'i'mposition of a load, whereas in a
three-roller troughing idler assembly and the belt, the
chances are excellent that satisfactory belt training char
The troughing idler assemblies‘which support the co'n- veying reach of the belt may either be fully ?exible, as i‘
acterislics will follow. If the belt makes only intermit
rigid assembly the rollers are generally carried by a sub
tent, or in effect, partial contact with the center roller,
stantially rigid support structure or cradle which prevents
detraining of the belt may follow. Since many of the
inward movement of the ends of the assembly. Various
belts in use in the coal mining industry today are rela
modi?cations have been proposed from time to time which
combine features of both the fully ?exible and completely 45 tively stiff, they assume a smooth curved contour when
passing over a troughing idler assembly and thereby
rigid assemblies, but for purposes of illustration only these
make only point or partial contact with the assembly.
two types will be discussed.
This effect, of course, is at a maximum when the hilt is
These conveyors are widely employed in the coal min
- running emp‘y, since there is no load on the belt when
ing industry to transfer coal from the face of the seam
back to a remote processing station. In installations in 50 forces the belt to lay tight against the assembly to closely
conform to its contour. This is another reason why a
which adequate head room is present, which for purposes
fairly pronounced troughing contour cannot be tolerated
> of illustration will be assumed to be 4 feet or more, the
in low seam operations, particularly when the belt runs
type of conveyor illustrated in the Craggs et al. patent is
' completely adequate. In low seam operations, however,
- that is, in installations in which the clearance is 4 feet or 55
less, it is often desirable to either use cradled assemblies
or to modify the troughing action of the fully ?exible idler
assemblies to prevent interference of the assemblies with
i the return reach of the belt. It is not always desirable to
use cradled assemblies, since the angle of trough is gener
ally limited to a ?xed angle. To prevent undue sag when
using a fully ?exible assembly, it has become common
practice to increase the tension in the ?exible rope side
" frame from a normal value of around 2,000 pounds up to
5,000 pounds.
It is well known in this ?eld that a troughing idler as
sembly imparts a training effect to a belt as the belt passes
over the assembly. Generally, this training effect is di
rected in a direction substantially perpendicular to the
longitudinal axis'of the troughing idler assembly. If the
assembly is not positioned perpendicularly to the direction‘
Accordingly, the primary object of this invention is to
provide a troughing idler assembly for a belt conveyor
which has a relatively shallow troughing contour to there
by provide good un‘oaded belt training charactedstics
and which can be installed in a conveyor utilizing normal
strand tensions.
Another object is to provide a troughing idler assembly
especially adapted for installation in low clearance oper
ations in which the pivot point between fully ?exible
troughing rollers is located substantially downwardly
65 from the point of overlap of the individual rollers where
by the tension path along which load on the belt is trans
mitted to the strand lies considerably below the longi
tudinal axis of the rollers.
Yet a further object is to provide a fully ?ex’b‘ev trough
ing idler assembly especially adapted for installation in
low clearance rperations which has a relatively shallow
unloaded troughing contour and in which the-action of
" 3,670,220
tially of a plurality of elongated frame members 52, 53,
54 which support rollers 41, 42, and 40, respectively.
Elongated frame member 54, for example, includes a
‘the belt on the rollers automatically orients the rollers
into a training position.
Yet a further object is to provide an automatic belt
training troughing idler assemly having a relatively shal
pair of upstanding roller shaft supporting members or
low unloaded troughing contour in which the degree of
arms 55 and 56 adjacent its outer and inner end, re
fujl ?ex motement between the wing and center rollers
spectively. A pair of milled ?ats on opposite sides. of
is limited to thereby prevent undue sag of the entire
right wing roller dead shaft 40a are received in a vertical
slot in arm 56 and a horizontal slot in arm 55.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be
come apparent upon a reading of the following descrip
tion of the invention.
56 is considerably longer than arm 55 to thereby ele
vate the inner end of wing roller 40 a substantially greater
FIGURE 1 is an elevational view of a portion of a
distance above frame member 54 than the outer end.
In this instance, the outer end of frame member 54 has
been turned up to provide support member 55, but a
separate member could be utilized. Left frame member
?exib e strand conveyor illustrating the invention;
FIGURE 2 is a sectional view through the conveyor
of FIGURE 1 taken substantially along the line 2--2 of
end members or arms 57 and-58 which receive the dead
shaft 41a of roller 41.
The invention is illustrated more or less diagrammat
ically in the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view taken subtantially along
the line 3-3 of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a detail view illustrating the connection
between adjacent roller supporting structures taken sub
stantialiy along the line 4—4 of FIGURE 2; and
FIGURE 5 is a detail view taken substantially along
the line 5--5 of FIGURE 3 il ustrating the extreme de~
.gree of ?exure between the center and wing rollers per
mitted by the structure of the present invention.
Like reference numerals will be used to refer to like
parts throughout the following description of the draw
52 likewise carries outer and inner upwardly projecting
Center, or intermediate, frame portion 53 likewise
has a pair of upstanding brackets or arms 59, 60 adja
cent its ends. Arms 59, 60 receive center roller dead
shaft 42:: and maintain the center roller at an elevation
substantially equal to the elevation of the inner ends
of the wing rollers.
The intermediate frame portion 53 is ?exibly con
nected to end or outermost frame portions 52, 54 by the
structure illustrated best in FIGURE 4. Each of frame
portions 52 and 53, which are shown as comprising a
relatively ?at plate having a width substantially larger
than its thickness, are welded to a pair of sleeves 64,
30 65, and 66, 67, as indicated at 68 and 69. The sleeves
In FIGURE 1, a ?exible strand conveyor is indicated
are aligned one with another to form a bore‘which re
generally at 10 resting on the ?oor 11 which may be the
?oor of a coal mine, for example. The roof of the mine
is indicated generally at 12 and, as is apparent from the
draw ngs, the c‘earance is relatively low. The conveyor
consists essentially of a pair of generally parallel ?exible
ceives pivot pin 70. The ?at plates or frame portions
52, 53 overlap one another a substantial amount to
avoid excessively. high bending moments at the joint.
This arrangement permits the individual rollers to ?ex
freely with respect to one another‘ to provide much the
same action as that illustrated in the Craggs et al. patent
strands 13 and 14 which are supported and maintained
a substantially ?xed distance apart by a supporting struc
but, since the rollers are offset along the longitudinal
axis of the conveyor, it is possible for them to overlap
ture indicated generally at 15. In this instance, the sup
port structures include a pair of vertically adjustable 40 during their ?exing movement, as illustrated, for exam
ple, in FIGURE 5. Because of the overlapping of the
telescoping support stands 16 and 17 which are main
tainad a ?xed distance apsrt by a cross brace or strut 18.
The stands rest on any suitable base 19 and any suitable
rollers, the effective points of ?exure of the wing and
center rollers with respect to one another is about the
pivot points 70.
means for vertically adjusting the height of the stand
Limit or stop means are indicated generally at 72, 73.
may be utilized. Since the details of the support stands L15
In this instance, the limit means consists merely of a
do not of themselves form a part of the invention, they
are not further illustrated.
stop block whose lower boundary 74 is welded to cen
ter frame portion 53 to present an abutment surface 75
A pair of tubular members 20 and 21 are welded or
otherwise suitably secured to the cross brace 18 and carry
directly in line with and engageable by upwardly project
suitable clamps 22, 23 or other seating members which
receive the ?ex'ble strands 13 and 14. Eye-bolts 24, 25
force the strand into snug engagement in the seats in
ing arm 58 of left frame portion 52. The limit of
?exure between rollers can be regulated by varying the
angle of inclination of abutment surface 75.
clamps 22. 23.
The strand connecting means 51 are welded as at
A return roller assembly is indicated generally at 30.
The assembly includes, in this instance, a return roller 31
secured to the telescoping support stands 16 and 17 by
suitable bracket structures 32, 33 which receive the end
portions of roller shaft 34. The return roller 31 supports
76 to the underside of outermost frame portions 52,
39. The assembly, in this instance, is shown as including
the upstanding members 55, 57 of the outermost frame
portions. Shafts 4%, 41a of Wing rollers 40, 41, re
spectively, extend through these slots and slide there
along. Swingi 1g movement of the Wing rollers about
54 and are so positioned that they are in a general vertical
alignment with the edge of the conveying reach 40 of
the belt when the belt runs centered over the assembly.
Means for canting or orienting the wing rollers in a
training direction are illustrated in FIGURES 1 and 3.
the reiurn reach 35 of a ?exible conveyor belt.
A troughing idler assembly is illustrated generally at 60 In FIGURE 3, slots or races 78 and 79 are formed in
a pair of end or wing rollers 40 and 41 which ?ank an
intermediate or center primary load carrying roller 42.
The wing rollers are offset with respect to the center
roller along the longitudinal axes of the conveyor, as
best illustrated in FIGURE 3, and form a support for
the conveying reach 43 of the ?exible conveyor belt. Al—
though only three rollers have been shown, it should be
understood that one or more intermediate rollers may be
the connection between their shafts and the inner arms
56, 58 is possible because of a slight looseness or play
in the connections between the rollers and the frame
arms. Special connections at the inner ends of the
shafts could, of course, be utilized to permit a wider
emp‘oyed as well as one or wore wing rollers ?anking the 70 arcuate sweep of the wing rollers about the pivot points,
but for all practical purposes a reorientation of the roller
intermediate roller or rollers.
of two or three degrees one way or the other from a
The rollers are secured to the ?exible strands 13 and
14 by a roller supporting structure indicated generally
at 50 and connecting structure illustrated generally at
position perpendicular to the direction of belt travel will
be su?‘icient. To aid in the repositioning of the wing
The roller supporting structure 50 consists essen 75 rollers when the direction of travel of the belt is re
versed, a series of bumps or projections 80 have been
welded to the outer ends of the rollers.
the belt to get on and off. The chances of knocking the
idler assembly out of line due to a detrained belt or by
Although only a single troughing idler assembly has
lumps of coal which have caught in the pocket between
been illustrated and described, it should be understood
the belt and adjacent strand are reduced.
The combination of the bumps or projections 80 and
that each of the assemblies in FIGURE 1 can be sub- .
stantially identical, or, inv any given conveyor installa
tion, this particular troughing idler assembly can be lo
the slots 78, 79 formed in upstanding end portions 55,
57 provide quick realignment of the wing rollers should
the belt become detrained. Thus, when the belt detrains
to the right, for example, the right edge rides up and
10 over the projections 80. Each projection alternately
rises and drops the belt onto the roller which imparts a
In order to obtain a relatively shallow troughing con
jarring motion to the roller su?‘icient to overcome the
tour when a belt runs unloaded without increasing the
sliding friction between the end of rollershaft 40a and
tension in the ?exible strands of the conveyor, the roller
the bearing surface 78. The roller will slide into the
supporting structure illustrated best in FIGURE 2 in
effect pulls the strands inwardly under the belt to there 15 position of FIGURE 3 and the belt will gradually move
back to a center position since the training effect indi~
by separate the tension path from the longitudinal axes
cated generally at F is exerted in a training direction.
of the rollers of the assemblies. Thus, in FIGURE 2,
The bumps or projections 80 are not training means in
a load imposed on the belt will be transmitted through
themselves. They only serve to cause sliding of the
the upwardly projecting roller supporting arms 55, 56,
57, 58, 59, 60'to‘outermost frame members 52, 54 and .20 outer ends of the wing rollers into training positions
whereby automatic two directional training is achieved.
thence to ?exible'strands 13 and 14. Since roller sup
Although the invention has been shown and described
porting arms 56 and 58 are substantially longer than the
outermost arms 55, 57, the longitudinal axes of the wing . in a low clearance environment, it is not so limited in
application. It may, for example, be used in high clear
‘ rollers at their inner-ends will lie a substantially greater
distance above the ?exure point 70 than will the longi.-. .25 ance underground or above ground operations.
The foregoing description is illustrative only, and not
tudinal axes of the rollers at their outer ends above the
de?nitive. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should
points of connection of the assembly to the strands.
only be limited by the scope of the following claims.
For convenience of illustration, the angle formed be
I claim:
tween the outermost frame portions 52, S4 and the hori
1. A ?exible strand conveyor troughing idler assembly
zontal has been indicated at X and represents in effect
especially adapted for installation in low clearance oper
the tension angle. Similarly, the angle formed at the
ations with normal strand tensions, said troughing idler
intersection of the extension of the longitudinal axes
assembly including, in combination, a center roller ?anked
of the wing rollers and a line passing through the ?exure
‘by a pair of wing rollers, said rollers being shaft
points 70 and the points of connection of the assembly
mounted, means for supporting said rollers, said sup
to the strands has been indicated at Y. This angle
cated at selected intervals along the strands.
The use and operation of the invention is as fol
represents, in elfect, the amount the roller is olfset from
the tension path. The illustrated structure permits in
porting means enabling the rollers to ?ex with respect
to one another in a generally vertical plane throughout
a limited range of ?exure whereby the outermost ends
of the wing rollers may move toward and away from
by provides a relatively shallow troughing contour. As 40 one another, said supporting means maintaining the ef
fective points of ?exure between the center roller and
a consequence, the assembly can be connected to the
each wing roller a greater distance below the wing roller
?exible strand rather easily because the normal strand
shafts thereabove than the distance between the ?exible
tensions may be utilized but, at the same time, because
strands and the wing roller shafts thereabove to thereby
of the olfsetting of the roller axis from the tension path
angularly offset the effective tension path from the axes
as represented by the roller offset angle Y, the troughing
of the wing rollers, and means for connecting the rollers
contour is maintained relatively shallow. In essence, for
and the roller supporting means to the ?exible strands
any given tension path angle, the greater the roller off
of a ?exible strand conveyor.
set angle, the more perfect the troughing contour be
2. The troughing idler assembly of claim 1 wherein
comes in the sense that a relatively ?at unloaded trough
creases in the tension angle up to a relatively high
amount, on the order of 25 degrees or more, which there
ing contour is maintained, thus promoting good belt con
tact even with stiff belts. In other words, the greater the
tension angle X, FIGURE 3, the lower the rope tension
needed to provide good troughing characteristics and
the roller supporting means includes outer frame mem
bers supporting the wing rollers by their end portions,
the connecting means being carried by the frame mem
bers, and an intermediate frame member ?exibly con
nected to the outermost frame members and supporting
the center roller, each of said outer frame members
including an inner and an outer upwardly extending
arm, said arms carrying a wing roller at their upper ends,
good belt-roller contact. This construction is the ?rst
in which the tension path and longitudinal axis of the
rollers have been separated and eventually converge at
the point beyond the boundaries of the conveyor system.
the inner arm being longer than the outer arm so as to
This construction also permits the wing rollers to
elevate the inner ends of the wind rollers a greater dis
overlap the center roller when the rollers ?ex, as best
illustrated in FIGURE 5, which promotes good belt con 60 tance above the e?ective points of ?exure between the
wing and center rollers than the outer ends of the wing
tact, particularly when the belt is unloaded and reduces
bridging of the belt between adjacent ends of the rollers.
rollers above the connecting means, said intermediate
Experience has shown that unsupported spans of the belt
frame member maintaining the center roller at approxi
tend to fail faster than supported spans when subjected
mately the same level as the inner ends of the wing
65 rollers.
to loads.
Otfsetting also exposes the shaft ends and bearings
3. The troughing idler assembly of claim 2 further
so that they are easily accessible for maintenance and
characterized in that the center roller is offset in a direc
replacement. In fact, by offsetting the rollers, an indi
tion generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of
vidual roller may be removed without removing the
troughing idler assembly from the strands, and this ad 70 the assembly to thereby enable the inner ends of the wing
rollers to overlap the outer ends of the intermediate
vantage is achieved while retaining the highly desirable
rollers throughout at least a portion of the range of
full ?exing features of the sausage roller assemblies illus
?exure of the rollers with respect to one another.
trated in the Craggs et al. patent.
4. The troughing idler assembly of claim 2 further
This construction also enables the ropes to be pulled
under the belt thus making it safer for workmen riding 75 characterized by and including limit means for limiting
members supporting the wing rollers being pivotally con
nected to the frame member supporting the center-‘roller
to thereby provide etfective points of ?exure between the
the amount of ?exure of the wing rollers with respect to
the intermediate rollers.
5. The troughing idler assembly of claim 2 further
characterized by and including means for canting the
center and wing rollers, and means for connecting the
wing roller frame members, and consequently the trough
wing rollers in the direction of belt travel automatically
in response to passage of the belt over the assembly.
ing idler assembly, to the ?exible strands of a ?exible
6. A ?exible strand conveyor troughing idler assembly
especially adapted for installation in low clearance opera
:strand conveyor, whereby the tension path between the
?exure points and the strands lies below and is disposed
angularly to the longitudinal axis of the wing rollers, the
tions using normal strand tensions, said troughing idler
assembly including, in combination, a center primary load 10 center roller supporting arms extending upwardly a dis
stance su?icient to maintain the center roller at sub
carrying roller ?anked by a pair of wing rollers, ?exible
stantially the same elevation as the inner ends of the wing
frame means for connecting the rollers for ?exing move
ment with respect to one another in a generally vertical
plane, said ?exible frame means including elongated sub
stantially rigid frame members extending substantially
the entire length of the rollers, ‘each member having up
wardly extending roller supporting arms adapted to sup
port the ends of its associated roller, said elongated
?exible frame members being disposed beneath the'rollers,
the roller supporting arms adjacent the inner ends of the '20
wing roller frame members projecting upwardly a sub~
stantially greater distance than the roller supporting arms
at the outer ends of said frame members to thereby en
able the troughing idler assembly to assume a shallow
References Citedin the ‘?le of this patent
Willson __;_ _______ __‘____ Dec.‘ 6, 1910
'McCallum ________ __r_____ Sept. 9, 1958
Salmons ______________ ..d Apr. 7, 1959
Stinson ______________ __ Sept. 15, 1959
Germany ______ _.'.’..._...__ Sept. 24, 1938
troughing contour in unloaded conditions, the frame :25
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