Modular Vacuum Conveyor System
Publication Date: 2002-Nov-13
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Modular vacuum conveyors can be formed by extrusion of aluminum. Several unique features can be achieved, such as providing an internal slidegate dampener, a removable end, easily removable tops, and removable baffles.
Vacuum conveyors are used to convey a component or web from one point in a manufacturing process to another point. Typical vacuum conveyors are designed for a specific application, and when the machine is modified, the conveyors are scrapped. Not only is scrapping conveyors expensive from an equipment standpoint, a significant amount of engineering is required to design the replacement conveyor (which is also expensive). The modular conveyor concept addresses these issues very effectively. Instead of scrapping components, they are simply disassembled and reassembled in a different arrangement depending upon what is required by the application. Specific unique features of the modular design are:
1) Aluminum extrusion for the body
Rather than manufacturing vacuum conveyors from welded steel or aluminum plates, utilizing an aluminum allowed several features to be added at no additonal cost. The first feature was the addition of "T" slots on the bottom of the extrusion. "T" nuts are inserted in the slots to secure varous components and accessories. The T slots are also used to attach the mounting brackets which mount the conveyor to the machine backplate. Using a T slot instead of conventional drilled and tapped holes, allows much more flexibility in locating the mounting brackets in the field. A shallow “alignment slot” is machined in the spacer plate to act as a guide for components that require precise allignment (like idler rolls). The third drawing shows how an idler assembly mounts to the bottom of the conveyor, and is aligned by the center "T" slot. The idler assembly is one of several optional components that mount to the bottom of the conveyor.
2) Built in Slide gate damper
Another unique feature built into the extrusion is a slot on the operator side which allows a sheet metal plate to be installed which then becomes an internal slidegate damper. Most vacuum
conveyors require the purchase of external slidegates to regulate the amount of vacuum in the conveyor. This design has the slidegate built in the conveyor, both reducting cost, and simplifying the adjustment of vacuu...