Modular Multi-Directional Conveying System
Original Publication Date: 1987-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
A conveying system is described made up of a two-dimensional horizontal array of spheres, grouped primarily into hexagonal regions, each region having associated with it a drive mechanism arranged to rotate most of the spheres in that region by frictional contact from beneath, thereby to move an article resting on the upper surfaces of the spheres. Each drive mechanism may be rotated about a vertical axis in order to drive the article in any desired direction. Additionally, each drive mechanism may be lowered to enable the article to rest in the region or freewheel across the region. Barriers may be raised through the interstices between the spheres to stop or retain the article. Fig.