- TECHNICAL FIELD
This application claims the benefit of priority of prior Greek national application no. GR-20090100411 filed on Jul. 22, 2009, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
- BACKGROUND ART
The invention relates to a system and method for feeding electric welding machines for producing mesh from wire, rods, or other suitable material of diverse cross-section. Such meshes have longitudinal members of the above-indicated type. The longitudinal wires typically originate from one or more spools and are straightened, cut to an appropriate length, and fed automatically to a feeder for longitudinal wires which transfers them and delivers the to a welding line where follows the process of welding to the transverse wires of the mesh so as to produce the desired mesh.
Electrically welded meshes are characterized by the numbers of and the diameters of the longitudinal and transverse wires as well as by the respective distances between them. There currently exist different categories and types of welding machines with different technical characteristics and different manners of supplying the longitudinal wires for the production of the meshes. Such welding machines are typically controlled by electronic computers.
In a first category belong machines in which the longitudinal members originate from wires wound on a number of spools equivalent to the number of longitudinal members, as depicted in FIG. 6. The longitudinal wires are uncoiled and supplied through guides, spreading or separation mechanisms, straightening mechanisms and advancement mechanisms, to an intermediary buffer loop. The longitudinal wires are pulled from the intermediary buffer loop by a feeding mechanism and through a new straightening are advanced towards the welding machine. The production takes place step-wise with feeding of longitudinal and transverse members, subsequent welding, mesh 5 advancement 12, and so on. The supply of the transverse members may be made from a decoiling reel 30 and feeding-straightening mechanism, or from a feeder of straightened, precut wires. When the desired length mesh 5 is produced, cutting of the longitudinal wires follows. Prior published application WO-03/106070A2 generally discloses a prior system of this type.
In a second category, as depicted in FIGS. 7A-7B, belong machines in which the longitudinal wires originate from straightened and precut wires with length corresponding to the dimensions of the mesh 5 to be produced, and in which the transverse wires may be fed from a decoiling reel 30, as in FIG. 7A, or may originate as straightened and precut wires, as depicted in FIG. 7B. The straightened longitudinal wires are produced in another location by straightening machines, are transferred next to the welding machine, and in continuation are positioned manually in the appropriate locations in a specialized carrier which subsequently supplies the welding machine, where with the combination of feeding of the transverse members and welding, the mesh 5 is produced. In this second category of welding machines all the introducing machinery for introducing wires from spools to the welder is absent.
- SUMMARY OF INVENTION
A third type of machine was disclosed in prior published application WO-2007110400A1. This reference disclosed an automatic machine for welding transverse wires to longitudinal wires in which precut wires were produced and accumulated in shearing assemblies and then conveyed by a complex vertical rack system functioning as a dynamic accumulation and feed store, from where they were deposited onto so as to be conveyed as a set to the welding line by a complex series of chains with blades.
Machines of the above-described first category have several notable disadvantages. They occupy much space, as a result of the systems for reeling, guiding, advancing, straightening, loop-buffering, as may be seen in FIG. 6. They are very expensive as a consequence of having the above-referred to systems. As a result of the several and complex systems the maintenance and the repair of possible malfunctions require much time and have high cost. One more problem that appears in this type of machines originates from the fact that the spools of wire never terminate all simultaneously, resulting in frequent stoppages of the machine to load some reel with new spool. Finally, the most significant disadvantage is that they are not flexible, because changing the type of mesh with other-diameter longitudinal members requires a large amount of time, considering, for example, that a common construction mesh may have 30 longitudinal members and that it is necessary to pull from all systems the old wires and to remove the spools from the reels and replace them with new ones having wires of other diameter, which wires must also be passed through all of the above-referred-to systems. It is evident that the above reasons mandate that the machine produce for a relatively long time interval only one type of mesh in large quantities that then must be stored, necessitating a large storage space, tying up overhead, etc.
The machines of the above-described second category also have notable disadvantages. They require additional working locations and mechanical equipment for the production of precut longitudinal members. They also require organization and space for the handling and movement of the precut straightened members from their location of production and storage to the welding machine. The longitudinal members are introduced directly into the machine or into a pre-feeder mechanism manually. They have low productivity. Furthermore, they require more personnel for the production of mesh.
- Solution to the Problem
The third type of machine exemplified in WO-2007110400A1 involved a complex system containing a large number of specialized, mechanically complex and expensive mechanical parts, thus increasing cost and potential for malfunctions. Furthermore, the chains with blades did not securely retain the longitudinal wires.
It is now an object of the invention to provide an advantageous system for feeding longitudinal wires 1 in machines for producing welded meshes 5 from wire material, rod, or other material of diverse cross-section, in which the longitudinal wires 1, rods or other material of diverse cross-section (which may be referred to as longitudinal members hereafter) of mesh 5 are introduced into welding heads where they are welded with the transverse wires coming from one or more spools or from precut wires through a suitable feeder. The under-production mesh 5 is advanced by a suitable advancement mechanism that undertakes its advancement until completion of mesh production. Advantageously the longitudinal members of the mesh 5 originate from at least one spool on a reel, which is unwound and the wire 1 is fed by a feeder unit and guided via an advancement system, suitable straightening system, systems for measuring and cutting to desirable length, towards a supplier for longitudinal members, which supplier includes sheaths on a carrier seated on appropriate guides, said sheaths being fed with longitudinal wires 1 of the next-to-be-produced mesh while the prior mesh is being produced, said carrier of the supplier for longitudinal members, when the supplying of longitudinal wires is completed advantageously moving to the region of welding where it introduces the longitudinal members directly to the welding heads and returns to the starting position for being supplied with longitudinal members anew, where it may be supplied with new longitudinal members 1 of the next mesh 5 during the duration of welding of the previous mesh.
It is also an object of the invention to set forth an advantageous method for feeding longitudinal wires 1 to machines producing welded meshes 5 from wires, rods or other weldable material of diverse cross-section, in which the meshes 5 are produced by welding longitudinal wires with transverse wires in a suitable arrangement for welding, with continuous step-wise advancements of longitudinal members, depositing of transverse wires on the welding line, welding of the transverse elements with the longitudinal elements in the welding line, and so on. Advantageously, the longitudinal wires come from material coiled on at least one spool, which spool is unwound with the aid of a suitable means. The longitudinal members fed are subjected to advancement and straightening, followed by measuring of length and cutting to desired lengths, and they are fed to an arrangement of positions in an appropriate supplier for longitudinal members, which positions correspond to positions of the longitudinal members in the to-be-produced mesh. In following, the longitudinal wires are transferred from the supplier arrangement for longitudinal members and are introduced to the welding arrangement where is realized the production of the mesh 5. Advantageously, during the duration of mesh 5 production the supplier for longitudinal members may return to a filling position and be supplied anew with the new longitudinal wires 1 of a next-to-be-produced mesh.
According to the invention, this object is achieved by a system having the features of patent claim 1, and by a method having the features of patent claim 8.
At this point, it is pointed out that, in the context of this disclosure, the term “wire” can equivalently be understood as meaning or indicating, in the context of the present disclosure claims and appended drawings, a wire, rod, or other suitable elongate material of diverse cross-section; as in implementations of the invention the material employed, as well as the dimension of the individual elements, may be commensurate with the requirements of particular applications.
Advantageous configurations and further developments of the invention are evident from the dependent claims and from the description in combination with the figures of the drawing.
In possible advantageous versions of systems according to the invention, each of the plurality of sheaths may include a respective tube and a respective gripper for retaining longitudinal wires, and a respective motor may be connected to respectively energize each of said respective grippers.
Advantageous versions of systems according to the invention may have a second carrier receiving longitudinal wires from the longitudinals carrier. It may be advantageous in some versions to provide a plurality of spools for supplying longitudinal wire to the sheaths of the longitudinals carrier. It may also be advantageous to provide a plurality of spools, equal to the number of different diameters of longitudinal wires in a production mesh, to supply the feeding unit. Furthermore, it may also be advantageous in some versions of systems according to the invention to provide a plurality of suppliers for feeding longitudinal wires of the same diameter, so as to facilitate faster spool changing.
Some versions of the invention may advantageously follow the method according to the invention with the longitudinal wires 1, by which is fed the supply arrangement for longitudinal members 2, originating from the uncoiling of more than one spool. It may be advantageous in some versions of the invention to originate the longitudinal wires 1 with which is fed the supply arrangement for longitudinal members 2 from the uncoiling of as many spools as the number of diameters of longitudinal members in the to-production mesh. Additionally, versions of the invention may advantageously have the starting position of filling of the means 2 for supplying longitudinal wires to be located in a suitable location above the welding plane. Or, versions of the invention may advantageously have the starting position of filling of the means 2 for supplying longitudinal wires to be located in a suitable location below the welding plane.
It may be advantageous if the coordination and control of all of the functions of the process of supplying longitudinal members to the welding line may be made by an appropriate electric computer in which are entered the necessary characteristics of the to-be-produced product, and which computer controls the remaining functions of the welding machine.
- Advantageous Effects of Invention
Accordingly it should be understood that the above configurations and further developments of the invention can be combined in any desired manner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present method as well as systems implementing it, combines the advantages of the prior systems without their disadvantages. The present invention affords great production flexibility in the changing of the type of mesh, the diameters of the longitudinal members, etc.; it requires and it occupies much less space; it has lower cost; it facilitates easy and inexpensive maintenance and repair; it has enhanced reliability; and, simultaneously it has high productivity and requires less personnel to function.
Aspects of the system and method according to the present invention may be understood from the following description and from the attached drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1A depicts in idealized form a version of the system and the initiation of the method with indication of some of its movements.
FIG. 1B depicts in idealized form variants of the system and of the method.
FIG. 2 schematically depicts a top view of one of the systems that implement the method of production according to the present invention, with the introduction of the longitudinal members to the welding line directly from the supplier of longitudinal members.
FIG. 3 schematically depicts a top view of another of the systems that implement the method of production according to the present invention with a carrier that receives the longitudinal members from the feeder of longitudinal members and introduces them to the welding heads.
FIG. 4 schematically depicts in side view the supply of the longitudinal wire supplier with wire.
FIG. 5 depicts the supply of the longitudinal wires to the longitudinal member supplier carrier sheaths, in top view.
FIG. 6 schematically depicts a top view with supply of longitudinal members from as many spools as the greatest number of longitudinal members, according to the state of the art.
FIG. 7A schematically depicts a top view of a system with the longitudinal members coming from straightened and precut wires, according to the state of the art.
DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 7B schematically depicts a top view of a system with the longitudinal members coming from straightened and precut wires, according to the state of the art.
System: the method may be implemented in various manners, one of which is presented in an exemplary system described in following.
With reference to FIG. 4, the longitudinal wires 1 are produced from a spool 14 on decoiling reel 15. The wire is pulled from reel 15 with the help of the advancement mechanism 20, it is guided towards straightening 17 after which it passes from measuring mechanism 7 through a suitable cutter 18 towards a sheath 19 of the supplier 2 for longitudinal members, which sheath 19 is situated in the appropriate location across from the straightener 17 so as to introduce the wire coming from there. After advancement of the appropriate length of longitudinal member, the wire is cut by cutting system 18, the supplier 2 for longitudinal members is shifted linearly sideways to a new position in the direction schematically indicated by the arrow in FIG. 1A, whereby a selected new sheath 19 comes to an appropriate position relative to the feeding unit 29 for longitudinal members, which feeding unit 29 in turn selects to fill it with wire.
With reference to FIGS. 2-5, the supplier 2 for longitudinal members comprises a number of sheaths 19 equal to the maximum number of locations of longitudinal wires 1 in the meshes 5 to be produced. The distances among the sheaths 19 correspond to the minimum distances among the longitudinal wires 1 of a mesh 5. The sheaths 19 are situated on a carrier 8 that is seated on guides 21. The carrier 8 with the sheaths 19 is repositioned laterally, in regard to the location of feeding for the longitudinal members, with the aid of a suitable motor 23 and a suitable actuating system. As shown in FIG. 4, the sheaths 19 each comprise a respective tube and a gripper 25 energized by a pneumatic cylinder motor 26, for retaining the longitudinal members 1. The grippers 25 hold the respective longitudinal wires 1 during their cutting and during the displacement of the carrier 8.
As indicated in FIGS. 1-3, after the filling of a sheath 19 with a longitudinal member 1 the carrier 8 for longitudinal members 1 is shifted, with the aid of motor 23, for a suitable step, so that a new sheath 19 of supplier 2 arrives at the location of filling. After the filling of all the selected sheaths 19 corresponding to longitudinal wires 1 of the next-to-be-produced mesh 5 the carrier 8 of the supplier 2 for longitudinal members travels to a suitable location where it awaits until the completion of the previous mesh 5. Subsequently, it travels towards the welding heads 10 and delivers the longitudinal wires 1.
As depicted in FIG. 3, the longitudinal wires 1 may be introduced to the welding heads 10 with the assistance of a suitable carrier 13 which accepts with grippers the longitudinal wires 1 from supplier 2 and drives them towards the welding heads 10. With the removal of the longitudinal wires 1 from sheaths 19, the carrier 8 of the supplier 2 for longitudinal members returns to the filling location where feeding of selected sheaths 19 with longitudinal wires 1 of the next mesh 5 occurs simultaneously during the duration of welding of the previous mesh.
As depicted in FIGS. 2-3, the transverse wire 3 is pulled from a decoiling reel 30, is supplied by feeding 31 and straightening 32 mechanisms towards the intermediate storage 33 for transverse members 3, and from there is pulled by the feeding unit 34 and advanced through the straightener 35 to the welding heads 10 in passing through a cutter for transverse members 3. In every step of welding, the appropriate length of transverse member 3 is advanced, cut at the cutter for transverse members 3, and in following is deposited onto the longitudinal members 1 by an appropriate mechanism.
Method: With reference to FIGS. 1A-1B, the mesh 5 is produced from transverse wires 3 which are welded onto longitudinal wires 1, in welding line 6. The longitudinal wires of the next-to-be produced mesh 5 are produced straightened and cut to the appropriate length coming from one or more spools 14 and are supplied to specific positions in a suitable supplier 2 arrangement for longitudinal wires as follows. They are pulled from spool 14 and with the assistance of a feeding unit 29 are advanced, straightened, with subsequently following measurement 7 and cutting 4 to a desired length, and are fed to the supplier 2 arrangement of longitudinal wires. The supplier 2 arrangement of longitudinal wires is situated with one of its positions for longitudinal wire 1 inline to the feeding line of the longitudinal wires coming from feeding unit 29. The feeding unit 29 supplies wire 1 to a first position of the supplier 2 arrangement for longitudinal wires. In following, the supplier 2 arrangement is shifted one position, and the feeding means 29 fills with wire 1 the next position for longitudinal wire 1. The process of automatic filling repeats until all the predefined, positions of the supply arrangement for longitudinal wires 2 are filled with wire 1, which selected positions correspond to the positions of longitudinal members 1 of the next-to-be-produced mesh 5.
After the filling of its necessary positions, the supplier 2 arrangement of longitudinal wires is shifted to an appropriate position in regards to the welding line 6 to wait until the completion of production of the previous mesh 5. Immediately after, the longitudinal wires 1 are advanced and entered into the welding line 6, where they are welded with the lateral members 3.
With the entry of the longitudinal members 1 into the welding line 6 and while one mesh 5 is being produced, the supplier 2 arrangement for longitudinal members returns to the starting position for loading with the longitudinal members 1 of the next mesh 5. The speed of supplying new longitudinal wires 1 to the supplier 2 arrangement is such that it preferably fills in less time than required for the production of the previous mesh 5.
For example, in meshes 5 with square mesh grids, the total length of the transverse 3 and the longitudinal wires 1 is about the same. Therefore, the speeds of feeding longitudinal 1 and transverse 3 members is about the same for a square grid mesh 5. By choosing the speed of feeding longitudinal members 1 to the supplier arrangement as a little faster than the speed of feeding lateral wires 3 to the welding line 6, dead time between meshes 5 is avoided during production.
Advantageously, the production of mesh 5 with longitudinal wires 1 in different locations is effected instantly from mesh to mesh with the selection of the appropriate locations of the longitudinal members in the supplier arrangement 2. The production of different meshes 5 in series one after the other, without intermediate delay or adjustment of the machine, is possible. It is sufficient to program the selected suitable positions in the supplier arrangement 2, which positions shall be filled with wire, and to program the locations that shall be fed with transverse members 3 in the welding line 6. Within the same mesh 5, there may exist differentiation in spacings as well as in diameters of the longitudinal members 1, wherein in the latter case, as depicted in FIG. 1B, the longitudinals may be supplied from as many spools 14, 24, 27 equal in number to the different diameters of longitudinal members 1 in the mesh 5 produced.
The supplier 2 arrangement for longitudinal members may convey the longitudinal members 1 to the welding line 6 with linear transport and return to its starting position or may fill with longitudinal members at a level either higher or lower than the welding line 6, or may convey them in a revolving path continuously transferring new feedable locations to the feeding line for the longitudinal members. The starting location of the supplier 2 for longitudinal members 1 may be located anywhere, in relation to the welding line 6.
As further depicted in FIG. 1B the supply of longitudinal members 1 may be made simultaneously with more than one, meaning a plurality, of feeding lines 28, 29 so that more locations, corresponding, may be fed simultaneously for further increase of speed. The feeding of longitudinal members 1 may be made in simultaneity with more than one line 28, 29, so that a corresponding number of more locations-sheaths 19 are supplied simultaneously for increasing the speed. The supply of longitudinal members 1 to the sheaths 19 may be made from two feeding lines 28, 29, with one used for producing the longitudinal members 1 while the other is loadable with a spool 16 so that there is no halt to production of longitudinal members 1 when one reel empties.
As depicted in FIG. 1B, the supply of longitudinal members 1 may be made from plural feeding lines 14, 24, 27, each feeding line having different diameter wire. One of the plural feeding lines 14, 24, 27 is employed while the others are ready for the next production. Thus, the feeding of longitudinal members 1 may be made by a plurality of feeding lines 14, 24, 27 to the sheaths 19 of the supplier 2 for longitudinal members 1, with one being used for production of longitudinal members 1 and the others being equipped with wires of different diameters for the production of different meshes 5 or the production of meshes 5 containing longitudinal members 1 of more than one diameter. In this manner time for changing longitudinal wires 1 in the welding machine is minimized.
The present invention is not limited in any way by the exemplary implementation described and depicted in the accompanying drawings, but may be implemented in many forms and dimensions without departing from the scope of protection claimed for this invention. Furthermore, in implementations of the invention the material employed as well as the dimension of the individual elements may be commensurate with the requirements of particular applications.
- REFERENCE SIGNS LIST
In each appended claim where technical characteristics are referred to and followed by reference numerals, they are included only to increase comprehension of the claim and in this manner these reference numerals do not limit the interpretation of clamed elements which are identified in exemplary form by them.
- 1 longitudinal wires
- 2 supplier of longitudinal wires
- 3 transverse wires
- 4 cutter
- 5 mesh
- 6 welding line
- 7 measuring system
- 8 carrier for longitudinal wires
- 10 welding heads
- 12 advancement mechanism
- 13 carrier of welding line
- 14 spool
- 15 decoiling reel
- 16 another spool indicating plurality
- 17 straightener
- 18 cutting system
- 19 sheath
- 20 advancement system
- 21 guides
- 23 motor
- 24 spool, additional
- 25 gripper
- 26 motor for gripper
- 27 spool, additional
- 28 additional feeding unit
- 29 feeding unit for longitudinal wires
- 30 decoiling reel for transverse wire
- 31 feeding mechanism for transverse wire
- 32 straightening mechanism
- 33 intermediate storage for transverse wires
- 34 feeding unit, feeder for transverse wire
- 35 straightener