Above is an overall view of this machine. In the lower right is the out feed conveyor, with a standard 4' X 4' wooden pallet waiting for the Transfer Table to go forward and down to the level of the pallet. Some items of interest. The hydraulic cylinder pointing down & mounted on the front beam of the Transfer Table lifts the Transfer Table. It is shown in it's extended position, & it can lift the table up to 48". Under the Transfer Table is a ½ H. P. 480V 3Ø Gear motor that is used to pull the chains that move the table. The Orange thing is a 10 H. P., 11 G.P.M. @ 2500 P.S.I. Hydraulic unit, which I have rebuilt. It runs the 7 Hydraulic Cylinders used in this machine, and the 42 Hydraulic Cylinders (one at a time) in the accumulation conveyors shown on the first page.
In this View, the Transfer Table is going down & forward to land on top of the wooden pallet.
In this View, the Transfer Table is now down & all the way forward on top of the wooden pallet. The Stripper Bar is now down, trapping the product, and when the table moves back, the product will be left on the pallet. If the product that this machine is stacking is stackable, then it will place multiple layers of the product on the pallet before it moves to it's final position, according to the number selected on the control cabinet. Referring to the pallet in the foreground, this is the final position, where a forklift operator will pick up the loaded pallet and store it in the yard somewhere it be shipped out at a later date.
This photo shows the final part of this machine, the Pallet Feeder. It's being loaded with pallets with the forklift.
The Pallet Feeder is now ready to run.
Compare this photo to the one above, and then you will get an understanding of how this machine works. The fingers go up to the Mid. position, and then in, and up again to to the upper position. Now the stack of pallets has been lifted off of the bottom pallet, so it can be pushed out and onto the out feed conveyor when needed. The rest of the cycle goes like this.
This concept of making "Fingers" that move in & out and lift something is my idea, and I have used it on the Product/Board Separator shown on the second page, which can de stack stacked boards with pavers on them. I have also used this concept on the Yellow machine on the first page, the only difference there is that the Yellow machine can raise and lower it's conveyor, so the stacking fingers do not need to go up or down.
Here is a rear view of the Pallet Feeder with the 24 VDC Sensor Electrical box open. The 3 Hydraulic solenoid are just above and left of the Sensor Electrical box. They control the Pallet Fingers lift, The Pallet Pusher & the Transfer Table Lift. To the right of the Sensor Electrical box is the Pallet Fingers lift Hydraulic cylinder. It's shown in it's extended position, which pull on the 2 chains which turns the 2 shafts and pull up the fingers to their top position. To the right of the Hydraulic cylinder are 3, 24 VDC Proximity sensors mounted on an adjustable rail. They give a signal when there is metal within ¼" of their ends, and provide the Down, Mid & Up fingers position signals. Sensors such as these are invaluable to an automatic running machine. When the program tells some part to move to the next position, the sensor's job is to pass a signal to the PLC controller saying "It's HERE", stopping that movement and then the controller can do the next step in the process. If the controller does NOT get a signal from that sensor, with correct programming, you can provide an alarm when something doesn't make it to it's next position in a reasonable time. The Alarm will stop the process and signal the operator with a red light and audible alarm that something is wrong. Because this is a complicated machine, I have programmed the controller to give multiple beeps, according to the area of the fault.
Here is a view of the main Electrical control cabinet. It's rather messy on the floor, because this thing is not finished yet. This item was purchased at our local industrial auctioneers, http://www.rbauction.com/ I have modified it extensively. The incoming power is 480 Volts, 3Ø. The power goes through a 40 Amp, 3Ø circuit breaker mounted in the top, left corner. Below that is the Emergency stop power relay. Below that is a 480/120 Transformer, which makes power for the 120 Volt stuff. On the right side, middle, is another Automation Direct 205 PLC. This one is set up as a slave, and LAN 'ed to the other PLC in the Traveling Lift Conveyor. The Software control program in this PLC is twice the size of the Infeed Car PLC, because it controls 5 sections. I have at least 120 hours in this program. This PLC rack can receive 96, 24 VDC inputs and control 96, 24 VDC & 120 VAC outputs. To it's Left is a 24 VDC power supply, and to it's Left are 5 circuit breakers for 120 VAC control circuits. At the top of the cabinet are motor contactors. There are 3 rows of small relays, they are 24 VDC and control 120 VAC circuits.
Above are the controls for this machine. The left photo shows the front of the main control box. It has the Auto/Man Switch, Main power Start & Stop, Pavers Switch, System Ready Light, Set Positions button, Reset Button, and audi able alarm. The right photo shows the portable manual function control box for this machine. This box can control any movement except for the Pallet Feeder, which has it's own control panel. This ugly box will be painted blue later.
All of this Blue equipment is my design, and I estimate that I have close to 3000 hours (Almost 2 years) in thinking, planning, designing, machining, cutting, welding & bolting the various pieces together. Probably more then 20 Lbs. of bolts, thousands of pounds of steel, and about 70 Lbs. of welding rod have been invested in this machine. Some pieces have been built more then once. A couple of pieces are 3rd. generation.
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