FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention generally relates to the field of material handling devices, and more specifically to the field 5 of tilt carriages that facilitate tilting of containers loaded with products.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The movement of heavy and/or oversized loads in an 10 industrial setting has traditionally, in some situations, been performed manually. Such manual movement can be difficult on the individual due to the massive weight and/or large size of such loads.
In some industrial settings, it is common to load products into a container (e.g.. bin) for transport to another location. For example, castings or stampings can be loaded into a bin between production operations. To facilitate loading and unloading, it is helpful to tilt the bin. Due to the heavy M weight associated with many bins, such tilting is commonly performed utilizing automated tilt carriages powered by hydraulic, pneumatic or electrical means.
The use of automated tilt carriages provides an adequate means for tilting storage bins while alleviating the stress on 25 the individual. However, such tilt carriages tend to be relatively expensive, thereby limiting their use to some extent.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention attempts to improve on the prior art by providing a tilt carriage assembly for use in supporting a container and for tilting the container between selected tilt positions. The tilt carriage assembly is designed to be tiltable with little exertion on the part of the individual. The tilt table 35 of the present invention is also designed to be lockable at several different angular positions. The present invention also attempts to facilitate easy loading of a container onto the carriage.
The tilt carriage assembly generally includes a base frame 40 and a carriage pivotally supported by the base frame. The carriage includes a bottom member adapted to support a container and a back member positioned above the bottom member, the back member being adapted to support a side of a container when the carriage is tilted. 45
In one aspect, the tilt carriage assembly further includes a manual locking mechanism operatively positioned between the carriage and the base frame. The locking mechanism includes a lock control member positioned adjacent the back member, the lock control member being 50 movable between a locked position where the carriage is secured relative to the base frame and an unlocked position. Preferably, the lock control member includes a lock handle that moves down when the lock control member moves from the locked position to the unlocked position. In addition, it 55 is preferred that the lock control member is pivotally connected to an upper portion of the back member. In one embodiment, the manual locking mechanism further includes a lock bar operatively connected to the lock control member and pivotally connected to the carriage, and a 60 multi-position locking device operatively positioned between the lock bar and the carriage. For example, the locking device can include at least one finger member connected to one of the lock bar and the carriage, and at least one recess connected to the other of the lock bar and the 65 carriage, wherein the finger can selectively engage the recess.
In a second aspect, the carriage is tiltable in a forward rotational direction from a generally non-tilted position to a tilted position. In this aspect, the tilt carriage assembly further includes a manual locking mechanism operatively positioned between the carriage and the base frame, the locking mechanism being movable between a locked position where the carriage is secured relative to the base frame and an unlocked position. The locking mechanism includes a lock handle that moves substantially in the first direction when the locking mechanism moves from the locked position to the unlocked position. Preferably, the carriage includes a tilt handle positioned adjacent the lock handle, and the lock handle moves away from the tilt handle when the locking mechanism moves from the locked position to the unlocked position.
In a third aspect, the tilt carriage assembly further includes a step member (e.g., an L-shaped rail) secured to and extending laterally outwardly from the carriage, the step member being engageable by a user's foot to facilitate tilting of the carriage. Preferably, the step member extends laterally outwardly from a lower portion of the tilt carriage. Further, it is preferred that the step member be positioned such that the step member moves down as the carriage is tilted from a level position to a tilted position.
In a fourth aspect, the carriage bottom member includes a front portion, two side portions and a back portion. The carriage further includes a side member positioned above at least one of the side portions of the bottom member, and the side member includes a beveled edge that facilitates loading a container onto the carriage. Preferably, the carriage includes a side member positioned above each of the side portions, and each of the side members includes a beveled edge. The beveled leading edges are preferably formed on an inner front edge of the side portions.
In a fifth aspect, the carriage includes a conveyor device secured to the bottom member for facilitating motion of a container relative to the bottom member. For example, the conveyor device could include a plurality of rollers or any other suitable device for facilitating loading of a container onto the carriage.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tilt carriage depicting one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the tilt carriage illustrated in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of the tilt carriage illustrated in FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the tilt carriage illustrated in FIG. 1 with phantom lines illustrating the carriage in several tilted positions.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged side elevation view of the locking mechanism of the tilt carriage shown in FIGS. 1-4.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a tilt carriage depicting a second embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a tilt carriage depicting a third embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the tilt carriage illustrated in FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the tilt carriage illustrated in FIG. 7.
FIG. 10 is an enlarged partial section view of the drive mechanism illustrated in FIG. 9.