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Patent appraised by patentsbase$ 28000
GLOBAL PATENTRANK# 56.000
A machine and a method for fabricating structural wood components, such as joist building components, is described. The machine comprises a component assembling jig for assembling pre-cut wood pieces at predetermined positions corresponding to a structural wood component design. Magnetic elements are adapted to position connector plates at predetermined locations in the machine. The assembled wood pieces of the jig are displaced to a transfer platform where they are clamped with the wood pieces positioned at interconnecting junctions. The transfer platform then displaces the assembled and held wood pieces to a position adjacent magnetic connector plate applicators whereby the plates are secured to the wood pieces at the interconnecting junctions to interconnect the wood pieces together to form an assembled structural component which is then displaced and discharged from the machine.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a structural wood component , herein a wood joist, for the fabrication of building structures. These wood joists are well known in the art and usually comprise a pair of elongated horizontal support lumber pieces and which are interconnected by structural load transfer cross-pieces which arc interconnected at their interconnecting junctions by connector plates . These connector plates are usually rectangular plates, but may have other shapes, and they are formed of metal, usually from a galvanized steel sheet, and the plates are punched to form a plurality of wood engaging finger projections which extend transverse to a flat surface of each of the plates .
The present invention relates to a machine and a method for fabricating structural wood components, such as the joist illustrated in FIG. .
FIG. 3 is a schematic illustration showing the basic component assemblies of the machine of the present invention. The structural wood component fabricating machine consists essentially of a component assembling jig for assembling the pre-cut wood pieces, such as pieces and , at predetermined positions in the jig corresponding to a structural wood component design, such as the joist design illustrated in FIG. . As hereinshown the component assembling jig is provided with two modular platforms and ′ which are interconnected together by a pivot connection . The platforms and ′ have identical joist designs. One of the modular platform, namely platform , is loaded with the wood pieces which are clamped together and moved onto a discharge position as hereinshown by modular platform ′ where the platform is inverted and the assembled pieces are transferred onto a transfer platform where the wood pieces are clamped so that the individual wood pieces and are in contact at their interconnecting junctions ready to receive the connector plates . The transfer platform displaces the assembled wood pieces to a fastening location where a plurality of pivotal connector plate transfer members are positioned at predetermined locations with a connector plate ready to be applied at the interconnecting junctions . These connector plate transfer members automatically pick up connector plates from magazines at each cycle of the machine. Some of these connector plate transfer members ′ are secured to a carriage frame which is displaceable to and away from the fastening location whereby to clear the fastening location after the plates have been applied to the frame.
The carriage also engages the assembled structural wood component and displaces it to a discharge location where the joist is discharged through driven press rolls which firmly press the connector plates into the structural wood components at their interconnecting junctions while discharging the joist wood component. All of these assemblies are secured to a frame work and details of the assemblies will now be described with reference to other Figures.
With reference now to FIGS. 4 to there will be described the construction and operation of the component assembling jig . FIG. 4 is a fragmented top view of the modular platform and as hereinshown it is comprised of removably securable wood piece orienting modules, such as modules , for positioning cross pieces at specific orientations. As hereinshown the modules are intermediate modules and these are provided with guide means in the form of guide wall sections or plates formed by welded flanges welded together to receive end sections or side sections of wood pieces. Clamping piston cylinders constitute retaining means to clamp the precut wood pieces in position against the guide wall sections whereby all the wood pieces and are clamped together in the modular platform of the jig. The platform is herein constituted by a U-shaped steel beam which has parallel outer side walls which constitute a guide for the elongated horizontal wood pieces and of the joist and these wood pieces and are also clamped by pistons conveniently located.
These wood piece orienting modules are interchangeable by fasteners such as fastening bolt illustrated in FIG. 6 which shows the construction of an end one of the module. The end module is positioned at one end of the jig and is also interchangeable if the end section of the joist design is different from the one illustrated in FIG. . As shown in FIG. 6 the design comprises a transverse guide channel formed by transverse pairs of parallel steel flanges. A piston clamps a transverse end wood piece ′ in the transverse guide channel .
As shown in FIG. 7 the component assembling jig modular platform has a displaceable slide section which includes at least an end module and which may also include intermediate modules whereby to adjust the length of the joist structural component being assembled. Usually, the stationary portion of the jig is sufficient to assemble a structural component of a certain length and for longer lengths the displaceable slide section accommodates the joist design extension. This displaceable slide section is moveable on a carriage which may be provided by a motor driven screw or by a chain drive and such displacement means are well known in the art.
With reference to FIG. 3 it is pointed out that the modular platform has its open end facing upward at the loading position, as herein illustrated. An operator person loads the modular platform from the top of the machine and once the wood pieces are assembled and clamped the jig is pivoted about its pivot connection to position the modular platform at its inverted discharge position as illustrated by reference numeral ′. As hereinshown these elongated platforms are disposed in side-by-side and offset parallel relationship. The pivot connection also lies on an elongated axis ′ extending co-extensively with the longitudinal axis of the platforms and disposed therebetween and secured between bridge components of the frame .
Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9 there is shown the construction of the connector plate transfer members which constitute connector plate positioning means. As shown in FIG. 3 the frame is provided with vertical stationary frame members and these are provided with a pair of support rods to which are secured connector plate transfer members . A plurality of these transfer members is secured at predetermined locations along these support rods and these are pivotally displaced by rotation of the rods from a plate engaging position, as illustrated by phantom lines , to a plate engaging position as shown in solid line which positions the plates, such as plate ′ illustrated in FIG. 8, at respective ones of predetermined locations at the fastening location depending on the joist design.
The connector plate transfer members are magnetic members or at least have a magnetic transfer surface . The surface magnetically attract a metal connector plate, such as plate ′, from a top end of an associated storage magazine and transfers such plate to the fastening location.
The magazines may have various cross-section shapes to suit the shape of the connector plates and have a guide trough in which a plurality of connector plates are stored in stack form. Pusher means in the form of an index pusher plate is actuated by suitable indexing means to displace the stack in the trough upwardly to the discharge top end to position an uppermost one of the plates adjacent the discharge end to be magnetically engaged by the magnetic transfer surface of the connector plate transfer member when displaced there against. The magnetic force will only pick-up the top plate. The plates are spaced apart by the finger projections . The magazines are secured to stationary frame members , see FIG. 3, adjacent the fastening location and these magazines are displaceable to a loading position to load plates in the magazines once the magazines are emptied after a predetermined number of joists have been constructed by the machine.
As shown in FIG. 10 the carriage frame comprises a pair of pivoting rods to which are secured connector plate transfer members ′. This carriage frame positions the pivotal connector plate transfer members ′ from a connector plate engaging position to a connector plate applying position at the fastening location after the transfer platform has been displaced to the fastening position. The connector plate transfer members ′ on the carriage frame arc in alignment with the connector plate transfer members on the stationary frame but are disposed on opposed sides of an assembled joist to be positioned vertically at the fastening location by the transfer platform which will now be described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 8 and 11. As hereinshown the transfer platform is constituted by a pivotal frame having a support surface constituted by a perforated surface to accommodate the attachment of the connector plates. Straight guide wall sections provide abutment surfaces. The pivotal frame is displaceable to an assembled wood piece receiving position , shown in FIG. 8, wherein the clamped wood pieces and of the inverted modular platform ′ are disposed in close parallel relationship. By releasing the clamping action of the clamping pistons in the modular platform ′ the wood pieces fall onto the flat support surface of the transfer platform and maintain their orientation. These wood pieces are then clamped by a suitable arrangement of pistons to hold the assembled wood pieces in contact and non-obstructed at interconnecting junctions and transfer the assembled wood pieces to the fastening location . The transfer platform is secured to a pivot connection and is displaceable by a suitable actuating means such as pistons or motor driven gears, whereby to displace the support platform from its horizontal loading position to a vertical position adjacent the stationary frame where the connecting plate transfer members are at their connector plate applying positions. It is pointed out that in FIG. 8 the component parts are only shown to illustrate the basic assemblies and the schematic illustration does not coincide with the assembly as shown in FIG. . When the transfer platform is displaced against the connector plate transfer members secured to the stationary frame there is sufficient force in the assembled frame striking the connector plates secured to the transfer member whereby the finger projections of these plates partly enter into the surface of the wood piece at the end of connecting junctions.
As the transfer platform is displaced to the fastening location the carriage frame is being drawn on its guide rails by suitable drive means such as drive chain whereby the connector plates of its connector plate transfer members ′ strike the opposed side of the joist ′ as shown in phantom lines in FIG. 8, whereby to cause the finger projections thereof to also enter the opposed surface of the wood pieces whereby the joist is now assembled and held together by opposed connector plates at the end of connection junctions. Meanwhile, the transfer platform is still in its vertical position at the fastening location and the joist pieces held by the piston . The carriage frame is provided with a pair of driveable support rolls secured to its frame forwardly of the connector plate transfer rolls ′ and spaced a predetermined distance thereunder whereby to receive the bottom elongated wood piece of the joist. The carriage frame is also provided with a top guide means to capture the top elongated lumber piece of the joist and hold the assembled joist vertically. The piston of the transfer platform are located on the top and bottom of the joist and are then retracted to permit the assembled joist to be pulled away by the carriage frame to clear the fastening location . After it is cleared from that location, the transfer platform then retracts to its horizontal loading position, as illustrated in FIG. .
The carriage frame displaces the assembled structural wood joist to a discharge position , see FIG. 3, where a guide roller , secured to a pivotal linkage , is applied on the top elongated lumber piece of the joist to hold the assembled joist in vertical position at the discharge location on the support rolls. As shown in FIG. 10 the guide means is also provided with guide rails ′ which engage on opposed sides of the top elongated lumber piece to maintain the assembled joist, with the connector plates partly embedded therein in a vertical position.
Once at the discharge location the driveable support rolls are actuated whereby to cause the joist to move into a pressing gap defined between two driven pressing rolls as better illustrated in FIGS. 3, and . The pressing gap is spaced the width of the assembled joist pieces whereby as the assembled joist is engaged by the rolls it discharges the assembled joist but at the same time the rolls firmly press the connector plates against the assembled wood pieces to cause the wood engaging finger projections of the connector plates to fully embed into the wood pieces at the interconnecting junctions thereof while at the same discharging the assembled joist. Once the joist is discharged the carriage frame moves back to its plate engaging position and the connector plate transfer members and ′ are actuated to pick-up connector plates and the cycle is repeated as soon as the modular platform has been loaded by an operator person, standing on a platform surface of the frame see FIG. 3, presses a switch to repeat the cycle. The operation of the various assemblies described are all automated and in sequence timing with one another once the operator has initiated the assembly cycle by depressing a switch.
Briefly summarizing the method of operation of the machine it is pointed out that an operator assembles wood pieces in orienting modules and at predetermined locations in the top modular platform with the module dictating a predetermined structural wood component design. This design is set in the jig by assembling the modules and the length of the assembly. The assembled pre-cut wood pieces are then clamped by the operator operating a switch which starts the cycle. Meanwhile, the connector plate transfer members have picked up connector plates and located them at predetermined positions on opposed sides of the fastening location when the joist was being discharged and when the jig was being reloaded. The transfer platform then displaces to the fastening location and the connecting plates are applied as above described and the assembled joist component pieces which are partly interconnected by the connector plates to hold the wood pieces together to form the structural wood joist is then engaged by the carriage and displaced to the discharge location where it is discharged through a pair of pressing rolls and through a pressing gap to firmly embed the plurality of wood engaging finger projections of each plate into opposed sides of the assembled wood pieces at their interconnecting junctions and the cycle again repeated.
It is within the ambit of the present invention to cover any obvious modifications of the embodiments described herein, provided such modifications fall within the scope of the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
The preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which
FIG. 1 is a plan view illustrating a structural wood component, herein a wood joist for the construction of building structures and fabricated by the machine and method of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a connector plate which is used for fastening the wood pieces at their interconnecting junctions;
FIG. 3 is a simplified schematic end view showing the basic component assemblies forming the machine of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is a top view of the component assembling jig showing its modular design and adjustability;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing pre-cut wood pieces disposed in the component assembling jig between adjacent orienting modules;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the construction of an end module;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the construction of the component assembling jig;
FIG. 8 is an end view showing the construction of the component assembling jig with relation to the transfer plate and the connector plate magnetic transfer members;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the connector plate magazines at a retracted loading position with respect to the transfer members;
FIG. 10 is a simplified perspective view showing the construction of the carriage frame;
FIG. 11 is a simplified perspective end view of the machine showing the construction of the driven pressing rolls at the discharge position of the machine, and
FIG. 12 is a rear perspective view of the pressing roll and the structural wood component discharge drive and guide assembly.
1. A machine for fabricating structural wood components, said machine comprising a component assembling jig for assembling pre-cut wood pieces at predetermined positions corresponding to a structural wood component design, retaining means in said jig to retain said wood pieces positioned therein, connector plate storage means; connector plate positioning means adapted to position a plurality of connector plates at predetermined locations, with respect to said component design, at a fastening location; each said connector plates having a plurality of wood engaging finger projections extending from a flat surface of each said plates, displacement means for transferring said assembled wood pieces to a clamping transfer platform to hold said assembled wood pieces in contact at interconnecting junctions and transfer said clamped assembled wood pieces to said fastening location with said interconnecting junctions adjacent associated ones of said predetermined locations, means to secure said connector plates to said wood pieces at said interconnecting junctions to interconnect said wood pieces together to form an assembled structural wood component, and discharge means to discharge said assembled structural wood component.
2. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said component assembling jig is a modular platform provided with removably securable wood piece orienting modules, said modules comprising end modules and intermediate modules, said modules having guide means to receive predetermined ones of said pre-cut wood pieces and orient them in conformity with said structural wood component design.
3. A machine as claimed in claim 2 wherein said retaining means are clamping piston cylinders associated with said guide means to clamp said pre-cut wood pieces positioned in said guide means.
4. A machine as claimed in claim 3 wherein said guide means comprises guide wall sections, said pre-cut wood pieces being immovably clamped against at least some of said guide walls by said clamping piston cylinders.
5. A machine as claimed in claim 3 wherein said displacement means is a pivotal frame to which said component assembling jig is secured, and frame displacement means to displace said component assembling jig about a pivot connection to position said wood pieces clamped in said component assembling jig over said clamping transfer platform, said assembled wood pieces being transferred to said transfer platform by deactivating said clamping piston cylinders.
6. A machine as claimed in claim 5 wherein said transfer platform is provided with clamping means to clamp said assembled wood pieces in contact with one another at said interconnecting junctions.
7. A machine as claimed in claim 5 wherein said component assembling jig comprises a displaceable slide section to displace at least an end portion of said modules to set the length of said structural component being assembled by said wood pieces in conformity with said component design.
8. A machine as claimed in claim 7 wherein said component assembling jig has two of said platforms, said platforms being elongated wood piece receiving platforms disposed in side-by-side offset and parallel relationship and secured to said pivotal frame, said platforms being inverted one with respect to the other, said pivot connection lying on an elongated axis extending co-extensively with a longitudinal axis of said platforms and disposed therebetween, one of said platforms facing upwardly at a loading position to receive wood pieces therein while the other faces downwardly at a transfer position to transfer said clamped assembled wood pieces onto said transfer platform.
9. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said connector plate positioning means is constituted by a plurality of pivotal connector plate transfer members each pivotal from a plate engaging position over a discharge end of an associated plate storage magazine constituting said connector plate storage means, to a respective one of said predetermined locations at said fastening location.
10. A machine as claimed in claim 9 wherein each said connector plate transfer members has at least a magnetic transfer surface, said connector plates being magnetically attractable metal connector plates.
11. A machine as claimed in claim 10 wherein each said plate storage magazines has a guide trough for receiving a stack of connector plates, pusher means to displace said stack in said trough to position an uppermost one of said plates in said stack adjacent said discharge end of said storage magazine to be magnetically engaged by said magnetic transfer surface.
12. A machine as claimed in claim 11 wherein some of said connector plates are of different sizes, said plate storage magazines guide troughs being dimensioned to receive said connector plates, said magazines being pivotally mounted for displacement from a plate loading position to a plate feeding position.
13. A machine as claimed in claim 9 wherein some of said plurality of pivotal connector plate transfer members are secured to a stationary frame adjacent a transfer space delineated under said clamping transfer platform, and a carriage frame to which is secured corresponding one of said plurality of pivotal connector plate transfer members, said carriage frame displacing said plate transfer members from a connector plate engaging position to said fastening position after said transfer platform has positioned said clamped wood pieces at said fastening position, therebeing equal number of connector plates secured to said stationary frame and said carriage frame and disposed at said predetermined locations, said connector plates of said stationary frame being disposed on one side of said fastening position in a common plane while said connector plates secured to said carriage are disposed on an adjacent side in a common plane and aligned with associated like connector plates secured to said stationary frame; said carriage frame being displaced against said held joist components to cause said plurality of wood engaging finger projections of its connector plates, to engage in said joist components about said interconnecting junctions and interconnect them together; said carriage frame having engaging means to engage said structural wood component to transfer said component with interconnected wood pieces to an ejecting position away from said transfer space.
14. A machine as claimed in claim 13, wherein said plurality of wood engaging finger projections are only partly engaged in said wood pieces to immovably hold them together, therebeing further provided a pair of driven pressing rolls adjacent said ejecting position, said discharge means discharging said interconnected joist components through a pressing gap between said pressing rolls to firmly press said plates against said assembled structural component at said interconnecting junctions to cause said wood engaging finger projections to be fully embedded into said wood components at said interconnecting junctions.
15. A machine as claimed in claim 14, wherein said discharge means is constituted by a pair of drive rolls secured to a lower end of said carriage frame and supporting a lower elongated wood piece of said assembled structural wood component, and a top guide assembly guiding an upper elongated parallel wood piece of said assembled structural wood component in a vertical plane.
16. A machine as claimed in claim 15, wherein said driven pressing rolls also constitute said discharge means.
17. A machine as claimed in claim 13, herein said engaging means of said carriage frame is constituted by pistons engaging a top and a bottom wood piece of said assembled and interconnected wood pieces.
18. A machine as claimed in claim 1 wherein said structural wood component is a structural wood joist component.
19. A method of fabricating structural wood components comprising the steps of: i) disposing pre-cut wood pieces at predetermined positions in a component assembling jig, ii) clamping said pre-cut wood pieces in said component assembling jig; iii) positioning a plurality of connector plates at predetermined locations with respect to a wood piece fastening location; iv) displacing said clamped assembled wood pieces to a transfer position; v) transferring said assembled wood pieces on a transfer support platform by unclamping said wood pieces while maintaining their assembled orientation; vi) clamping said wood pieces on said transfer support platform to position said assembled wood pieces in contact at interconnecting junctions, vii) displacing said transfer support platform to said fastening location with said interconnecting junctions exposed and positioned adjacent associated connector plate positioning means aligned on opposed sides of said structural wood component formed by said assembled wood pieces, viii) pressing said connector plates against said assembled wood pieces from opposed sides of said interconnecting junctions to cause a plurality of wood engaging finger projections of said plates to penetrate into said assembled wood pieces about said interconnecting junctions, and ix) discharging said assembled structural wood component.
20. A method as claimed in claim 19 wherein prior to step (i) there is provided the step of assembling wood piece orienting modules at predetermined locations in said components assembling jig in conformity with a structural wood component design, therebeing end and intermediate wood piece orienting modules.
21. A method as claimed in claim 20 wherein there is further provided the step of adjusting the length of a module support section of said jig dependent on a desired length of said structural wood component design.
22. A method as claimed in claim 20 wherein said component assembling jig has two platforms to which said modules are connected to provide for assembly of two like structural wood components, said two platforms being secured to a pivot connection, therebeing provided in said step (iv) displacing said two platforms simultaneously from a loading position to a transfer position and from said transfer position to said loading position.
23. A method as claimed in claim 22 wherein said platforms are inverted when displaced to said transfer position, said step (v) comprising disabling clamping pistons at said transfer position to release said assembled wood pieces on said transfer platform.
24. A method as claimed in claim 19 wherein prior to step (vii) there is provided the steps of displacing said connector plate positioning means to a plate pick-up position to pick-up connector plates, and then to said plate fastening position.
25. A method as claimed in claim 24 wherein said connector plate positioning means are secured to a stationary frame on one of said opposed sides and to a displaceable carriage on an opposed side, said connector plate positioning means of said stationary frame and said carriage being aligned with one another, said step (viii) comprising causing engagement of said wood engaging finger projections of said connector plates of said positioning means secured to said stationary frame by said step (vii) wherein said assembled wood pieces are pressed against said finger projections by said transfer frame to partly penetrate in said wood pieces on one side of said clamped assembled wood pieces, and displacing said carriage towards the other side of said clamped assembled wood pieces to partly penetrate said finger projections of connector plates supported by said carriage in said wood pieces on the other side of said clamped assembled wood pieces.
26. A method as claimed in claim 25 wherein after said step (viii) there is provided the step of engaging said assembled wood pieces with said connector plate engaged thereto by said carriage and displacing said assembled wood pieces to an ejecting position to clear a loading space under said transfer position.
27. A method as claimed in claim 26 wherein when said assembled wood pieces reach said transfer position said step (iv) is initiated.
28. A method as claimed in claim 26 wherein said step of engaging comprises positioning a driveable support roll secured to a lower end of said carriage in supporting contact with a lower elongated wood piece of said assembled structural wood component, and a top guide assembly in guided engagement with an upper elongated parallel wood piece.
29. A method as claimed in claim 28 wherein there is provided a pair of driven pressing rolls defining a pressing gap therebetween, said pressing gap being aligned with said ejecting position, said step (ix) comprising displacing said assembled structural component into said pressing gap by activating said driveable support roll.
30. A method as claimed in claim 29 wherein said step (ix) further comprises fully embedding said wood engaging finger projections in said wood components at said interconnecting junctions by squeezing said plates on opposed sides of said assembled structural component when passing through said pressing gap of said driven pressing rolls, said pressing rolls also discharging said assembled structural component.
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