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1. WO2020156936 - SYSTÈMES ET PROCÉDÉS DE CHARGEMENT ET DE DÉCHARGEMENT AUTOMATISÉS AU NIVEAU D'UNE GARE MARITIME

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

CLAIMS

I/We claim:

1. A dock station comprising:

a pallet conveyor configured to receive a pallet at a first pallet position remote from the dock station and move the pallet to a second pallet position proximate the dock station;

an automated material lift truck (AMT) including - a drive system;

a fork configured to engage the pallet; and

one or more sensors;

one or more fixed guidance elements positioned at fixed locations at the dock station; and

a truck control system configured to - cause the fork to engage the pallet at the second pallet position;

cause the drive system to move the AMT, based on interaction between the AMT and the one or more of the fixed guidance elements, from the second pallet position to a guidance switch position proximate an opening of a trailer parked at the dock station;

in response to the AMT reaching the guidance switch position, cause the drive system to move the AMT in a first direction to a truck unloading position inside the trailer, based on detection of one or more sidewalls of the trailer by the one or more sensors;

cause the fork to lower the pallet while the truck is at the truck unloading position; and

cause the drive system to move the AMT in a second direction, opposite to the first direction, to disengage the fork from the pallet and exit the trailer.

2. The dock station of claim 1 :

wherein the one or more sensors are side sensors that are lateral facing, and wherein the AMT further includes one or more front sensors that are forward facing;

wherein the truck control system is further configured to used signals from the one or more front sensors to identify objects in an area forward of the AMT; wherein, when the truck control system identifies an object corresponding to a specified action in a workflow procedure, the truck control system takes the specified action; and

wherein, when the truck control system identifies an object that does not correspond to a specified action in the workflow procedure, the truck control system is further configured to pause the workflow procedure and send an alert message.

3. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the AMT further includes a fork boom operably coupled to a body, and wherein the fork boom is configured to move the fork up, down, left and right relative to the body.

4. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the AMT further includes a fork boom configured to control movement of the fork, and wherein the truck control system is further configured to, prior to causing the fork to engage the pallet at the second pallet position: cause the drive system to move the AMT, based on interaction between the AMT and the one or more fixed guidance elements, to an initial position relative to the second pallet position;

cause the fork boom to position the fork at a height for engaging the pallet; and cause the drive system to move the AMT forward from the initial position to engage the fork with the pallet.

5. The dock station of claim 1 :

wherein the AMT further includes a body supported on a plurality of wheels, and at least one of the wheels is operably coupled to the drive system;

wherein the pallet conveyor includes a plurality of aligned sections separated by wheel channels therebetween; and

wherein the truck control system is further configured to, after causing the fork to engage the pallet at the second pallet position, cause the drive system to move the plurality of wheels through the wheel channels in the pallet conveyor.

6. The dock station of claim 1 :

wherein the AMT further includes—

a body supported on a plurality of wheels, and at least one of the wheels is operably coupled to the drive system, and

a fork boom configured to control movement of the fork;

wherein the pallet conveyor includes a plurality of aligned sections separated by wheel channels therebetween; and

wherein the truck control system is further configured to, after causing the fork to engage the pallet at the second pallet position—

cause the fork boom to raise the fork to a first height to lift the pallet off the pallet conveyor;

cause the drive system to move the plurality of wheels through the wheel channels in the pallet conveyor; and

cause the fork boom to lower the fork from the first height to a second height for travel.

7. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the truck control system is further configured to:

identify the truck unloading position by identifying one or more obstructions in the trailer;

identifying a pallet unloading position relative to the one or more obstructions; and cause the fork to move laterally into alignment with the pallet unloading position.

8. The dock station of claim 7:

wherein the AMT further includes one or more front sensors;

wherein the truck control system is further configured to receive signals from the one or more front sensors and, based at least in part on the signals, identify locations of the one or more obstructions in the trailer, wherein the location of one of the one or more obstructions is closer to the opening of the trailer than the locations of the other of the one or more obstructions; and wherein the pallet unloading position is laterally adjacent to the location of the one of the one or more obstructions that is closest to the opening of the trailer.

9. The dock station of claim 7:

wherein the AMT further includes—

a fork boom for controlling movement of the fork, and

one or more front sensors;

wherein the truck control system is further configured to receive signals from the one or more front sensors and, based at least in part on the signals, identify locations of the one or more obstructions in the trailer, wherein the location of one of the one or more obstructions is closer to the opening of the trailer than the locations of the other of the one or more obstructions; and wherein identifying the pallet unloading position includes - determining whether the identified obstruction that is closest to the opening of the trailer is on a first side of a trailer centerline or a second side of the trailer centerline;

when the identified obstruction is on the first side, causing the fork boom to position the fork and the pallet thereon to the second side; and when the identified obstruction is on the second side, causing the fork boom to position the fork and the pallet thereon to the first side.

10. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the fixed guidance elements include one or more rails affixed to the dock station, wherein the interaction between the AMT and the one or more fixed guidance elements includes contact between a rail guide of the AMT and the one of the one or more rails.

11. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the fixed guidance elements include one or more electromagnetic (EM) devices that emit or respond to electromagnetic radiation, wherein the interaction between the AMT and the one or more fixed guidance elements includes sensing, via a sensor connected to the AMT, electromagnetic radiation associated with the EM devices.

12. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the fixed guidance elements include one or more visual indicators, wherein the interaction between the AMT and the one or more fixed guidance elements includes capturing, via a camera connected to the AMT, one or more images of the visual indicators.

13. The dock station of claim 1 :

wherein the dock station is a first dock station;

wherein the one or more fixed guidance elements include one or more inter-station fixed guidance elements positioned between the first dock station and a second dock station; and

wherein the truck control system is further configured to cause the drive system to follow the one or more inter-station fixed guidance elements to move the AMT between the first dock station and the second dock station.

14. The dock station of claim 1 wherein the AMT includes an electric power source, wherein the dock station further comprises an AMT charging system, and wherein the AMT is configured to automatically connect to the charging system to charge the electric power source.

15. The dock station of claim 14 wherein the dock station further comprises a dock leveler configured to extend into the trailer, wherein the charging system is mounted to the dock leveler, and wherein the AMT is configured to automatically connect to the charging system when the AMT moves over the dock leveler.

16. A method for operating an automated material lift truck (AMT) at a dock station, wherein the AMT includes a fork and one or more sensors, wherein the dock station includes one or more fixed guidance elements, and wherein the method comprises:

moving the AMT to a loading position to engage the fork with a pallet positioned on a conveyor;

raising the fork to lift the pallet off the conveyor;

moving the AMT, via interaction between the AMT and the fixed guidance elements, from the loading position to an opening of a trailer parked at the dock station;

moving the AMT, via detection of one or more interior trailer walls by the one or more sensors, in a first direction along a floor of the trailer; lowering the fork to position the pallet on the floor of the trailer; and

moving the AMT in a second direction, opposite to the first direction, to disengage the fork from the pallet.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the fixed guidance elements include one or more rails, wherein the AMT includes one or more rail guides, and wherein moving the AMT, via interaction between the AMT and the fixed guidance elements, includes controlling a path of the AMT via contact between the one or more rail guides and the one or more rails.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein the fixed guidance elements include one or more electromagnetic (EM) devices that emit or respond to electromagnetic radiation, wherein the AMT includes one or more sensors, and wherein moving the AMT, via interaction between the AMT and the fixed guidance elements, includes controlling a path of the AMT via detection of the EM devices by the sensors.

19. The method of claim 16 wherein moving the AMT, via interaction between the AMT and the fixed guidance elements, includes moving the AMT along a centerline of the dock station.

20. The method of claim 16 wherein moving the AMT, via detection of one or more interior trailer walls by the one or more sensors, includes detecting at least one distance between at least one of the one or more sensors and one of the interior trailer walls.

21 . The method of claim 16, further comprising automatically interfacing the AMT with a charging system at the dock station to charge a power supply of the AMT.

22. The method of claim 16 wherein the dock station further includes a dock leveler, and wherein the method further comprises automatically interfacing the AMT with a charging unit system integrated with the dock leveler to charge a power supply of the AMT when the AMT moves over the dock leveler.