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1. WO2000030919 - TRAIN DE ROULEMENT A GABARIT D'ECARTEMENT VARIABLE

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

[ EN ]

Description

Undercarriage with Variable Track Gauge

Technical Field
The present invention relates to an undercarriage with variable track gauge.

In particular, the present invention relates to a tracked undercarriage defining the support and driving base of operating machines, such as rock drills, trolleys, cranes, excavators, earth moving machines and other machines.

Background Art
Undercarriages with variable track gauge are currently known which comprise a main frame able to support the upper part of the operating machine, and a first and a second sub-frame or spars each positioned in correspondence with a respective lateral flank of the main frame and which bear respective drive tracks of the undercarriage.
In known undercarriages, to associate the track/bearing sub-frames to the main frame it is provided for the main frame to present in correspondence with each of said lateral flanks a first and a second seats for the sliding housing of corresponding first and second beam elements extending from the respective track-bearing sub-frame.

Said track-bearing sub-frames are moved between a first position with reduced track gauge - particularly suited for transporting the machine that mounts the undercarriage - wherein said first and second sub-frames are approached to the respective flank and the respective beam elements are recessed into the respective seats, and a second position with widened track gauge - particularly suited for the operative phases of the machine - wherein at least one of said first and second sub-frame is moved away from the respective flank and the respective beam element extends to the exterior of the respective seat.
In known undercarriages, means are provided for blocking the sliding of the respective beam element in the corresponding reduced or widened position. According to a known type of undercarriage these blocking means are defined by pins able to be inserted within an appropriate hole provided in the seat and in corresponding holes drilled in the profile of the beams and such as to allow blocking the corresponding beam element in the reduced track gauge or extended track gauge position.
To perform such locking operations, the direct manual intervention of personnel is required, in addition to the employment of auxiliary equipment for the extraction and support of the undercarriage during the setting-up phases.
This practice is difficult and inconvenient to perform by personnel and entails a considerable expenditure of labour. Moreover, dedicated and auxiliary equipment must be provided for its accomplishment, which equipment presents a certain economic cost and entails the need to provide for related storage and transportation spaces.
An additional problem noted in known undercarriages with variable track gauge of the aforementioned type relates to the fact that in order to allow an easy assembly, disassembly and extraction and insertion movement of the beam elements with respect to their respective seats, the dimensions of the beam must present a certain play with respect to the seat wherein they are inserted. This, however, gives rise to a problem with vibration and with the unstable condition of the machine mounting such an undercarriage during the operative working phase.
This problem is felt in a particularly acute manner, obviously, in the case of rock drills, where the considerable height constitutes an amplifying factor of the play in correspondence with the tracked support base and the pitching movement deriving therefrom causes considerable problems to the operative condition and durability of the machine. Such a pitch problem is in any case significant in all machines, for instance in cranes, excavators, crushers etc.

Disclosure of Invention
The present invention relates to an undercarriage in accordance with the characteristics of Claim 1.
According to a first aspect, in particular an undercarriage with variable track gauge is provided comprising a main frame defining a first and a second mutually opposite flanks, and a first and a second sub-frame each for the support of respective means for driving the undercarriage positioned each in correspondence with a respective one of said first and second flank of the main frame, wherein said main frame presents in correspondence with each of said first and second flanks at least a respective seat, for the sliding housing of a corresponding beam element extending from the respective sub-frame, and wherein means are provided for moving said first and second sub-frame between at least a first position with reduced track gauge, wherein said first and second sub-frame are approached to the respective flank and the respective beam elements are recessed in the respective seats, and a second position with widened track gauge, wherein at least one of said first and second sub-frame is moved away from the respective flank and the second beam element extends to the exterior of the respective seat.
Advantageously, it is provided for the undercarriage to comprise means for blocking the sliding of the respective beam elements within the corresponding seat comprising a first inclined surface positioned within the respective seat and a second inclined surface positioned in correspondence with the outer profile of the respective beam element and co-operating with said first inclined surface to fasten the beam element within the respective seat.
Such a configuration of the locking means allows to obtain the locking of the sliding of the beam elements within the respective seats without the need to employ manpower to lock said beam elements in position. Hence, a considerable reduction in setting-up times is obtained.
Furthermore, such a configuration, thanks to the fact that the beam elements are fastened within the respective seats, allows to eliminate the play present between beam elements and corresponding seats, overcoming the problems of vibration and instability encountered with prior art undercarriages.
The secondary claims refer to particular and advantageous embodiments.

Further technical features and advantages of the present invention shall become more readily apparent from the detailed description that follows, made with reference to the accompanying drawings, which represent an embodiment provided purely by way of non limiting example.

Description of the Drawings
Figure 1 shows a top view with sectioned parts of a preferred embodiment of undercarriage according to the present invention;
Figure 2 shows a section view of the preferred embodiment of undercarriage in closed or reduced track gauge condition;
Figure 3 shows a section view of the preferred embodiment of undercarriage in widened track gauge condition;
Figure 4 shows a section view, taken according to the line IV-IV of Figure 3, of an extraction beam with front view of the related housing seat;
- Figure 5 shows a longitudinal section view of a detail of the means for arresting the extraction of the present preferred embodiment of undercarriage;
Figure 6 shows a bottom view of a detail relating to the area of said means for arresting the extraction of the present preferred embodiment of undercarriage;

Figures 7 and 8 show a lateral and a top view of the wedge element of the present preferred embodiment of undercarriage;
Figure 9 shows a section view of a detail of the present preferred embodiment of undercarriage shown in a condition of insertion of said wedge element.

Description of the Illustrative Embodiment
With reference to Figure 1 it can be observed that a preferred embodiment 10 of undercarriage with variable tank gauge essentially comprises a main frame 12 which centrally mounts a fifth wheel 13 for connecting to the upper part of the machine using the present undercarriage, which main frame 12 defines a first and a second flanks 14, 16, opposing each other, and is associated, in correspondence with a respective one of said first and second opposite flanks 14, 16 of the main frame 12, to a first and a second sub-frame 18, 20 each for the support of respective drive means, in the form of respective tracks enclosed in a loop 22, 24 on appropriate rollers 21, 23, 25, 27 provided on the sub-frames 18, 20 of the undercarriage.

As Figure 1 shows, the aforementioned main frame 12 presents in correspondence with each of said first and second flanks 14, 16 of the respective first and second seat 26, 28, 30, 32 (shown in dashed line in Figure 1) for the sliding housing of respective first and second beam elements 34, 36, 38, 40 extending from the respective track-bearing sub-frame 18, 20. Said first and second seat 26, 28, 30, 32 and said first and second beam element 34, 36, 38, 40 being longitudinally distanced from each other.
In particular, as can also be observed from the following Figure 4, which refers to a detail of the undercarriage wherein said seat 26 is situated, each seat presents in particular a quadrangular section comprising an upper wall 261 , a lower wall 262 and opposite lateral walls 263, 264 respectively distanced from each other, whilst each beam element 34 presents in turn a quadrangular box profile in turn defined by an upper wall 341, a lower wall 341 and opposite lateral walls 343, 344 respectively distanced from each other. The overall size of said beam element is such as to allow it to be inserted and mounted within the corresponding sliding housing seat 26.
As Figure 1 shows, each beam element 34, 36, 38, 40 is connected at an extremity 34a, 36a, 38a, 40a to the respective sub-frame 18, 20, wherefrom it extends in overhang, and terminates on the opposite side with a free extremity 34b, 36b, 38b, 40b for its insertion into the respective seat 26, 28, 30, 32.
Means able to be activated to command the movement of said sub-frames 18, 20 with respect to the central frame 12 are provided. Such means are, in particular, provided for moving said first and second sub-frame 18, 20 between a first position with reduced track gauge (shown in Figure 2), wherein said first and second sub-frame 18, 20 are approached to the respective flank 14, 16 and the respective beam elements 34, 36 are recessed in the respective seats 26, 28 and a second position with widened track gauge (shown in Figure 3), wherein at least one of said first and second sub-frame 18, 20 is moved away from the respective flank 14, 16 and the respective beam element 34, 36 extends to the exterior of the respective seat 26, 28. One could also imagine applying the present embodiment to an undercarriage having working positions of said sub-frames which are intermediate to said extreme positions.

As the aforementioned Figure 1 schematically shows, said means for widening and narrowing said sub-frames are in the form of respective first and second hydraulic cylinders 42, 44, housed in an axially movable manner within the seats and the beam elements, which present respective extremities 42a, 42b, 44a, 44b for connecting to respective organs (not explicitly shown in the Figures) for engaging and fastening the opposite sub-frames 18, 20.
With reference to the following Figure 2, it can be observed that present embodiment of undercarriage advantageously comprises suitable means able to block the extraction of the respective beam element 34, 36 from the corresponding seat 26, 28, which means for blocking the extraction comprise a first inclined surface 46, 48 positioned inside the respective seat 26, 28 and a second inclined surface 50, 52 positioned in correspondence with the outer profile of the respective beam element 34, 36 and co-operating with said first inclined surface 46, 48 to fasten, when the respective beam element 34, 36 extends (as shown in Figure 3 outwards) the beam element 34, 36 itself within the respective seat 26, 28, i.e. towards and against a corresponding engagement surface (indicated as 54 and 56 in Figures 2 and 3) on the opposite wall of the corresponding seat 26, 28, thereby obtaining the elimination of the vertical play of the extracting beams 34, 36 with respect to the respective seats 26, 28.
The provision of a second inclined surface for blocking the sliding motion, as well as for the elimination of play of the beam element within the respective seat, on the outer profile of the respective beam element, allows to leave the central recess of said beam element free from any encumbrance, allowing to extend, as shown, the extremity for the attachment of the respective hydraulic cylinders towards the corresponding sub-frame, considerably easing the operations for fastening said extremities to the sub-frames.
As said Figures 2 and 3 show, in a preferred but not exclusive manner, said second surface inclined on the outer surface 50, 52 is defined by a progressive widening, downward, of the cross section of the respective beam element 34, 36.

As the aforementioned Figures 2 and 3 also show, said first inclined surface 46, 48 is provided on the lower side or wall of the respective seat 26, 28, whilst said second inclined surface 50, 52 is provided on the lower side or wall of the respective beam element 34, 36.
Moreover, the first inclined surface 46, 48 of each seat is positioned in the vicinity of the outer edge of the respective seat 26, 28, whilst said second inclined surface 50, 52 on the beam element is provided in the vicinity of the free extremity of the respective beam element 34, 36, which allows to obtain a maximum extension of the beam elements outside the respective seat.
Moreover, the above arrangement also yields the advantage that in this manner, in the extended or widened condition of Figure 3, the vertical thrust of said beam element 34, 36 occurs upwards against the front area 54, 56 of the upper wall of the respective seat 26, 28.
The first inclined surface 46, 48 presents an angular position with respect to the horizon which can range between 1 ° and 20°. This angle, thanks to the fact that it provides a modest reaction in the horizontal direction, allows to maintain said beam elements in the condition of widened track gauge with a modest level of pressure within said hydraulic means 46, with considerable advantage from the point of view of the lesser wear of the hydraulic actuation system. It has been further verified, at least theoretically, that such angle interval should also allow not to stress the system excessively and to obtain in any case a contact pressure sufficient to guarantee a contact suitable for overcoming play between the beam element and the corresponding seat.
In a preferred manner, as the figures show, said first inclined surface 46, 48 presents an angular position with respect to horizontal equal to 4° to 6°, which also facilitates the execution of mounting operation, better described below.
The present means for blocking the extraction could be used for blocking the re-entry of the extracting beams, however, for this purpose, for the sake of constructive simplicity, according to a further advantageous aspect, suitable means are provided, able to block the return of the respective beam element 34, 36 into the corresponding seat 26, 28.
As Figure 3 clearly shows, said means for blocking the re-entry are in the form of a first inclined face 58, 60 positioned within the seat 26, 28 and of a second inclined face 62, 64 integral with the respective beam element 34, 36 and cooperating with said first face 58, 60 in the seat 26, 28 to fasten, when the respective beam element 34, 36 is recessed into the seat 26, 28 (as shown in Figure 2), the beam element 34, 36 itself within the respective seat 26, 28, i.e. towards and against a corresponding engagement area or surface 54', 56', and to obtain the recovery of the vertical play of the extracting beams in the respective seats in correspondence with the openings for insertion into the seats, when said undercarriage is with reduced track gauge.
As shown in Figure 3, said first inclined face 58, 60 in the respective seat 26, 28 is provided on the lower side of the seat 26, 28 and said second inclined seat 62, 64 integral with the respective beam element 34, 36 is provided on the lower side of the same beam element 34, 36 in such a way as to act (as shown in Figure 2) to thrust said beam element 34, 36 upwards.
A preferred inclination for said inclined faces 58, 60 for arresting the beam elements in closure action of the sub-frames on the main frame ranges between 35 ° and 80°, preferably equal to 40° to 60°. This considerable inclination allows on one hand to recover the play in closure condition of the sub-frames with a short stroke and a reduced size and at the same time allows to unlock rapidly and with modest force the corresponding beam elements when, in opposite motion, an opening action is effected, i.e. said beam elements are extracted towards the exterior of the respective seats.
The first inclined face 58, 60 in the seat 26, 28 is situated in the vicinity of the inlet opening of the seat 26, 28 for housing the beam element 34, 36, whilst said second inclined face 62, 64 integral with the respective beam element 34, 36 is situated in correspondence with the extremity 34a, 36a of said beam element 34, 36 which extends from the respective sub-frame 18, 20.
According to a further advantageous aspect of the present preferred embodiment, as shown in said Figures 2, 3 and in the following Figures 4 and 5, the respective fist inclined surface 46, 48 for locking the extraction of the respective beam element 34, 36 is obtained on a respective wedge element 66, 68 which is fastened in a removable manner through suitable means within the respective seat 26, 28.
As can be observed from Figures 4 and 8 in combination, said first inclined surface 46,48 extends over the entire width of the respective seat 26, 28 and said second inclined surface 50, 52 extends over the entire width of the respective beam element 34, 36. This configuration guarantees a sure contact between said surfaces and, thanks to the ample contact surface, a decidedly reduced level of specific stresses or pressures between the surfaces in contact.
Said means for fastening in a removable manner the wedge element 66, 68 comprise, as shown in Figures 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8, an elongated bolt 70, 72 which is inserted in a first recess 74, 76 in correspondence with a surface of said seat 26, 28 and in a second recess 78, 80 provided in said wedge element 66, 68 in correspondence with the surface for engagement with said surface for the first recess 74, 76 in said seat 26, 28. As Figures 4 and 6 show, the bolt 70 is maintained inserted by means of an appropriate platelet 69 fastened in a removable manner by means of screws 69' and 69".
With reference to Figure 2, it can also be observed that the present wedge element defines with its upper vertex a sliding position for the lower face of the respective beam element, which is, in these outward extension and return movements, also supported in a sliding manner by the lower wall of the corresponding seat which sustains the free extremity of the beam element.
As shown in said figures, advantageously, also the first inclined face 58, 60 positioned within the seat 26, 28 to block the re-entry of the respective beam element 34, 36 is situated on said wedge element 66, 68 and is longitudinally aligned to said first surface 46, 48 for blocking the outward extension of the beam element 34, 36 presenting an inclination that it opposite thereto.
As can be inferred from Figures 4 and 8 in combination, also said first inclined face 58, 60 in the seat 26, 28 extends over the entire width of the respective seat 26, 28, as said second inclined face 62, 64 integral with the beam element 34, 36 extends over the entire width of the respective beam element 34, 36.
According to a further advantageous aspect, means are provided for adjusting the vertical position of said first inclined surface 46, 48. Means are also provided for adjusting the inclination of said first inclined surface 46, 48.
Said means for adjusting the height position of said first inclined surface 46, 48 comprise, as is evident also with reference to Figures 3 and 6, a first and a second series of adjusting grub screws 82, 84 and 86, 88 longitudinally distanced from each other, which are inserted in corresponding holes provided in the forward lowered part of the lower wall 262 of the corresponding seat 26 and are movable bi-directionally to be engaged against the lower side of said wedge element 66, 68 which is opposite the upper one for the engagement with the respective beam element 34, 36. The use of at least one adjustment grub screw would, at the limit, be sufficient.
Said means for adjusting the height position of the wedge also provide means for adjusting the vertical position of said first inclined face 62, 64 for blocking the reentry of said extracting beams into the respective seat 26, 28.
If said first and second series of grub screws 82, 84 and 86, 88 are actuated bi-directionally in different manners from each other, an adjustment is obtained of the inclination of said first inclined surface 46, 48. One could also imagine, at the limit, using at least one adjustment grub screw eccentrically engaging against the side of said wedge element 66, 68 which is opposite the one engaging with the respective beam element 34, 36.
The corresponding seats 26, 28, 30, 32 provided on opposite flanks 14, 16 of said main frame 12, as well shown in dashed line in Figure 1, realised mutually aligned and in mutual communication being defined by a respective transversely elongated housing cavity, it is possible to provide means able simultaneously to adjust, in the position wherein the extracting beams are recessed within the respective seat, the vertical position of the free extremities 34b, 36b of the beam elements 34, 36 within the opposite seats 26, 28 of the main frame 12.
Said means for the simultaneous adjustment of the vertical position of the free extremities 34b, 36b of said beam elements 34, 36 in the recessed position within the opposite seats 26, 28 of the main frame 12 comprise a central plate 90 for supporting said free extremities 34b, 36b of said beam elements and means for moving bilaterally in the vertical said plate 90 in the form of at least one adjustment grub screw 92, 94 engaging against the face of said plate element 90 which is opposite to the one supporting the free extremities 34b, 36b of said beam elements 34, 36.
Said central plate 90 within the cavity defining opposite seats 26, 28 of the main frame is positioned in such a way as to thrust the free ends 34b, 36b to engage against an opposite surface in the seat 26, 28. To allow the free extremity of the corresponding beam element easily to climb in the re-entry phase on said central plate 90, each beam element is provided, as shown in Figure 5, with a transverse chamfer, indicated with the numeric reference 93.
It is possible to infer, from the above description, that the adjustment of said grub screws for the adjustment of the extreme wedges and of the central plate 90 can and is in fact performed by the manufacturer upon setting up the undercarriage, without the user having to act in any way to provide for said widened and reduced positions of the undercarriage, as is the case in the prior art, except for appropriately commanding the related hydraulic cylinders for widening and narrowing the track gauge.
According to an additional advantageous aspect (see especially Figures 5, 7, 8) means are provided for lubricating said first and second inclined surfaces 46, 48, 50, 52 for locking the extraction of the respective beam element from the corresponding seat 26, 28. Said means for lubricating said first and second inclined surfaces 46, 48, 50, 52 comprise a plurality of greasing channels 96, 98 on said first inclined surface 46, 48. The greasing channels comprise at least a primary longitudinal channel 96 transversely whereto extend a plurality of secondary channels 98. An appropriate greaser 99 closed by a protecting cap 100 is used to provide the lubricant in central position to said longitudinal conduit 96.
The present system for locking the sliding of the extracting beams of the undercarriage is set up in a rapid and easy manner as can be illustrated with the aid of the following Figure 9. To position the wedge that bears the locking surface in the corresponding housing 26' defined by the lowered front portion of the seat 26, the rear extremity of the wedge is set on the edge of the seat 26 and the re-entry is actuated of the corresponding extracting beam 34 which drives said wedge inside until it comes in contrast with the shoulder 26". At this point it is sufficient to insert the corresponding bolt, appropriately locking it in position. The reduced thickness of the wedge allows for the easy execution of said operations.
With the present embodiment, therefore, a wedge element has been provided that is able to function at the same time as an arrest or limit stop organ for the corresponding beam element and as an element for eliminating the play between the beam element and the respective seat.
In particular, one can also appreciate that the provision of said inclined surfaces for arresting the corresponding beam elements in the widened track gauge condition, in correspondence with the inlet of the corresponding seats and of the free extremity of the corresponding beam element, allow to provide, with respect to prior art undercarriages for the same widening, a reduced overhang which allows a lesser stress and flexure of the beam element.
These effects of blocking and reducing the flexing actions, obtained by means of the aforementioned inclined surfaces for arresting the corresponding beam elements in the widened track gauge condition, is, moreover, advantageous in that it also allows to obviate any horizontal play which occurs between the extraction beams and the corresponding seat when the undercarriage is steered to change direction. It should also be stressed that one could imagine, for the present invention, the use of extracting beams and corresponding seats having a section other than quadrangular, for instance a circular, trapezoidal or polygonal section.