(19)
(11)EP 3 336 023 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 17202601.5

(22)Date of filing:  20.11.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B65G 47/84(2006.01)
B65G 47/32(2006.01)

(54)

APPARATUS FOR VARYING THE PITCH BETWEEN MOVING ARTICLES

VORRICHTUNG ZUR VERSTELLUNG DES ABSTANDES ZWISCHEN SICH BEWEGENDEN GEGENSTÄNDEN

APPAREIL POUR FAIRE VARIER LE PAS ENTRE DES ARTICLES EN MOUVEMENT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 15.12.2016 IT 201600127133
15.03.2017 IT 201700028519

(43)Date of publication of application:
20.06.2018 Bulletin 2018/25

(73)Proprietor: Fameccanica.Data S.p.A.
65129 Pescara (IT)

(72)Inventors:
  • TOTO, Marco
    I-66010 Ripa Teatina (Chieti) (IT)
  • GIANSANTE, Antonio
    I-65010 Spoltore (Pescara) (IT)

(74)Representative: Marchitelli, Mauro 
Buzzi, Notaro & Antonielli d'Oulx Corso Vittorio Emanuele ll, 6
10123 Torino
10123 Torino (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 162 162
WO-A1-2014/087293
JP-A- 2005 145 597
US-A1- 2002 103 468
WO-A1-2007/039800
FR-A1- 2 496 065
JP-A- 2010 142 414
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    Field of the invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to an apparatus for varying the pitch between moving articles. Apparatuses of this type are usually known as repitching apparatuses.

    [0002] The invention has been developed, in particular, for application to machines for producing absorbent sanitary articles.

    Description of the prior art



    [0003] The prior art relative to repitching apparatuses is quite extensive. For example, the document US-A-4 880 102 discloses a device for transferring articles from a first conveyor on which articles advance with a first pitch to a second conveyor on which articles advance with a second pitch. The device comprises a plurality of transport elements rotatably mounted about an axis. During rotation about said axis, the transport elements pick up the articles from the first conveyor and transfer them to the second conveyor. During transfer, the speed of the transport elements is varied between a pick-up position and a release position.

    [0004] Essentially similar solutions are disclosed in other documents, for example, US-A-5 480 021, US-A-4 506 779, US-A-4 726 876.

    [0005] In other embodiments, such as those described in documents US-A-3 728 191 and US-A-4 483 351, it is also possible to perform, together with the variation of the pitch, a variation of the orientation of the articles between the pick-up position and the release position, with an operation called "turn and repitch".

    [0006] The repitch apparatuses must be able to stably retain the articles on the transport elements during transfer from the gripping position to the release position, and to stop the retaining action of the articles in the release position. This is usually obtained by means of a vacuum grip system for connecting the gripping surfaces of the transport elements to a sub-atmospheric pressure source in the path between the gripping position and the release position, and interrupting the connection with the sub-atmospheric pressure source when the gripping elements are in the release position of the articles. Usually, the vacuum gripping means provided on the transport elements must be switched on at a moment before gripping of the articles, remain active to retain the articles on the gripping surfaces during the path of approaching the release area of the articles, and to deactivate at a moment before release of the articles.

    [0007] The document US-A-2008/0264761 discloses a repitching device provided with sub-atmospheric pressure distribution members at the transport elements, which allow the transport elements to selectively carry out a suction action for gripping the articles. The vacuum gripping means include a rotary distributor and a plurality of flexible tubes arranged between the rotary distributor and each transport element. The flexible tubes allow angular displacements between the transport elements and the distributor due to the cyclic speed variation of the transport elements between the gripping and release positions. The speed variations between the transport elements and the rotary distributor result in cyclic deformations of the flexible tubes, which over time cause breakage of the flexible tubes due to fatigue. The main disadvantage of repitching apparatuses fitted with flexible tubes connecting the transport elements to the rotary distributor is the need for frequent maintenance operations to replace the flexible tubes.

    [0008] FR-A-2496065 discloses an apparatus for transferring bar shaped articles from one conveyor to another according to the preamble of claim 1, which includes a first and a second rotating element. On the perimeter of the first rotating element equally spaced cranks are pivoted, each provided with a suction housing for holding and releasing an article. Each crank is connected to the second element by a link which, as the conveyor rotates, causes it to oscillate at such a rate as to match the velocity of the crank suction housing to that of the suction housings of the two conveyors.

    [0009] WO2014/087293 discloses a machine for making absorbent sanitary articles comprising a plurality of concentric units rotating, independently of each other, about a shared axis of rotation, each of which carrying at least one unit, motor means (30) for defining a respective law of motion for each of the units and means for translating the units, between a position for picking up pieces at the conveyor roller, and a position for releasing the pieces at a forming and applying unit.

    Object and summary of the invention



    [0010] The object of the present invention is to provide a repitching apparatus that overcomes the problems of the prior art.

    [0011] According to the present invention, this object is achieved by an apparatus having the characteristics forming the subject of claim 1.

    [0012] The claims form an integral part of the disclosure provided here in relation to the invention.

    Brief description of the drawings



    [0013] The present invention will now be described in detail with reference to the attached drawings, given purely by way of non-limiting example, wherein:
    • Figure 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of a repitching apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention,
    • Figure 2 is a side view according to the arrow II of Figure 1,
    • Figure 3 is a cross-section along the line III-III of Figure 2,
    • Figure 4 is an enlarged detail of the part indicated by the arrow IV in Figure 1,
    • Figure 5 is a perspective view illustrating some components of a repitching apparatus according to another embodiment of the present invention,
    • Figure 6 is a cross-section along the line VI-VI of Figure 5,
    • Figure 7 is a perspective view illustrating some components of a repitching apparatus according to another embodiment of the present invention, and
    • Figure 8 is a cross-section along the line VIII-VIII of Figure 5,


    [0014] It can be appreciated that, for clarity and simplicity of illustration, the various figures may not be reproduced in the same scale, and in some of the figures, a number of components have not been illustrated for a better understanding of the figures.

    Detailed description



    [0015] Referring to the figures, numeral 10 indicates an apparatus for varying the pitch between moving articles, or a repitching apparatus. The apparatus 10 comprises a stationary structure including a fixed central shaft 12 and an outer flange 14. With reference to Figure 2, the fixed central shaft 12 has an inner cavity defining a suction volume 16 connected to a vacuum source schematically indicated with 18. A fixed distributor 20 is mounted at one end of the fixed shaft 12, having an outer cylindrical surface 22 on which openings 24 are formed in communication with the suction volume 16.

    [0016] The repitching apparatus 10 comprises a plurality of rotors 26 independently rotatable about an axis A coincident with the longitudinal axis of the fixed central shaft 12. Each rotor 26 carries at least one transport element 28. The transport elements 28 rotate about the axis A at variable speeds, and are capable of picking up articles advancing on a first conveyor with a first pitch, and depositing them on a second conveyor with a second pitch that is different from the first.

    [0017] The transport elements 28 have respective gripping surfaces 32 provided with suction holes 34. The transport elements 28 are configured to pick up articles in a pick-up position and to retain them, by suction, on the gripping surfaces 32 during the journey from the pick-up position to the release position. The speed variation of the transport elements 28 between the pick-up position and the release position determines the pitch variation between the articles, also known as the repitch operation. The transport elements 28 can be rotatable about respective radial axes so as to vary the orientation of the articles between the gripping position and the release position, to carry out an operation known as "turn and repitch".

    [0018] The transport elements 28 are connected to respective actuating members 36 that drive the rotors 26 about the axis A. The actuating members 36 can be gears, connected, for example, by means of toothed belts, to respective electronically-controlled electric motors.

    [0019] Each rotor 26 can comprise two radial arms 30 opposite to each other, fixed to the respective shaft 64 and carrying two transport elements 28 at their distal ends. Alternatively, as illustrated in the embodiments of Figures 5-8, each rotor 26 can carry a single transport element 28 fixed to the end of a radial arm 30. In this case, each rotor 26 can comprise a counterweight 31 opposite to the transport element 28 with respect to the rotation axis A.

    [0020] As illustrated in Figures 5-8, each rotor 26 comprises a shaft 64 that connects the respective transport element 28 to the respective actuating member 36. The shafts 64 of the various rotors 26 are coaxial to each other about the axis A. The shaft 64 of each rotor is rotatably supported about the axis A by respective bearings 66. The bearings 66 can be arranged between two shafts 64 of two rotors 26 or can be arranged between the shaft 64 of a rotor 26 and the fixed central shaft 12.

    [0021] Each rotor 26 is rotated about the axis A by a respective electronically-controlled electric motor. An electronic control unit controls the electric motors so as to impart the preset motion laws to the rotors 26 to vary the speed of the transport elements 28 between the gripping position and the release position, so as to obtain the required pitch variation.

    [0022] The repitching apparatus 10 comprises a rotary distributor 38 rotatably mounted on the fixed distributor 20 about the axis A. The rotary distributor 38 is connected to a respective actuating member 40 (Figure 2), driven by a respective electric motor. The rotary distributor 38 is rotatably driven about the axis A independently of the rotors 26. The rotary distributor 38 can be rotated at a constant speed, for example, equal to the average speed of the rotors 26.

    [0023] The rotary distributor 38 has an inner cylindrical surface 42 in contact with the outer cylindrical surface 22 of the fixed distributor 20. The rotary distributor 38 has an interface surface 44 formed of a cylindrical surface coaxial to the axis A. The rotary distributor 38 has a plurality of intake ducts 46 extending between the interface surface 44 and the inner surface 42. The intake ducts 46 have first openings 48 open on the inner cylindrical surface 42 and second openings 50 open on the interface surface 44. During rotation of the rotary distributor 38 about the axis A, the first openings 48 cyclically face the openings 24 of the fixed distributor 20, so that the intake ducts 46 are selectively connected to the suction volume 16.

    [0024] The repitching apparatus 10 comprises a plurality of rigid connection elements 52, which establish a pneumatic connection between respective transport elements 28 and the rotary distributor 38. The rigid connection elements 52 can be made of metal, for example, aluminum or its alloys, or plastic material, preferably self-lubricating plastic material such as PTFE. The rigid connection elements 52 are fixed to respective transport elements 28. The rigid connection elements 52 have respective cylindrical sliding surfaces 54 in sliding contact with the interface surface 44 of the rotary distributor 38. The rigid connection elements 52 are provided with respective suction chambers 56 open on the sliding surfaces 54. The suction chambers 56 of the rigid connection elements 52 face respective second openings 50 of the rotary distributor 38.

    [0025] The suction chambers 56 are elongated in the circumferential direction and have an angular extension in the circumferential direction that is equal to or greater than the maximum angular range between the transport elements 28 and the rotary distributor 38, in order to maintain the suction chambers 56 of the rigid connection elements 52 constantly connected pneumatically to the respective second openings 50 of the rotary distributor 38 in any relative angular position between the rigid connection elements 52 and the rotary distributor 38.

    [0026] The rigid connection elements 52 comprise respective openings 58 pneumatically connected to the suction holes 34 of the respective transport elements 28, for example, by means of chambers or ducts formed within the transport elements 28 which, for simplicity, are not represented in the attached figures. The suction chambers 56 of each rigid connection element 52 are connected to the respective openings 58 by means of channels 60. For constructive reasons, the channels 60 can be opened on a front surface of the rigid connection elements 52. In this case, the front openings of the channels 60 can be closed by means of plates 62.

    [0027] Adjacent rigid connection elements 52 can be offset from each other in the direction of the longitudinal axis A to avoid interference between adjacent rigid connection elements 52 during movement at different speeds about the axis A.

    [0028] With reference to Figures 5-8, in one or more embodiments, each transport element 28 can comprise a longitudinal beam 68 and a shoe 70 fixed, for example, by means of screws 72, on the outside of the beam 78. Each shoe 70 has a gripping surface 32 provided with suction holes 34. The suction holes 34 of the shoe 70 are in pneumatic communication with the suction chambers 56 of the respective rigid connection element 52. Each rigid connection member 52 is fixed, for example, by means of screws 74, on the inner side of the longitudinal beam 68 of the respective transport element 28.

    [0029] In one or more embodiments, the transport elements 28 are supported by opposite sides of the respective rigid connection elements 52.

    [0030] In one or more embodiments, the side of the transport elements 28 facing towards the actuating members 36 is supported by a respective radial arm 30. With reference to Figures 5-8, the longitudinal beam 68 of the respective transport element 28 is fixed, for example, by means of screws 76, to the distal end of the respective radial arm 30.

    [0031] With reference to Figures 5 and 6, in one or more embodiments, the side of the transport elements 28 opposite to the actuating members 36 is supported by a respective bearing 78. In one or more embodiments, the end of the longitudinal beam 68 opposite to the actuating members 36 is fixed to a crown 80, for example, by means of screws 82, and the bearing 78 is arranged between the crown 82 and the rotary distributor 38.

    [0032] With reference to Figures 7 and 8, in one or more embodiments, the side of the transport elements 28 opposite to the actuating members 36 is supported by a respective shoe 84 that slidably engages a circular guide 86 coaxial with axis A and fixed to the rotary distributor 38. The shoe 84 is fixed to the end of the longitudinal beam 68 opposite to the actuating members 36.

    [0033] The fact of supporting the transport elements 28 on opposite sides of the respective rigid connection elements 52 helps to keep the sliding surfaces 54 of the rigid connection elements 52 in a required position with respect to the interface surface 44, for example, with a predetermined and constant clearance between the sliding surfaces 54 and the interface surface 44.

    [0034] With reference to Figure 4, during operation, the gripping surfaces of the individual transport elements 28 are selectively pneumatically connected to the stationary suction volume 16 through a pneumatic path extending through:
    1. i) the suction holes 34;
    2. ii) the openings 58, the channels 60 and the suction chambers 56 of the rigid connection elements 52;
    3. iii) the second openings 50, the suction channels 46 and the first openings 48 of the rotary distributor 38;
    4. iv) the openings 24 of the fixed distributor 20. In Figure 4, the arrows AF indicate the airflow path from the gripping surfaces 32 to the suction volume 16.


    [0035] The pneumatic connection between the gripping surfaces 32 and the stationary suction volume 16 is selectively activated and interrupted according to the relative position between the rotary distributor 38 and the fixed distributor 20. The pneumatic path of each transport element 28 is activated at a moment before the transport element 28 reaches the pick-up position and is kept active during the journey from the pick-up position to the release position. The pneumatic connection is interrupted at a moment before the transport element 28 reaches the release position.

    [0036] During operation, the transport elements 28 are rotated about the axis A, with a variable speed, between the pick-up position and the release position to vary the pitch between the moving articles. The speed variation of the transport elements 28 between the gripping position and the release position of the articles involves a slipping between the rigid connection elements 52 and the rotary distributor 38 that rotates at a constant speed. The slipping between the rigid connection elements 52 and the rotary distributor 38 never interrupts the pneumatic path between the rigid connection elements 52 and the rotary distributor 38, in whatever relative position they assume, because the suction chambers 56 of the rigid connection elements 52 are elongated in the circumferential direction and open on the sliding surfaces 54, so as to always maintain pneumatic contact with the respective second openings 50 of the rotary distributor 38.

    [0037] The solution according to the present invention avoids the use of flexible tubes for connection between the rotary distributor 38 and the transport elements 28 and, consequently, avoids the maintenance operations for periodic replacement of the flexible tubes subjected to breakage due to fatigue stress.

    [0038] Of course, without prejudice to the principle of the invention, the details of construction and the embodiments can be widely varied with respect to those described and illustrated, without thereby departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims that follow.


    Claims

    1. An apparatus for varying the pitch between moving articles, comprising:

    - a stationary structure (12, 14) having a suction volume (16),

    - a plurality of transport elements (28) rotatable independently from each other about an axis (A) and having respective gripping surfaces (32) provided with suction holes (34),

    - a rotary distributor (38) rotatable about said axis (A) independently of said transport elements (28), and having a plurality of intake ducts (46) comprising first openings (48) selectively connected to said suction volume (16) and second openings (50) located on an interface surface (44) of said rotary distributor (38), and

    - a plurality of rigid connection elements (52) that establish a pneumatic connection between respective transport elements (28) and said rotary distributor (38), wherein said rigid connection elements (52) are fixed with respect to respective transport elements (28) and have respective sliding surfaces (54) in sliding contact with said interface surface (44), wherein said rigid connection elements (52) have respective suction chambers (56) elongated in the circumferential direction and open on said sliding surfaces (54), wherein said suction chambers (56) are pneumatically connected to said suction holes (34) of the respective transport elements (28) and are connected pneumatically to said respective second openings (50) of said rotary distributor (38), characterized in that said suction chambers (56) have an angular extension in said circumferential direction that is equal to or greater than the maximum angular range between said rigid connection elements (52) and said rotary distributor (38).


     
    2. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein adjacent rigid connection elements (52) are mutually offset in the direction of said axis (A).
     
    3. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein each of said rigid connection elements (52) has at least one opening (58) pneumatically connected to said suction holes (34) of a respective transport element (28) and connected to the respective suction chamber (56) by means of at least one channel (60).
     
    4. An apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said transport elements (28) are supported on opposite sides of the respective rigid connection elements (52) in order to help keeping the sliding surfaces 54 of the rigid connection elements 52 in a required position with respect to the interface surface 44.
     
    5. An apparatus according to claim 4, wherein said transport elements (28) are connected to respective actuating members (36) by means of respective shafts (64) coaxial to said axis (A), and wherein sides of said transport elements (28) facing towards said actuating members (36) are supported by respective radial arms (30) fixed to respective shafts (64).
     
    6. An apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said transport elements (28) are supported by respective bearings (78) on respective sides opposite to said actuating members (36).
     
    7. An apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said transport elements (28) are fixed to respective crowns (80), and wherein respective bearings (78) are arranged between said crowns (82) and the rotary distributor (38) .
     
    8. An apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said transport elements (28) on respective sides opposite to said actuating members (36) are supported by respective shoes (84), which slidably engage a circular guide (86) coaxial to said axis (A) and fixed to the rotary distributor (38).
     
    9. An apparatus according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said transport elements (28) comprise respective longitudinal beams (68) and respective shoes (70) fixed on outer sides of respective beams (78), and wherein respective rigid connection elements (52) are fixed on inner sides of said longitudinal beams (68).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Vorrichtung zum Ändern des Abstandes zwischen sich bewegenden Gegenständen, umfassend:

    - eine feststehende Struktur (12, 14) mit einem Ansaugvolumen (16),

    - mehrere Transportelemente (28), die unabhängig voneinander um eine Achse (A) drehbar sind und jeweilige Greifflächen (32) aufweisen, die mit Ansaugöffnungen (34) versehen sind,

    - einen Rotationsverteiler (38), der unabhängig von den Transportelementen (28) um die Achse (A) drehbar ist und mehrere Einlasskanäle (46) aufweist, die erste Öffnungen (48), welche selektiv mit dem Saugvolumen (16) verbunden werden, und zweite Öffnungen (50), die an einer Kontaktfläche (44) des Rotationsverteilers (38) angeordnet sind, umfassen, und

    - mehrere starre Verbindungselemente (52), die eine pneumatische Verbindung zwischen jeweiligen Transportelementen (28) und dem Rotationsverteiler (38) herstellen, wobei die starren Verbindungselemente (52) bezogen auf die jeweiligen Transportelemente (28) fest sind und jeweilige Gleitflächen (54) aufweisen, welche sich in gleitendem Kontakt mit der Kontaktfläche (44) befinden, wobei die starren Verbindungselemente (52) jeweilige Ansaugkammern (56) aufweisen, die längs in Umfangsrichtung ausgebildet sind und sich auf den Gleitflächen (54) öffnen, wobei die Ansaugkammern (56) pneumatisch mit den Ansaugöffnungen (34) der jeweiligen Transportelemente (28) verbunden sind und pneumatisch mit den zweiten Öffnungen (50) des Rotationsverteilers (38) verbunden sind,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Ansaugkammern (56) eine Winkelausdehnung in der Umfangsrichtung haben, die gleich oder größer als der maximale Winkelbereich zwischen den starren Verbindungselementen (52) und dem Rotationsverteiler (38) ist.


     
    2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei benachbarte starre Verbindungselemente (52) in der Richtung der Achse (A) gegeneinander versetzt sind.
     
    3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei jedes der starren Verbindungselemente (52) wenigstens eine Öffnung (58) aufweist, die pneumatisch mit den Ansaugöffnungen (34) des jeweiligen Transportelements (28) verbunden ist und mit der jeweiligen Ansaugkammer (56) mittels wenigstens eines Kanals (60) verbunden ist.
     
    4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Transportelemente (28) an gegenüberliegenden Seiten der jeweiligen starren Verbindungselemente (52) gehalten sind, um die Gleitflächen 54 der starren Verbindungselemente 52 in einer erforderlichen Position bezogen auf die Kontaktfläche 44 zu halten.
     
    5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 4, wobei die Transportelemente (28) mit jeweiligen Betätigungselementen (36) mittels jeweiliger Schäfte (64) koaxial zur Achse (A) verbunden sind und wobei Seiten der Transportelemente (28), die zu den Betätigungselementen (36) hin weisen, durch jeweilige radiale Arme (30), die an den jeweiligen Schäften (64) angebracht sind, gehalten sind.
     
    6. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Transportelemente (28) von jeweiligen Lagern (78) an jeweiligen Seiten gegenüber den Betätigungselementen (36) gehalten sind.
     
    7. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Transportelemente (28) an jeweiligen Kronen (80) angebracht sind und wobei die jeweiligen Lager (78) zwischen den Kronen (82) und dem Rotationsverteiler (38) angeordnet sind.
     
    8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 5, wobei die Transportelemente (28) auf jeweiligen Seiten gegenüber den Betätigungselementen (36) durch jeweilige Gleitstücke (84) gehalten sind, welche gleitend mit einer kreisförmigen Führung (86) koaxial zur Achse (A) in Eingriff gelangen und am Rotationsverteiler (38) angebracht sind.
     
    9. Vorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Transportelemente (28) jeweilige Längsträger (68) und jeweilige Gleitstücke (70), die an den Außenseiten der jeweiligen Träger (78) angebracht sind, umfassen und wobei jeweilige starre Verbindungselemente (52) an Innenseiten der Längsträger (68) angebracht sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Appareil de variation du pas entre des articles en mouvement, comprenant :

    - une structure fixe (12, 14) ayant un volume d'aspiration (16),

    - une pluralité d'éléments de transport (28) pouvant tourner indépendamment les uns des autres autour d'un axe (A) et ayant des surfaces de préhension respectives (32) munies d'orifices d'aspiration (34),

    - un distributeur rotatif (38) pouvant tourner autour dudit axe (A) indépendamment desdits éléments de transport (28), et ayant une pluralité de conduits d'admission (46) comprenant des premières ouvertures (48) reliées sélectivement audit volume d'aspiration (16) et des deuxièmes ouvertures (50) situées sur une surface d'interface (44) dudit distributeur rotatif (38), et

    - une pluralité d'éléments de liaison rigides (52) qui établissent une liaison pneumatique entre des éléments de transport respectifs (28) et ledit distributeur rotatif (38), où lesdits éléments de liaison rigides (52) sont fixés par rapport aux éléments de transport respectifs (28) et ont des surfaces de glissement respectives (54) en contact glissant avec ladite surface d'interface (44), où lesdits éléments de liaison rigides (52) ont des chambres d'aspiration respectives (56) allongées dans la direction circonférentielle et s'ouvrant sur lesdites surfaces de glissement (54), où lesdites chambres d'aspiration (56) sont reliées de manière pneumatique auxdits trous d'aspiration (34) des éléments de transport respectifs (28) et sont reliées de manière pneumatique auxdites deuxièmes ouvertures respectives (50) dudit distributeur rotatif (38),
    caractérisé en ce que lesdites chambres d'aspiration (56) ont une extension angulaire dans ladite direction circonférentielle qui est supérieure ou égale à la plage angulaire maximale entre lesdits éléments de liaison rigides (52) et ledit distributeur rotatif (38).


     
    2. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel des éléments de liaison rigides adjacents (52) sont mutuellement décalés dans la direction dudit axe (A).
     
    3. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chacun desdits éléments de liaison rigides (52) a au moins une ouverture (58) reliée de manière pneumatique auxdits trous d'aspiration (34) d'un élément de transport respectif (28) et reliée à la chambre d'aspiration respective (56) au moyen d'au moins un canal (60).
     
    4. Appareil selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) sont supportés sur des côtés opposés des éléments de liaison rigides respectifs (52) afin de contribuer au maintien des surfaces de glissement (54) des éléments de liaison rigides (52) dans une position requise par rapport à la surface d'interface (44).
     
    5. Appareil selon la revendication 4, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) sont reliés à des éléments d'actionnement respectifs (36) au moyen d'arbres respectifs (64) coaxiaux audit axe (A), et dans lequel des côtés desdits éléments de transport (28) tournés vers lesdits éléments d'actionnement (36) sont supportés par des bras radiaux respectifs (30) fixés à des arbres respectifs (64).
     
    6. Appareil selon la revendication 5, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) sont supportés par des paliers respectifs (78) sur des côtés respectifs opposés auxdits éléments d'actionnement (36).
     
    7. Appareil selon la revendication 6, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) sont fixés à des couronnes respectives (80), et dans lequel des paliers respectifs (78) sont agencés entre lesdites couronnes (82) et le distributeur rotatif (38).
     
    8. Appareil selon la revendication 5, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) sur des côtés respectifs opposés auxdits éléments d'actionnement (36) sont supportés par des sabots respectifs (84), qui engagent de manière coulissante un guide circulaire (86) coaxial audit axe (A) et fixé au distributeur rotatif (38).
     
    9. Appareil selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel lesdits éléments de transport (28) comprennent des poutres longitudinales respectives (68) et des sabots respectifs (70) fixés sur des côtés extérieurs de poutres respectives (78), et dans lequel des éléments de liaison rigides respectifs (52) sont fixés sur des côtés intérieurs desdites poutres longitudinales (68).
     




    Drawing





























    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description