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Conveyor for conveying and buffering articles

Image Number 7 for United States Patent #8100254.

A conveyor is provided for conveying and buffering articles (G) and the like along a vertically extending, substantially helical path. A conveying assembly such as a conveyor belt or conveyor rollers is supported by a frame and driven by a drive unit and extends along said helical path and conveys articles along said path. The substantially helical path is divided into zones (Z), each zone being provided with switch members, in such a manner that the conveyor can be switched in each zone between a conveying position, in which the conveying assembly conveys the articles, and a buffering position, in which the articles present in said zone are stationary. Buffering devices distributed over the length of the conveyor and being present in each zone support the articles in the buffering position. The drive unit and/or the conveyor belt/rollers on the one hand and the buffering devices on the other hand are vertically movable with respect to each other in each zone (Z), in such a manner that the articles (G) in question are in contact with the drive unit in the conveying position and with the buffering devices in the buffering position in said zone. In this way a simple and reliable buffering system can be realised.

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