South Dakota Patent of the Month – February 2022

Masaba, Inc. has been an innovative manufacturer of conveyor and material handling products for nearly 60 years. Their products define the industry standard for trusted equipment capable of withstanding the abuses of mining, aggregate, and construction environments.

Certain conveyor systems are movable, where the path can be modified to transport products to different endpoints along the path. For instance, a radial  stacking conveyor might move back and forth like a fan to deposit product in more or less uniform piles. Controlling this movement is usually achieved via hydraulic motors which control a set of wheels. Sensors are used to detect the actual degree of movement so that the conveyor always ends up in the right spot. Unfortunately, due to the rugged nature of the environments, sensors are known to malfunction. If the area is too dusty or there are too many obstacles in the path, the sensor may not be accurate and the conveyor movement may be compromised. 

Recently, Masaba has designed an alternative sensing system which detects axle-integrated movements to provide more reliable data, regardless of the environment. Their design better protects the movement sensors without limiting their accuracy. This is achieved by incorporating a rotation detection assembly which detects the rotation of the wheels. The assembly has a rotation member which rotates with the wheels as a single unit. Since they move as a unit, a rotation sensor just has to sense and measure rotation of the member, rather than the wheels. This means the sensor can be positioned within the interior or the axle housing, protected from any dust and obstructions, while still performing accurately.

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