For our layout in 2020, we will replace the Delta Crane, the module that was responsible for loading the containers from the conveyor belt to the wagons. You can see the Delta Crane in action in the following video (start at time frame 3:09):
One of the biggest disadvantages of the crane, is its speed. Or its slowness, that is a better description. In order to decrease the total running time (from color selection to candy delivery), loading of the wagons is now one of the bottlenecks.
So, I started to think about a new way of loading the train. How do I get the containers from the belt, to the wagons ….?
Another conveyor belt? No, to straight forward.
A push mechanism (kind of reverse of the delivery station)? No, been there, done that.
A robot arm? Yeah, that could work but is that special enough?
(quite some time passing by …)
And then I came with something completely new, as you can see in the following video:
At the left, you can see (a simplified part of) the conveyor belt, on the right you see the (simplified) train. The superstructure in the middle is able to move back and forth, so it can reach the four wagons without moving the train. In this first prototype, I can only move the superstructure by hand. But of course, this will be automated as well using sensors to detect the 4 wagon positions.
You can find renders of the final result at our Flickr page (click on the photo below).