US 9,809,389 B2
Force measuring unit and system for measuring chain forces
Simon Pauli, Hannover (DE); Detlef Hahn, Lunen (DE); Stefan Kratochvil, Lunen (DE); Christian Hauck, Dortmund (DE); Mirko Skowron, Herne (DE); Marco Ahler, Muhlheim (DE); Dominik Bittner, Munster (DE); and Manfred Ziegler, Erftstadt (DE)
Assigned to Caterpillar Global Mining Europe GmbH, Lunen (DE)
Appl. No. 15/101,210
Filed by CATERPILLAR GLOBAL MINING EUROPE GMBH, Lunen (DE)
PCT Filed Nov. 25, 2014, PCT No. PCT/EP2014/003141
§ 371(c)(1), (2) Date Jun. 2, 2016,
PCT Pub. No. WO2015/086110, PCT Pub. Date Jun. 18, 2015.
Claims priority of application No. 13196300 (EP), filed on Dec. 9, 2013.
Prior Publication US 2016/0304286 A1, Oct. 20, 2016
Int. Cl. B65G 23/44 (2006.01); B65G 43/00 (2006.01); G01L 1/00 (2006.01); G01L 1/04 (2006.01)
CPC B65G 23/44 (2013.01) [G01L 1/00 (2013.01); G01L 1/04 (2013.01)] 14 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A force measuring unit for measuring a force applied to an individual chain link of a chain strand used in underground mining applications, the chain strand including a plurality of chain links engaging each other, each chain link of the plurality of chain links having a first chain link leg and a second chain link leg opposite to the first chain link leg, the force measuring unit comprising:
a housing having a first end configured to be contacted by the first chain link leg and a second end configured to be contacted by the second chain link leg, the housing being elastically deformable such that a distance variation between the first chain link leg and the second chain link leg is possible;
a distance measuring device accommodated within the housing and configured to measure an actual distance between the first chain link leg and the second chain link leg, the distance measuring device including a first unit part configured to be contacted by the first chain link leg and a second unit part configured to be contacted by the second chain link leg;
a magnet provided at the first unit part; and
a magnetic field sensor provided at the second unit part and configured to detect a magnetic field caused by the magnet,
wherein, due to the distance variation between the first chain link leg and the second chain link leg caused by the force applied to the chain strand, the first unit part and the second unit part move relative to each other, such that the actual distance between the first and second chain link legs can be measured, and
wherein, due to the relative movement between the first unit part and the second unit part, the magnet moves relative to the magnetic field sensor causing a variation of the detected magnetic field.