US 2734213 A
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Feb. 14. 1956 l.. F. ASHFORD 2,734,213
MACHINE FOR CLEANING RECEPTACLES 4 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Aug. l5, 1950 INVENTOR:
A TTORNE YS Feb. 14. 1956 L.. F. ASHFORD 2,734,213
MACHINE FOR CLEANING RECEPTACLES Filed Aug. 15. 1950 4 Sheets-Sheet '2 I N VEN TOR:
A TTORNE YS.
Feb. 14. 1956 L.. F. ASHFORD MACHINE FOR CLEANING RECEPTACLES 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Aug. l5. 1950 A TTORNE YS.
Feb. 14, 1956 Filed Aug. l5, 1950 MACHINE FOR CLEANING RECEPTACLES L. F. ASHFORD 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENToR: Zewm/'J'S/zfon,
A TTORNE YS.
United States Patent 2,734,213 MACHINE FOR' CLEANING RECEPTACLES Leonard F. Ashford, Philadelphia, Pa. Application August 15, 1950, Serial No. 179,526 3 Claims. (Cl. 15-304) This invention relates to a method and machine for removing material from the surface of a work object, and more particularly relates to a method and machine for removing adherent particles of dirt and refuse from receptacles such as beverage cases, for example.
In bottling plants returnable cases of empty bottles are received at various times from consumer sources, and the bottles are conventionally removed from the cases for cleaning and relling. In the course of usage, dirt, paper and refuse accumulate on the beverage cases themselves, and the cases have customarily been cleaned in the bottling plant for re-use.
Attempts have previously been made to clean beverage cases in quantity but these have been unsuccessful in that considerable manual labor and excessive floor space are required in feeding the cases to a cleaning receptacle, in cleaning the cases, and in withdrawing the cases for subsequent handling and lling. Procedures requiring manual labor are further undesirable since frequently the empty cases arrive in the plant for cleaning at irregular intervals of time and in fluctuating quantities, sometimes leaving the laborers idle for protracted periods. While mechanical cleaning devices of various types have been proposed, these are relatively inefficient and do not entirely eliminate manual handling operations. Moreover the mechanical cleaning devices of the prior art often leave corners and other portions of the cases uncleaned, particularly when the cases have partition strips forming cells within the cases for holding individual bottles.
It is accordingly an object of the invention to provide a completely automatic machine for cleaning work ob jects such as beverage cases and the like in which manual labor is substantially entirely eliminated and a minimum oor space is occupied. Another object is to provide a machine for thoroughly cleaning objects having irrgular surfaces, recesses, corners and the like.
While machines have previously been devised for directing a continuous stream of air against objects advancing on a conveyor, these have been only partially effective in that air pressure alone is relied upon for removing dirt which adheres tenaciously to the objects and is only partially removed. Moreover such apparatus has been expensive to operate in that excessive quantities of compressed air are consumed without effecting any cleaning and continuous air ow is maintained independently of the number and spacing of objects to be cleaned.
It is accordingly another object of the invention to provide an article cleaning machine havingprelirninary means for loosening dirt particles to condition the articles for final cleaning by air under pressure. Still another object of the invention is to provide an article cleaning machine having means responsive to the movement of the objects themselves for directing a flow of fluid against the objects and for shutting otf the flow after the object has moved beyond the path of the liuid stream. Another `object of the invention is to provide a device of such character having a hood for retaining, collecting j 2,734,213 Patented Feb. 14, 1,956
and disposing of the material removed from the articles. Other objects and means for carrying them into effect, including simplicity and economy of manufacture, will appear hereinafter and in the drawings, of which:
Fig. 1 represents a side elevation of the main portion of a case cleaning machine of this invention, with a part broken away and shown in section;
Fig. 2 represents a rear end view of the same;
Fig. 3 represents a plan view of the same, with parts broken away as indicated in order more clearly to show important details;
Fig. 4 represents a longitudinal section of the case cleaning machine of Fig. l; and
Fig. 5 represents a sectional view taken as indicated by the lines and arrows VV of Fig. 4.
In summary, the invention broadly comprises an article cleaning apparatus having an article conveyor, means adjacent said conveyor for projecting a fluid against the articles, and means actuated by the force of the advancing articles for operating the fluid projecting means to remove material from the surfaces of the articles.
Referring to the drawings, the embodiment of the invention there represented includes inclined receiving conveyor 10, inclined chain conveyor 11 and inclined delivery conveyor 12 supported in tiered relation for successively advancing the empty cases 13 in the directions indicated from the inlet to the outlet of the apparatus. The device also has blow pipes 14 which are effective to project air at high velocity against the advancing cases 13 for removal of material such as dirt, refuse and the like.
The inclined conveyors 10, 11, 12 are supported on frame 15 by means of bolts and have rails 16 longitudinally thereof for guiding the cases along predetermined paths. Conveyor 10 has shafts 17 attached to conveyor rolls 20 rotatably mounted on frame 15 and a conveyor belt 21 which passes around the conveyor rolls 20 and over an idler roll 22 also rotatably supported on frame 15. Conveyor 11 has longitudinal angle irons 23 bolted to frame 15 and transverse angle irons 24 (Fig. 3) forming a support for rotatably mounted cleaning conveyor shafts 25. The upper shaft 25 is slidably mounted at both ends between angle irons 23 by means of spacer pieces 26 attached to bearings 27. Bearings 27 are attached to adjusting screws 30 which are movable longitudinally of the angle irons 23 by turning the threaded discs 31 in engagement with screws 30. In such manner the longitudinal distance between shafts 25 may be varied and the shafts 25 may be aligned.
T o each shaft 25 are aixed sprocket wheels 32 engaging a pair of continuous chains 33 which form the case conveying means for cleaning conveyor 11. Upper shaft 25 has longitudinal slots 34' (Fig. 2) accommodating adjustment bolts projected through the hubs 35 of sprocket wheels 32, for free adjustment of the sprocket wheels 32 longitudinally of shaft 25. Chains 33 are composed of links having upstanding lugs 36 which serve to engage the cases 13 and to advance the cases through the machine.
Conveyor 12 has longitudinal angle irons 37 bolted to frame 15, and has shafts 40 rotatably supported by angle irons 37 and conveyor rolls 41 attached to the shafts 40. Lower shaft 40 is adjustable longitudinally as previously described in connection with shaft 25 of conveyor 11. Conveyor 12 has a continuous belt 42 disposed on conveyor rolls 41 for advancing the cases 13.
The conveyors 10, 11, 12 are driven by electric motor 43 through a conventional sprocket-chain drive comprehensively designated 44, the sprockets being attached to the shafts V17, 25 and 40, as appears particularly clearly in Figs. 2 and 3.
Supported by frame 15 is an ejector hood comprehensively designated by the number 46. The ejector hood 46 has a bottom 47 inclined longitudinally and laterally ofthe machine, a vertical front Wall 50, sidewalls 51', 52 and 53, and a cover 54.
In the front wall 50 are openings in the form of slots 55 and 56'for passage of the cases 13 and chains 33 (Fig. 5). Ejector hood 46 surrounds the central' portion of the chain conveyor 11 and forms a substantially enclosed space in the case cleaning machine. At the rear end the ejector hood has a concavely curved retainer wall 57 extending upwardly beyond the end of conveyor 10v and supported by angle iron 60. Retainer wall 57 is spaced from the upper end of inclinedV conveyor and constitutes a guide means for overturning the cases falling from the end of conveyor 10 to the upper surface of conveyor 11.
The retainer Wall 57 is also disposedacross the normal path of descent of the cases from conveyor 10 to conveyor 11 and serves to dellect the falling cases abruptly to jar the cases thereby loosening the removable material and reducing its tendency to adhere tothe cases, as will be apparent from Fig. 4. Retainer wall 57 has openings 61 accommodating chains 33 for passage continuously into and out of ejector hood 46. Ejector hood 46 has an integrally formed downwardly extending conduit 62 including front wall 50, conduit side walls 51 and 52 and conduit rear wall 63 (see particularly Figs. 3 and 5). Conduit 62 serves as a down spout for disposal of dirt and like refuse removed from the cases, in a manner to appear in further detail hereinafter.
Retainer piece 64 is attached to the frame 15 and spaced forwardly of conveyor 11 in the path of descent of the cases as they fall from the lower end of conveyor 11 to the upper surface of belt 42. Retainer piece 64 is curved concavely in a manner similar to retainer wall 57 and also constitutes a guide means for conducting the cases falling from the end of conveyor 11 and turning the cases over as they fall to conveyor 12.
Horizontal conveyor 65 is disposed adjacent to the upper end of conveyor 12 in a position to receive cases delivered from conveyor 12 and serves to transport the cleaned cases 13 to the case packing plant orto the situs of another operation as desired.
Mounted above and below the chain conveyor 11 are blow-olf means in the form of pipes 14 which extend transversely of conveyor 11. The pipes 14 have elongated slots 66 directing air toward the normal path of advancement of cases on conveyor 11. The air is stored under pressure and is transported to pipes 14 through conduit 67, solenoid valve 7G, and distributor lines 71. For controlling the elective air pressure in pipes 14, a conventional manually controllable diaphragm-type reducing valve 72 (Fig. l) is desirably connected in line with conduit 67.
Solenoid valve 70 is a conventional spring-urged, normally closed solenoid-operated valve, the solenoid being responsive to flow of electric current and'elective to' open the valve 76 in response to electric energization. Upon interruption of such energization the solenoid valve resumes its normal closed position.
Electric switch 73 is supported in lixed position on frame 15 and has a movable spring-urged arm 74. Roller 75 is rotatably attached to the end of arm 74 and is disposed in the normal path of advancement of the cases 13 on conveyor 11 for contact with each advancing case 13. The switch 73 has conventional electric contact elements (not shown) which are connected and disconnected by movement of arm 74 to make and break the electric circuit, thereby energizing and cie-energizing solenoid valve 7%. The switch '73 is connected to a power source by electric conductor 76 and to solenoid valve 70 by means of electric conductor 77. Also in circuit is conductor which connects the solenoid valve 70 to the power source (not shown). The solenoid valve 70 is not energized when switch 73 is held in its normal, open position by the spring-urged arm 74. Movement of arm 74 to the left as viewed in Fig. 3 completes the electric circuit, energizing solenoid valve 70 and opening the valve 70 to allow air to pass through pipes 14.
In operation, successive cases 13 are deposited open side up on conveyor 10 and advance upwardly thereon, eventually projecting beyond the upper end of conveyor 10 (see Fig. 4). As the center of gravity of the case passes beyond the end of the conveyor 10, the free end of the case 13 drops. While falling, case 13 contacts retainer wall 57 which guides the forward end of the case 13 downwardly and inwardly to overturn the case 13. The fall of the case 13 is interrupted abruptly by retainer wall 57 and chain 33 thereby jarring loose a part of the dirt and refuse previously adhering to the container and conditioning the case for subsequent cleaning. The lugs 36 of chain 33 then engage the edge of case 13 as shown in dotted lines in Fig. 4 to complete the inversion of the case 13, which then advances open side down along conveyor 11.
On conveyor 11 each case contacts roller 75 thereby moving arm 74 of switch 73, closing the electric circuit and opening solenoid valve 70. Air accordingly blows on the advancing case 13, removing previously loosened material from the case 13. The case 13 continuously advances on conveyor 11 to a position beyond switch 73 whereupon spring-urged arm 74 resumes its original position, opening switch 73, breaking the electric circuit, deenergizing solenoid valve 70 and shutting off the air ilow. The flow of air is similarly started and stopped by action of switch 73 in response to the advancement of successive cases on conveyor 11.
The material removed from the cases 13 by the stream of air falls to the bottom 47 of ejector hood 46 and tends to slide forwardly along the inclined surface of bottom 47 to the juncture between bottom 47 and front wall 50. The material also flows sidewise of the machine toward conduit 62 for ultimate disposal. Movement of the material along bottom 47 is maintained by the jarring action of successive cases against retainer wall 57 which is attached to bottom 47 for transmission of vibrations.
Air escapes from ejector hood 46 through the relatively large opening between cover 54 and retainer wall 57 at a velocity insuicient to carry any substantial quantity of nely divided dirt particles to the space outside the ejector hood 46.
The construction and arrangement of the machine including tiered inclined conveyors all supported on a single frame represents a highly ecient case cleaning device for handling an unusually large volume of cases per unit of floor space required. The machine may also be moved from place to place for handling boxes or cases at different points in the factory or bottling plant.
It will be appreciated that various modications may be made in the construction and arrangement of parts as well as in the form of the blow oit means of the invention. For example, the cases may be subjected to the action of air jets arranged in successive stages on the conveyors and the jets may be spaced as desired along the conveyors and directed against the top, bottom, sides and ends of the cases. For such arrangements one or more switches 73 may be spaced along the conveyors and independently connected to the electric source and to solenoid valve 70 to turn the air on and olf as the cases reach predetermined points on the conveyors. For directing air upwardly against cases the provision of an open case conveyor which may consist of chains, rubber or crepe belts, or the like, is highly advantageous in that the stream of air impinges directly against the surface of the case and rebounds to carry the entrained, removed material downwardly and to blow material ot the conveyor itself thereby preventing the undesirable accummulation of material on the conveyor. It will also be observed that gaseous and liquid uids other than air may be projected against the cases in accordance with this invention.
Although I have described in considerable detail one example of my invention, it will be apparent that the apparatus is capable of a wide variety of applications and uses, and that certain features thereof may be used to advantage without the use of other features, all within the scope of the invention as deiined in the appended claims. lt is to be understood that the specific mechanisms rei ferred to and claimed herein are intended to comprehend all mechanical equivalents and reversals of parts which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar result.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. Case cleaning apparatus comprising an endless upper case conveyor having a discharge end, an endless lower case conveyor disposed below the discharge end of the upper case conveyor with uninterrupted free space therebetween, said lower conveyor being arranged to receive successive cases falling by gravity only from the end of the upper conveyor, the lower conveyor being substantially directly beneath the upper conveyor, guide means disposed beyond the end of said upper conveyor including retainer means effective to deflect the falling cases abruptly, saidguide means being spaced from the end of the upper conveyor and shaped to deposit the falling cases upside down on the lower conveyor, power means for moving the upper case conveyor continuously in one direction, power means for moving the lower conveyor continuously in the opposite direction, and jet means constructed and arranged to project uid against the inside portion of the advancing cases on said lower conveyor.
2. Case cleaning apparatus for removing material continuously from cases comprising an endless upper case conveyor, and endless lower case conveyor disposed below the upper conveyor, power means for continuously driving said conveyors, case deflecting means including portions spaced beyond and below the end of said upper conveyor for receiving cases falling from the end of the upper conveyor, said case deflecting means including portions spaced below said upper conveyor with uninterrupted free space'therebetween in position to jar the cases received from the upper conveyor, thereby loosening said material on said cases and conditioning said material for subsequent removal, air blowing means constructed and arranged to ,blow air across the path of advancement of cases on the lower conveyor, said air blowing means removing from the inside portion of the cases the conditioned material previously jarred loose by said deflecting means, and a hood surrounding said air blowing means and a portion of said lower case conveyor.
3. A case cleaning machine comprising an upper conveyor, an intermediate conveyor disposed below the discharge end of said upper conveyor to receive cases falling therefrom, drive means for continuously advancing said conveyors, guide means adjacent the end of the upper conveyor for overturning and jarring the cases falling therefrom, and for moving said cases to said intermediate conveyor, case-engaging means arranged at spaced intervals on said intermediate conveyor, means for directing a stream of lluid against each of the overturned spaced cases on said intermediate conveyor and thereby removing from the inner portion of the cases the material jarred loose by said guide means, a lower conveyor disposed below the discharge end of said intermediate conveyor to receive cases falling therefrom, and means adjacent the end of the intermediate conveyor for overturning the cases falling therefrom, and for moving said cases to the lower conveyor, the conveyors being all substantially longitudinally aligned and also being tiered, inclined, and supported on a common frame.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,519,154 Mitton Dec. 16, 1924 1,684,828 Hippenmeyer Sept. 18, 1928 2,207,697 Kendall July 16, 1940 2,282,474 Howard May 15, 1942 2,289,967 Johnson July 14, 1942 2,357,786 Wells Sept. 5, 1944 2,374,260 Alling Apr. 24, 1945 2,462,021 Harker Feb. 15, 1949 2,526,309 Welch Oct. 17, 1950 2,549,062 Davis Apr. 17, 1951