US 2745410 A
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7 sheets-sheet 1 /NVENTOR May 15, 1956 D. w. MoLlNs DELIVERY OF CIGARETTES TO A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE med Nov. 2, 1953 N@ mw Q M mw K- mm M. llgo a l' o o .o J- v m; im.. INI M ATTORNEYS May 15, 1956 DELIVERY Filed Nov. 2, 1953 D. W. MOLlNS OF' CIGARETTES TO A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE 7 Sheets-Sheet 2 NVENTOR #am BY mdb, CM;
M ff-Wm A T TO RNE YS May 15, 1956 D. W. MoLxNs 2,745,410
DELIVERY OF CIGARETTES TO A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE Filed Nov. 2, 1953 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 /NVENTOR ATTORNEYS May 15, 1956 D, w. MoLlNs 2,745,410
DELIVERY 0F CIGARETTES To A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE Filed Nov. 2, 1953 7 Sheets-Sheet 4 :www
/NVE/vrok @www0 z/A MM ATTORNEY5 May 15, 1956 D. w. MoLlNs 2,745,410
DELIVERY OF CIGARETTES TO A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE Filed Nov. 2, 1953 7 Sheets-Sheet 5 ATTO/2 NE Y May 15, 1956 D. W. MOLlNs 2,745,410
DELIVERY oF CIGARETTES To A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE Filed Nov. 2, 1953 7 Sheets-Sheet 6 NVENTOR @www ZM 21M/QL BYu/aZdW) @MI5 M num ATTORNEYS May 15, 1956 D. w. MoLlNs 2,745,416
DELIVERY OF CIGARETTES TO A CIGARETTE-PACKING MACHINE Filed Nov. 2, 1953 7 Sheets-Sheet '7 a 1N VENTO/a www@ y. LH/i ATTORNEYS United States Patent O DELIVERY OF CIGARETTES T A CIGARETTE- PACKING NIACHNE Desmond Walter Molins, Deptford, London, England,
assignor to Molins Machine Company, Limited, London, England, a British company Application November 2, 1953, Serial No. 389,713
12 Claims. (Cl. 131-21) This invention concerns improvements in or relating to the delivery of cigarettes to a cigarette-packing machine.
In the manufacture and packing of cigarettes it is often the practice to collect cigarettes in containers, known as trays, as the cigarettes issue from a cigarette-making ma chine. In some cases the loaded trays may be placed in conditioning chambers or rooms for the cigarettes to be partly dried or conditioned. Eventually lthe trays are conveyed, either by hand or mechanically, to a packing machine and are emptied into the machine hopper, which is usually so constructed as to accommodate a large number of cigarettes aranged in a stack of considerable depth. The stacked cigarettes are fed downwardly through the hopper and batches, for example batches of twenty cigarettes each, are fed in succession from an outlet at the base of the hopper and moved away to be packed.
This vgeneral type of cigarette-packing machine is wellknown and needs no further description.
The word stack when used herein in relation to cigarettes is to be understood as meaning a stack of cigarettes which are arranged parallel to one another, with the opposite end faces of each cigarette exposed on opposite sides of the stack so that the width of the stack is equal to the length of a cigarette. In other respects the shape ofthe stack may vary; for example the hopper of a cigarette-packing machine usually has curved sides converging towards the outlet at the bottom of the hopper, and a stack of cigarettes contained in such a hopper naturally assumes the shape of the hopper walls.
To facilitate introduction of the cigarettes into the packing-machine hopper, the trays into which cigarettes are collected are usually somewhat deep and of such a width as to accommodate a stack of cigarettes. The trays are emptied into the hopper one after the other, and as a modern packing-machine operates at high speed, it is usually the practice to accumulate a reserve of loaded trays to ensure that the hopper may he kkept filled even though the supply of fresh cigarettes may for some reason temporarily fail.
It is however sometimes desired to feed cigarettes directly from the cigarette-making machine into the hopper of a packing-machine so as to eiect a direct link-up between the operations of making and packing. The present invention is concerned with apparatus for eiecting direct feeding and delivery of this nature, in a continuons and automatically controlled manner.
According to the present invention there is provided apparatus for feeding cigarettes directly from one vor more cigarette-making machines into the hopper of a cigarettepacking machine, comprising a conveyor-system to receive cigarettes from the cigarette-making machine or machines, and to convey them towards the packing machine, a magazine communicating with the hopper to receive cigarettes so conveyed and to accommodate them in the form of a stack, and having feeding means (e. g. a moving conveyor band forming the base of the magazine) 4to feed cigarettes through vthe magazine into -the .hopper at a diierent speed from that at which they are ice conveyed by the said conveyor-system, said magazine having movable means (e. g. a movable back wall at that end of the magazine to which cigarettes are delivered) to vary the size of Ithe magazine, and detector means operable automatically in response to variations in the quantity of cigarettes in the magazine to cause said movable means (e. g. the back wall) to move so as to vary the size of the magazine and .thereby maintain the stack of cigarettes in the packing machine or in the magazine or in lboth the packing machine and the magazine at a substantially constant height.
The apparatus may comprise an endless conveyor to feed cigarettes towards the said magazine, and a chute (e. g. an inclined chute) over which the said cigarettes are delivered from the end of the said conveyor into the magazine, said chute constituting the said movable back wall of the magazine or a part thereof, and said conveyor being automatically adjustable lengthwise in concert with the said back wall so as to maintain the said end of the conveyor adjacent the said back wall.
A further detector may be provided at that end of the magazine which communicates with the hopper, the said detector being operable automatically to stop or slow down the movement of the said conveyor if ithe cigarettes tend to become too tightly packed in the region of said detector. The said detector may comprise a movable (e. g. pivoted) member which is yieldingly urged against cigarettes moving towards the hopper and adapted to yield under excessive pressure exerted on it by said cigarettes.
The said conveyor system may comprise an overhead conveyor, means to collect cigarettes from the catcher of a cigarette-making machine, and means to elevate cigarettes so collected so as to be conveyed by said overhead conveyor. Where a plurality of cigarette-making machines are employed in conjunction with one packing machine, the system may comprise an overhead conveyor for each cigarette-making machine and means to elevate cigarettes collected from each said machine on to its respective overhead conveyor, one of said overhead conveyors being arranged to discharge cigarettes carried Ithereby on to another overhead conveyor so that the latter can convey towards the vpacking machme the whole of the product of the said plurality of cigarette-making machines.
The said or each said overhead conveyor may comprise an Vendless conveyor provided with a series of receptacles, the endless conveyor being arranged to move upwardly so as to enable the said receptacles in turn to receive cigarettes from a cigarette-making machine (e. g. from a conveyor band co-operating with the catcher band of the cigarette-making machine), and then to move in a substantially horizontal path.
Further .according .to the present invention there is provided apparatus for collecting and conveying cigarettes comprising conveyor means for conveying a row or a stack of cigarettes, the row or the stack consisting of cigarettes arranged with their axes parallel and moving in a direction transverse to their axes, and elevating mechanism comprising an upwardlyv moving conveyor having receptacles -to receive cigarettes from said first-mentioned conveyor means, said upwardly moving conveyor being arranged to twist (e. g. through 90) during its upward movement in order to reorient the cigarettes which are being elevated thereby. rlhe said upwardly moving conveyor may comprise a pair of chains running over two pairs of sprocket Wheels, one pair of the latter being arranged -for rotation about an axis which is at a desired angle (e. g. to the -axis of the other pair. The said receptacles may consist of buckets or the like suspended from thesaid pair of chains.
The purpose of these arrangements is to enable the path of the cigarettes to `turn through .a desired angle,
, packing machine.
`It is desirable that cigarettes when being delivered into the said receptacles or buckets `should be fed forwardly to them in the form of a single row or stack. As it is contemplated that Vmore than one cigarette-making machine should be employed to supply cigarettes to one packing machine, means are provided in the above apparatus to arrange the product of these cigarette-machines `in the form of a single row for feeding into the Iaforesaid receptacles.
Further according to the present invention there `is provided, for use with 'a plurality of cigarette-making machines, a conveyor (e. g. a catcher band) associated with each of said machines to receive cigarettes from the mach-ineand to convey them transversely of their lengths, 4the said conveyors being arranged so as to convey a plurality of parallel rows of cigarettes side by side, and means to ytransfer cigarettes from one or more of said rows .to
fa single row. For example where two cigarette-making A machines are provided, each may be provided with a catcher `band or the like wide enough to be capable of accommodating two rows of cigarettes, the-two catcher Y bands being arranged in line one behindk theV other, that is, in tandem, the Iarrangerrlent being suchfthat cigarettes are delivered to each of the two bands in a single row so ythat the rows are out of line or oiset from one another and the vrow of cigarettes on the rear band is transferred to the leading band so that two Vside by side rows be provided a transfer device comp-rising a rotatable member (e. g. a'drum) whose axis 4of rota-tion is parallel to the axes of the said cigarettes, the said member having chambers (e. g. flutes) extending parallel with its axis and each adapted on rotation of said member to receive :a cigarette from one of said rows, `each chamber Y in turnreceiving .a cigarette from a diffrent row, and
means to move cigarettes lengthwise of the chambers so as to arrange the cigarettes in a single row.
Apparatus according to the invention will now beV described by way of example with referenceV to vthe accompanying drawings in which:
Figure 1 shows two cigarette making machines delivering cigarettes to -a single packing machine, the orientation of the cigarettes remaining constant. Y Y
Figures lA, 1B and 1C together constitute a View like Figure l, to show the parts to a larger scale.
Figure 2 is a perspective view of a modified arrangement, in which .the orientation of the cigarettes -is altered during `their passage to the packing machine.
Figure is a diagram showing how the machines shown in Figure l'can be controlled. y
Figure 4 is a perspective view of a detail of Figure 3.
'Figure 5 is a side elevation of part of Figure 2 showing arrangements for 'bringing two rows of cigarettes into a single line and delivering them to a conveyor receptacle.Y
vFigure 6 is a front elevation of Figure 5.
Figure 7 is a side elevation ofY a det-ail shown in Figure 2. Y
The apparatus shown in Figure l provides a direc 'I Y link-up between a cigarette-packing machine 1 yand two cigarette-making machines 2 and 3 of the continuous rod type. `Each cigarette-makingrmac-hine is' provided with 'a single-,row catcher-band 4;V that is Ito say an endless conveyor band which receives cigarettes `as they are deiiected sideways out of the cigarette rod line and carries themas a single row of cigarettes moving transversely of their lengths. Cigarettes are collected from'the catcher bands of both cigarette-making machines by means'of the following arrangement. Beneath the end of each` catcher-band is arranged a slower-moving transfer conveyor 5 on to which cigarettes fall from the catcher-band. Due to the relatively slow speed of this transfer-conveyor the cigarettes arrange themselves on it in the form of a stack.- For ,this purpose the band 5 is driven from the band 4 by chain reduction gearing 6.
Just beyond the end of each transfer-conveyor is pro- Y vided a further conveyor which moves vertically upwards.
As the conveyors differ slightly that belonging to machine 2 is marked 7 and the other 8. Each conveyor has receptacles 9 attached at intervals along its'length, the receptacles being arranged so that each in turnrmoves upwardly past the end of its transfer-conveyor 5,` and receives a number of cigarettes from the latter and carriersv themV upwardly. A guide 10 is fixed at the end of each transfer conveyor and cigarettes roll 'down the guide into theV receptacles. Each run of the upwardly movingconveyors 7 and 8 passes over a guide Wheel 12 and thereafter moves in a horizontal path, the loaded run moving in the same I direction as that followed by the transfer-conveyors.` Thus the overhead conveyor 8 associated with the cigarette machine 3 passes directly over the catcher-band and the transfer-conveyor of the machine 2. This overheadV conveyor 8 is arranged at a somewhat higher level thanthat of the other overhead conveyor 7;`the purposeV of this is to enable cigarettes to be'transferred from the conveyor 3 to the conveyor 7. Forthis purpose the conveyor 8 ends just above the position where the conveyor 7 comto the latter from the rear conveyor.
indicated at R, Figuresfl and 1B,"said arm engaging a fixed pin 102 whereby the receptacle R is tipped sideways so` as to discharge its contents.Y A chute 103 is provided to guide the cigarettes into one o f the receptacles on the be located in any convenient position relative to the cigarette-makingv machines, depending upon the layout of the installation in question. It may be found necessary or convenient so to place the machinesthat the horizontal overhead conveyor is required to changeits direction sideways in order toV convey the cigarettes to the packing machine. For this'r purpose the conveyor may comprise a chain conveyor. fitted with biplanar` attachments. An example of this kind is given later but in the present case the orientation of the cigarettes is maintained.
As the cigarettes approach the packing machine they are `transferred from the overhead conveyor on to an adjustable feed band or conveyor 17 which feeds them to a magazine 18 communicating with the hopper 19 Vof the packing machinel. Transfer is effected byan Y of an endless conveyor band 26,V some distance lbelow the level of the adjustable feed band 17, and an inclined chute 27 to guide cigarettes downwardly from the feed hand into the magazine.Y The chute forms part of a back wall lof `the magazine, and is movable backand forthl in such a way as to vary the effectivelength of the magazine. Between the upper end of the Ychute and the end of the `feed band Vis av roller 28 which completes the back walland assists in feeding cigarettes from the feed band overthe chute.` Y lThe forward end of the magazineY 18- communicates ava-5,4m
directly with the hopper of the packing machine. The endless conveyor band 26 forming the base of the magazine terminates just above the level of the hopper over the upper edge of one of the curved walls of the hopper. Above the hopper is a guide wall 29 which curves downwardly to the upper edge of the other curved wall of the hopper and acts to guide cigarettes downwardly into the hopper.
The purpose of the magazine is to enable a reserve of cigarettes to be maintained at the hopper entrance so as to enable the packing machine to continue to operate in spite of any temporary stoppage or check in the supply of cigarettes coming from the cigarette machinesdue for example to one or both cigarette machines stopping for any reason. 'Ihe magazine is made deep enough to accommodate a large quantity of cigarettes in the form of a fairly deep stack. The cigarettes carried towards the magazine are also arranged in the form of a stack, but this is much less deep than the stack accommodated in the magazine, and therefore the feed band 17 is required to feed cigarettes into the magazine at a much greater speed than that at which they move through the magazine. The conveyor 26 forming the base of the magazine 18 therefore moves at a suitably low speed such as to maintain the supply of cigarettes to the hopper at the desired rate while at the same time receiving cigarettes from the feed band 17 at a sutiicient rate to maintain the stack of cigarettes in the magazine 18 at the desired level, assuming that there is an unbroken delivery of cigarettes by the feed band i7 at a constant rate.
It will be seen, however, that if the supply of cigarettes from the cigarette machines is stopped or reduced, while the cigarettes in the magazine continue to move towards the packing machine hopper, and if the inclined chute 27 forming the back wall of the magazine remains stationary, the level of the stack in the rear of the magazine lf3 will eventually fall, and if the stoppage is of long enough duration the rear end of the magazine may in time become empty. lf this were allowed to happen it would be dicult or impossible on the resumption of the supply of cigarettes, to ensure that the cigarettes would maintain a proper orientation. Also, it would be dilicult or impossible to restore the level of the stack of cigarettes in the whole length of the magazine, which is important in ensuring that the machine hopper is properly fed.
For these reasons the chute 27 and the guide roller 2S are as stated above arranged to be movable back and forth so as to vary the length of the magazine. The feed band 17 which delivers cigarettes over the chute is also adjustable in concert with the movements of the chute 27 and guide roller 28 so as to maintain the end of the feed band 17 adjacent the guide roller. For this purpose the feed band 17 and its mounting may be bodily movable back and forth with the chute 27 and roller 28, as illustrated in Figures l and 1A.
The variation of the length of the magazine 18 by the movable or adjustable parts just referred to is controlled automatically by means of a detector 35 in the rear end of the magazine, which is responsive to variations in the level of the cigarettes in that region. This detector comprises a pivoted ap 35a which rests on the top of the stack of cigarettes just beyond the chute, and falls if the level of the stack falls. The flap operates actuating means to control a motor 36 which causes the chute 27 and the guide roller 28, the detector 35 and flap 35a and the feed band i7 to move forward as a body. As illustrated, the parts named are attached to a carriage 38 movable on rollers 39 between two side frames one of which is shown and marked di). The rate of such movement is preferably governed by the distance through which the detector iiap 35a falls. Thus if the supply to the magazine is reduced but not stopped, the level of the cigarettes in the rear end of the magazine and consequently the level of the detector flap 35a, is lowered somewhat and the movable parts are d as' a result caused to move forward at a slower speed than that or" the moving magazine base 26. If, on the other hand, the supply stops altogether, the cigarette level falls sharply and the detector flap 35a swings down to its full extent and causes the chute and associated parts to move forwardly at the speed of the magazine base 26.
Any suitable and convenient variable speed mechanism may be employed for controlling the rate at which these parts are moved in response to movement of the detector flap 35a, and a suitable arrangement is described later with reference to Figure 3.
A further detector is provided at the forward end of the magazine, above the hopper. This' comprises a pivoted ap 37 which rests on the top of the stack of cigarettes which are moving into the hopper, and is yieldingly mounted so as to be capable of being pressed outwardly by the cigarettes if the latter are too tightly packed in that region so as to exert excessive pressure against the ap. Such outward movement of the flap causes actuation of a further automatic device of any suitable nature (an example being described later with reference to Figure 3) which acts to stop or reduce the speed of the conveyor 26 forming the moving base of the magazine, in, order to stop the feed, or reduce the rate of feed, through the magazine and thus relieve the excessive pressure on the cigarettes as they start to enter the hopper. When this has been accomplished the detector ap 37 falls again and normal feeding through the magazine is resumed.
It will be seen that the automatic control arrangements outlined above can be extended so as to deal with any condition or combination of conditions that is likely to arise in operation. Full details of the control arrangements are given later under reference to Figure 3 but the movements and requirements may be summarized as follows. For example if the cigarette-making machines stop and are not restarted for some time, it may be necessary to stop-the packing machine to prevent the reserve of cigarettes in the magazine from dwindling to nothing. This can be effected by arranging for the movable chute 27 and associated parts, when they have moved forward a predetermined distance, to actuate means 71 referred to hereinafter to stop the packing machine. Then when the supply of cigarettes is resumed it may be necessary to reverse the direction of the moving chute so as to lengthen the magazine and refill it with cigarettes before restarting the packing machine and the magazine conveyor. Alternatively the packing machine, instead of being brought to a stop, may be merely slowed down to allow the reserve in the magazine to build up after a failure in the supply. Again, if the packing machine has to be stopped for any reason, the continued supply of cigarettes to the hopper will raise the detector 37 until eventually the magazine conveyor 26 stops, in the manner described later with reference to Figure 3, and the feed band 17 to the magazine may be stopped manually, and the cigarette machines may also if necessary be stopped. This latter arrangement is however so controlled asto allow a time-lag for the magazine to be replenished, if required, before the supply and feeding of cigarettes is stopped. Thus, if the magazine is not at its normal length at the moment when the packing machine stops, the feed of cigarettes to the magazine continues while the movable chute and its associated parts are moved rearwardly so as to lengthen the magazine. ln this way the stopping of the packing machine is utilised to replenish the magazine, and if the packing machine is restarted after a reasonably short interval it may not be necessary to discontinue the feeding of cigarettes into the magazine, or to stop the cigarette machines.
The feed band 17, and the conveyor band 26 which forms the base of the magazine, are made of the plastic substance known as poly-vinyl chloride, which provides a suitably smooth surface on which cigarettes can ,Slipv if necessary.
Any suitableknown devices may be used for stopping, starting, and varying the speeds of the various conveyors and other movable parts in response to the action of the detectors or in response to a stoppage of thepacking machine, and an example will now be described with reference to Figure 3. Y
The various requirements stated above are met by the following arrangements which are shown diagrammatically in FigureA 3 and reduced to the bare essentials, it being understood that for any given installation Yfull equipment will be provided depending on the electricit supply and other considerations.
The cigarette machines 2 and 3 and the packing machine 1 are driven by separate motors 60, 61 and 62 respectively while the two chain conveyors 7 and 8 are driven jointly by one motor 63 so that their speed and timing is unchanged by any alteration to the other motors. This is necessary as cigarettes are transferred from conveyor 8 lto conveyor 7, which conveyors must run in timed relationship, and if it happens that one of the cigarette machine is stopped its chain conveyor will merely run empty. Other motors 64 and 36 respectively are provided for driving the conveyor 26 and for moving the carriage 38 and in all cases the motor speeds are altered to alter the rate of movement of the various parts, the kregulation being shown in Figure 3 as eected by variable resistances in the motor armature circuits'. The
feed band 17 is driven by a motor 65 which runs at a uniform speed.
As it is often necessary for an attendant to stop a machine because of some defect in its performance, three hand switches 66, 67 and 68 are provided, one for each machine motor. These switches are also useful for controlling the starting of the machines when the apparatus has been got ready for working and to control restarting after deliberate stopping by the attendant. As explained later, the variable resistances above referred to can be used to bring a machine slowly up to its running speed after the manual switch has been engaged. In normal automatic operation the hand switches, of course, remain closed. Regulation of the speeds of the motors 60, 61 and 62 and their automatic stopping and restarting are controlled from carriage movements by a rack 69 xed to the carriage 33 which drives a pinion 70 to which is fixed a motor control shaft 71. This is convenient because the carriage position is an indication of the state of the magazine. that is when the packing machine is just absorbing the output of both cigarette machines the carriage 33 is at Vabout its middle position and is so shown in Figure 3, The carriage will shift, one way or the other, if for anyv reason the quantity of cigarettes in the magazine becomes appreciably'over or below the normal. If the quantity becomes rather excessive one or both cigarette machines are slowed down or if the excess still increases one or both are stopped. Conversely, if the cigarette supply diminishes to a substantial extent the packer is slowed down while a continued shortage of supply will stop it.
Minor carriage movements, as determined by the detectors 35 and 37, will average out the supply, keeping the magazine 1S level to the minimum necessary for successful working. y
The rst step in the operations is to start the cigarette machines and when they'are producing satisfactorily, the chain conveyors 7 and 8 are started and the magazine begins to fill. When it is filled to normal capacity the packing machine is started. All these movements are effected by operation of the manual starting switches 66, 67, 68 and manually adjusting the resistances as eX- plained later. Supposing then that the cigarette machines, or one of them, have to be stopped for some adjustment, the supply will be diminished and the chute 27 will move forwards with the carriage. As this carriage vmovement continues the packer motor has its speed lowered by the insertion of resistance. If the resulting Thus for normal operation,
diminution in demand does not stop the forward Vmovement of the chute the carriage movement will eventually stop the packing machine. yOn the other hand if the packing machine is at fault the cigarette machines will deliver more cigarettes than can be absorbed. The carriage will move backwards and during this movement resistances will reduce the speed of both cigarette machines and eventually the carriage movement will stop one and then the other. y
The carriage is moved forwards or backwards in respense to movements of the detector 35 in the following manner. duction gearing and a nut 7.3.on the screw is accordingly moved. This nut is attached to a connecting rod 74 which is pivoted to the nut and also to the carriage as shown in Figure lA. The nut slidesalong the frame 4t) and is thus prevented from rotating. The detector ap 35a whose total arc of movement is, say 100 causes its shaft 3511 to twist. On the shaft is a motor control arm 75 which has a carbon brush 76 titted to it which thus swings in an arc about the detector pivot. An arcuate segment 77 is divided by conductor bars 7S like a commutator and between each pair of bars is a resistance (not shown). Thus as the detector moves more (or less) resistance is inserted and the motor speed changes substantially at the rate the detector ap is moving. The conductor bars are divided into two sets, separated by insulation, and thus when the control arm is at the position shown in Figure 3 the motor is stopped. If the arm rises, the'motor goes in one direction and pulls the carriage to the right, the speed increasing as the arm rises. higher and higher. If the arm falls from the position shown the motor goes in the other'direction and the carriage moves to the left, faster, and faster as the arm continues to fall. As will appear later Vit is unlikely that the carriage will ever reach the extreme ends of its track in the frames 40 but as a precaution a spring closed switch 79 is provided and the nut 73 will open this if need be as it reaches either end of its movement and stop the motor 36. Wherever the carriage is moved to, the cigarettes will build up in the magazine to such a height that the motor 36 eventually stops.
While these carriage movements are taking place the cigarette and packing machines are having theirspeeds controlled by movements of the shaft 71 in the following manner. A control or contact arm 81, for motor 60, is fixed to the shaft 71 and is moved over contact studs 82 having resistances 83 connected to them, in the usual manner of a motor starter, and mounted on a fixed ring S4. The arm is shown in the full-speed position, corresponding to mid-carriage position. If the carriage still moves to the left full-speed operation continues as the arm rubs over a segment 85. Conversely, movement to the right will gradually slow the motor and finally it will stop. The motor 61 is controlled in a similar manner but is arranged to stop a little earlier. It will be seen that after a motor has been stopped in this way it will start again as the contact arm begins to move over the studs again. The packing machine motor is controlled in the same way but its contact arrangements are reversed so that as the carriage moves to the left the motor will slow and eventually stop, while to the right of the carriage midposition the motor will continue at its maximum speed. lt follows then that during normal working of the apparatus the carriage will not move very far from the midposition and thus if it has become necessary to stop and restart a motor manually it is stopped by the hand switch and restarted in the following-way: Each contact arm is free on shaft 71 but coupled thereto by a clutch collar 86, Figure 4, which is splined to the shaft 71 and can be pulled back against a spring 87 so that the arm can be turned manually'. The clutch is disengaged and the arm rotated to stop position then the hand switch is closed. The arm is then rotated,` as one moves the arm of a motor starter, until it reaches the position where the clutch can be engaged again. For originally starting The motor 36 drives a screw 72 through re-V the apparatus, when the magazine might be quite empty, the arm can be manipulated in the same manner in spite of the angular position of the shaft and as the magazine fills, the shaft 71 will eventually rotate until the collar S6 springs into clutching engagement with the arm.
The control for the motor 64 is similar to that for the motor 36 and comprises a control arm 88 attached to the shaft 37a of the detector 37 but since the band 26 does not need to reverse, the control only has to regulate the motor speed or finally stop it. A hand switch 89 is provided for stopping the motor 65 if desired.
A modified arrangement is shown in Figure 2. In this construction, instead of two overhead conveyors such as 7 and 8 in Figure l, cigarettes from two cigarettemaking machines 41 and 42 are collected in single rows on catcher bands which run side by side as shown, the catcher band of the machine 41 being lengthened for this purpose. These two rows of cigarettes are delivered into the utes of a transfer roller 43 in which they are arranged in a single row and then transferred in batches of, for example, 25 cigarettes each, into successive receptacles 44.
The arrangement is shown in Figures and 6. The iiuted roller 43 is long enough to contain three cigarettes in line with some clearance. At the right-hand part (Figure 6) of the roller, alternate tintes are closed by cover plates 5S. Thus cigarettes from each row on the catcher band can only fall into alternate iiutes and there are therefore really two rows as they pass into the flutes. The roller is driven intermittently by a Geneva drive 56-57 and, while the drum is stationary, a pusher 5S moves along a flute and pushes the cigarettes to the lef -hand end (Figure 6) of the roller. Thus successive ilutes at the left contain batches of cigarettes which are therefore in a single line. A curved shield 59, shown broken and partly in chain lines in Figure 6, restricts them until on the next roller movement they pass into a receptacle 44. The pusher is reciprocated by a cam 58a which makes one revolution per intermittent movement of the roller 43.
The receptacles 44 are similar to the receptacles 9 shown in Figure 1 and are carried in a similar way by conveyors 45. In Ythe arrangement shown in Figure 2, however, the overhead conveyor system is arranged so as to convey the receptacles at right angles to the direction of movement of the catcher bands and for this reason the conveyor chains 4S pass over a pair of sprocket wheels (hidden in Figure 2, but shown at 45a in Figures 5 and 6) and then over a further pair of sprockets 46 arranged at right angles to the first pair, so that the receptacles 44 twist through 90 as they are carried upwardly. The chains are of the biplanar type.
The feeding device which receives cigarettes from the receptacles 44 operates in the same general way as that described with reference to Figure 1 but is different in construction. The device, separately illustrated in Figure 7, comprises a number of narrow feeding bars 47 arranged side by side to extend lengthwise in the direction of feed, and mounted on eccentrics such as 48 carried on a shaft which extends through the bars. The eccentrics are so arranged as to cause adjacent bars to move 180 out of phase, so that alternate bars are oscillated upwardly and forwardly in a feeding stroke while intermediate bars move downwardly and rearwardly in a return stroke. The bars are provided with slots in their rear ends through which a stationary shaft 49 passes, and the bars pivot about the shaft 4d while the slots permit them to move to and fro.
The feeding bars 47 are provided with transfer grooves or utes Sil on their upper surfaces to accommodate cigarettes lying lengthwise across the bars. Cigarettes are supported in the grooves 50 of alternate bars while the latter are making a feeding stroke, and are then deposited into grooves of intermediate bars which have just finished the return stroke.
rlhe feeding bars are mounted on a movable carriage 51, at the forward end of which is a chute 52 which forms the back wall of a magazine. ihe bottom wall of the magazine is formed by a conveyorv 53` which is similar in construction and operation to the conveyor 26 shown in Figure 1 and previously described. A detector ap 54 is pivotally mounted on the carriage and the iiap operates in the same way as the detector ap 35a, Figure 1, and acts to cause the carriage 51 to move forwards or backwards so as to vary the length of the magazine, in the same way that the conveyor 17, chute 27 and roller 2S are moved in the previously described construction.
What I claim as my invention and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. Apparatus for feeding cigarettes directly from cigarette-making machinery into the hopper of a cigarettepacking machine, comprising a conveyor-system to receive cigarettes from the cigarette-making machinery, and to convey theml towards the packing machine, a magazine communicating with the vhopper to receive cigarettes so conveyed and to accommodate them in the form of a stack, and having feeding means to feed cigarettes through the magazine into the hopper at a different speed from that at which they are conveyed by the said conveyorsystem, said magazine having movable means to vary the size of the magazine, and detector means operable automatically in response to variations in the quantity of cigarettes in the magazine to cause said movable means to move so as to vary the size of the magazine and thereby maintain the stack of cigarettes in the magazine at a substantially constant height.
2. Apparatus as claimed in claim l, wherein said conveyor-system comprises an endless conveyor to feed cigarettes towards the said magazine, and a chute over which the said cigarettes are delivered from the end of the said conveyor into the magazine, said chute constituting the movable means of the magazine, and means adjusting said conveyor lengthwise in concert with the said movable means so as to maintain the said end of the conveyor adjacent the said movable means.
3. Apparatus as claimed in claim 2 comprising a movable carriage adapted to support the chute and the conveyor, and means for moving the carriage back and forth to vary the length of the magazine.
4. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising a further detector at that end of the magazine which communicates with the hopper, the said further detector being operable automatically to retard the movement of the said feeding means if the cigarettes tend to become too tightly packed in the region of said further detector.
5. Apparatus as claimed in claim l wherein the said detector means comprises a pivoted member which is yieldingly urged against cigarettes moving towards the hopper and adapted to yield under excessive pressure exerted on it by said cigarettes.
6. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the conveyor system comprises an overhead conveyor, means to collect cigarettes from a cigarette-making machine, and means to elevate cigarettes so collected so as to be conveyed by said overhead conveyor.
7. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 and wherein a number of cigarette-making machines are employed to supply cigarettes to one packing machine comprising means whereby cigarettes from the cigarette-making machines are brought into a single row and thereafter discharged to said single overhead conveyor.
8. Apparatus as claimed in claim 6 wherein a number of cigarette-making machines are employed to supply cigarettes to one packing machine, and the system comprises an overhead conveyor for each cigarette-making machine and means to elevate cigarettes collected from each said machine on to its respective overhead conveyor, one of said overhead conveyors being arranged to discharge cig- Y arettes carried thereby on to another overhead conveyor so that the latter can convey towards the packing machine the whole of the product of the said pluralityof cigarettemaking machines.
9. Apparatus as claimed in claim 8, wherein each overhead conveyorY comprises an endless conveyor provided with aseries of receptacles, the endless. conveyor being arranged to move upwardly so as to enable the. said re- 'ceptacles in turn to receive cigarettes from acigarette- Ymaking machine, and then to move in a substantially horizontal path. Y
10. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein a number of cigarette making machines are employed to supply cigarettes to one packing machine and the system comprises an overhead conveyorV and an upwardly moving conveyor for feeding the producevof the several cigarette making machines thereto, characterised by the fact that the upwardly moving conveyor is of the biplanar type arrangedto twist, during its upward movement in order to reorient the cigarettes which are being elevated thereby.
ll. Apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein said conveyor-system comprises a plurality of feeding bars arsaid bars and supported in said grooves are fed forwardlyV by diierent groups of'bars inturn. t y
12. Apparatus as claimed in claim 11, comprising a movable carriage adapted to support'said feeding bars and said movablek means of the magazine, said movable means comprising a wall and the detector means, and means for y moving the carriage back and forth tovary the length of the magazine.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES'PATENTS 2,330,000 Molins Sept. 21,' 1943