US 2760316 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 28, 1956 G. J. oKULlTcH ETAL 2,760,316
AUTOMATIC CASE FILLING MACHINE 9 Sheets-Sheet l Filed oct. 9, 1952 5 WAY cLurcH /NVEN 70x25 Aug- 28, 1956 G. J. QKULITCH ET AL 2,760,316
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AUTOMATIC CASE FILLING MACHINE Filed Oct. 9, 1952 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 Aug. 28, 1956 G, J. OKULITCH ETAL 2,760,316
AUTOMATIC CASE FILLING MACHINE Filed Oct. 9, 1952 9 Sheets-Sheet 6 Fg gl n" "I Al1g- 28, 1955 G. J. oKuLlTcH ETAL 2,760,316
AUTOMATIC CASE FILLING MACHINE 9 Sheets-Sheet 7 Filed Oct. 9, 1952 5)/ Zia@ y@ A 7 ORA/5K5 ug- 28, 1956 G. J. OKULITCH ETAL 2,760,316
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AUTOMATIC CASE FILLING MACHINE Aug. 28, 1956 Filed oet. s.' 1952 e sheets-sheet s Bbva WOLLOQ nited States Patent O AU'I'QMA'IIC CASE FILLING MACHINE George Joseph Okulitch and Igor Zoznlin, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Application October 9, 1952, Serial No. 313,846
Claims priority, application Canada August 12, 1952 16 Claims. (Cl. 53-61) This invention has to do with machines for placing containers in cross-partitioned shipping cases or cartons.
The invention has as its chief object the provision of an improved mechanism for a machine as described in my Patent No. 2,643,043.
According to one aspect of the invention, -in a machine `for placing containers in shipping cases, there are provided conveyor means -for delivering containers to said machine in single file; intermittently-actuated gate means for periodically admitting sets of a given number of containers singly into said machine; means effective to space the containers in each of said sets apart from one another; intermittently-actuated loading means for moveach of said sets laterally of said conveyor `onto a support until the number of sets of containers required to ll an empty case has been asembled on said support; further means effective to space said sets apart yfrom one another; means sensitive to the assembly of the required number of sets of containers on said support whereby temporarily to prevent further operation of said gate means and said loading means; means whereby to grip and raise the containers assembled on said support; means responsive to the raising of said containers whereby to move said support from beneath said containers and to shift the loading means out of vertical alignment with the assembled sets of containers; means effective to lower said containers below the level of said support to deposit them in an awaiting case; and means sensitive to the deposition of said containers in said case effective to return said support to its original position and to release for further operation said gate means and said loading means.
In .a preferred embodiment of the invention, the gate means may comprise a gate member mounted for reciprocal movement into and out of the path of the containers being fed to the machine. The means to space the containers may comprise a number of spacing members mounted to give a comb like structure and generally parallel with the gate member. The loading means may' e in the form of a multi-channel frame or cage mounted for reciprocal movement transversely of the conveyor v means -beyond the gate member in tion of travel of the conveyor.
The means provided to grip and raise the containers assembled on the support comprises at least one pair of elongated jaw members pivotally mounted yto a horizon tally disposed common axis and capable of closing about the necks of a number of containers assembled in a row, the common axis being mounted to a vertically movable elevator `frame. Each pair of jaw members has extending upwards therefrom co-operating lever arms, one arm being secured to each jaw member and Ydisposed on the same side of the common axis as such jaw member. The jaw members may be provided with springs to urge one away from the other. Furthermore the grip means comprises wedge `means slidably carried on the elevator frame, which means are aligned with a pair of co-operatrelation to the direcl ice ing` lever arms. Means are provided to force the Wedge means between the lever arms thereby moving the jaw members towards one another when the elevator commences to ascend and further means are provided to withdraw the wedge means from between said lever arms just before said elevator reaches lits lowermost position in subsequent descent.
An example of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which Figure 1 is a front elevation of a case lling machine having certain parts thereof removed for clarity.
Figure 2 is a sectional view of Ithe machine along the line 2-2 of Figure 3 showing the cage in loading position with certain parts omitted.
Figure 3 is a plan view of the machine along the line 3 3 of Figure 2 with certain par-ts omitted.
Figure 4 is a cross section along the line 4-4 of Figure 5 of the one revolution clutch.
Figure 5 is a sectional plan view along the line 5 5 of Figure 4.
Figure 6 is an elevational view of the locking means which determine one revolution of the clutch shown in Figures 4 and 5.
Figure 7 is a sectional view along the line 7-7 of Figure 8 of the electromagnetic counter box.
Figure 8 is a sectional plan view along the line 8--8 of Figure 7.
Figure 9 is a cross sectional elevation through the three way clutch.
Figure 10 is an end elevation of the jaw assembly.
Figure 11 is a side elevation of the jaw assembly with parts in section.
Figures 12 and 13 disclose details of the automatic case stopping device.
Figure 14 is an enlarged View of a detail of Figures 12 and 13.
Figure 15 is a sectionall view of the delaying brake used in connection with the conveyor for the shipping cases.
Figure 16 -is a schematic view of the electrical circuits controlling and synchronizing the various operations in the machine.
Referring to the drawings the machine will vbe described by reference rst to the general frame construction and then by describing in detail the various units which make up the complete machine.
The machine of the present invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings comprises a main frame indicated generally by the character F. This Iframe as shown is of open design and comprises vertical and horizontal members shown by the numerals 1 and 2 and made from suitable structural shapes.
In the following description reference will frequently be made to micro-switches, electromagnets 4and the like, which form part of the control circuit of the present invention. For purposes of clarity these have often been omitted from the mechanical drawings, Figures l to 15. They are, however, illustrated diagramatically in the control circuit shown in Figure 16. It is, therefore, suggested that whenever reference is made to Figures 1 to 15, these should be read in conjunction with Figure 16.
The operation of the machine consists of three principal cycles and for clarity of description the construction and interrelation of the elements constituting such distinct cycle of operation will be described as a unit.
Delivery of containers to machine material handling system of the particular plant and not an essential constituent of the present invention passes through the generally rectangular opening 3 in the frame and lwhich extends from front to back of the machine. For convenience in describing the machine and its operation, that side of t-he machine to which the lled containers are delivered to be loaded will be called the front and the remote side, the back of the machine.
Previously filled Vand sealed containers are carried along in single tile by a moving conveyor belt 4. As they reachthe machine each bottle in turn is stopped by the outer tooth of a comb like spacer or gate 5.
Activation of spacer and loadng'cage The spacerV 5 is disposed parallelto the conveyor 4 and is mounted for reciprocal movement whereby theV any broken or undersized bottles will not excite the cell 6 and thus be admitted into the machine. It is preferable to use three light sources so situated that* the beam of light from each source may be interrupted by the neck of a particular size of bottle, i. e., one light source for quarts, one for pints and one for half-pints. Thus, the appropriate light source may be energized according to the size of the bottles being handled.
Upon the excitation of the photo-electric cell 6, the
teeth of spacer 5 and at the same time into the iirst v channel of a loading cage 3. by reference to Figure 3). As the first bottle advances into the space between the iirst two teeth of the spacer 5, the second bottle interrupts the light beam associated with the cell6 and the spacer Vis again reciprocated. When this occurs the iirst bottle passes from the space between the first and second teeth of the spacer to that between the second and third teeth while the second bottle enters the space between theV first and second teeth. Thus, due to the motion of the conveyor 4, each time the cell 6 is excited andthe spacer 5 is reciprocated, the bottles move forward through the space between two kteeth of the spacer S until the receiving channel of the loading cage 8 is filled. X
The loading. cage S, which may be clearly seen in (This may be clearly seen Figure 3, is also comb-like in configuration, with the teeth 8a thereof extending from a back plate 8b generally parallel to the belt 4 in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of the belt 4.
As will be described in greater detail below, the cage is mounted for movement transversely of the conveyor 4 above the level of the spacer 5 so that it may be moved from one side of the conveyor 4 to the other, thus align-k ing, in turn, each of the channels between the teeth 8a thereof with the conveyor 4.
When the photo-cell 6 is excited by the interruption of the light beam associated therewith by a bottle, the signal excited therein initiates actuation of an electromagnet EMI which in turn causes a one revolution clutch 7 to complete for one revolution, a rotation-transmitting connection between a motor 16 and a crank linkage 10.
along the shaft 12. When this occurs, the projection 11a is brought into engagement with a projection 13V which extends downwardly from the spacer 5. The spacer is itself slidably mounted on shafts 5a and the force exerted by the projection 11n and the projection 13 acts to slide the spacer 5 along the shafts 5a away from the conveyor 4.
It will be noted that the projection 11a will not act to move the spacer 5 in the other direction. The return of the spacer 5 to its normal position, i. e., that shown in Figures l and 2, is accomplished by means of springs 9. it is desirable that the return motion of the spacer 5 be less positive than the return of the sleeve 11, in order that bottles which are slightly out of line might be gently nudged into position rather than possibly broken by the teeth of the spacer 5. Each reciprocal movement of the spacer 5 actuates a counter indicated generally by the numeral 36. This counter, which will be described in more detail in connection with Figure 7, controls the transverse movement of the loading cage.
At the commencement of operation the loading cage 8, which is slidably mounted on guide rail 57, is in its outermost position, i. e., that shown in Figure l, so that the irst of its channels is aligned with the conveyor 4. Each time a bottle is admitted into the channel by the reciprocal movement of the spacer 5, .the 4counter 36 is tripped. This counter, as will be described later, is preset to prevent further actuation 0f the spacer 5 when a full complement of bottles has entered the channel.
At the same time as the counter 36 acts to prevent further movement of the spacer 5, it also initiates operation of the cage 8 which moves transversely ofthe belt 4 towards the center of the machine until the next or second channel thereof is aligned with the belt 4. This is accomplished by causing a three-way clutch`49, which will be described in 'greater detail in connection with Figure 9, to complete, for the required period of time, arotationtransmitting connection between a motor 69 and a crank linkage 55, through bevel gearing '54,. The rotary motion' of the motor 69 is transformed into linear motion by the crank linkage 55 which motion is imparted to the cage it through a pin 56 by which the crank linkage 55 is pivotj ally connected to the cage 8.
Elevator mechanism and loading plate As the bottles are moved from the conveyor 4 by the action 4of the cage 8 they slide onto a loading plate 58 (see FiguresA l and 2), to which i-s attached a further plate 59 having formed thereon guide ridges 59a `extending in the direction of movement of the cage S Yand which maintain the correct spacing of the bottles originally established by the teeth of the spacer 5. Positioned immediately above the loading plate S8 is an elevator consisting of a main frame 62 slidably mountedcn four columns 61.
Removably attached .to the undersidefof the frame 62 is alplate 63 from which are suspended a number of pairs of elongated jaws 74.` The longitudinal axis of each pair of `jaws '74 lextends in a ydirection generally parallel to the directionV of travel of the cage 8. Each pair of jaws Vis of suiiicient length to receive a number of bottles corresponding to the number of channels in in the cage 3; and the number of pairs of jaws 74 corresponds to the number of bottles which may be retained in any one channel of thecage 8.' It will-be apparent from reference to Figure 3 that when the cage 8 is "in its innermost position, the spacingof the bottles occasioned'by the teeth 8a of the cage 8 and the teethV of the spacer 5 corresponds to Ythe spacing of z the partitions normally found in cases Adesigned for carrying bottles. It is so spaced that the bottlesk are to be inserted into an empty case. Thus the pairs of jaws 74 are spaced apart as to each be aligned with the bottles held between any two adjacent ridges 59a of the plate 59, i. e., a row of bottles one of which being in each channel of the cage 8.
By reference to Figure 2, the position occupied by the elevator frame 62 when the cage 8 is moving towards its innermost position, will be seen. The pairs of jaws 74 are open at this point and as the cage 8 moves inwardly the tops of the bottles between any two adjacent ridges 59a pass between the individual jaws of the pair of jaws 74 held directly above the space between such ridges 59a.
As mentioned earlier, as soon as the case 3 reaches its innermost position the operation of the spacer 5 is halted. At the same time the elevator mechanism is The mechanism by which the pairs of jaws 74 are closed as the elevator frame 62 commences to rise will be described in connection with Figures and 1l.
The elevator mechanism itself consists of a disc 66 driven :by a motor 68 through a 2-step one-revolution clutch 76 and reduction gearing. The rotary motion of the dise 66 when the clutch 70 is engaged in transformed into linear motion and transmitted to the elevator frame 62 by means of a slotted connecting rod 64 which is connected at one end to the periphery of the disc 66 by means of a pivot pin 67 and at the other end to the elevator frame 62 by means of a bracket and bearing 65.
Once the elevator frame 62 commences its ascent to lift the bottles clear of the loading plate 58 a switch associated with the elevator mechanism is closed thus effecting engagement of a 2-step one-revolution clutch 71. (See Figures l and 2.) The clutch 71 when engaged cornpletes a rotation transmitting connection between a motor 72 and a crank linkage 73 which linkage serves to impart linear motion to the loading plate 58. Thus the loading plate 58 is withdrawn from the path of the elevator frame 62 to the position shown in ghost in Figure l. At the same time, the clutch 40 is also energized causing the return of the cage 8 to the position shown in Figure 3, i. e., its outer position.
After the plate 58 and the cage 8 have vbeen removed from the downward path of the elevator frame 62, and provided a shipping case has been properly positioned, the elevator frame 62 commences its descent.
Shipping case mechanism Passing directly beneath the loading plate 58 in an extension of the downward path of the elevator frame 62 is a shipping case conveyor 85 (see Figure l) with associated guide rails and plates 86, 87 and 88. Shipping cases passing along the conveyor 85 are halted directly in the downward path of the elevator frame 62 by means of a stopping device generally indicated at 89. As an additional safety factor, a delaying brake 90 is provided to insure proper operation of the stopping device 89.
etails of the operation of the stopping device 89 and the delaying brake 90 will be described in connection with Figures 12, 13, 14 and l5. Let us now assume however that a shipping case has been halted in the downward path of the elevator frame 62 and is waiting deposition therein of the bottles suspended from the pairs of jaws.
Towards the lower limit of the descent of the elevator frame 62 the procedure for closing the pairs of jaws 74 is reversed, as will be described in connection with Figures 10 and 1l, and the bottles are released. This occurs when the bottoms of the bottles are a short distance above the bottom of the shipping case and the bottles fall from the pairs of jaws 74 into their proper places in the shipping case.
The elevator frame 62 now commences to ascend again and comes to rest in the rest position, i. e., that shown in Figure l. When this occurs the half revolution clutch 71 is again energized and the loading plate 5S is returned to its rest position directly beneath the elevator frame 62. At the same time circuits are closed to permit renewed actuation of the spacer 5 and the entire sequence of operation begins again.
The detailed construction and operation of the various parts referred to above in general will now be described.
Details of the one revolution clutch 7 through which the spacer 5 is operated are shown in Figures 4, 5 and 6. A metal housing 14 is mounted on the general supporting frame. A drive shaft 15 from the motor 16 extends into the interior of the housing 14 and has mounted on the end thereof within the housing 14 a worm gear 17. Mounted within the housing 14 is a shaft 19 extending in a direction generally perpendicular to that of the shaft 15 and which has mounted thereon a Worm wheel 13 which engages the worm gear 17 mounted on the shaft 15. The end of the shaft 19 remote from the gear 1'7 extends through a cone bearing 20 and carries a disc 21. It will be seen that as long as the motor 16 is in operation the disc 21 will revolve. The disc 21 may thus be referred to as the driving disc. A further shaft 23 is supported on the aforesaid end of the shaft 19 by a thrust bearing 24 which is in the form of a single ball bearing. On the upper face of the disc 21 an annular projection is formed which defines a recess in which a cone bearing 25 is mounted to provide radial support for the end of the shaft 23 bearing against the shaft 19.
Mounted on the shaft 23 is a second disc 26, which may be referred to as the driven disc. The face of the driven disc 26 directed towards the disc 21 has formed therein a recess into which the aforesaid annular projection on the disc 21 extends.
The disc 21 has formed therein a series of circular holes 22 located about the periphery thereof in an annular manner. The driven disc 26 also has two circular holes 31 therein which may be aligned by relative rotation of the two discs 21 and 26 with any two adjacent holes 22 in the disc 21. Loosely inserted in the holes 31 are two lock pins 27 which depend from a block 28. The block 2S is urged towards the disc 26, and the lock pins 27 accordingly into the holes 31, by means of a lea-f spring 30 which is secured to the disc 26. Thus the action of the leaf spring 30 will tend to force the lock pins 27 through the holes 31 and into two adjacent holes 22 in the disc 21. The effect of this is to lock the two discs 21 and 26 together so that the rotary motion of the shaft 14 is transmitted to the shaft 23. The clutch, however, should normally remain disengaged and only engage, when actuated, for a single revolution. This is accomplished by means of a further block 29 which acts to raise the block 23 suficiently to withdraw the pins 27 from the holes 22 in the disc 21.
The co-operation of the blocks 28 and 29 may be clearly seen from Figure 6. The block 28 has an inclined surface 28a which cooperates with an inclined surface 29a on the block 29. The block 29 is held in place by two bars 32 which `are slidably mounted in the casing 14. Normally the block 29 is urged inwardly into engagement with the block 28 by means of a spring 33, best seen in Figure 5. Whenever it is desired to actuate the clutch the block 29 is withdrawn from engagement with the block 28 against the spring 33. This permits the spring 3i) to urge the block 28 downwards so that the pins 27 lock the discs 21 and 26 together. If the block 29 is allowed to return to its innermost position immediately after having been disengaged from the block 23, the latter block will come into engagement with the block 29 and ride up on the inclined surface 29a thereof again at the completion of one revolution.
Withdrawal of the lbflock 29 lis effected through a linkage 34 and a plunger 35 which, in the present embodiment, is ythe plunger of an electrornagnet EM which is encrgized up'on Ithe excitation of la signal in the photo-cell 6.
I-t wil-l be remembered rthat at the beginning of the present description reference was made to the eieot that the machine vcould Ibe setto handle various sizes of bottles, such as qua-rt, pint land halfapint. It will be understood lthat in order to do this -a number of parts of the machine will have to be changeable in accordance with the size of the bottles to be packed. For instance, the teeth of the spacer lvas shown in Figure 1 fare specifically 4adapted to handle quart bottles. lf pint or halt-pint bottles are to be handled the teeth of 'the spacer 5 would have to be replaced by other teeth, the spacing of which corresponds to those bottle sizes, i. e., the spaces between the teeth will Y be correspondingly smaller and correspondingly greater in number (assuming ythat the shipping cases are substantial-ly similar in size).
Similarly, the teeth 8a of the cage 8, the plate 53 with its dependent set of pairs of jaws 74, and the plate 59 with guide ridges 59a may all be changed 'according to the size of the bottles being handled. l
From the foregoing it will be clearly ,seen that `the sequence of operation Iof -the spacer 5 land the cage 8 will be dependent upon fthe size of the bottles being handled. While it only :takes four quart bottles to fill a channel in the `cage 8 it lmay take six hal=fpint bottles to lill the same channel. Thus, in the case of quarts, the cage S shall 'be moved transversely latter the spacer 5 has reoiprocated four ttimes while in the case of half-pints, it must not :be moved until the spacer 5 has reciprooated six times. The synchronization between the reciprocation of the -spacer 5 and the movement of fthe cage 8 is controlled by means of the counter 36, details of which are shown in Figures 7 and 8.
Within the counter 36 -are positioned two sets of three micro-switches MS2, 2a and 2b, normally closed, and MS7, 7a :and 7b, normally opened, in Figures 7 and 8, only fthe one set of switches, namely, the MS2, 2a and 2b, is shown, together with the counting mechanism, since the two sets iare operated in an identical Vmanner. Each micro-switch MS2,"2a and 2b lis provided with 'a rocker arm 39 which may be brought to .bear on the actuating lever of the micro-switch concerned by means of a projection 38 rigidly secured to la plate 200 which is slidahly mounted between two shafts 201. A-s be seen from Figure 8, there is a projection 38 'aligned with each of the rocker arms 39. FDhe plate 200 is so biased by springs 202, see Figure 7, that the projections 38 'are urged away from the rocker arms 39. On the tace of the plate 230 remo-te from the projections 33 are formed itwo ratchets 203 'and 203a. with the ratchet 203, on -a member 204 slidably mounted on `shafts 205 for movement .to-wards and away lfrom the ratchet 203 within a frame 206. The -frame 206 is, in turn, sli-dably mounted on shafts 207 parallel Iwith the shats 201. 'The lframe 204 is urged towards the ratchet 203 by means of la spring 208 and the catch 37 is further urged towards the ratchet by means of a spring 209, the catch 37 being mounted to the trame 204 for limited pivotal movement about -a pivot 210. The frame 206 is urged along the shatts 207 by springs 211 in a direction simil-ar to that in which the plate 200 is urged by the springs 202.
An electromagnet EMB is mounted in the counter so as to act upon the frame `206 and cause it to move, when the electromagnet EMB lis energized, along the shaft 207 against the action of the springs 211. When this occurs the catch 37 engages a tooth olf the ratchet 203 on the plate 200 which moves :a similar distance along the shaft 201, thus moving the projection 38 toward the rocker arm 39. When the electromagnet EBM is cle-energized, the frame 206 is urged hack :into its original position by the springs 211, but the pla-te 200 rem'ains in the position to which it was moved by the catch 37 by virtue of a second catch 37a.
rDhecatch 37a is mounted for engagement with the A catch 37 is mounted, jfor engagement ratchet 203a on a frame 204a which is slidably mounted for movement towards and away from the ratchet 203a on shafts 205a. to the counter housing so that the trame 204a is not movable in the direction parallel to that of the longitudinal axes off the shafts 207 `as is the frame 204. The -frame 204a is biased towards the ratchet 203a by means of ya spring 208a rand the catch 37a is also urged towards the ratchet 203:1 by a spring 209a.
r[Thus it will be seen that the movement of the plate 200 along the shafts 201 iby 'the action of the electromagnet EMB through the frame 206 and the catch 37, will move the teeth of the ratchet 203 over the catch 37a which remains stationary. It is the engagement of the catch 37a with the ratchet 203:1 which prevents the plate 200 Ifrom returning under the action of the springs 202 to its original position. Thus it 4will tbe seen that each time -a pulse is applied to the electromagnet EMB the plate 200 will be moved one step further lalong the shafts 201 until eventually one of the projections 38 :comes into contact with .the correspond-ing rocker larrn`39 to actuate the micro-switches MS2, 2a or 2b associated therewith.
In opeartion, the eleotromagnet EMB is energized each time the spacer 5 is reciprocated by means of a normally open :rotary switch R.SW10 ysuitably positioned adjacent f micro-switches MS2, 2a and 2b; each one of them repre- Y sent-s a given bottle size. Moreover, the projections 38 are staggered so that the projection 3S in line with the micro-switch MS2 yfor example will close the micro-switch after the plate 200 has been movedalong the shafts 201 by 'a distance corresponding Ito four teeth of the ratchet 203, while the position of the projection 38 in line with Y the micro-switch MSZb is such that the plate 200 will have Ito be moved a distance equal to tive teeth of the ratchet 203, land so on. Thus, by'mcans of a master selector (see Figure 16) onlythat micro-switch MS2, 2a or 2b `corresponding to the size of the bottles being haudled may be connected into the operating circuit.
As mentioned above, a further setnof micro-switches MS7, 7a and '7b are incorporated into the counter 36. These are actuated by means of an electromagnet EMD in a manner identical to that described above in .connection with microswitchesMS'Z, 2a and 2b. The electromagnet EMD is energized by a normally open switch R.SW10a mounted for actuation by a further cam on the shaft 23. In Figure 8 a centre line is shown and the mechanism associaed with micro-switches MS7, 7a and 7b may be considered as a mirror image of Figure 8 below the centre line. The proper micro-switch MS7, 7a and 7b is selected according to the size of the bottles being handled by a mas-ter yselector as is the case with the microswitches MS2, 2a and 2b,
The closing of the micro-switch MS7, 7a or 7b selected causes the engagement of the clutch 40 which acts to cause the cage '8 to move transversely ofthe belt 4, while the micro-switch MS2, y2a or 2b selected acts to break connection between the photo-cell 6 and the electromagnet EMl operating the clutch 7, thus preventing further reciprccation of the spacer 5 until the counter is reset. v
The counter 36 is reset by means of electromagnets EMC which are energized by the closing of a normally open micro-switch -MSl (shown -only in Figure 16) so mounted adjacent the guide rails 57 as to be closed by projections (not shown) formed on the cage '8. The position of these projections is such that the micro-svvi-tch MSI is closed each time and as the cage `8 moves transversely -of the belt 4. When the electromagnets EMC 'Ille shafts 205:1, however, are rigidly xed 9 are energized, frames 204 and 204a are pulled a-long shafts 205 and 2il5a respectively away from the plate 200 against the action of springs 208 and 2tl8a respectively. Thus the catches 37 and 37a are disengaged from the ratchets 263 and 203:1 respectively and the plate 200 is permitted to resume its original position under the action of the springs 202. When this occurs the microswitches M82, 2a, 2b, M87, 7a and 7b resume their normal state.
Referring now to Figure 9, details of the clutch 40 are given. Here again, the degree of transverse movement which must be imparted to the cage 8 varies according to the size of the bottles being used. Thus the clutch may be engaged for diiferent lengths of time according to which of three electromagnets EME, EMF or EMG is energized.
The clutch 40 consists of a main housing within which is located a hydraulic coupling 41 driven by a shaft 69a of the motor 69, a reduction gear stage 42, and a stop and start control unit 43. The purpose of the hydraulic coupling is to permit the driven side of the clutch to be stopped and started as is desired merely by a braking aotion rather than by positive de-coupling.
The stop and start mechanism 43 consists of two discs 45 and -46 rigidly secured to the driven shaft 46a of the clutch by means of a collar 47. Secured about the periphery of the discs 45 and 46 are a number of stops such as indicated by the numeral 44 (only one of which has been shown). Rigidly mounted within an extension 40a of the clutch housing are three electromagnets EME, EMF and EMG. These act respectively on plungers 48, 49 and 50, which are slidably held in a frame 52 and are urged away from the electromagnets generally radially towards the peripheries of the discs 45 and 46 by internally mounted spring 53. The frame 52 is similarly urged by the springs 52a radially towards the peripheries of the discs 45 and 46.
Positioned to that side of the movable frame 52 reruote from the peripheries of the discs 45 and 46 is an electromagnet EMZ which, when energized, pulls the frame 2 in a direction away from the discs 45 and 46 against the action of the springs '5211.
The electromagnets EME, EMF and EMG when enenergized retain the plungers acted on by them in the positions indicated by plungers 48 and 49 in Figure 9. When they are deenergized the plungers associated therewith assume the position indicated by plunger 50. As in the case of the micro-switches MS2, 2a and 2b and M87, 7a and 7b, the electromagnets EME, EMF and EMG replresent quart, pint and half-pint bottles respectively. Pre-selection according to the size of the bottles being handled is effected through the master selector by means of de-energizing only the electromagnet EME, EMF or EMG which corresponds to the size of the bottles being handled. It will be noted that in Figure 9, Vonly the plunger 50 associated with EMF is extended.
The projections 44 which are vco-planar with any one plunger -48-50 are spaced apart around the periphery of the disc 45 or 46 in accordance with the degree of movement required of the cage 8 when handling bottles of the size represented by the plunger concerned. With the frame 52 in the position shown in Figure `9, the extended plunger 50 extends in the path of the projections 44 coplanar therewith and prevents rotation :of the out-put shaft 46a. When the selected micro-switch M87, 7a or 7b in the counter 36 is closed current is supplied to the windings of the electro-magnet BMZ which pulls the frame 52 radially away from the discs 45 and 46 thus removing the plunger from the path of the projections 44 concerned. The :output shaft 46 will then commence to revolve and the cage S will commence to move transversely :of the belt 4. It will be remembered that movement of the cage 8 closes the micro-switch M81 mounted adjacent thereto thus energizing the electromagnets EMC and resetting the counter 36. When this occurs the selected micro-switch M87, 7a or 7b reopens and the' electromagnet EMZ is de-energized whereupon the frame 52 resumes its rest position under the action of springs 52a bringing once again the end of the plunger 50 into the path of the projections 44 mounted co-planar therewith about the periphery of the disc 46. This loperation is repeated until the cage 8 assumes its innermost position directly beneath the elevator frame `62.
As the cage moves into its innermost position a normally open micro-switch M816 (see Figure 16) is closed by means of cams (not shown) mounted on the output shaft 46a of the clutch 40. Through the micro-switch M816 current is supplied to an electromagnet EMS associated with the elevator mechanism clutch 70.
The clutch 7G is similar to that illustrated in Figures 6, 7 and 8 with the exception that there are two blocks 29 with associated withdrawal means disposed in the path of the block 23. These are so disposed as to halt the elevator both in the position shown in Figure 2 and also at the top Vof its stroke. The energizing of electromagnet Elx/l5 permits the elevator to be raised from its rest position (Figure 2) to the uppermost position.
Once the clutch 70 is engaged the elevator frame 62 commences to ascend and the pairs of jaws 74 close about the rims of the bottles thus lifting them clear of the loading plate '53. As mentioned before, the number and the spacing of the pairs `of jaws 74 may be changed by means of the releasable plate 63.
The means whereby the pairs of jaws 74 grasp the bottles as the elevator frame 62 ascends is illustrated in Figures l0 and ll. Each pair of jaws 74 is suspended from the plate 63 by means of two rods 75 to the lower end of which the individual jaws 74 are pivoted by means of pivot pins 75a. Slidably mounted one on each of the pair of rods 75 are two sleeves 76 rigidly secured one to each end of a bar 77 extending generally parallel to the longitudinal axis of the jaws 74. The bars 77 extending between the pair of rods 75 associated with each pair of jaws 74 are all secured to a single bar 7S extending substantially across the width of the elevator at right-angles to the longitudinal axis of the jaws '74. The bar 7S is clearly shown in Figures 2 and l0.
Dependent from each bar 77 is a wedge-shaped member 79 which is disposed immediately above two cooperating -lever arms 74a extending upwardly from each of the individual jaws 74 of any pair thereof. The lever arm 74a associated with any individual jaw 74 extends upwardly therefrom on the same side of the pivot pins 75a as such individual jaw is disposed; thus when any pair of cooperating lever arms 74 are brought towards one another the corresponding jaws 74 move away from one another and vice versa. Each pair of jaws 74 are normally urged apart from one another by means of a tension spring Si) connected between projections Sila extending upwardly from each individual jaw 74 of a pair thereof. Thus when in the rest position, i. e., that shown in Figure 10, the lever amis 74 are urged together by the action of the spring 86 and the jaws 74 are accordingly open.
As the elevator frame 62 ascends the bar 78 abuts against a projection S1 rigidly secured to the frame of the machine thus preventing the bars 77 and the wedges 79 dependent therefrom from continuing to rise with the elevator frame 62. The elevator frame itselt` does continue to rise and carries with it the pairs of jaws 74 secured to the rods 75. The effect of this is to move the bars 77 and the sleeves 76 downwardly relative to the pairs of jaws 74. Thus the wedges 79 are driven between the pairs of lever arms 74a forcing them apart and so bringing the individual jawsY 74 of each pair thereof together to grasp the bottles positioned therebetween. When the elevator frame 62 begins to descend the bar 78 descends with it, the wedges 79 remaining between the lever arms 74a and holding the jaws closed. The action of the spring 7S is not sufficiently strong to force the l wedges 79 upwardly from between the lever arms 74a.
As the elevator frame 62 travels upwards a normally open micro-switch MS11 is operated by a cam on the driven shaft of the elevator mechanism clutch 70. The closing of the micro-switch MS11 energizes the electromagnet EMS which engagesthe clutch 71 (of a type similar to the clutch 70) thus initiating withdrawal of the loading plate 58 from the downward path of the elevator frame 62. As the elevator frame 62 `reaches its uppermost position a normally open micro-switch M56 actuated by a cam on the driven shaft of the clutch 70 is closed. The closing of the micro-switch M56 energized the electromagnet EMZ in the clutch 40 which acts to permit the :cage 8 to be returned to its initial outer position, as shown in Figure 1.
When the elevator frame 62 reaches its uppermost position a further cam on the driven shaft of the elevator mechanism clutch 70 closes a suitably positioned normally open micro-switch 17. When the loading plate 58 is fully withdrawn a cam on the driven shaft of the clutch 71 also closes a similar suitably positioned micro-switch M518. Yet another normally open micro-switch M819 is closed when a shipping case is brought correctly to rest beneath the elevator mechanism. The closing of these three micro-switches M517, 18 and 19 completes a circuit through which an electromagnet EMG is energized. The electromagnet EM6 then re-engages the clutch 70 thus causing the elevator to commence its descent.
Towards the bottom of the downward path of the elevator the bar 78 abuts against a projection 84 similar to the projection 81 described above. The projection 84 prevents further downward movement of the bar 87 and, therefore, also the wedges 79. The eifect of this is to cause the wedges 79 to ascend relative to the jaws 74 and thus withdraw from between the co-operating lever arms 74a. The pairs of jaws 74 are then immediately `opened by the action of the spring 80 and the containers are released. Having now reached the bottom of its descent, the elevator frame 62 commences to rise until it reaches the rest position shown in Figures 1 and 2. The plate 58 is now returned to the loading position by the energizing of an electromagnet FM4 through a micro-switch MS14 actuated by the elevator mechanism clutch 70 and by the closing of a micro-switch M813 mounted adjacent the bar 78 (see Figure 2) and actuated thereby.
Details of the case delivery mechanism are given in Figures 12, 13, 14 and 15. The shipping case conveyor 85, with guides 86, passes through the lower part of the machine directly through an extension of the downward path of the elevator frame 62.V
The case stopping device generally indicated by numeral 89 in Figure 1, consists of a sector plate 92 (see Figures 12 and 13) mounted on a shaft 91 for pivotal movement through an opening 93 in the guide plate 87. The sector plate 92 is of generally semicircular shape having a step 94 formed in the arcuate portion of lthe periphery thereof. The step 94 effectively divides the sector plate 92 into two sectors 94a and 95, the latter having the smaller radius.Y
When the sector plate 92 is at rest, the step 94 is held in abutment with the side of the plate 87 remote from the conveyor 85 by the action of a tension spring 103 secured between the edge of the sector 95 and a bracket 104 mounted on the plate 87. The plate 92 is shown in this position in Figure 12. In this position the sector V95 extends into the path of empty cases advancing on the conveyor 85.
When the case abuts against the edge of the sector 95, the plate 92 is rotated in an anti-clockwise direction. As the plate 92 rotates a two-position catch 96 engages the actuating lever of, and so closes, the micro-switch 19 (referred to above, in connection with the descent of the elevator mechanism). The plate 92 eventually comes to rest by the edge of the sector 94 abutting against a pivotally mounted stop 97. Thus a shipping case is halted on the conveyor 8S by the edge yof sector 95 which As the elevator frame 62 commences to'ascend fromits lowermost position, a cam on the shaft of theelevator mechanism clutch 70 closes a further normally open micro-switch M520, the closing of Which energizes an electromagnet EM7. The electromagnet is mechanicallyv connected through a rod 99 to the pivoted stop 97 and,
when energized, acts to pivot the stop 97 out of the path of the sector plate 92. The conveyor 85, which has beenV continuously passing beneath the held shipping case, is once more permitted to move the shipping case since the plate 92is free to revolve further about the shaft 91.
if for any reason the loading case does not move forward immediately when` the stopv 97 is pivoted, a leaf spring 102 secured to the edge of sector 95 will bear against the loaded shipping case and force the'plate 92 to revolve sufficiently to carry the operating surface 98 of catch 96 (see Figures 13 and 14), passed the actuating lever of the micro-switch 19, thus permitting that switch to open. As soon as the loaded shipping case has passed over the sector 95, the plate 92 reverses its direction of rotation under the action of spring 103 and assumes its rest position as shown in Figure 1. In order to prevent the operating surface 98 of the catch 96 from fouling the actuating lever of micro-switch M519, however, it is necessary to move the operating surface 98 out of align- Y ment with the aforesaid actuating lever. This is accomplished by means-of a projection (see Figure 13) which moves the catch 96 from lits operative position toV advance of the position in which cases are held for lling.
The purpose of the delaying brake 90 is Vto delay the movement of successive cases along the conveyor 85 until the sector plate 92 has had sulcient time to resume its rest position after the preceding case, now loaded, has passed through the machine. It will be noted from Figure 13 that a micro-switch MS21, which is normally closed, is so positioned in relation to the stop 97'as to be actuated by that stop when it is pivoted by the electromagnet EM7. Whenever the micro-switch MS21 is opened by the action of the stop 97, an electromagnet EMS is de-energized thus permitting a bar 107 to be spring-urged into the path of a stop arm 105 mounted for pivotal movement about a pivot pin 108.
It will be noted that once the pivot 97 moves out of the path of the plate 92 it is held against the micro-switch MS21 by the side of the plate 92 even though the electromagnetic EM7 which originally pivoted the stop 97 has yceased to be energized. Thus the micro-switch MS21 is retained open until the plate 92 has cleared the stop 97 on its return to its rest position. i
The stop arm 105 is so mounted that it extends down- Y wardly into the path of the empty cases passing'into the machine and it is normally held against the projection 106e by the action of a spiral spring 106. Whenever the end of a case comes into contact with the arm 105, however, the momentum of the case will be suicientto pivot the arm 105 about the pin 108 against the action of the spring 106.
` While a case is held immediately beneath the elevator mechanism (i. e., in position to be lled) the next case in line will remain, in relation to the delay brake 90, in the position shown in Figure 15. It is While the arm 105 is between the two ends of the waiting case that the microswitch M821 is open and the bar 167 is spring-urged into the path of the arm S.
Thus, as the filled case ltaves the machine, the next case in line proceeds to advance until the inner surface of its rearward end encounters the arm 16S. It is then halted (just short of having reached the position where it would abut against the sector 95) until the plate 92 has been cleared by the loaded case and is able to return, under the action of spring 103, to the position shown in Figure 12. As the plate 92 revolves back to its rest position, the stop 97 is spring-urged back into its normal position in the path of the plate 92 and the micro-switch 21 is ailowed to close. The electromagnet EMS is then energized thus retracting the bar 167 from the path of the arm 105. The empty case is then of course carried forward by the conveyor 85 until it abuts against the edge of the sector 95, by which time the next case in line will be in the position shown in Figure 15.
Control circuit In addition to the various items of the control circuit which have already been mentioned in the foregoing description there are a number of further safety devices which will be described in connection with Figure 16. While describing these additional safety devices the sequence of operation of the control circuit will be summarized.
rIhe entire circuit is energized through mains switches MASW. The master selector 51 is then set according to the size of the bottles being handled. Again let us assume that the bottles being handled are quarts. Thus the quart light source, the quart micro-switches MS2 and MS7 re connected into the circuit and the quart electromagnet alone is de-energized, As soon as the first bottle interrupts the beam from the quart light source to the photo-electric cell 6, a circuit is completed through an electromagnet EMA which closes a mercury switch MR.SW4, thus completing a circuit through the quart micro-switch MS2 and electromagnet EMI.
As additional safety features, two normally closed micro-switches MSla and MS3 are inserted in series with the mercury switch MR.SW4 and the electromagnet EM'l. These micro-switches are so actuated respectively by a cam on the shaft of the clutch 40 which operates the cage 8 and by the cage 3 itself that they are held open whenever the cage 8 is in motion and while the cage 8 is in its innermost position. Thus it is assured that the spacer 5 which reciprocates Whenever the electromagnet EMI is energized will not operate unless the cage 8 is stationary.
It will be recalled that the electromagnets EMB and EMD of the counter 36 are energized whenever the spacer 5 reciprocates. This is effected by the closing thereby of the rotary switches RSV/'10 and R.SW10a which complete circuits through the electromagnets EMB and EMD.
lNhen the counter 36 has been tripped the requisite number of times, i. e., four in the case of quarts, microswitch MS2 will be opened and micro-switch MS7 will be closed. Since micro-switch MS2 is in the circuit of the electromagnet RM1 further reciprocation of the spacer 5 is prevented until such time as the counter 36 is reset.
The closing of the micro-switch MS7 completes a circuit through electromagnet BMZ, thus electing engagement of the clutch 40 and movement of the cage 8. It will be recalled that the electromagnet EMF, representing quarts, was selected and de-energized prior to the commencement of the operation.
it will be noted from Figure 16 that a micro-switch MSS and a further micro-switch M89 are connected in series with the micro-switch MS7 and the electromagnet EM2. The micro-switch MSS is retained closed whenever the loading plate 58 is stationary in its rest, or loading, position. The micro-switch M89 is located adjacent the driven shaft of the clutch 7, which controls the spacer, and is so actuated by a cam mounted on such shaft that it is closed only when the spacer 5 is in the rest position 14 with the teeth thereof extending into the path of the'botles of the conveyor d. Thus the circuit'of the electromagnet EMZ will only be compcted when the loading plate 58 is in position and when the spacer 5 is at rest, i. e., in position to halt the flow of bottles into the machine.
As the cage S moves to bring its second channel into alignment with the conveyor 4 the micro-switch M81 mounted adjacent the gui-de rails 57 of the cage Sis closed, thus completing the circuit of the electromaguet EMC. The energizing of the electromagnet EMC resets `the counter 36 as a result of which the micro-switch MS2 closes to permit further actuation of the electromagnet EM1, and the micro-switch MS7 opens to de-energze the electromagnet EMZ. The de-energizing ofielectromagnet EM2 causes the clutch 4G to bring the cage S'to rest when the second channel is aligned with the conveyor 4 in the manner described in connection with Figure .9. This cycle of operation is thus repeated until the cage 8 eventually attains its innermost position, i. e., that shown in Figure 3.
Having attained its innermost position, the microswitches MSla and M83 are opened, thus preventing further actuation of the spacer 5 untilthe cage 8 is returned to its rest position. At the same time the micro-switch M816 is closed by a cam on the driven shaft of theclutch 40, thus completing the circuit of the electromagnet EMS vand initiating ascent of the elevator frame 62 to .its uppermost position.
When the cage 8 reaches its innermost position an additional micro-switch MSS connected in parallel with the micro-switches MS7, .MSS and MS9 is also closed by means of a cam on the driven shaft of the clutch 40. The eifect of closing the micro-switch MSS is partially to complete an auxiliary circuit through the electromagnet EM2.
As the elevator frame 62 ascends the micro-switch M811 is actuated by a cam on the driven shaft of the elevator mechanism clutch 70 to complete, through the micro-switch MSS which is closed whenever the loading plate is in the loading position, the circuit of electromagnet EMS. This immediately causes the withdrawal of the loading plate 53 from the downward path of the ele` .vator frame 62.
lVhen the loading plate 58 reaches the withdrawn position, cams on the driven shaft of the clutch 71 close two micro-switches MS12 and M818. The Vmicro-switch M512 partially completes the circuit of electromagnet EM4, while micro-switch MSlS partially completes the circuit of electromagnet EM6. t
When the elevator reaches the top of its stroke two further micro-switches M85 and MS17 are closed. The micro-switch M85 completes the auxiliary circuit of electromagnet EM2 which causes the return of the cage 8 to its rest position. The micro-switch M817 partially completes the circuit of electromagnet EM which controls the descent of the elevator frame 62.
lt is of course necessary to ensure that a shipping case is correctly positioned beneath the elevator frame 62 and that the loading plate 5S `has been withdrawn before the elevator frame 62 descends. It is for this reason that the micro-switches MS13 and M519 are connected in series with micro-switch M817.
As mentioned before in connection with Figures 12 and 13, the micro-switch M519 is closed by the catch 96 on the sector plate 92 whenever a shipping case moves the sector plate 92 into abutment with the stop 97. The closing of the micro-switch M818, as mentioned above, occurs when the loading plate 58 is fully Withdrawn.
Once all three micro-switches M517, M818 and M819 are closed the electromagnet EM6 is energized and the elevator frame 62 descends to deposit the bottles .in the Vshipping case.
Once the electromagnet EM6 has been energized the elevator mechanism clutch 70 will remain engaged until the elevator has descended and risen `again to its rest position, i. e., that indicated in Figures 1 and 2. Just prior T15 to the .elevator frame 62 reaching its rest position the microswitch M814 actuated by a cam on the driven shaft of the clutch 70 is closed, thus further completing the circuit of electromagnet EM4 which had already been partially completed by the closing of micro-switch M812. Final completion of the circuit of electromagnet EM4, however, is not leffected unless the bottles have been properly released from the pairs of jaws 74 and the bar 78 is in its uppermost position in relation to the elevator frame 62. If the bar 78 is in the aforementioned position it will close the micro-switch M813, which is positioned 116 time, however, the driven shaft of the clutch 7) will have rotated to the point where the appropriate carn on l the driven shaft of the clutch 70 has permitted the microsomewhat below the projection 81, coincidentally with the closing of the micro-switch M814, thus completing the circuit of electromagnet EM4.
When the electromagnet EM4 is closed the clutch 71 is again engaged and the loading plate 58 is returned to its loading position.
The actuation of micro-switches M829 and M821 and the associated electromagnets EM7 and EMS has been fully described with reference to Figures l2, 13 and l5.
It should be noted that when the cage S is returned to its rest position by the closing of micro-switches MSSl and M86, the spacer will commence to reciprocate thus permitting bottles to move into the first channel of the cage 8. This goes on simultaneously with the descent of the elevator frame 62 to deposit bottles in the awaiting case. However, before the cage 8 can move once the rst channel thereof is lled the elevator frame 62 has toascend again to the point where the micro-switch M813 is closed and the loading plate 58 commences to return to its loading position. It will be remembered that whenever the loading plate 58 is out of its loading position the micro-switch M88 is open. Since the micro-switch MSS is in series with the micro-switch M87 and electromagnet EM2, inward movement of the cage 8 is prevented,
even though it may be ready to move, until such time as the loading plate 58 has reached the loading position and the micro-switch M88 is closed once again.
As described in connection with Figures l() and ll the gripping and release of the bottles bythe pairs of jaws 74 is eiected automatically as the elevator frame 62 moves; thus there is no need for separate control of these functions. It is necessary, however, to make allowance for the fact rthat a shipping case, while properly positioned, may 4be so damaged as to prevent deposit of the bottles into it. It is for this reason that the connecting rod 64 between the disc 66 and the elevator frame 62 is slotted.' If the bottles encounter any obstruction which prevents the elevator from completing its descent the pivot pin 67 (see Figure 2) rides along the slot in the rod 64 until such time as it commences to lift the elevator frame 62 up once again. If this has occurred it is necessary to cause the elevator frame 62 to descend once again without reloading once another shipping case has been properly positioned, before another group of bottles can be fed into the machine;
This is effected by means of normally open microswitches M815 and MSlSa which are connected in parallel with micro-switch M816. Micro-switch MSlSa is closed by means of a cam on the driven shaft of the clutch 70 just before the elevator frame 62 reaches its rest position. The micro-switch M815 is so positioned adjacent the path of the bar 78 that it will be closed coincidentallywith the closing of micro-switch M815a only if the bar 78 is in its lowermost position in relation to the elevator frame 62, i. e., if it has not been moved upwardly in relation to the elevator frame 62 toV withdraw the wedges 79 from between the lever arms 74a of the jaws 74.`
YCoincidental closing of micro-switches M815 and M815a permits the continued engagement of the clutch 70` by energizing electromagnet EMS so that the elevator continues to rise past its rest position. It is not until the elevator frame 62 has risen past its rest position that the bar 78 actuates the micro-Switch M813. yBy this switch M814 to reopen, thus the loading plate 58 is not returned to its rest position if the bottles are still suspended from the jaws 74 when the elevator frame 62 ascends to its rest position. The loaded elevator now ascends to 'its uppermost positionY and themicro-switc'n M817 is closed.v The micro-switch M818 is of course still closed since the loading plate isl still retracted. Thus, as soon as the micro-switch M819 is closed indicating the arrival of a new shipping case in the loading position, the electromagnet EM6 is energized and the elevator frame descends to deposit the bottles in the new case. As in the case of a normal loading operation, the microswitch M86 is closed as the elevator frame 62 reaches its uppermost position. However, this will have no effect on the electromagnet EM2 controlling the operation of the cage 8 since the cage 8 will be in its outermost position and the micro-switch M will be open.
Test or indicating lamps are provided in each circuit to give visual indication that the various subunits of the machine are functioning correctly. In a like manner the usual electrical safety features suchas fuses are provided in the circuits to prevent damage caused by electrical overloading.
l. A machine for placing containers into shipping cases comprising, conveyor means for delivering containers to said machine in single tile;4 intermittentlyactuated gate means for periodically admitting sets of a given number of containers one at a time into said machine; means effective to space the containers in each of said sets apart from one another; a support, intermittently-actuated loading means for receiving said sets of containers from said gate means and shiftable with the containers laterally of the conveyor to move each of said sets laterally of said conveyor onto said support until the number of sets of containers required to fill an empty case has been assembled on said support; further means eiective to space said sets apart from one another; means sensitive to the assembly of the required number of sets of containers on said support whereby temporarily to prevent further operation of said gate means and said loading means; means whereby to grip and raise the containers assembled on said support; means responsive to the raising of said containers whereby to move said support from beneath said containers and to shift said loading means out of verticalA alignment with the assembled sets of containers; to lower said containers below the level of said support to ydeposit them in an awaiting case; and means sensitive to the deposition of said containers in said case eiective to return said support to itsoriginal position and to release for further operation said gate means and said loading means.
2. A machine as claimed in claim l including means to prevent the lowering of said containers unless a rcase is ready to receive` them.
3. A machine as claimed in claim l in which said gate kmeans comprise a gate member mounted for reciprocal movement into and out of the path of the containers being fed to said machine on said conveyor means.
4. A machine as claimed in claim 3 in which said means to space the containers in each of said sets apart from one another comprise a number of spacing members generally parallel with said gate member for reciprocal movement into and out of the path of the containers admitted into said machine by said gate member, said Spacing members being disposed beyond said gate member in relation to the direction of travel of said conveyor means and being spaced apart from said gate means and one anotherin the direction of travel of said conveyor means according to the spacing requiredbetween the containers in any set thereof.
5. A machine as claimed in claim 4 including means 17 sensitive to the abutment of a container against said gate member effective to cause said intermittent reciprocation of said gate and spacing menbers into and out of the path of the containers on said conveyor means.
6. A machine as claimed in claim l in which said loading means comprise a multi-channel frame mounted for reciprocal movement transversely of said conveyor means beyond said gate means in relation to the direction of travel of said conveyor means; the channels of said frame each lying generally parallel to and above the plane of said conveyor means and extending in a direction generally parallel to the direction of travel of said conveyor means, each or said channels being open only at the end thereof directed towards said gate means.
7. A machine as claimed in claim 6 in which said frame, when in its rest position, is disposed so that a first channel thereof is aligned with said conveyor means to receive the containers admitted by said gate means, and in which movement of said frame from its rest position to a loading position is step-wise, each step bringing a new channel into alignment with said conveyor means until all the channels of said frame have passed over said conveyor means.
8. A machine as claimed in claim 7 including means for controlling the step-wise movement of said frame and sensitive to a number of reciprocations of said gate means, said number corresponding to the number of containers in a set thereof.
9. A machine as claimed in claim 8 in which movement of said frame is eective temporarily to halt movement of said gate means.
10. A machine as claimed in claim 9 including means adapted to be actuated by the attainment by said frame of its loading position, whereby further movement of both said gate means and said frame is temporarily halted.
11. A machine as claimed in claim 10 in which said frame, when in said loading position, s directly above said support.
12. A machine as claimed in claim 7 in which said support is a movably mounted plate having thereon parallel guide ridges aligned with each one of said gate and spacer members when said support is in its loading position.
13. A machine as claimed in claim 1 in which said means whereby to grip and raise said containers assembled on said support includes a number of pairs of 18 jaws mounted for vertical reciprocal movement, said jaws, when at rest, being above said support and disposed in the pattern in which said containers are assembled on said support.
14. A machine as claimed in claim 13 including means whereby said pairs of jaws are moved upwardly and are caused to grip the containers on said support whenever said loading means has reached its loading position.
15. A machine as claimed in claim 14 including means whereby said pairs of jaws when ascending from their rest position to an uppermost position actuate means effective to withdraw said support from beneath the containers suspended therefrom and to return said loading means to its rest position, withdrawal of said support acting to prevent further movement of said loading means from its loading position.
16. A machine as claimed in claim 1 in which said means whereby to grip and raise the containers assembled on said support comprise at least one pair of pivotally-mounted elongated jaw members capable of closing about the necks of a number of containers assembled in a row, a horizontally-disposed common axis for said jaw members, a vertically movable elevator frame supporting said common axis, co-operating lever arms extending upward from each pair of jaw members, one lever arm being secured to each jaw member and disposed on the same side of said common axis as such jaw member, said jaws members being spring urged away from one another, wedge means slidably carried on said elevator frame, said wedge means being aligned with a pair of such co-operating lever arms, means whereby to force said wedge means between said lever arms to move said jaw members towards one another when said elevator commences to ascend, and means to withdraw said wedge means from between said lever arms just before said elevator reaches its lowermost position in subsequent descent.
References Cited in the tile of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,243,407 Hawthorne Oct. 16, 1917 2,277,688 Cattonar et al. Mar. 31, 1942 2,358,447 Creamer Sept. 19, 1944 2,371,026 Cattonar et al. Mar. 6, 1945