US 2777446 A
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Jan. 15, 1957 s. BOGATY 2,777,446
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONDITIONING CUT TOBACCO Filed Dec. 10, 1953 s Sheefs-Sheet 1 S. BOGATY Jan. 15, 1957 APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONDITIONING CUT TOBACCO 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Dec. 10. 1953 Jan. 15, 1957 s. BOGATY 2,777,446
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONDITIONING CUT TOBACCO Filed Dec. 10, 1953 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 nited States Patent O APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONDITIONING CUT TOBACCO Stanislaus Bogaty, Philadelphia, Pa assignor to Proctor & Schwartz, Inc., Phfladelphia, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Application December 10, 1953, Serial No. 397,399
Claims. (Cl. 131-136) The present inventionrelates to new and useful improvements in apparatus and methods for bulking cut tobacco and more particularly to apparatus and methods for continuously processing tobacco to cool the same and obtain uniformly conditioned tobacco.
During the process of preparing tobacco, for example for use in cigarettes, the tobacco is removed from cooling cylinders at a temperature somewhat above 100 F. and at a moisture content of 12 percent. It is necessary to cool this tobacco to room temperature and equalize the moisture content therein prior to further handling. This cooling process, however, must be accomplished without forcing air or other drying medium through the tobacco since a rapid current of air will remove the aroma from the tobacco.
Prior to the present invention, the generally accepted procedure for cooling or bulking cut tobacco consisted of transferring cut tobacco from a cooling cylinder by means of a belt conveyor to a loading station where the tobacco is manually spread in bulking boxes. The bulking boxes are then transported to an air-conditioned storage room in which the air is maintained at approximately 81 F. and at approximately 60 percent relative humidity. These bulking boxes are stored in this room with a space between each box to permit a slow circulation of air between the boxes, and are maintained in the storage room for 24 to 48 hours depending upon the condition of the tobacco. After removal from the storage room the tobacco is not uniformly conditioned as the tobacco in the center of the bulking boxes will be warmer and contain more moisture than the tobacco adjacent the edge of each of the boxes. As a result of this nonuniform condition, the tobacco must be passed through a redressing cylinder to obtain a greater degree of uniformity in temperature and moisture content. In a typical installation, this above described process requires from 30 to 50 men at a cost of approximately one man hour for each 1000 to 1200 pounds of tobacco handled, and thus the labor cost of carrying out this process is relatively expensive. In addition, this system requires a considerable amount of floor space for the loading, transportation and storage of the bulking boxes.
According to the present invention, the tobacco is automatically moved back and forth continuously through an air-conditioned space and at the end of each pass through this air-conditioned space, the tobaccois dropped a substantial distance to thoroughly mix the tobacco and prevent particular portions of the tobacco from cooling or drying more rapidly than other portions of the tobacco. By this process, a considerable quantity of the tobacco is passed through the air-conditioned space at one time and each portion of the tobacco passes through essentially the same location as each other portion thereby resulting in a much improved uniformity of the final product.
With the foregoing in mind the principal object of the present invention is to provide novel automatic apparatus obtain uniformity'throughout the tobacco.
A further object of the present invention is to provide.
novel automatic apparatus and processes for bulking cut tobacco wherein a relatively small amount of labor and floor space is required to carry out the process.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide novel apparatus and processes for bulking cut tobacco having the features and characteristics set forth which is highly efiicient and effective in operation and use.
These and other objects of the present invention and the various features and details of the operation and construction thereof are hereinafter more fully set forth and described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a side elevational view of a bulking machine made in accordance with the present invention;
Fig. 2a is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view of the feed end of the machine illustrated in Fig. 1;
Fig. 2b is an enlarged longitudinal sectional view of the discharge end of themachine illustrated in Fig. 1.
Fig. 3 is a plan view of the feed end of the bulking machine of the present invention;
Fig. 4 is a perspective view of the conveyor and side wall construction adjacent the feed end of the bulking machine;
Fig. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional view taken on line 55, Fig. 4;
Fig. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary transverse sectional view taken on line 6-6, Fig. 4; and,
Figs. 7 and 8 are schematic views illustrating various modified conveyor arrangements for maintaining the tobacco in an air-conditioned atmosphere and eifecting uniform conditioning thereof.
Referring more specifically to the drawings, reference numeral 10 designates generally a bulking machine made in accordance with the present invention comprising a housing 11 and a series of conveyors 12, 13 and 14 uniformly spaced above one another in superimposed relation. The tobacco to be processed is originally deposited in a uniform layer on the top conveyor 12 and passed conveyor 14 and passes through the housing a third time to the discharge end of the bulking machine wherein it is discharged onto a conveyor 15 and carried to further processing apparatus (not shown).
The bulking machine may be constructed integrally with a housing and with its own air-conditioning or circulating system or, alternatively, the bulking machine may be constructed without a housing and operated in a room which is suitably air-conditioned. The tobacco, when fed to the bulking machine initially has a temperature somewhat above F. and a moisture content of approximately 12 percent. Before further processing, the tobacco must be cooled to room temperature while maintaining the moisture content at 12 percent, depending upon the particular requirements of the user, and uniform conditions must exist throughout the tobacco. To carry out this cooling and conditioning process, the tobacco is deposited uniformly on the upper conveyor 12 to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and is carried back and forth through the air conditioned space as described at a regulated speed determined by the initial temperature, the desired final temperature and moisture content, and the amount of tobacco being processed. At the end of each pass through the air-conditioned space, the tobacco is droppedasub stantial distance so that no one portion of the tobacco is continuously at the bottom of the layerof the tobacco and all of the tobacco will be cooled andconditioned uniformly.
The atmosphere in the housing 11 or, if no housing is used,the room in which the conveyors are mounted is maintained at a constant temperature and humidity. The temperature preferably should be approximately 81 F. while the relative humidity preferably should be approximately 60 percent.
With referenceto Figs. 2a and 3, the tobacco is initially deposited on an oscillating feedconveyor 16 at the feed and of thebulking machine 10. The "feed conveyor 16 is mounted in a conventionalsupporting frame 18 carried by a platform 21' which, in turn, is pivotally mounted for oscillating movement in a horizontal plane on an' upwardly extending pedestal 221 Extending outwardly from one side ofthe platform 21' is a shelf or ledge 23 which mounts the drive mechanism for operating the con veyor 16 and oscillating the platform 21. This drive mechanism consists of an electric motor 24 and gear reduction box 25 which rotate a driving sprocket 26 for the feed conveyor 16 and a disc 27 for oscillating the platform 21. One end'of a connecting rod 28- is pivotally secured to the periphery of the disc 27 whilethe other end thereof is pivotally secured to auoutwardly extending arm 29 carried by the pedestal 22. Rotation of the disc 27 thereby causes oscillation of the platform 21 about the pedestal 22 and moves the discharge end of the feed con veyor 16 back and forth-between opposite sides of the conveyor 12. By this construction, material placed in a hopper 31 positioned immediately above the feed'end of the feed conveyor 16 will be carried out to'the discharge end of the conveyor 16 and deposited therefrom uniformlyover the full width of the conveyor 12.
Referring now to Figs. 4, and'6 of the drawings, each conveyor 12, 13 and 14 is of conventional construction and may be either imperforate or foraminous. If an imperforate conveyor is used it may be formed of a: series of articulated sections, for example as indicated at 32. The series of articulated plates 32- are carried by transversely extendinggirts 33secured to laterally spaced side chains 34 which, in turn, are supported by tracks 35 extending the full lengtlrof 'the dryer housing-1t); The side chains fi lalso support traveling side guard-s 36 along. theopposite marginal sidc'edges of perforated plates 32 with the ends of: successive guard members 36 in' 'longitudinal overlapping relation to each other, wherebyithe: material deposited on the conveyor is prevented fIOI'll falling off of the side edges of theiconveyor in transit;
A vertical stationary side guard137 is provided .at the. feed end of each of thefeed conveyors 12, 13 and 14 and each guard 37'has a downwardly extending lip portion 38 l thereon inwardlyoverlying the upper ends ofthe traveling side guards 36 to permit a bed of material thicker than the height of the traveling side guard to be carried by each of these conveyors. Outw'ardly diverging stationary side guards 41 having downwardly extending lip' portions- 42 thereon inwardly overlying the upper edges of the traveling side guards 36, are provided for the remainder of the length of the conveyors and also prevent the material carried by the conveyor from passing over the side edges thereof.
As previously described,- a uniform layer of material 'is deposited on the upper conveyor 12 across the full width thereof and the upper conveyor 12.is driven by means of a conventional drive mechanism, forexample as illustrated at.43 inFigs. 1 and 2b; to carry the. tobacco through the housing 10. As the tobacco on the. conveyorrlZ Treaches the discharge end of the. housing, it is droppedotf of the conveyor 12.:onto. a transversely. extending :chute. 44 i and deposited thereby on the central conveyor 13 which is p from the conveyor 12.
4. driven,- for example; by means of a conventionaldrive "mechanism as illustrated at 45 in Figs. 1 and 2a, in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of the conveyor 12. The end of the conveyor 13 which initially. received the tobacco extends outwardly beyond the discharge end of the conveyor 12 to receiveall'of the tobacco discharged This tobacco is then carried through the housing lfitO'thfEEdf end thereof and is discharged from the conveyor 13 at the feed end of a housing ontoa chute 46. The chute 46 extends transversely of the housing immediately above the feed'end of the lower conveyor 14 and deposits the material uniformly across the full width of the lower conveyor 14; Drive mechanism, for example, is indicated at 47 in Fig. 2b, is provided to drive the 'lowerconvcyor 14* in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of the conveyor 13 and the end of the conveyor 14 underlying the discharge end of the conveyor 13 extends outwardly beyond the conveyor 13 to receivethe material discharged therefrom: The conveyor 14 carries the material deposited thereon 'toward the discharge end'of the housing 11" and thedischarge end of the conveyor 14 is inclined upwardly to clevate the material and then deposit the same on the-conveyor: 15which' carriesthe material to further tobacco processing equipment. 7
InFig. 7 there is illustrated one modified conveyor arrangement for processing tobaccoin accordance with the present invention; According tothisembodiment four conveyors 51; 52, 53; and 54' are provided arranged in upper-"andlower sets or pairs with the upper conveyors of eachipain travelingin one direction andthe lower con veyor of each pair traveling in the opposite direction. An oscillating feed conveyor55; similar to the above mentionedfeed -conveyor 16; is aotuatable between'upper and lower limit. positions wherein it deposits the tobacco or otherrmaterialxto be processed on the upper conveyor of the: upper and lower. pairs of conveyors, respectively.
Inroperation, the feed conveyor 55; for example, will first deposit a' uniform layer of tobacco transversely of theaconveyor 53 which travelsin the direction indicated and=transfers the material depositedthereon to the lower conveyor 5 1i After the/conveyors 53 and 54*are completely covered with tohacco they stop operating and the feed conveyor is elevated from the position shown in broken lines to the position-shownin full lines in Fig: 7 whereupon-the material to he processed is deposited on the conveyor 51 and transferred to* the conveyor 52.
While the conveyors-51 and 52are being covered by the material the conveyors 53 and 54 may remain stationary maintaining the tobacco orother material in the airconditioned space. Prior to completely loading the conveyors' 51 and 52; the conveyors 53i and 54*start operatingand transfer the material deposited'thereon to atransverse conveyor 56 which conveys the material to further handlingapparatus- (not shown); The feed'conveyor is then lowered to repeat the process and the material on the' conveyors- 51= and 52' istransferred to a transverse conveyor 57. By this construction thereis' a continuous feed of material to the apparatus anda-continuous removal ofmaterial fromthe apparatus but all of the material will remainstationary in'the'air-conditioned space for-a predetermined period of-time'.
Fig; S iIIustratesa further modified conveyor arrangement for 'treating tobacco or other material. embodiment; an oscillating feed conveyor 61 similar to'= thefeed't conveyors. 16: and 55- deposits a uniform layer of material transversely. of a: reversible: inclined apron conveyor 62. The: conveyor 62 first deposits the material'onan upper conveyor 63 of abank of four spaced parallel superimposed conveyors which transfers thematerial toe-conveyor- 64- at the bottom of: the bank of conveyors. After these conveyors 63 and 64* are COVEICdtWlthl-he material-the direction of. travel ofvthe conveyor 621 is-reversed and I operation of: the conveyors 63 and 64 is stopped maintaining the material deposited In thisthereon stationary in an air-conditioned space. The conveyor 62 then deposits the material on a conveyor 65 which in turn transfers the same to a conveyor 66. Prior to the complete covering of the conveyors 65 and 66, the conveyors 63 and 64 are started thereby discharging the material deposited thereon on a transverse conveyor 67 which carries the material to further handling apparatus (not shown). Upon complete loading of the conveyors 65 and 66, the direction of travel of the conveyor 62 is reversed, repeating the above described process and the conveyors 65 and 66 will maintain the material deposited thereon stationary in the airconditioned space and later discharge the same onto the conveyor 67. Thus, this embodiment will also maintain a continuous rate of discharge of the material being treated while permitting the material to remain stationary in an air-conditioned space for a predetermined period of time.
From the foregoing it will be observed that the present invention provides novel apparatus and processes for bulking cut tobacco to obtain a uniformly conditioned tobacco by passing the same back and forth through an air-conditioned space and at the end of each pass through the air-conditioned space, dropping the tobacco a substantial distance to permit thorough mixing thereof and obtain a uniform condition throughout the tobacco.
While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described herein, it is not intended to limit the invention to such a disclosure and changes and modifications may be incorporated and embodied therein within the scope of the following claims.
1. In apparatus for bulking cut tobacco and similar material comprising, a supporting structure, a conveyor system carried by said supporting structure including a plurality of spaced superimposed conveyors, feed mechanism including a reversible feed conveyor operable in one direction to deposit material on one of said conveyors and in the other direction to deposit material on another of said conveyors, drive means to drive said one and said another conveyors in one direction, a chute extending transversely of said supporting structure adjacent said one conveyor operable to receive material therefrom and transfer the same to a third of said conveyors, a second chute extending transversely of said supporting structure adjacent said another conveyor operable to receive material therefrom and deposit the same on a fourth of said conveyors, drive means to drive said third and said fourth conveyors in a direction opposite to the direction of travel of said one conveyor, and means to remove material from said third and fourth conveyors.
2. In apparatus for bulking cut tobacco and similar material comprising, a supporting structure, means to maintain the atmosphere about said supporting structure at a predetermined temperature and humidity, a conveyor system carried by supporting structure comprising similar upper and lower pairs of superimposed conveyors, drive means operable to drive the conveyors of each pair in opposite directions, a feed conveyor, means operable to raise and lower said feed conveyor between upper and lower limit positions adjacent the upper conveyor of said upper and lower pairs of conveyors respectively, said feed conveyor operable in the upper limit position to feed material to the upper pair of conveyors and in the lower limit position to feed material to the lower pair of conveyors, means to transfer material from the upper conveyor of each pair to the lower conveyor of each pair to thereby convey the material back and forth through the air-conditioned space, and means to remove the material from the lower conveyor of each pair of conveyors.
3. In the method of cooling and conditioning cut tobacco the steps which comprise, forming a uniform layer of tobacco of substantial depth on a pair of superposed conveyor runs mounted in an air-conditioned space by depositing tobacco continuously on the upper of said runs during movement of said run in one direction while the underlying run moves in the opposite direction until said runs have received a uniformly deposited bed of tobacco of substantial depth by reason of such deposit and their movement, thereafter forming a uniform layer of tobacco of substantial depth on a second pair of superposed conveyor runs mounted in said air-conditioned space by depositing tobacco continuously on the upper of said runs during movement of said runs in one direction while the underlying run moves in the opposite direction until said runs have received a uniformly deposited bed of tobacco of substantial depth by reason of such deposit and their movement, the movement of the second pair of conveyor runs being accomplished while the first pair of conveyor runs with their deposited bed of tobacco are stationary and the movement of the first pair of conveyor runs being accomplished While the second pair of conveyor runs with their deposited bed of tobacco are stationary, and deliver ing tobacco from said air-conditioned space from the moving pairs of conveyor runs on which it has been deposited.
4. In apparatus for bulking cut tobacco, a conveyor system comprising a pair of vertically spaced conveyors having horizontally extending conveyor runs in overlapping relationship mounted to receive and transport successively tobacco deposited on the upper of said conveyors, means for simultaneously driving said conveyor runs in opposite directions intermittently, a second pair of vertically spaced conveyors also having horizontally extending conveyor runs in overlapping relationship mounted to receive and transport successively tobacco deposited on the upper conveyor of said second set, means for simultaneously driving said second set of conveyor runs in opposite directions intermittently during the interval when said first set of conveyors are idle, and means for feeding tobacco alternately to the upper conveyor of each of said sets while it is being driven, whereby tobacco fed to each of said conveyor sets is held thereon first during a feeding cycle and then during an idling cycle of that set.
5. In apparatus for bulking tobacco and the like, the combination comprising an endless conveyor having a horizontal conveying run adapted to support a body of tobacco, side guards attached to said endless conveyor and extending upwardly from said conveying run, and stationary side guards inwardly overlapping at their lower ends said conveyor-attached side guards and extending upwardly therebeyond, said upward extensions projecting substantially vertically from their overlapped relation to said conveyor-attached side guards adjacent the tobaccoreceiving end of said conveyor but diverging outwardly therebeyond to provide a pocket adjacent the upper portion of the body of tobacco impelled forwardly upon said conveyor.
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