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Publication numberUS2799414 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 16, 1957
Filing dateOct 31, 1952
Priority dateOct 31, 1952
Publication numberUS 2799414 A, US 2799414A, US-A-2799414, US2799414 A, US2799414A
InventorsStreckfuss Elmer G
Original AssigneeBarry Wehmiller Mach Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Case unloader
US 2799414 A
Images(4)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

CASE UNLOADER 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 31., 1952 INVENTORJ.

1 A BY Agomvays.

J y 6., 19157 E. G. STRECKFUSS 2,799,414

'CASE UNLOADER Filed 001.. 31. l952 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.

ATTURNEYS.

July 16, 1957 E. G. STRECKFUSS 2,79 1

CASE UNLOADER Filed 001;. 31. 1952 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 IN VEN TOR.

ATTORNEYS.

E. G. STRECKFUSS July 16; 1957 CASE UNLOADER 4 Sheet-Sheet 4 Filed Oct. 31,. 1952 6 'JNVENTOR. I

ATTORNEYS.

Elmer G."Streckfuss,Madeira, Ohio, assignor,

United States Patent 2,799,414 7 CASE UNLOADER by mesne assignments, to Barry=Wehmiller Machinery Company,

St. Louis, Mo.

Application October .31, 1952, Serial No. 317,994 9 Claims. I(Cl..21 4309) This invention relates to a case unloader, and more particularly to case unloading apparatus wherein all of the bottles supported in a bottle case are removed therefrom simultaneously.

In bottling plants, bottles are thoroughly washed to render them clean prior to being filled with a beverage. The washing operation is generally carried on in automatic bottle washing apparatus wherein each bottle is supported individually. Bottles are shipped to the bottling plant, whether new or having been previously used, in cases, and the bottles must therefore be removed from the cases before they can be inserted :in the individual supports provided in the bottle washing apparatus. It is desirable that a minimum of time and effort be expended in removing bottles from the cases, :and because the bottle washers have comparatively large :capacilties it is economical to remove the bottles fromithe cases with automatic machinery so that the capacity of the washing machine may be completely utilized. Preferably the number of movements of the case unloader apparatus should be minimized and it is desirable that an entire case be unloaded in a single operation and without malfunctioning of the apparatus under customary conditions.

It is, therefore, an object of this invention to provide case unloading apparatus wherein all of the bottles supported in a case are removed therefrom simultaneously in a single operation of the apparatus. Another object of the invention is to provide case unloading apparatus wherein the entire load of bottles removed from a case are deposited adjacent to a conveyor and the subsequent movement of means bringing a full case of bottles into unloading position pushes the unloaded bottles onto the conveyor. Another object is that of providing a case unloader having a reciprocating head equipped with automatically operable bottle clamps that are effective to grip all of the bottles within a case or cases simultaneously and raise the bottles above case level so that the cases can be removed from the unloading position. Still another object is the provision of a reciprocating platform upon which a loaded case of bottles is moved and the platform then travels to position the loaded case below the case unloader head adapted to remove the bottles from the case and upon unloading of the bottles from the case the head carries the bottles upwardly to a position above the level of the emptycase and the reciprocating platform returns to initial position where the empty case is discharged therefrom. A further object is to provide 'in-case uriloader apparatus a reciprocating unloader head havingclamps adapted to grip bottles to remove them from a case and wherein centering means are provided to insure proper alignment of the bottles with the clamps. Yet a further object ofthe invention is to provide in alignment with the bottle clamps carried by a reciprocating head means for automatically positioning'improperly supported bottles at the required elevation with respect to'the bottle clamps so that the clamps are operative to secur "ly grip all of the bottles'in a-case and thereby prevent malfunctioning of the apparatus.

ice

2 Other objects and advantages will appear as the specification proceeds.

It is believed that my invention may best be understood by referring to an illustrative embodiment thereof in the drawings, in which- Figure l is a diagrammatic perspective view of case unloader apparatus embodying my invention; Figs. 2 through 5 are diagrammatic views showing the sequence of operations during the unloading of bottles from a case and in which Fig. 2 shows a loaded case of bottles being moved into position below the bottle clamping head, Fig. 3 shows the bottle clamping head in lowered position to grasp the bottles supported in a case, Fig. 4 shows the bottle head in raised position while supporting the bottles removed from the case after the case has been moved from initial position into case-unloading position, and Fig. '5 shows the empty case moved from under the bottle clamping head and the clamping head in lowered position to release the bottles removed from the case; Fig. 6'is a top plan view of the unloader head; Fig. 7 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 7-7 of Fig. 6; Fig. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 8-8 of Fig. 6 and showing the bottle clamps in open position; Fig. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken on the line 9-9 of Fig. 6 and showing .the bottle clamps in closed position for supporting the bottles removed from a case; and Fig. 10 is a broken bottom plan view of the unloader head.

The apparatus illustrated in Fig. 1 includes an infeed .or indexing conveyor A, acase unloader output conveyor or bottle washer input conveyor B disposed at right angles to the indexing conveyor A and spaced therefrom, and the :case unloader apparatus (3 arranged in operative relation with the conveyors A and B. The case unloader .0 comprises .a reciprocating infeed platform D for moving loaded .cases of bottles into unloading position below the bottle clamping or removing head E, and adead plate F upon which bottles are deposited .after having been removed from a loaded case.

The infeed or indexing conveyor A includes a table 10 having spaced-apart longitudinally-extending slats 11 over which loaded cases are carried. Push bars 12, having a 'U-shaped ofiset portion 12a adjacent oneend, and extending transversely across .the table :10 are carried by a continuous or endless conveyor chain l3 .and engage cases of bottles upon the :table 10 to carry them axially :thereacross. The endless chain 13 is supported at one end by a sprocket 14 and at .the other .end by a similar sprocket (not'shown). The sprocket 14 is equipped with a gear'or reduced sprocket wheel .15 having mounted thereon a roller chain 16 entrained "at its :opposite end about the drive sprocket :17. The gear or sprocket wheel 1-5 and the sprocket .14 :are both mounted upon an axle 18 :and are rigidly secured thereto so that both of the members rotate together. Thesproc'ket 'l4zdrives theendless chain 13 and is itself driven by the .drive sprocket 17. The :drive sprocket 17 is :rotatably .driven by a pressure fluid cylinder 19 and a reciprocating rod'20 actuated thereby. The rod 20 is equipped :at its outer end with a rack 21 having teeth that mesh with the teeth of a pinion gear 22. Though the rack .21 and pinion gear 22 reciprocate, the drive sprocket 17 is rotated in a single direction by means of a unidirectional .driving clutch 23 .arrangedwith rthe .sprocket 1'7 .and pinion L22. It is apparent that the driving mechanism described :for'powering the sprocket 17 provides zaniintermittent movement Offthfi endless chain 13 and therefore the .cases of bottles moveover the bed or table "10 by the movement :thereof intermittently.

Loaded cases of bottlesare urged onto the reciprocating platform D by the pusher .arms 12. The reciprocating platform D :includes .a bedor platform 24 having mounted thereon a plurality of longitudinally-extending slats 2'5. flEhe v:slats 25 are at the same elevation as the slats 11 a. rigid structure at provided by the indexing conveyor bed or table and substantially abut the same at the ends thereof so that the loaded cases of bottles are easily moved onto the bed 24." The bed 24 is supported upon elongated collars 26 having an axially-extending bore therethrough slidably receiving guide rods 27. The guide rods 27 are horizontally disposed and may be positioned adjacent the side edges of the dead plate P so that movement of the reciprocating platform member D will not be interfered with by the dead plate F. The guide rods 27 are supported upon suitable support members (not shown).

Extending upwardly from the platform 24 at the outer edge thereof is a bracket or case abutment 29 carried on vertical supports 30. The bracket 29 is adapted to engage a loaded case adjacent the lower edge thereof and insure its movement with the reciprocating platform D to position it below the bottle removing head E. It is clear that the elevation of the bracket 29 must be less than the height of the pusher members 12 above the conveyor table 10 and the platform bed 24 so that the pusher members may pass freely above the bracket member.

At its opposite side the bed 24 of the reciprocating platform is'equipped with a combination bottle pusher member and flap retainer 31. The member 31 includes a relatively wide horizontal member 32 having inwardlyturned ends so that a loaded case of bottles with the flap of the case open and disposed downwardly may slide against the member 32 and the flap of the case will be engaged by the flared end of the member 32 and guided into abutting relation with the side wall of the case. The member 31 includes a horizontal guide member 33 that is relatively narrow but otherwise similar to the wide guide member 32. The members 32 and 33 are carried on uprights 34 secured to the inner end of the platform 24. Upon inward movement of the reciprocating platform D the member 31 engages bottles positioned upon the dead plate F and pushes them onto the accumulator or output conveyor B in a manner subsequently described.

The reciprocating platform D is moved between the outer position illustrated in Fig. l and an inner position above the dead plate F by means of a pressure fluid actuated cylinder 35 equipped with an actuating rod 36 secured at its outer end by a bifurcated connector 37 and pin to a lever 38. The lever 38 is pivotally secured to its lower end 39 and at its upper end it is pivotally secured to a link 40 equipped at its outer tached to the platform 24. It is clear that actuation of the rod 36 draws the upper end of the lever 38 inwardly and the platform 24 thereby slides upon the guide rods 27 to a position above the dead plate F. The platform is returned to the position illustrated in Fig. 1 by movement of the rod 36 in the opposite direction. The operations of the actuating cylinders 19 and 35 are interrelated so that the movement of the conveyor chain 13 is interrupted during the period that the reciprocating member D is moved to the inner position above the dead plate F and returned to the outer position illustrated.

The bottle lifting head E reciprocates between a raised position illustrated in Fig. l and a lowered position wherein the jaws of the bottle clamps engage bottles carried in a case or carton. The bottle lifting head E is supported on a pair of upright U-shaped columns 42 that are spaced apart and have secured thereto a pair of horizontal support angles 43 adjacent the upper end and a pair of horizontal support angles 44 adjacent the dead plate F. A U-shaped channel member 45 extends between the spaced upright columns 42 at the upper ends thereof and reinforces these members. Carriedby each of the angle supports 43 and'44 that are secured by rivets or cap screws to the columns 42, are a pair of spaced-apart tubular guides 46. Slidably mounted on each of the tubular guides 46 are cylindrical collars 47 having a longitudinal bore therethrough adapted to receive the tubular; guides 46 and to permit free relative movement end with a pivotally-mounted upright lug 41 rigidly atthereon. A pair of collars 47 adjacent each column 42 are maintained in alignment by a horizontal bracket 48 to which each pair of collars are rigidly secured. An elongated U-shaped support bracket 49 extends between the members 48 and is rigidly secured to these members by means of welding or by other suitable securing means. A smaller U-shaped support member 50 is carried in central alignment upon the upper horizontal surface of the support member 49. The member 50 is welded or otherwise rigidly attached to the U-shaped support member 49 and the channel is equipped with an aperture that is aligned centrally with the 'small U-shaped support member 50. An actuating rod 51 extends through the aperture 52 in the member 45 and at its lower end is attached securely to the support member 50. The actuating rod 51 carries the support members and 49 and also the horizontal members 48 and collars 47 and the unloader head E, and movement of the actuating rod 51 is thereby effective to raise and lower the unloader head E. The length of the rod 51 must be suflicient to provide a stroke for the head E that will permit it to be lowered into bottle-receiving position and raised to lift the bottles clear of the case in which they are packaged. The rod 51 is actuated by a pressure fluid operated cylinder 53 that is mounted upon the upper surface of the horizontal channel support 45.

Interposed between the upper surface of the elongated U-shaped member 49 and the horizontal platform of the U-shaped support member 50 is an expansion bellows of pressure fluid actuated cylinder 54 equipped with an actuating rod or piston 55 extending through an aperture 56 in the horizontal portion of the U-shaped member 49. At its lower end the actuating rod 55 is equipped with a flange 57 rigidly mounted upon an actuating bar member 58 carried by the head E and effective on operation to open the jaws of the bottle-receiving clamps in a manner subsequently described.

Mounted below the unloader head E and in alignment therewith is the dead plate F. The dead plate F may be mounted upon appropriate brackets (not shown) and the only precaution that need be taken is that the support brackets do not interfere with the reciprocating movement of the slide platform D. As seen best in Figs. 2 through 5, the inner end of the dead plate F is scarfed at 59 so that bottles positioned upon the dead plate may be pushed therefrom and into the accumulator conveyor B.

Mounted above the dead plate F and adjacent the side edges thereof are a pair of relatively wide guards 66 and spaced therefrom a pair of smaller guards 61. The guards 60 and 61 are effective to align a bottle case below the unloader head E so that the clamps thereof are in alignment with the bottles supported in the case. The guards 60 and 61 are also effective for holding the opened flaps of cardboard cases against the sides of the case to prevent interference of the flaps with operation of the unloader head. It is noted that the guards 60 and 61 are aligned respectively with the members 32 and 33 carried by the reciprocating table D and the. outer ends of the guards are flared or arcuate to facilitate the sliding of a case therebetween.

The accumulator or discharge conveyor B consists of a conveyor belt or bed 62 that may be wire mesh or other suitable material. The bed 62 is supported on appropriate sprockets one of which, sprocket 63 mounted upon an axle 64 adjacent the dead plate F, is illustrated. Mounted above the conveyor belt or bed 62 and extending longitudinally thereof are guard members 65 that prevent bottles that are carried by the conveyor bed from falling therefrom.

The bottle lifting or case unloader head E (shown best in Figs. 6 through 10) comprises a pair of spaced-apart elongated support bars 66 that are rigidly secured at their opposite ends to the horizontal brackets 48 (Fig. 1). Carried upon each of the bars 66 are a plurality of stationary plateLsupports 67, therev being eight in number meat-14 and these are designated by the references 67a, 67b, 67c, 67d, 67c, 67], 67g and 67h. Each of the support plates 67 is equipped with a laterally-extending flange 68 secured to the support member 66 by cap screws 69. Each of the members 67 is provided adjacent its upper end with an elongated slot 70 that are all in alignment and receive therethrough an operating bar or shaft member 71. The shafts 71 are free to move vertically in the elongated slots 70 and at their ends the operating bars 71 are equipped with connector collars 72 that are carried on opposite ends of connector rods 73. The connector bars or rods 73 are carried by the actuator bar 58 (Fig. l) and up and down movement of the bar 58 is effective to move the connectors 73, members 72, and operating shafts or bars 71 up and down within the limits provided by the elongated recesses 70 of the plate supports 67. At intervals along the operating shafts 71 are collars 74 that are secured to the shafts 71 by set screws 75. The collars 74- are recessed on their under sides and receive therein one end of coil springs 76, and the other end of the coil springs are received in an aligned recess provided in strap members 77 that extend transversely of the support bars 66 and are secured thereto by screws 78. The coil springs 76 are operative to bias the operating shafts 71 in the upward direction inwhich the jaws of the bottle-receiving clamps, to be later described, are in closed position.

Each of the support plates 67 has a pair of laterallyturned foot portions 79 at their lower end and these are secured to the stationary jaw 80, by cap screws 81, of the bottle clamps which are designated generally by the numeral 82. The stationary jaws of the bottle clamps are formed in elongated sections to receive in each section three bottles. The stationary sections are eight in number and are designated by the numerals 80a, 80b, 80c, 80d, 80e, 80 80g and 80h.

The moving portions 'or jaws of the bottle clamps are also eight in number and are formed in sections to mate with the stationary jaws 80 of the clamps and are designated by the numerals 83a, 83b, 83c, 83d, 83c, 83 83g and 8311. The moving jaws83 are carried upon laterallyturned foot portions 84, by means of cap screws 85, of angular operating levers 86 which are sixteen in number (two arranged with each stationary plate support 67) and are designated by the characters 36a, 86b, 86c, 86d, 86e, 86f, 86g, 86h, 861, 86 86k, 861, 86m, 8611, 860 and 86p. Each of the angular levers 86 is provided with an elongated slot 87 that is angularly disposed with respect to the slots 70 provided by the plate supports 67. The operating shafts 71 are carried in the slots 87 and, since each of the levers 86 is pivotally secured by a .cap screw 88 and bearing 89 to the plate supports 67, vertical movement of the operating shafts 71 is efiective to pivot the levers 86 about the cap screw 88 to open the movable .jaws 83 of the bottle clamps 82. The jaws are closed when the shafts 71 are in raised position and, because of the biasing action upon the shafts of the springs 78, the jaws of the bottle clamps are normally closed.

By reference to Fig. it is seen that the bottle clamps 82 formed by the stationary sections or jaws 80 and the movable sections or jaws 83 each form three spaced-apart bottle-receiving clamps or stations. Each station consists of an oval-shaped opening formed by arcuate inclined portions 90 in each of the jaws. The incline permits bottles of various shapes and sizes to be received between the jaws while shoulders 91 adjacent the upper ends of the tapered portion .permit the jaws to grasp the bottles at the enlarged heads thereof.

Bottle centering buttons 91a are provided adjacent the lower edges of the jaws 80 and 83 and these are effective to align the bottles with the jaw openings so that the bottles properly enter therebetween. It is clear from Fig. 10 that the centering buttons 91a have three separate sizes, depending upon the locationof the button. Those adjacent the corners of the jaw sections are relatively small while those interposed between the ends are much 6 larger .and serve as a guide portion for two adjoining clamping stations. In the very .center of the head the buttons are parabolic in .shapeand each serves as a partial centering guide for four adjacent bottle-receiving sta-.

tions. In :all cases the centering buttons are arcuate and have a convex configuration that extends over a small portion of the clamping station. All of the centering buttons 91a, with the exception of the large parabolic buttons, are carried upon a perimetric frame 92. Preferably .the centering buttons are secured to the .frame 92 by small screws, although other means of attachment will serve this purpose. The perimetric frames 92 are each equipped with cross members 93 which are rigidly attached to the perimetric .frames and the cross members 93 in turn are firmly anchored to the stationary plate members 67 by means of the laterally-turned foot supports 79 and cap screws 81. For added strength the central .perimetric frame 92 also equipped with a longi- -tudinally-extending strap .94 that also-provides amounting :for the parabolic centering buttons.

Referring particularly to .Fig. .8, it is seen that the lifting head is equipped with a plurality of bottle-positioning members 95, one for each of the bottle-receiving stations (twenty-four in vnumber when the head is designed to remove bottles from cases having twenty-four bottles therein). The members 95 consist of an annular flange 96 carried upon an upwardly-extending shaft 97 received within passages provided by the strap members 77. The upper ends of the :shafts have a threaded recess therein that receives a flat-headed screw 98 drawn tightly against a washer 99. The shaft 97 is free to slide within the passage provided by the straps 77 and a coil spring 100 biases the annular flange .and rod 97 in the down position. These members are operative when a bottle is improperly supported in a case and extends above the elevation of the other bottles within the case. Thismay happen, for example, if a bottle cap or some other foreign matter is positioned below a bottle when within the case. If this occurs (as seen in Fig. 8) the head .01" crown ring of the bottle engages the annular member 96 and pushes it upwardly with the result that the coil spring 100 is-compressed. When the bottle-lifting head E is then raised, the-coil spring 100 is effective to force the flange 96 downwardly and thereby to push the bottle thereunder downwardly until it is at the same elevation as the other bottles. The closing of the movable clamp jaw is then not limitedby the enlarged shoulder of the bottle, wherein all of the jaws would be held partially open, and the jaws will then be operative to grasp and secure a bottle therebetween.

Operation It is believed that the operation of the case unloader apparatus will best be understood by particular reference to Figs. 2 through 5, wherein the sequence of operations are illustrated diagrammatically. Both cases and bottles are illustrated in these figures for the purpose of adding definiteness to the discussion. The cases will be designated by the numeral 101 and the bottles are given the numerical reference 102. The cases are equipped with flaps designated by the numeral 103.

Cases 101 having a plurality of bottles 102 supported therein are placed upon the indexing conveyor bed 10, either manually or mechanically, and are moved along the stationary bed .10 by the pusher bars 12 which are supported upon the endless chain .13 at intervals. Eventually in the operation a case loaded with bottles is pushed by one of the pusher bars 12 onto the platform 24 of the reciprocating member D and the movement. of the endless chain 13 is then interrupted. The power cylinder .35 is then actuated and the lever 38 is pivoted about its lower end 39 to move the platform 24 inwardly. In Fig. 2 the cylinder 35 has been actuated and the reciprocating member D has moved partially over the dead plate F. The platform 24 is moved completely inwardly to a position above the dead plate F and in alignment with the unloader head E positioned thereabove.

After the platform 24 is over'the dead plate F, the pressure fluid actuated cylinder 53 (Fig. 1) is actuated to move the case unloader head E downwardly. At the same time, the air cylinder 54 is operated to move the actuating bar 58 downwardly so as to press against the operating rod or shaft 71 and cause the jaws of the bottle clamps to open. The opening of the bottle clamping iawsoccurs prior to the time that the head E reaches the lower limits of its stroke and when the lowermost position is reached the head has traveled into the case 101, as seen in Fig. 3, and the bottles 102 are received between the jaws 80 and 83 of the bottle clamps. The actuating cylinder 53 is then operated in the reverse direction to lift or raise the case unloader head E and at the same time "the air cylinder 54 is deactuated to permit the movable jaws of the bottle clamps to return to the inward or clamping position under the action of the coil springs 76 .(Fig.- 7) pushing upwardly upon the operating rods 71. At the upper limit of the stroke the head E has raised the bottles above the case 101, as is clearly illustrated in Fig. 4. In the next operation the reciprocating member D is returned to the initial position upon actuation of the operanng cylinder 35 in a reverse direction to move the empty case back into alignment with the pusher bars 12. At the same time, the operating cylinder 53 is again actuated to move the head E in a down direction to deposit thebottles 102 upon the dead plate F. This operation is made clear by reference to Fig. 5. At this point the air cylinder 54 is again actuated to open the movable jaws 83 of the bottle clamps and the head E is then drawn upwardly upon actuation of the cylinder 53 in a reverse direction. During the entire sequence of operations involving the raising and lowering of the case unloader head l3, as. just described, the endless chain 13 is immobilized and there is no movement of cases 101 along the indexing conveyor bed 10. p

The endless chain 13 is again actuated and a pusher bar 12 discharged the empty case onto a suitable conveyor (not shown) for removing the empty cases. At the same time another case of bottles is moved upon the platform 24 of the reciprocating member D and the sequence of operations has gone through a complete cycle. The bottles 102 removed from a case and deposited on the dead plate F are pushed from the dead plate and onto the moving belt or bed 62 of the accumulator conveyor B by the inward movement of the reciprocating table D. I

To facilitate pushing of the bottles 102 from the dead plate F, the combination flap holders and pusher members 32 and 33 are provided and these members abut the bottles adjacent thereto throughout a substantial portion of the, bottle height, and insure that the bottles are pushed onto the accumulator conveyor bed 62 without being overturned so as to interrupt the automatic operation of the entire apparatus. These members are also effective to hold the flaps 103 of the case 101 downwardly,

as illustrated in Figs. 2 through 5, so that they do not interfere with the operation of the unloader head E.

In the operation of the case unloader head E, the expansion bellows 54 is operative to push the actuator bar 58 downwardly and since it is carried by the connector rods73 at opposite ends of the case unloader head, these members are moved downwardly and they in turn force the operating shafts 71 downwardly against the biasing action of the springs 76 which normally hold the shafts inup position. The operating shafts 71 are free to move vertically within the limits established by the elongated recesses 70 of each of the stationary support plates 87. The shafts 71 are also, as previously described, carried in the. recesses 87 of the angular levers 86. Downward movement of the shafts 71, therefore, pivots, the levers a case, and a fiat plate 86 about the point of their pivotal connection with the support plates 67. The levers carry the movable jaws 83 of the bottle clamps while the stationary plates 67 carry the stationary jaws of the bottle clamps and therefore pivotal movement of the levers 86 causes the jaws of the bottle clamps to open so that bottle heads may be inserted therebetween. Upward movement of the shafts 71 is of course effective to move the jaws together and bottles interposed between the stationary and moving jaws of the bottle clamps are securely held thereby.

In the event that one or more of the bottles supported in a case have their heads positioned above the elevation of the remaining bottles, when the unloader head E is moved downwardly and into the case during the removal operation, the raised bottles will engage the bottle positioners and compress the helical springs arranged therewith. When the expansion bellows 54 is then deenergized, the clamps cannot close about the bottles because the enlarged portion of any raised bottle interposed between the jaws of the clamping members will prevent the jaws from closing sufficiently to engage the relatively small heads of all of the bottles positioned at normal elevation. This follows from the fact that bottles taper downwardly and outwardly and enlarge sharply below the head. If this difliculty occurs, upon raising of the unloader head E thehelical spring 100 will quickly push the raised bottle downwardly through engagement with the flange 96 and all of the clamps will be permitted to close and secure the bottles received therein.

The bottle centering buttons 91a have been found effective for centering bottles improperly supported in the cases at relatively sharp pitch. Upon the lowering of the case unloader head E, the long sloping shoulders of the centering buttons engage a sharply-pitched bottle and effectively move it to center with respect to the clamping stations or openings formed by the jaws, and the jaws are then effective to secure the misaligned as well as the other bottles in the case.

Although for purposes of simplifying the illustrations unloader apparatus having but a single head and therefore a capacity sufiicient to unload only one case of hottles at a time has been shown, it is apparent and contemplated that a number of heads may be joined in a single apparatus so that a plurality of cases may be simultaneously unloaded. The operating head, or heads in the case of a multiple installation, may be arranged to unload bottles of various sizes. In the illustration a bottle unloading head is shown that is capable of removing twenty-four bottles simultaneously from a case having twenty-four bottles supported therein. However, the head may be adapted to unload cases supporting twelve and thirty-six bottles therein.

While in the foregoing specification I have set forth a specific embodiment of the invention for purposes of illustration, it will be apparent that the details set forth may be varied considerably by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention.

1 claim:

1. In case unloader apparatus, an unloader head equipped with bottle clamps selectively operable to open for receiving and discharging bottles while being adapted when closed to support bottles therein, said head being movably mounted and cyclically operable between a lowered and a raised position for unloading bottles from aligned with said head for receiving bottles discharged from the bottle clamps when said head is in lowered position in one phase of its cycle of operation, and a movable platform normally being spaced laterally of said plate but being movable iclhereover to position a loaded case of bottles under said cad.

2. In case unloader apparatus, an unloader head equipped with bottle clamps having at least one movable jaw selectively operable to open for receiving and discharging bottles while being adapted when closed to gripand support bottles, said head being movably mounted for sequential operation between raised and lowered positions, means for opening each movable jaw of said clamp when said head is lowered while closing each jaw when said head is raised, a horizontal dead plate mounted below said head and aligned therewith for receiving bottles discharged from the bottle clamps when said head is in lowered position in one phase of its sequential operation, and a movable platform normally being spaced laterally of said plate but being movable thereover to position a loaded case of bottles under said head.

3. In case unloader apparatus, a case unloader head mounted for vertical movement and equipped with a plurality of stationary jaws and a plurality of mating movable jaws forming together a plurality of bottle clamps, power means arranged with said movable jaws for opening the same when said head is in lowered position, means for closing said movable jaws when said head is raised, and a horizontal dead plate positioned below said head and in alignment therewith for receiving bottles released by said clamps when said head is lowered during one phase of its cycle of operation, and a movable platform normally being spaced laterally of said plate but being movable thereover to position a loaded case of bottles under said head.

4. Case unloader apparatus, comprising an unloader head equipped with bottle clamps selectively operable to open in lowered position for receiving and discharging bottles and to close to support bottles therein, said head being movably mounted and cyclically operable between a lowered and a raised position for unloading bottles from a case, a movably-mounted platform adapted to receive bottle cases thereon, means for moving said platform between an outer position and an inner position below said head and aligned therewith, means for moving cases loaded with bottles onto said platform and for removing empty cases therefrom, means for lowering said head when a loaded case of bottles is moved by said platform into a position therebelow for removing bottles from said case, and a flat plate aligned with said head for receiving bottles discharged from the bottle elamps thereof when said head is in lowered position after lifting bottles from a case in another phase of its operation.

5. Apparatus for unloading bottles from cases, comprising .a movably-mounted platform selectively movable between an outer position and an inner position, means for moving cases loaded with bottles onto said platform and for removing empty cases therefrom, a stationary plate adjacent said platform and adapted to be covered by said platform when the platform is moved to its inner position, convey-or means adjacent said plate and adapted to receive bottles therefrom, a case unloader head mounted for vertical movement and aligned with said plate, said head being equipped with bottle clamps, means for opening said clamps when said head is in lowered position to receive and discharge bottles and for closing said clamps when said head is in raised position for supporting bottles in the clamps, and means for raising and lowering said head in timed relation with the movement of said platform for lifting bottles from loaded cases carried by said platform and for depositing them upon said plate.

6. 'In apparatus for unloading bottles from cases, a

movably-mounted platform selectively movable between an outer position and an inner position, means for moving cases loaded with bottles onto said platform and for removing unloaded cases therefrom when the platform is in the outer position, :a plate adjacent said platform and being adapted to be covered by said platform when the platform is moved to its inner position, means adjacent said platform for receiving bottles therefrom, a case unloader head mounted for vertical movement and being aligned with said plate, said head being equipped with means for receiving and discharging bottles when in lowered position and for supporting bottles when in raised position, and means for raising and lowering said head in timed relation with the movement of said platform for lifting bottles from loaded cases carried by said platform and for depositing them upon said plate.

7. In case unloader apparatus, a movably-mounted platform selectively movable between an outer position and an inner position, means for moving cases loaded with articles onto said platform and for removing unloaded cases therefrom when the platform is in its outer position, a plate adjacent said platform and being adapted to be covered by said platform when the platform is moved to its inner position, conveyor means adjacent said plate and being adapted to receive articles therefrom, case unloader means operative to remove articles from loaded cases, to support the same after removal from their cases and thereafter to release the articles, and means for raising and lowering said unloader means in timed relation with the movement of said platform for lifting articles from loaded cases carried by said platform and for depositing them upon said plate.

8. The structure of claim 7 in which said platform is equipped with pusher means for pushing articles from said plate and onto said conveyor means when said platform is moved to its inner position.

9. In case unloader apparatus, a movably mounted platform selectively movable between an outer position and an inner position, a plate adjacent said platform and being adapted to be covered by said platform when the platform is moved to its inner position, means for moving cases containing articles onto said platform and for removing the unloaded cases therefrom when the platform is in its outer position, means adjacent said plate adapted to receive articles therefrom, unloader means operative to remove articles from a case on said platform, to support the same after removal from the case, and thereafter to release the articles upon said plate, and means for reciprocating said unloader means between a supporting position spaced from said plate and to a released position above said plate, said lastmentioned means operating in timed relation to the movement of said platform.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2934218 *Jun 18, 1957Apr 26, 1960RenaultAutomatic device for transferring workpieces from one machine-tool to another
US3106048 *Feb 2, 1959Oct 8, 1963American Mach & FoundryApparatus for depanning, slicing, dispensing and packaging baked articles
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US3395784 *Oct 12, 1966Aug 6, 1968Joseph S. KanarekAutomatic device for counting articles and dividing the same into groups
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US3985507 *Sep 5, 1975Oct 12, 1976International Business Machines CorporationAutomatic test sample handling system
US4302919 *Mar 23, 1979Dec 1, 1981Hartness International, Inc.Case centering device
US4395069 *Aug 6, 1981Jul 26, 1983E. P. Remy Et Cie.Pincers-type gripper for seizing objects and gripping head equipped with such grippers
US4946340 *Sep 30, 1988Aug 7, 1990Simplimatic Engineering CompanyDunnage handling system
US6589008 *Oct 2, 2001Jul 8, 2003Advanced Manufacturing TechnologyContainer handling device and method
DE1201245B *Jul 2, 1957Sep 16, 1965RenaultVorrichtung zum Foerdern eines Werkstueckes
Classifications
U.S. Classification414/416.5, 53/247, 198/429
International ClassificationB65B21/18, B65B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B21/18
European ClassificationB65B21/18