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Publication numberUS2873018 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 10, 1959
Filing dateSep 13, 1956
Priority dateSep 13, 1956
Publication numberUS 2873018 A, US 2873018A, US-A-2873018, US2873018 A, US2873018A
InventorsDudley Edmond R, Quast John H
Original AssigneePeerless Equipment Company
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Can handling apparatus
US 2873018 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 10, 1959 E. R. DUDLEY ETAL 2,873,013

CAN HANDLING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1956 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 JOHN H QUAST QULJ 61 A T TORNE V 3 INVENTORS g EDm/VD R. DUDLEY In (\I Feb. 10, 1959 E. R. DUDLEY ETAL 2,873,013

CAN HANDLING APPARATUS Filed Sept. 13, 1956 v 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS EDMOND R DUDLEY JOHN H. QUAST A TTORNEY CAN HANDLING APPARATUS Edmond R. Dudley and John H. Quast, Santa Clara, Calit'., assignors to Peerless Equipment Company, Mountain View, Calif., a corporation of California Application September 13, 1956, Serial No. 609,646

12 'Claims. (Cl. 198-43) This invention relates to apparatus for handling cans. More particularly, it relates to apparatus for automatically feeling the ends of cans for such purposes as sensing which ends of the cans are coded, for the ultimate purpose of arranging the cans with their coded ends in one plane. However, the machine of our invention has other applications, as will be apparent from the ensuing description and the appended claims.

It is customary among food canners to code the ends of cans by stamping code numbers on one end of each can to indicate the date on which the can was filled and/or to convey other information. The coded information is in the form of depressions in the metal; i. e., it is in the form of surface irregularities.

It is customary in grocery markets to stamp prices on the ends of cans. Thus, a grocer will open a case of canned food and, with the cans still in the carton, he will stamp his retail price on the exposed ends of the cans, employing a rubber stamp or the like for the purpose. The stamped cans may be left in their cases or they may be removed and stacked on shelves. Such practice is convenient for the customer and for the checker.

It is evident that the exposed ends of cans in a carton will have a random distribution with respect to the coded ends. Thus, on the average half of the cans in a case will have their coded ends uppermost and the remaining half will have their uncoded ends uppermost.

It is a troublesome problem to a grocer that half the exposed can ends in each open carton are coded. The irregular surfaces of the coded ends do not receive the impression of a rubber stamp as readily as the smooth surfaces of uncoded can ends. It would be a convenience to grocers if all cans were arranged in cartons with their uncoded ends uppermost.

Heretofore, to our knowledge, no practicable automatic means has been provided for arranging cans in cartons with their coded ends down and their uncoded ends up. This result can be accomplished by hand, but hand operation would be laborious and expensive.

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide automatic means for arranging cans in cartons, all with their uncoded ends uppermost, such means being speedy and efficient in its operation and being capable of accomplishing the can orientation economically.

It is a further and broader object of the invention to provide automatic can sensing apparatus which is capable of feeling the ends or other surfaces of cans and other similar objects, to sense information thereon which is in the form of surface irregularities, and to segregate, rearrange or otherwise manipulate the cans in accordance with such information.

It is a particular object of the invention to provide a machine through which filled cans with coded ends can be passed at high speed, such apparatus having means for feeling the ends of cans as they pass, sensing which are the coded ends, and then rearranging the cans with their coded ends in a single plane.

United States Patent These and other objects of the invention will be apparent from the ensuing description and the appended claims.

One form of the invention is illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is an end view of a can showing the end coding thereof and also other features of a can end which should be taken into account to accomplish the objects of the invention.

Figure 2 is a fragmentary view in side elevation of a can sensing and orienting machine embodying the principles of the present invention.

Figure 3 is a detailed view, partly in top plan and partly in horizontal section, showing the can sensing element of the present invention.

Figure 4 is a view in end elevation of the machine of Figure 2 as seen along the line 44 of Figure 2.

Figure 5 is a diagrammatic drawing of the control circuit of the machine of the present invention.

Figure 6 is a diagrammatic view of a two station embodiment of the invention.

Referring now to the drawings, and primarily to Figures 1 and 3, a can is shown at 10 comprising a can end 11 which is joined to a can body 12 by means of a rolled end seam or rim 13. The can end 11 is shown in Figure l as being formed with a concentric ring or annular rib 14 and with a fiat, central portion 15 of circular configuration. Coding is shown at 16 and is indicated arbitrarily by the letters ABC. The purpose of such coding is explained above, and it is impressed upon the can by stamping. Accordingly, the coded end shown in Figures 1 and 3 has a centrally located surface irregularity in addition to the irregularities presented by the rim 13 and annulus 14. One purpose of the machine of the present invention is to sense which end of each can is coded.

This selective sensing function is accomplished by a sensing element 17 in cooperation with other elements of a control circuit which is shown in Figure 5.

Referring now more particularly to Figures 2 and 4, the sensing element 17 is incorporated in a machine which is generally designated by the reference numeral 18. Cans are separated by the machine 18 according to the location of their coded ends and the separated cans are delivered to an outlet system which is generally designated by the reference numeral 19. The machine 18 is the same in all respects except the sensing element 17 and the associated control circuit, as the machine described and claimed in copending application Serial No. 56l,465, filed January 26, 1956, by one of us (Edmond R. Dudley) entitled Can Separator. The machine 18 comprises a frame on which are mounted can supporting rails 25 on which the rims 13 rest and on which the cans roll. Screw operated means is provided at 26 to vary the spacing of the rails 25 to accommodate cans of different length. End guide rails are provided at 27 to maintain the cans in registry with the supporting rails 25. Can; 10 are moved with a rolling motion along the rails 25 from left to right as viewed in Figure 2, by means including an electric motor 28, its pulley 29, a belt 30, a pulley 31, a shaft 32 journaled in the frame of the machine. a pulley 33 and a belt 34. Tensioning means is provided by idler pulleys, one of which is shown at 35 in Figure 2, each such pulley being pivotally mounted on the frame of the machine, being yieldably urged against the belt 34 by a spring and being adjustably held in position by screw means shown at 41. Screw means are employed at 410 to adjust the position of the drive pulleys 33.

Upon inspection of Figure 2, it will be seen that there is a gap at 25a in the support rails 25, such gap defining a drop-out station which is generally designated by the reference numeral 42. The gap 25a is normally filled by drop-out blades 43, 44 and 45, which provide a continuation of support rails 25. The blades 43, 44 and 45 are of known type; they are described in detail in the aforesaid copending application; and they require no further description herein except to note that solenoid 46 is employed to operate the first and largest of the blades, which is designated by the reference numeral 43.

As is known, and as described in detail in the afore- Said copending application, the second and third blades 44 and 45 are normally held in registry with the support rails by their resilient mountings indicated at 44a and 45a, respectively. The first blade 43 is normally held in can supporting position, i. e., in registry with its rail 25, by the solenoid 46 as long as the solenoid is de-cnergized. When the solenoid 46 is energized it moves the blade 43 outwardly, thereby retracting it from the respective support rail 25 and allowing a can to fall. The configuration of the blades 44 and 45 are such that they are moved outwardly by the weight of the falling can.

It will, of course, be understood that a similar set of blades 43, 44 and 45 are located on the opposite side of the machine in conjunction with the other support rail 25 and that they are operated by a similar solenoid The outlet system 19 shown in Figure 2 comprises a chute 47, the upper, left-hand end of which is in registry with the gap 25a and the drop-out station 42. Accordingly, it will be apparent that all cans dropped at the drop-out station 42 will fall into and roll down the chute 47. Those cans which are not dropped at the dropout station 42 enter a can twister 48 which twists the cans endwise through an angle of 180. It will, therefore, be apparent that if all cans having their coded ends in the plane facing the viewer, i. e., on the left-hand side of the machine as viewed in Figure 4, are dropped at the drop-out station 42, then all cans having their coded ends oppositely disposed (on the right as viewed in Figure 4), will be twisted 180 by the twister element 48. Hence all of the cans will be delivered to the bottom of the chute 47 with their coded ends in the same plane.

It will, therefore, be evident that some means will be required to feel the ends of the cans; to sense which end of each can is coded; and to operate the drop-out station 42 accordingly. The sensing element 17 and the control circuit of Figure 5 are employed for this purpose. The sensing element 17 will now be described with reference to Figure 3.

The sensing element 17 is supported by a leaf spring which is fixed at one end to the frame of the machine.

Near the other end of the leaf spring 55 is fixed a protective container or can 56 within which is disposed a permanent magnet 57 through which extends a screw 58 of nonmagnetic material which also passes through an end plate 59. At its inner end the screw 58 is thread ed into a ferromagnetic core 60, to the extreme inner end of which is fixed a round headed rivet or screw 61 of hard wearing, steel construction to serve as a wearing and contact member or button. It will be seen that the inner end of the magnetic core 60 extends through the leaf spring 55 and that the contact member 61 projects somewhat beyond the end of the magnetic core 60. Hence the contact member 61 is the element which is in actual, physical contact with the cans 10 as they roll past. The magnetic core 60 is wound with conductive winding 62 which is encased in a protective covering 63. Wires 64 are connected to opposite ends of the winding 62.

Referring now to Figure 5, it will be seen that the wires 64 are connected to the primary winding 65 of a transformer 70, one of these wires being so connected through a normally open switch 71. The switch 71 is also shown in Figure 4, and it is precisely located at the drop-out station 42 in a position and for a purpose which will be explained hereinafter.

Cir

The secondary or output coil 72 of the transformer is connected to wires 73 which, in turn, are connected through a resistor 74 and a condenser 75 to the control grid 76 of an electron tube 77. The latter is preferably an electron tube of the type known as RCA 502A thyratron. However, other forms of amplifier may be used to amplify the small current induced in the transformer output. The elements of the tube 77 consist of the aforementioned control grid 76, a filament 78, a cathode 79, a screen grid 80 and a plate 81.

Power is supplied to the circuit through wires 82 and 83. The wire 82 is connected through a variable resistor 84 to the control grid 76 and through a resistor 85 connected in parallel to resistor 84, to the cathode 79. The purpose of the resistors 84 and 85 is to provide a proper negative grid bias which can be controlled and adjusted by the variable resistor 84.

The plate 81 of the thyratron tube 77 is connected to one terminal of the coil of a relay 91 which operates the contacts 92 of the above-mentioned solenoid 46. The other terminal of the coil 90 is connected through a nor mally closed switch 93 to the other power lead 83. A condenser 94 is connected parallel to the relay 91 for a pu rposeexplained hereinafter. The resistor 95 functions as part of the voltage divider and to maintain a proper bias on the screen grid of tube 77 while the latter is not operating.

In operation the control system functions as follows: That branch of the circuit which includes the thyratron tube 77 is normally open. and de-energized by reason of the negative bias on the control grid 76. However, when current passes through the primary winding 65 of the transformer 70 the output of the transformer is impressed upon the control grid 76 and causes the tube 77 to operate. When the tube 77 operates the relay 91 is energized, thereby closing the contacts 92 and energizing the solenoid 46 which operates the drop-out blade 43. The dropout station 42 is, therefore, opened to drop a can into the chute 47. When the blade 43 opens it opens the switch 93 which extinguishes the tube 77. The condenser 94 serves to operate the relay 91 for a suflicient length of time after the tube 77 is extinguished.

As noted above, the normally open switch 71 is located at the drop-out station 42. It is located precisely, so that it is closed by a can 10 only when such can is centered in relation to the contact member 61 of the sensing element 17 (see Figure 3). That is, the switch 71 closes only when the contact member 61 is in contact with the central portion 15 of a can end 11. Accordingly, any voltage induced in the winding 62 before and after a passing can is centered in relation to the contact member 61, is ineffective to energize the thyratron tube 77. The switch 71 is, therefore, a coincidence element and it imposes upon the apparatus the condition that a can end must have a surface irregularity and that the irregularity must be centered.

The significance of this coincidence feature is as follows: From an inspection of Figures 1 and 3, it will be apparent that the contact member 61 will vibrate each time it contacts a can rim 13 and each time it contacts an annulus 14. It will be apparent, therefore, that the contact member 61 will vibrate several times during passage of a single can through the drop-out station 42. However, these vibrations can have no effect on the tube 77 because meanwhile the switch 71 remains open. However, when a can 10 is in the centered position shown in Figures 2 and 3, the switch 71 will be closed and the circuit is in a proper condition for energization. This feature, therefore, excludes all exciting surface irregularities except that which is desired.

Assume, now, that the uncoded end of a can 10 sweeps past the sensing element 17. As it reaches centered position the switch 71 will be closed, but since the contact member 61 engages a smooth surface it will not vibrate sufficiently for the purpose at hand. However, assume that a can sweeps past with its coded end in contact with the contact member 61. The characters of the coding, i. e., the irregular surface of the can end, will cause the contact member 61 to vibrate. The density of magnetic flux in the core 60 is therefore changed. This condition creates a fluctuating magnetic field which, of course, will induce an electric voltage in the winding 62, which is transmitted through the wires 64 as an alternating voltage to the primary winding 65 of the transformer 70. This will induce a voltage in the secondary coil 72 which is impressed upon the control grid 76 of the thyratron tube 77. The same effect can be obtained by mounting the core 60 or the coil 62 to oscillate by vibratory contact with a can end.

As stated above the variable resistor 84 will have been adjusted so that normally the thyratron tube 77 is not operating. The adjustment is such, however, that the small voltage induced electromagnetically as described above will actuate the tube and cause it to operate.

It will, therefore, be apparent that the sensing element 17 in conjunction with the control circuit of Figure will operate each time a can passes by which presents its coded end to the sensing element 17. The drop-out mechanism will therefore operate to drop the can into the chute 47. It will also be apparent that all the cans whose coded ends are on the opposite side of the machine, will enter the twister 48, will be twisted 180 and will be delivered to the chute 47 with their coded ends aligned with the coded ends of the cans dropped at 42.

In the drawings only one drop-out station is illustrated, that being sufiicient to sense the coded ends of cans supplied to the machine and to deliver cans to an outlet with their coded ends in alignment. If other operations are to be performed which require a greater number of sensing operations, a correspondingly greater number of drop-out stations and sensing means will be employed. Thus, referring to Figure 6, two cans a and 10b are shown whose ends 11a and 11b, respectively, are differently coded. The coding in this instance differs from the alphabetical or numerical coding shown at 16 in Figure l, and it consists of circular indentations 100a or 100b, respectively. These circular codings are concentric to the can ends but they have different diameters, hence are differently spaced from the can rims. It is this spacing which constitutes the coding. For example, the can 1011 may contain peas, the larger diameter of the coding circle 100a so indicating; whereas the can 10b may contain tomatoes, the smaller diameter of the coding circle 10% so indicating. A normally open coincidence switch 71a is provided at a drop-out station 42a, which is closed only when a can is at the position shown at 10a in Figure 6. A similar normally open coincidence switch 71b is provided at the drop-out station 42b which, however, is so located that it will be closed by a can in the position shown at 1011 in Figure 6. Associated with the elements described above and shown diagrammatically in Figure 6 will be sensing elements such as that shown at 17 in Figure 3, drop-out blades, solenoids for operating the leading drop-out blades 43 and suitable circuits such as that shown in Figure 5.

It will, therefore, be apparent that each time a can such as that shown at 10a coded in the manner indicated at 100a, sweeps by the station 42a, it will close the switch 71a and the coding circle 100a will vibrate and operate the respective sensing element 17 and control circuit. Cans 10a will, therefore, drop out at station 420. Cans 10b will pass through the station 42a without dropping but, upon reaching the station 4211, a similar sequence of events will occur and they will drop out at that station.

The system illustrated in Figure 6 can be organized and operated in various ways. Thus, the cans can be coded at both ends, to eliminate the need for sensing elements on both sides of the machine. Alternatively, sensing elements may be installed on both sides of the machine. Alternatively an end code sensing machine such as shown in Figures 2 and 3 may be employed to arrange all the cans with their circular codes in the same plane. The oriented cans may then be passed through the machine of Figure 6 to effect product separation.

It will, therefore, be apparent that a can sensing mechanism and can handling system have been provided which permit a variety of selective operations upon cans, such as sensing which ends are coded alphabetically or numerically in accordance with conventional cannery practice, and then arranging all of the cans with their coded ends in the same plane. The mechanism is also adaptable to other sensing, separating, segregating, unscrambling or organizing operations. The machine is capable of operating at high speed and is quite dependable in its operation.

We claim:

1. Apparatus of the character described comprising a guideway for guiding cans or the like along a defined path and sensing means for sensing end coding on the cans, such coding being in the form of surface irregularities, said sensing means comprising a sensing element at a sensing station located along said path and having a contact member resiliently mounted to contact an end of each can as it passes by said sensing station and to vibrate in response to surface irregularities on such can ends; said sensing means also including electromagnetic means for inducing an electromotive force in response to such vibration.

2. Apparatus of the character described adapted to sense information encoded on can surfaces, such encoded information being in the form of surface irregularities, said apparatus comprising a contact member and means supporting said contact member at a sensing station to brush the surfaces of cans as they pass said station and to make and break contact with the can surfaces at points of irregularity; said apparatus also comprising electromagnetic means for inducing a flow of electric current in response to such making and breaking of contact.

3. Apparatus of the character described adapted to sense information encoded on can surfaces, such encoded information being in the form of surface irregularities, said apparatus comprising a contact member and means supporting said contact member at a sensing station to brush the surfaces of cans as they pass said station and to make and break contact with the can surfaces at points of irregularity; said apparatus also comprising a magnetic core and a conductive winding magnetically coupled with said core, the magnetic field of said core being affected by contact of said contact member with a can and fluctuating a said member makes and breaks contact with a can.

4. Apparatus of the character described adapted to sense information encoded on the ends of cans, such encoded information being in the form of surface irregularities impressed upon can ends, said apparatus comprising a contact member and means supporting said contact member at a sensing station to brush the surfaces of cans as they pass said station and to make and break contact with the can surfaces at points of irregularity; said apparatus also comprising electromagnetic means for inducing a fiow of electric current in response to such making and breaking of contact, said electromagnetic means comprising a magnetic core coupled magnetically with said contact member and a conductive winding inductively associated with said core.

5. Apparatus of the character described comprising a can guideway for supporting cans on their rims and defining a path along which the cans may roll, means for rolling cans along said path, a sensing station disposed along said path, said sensing station including a contact member supported to brush against the ends of cans as they roll along said path and to vibrate as it contacts surface irregularities on the ends of cans and electromagnetic means associated with said contact member to induce an electric current by reason of vibratory,

make-and-break contact of said contact member with said surface irregularities on the can ends.

6. Apparatus of the character described comprising a can guideway for supporting cans on their rims and defining a path along which the cans may roll, means for rolling cans along said path, a sensing station disposed along said path, said sensing station including a contact member supported to brush against the ends of cans as they roll along said path and to vibrate as it contacts surface irregularities on the ends of cans, electromagnetic means associated with said contact member to induce an electric current by reason of vibratory, make-and-break contact of said contact member with said surface irregularities on the can end, and a circuit including amplifying means for amplifying said induced current.

7. Apparatus of the character described comprising a can guideway for supporting cans on their rims and defining a path along which the cans may roll, means for rolling cans along said path, a sensing station disposed along said path, said sensing station including a contact member supported to brush against the ends of cans as they roll along said path and to vibrate as it contacts surface irregularities on the ends of cans, electromagnetic means associated with said contact member to induce an electric current by reason of vibratory make-and-break contact of said contact member with said surface irregularities on the can ends, and a circuit including amplifying means for amplifying said induced current, said circuit including a normally open switch which is situated so that it is closed by a can located at a predetermined position at said station.

8. A can handling system of the character described for sensing the presence and location of coded information encoded on cans in the form of surface irregularities, said system comprising a can guideway for guiding cans along a defined path, means for moving cans along said path with a rolling motion, sensing means located to contact each rolling can at a predetermined point in its travel along said path, a circuit actuated by a signal produced by vibrating contact of said sensing means with an irregularity on a can surface, and a coincidence element embodied in said circuit for maintaining the circuit in de-energized condition except when a surface irregularity vibrating said sensing means is located at a predetermined point on a can surface.

9. A can handling system of the character described for sensing the presence and location of coded information encoded on can ends in the form of surface irregularities, said system comprising a can guideway for guiding cans along a defined path, means for moving cans along said path with a rolling motion, sensing means located to contact an end of each rolling can at a predetermined point in its travel along said path, a circuit actuated by a signal produced by vibrating contact of said sensing means with an irregularity on a can end, and a coincidence element embodied in said circuit for maintaining the circuit in dc-energized condition except when a surface irregularity vibrating said sensing means is located at a predetermined point on a can end.

10. A can handling system of the character described for sensing the presence and location of coded information encoded on can ends in the form of surface irregularities, said system comprising a can guideway for guiding cans along a defined path, means for rolling cans along said path on their rims, a sensing element located to contact an end of each rolling can at a predetermined point in its travel along said path, said sensing element including electromagnetic means which is vibrated by contact of the sensing element with a surface irregularity on a canend and which creates a signal voltage in response to such vibration, a circuit actuated by said signal and including a normally open coincidence switch for maintaining the circuit normally in deenergized condition, said switch being closed by each passing can, whereby vibratory contact of a can end irregularity with said sensing element must coincide with closing of said switch for said circuit to be energized; said system also comprising drop-out means normally providing a can supporting continuation of said guideway but being operated by said circuit when the circuit is energized to drop a can.

11. A can handling system of the character described comprising a can guideway for guiding cans along a defined path, means for rolling cans on their rims along said path, a drop-out station located along said guideway and normally forming a can-supporting portion of the guideway but movable to a noncan-supporting position to form a gap in the guideway for dropping cans; said system also comprising an electrical sensing element including a contact button, an induction winding and a magnet coupled with said winding and arranged to sweep the ends of cans passing by and to vibrate by reason of contact with end coding in the form of surface irregularities and to create, while vibrating, a fluctuating magnetic field capable of inducing a signal voltage; said system also comprising a circuit actuated by said signal voltage and effective to operate said drop-out station to drop a can, said circuit comprising also a coincidence element for maintaining the circuit in de-energized state except when actuated by end coding located at a predetermined distance from a can center.

12. A can handling system of the character described comprising a can guideway for guiding cans along a defined path, means for rolling cans on their rims along said path, a drop-out station located along said guideway and normally forming a can-supporting portion of the guideway but movable to a noncan-supporting position to form a gap in the guideway for dropping cans; said system also comprising an electrical sensing element including a contact button, an induction winding and a magnet coupled with said winding and arranged to sweep the ends of cans passing by and to vibrate by reason of contact with end coding in the form of surface irregularities and to create, while vibrating, a fluctuating magnetic field capable of inducing a signal voltage; said system also comprising a circuit actuated by said signal voltage and effective to operate said drop-out station to drop a can, said circuit comprising also a coincidence element for maintaining the circuit in de-energized state except when actuated by end coding located at a predetermined distance from a can center; said system including also a chute for receiving dropped cans and a can twister for twisting nondropped cans, then delivering them to said chute.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3153471 *Jan 24, 1958Oct 20, 1964Arnett Boyd JApparatus for detecting, sorting and orienting articles
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US4736831 *Dec 31, 1985Apr 12, 1988Fields W GeorgeCan unscrambler
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Classifications
U.S. Classification198/395, 200/61.48, 200/61.42, 198/399, 73/105
International ClassificationB65G47/24
Cooperative ClassificationB65G47/24
European ClassificationB65G47/24