US 2881575 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
C. L. DAY El AL CASE FILLING MACHINE April 14, 1959 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 1, 1954 FIGJ.
INVENTORS 049/. L04). WILMER Q REG/WEI? WYMQ ATTORNEYS April 14, 1959- 5,Shee-ts-Sheet 2 Filed June 1. 1954 8 WV E I!- m Ln ll JHHWH w WEEK M. 2 7m H .n. a I l l 4 4F m 5 Y v M w W M JMH G L W w .M m v! V 4/ H: A My I I a 5 WILMER D REG/WEI? M ATTORNEYS April 1959 c. L. DAY E-VIT AL 2,881,575
' CASE FILLING MACHINE- Filed June 1, 1954 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 0419/. L. DAY W/LMER 0. REG/VIE}? BY m liww M ATTORNEYS April 14,1959
C. L. DAY ET AL CASE FILLING-MACHINE Filed June 1. 1954 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 HEKKM v on v INVENTOR CARL L. DA Y W/L MEI? D. REG/WEI? BY v I Cwam I MQMMQM ATTORNEYS United States Patent CASE FILLING MACHINE Carl L. Day and Wilmer D. Regnier, Baltimore, Md., assignors to Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc., Baltimore, Md., a corporation of New York Application June 1, 1954, Serial No. 433,372
16 Claims. (Cl. 5359) The present invention relates to case filling machines and, more particularly, to machines for placing containers such as bottles in cases or cartons.
The machine disclosed herein is an improvement upon the machine of our application for Case Filling Machines, Serial No. 392,131, filed November 16, 1953.
The embodiment of the invention hereinafter is described in connection with the positioning of bottles in open-topped cases or cartons. However, it will be understood from the following objects and description that the invention is applicable to the handling of containers or articles other than bottles and the placing of articles or packages in open-topped cases or cartons.
An object of the invention is to provide arrangements to enable a plurality of rows of articles to be simultaneously delivered to a case filling machine or the like.
Another object of the invention is the provision of means to form a plurality of rows of articles from a smaller number of rows.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a mechanism of optimum simplicity to move a group of articles from one supporting area to another supporting area and which will enable the articles to be spaced apart during such movement.
Still another object is the provision of an article holder of the type described in our above-mentioned application for lowering articles to a case and which includes spring arms of such construction as to withstand repeated fiexing for a maximum period.
Still another object of the invention is the provision of controls for a case filling machine which will be certain in action and of such design that the cycle of operation will be automatically controlled.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and accompanying drawings:
Referring to the drawings,
Figure 1 is a plan view of the case filling machine, the front of the machine being at the left;
Figures 2 and 3 are plan views of successive portions of the bottle infeed conveyor structure. If the upper edge of the sheet bearing Figures 2 and 3 is placed against the lower edge of the sheet bearing Figure 1, and with the arrows 2 of the thus opposed edges of the sheet in registry, the manner of delivering bottles from the Figure 2 conveyor portion to the conveyor portion of Figure 1 will be apparent.
Figure 4 is a horizontal sectional view on the line 44 of Figure 5;
Figure 5 is a vertical sectional view on the line 5-5 of Figure 1;
Figure 6 is a view of the bottle supporting plate or grid, but on a larger scale than illustrated in Figure 1;
Figure 7 is an edge View of the Figure 6 structure, with a portion in vertical section on the line 7-7 of Figure 6;
Figure 8 is a side elevation of a bottle holder included in the bottle carrier; and" "ice Figures 9 and 10, when positioned with the top edge of Figure 10 adjacent the lower edge of Figure 9, diagrammatically show the machine and its control devices and circuits.
The operation and construction of the apparatus generally may be described as follows:
Referring to Figure 3, each of the conveyors 50 and 52 moves bottles B to be cased toward the machine in a single row from one of two filling machines or other sources of containers to be cased. The bottles moving on the conveyors 50 and 52 will be formed into a double row as they are guided on to a third conveyor 56 by the converging portion 55 of the guide rails 54 of Figure 3 but, as shown in Figure 3, the containers of the two rows on conveyor 56 will be staggered with respect to each other because the guide rails 54 along conveyor 56 are spaced apart a distance slightly less than the diameter of two containers. It will be understood that if a single filling machine or other source has a sufficiently high output, such output can be placed directly upon the conveyor 56 by a single-line conveyor. Also, if it is desired to supply bottles from only one of the conveyors 50 or 52, the single line of bottles then can be centered on conveyor 56 by having the centering device 57 in the dotted line position of Figure 3.
Referring to Figure 2, the lines of containers moving on the conveyor 56 will be delivered to a fixed distributor plate 58 and divider 60 which will form the containers into two double rows as subsequently described, so that four rows of containers will move from distributor plate 58 on the wide conveyor 62, two rows of containers on each side of the divider 60. The containers of each double row now may be abreast because the space between each side of divider 60 and the opposite guide rail 54 is wide enough to permit two bottles to move abreast. A second distributor plate 64 near the outfeed end of divider 60 will assist in dividing each of these double rows of containers into two single rows which thereafter continue movement on conveyor 62 between vertically arranged guide plates 66 which, as shown in the lower right-hand portion of Figure I, extend to the gate mechanism 68. As shown in Figure 1, conveyor 62 extends almost across the top of the machine table 70, the upper run of conveyor 62 being flush with the upper surface 72 of the table. As stated in our above-mentioned application, conveyor 62 actually consists of two conveyors moving side by side in unison.
As is hereinafter explained, the gates 73 of the gate mechanism 68, shown in more detail in our above-mentioned application, normally will be open to permit conveyor 62 to move containers through gate mechanism 68 in four rows between bars 74 of a bottle pusher mechanism 76. As shown in Figure 1, in the embodiment of the machine disclosed herein, each row formed between two bars 74 will contain six bottles, with the leading bottle of each row adapted to contact with the opposed edge of a line relief or bounding plate positioned beneath the pusher mechanism 76 but above conveyor 62.
When the conveyor 62 is filled with containers over the portion of its path extending from gate mechanism 68 to two bottle actuated switches 94 and 96 near distributor plate 58, a timed mechanism such as a retarded relay will permit the gate mechanism to remain open until sufficient time has elapsed for four rows of six of the massed bottles to be moved through the gate mechanism 68 by conveyor 62. When the allotted time has elapsed, gate mechanism 68 will close, the line relief plate 80 will retract to move its bottle engaged edge 82 from the solid line position of Figure 1 to the position indicated by the dotted line 82a. At the same time the bottle pusher mechanism 76 will move forward from the position shown in Figure 1 to a position above the bottle supporting plate "a bottle carrier 98. As described in our said application and diagrammatically illustrated in Figure 10, botj'tle ca rrier' 98 is vertically reciprocable and includes a pocket member 100 for each bottle. Carrier 98 will carry the bottles downwardly and near the end of its downward travel, the pocket members 14MB will open to permit the bottles to .drop into a case or carton held be- .neathrthe carrier by a clamping and centering mechanism 102, vthe case standing on 'a conveyor 104. When the bottles have dropped, the case will be released and ivill move away with conveyor 104.
Theportions of the present machine which differ from the machineof our above-mentioned application are hereinafter described in 2 detail under appropriate headings.
Bottle infeed Referring to Figure 3, the bottle conveyors 50 and 52 may be of the usual fiat link straight-line type used for the handling of bottles in bottling plants and the bottles may be placed thereon by the outfeed conveyor of each of two filling machines or other source of bottles to be cased. Each of the conveyors 50 and 52 moves in a fixed supporting framework 110 in which a transverse shaft 111 is jounalled to carry spaced sprocket wheels 112 to support one end of the runs of the respective conveyors 50 and 52. The wider conveyor 56 extends a short distance between the outfeed ends of the conveyors 50 and 52 and with the inside lateral edges of the conveyors 50 and 52 closely adjacent the edges of conveyor 56. The infeed end of conveyor 56 moves about a sprocket 114 fixed to a shaft 116 spaced from shaft 111 in framework 110. The shaft 111 may be driven by a motor, not shown, mounted in framework 110, this motor being operable to drive the conveyors t) and 52 at about the same linear speed as conveyor 56. As subsequently described, conveyor 56 may be driven by a motor mounted on the casing machine.
The bottles moving along the conveyors 50 and 52 are held in single lines by the guide rails 54 fixed to framework 110 and which converge as shown at 55 in Figure 3. to direct the row of bottles from each of the conveyors 50 and 52 onto the conveyor 56. Alongside conveyor 56 the guide rails 54 are spaced a distance apart slightly less than twice the diameter of the bottles being handled so that the bottles in the row moving from one single' row conveyo 50 or 52 cannot reach a position directly abreast of those moving fromthe other single row conveyor;
If only one conveyor 50 or 52 is to supply bottles, the single line of bottles moved upon conveyor 56 will be centered thereon by having the arms of the centering device .57 in the dotted line position of Figure 3. Otherwise, the arms of device 57 will be in the solid line position of Figure 3.
As shown in Figure 2, if both conveyors 50 and 52 are supplying bottles, the two rows of bottles will continue upon conveyor 56 between the guide rails 54 to a distributor plate 58 fixed to the frame 110 and having -its infeed and outfeed edges suitably bevelled to permit bottles .to readily move from the surface of conveyor 56 and up on the distributor plate. The outfeed end of conveyor 56 moves about a sprocket wheel 119 secured to a shaft 120 journalled beneath plate 58 and sprockets 122 also are provided on a shaft 124 beneath the outfeed porof plate 58 to support the wider conveyor 62, which will move bottles from the outfeed edge of the plate 58. The shafts 120 and124 are connected by' a'sprocket chain 126 in such manner.that conveyor 56 will move at faster linear speed than conveyor 62, because the latter has a greater width capacity than conveyor 56. The drive for both conveyors 56 and 62 may be imparted to conveyor 62 by a motor beneath table 70 of the bottle casing machine.
As has been indicated above, along side conveyor 56 the guide rails 54 arespaced apart a distance slightly less than twice the diameter of the bottles being handled. Therefore, bottles will move along the conveyor 56 in the staggered arrangements indicated in Figures 3 and 2. When a bottle moves upon the distributor plate 58, it Will tend to stop forward movement,-but will be pushed forward upon the plate by the following bottle which generally will be slightly to one side of the first-mentioned bottle. Because the bottle supporting surface of plate 58 is smooth and polished, if thefsup'ply of bottles by conveyor 56 is'uninterrupted, bottles will be pushed across plate 58 as rapidly as th y move with conveyor 56.
A bottle pushed off the outfeed edge of distributor plate 58 immediately will contact with the wider conveyor 62 to be carried forward. The point of divider-v60 is positioned midway of the width of the outfeed edge of distributor plate 58 and the guide rails54 begin to diverge in advance of this edge of the plate. As described in our above-mentioned application, divider 60 is fixed to the upper edge of a vertical plate secured to framework and conveyor 62 actually is formed of two flat link conveyors, one on each side of divider 60 and both moving at the same speed. As shown in Figure 2, divider 60 continues as a vertically extending plate having a length approximately twelve times the bottle diameter to enable a substantial number of bottles to be positioned and accumulate alongside thereof.
Because adjacent bottles move on to distributor plate 58 in staggered relationship, they will move across and off it in much the same relationship except insofar as some variability exists on the bottom or wall of a bottle, or in the position Otf an infed bottle. Therefore, bottles entering the left-hand portion of plate 58 will move across and 01f that portion of the plate and to the left-hand side of divider 60 while those entering the right-hand portion of the divider will continue upon that portion and to the right of the divider. A particular advantage of using a fixed distributor plate such as 58, and feeding bottles thereto in staggered relationship, is that if a bottle should happen to become positioned on plate 58 directly in alignment with the point of divider 60, a suc'ceeeding laterally offset bottle will push the first bottle to one side or the other of the divider so that no jam can occur. It will be observed that because the bottles are fed to conveyor 54 in such a way that they will be staggered on that conveyor, a bottle offset with respect'to a bottle centered on divider 60 is always nearby, pariticularly'because bottles may become laterally displaced from each other during movement upon plate :58, which has a length approximately three times the diameter of the bottles being handled. In short, with the bottles being fed upon plate 53 in staggered relationship, it will be almost impossible for two immediately adjacent bottles to remain in single line formation directly in alignment with divider 60 and, in any event, the then following bottles will break up that alignment by lateral pressure.
As shown in Figure 2, two spring plates 61 project in a trailing V from the infeed end of divider 60. The plates 61 are so disposed that bottles contacting therewith will be deflected to the position indicated by the bottles at B1, that is, in line with one of two divider plates 66a shown at the upper portionof Figure 2 and hereinafter described. Bottles moving along conveyor 62 in this position will be more evenly distributed by distributor plate 64 because such bottles will not be in contact with any guide surface when they reach plate The second distributor plate 64 has a length approximately three times the bottle diameter and its outfeed edge is positioned at the outfeed end of divider 60. When the bottles reach plate 64, the action will be much the same as occurred at plate 58. That is, while a bottle may initially tend to stop when it first contacts with plate 64, it will be pushed forward by succeeding bottles placed upon the plate by' conveyor 62. Guide plates 66 supported by one or more crossbars 67 are suitably supported and spaced above the surface of conveyor 62 so that bottles may move beneath the bars 67. The centermost of the five guide plates 66 is in alignment with the guide plate 60 and the remaining guide plates 66 are separated from each other by a distance very slightly greater than the diameter of the bottles being handled. The outfeed end of divider plate 60 is reduced in thickness to have the same thickness as the centrally disposed plate of the vertically extending guide plates 66.
The guide plates 66 terminate closely adjacent the outfeed edge of the distributor plate 64 and as bottles move across distributor plate 64 in staggered relationship they will divide into four rows separated by the guide plates 66, It will be observed that bottles cannot contact the edges of any of the guide plates 66 except the two designated 66a which are immediately adjacent the center guide plate 66. The edges of these two gudie plates may be bevelled as indicated at 66b but, in any event, as has been pointed out with respect to the distributor plate 58 and divider 60, should a bottle advance directly toward the edge 66b, the forward and lateral pressure exerted thereon by succeeding bottles will insure that a bottle caught on an edge 66b will be moved radially away from that edge and thereby move between the guide plates. As has been stated above, the outfeed ends of the guide plates 66 are at the gate mechanism 68.
As is indicated in Figure 1, the conveyor 62 continues across the upper portion of the table 70, with the upper surface of the conveyor flush with the surface 72 of the table. Suitable sprocket wheels to drive conveyor 62 and direct its lower run back toward the sprocket 122 beneath distributor plate 58 may be positioned beneath table 70 and, more particularly, beneath the pusher mechanism 80. A motor, not shown, will drive the table mounted sprocket wheels.
Gate mechanism 9) will close.
Bottle pusher mechanism The bottle pusher mechanism 76 is generally similar to the bottle pusher mechanism of our said application in that it includes a box-like housing 110 which is reciprocable upon horizontally extending guide rods 112 having their ends supported by brackets 114 and 116 positioned at the front and rear of the machine. The housing 110 is reciprocated by means of a piston operated by an air pressure cylinder 118 shown in Figure 9 and controlled by a solenoid valve 120. The bottle pusher mechanism 76 includes five bottle pushing arms or blades extending from housing 110 toward the gate mechanism 68 and spaced apart a sufficient distance to enable a row of bottles to stand between the adjacent blades upon the conveyor 62. As shown in Figures 1 and 4, the ends of the blades 74 adjacent housing 110 are joined by a curved portion 122 formed on a radius approximating that of the bottles to be handled.
In order that the pusher mechanism 76 may be adjustable to some degree toward and from the gate mechanism 68, the pusher mechanism as well as the brackets 114 and 116 which support the slide rods 112 are mounted upon a relatively long base plate 124 which extends from the front to the rear of the machine and is secured to the machine table 70 by means of bolts such as 126 secured in the table surface and extending through slots 128 in base plate 124. The portion of base plate 124 directly opposite bottle conveyor 62 has its edge 130 which faces the gate mechanism in vertical alignment with the deepest portion of the rounded ends 122 of the pocket formed by the bottle pushing arms 74. Forwardly of conveyor 62, base plate 124 is inclined toward the left of the machine as indicated at 132 and, forwardly of this portion, the edge 134 of the base plate is straight and is spaced from the nearest bottle guide bar 88 by a distance at least as great as the diameter of the bottles to be handled. The adjustability of plate 124 and the mechanism carried thereby will permit flexibility to handle bottles of various sizes and sunface characteristics.
Referring to Figures 4 and 5, the line relief or bottle receiving area bounding plate 80 is horizontally reciprocable in strips 136 secured to the upper surface of base plate 124, the movement of line relief plate further being guided by studs such as 138 projecting upwardly from the base plate 124 through a slot 140 in plate 80. Line relief plate 80 is moved toward and away from the gate mechanism 68 by means of an air cylinder 142 controlled by a solenoid valve 144. The piston 145 which is movable in cylinder 142 has its free end connected to a toggle device 146, one end of the toggle device being pivoted at 148 to a plate 150 projecting from the left of base plate 124, and the other end of the toggle device being pivotally connected to the line relief plate 80.
It will be observed that the line relief plate 80 and its operating mechanism are supported on adjustable base plate 124 but do not move with bottle pusher 76. Because these devices are positioned below the path of travel of the bottle pusher housing 110, that housing and the arms 74 carried thereby may move forwardly and rearwardly above the plane of the plate 80.
As is hereinafter explained in detail, when the bottle pushing mechanism 76 is positioned above the conveyor 62 in bottle receiving position, the line relief plate 80 will have its bottle engaging edge 82 in the solid line position of Figures 1 and 4. In this position, the edge 82 will limit the travel of the bottles between the .arms 74 with the conveyor 62. In other words, when the leading bottle moving between two arms 74 contacts with the edge 82, that bottle and the succeeding bottles will be held against further movement with conveyor 62. Edge 82 normally will be positioned at such distance from the gate mechanism 68 that when a leading bottle is in contact with edge 82, the seventh bottle behind that leading bottle will be so positioned with respect to gate mechanism 68 that closing. of the corresponding rotary gate 73 will result in the gate engaging and holding the seventh bottle against movement with conveyor 62. In short, the seventh bottle cannot move out of range of the holding action of the gate.
When solenoid valve 120 is operated to supply compressed air to cylinder 118 to thereby move the bottle pushing mechanism 76 forwardly, solenoid valve 120 also will supply compressed air to the cylinder 142 which operates the toggle mechanism 146 of the line relief plate 80. When piston 145 of this mechanism moves to the right as viewed in Figures 4 and 5, the toggle links will become angled with respect to each other, with the result that the plate 80 will be retracted and its edge 82 will move to the dotted line position 82a of Figures 1 and 4. The distance which plate 80 retracts will be sufficient to permit the bottles to move with conveyor 62 so that some play will be provided between the bottles to enable the sixth bottle to move freely with respect to the seventh bottle held by gate mechanism 68.
The bottles may further separate as they move for- 7 ward as is described in our above-mentioned application'. That is, the fact that the edge portion 134 of base plate 124 is stepped away from the bottle guiding plates 88 and that some play is also provided between the sixth bottle and the guide bar at the right of the machine assists in this separating action.
As is hereinafter explained, at least by the time that the bottle pushing mechanism 76 returns to bottle receiving position, the line relief plate 80 will be moved to restore its bottle engaging edge 82 to the position shown in solid lines in Figures 1 and 4.
The grid mechanism The grid mechanism of the present invention primarily differs from that of our above-mentioned application in that the bottle supporting and dropping device of the present arrangements consists of a relatively long metal plate" 84 including a forward edge 162 and a rearward edge 164. The length of the plate between its end edges 166 is such that portions of the plate will lie at each side ofthe bottle supporting area of the plate. The central portion of plate 160 is provided with six lines of apertures 86, each line including four apertures. Thus, the twenty-four apertures are so positioned as to support four rows of bottles extending parallel to the front and rear edges of plate 84. Adjacent lines of apertures 86 are separated by wear-resisting strips 85 positioned in slots milled in the upper surface of the plate.
As illustrated in Figure 1, the plate 84 and strips 85 normally are so positioned with respect to the guide bars 88 that when bottles are moved between the guide bars by the bottle pushing mechanism 76, the bottles will slide and move upon the upper surface of the strips 85. The strips 85 project sufliciently far above the top surface of plate 84 that a bottle bearing thereon will be clear of plate 84, even though the bottle is tilted against a guide 88. The top surface of the strips 85 will be flush with the top surface 72 of table 70. In accordance with the operation described in our above-mentioned application, at the instant that the bottles are to be dropped into the bottle carrier 98 the plate 84 will be so moved by mechanism hereinafter described that the strips 85 will be drawn downwardly as viewed in Figure 1 and into vertical registry with the guide plates 88. Because the guide plates 83 will hold the bottles against moving with plate 84, the plate apertures 86 will be brought into registry with the bottom of the bottles so that the bottles will fall through plate 84.
As also is described in our above-mentioned application, the bottles may fall into a bottle carrier or basket 98 diagrammatically indicated in Figure and which then will be lowered. When the pockets 99 of the basket open, the bottles will drop into a case or carton positioned on the case conveyor 104 and held by a case clamping and centering mechanism diagrammatically shown in Figfire 10 and as described in said application.
Figure 8 is an elevation of one of the bottle holders 99 provided in the vertically movable bottle carrier or basket 98. The bottle holder or pocket 99 is of the same construction as the corresponding devices of our above-mentioned application except that the two naturally straight tongues 170 are reinforced by a resilient plate 171 which extends along the portion which is subjected to bending forces. In more detail, and as is pointed out in our above-mentioned application, each bottle holder includes two opposed angled tongues 172 which have their lower portions bent toward each other. The other two tongues 170 normally project straight downwardly but during such time as a bottle is to be held in the holder, the tongues 170 are bent toward each other by means of a rotatable cam bar described in said application. By the present invention, the tongues 170 which are bent or flexed by the cam bar of the bottle carrier each have the resilient plates 171 soldered or welded to their inner surfaces so that the tongues are braced 8 to withstand repeated flexing. Each plate 171 is" so positioned with respect to the length of its tongue 170 that the bending caused by the cam will take place approximately midway of the length of the plate 171. Each plate 171 preferably is rectangular and of such Width as to lie entirely within the lateral edges of the tongue to which it is applied.
Control circuits Figures 9 and 10 diagrammatically show the electrical controls of the apparatus, the views also including diagrammatic showings of such portions of the apparatus mechanisms as affect the circuit operation. In Figures 9 and 10 the contacts of each relay are shown in the position they occupy when the relay is de-energized.
The machine is supplied with current from power lines 300 and 302 under the control of a manually controlled main switch 304; When switch 304 is closed, the lines 300'and 302 respectively will be connected to the main conductors 306 and 308. Even if main switch 304 isopen, the main conductors 306 and 308 will be connected to the power lines if a relay R10 is energized as subsequently explained. In order to supply current of lower voltage to the various relays, a step-down transformer 310 is in circuit with the conductors 306 and 308.
As is described in our said earlier application, when bottles first are delivered to the apparatus, that is, when bottle conveyor 62 is empty, the four row-spaces provided by the pusher bars 74 of the bottle pusher element 76 and the divider plates 66 will tend to fill evenly primarily because the spring deflector plates 61 of Figure 2 then direct each entering bottle to a position on conveyor 62 such as shown at B1 in Figure 2, viz., in partial alignment with one of the two divider plates designated 6601. When the first bottle in a line indicated by each bottle at B1 reaches distributor plate 64, it will be pushed across that plate on the same line by following bottles but thereby will engage the end 6617 of a divider plate 66a. Even if a bottle engages the end 66b of a divider plate 66a to be momentarily stopped, the pressure of the immediately succeeding bottles thereon will shift it either to the light or the left so that it will enter a row on one side or the other of plate 66a. The pressure which following bottles apply to preceding bottles likewise will cause the following bottes to be laterally shifted one way or the other on plate 64 so that they generally will be evenly divided among the four rows formed by the divider plates 66 and will move forwardly with conveyor 62 between the arms 74 of the pusher mechanism 76.
Once the pusher bars 74 and divider plates 66 have been completely filled, bottles will accumulate on distributor plate 64 in two staggered rows by the. same sort of action as described above. Then the next bottle moving on conveyor 62 along one of the lines indicated by the bottle at B1 will be deflected and stopped when it reaches the mass of stopped bottles covering plate 64. Such bottle and succeeding bottles will shift laterally with respect to each other on conveyor 62 when they stop because none will approach plate 64 in direct alignment with a bottle in the staggered rows on that I plate and, therefore, the area of conveyor 62 between the plates 58 and 64 will tend to fill by the action of one bottle stopping near central divider and the next usually stopping near an outer guide rail 65. Hence, the two areas divided by divider 60 and between distributor plates 58 and 64 each will fill with two rows of hottles back to the switches 94 and 96 so that those switches will close with results described below.
Each bottle beyond distributor plate 58 will be staggered with respect to the immediately preceding bottle because, in that area, the bottles move along the line to which they are shifted by the deflector plates 61 and the space provided is not wide enough to accommodate two bottles abreast.
As is hereinafter explained in detail, the switches 94 and 96 will close when bottles stand in the outside rows opposite those switches. When the switches 94 and 96 thus close, action will be initiated to cause the gates 73 to close to separate from the mass on conveyor 62 four lines of six bottles standing between the pusher bars 74. When the gates 73 subsequently open as described below to pass another twenty-four bottles to fill the pusher bars 74, all of the bottles on conveyor 62 and distributor plate 64 will move forward in a mass and by that time bottles moving across distributor plate 58 normally will have accumulated sutliciently to promptly fill the space thus provided on conveyor 62 near the outfeed edge of plate 58.
It will be perceived that once the machine and conveyor 62 have received enough bottles to start one cycle, the normal infeed of bottles will keep the bottle-actuated switches 94 and 96 closed. The bottle engaged portions of the arms of those switches are relatively long (about three bottle diameters), so that the switches may close even if there is a gap between bottles. That is, a gap usually is unimportant because whenever both bottle actuated switches 94 and 96 are simultaneously engaged by one or more bottles there will be more than enough bottles between those switches and the gates 73 to meet the demands of a cycle of the machine, so a gap in bottles adjacent the bottle actuated switches will not be critical.
Assuming that the machine is to place four rows of six bottles in a case, each rowbetween the pusher bars 74 will contain six bottles. The distance along conveyor 62 from the gates 73 to the switches 94 and 96'may be as follows: Between the gates 73 and the distributor plate 64, each row may contain nine bottles, distributor plate 64 may have a length corresponding to three times the diameter of a bottle, and the area from plate 64 to the outfeed or free ends of the switches 94 and 96 may accommodate four rows of six bottles each. Therefore, approximately ninety-six bottles may stand between the edge 82 of pressure relief plate 80 and the switches 94 and 96 before pusher 76 starts movement of bottles toward a case. With bottles then being steadily delivered to the machine by conveyors 50 and 52, or by either of those conveyors, at a rate in accordance with the output of the bottle casing machine, it Will be perceived that the portion of conveyor 62 outwardly of the gates 73 always will have an adequate supply of bottles to keep the switches 94 and 96 closed so that the machine will be maintained in steady operation.
For convenience of reference, the following paragraphs relative to the circuit operation are consecutively numbered.
(l) The following discussion of operation assumes that the main switch 304, bottle conveyor switch 312, case conveyor switch 314, and hand-operated snap acting starting trigger switch 316 are all closed. This discussion also assumes that the vertically movable bottle carrier or basket 92 is being held in raised position by the circuit controls subsequently described, that grid plate or bottle support 84 is in bottle supporting position but with no bottles thereon, that the bottle pushing mechanism 76 has just returned to bottle receiving position and, therefore, as hereinafter explained, the bottle infeed gates 73 have just opened to permit bottles to be moved therethrough by the bottle conveyor 62.
(2) When the bottle actuated switches 94 and 96 are both closed by bottles on conveyor 62, the following circuit will be completed to energize relay R4: From lead 334 of the transformer secondary by leads 336, 338, 340 and 342 through closed switch 96, lead 344 to closed switch 94, leads 346 and 348 to the contact 350 of switch 352, which contact is closed because the pusher mechanism '76 is in bottle receiving position, by lead 353 to the 10 coil of relay R4, then by leads 354 and 356 back to the transformer secondary. With R4 energized, a holding circuit by-passing the bottle actuated switches 94 and96 will be established through the coil of R4 as follows: From lead 340 (connected to one side of the transformer secondary) by lead 358 and the closed contact 360 of relay R4, and lead 362 to lead 348 and the closed contact 350 of switch 352. Hence, if either of the switches 94 or 96 then momentarily opens because of a gap in the bottles, the machine action which has started will not be affected.
(3) The energization of relay R4 also will cause its contact 364 to close, so that with bottle pusher 76 in bottle receiving position above bottle conveyor 62, the following circuit will be completed through the coil of trigger relay R6: From the secondary of transformer 310 by lead 334 to the movable contact 365 of gate release switch 366 which, with bottle pusher 76 in bottle receiving position, will be held in engagement with a contact 367 connected to a lead 368. The circuit will continue by lead 368 to R4 contact 364 and then by lead 370 to closed hand-operated starting trigger switch 316 and lead 372 through the coil of R6 and then by leads 374, 354 and 356 to the other side of the transformer secondary.
(4) Energization of R6 will close its two normally open contacts 376 and 378. The closing of contact 376 will complete the following circuit through the coil of delay-operating relay R9: From conductor 308, by lead 380 through contact 376, by lead 382 to the coil of relay R9, and by lead 384 to the other conductor 306.
(5) As was stated above in paragraph 1, this discussion of circuit operation assumes that the bottle pusher 76 has just returned from the front of the machine to bottlereceiving position above conveyor 62. In other words, all the circuit operation which has been described up to this point has occurred within a fraction of a second after bottle pusher 76 reached bottle receiving position. More important, and by circuit action subsequently explained, only a fraction of a second or so after bottle pusher reached bottle receiving position, the gate mechanism 68 opened to enable bottles to start moving between the bottle pusher arms 74 with conveyor 62. As will now be explained, energization of delay-make relay R9 will result, after slight delay, in the closing of the gate mechanism 68 to separate the bottles in pusher 76 from those outside the gates 73.
(6) Relay R9 is of the delay acting type and the time required for the closing of its contact 386 is so related to the speed of travel of bottle conveyor 62 that the six leading bottles (in each of the four rows) which started movement through the gates 73 when bottle pusher 76 returned to bottle receiving position will have time to move through the gates 73 before those gates actually close. In other words, relay R9 is so timed that the gates 73 cannot close until sufiicient time has elapsed for four rows of six bottles each to pass through the gates 73. As indicated above, we have found such a control is entirely practical if suflicient bottles always are standing on conveyor 62 to actuate the switches 94 and 96.
(7) When contact 386 of the delay-acting relay R9 closes, it will complete the following circuit through the coil of gate relay R1: From the transformer secondary by leads 334 and 336, R9 contact 386, and leads 388, 390 and 392 to the coil of relay R1 then by leads 394, 396 and 356 to the coil of the transformer secondary. Relay R1 will cause the following power circuit to be closed: From power conductor 306 by leads 398, 400, contact 402 of relay R1, lead 404 to the solenoid valve 104 and by leads 408 and 410 to the other power line 308. The operation of solenoid valve 104 will cause compressed air to flow to the air cylinder 106 of the gate mechanism 68, thereby closing the gates 73. Therefore, the twentyfour bottles standing within the pusher bars 74 and between the edge 82 of line relief plate and the gates 73 will be closed off from the remaining bottles on conveyor ,of R6 also will close its contact 378. closes and the gate mechanism 68 moves to closed posiand-thclatter,bottleswill be held against forward movement-with conveyor 62.
( 8) As stated in paragraph 4, above, the energization When relay R9 tion, the closing of mechanism 68 will close a switch 108 to complete the following circuit through the con- ,tact 378 of relay R6 and the coil of pusher relay R2:
From the transformer secondary by leads 356, 396 and 414-through the coil of relay R2, and by lead 416 to contact 378, then by leads 418 and 428 to the now closed switch 108, then by lead 422 through the closed contact 424 of the grid and pusher return switch 426 and by leads 428, 430, 388 to the closed contact 386 of relay R9 and then by leads 336 and 334 to the transformer secondary. As soon as the contact 432 of relay R2 closes, a holding circuit will be set up through the ,coilof R2, the portion of the circuit which includes contact 432 lay-passing the portion of the just-described circuit which includes contact 378 of relay R6. The energization of relay R2 also will cause its contact 434 to close, thereby completing the following power circuit through the solenoid valve 120 which controls the line relief plate 80 and the bottle pusher 76: From power line 306 by leads 398, 440- and 442 through contact 4340f relay R2, by lead 444 to valve 120 which controls the air supply to the pusher operating cylinder 118 and the cylinder 142 which operates the line relief plate 80. The circuit then continues by leads 446, 450 and 410 to the other power conductor 308.
"(9) As a result of the operation of the solenoid valve 120 described in the preceding paragraph, the cylinder 14 2 will move the toggle 146 of Figure 4 so that the line relief plate 80 will be moved away from gate mechanism 68 a suflicicnt distance that its edge 82 facing gate mechanism 68 will be moved from the solid line position of Figure -1 to the dotted line position 82a. This movement of line relief plate 80 will provide suflicient play between the bottles in each row to enable the sixth bottle in each row to become free of the held seventh bottle. As the pusher moves forward the bottles will be further separated by the stationary guide bars 88. This further separation will be permitted by the offset of edge 134 of base plate 124 as described in our said application. The operation of pusher cylinder 118 will cause bottle .pusher 76 to move to the front of the machine to place the bottles on the grid plate 84.
(10) As soon as bottle pusher 76 begins movement, the movable contact 365 of switch 366 mentioned in paragraph 3 will move away from its contact 367 and will engage its contact 452. Because switch 366 is of the snap-acting type, before trigger relay R6 can deenergize to open the circuit of paragraph 3, the movable contact 365 of switch 366 will engage contact 452 to complete the following alternate circuit through gate relay R 1: From transformer secondary through lead 334, the movable contact 365 of switch 366 to its fixed contact 452, then by leads 454 and 392 to the coil of R1, then by leads 394, 396 and 356 to the other side of the transformer secondary.
(11) The movement of bottle pusher 76 mentioned in the preceding paragraph also will cause control maintaining switch 318 to close, thereby insuring that the machine will be powered to at least finish the forward movement of the bottle pusher 76 and its return to bottle receiving position, even if the main switch 304 should be opened. It power to gate mechanism 68 could be shutoff while bottle conveyor motor switch 312 is left closed, the circuit which holds gate mechanism 68 closed would "break and the gates would open so that conveyor 62 couldmove bottles through the gates. Hence, it is desirable to maintain power to the gates until the pusher completes its cycle. The circuit through the control maintaining switch 318 is as follows: From the transformer secondary by leads 334 and 458, through mov- :12 ahle contact 459 pt control maintaining switch 318 -to its fixed contact, by lead 460 to the coil of relay R10 and then by leads 462, 396 and 356 to the other side of the transformer secondary. The energization of relay R10 will cause its contacts 320 to vclose, thereby bypassing the manually operable main switch 304.
(12) It will be recalled from paragraph 8 that the circuit through pusher relay R2 there described included the contact 386 of delay acting relay R9. When-switch 366 operates as described inparagraph 10, the pusher relay R2 will be held energized by the following circuit: From transformer secondary by leads 334, the movable contact 365 of switch 366, fixed contact 452, leads 454, 390, 430 and 428, contact 424 of grid and pusher return switch 426, lead 422, closed gate pusher switch 108, lead 420 to the closed contact 432 of relay R2, through the coil ofrelay'R2 and then by leads 414, 396 and 35.6 to the other side of the transformer secondary. Hence, air to move the bottle pusher 76' for- .wardly will continue to flow through solenoid valve 120.
(13) If it is desired to move the bottle pusher 76 regardless ,of whether the speed control switches 94 and 96 are closed by bottles or the gate mechanism 68 is closed, the operator may close the emergency trigger and gate carrier switch 456. Switch 456 includes two contacts 464 and 466 and its closing will simultaneously energize the trigger relay R6 and the pusher relay R2. The closing of contact 464 completes the following circuit: From the transformer secondary by leads 334, 336, 338, 340, 470 and 468, contact 464 of switch 456, and by lead 372, coil of R6, and leads 374, 354 and 356 to the transformer secondary. The closing of the other contact 466 will energize the carrier relay R2 independently of the trigger and gate release switch 366 as described in paragraph 8. This emergency circuit will be as follows: From the transformer secondary by leads 334, 336, 338, 340, 470 and 472 to closed contact 466, then by leads 474 and ,418 to the relay R6 contact 378 (closed because R6 is energized through the other contact 464 of emergency switch 456) and thence by lead 416 through the coil of pusher relay R2 and then by leads 414, 396 and 356 to the other side of the transformer secondary. The energization of relay R2 will close the holding circuit through its contact 432 as described in paragraph 8. As a result of the above, the bottle pusher 76 will move to its forward position regardless of the presence of bottles.
(14) Referring again to the bottle pusher 76 which, as stated in paragraph 12, is moving the bottles toward the bottle supporting plate 84, when pusher mechanism reaches the end of its pushing stroke so that each of the twenty-four bottles will stand upon a bottle supporting strip and alongside a ,bottleaperture 86, the pusher mechanism 76 will engage the grid switch 352 to move the latter from the position illustrated in Figure 9 so that its contact 350 will open and its contact 480 will close. The opening of contact 350 will break the holding circuit through relay R4 described in paragraph 2, above, so that relay R4 will de-energize.
(15) The closing of the contact 480 of grid switch 352 will cause the solenoid valve 482 to be operated through circuits such as described in our above-mentioned application so that bottle supporting plate 84 will be moved .(to the right as viewed in Figure 9 and downwardly as viewed in Figure 1) to position the bottle supporting strips 85 beneath the gnide bars 88 and the bottle apertur'es 86 beneath the bottles so that the bottles will drop through the apertures and into the bottle holders 99 of carrier 98.
(16) The remainder of the circuits of the present machine are .the same as those of our above-mentioned application Serial No. 392,131 except that the present embodiment omits the case safety switch described in said application and adapted to be engaged by a case leaving the cas cl mp n m q anism .102- T er the r mainder of the circuits are shown in Figures 9 and 10 but are not described. However, to summarize the circuit action described in said application when the bottles have dropped through the bottle supporting plate 84, the bottle carrier or basket 98 will move them downwardly toward a case clamped and centered by the case clamping and centering mechanism 102.
(17) During downward movement of the carrier 98, cam rods such as described in said application will be operated so that the bottle holders 99 will release the bottles to fall into the case and bottle carrier 98 then will return to upward position. The movement of bottle carrier 98 is controlled by a solenoid valve 484 which actuates a cylinder 486. The case clamping and centering mechanism 102 is controlled by a solenoid valve 488 which actuates an air cylinder 490. As also is described in said application, the case conveyor 104 is driven by a motor 492 controlled by a case conveyor relay R8, just as is described in said application.
(18) As is described in said application, when carrier 92 moves down at least far enough that the tops of the bottles are below bottle supporting plate 84, a cam bar 98a fixed to carrier 98 (Figure 10) will engage the arm 494 of the grid and pusher return switch 426, and the contact 424 of that switch will open, thereby breaking the holding circuit to pusher relay R2 established in paragraph 8 and maintained in paragraph 12, so that (a) the pusher solenoid valve 120 will shift and the pusher mechanism 76 will move back to bottle receiving position, and (b) the line relief operating solenoid 144 will shift so that line relief plate 80 will move to the solid line position of Figures 1 and 4. The simultaneous closing of contact 498 of switch 428 will energize the bottle supporting plate operating solenoid 104 so that such plate will return to normal bottle supporting position as described in said application.
(19) When bottle pusher 76 returns to normal position it will open the control maintaining switch 318 to thereby de-energize control maintaining relay R10 so that the circuit through switch 320 by-passing the manually operating switch 304 will be opened. The pusher having completed its cycle, the closing of switch 320 is no longer necessary. Return of bottle pusher 76 to bottle receiving position also will restore trigger and gate release switch 366 to the position shown in Figure 9, so that the circuit through gate relay R1 closed in paragraph 10 will break and gate operating solenoid 104 will deenergize so that cylinder 106 will restore gate mechanism 68 to opened position. This will open gate and bottle pusher switch 108, closed in paragraph 8.
(20) As mentioned in paragraph 5, the opening of the gates 73 will enable the conveyor 62 to now move bottles through the gate mechanism 68. The action described in paragraphs 1 to 4 now will be repeated with the result that, as described in paragraph 7, gate relay R1 will close after sufficient time has elapsed for the leading bottle in each row and the five succeeding bottles to move past the gates 73. When relay R1 energizes, the gates 73 again will close and the bottle pushing and dropping cycle again will be repeated.
The terminology used in the specification is for the purpose of description and not of limitation, the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.
1. In conveyor apparatus, a horizontal plate including infeed and outfeed edges, conveyor means to support articles in the plane of said plate and movable with respect to said plate to convey articles in a direction transverse to one of said plate edges so that the articles will move up on the infeed edge of said plate and 0E its outfeed edge and on to said conveyor means, guide means above said plate extending substantially parallel to the conveyor means path, said plate having a length at least as great as the article-dimension which extends lengthwise of said conveyor means, said guide means defining an article path '14 wider than the transverse dimension of an article, but less than twice such dimension.
2. Apparatus of the character described in claim 1 including means adjacent the outfeed edge of said plate to divide articles into two groups, the portion of said conveyor at the outfeed edge of said plate being of increased width.
3. In apparatus for handling a plurality of rows of articles, a pair of conveyors, each of a width corresponding to the transverse dimension of the articles, a receiving conveyor at the outfeed portions of said firstmentioned conveyors, means to guide articles from said first-mentioned conveyors onto said receiving conveyor, said receiving conveyor having a width at least as great as the transverse dimension of an article but less than twice such dimension so that articles will move thereon in staggered relationship, and means at the outfeed end of said receiving conveyor to form the articles into a greater number of rows than two.
4.'In an apparatus for forming groups of articles, article-moving means, pusher means to receive and group a predetermined number of articles received from said article-moving means and to then move the grouped articles transversely of a direction articles are moving on said article-moving means, and means cooperating with said article-moving means and said pusher means to control movement of articles therebetween, said last mentioned means including means operable by movement of said pusher means to stop movement of articles with said article-moving means at a predetermined time period after said article-moving means becomes effective to move articles to said pusher means.
5. Apparatus of the character described in claim 4 wherein said means to stop articles includes a retarded relay.
6. Apparatus of the character described in claim 4 wherein means are provided so that the time period is related to the speed of travel of articles with said article moving means.
7. Apparatus of the character described in claim 4 wherein said article moving means is a moving conveyor and the time period is related to the speed of travel of said conveyor.
8. In apparatus of'the class described, a table structure including first and second article supporting areas, means to deliver a group of articles to said first area, means to move the articles to said second area, means to bound said first area comprising a bounding element extending transversely of the direction of movement of the articles with said means to deliver articles to said first area, and means to move said bounding element to enlarge the bounds of said firstarea before the articles reach said second area.
9. Apparatus of the character described in claim 8 wherein said bounding element is movable to enlarge said first area in a direction normal to the direction of movement of said means to move the articles to said second area.
10. Apparatus of the character described in claim 8 wherein said means to bound said first area is movable independently of said means to move articles to said second area.
11. Apparatus of the character described in claim 8 wherein said means to move articles to said second area is a reciprocable conveyor.
12. Apparatus of the character described in claim 8 wherein movement of said bounding means is effected by means operable in timed relation with respect to the travel of said means to deliver a group of articles to said area.
13. An article holder for use in a machine for placing articles in cases, the article holder being adapted to receive an article and drop it into a case, said holder including a pair of opposed resilient arms adapted to bend toward each other to engage the article and then bend 15 apart torelease the article,.and means to brace the portion of said arms within which the bending occurs.
14.- In apparatus for placing articles in cases, cyclically operable article" moving means to move articles to an article supporting member, means to support a case beneath said member, gate means" operable to a closed position to hold articles against movement to said article moving means, electrically energized means including a manual switch-to hold said gate means closed during a cyclical movement of said article" moving means, and means operable to close a by-pass circuit about said manual switch when said articlemovingmeans begins cyclical movement.
15. Apparatus for handling a plurality of rows of articles, a continuously m'oving'conveyor to support articles, pusher means above said conveyor to segregate articles moving on the conveyor into a plurality of rows and to move the articles transversely of the conveyor, means to control movementof articles with said conveyor toward said pusher means and operable to open and closed positions, means to move said article movement controlling means to open position, and means operable by movement of said pusher means to move said article movement controllingmeans to closed position at a pre- 16 determined time interval after movement thereof to open position.
16. In apparatus for placing articles in cases, articlemoving means to move a group of articles to an articlesupporting member for delivery to a case, means cooperating with and controlling delivery of articles to said article-moving means and including electrical circuit means provided with an electrical switch element actuated by movement of said article-moving means.
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