US 2960223 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 15, 1960 F. E. FAUTH CONTAINER INSPECTION APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed July 3. 1956 n. WwH *me WKN. l A. A A N A L I Q@ AT ab o o um T .om.-\- NM @om M P@ Sm Gmac 1@ Q .WMV NN .WW uw@ bmw /W.% f
INVENTOR 2 ATTORNEYS.
Nov. 15, 1960 F. E. FAUTH CONTAINER INSPECTION APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 5. 1956 NNN NVENTOR:
XIII EN Fr rick Ennuh,
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Y. Nov. 15, 1960 F. E. FAUTH CONTAINER INSPEGTION APPARATUS Filed July :5, -195e 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 ATTORNEYS Nov. 15, 196() F. E. FAUTH CONTAINER INSPECTION APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed July 3, 1956 0l 11 12g' 116" INVENTOR:
Fraevfck EJmvh, BMMAMW AITORNEYS.
Nov. 15, 1960 F. E. FAUTH CONTAINER INSPECTION APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed July 3, 1956 1N VENT OR w JMW f l se] Fraezjck E. Baum, BM QH/t# MMW .mw .www
CONTAINER INSPECTIUN APPTUS Frederick E. Fauth, Baltimore, Md., assignor to Crown Cork & Seal Company, luc., Baltimore, Md., a con poration of New York Filed July '3, 1956, Ser. No. 595,775
12 Claims. (Cl. 209-88) The present invention relates to a container inspection apparatus and, more particularly, to an apparatus for detecting abnormal internal pressures in a filled container.
Under present day packaging procedure, a large proportion of food products are packaged in containers with a low pressure condition established inthe container when the container is closed. An example of such packaging is the packaging of ground coffee in cans or jars, the interior of the cans or jars being placed under a vacuum and closed. The vacuum in the container preserves the aroma and flavor of the coiiee for considerable time. Another example of packaging under a pressure condition lower than atmospheric is in the packaging of food products where the head space of the filled container is filled with steam prior to and during closing, the temperature ofthe head space being subsequently lowered. The condensation of the steam creates lower than atmospheric pressure in the container.
Although the present invention is disclosed and described in relation to iilled containers being closed with a vacuum or below atmospheric pressure within the con'- tainer, it is of course within the scope of the present invention that the apparatus may be used with containers where the pressure within the container is greater than atmospheric pressure.
In filled closed containers which are under a pressure either above or below atmospheric pressure, the container end structure will -normally flex depending upon the type of pressure. lf the pressure is below atmosphere the container end structure will be concave, whereas if the pressure within the container is above atmospheric pressure, the end surface of the container will be conveX. Depending on the type of pressure condition desired within the filled closed container, tests must be made to determine whether the lling and closing apparatus is operating satisfactorily to close the container with the proper pressure on the interior. Heretofore, the practice has been to spot check the interior pressure condition of containers by periodically removing a filled and sealed container from the outfeed container line of the filling and closing apparatus and applying a testing gage to the top of the container. Such testing gages usually included an element which pierced the container top to permit the pressure in the container head space to flow into the gage. Mutilation of the cap occasioned by such testing necessitates returning the container to the capping line regardless of Whether the head space pressure was abnormal or was correct. Such a test was only a sample test or spot check of containers being filled and closed. Other arrangements have been tried whereby tests were continuously performed on each of the filled closed containers but such apparatus did not prove practical because the output of the filling and closing apparatus of presentday food `packaging plants is so fast that accurate tests could not be made on each and every container as it leaves the filling and closing apparatus. The prior arrangements for testing each container could not also eject a container detected as having abnormal internal pres- A 2,960,223 Patented Nev. 15,1960
sures when the containers were travelling at high lineal speeds on the take-olf conveyors.
An object of the present invention is to provide a-container inspection apparatus for detecting abnormal internal pressures of filled closed containers which can be utilized in inspecting each container fed to it from the container filling and closing apparatus regardless of the output speed of the filling and closing apparatus.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a container inspection apparatus for detecting abnormal internal pressures of filled closed containers which oper ates simultaneously on a plurality of filled closed con tainers travelling in a line.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a container inspection apparatus which will simultaneously test a plurality of iilled closed containers for abnormal internal pressures, the apparatus being provided with mechanism for ejecting any of the containers detected with abnormal internal pressures from the container line.
Still another object of the present invention is to pro vide a container inspection apparatus which is completely independent of the container lling and closing apparatus. Ancillary to the above it is another object of the present invention to provide a container inspection apparatus capable of being used with existing conveyor lines in food packaging plants. By having the apparatus adjustable to different heights it is obvious that the apparatus will be adjustable to the height of an existing conveyor line in the plant at any position desired between the closure applying machine and subsequent apparatus such asa carton packaging machine. The advantages of having an independent unit are first, the cost of manufacture of the unit is materially reduced and second, the unit may be used at any station in the conveyor line when it is not advantageous to use it immediately adjacent the closure applying machine. The second advantage will be apparent when utilizing the container inspection apparatus With tilling and closing apparatus wherein steam is placed in the headl space of the container land the container is then closed and cooled.
A further object of the present invention is to provide testing or detecting heads for container inspection apparatus which will operate eiciently either on glass jars or the like closed with a metal `cap or on cans having a double seam employed to hold the container ends onto the container body.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a container inspection apparatus having a plurality of testing heads to operate on a plurality of groups of successive filled closed containers, the testing heads being capable of individual adjustment for container end deflection established by the characteristics of the container and its correlation to pressure or vacuum range as dictated by the processer.
These and other objects of the present invention will be more apparent from the following specification, claims and drawings, in which:
Figure l is a side elevational view of the container inspection apparatus of the present invention, portions of the View being partially in section and portions of the apparatus being omitted for purposes of clarity.
Figure 2 is a plan view of the container inspection apparatus of Figure l, portions of the view being in section.
Figure 3 is anl end elevational View of the apparatus disclosed in Figure l and looking from the right end thereof, portions of the view relating to the memory device drive being shown in section.
Figure 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional View of a testing head of the present invention and the means 0 for mounting the same.
Figure 5 is an enlarged vertical sectional view of the testing head disclosed in Figure 4 and showing a container end in engagement with the testing head.
Figure 6 is a view taken on the 1ine66 of Figure 5.
Figure 7 is a side elevational view, partly in section, of a modified form of testing head.
Figure 8 is a top plan view of the testing head disclosed in Figure 7.
Figure 9 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the switch mounting means of the testing head disclosed in Figure 7.
Figure 10 is a top plan view of the memory device of the present invention.
Figure 1l is a side elevational view of the memory ldevice disclosed in Figure lO.
Figure 12 is a view of the memory device taken on the line 12-12 of Figure l1, and
Figure 13 is a wiring diagram Ifor the testing heads and vcontainer reject unit of the present invention.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION Referring specifically to the drawings and, more particularly to Figures l, 2 and 3 of the drawings, the con- `struction and operation of the container inspection apparatus illustrated in the application ymay be generally described as follows:
The container inspection or testing apparatus includes a frame generally designated by the numeral 10 mounted on a base 12 and including a'table 14. The upper surface of table 14 is adapted to support the top run of a ilat top straight line conveyor 16 (Figure 2) on which moves lled closed containers A travelling from a container closing machine (not shown) to subsequent apparatus, such as a container labeling machine or container packaging machine (not shown). Containers A travel at random on conveyor 16 in a substantially straight path until they reach the container inspection apparatus at which time they are spaced longitudinally along the conveyor by means of a generally cylindrical container spacing element 4125.
Base 12 of frame 10 may be adjusted vertically so as to raise or lower the table 14 to accommodate the apparatus to the height of the straight line conveyor 16. A more detailed description of the vertical adjustment of the table 14 will appear later in the specification.
Cylindrical container spacing element 18 is mounted on vframe 10 in parallel alignment with but to one side of container conveyor 16. Cylindrical element 18 has its periphery provided with a helical groove 20 for engaging and spacing containers A travelling at random on a straight line on conveyor 16. A container guide element or rail 22 (Figure 2) having a vertical planar face 24 is supported on table 14 opposite from the cylindrical container spacing element 18. The purpose of guide element 22 is to conne and direct the incoming containers A into the helical grooves 20 of the cylindrical element 18 and to retain the containers in the grooves as the containers are transferred through the container inspection apparatus. As previously mentioned cylindrical element 18 is mounted on the table with its longitudinal axis parallel to and to one side of the path of moving containers. Cylindrical element 18 is pivotally mounted in such manner that it is resiliently urged toward the containers in order that it may be pivoted away from the containers should an upset container cause a jam or should the containers improperly enter the grooves 20. A more detailed discussion of the mounting means for cylindrical element 18 will follow later in the specification.
Mounted on frame 10 above and in alignment with container conveyor 16 is a testing mechanism generally designated by the numeral 26 for detecting abnormal internal pressures in the containers A. The testing or detecting mechanism 26 is provided with a plurality of testing heads 28 spaced apart a distance equal to the 4 spacing between containers as determined by the cylindrical element 18. Each of the testing heads is adapted to engage a container end and determine if 'the container end is flexed within the limits set up by the processor.
A unitary source of power 3i), such as an electric motor or the like, is mounted on frame 10 to drive the cylindrical container spacing element 18 in synchronism with the testing mechanism 26, whereby a plurality of containers A travelling on the straight line conveyor 16 are positioned beneath the individual testing heads 28 and tested for proper internal pressure conditions simultaneously. The movement of the testing heads 28 is simultaneous with the movement of containers A and, each testing head 28 will engage a container thereunder to determine if that particular container has abnormal internal pressures. After a test has been made on a plurality of containers by the plurality of testing heads 28, a second group of containers moving on conveyor 16 are spaced by cylindrical element 18 and transferred under the testing heads where they are subsequently tested. The movement of the testing heads in a circular orbital path is simultaneous with the movement of containers A on conveyor 16 when the containers are in engagement with and spaced by the container spacing element 18. Consequently, successive groups of containers can be continuously tested without the movement of the container line being stopped or slowed down.
A memory device 32 carried on frame structure 10 is electrically connected to the testing heads 28 and when any of the testing heads 28 detect a container having abnormal internal pressures, such detection is signaled to the memory device and, in timed sequence with the movement of the conveyors from beneath the testing heads, such containers detected as having abnormal pressures are ejected from the container line. An ejector unit generally designated by the numeral 34 is operated by the memory device to eject containers detected as having abnormal pressures from the container line onto `a reject table generally indicated by the numeral 36. A more detailed description of the memory device 32 and the container ejector unit or mechanism 34 will be described later in the specific-ation;
Although the preferred arrangement of the present invention is disclosed in the drawings as incorporating three testing heads for operating simultaneously on three filled closed containers spaced therebeneath, it is well within the scope of the present invention to either decrease or increase the number of testing heads 28 so that any desired number of containers may be tested in a given cycle of the testing mechanism 26.
Frame and drive The container inspection apparatus of the present invention includes essentially the cylindrical container spacing element 18, the testing heads 2S of the testing mechanism 26, the memory unit 32 and the container ejector device 34. Each of these elements, as well as the central source of power 30, are mounted on the frame so that the apparatus is a completely independent assembly or unit which may be utilized with existing container lines in a container packaging plant. The advantage of having a completely independent unit allows for freedom of location of the unit in the packaging line and, thus, materially increases the utility of the apparatus with -already existing equipment in the packaging plants or the like. The cost of manufacture and maintenance of :an independent unit is materially reduced from those units which are incorporated in an existing container closing machine or manufactured as part of`a container closing machine.
Referring now to Figures l and 2 it will be noted that the cylindrical container spacing element 18, the testing mechanism 26 and the source of power 3i) are all mounted on the framestructure 1i) in such a manner as toV be positioned on the same side of the table 14, consequently, on
assenza the same side of the straightline conveyor 16 when the apparatus is positioned in the conveyor line. In addition, each of the foregoing units are mounted above the upper surface of table 14 and, consequently, the access to each of the units is readily available for maintenance and ooservation. Further, providing all ofthe operating units on one side of the table allows the operator to observe containers passing through the apparatus during operation.
As best shown in Figures l and 3, frame is supported on spaced vertical standards or posts 11 which telescope into the frame and are rigidly secured thereto by bolts 35. The lower ends of standards 11 telescope into the base members 12 and are detachably held in an adjustable vertical position by means of the bolts 13. By having the standards 11 telescope into the base members 12, the -fr-ame 10 may be adjusted vertically to any desired height so that its table 14 may be brought into proper position with respect to the straight line conveyor 16 which it supports on its upper surface. Adjustment of the table L14 vertically adapts the container inspection apparatus of the present invention for use with existing conveyor lines in plants regardless of the conveyors height above the iloor.
The guide rail 22 which runs parallel to conveyor 16 and on an opposite side of the conveyor from the container spacing element 18 may be supported on suitable brackets 23 which are adjustably bolted to the table 14, as indicated at 25. By making the guide rail 22 adjustable transversely of conveyor 16, the guide rail may be adjusted for various diameter containers.
The unitary source of power 3i) is adapted to drive the testing mechanism 26, the container spacing element 18, and the memory device 32. The drive between the unitary source of power 30 and the testing mechanism 26, as well as the conveyor spacing element 18 is substantially identical to that disclosed in the copending application of Carl L. Day and Frederick E. Fauth, filed June 22, 1953, and serially numbered 363,094 Iand now United States Patent No. 2,768,656, issued October 30, 1956. Only such details of the drive as are necessary for understanding the operation of the container inspection mechanism will be repeated herein.
As best shown in Figures l, 2 and 3, the unitary source of power 30 is an electric motor slidably mounted on a base 37 carried on the frame 1t?. The motor 38 is provided with a drive shaft 38 on which is mounted a Reeves type of pulley 40. Positioned on the frame a suitable distance from motor 38 is a speed reductor unit 42 having a pulley 44 which is driven by the belt or chain 46. Belt or chain 46 passes over the Reeves type of pulley 40 and the pulley 44. Movement of the motor toward or -away from the speed reductor unit 42 increases or decreases the speed of the pulley 44 because of the Reeves pulley drive 40 on motor 30. A suitable hand crank 48 may be used to adjust the position of the constant speed of the electric motor 30.
Speed reductor unit 42 is provided with two driven shafts 50 and 52. The driven shaft Si) is provided with a sprocket gear 54 which is adapted to receive an endless chain `drive 56 that passes over an idler sprocket gear 53 and a sprocket gear 69. As disclosed in the aforementioned Day and Fauth application rotation of the sprocket gear 54 will rotate the sprocket gear 60 which in turn rotates a drive shaft 62. Drive shaft 62 at its other end is provided with a sprocket gear `64 that meshes with a sprocket gear 66 mounted on the end or" cylindrical spacing container element 18.
As shown in Figure l and described in detail in the aforementioned Day and Fauth patent, the cylindrical spacing container element 18 is pivotally mounted on a torque tube 68 and is normally urged toward the conveyor 16 and guide rail 22 by a spring 78. Suitable stops, suc-h as shown in Figure ll of the aforementioned Day and Fauth patent, are provided to limit the movement of the spacing element 18 toward the conveyor 16 and guide rail 22, the stops being adjustable so that the distance between '6 the element 18 and the guide rail can be adjusted. By mounting the spacing element 18 in the manner just previ'- ously described, it is now obvious that the element 18 can swing away from the conveyor 16 and guide rail 22 should there be a container causing a jam in the apparatus.
The adjustment of element 13' longitudinally of its axis for timing its helical groove or thread 20 so `as to properly position containers under the testing heads 28 may be done in yan identical manner as fully disclosed in the aforementioned Day and Fauth patent.
Drive shaft 52 of speed reductor unit 42 is adapted to drive a gear train (not shown) which will rotate a pair of crank members 72. Each of the crank members 72 is provided with a horizontal shaft 74 on which-is mounted a carrier member 76. The carrier member 76 supports the three testing heads 28. When the crank members 72 are rotated through the gear train (not shown) by the drive shaft 52 of speed conductor unit 42 they will move the carrier member 76 in a vertical circular orbit so that each of the testing members 28 which are mounted on the carrier member 76 move in a vertical circular orbit and thereby reciprocate relative to the containers passing therebeneath on the conveyor 16 and spaced by the container spacing element 18;
Drive shaft 52 of speed reductor unit 42 is provided with a gear 73 which meshes with a gear 80 mounted on a drive shaft 82 of memory device 32. Drive shaft 82 when rotated will operate the memory device- 32 in timed synchronism with the movement of the testing heads 28 and the containers A on conveyor 16, as will be described later in the specification.
Testing head mechanism Referring now to 'Figures 4, 5 and 6, the testing mechanism of the present invention includes the three testing heads 28 mounted on the carrier member 76 for movement in a vertical plane through a circular orbit. The carrier member 76 is provided with spaced vertical bosses 84 which carry a tubular bushing 86. The tubular bushing 86 is fixed to the bosses 84 by means of a bolt 88 (Figure 3). Another tubular bushing 90 having an annular ilange or ring 92 at its upper end is adapted to fit into the bushing 86 and be supported therein. The lower end of bushing is threaded, `as indicated at 94, for receiving a collet or chuck 96. Bushing 970 4is provided with a vertical slot 93 :into which the end of lbolt 88 is received.V Consequently, bushing 90 may move vertically upwardly with respect to bush-ing 86 and carrier member 76 and the testing heads 28 can accommodate containers varying slightly in heigth.
A shaft 98 provided on testing head 28 is adapted to be received in bushing 98 and ixedly attached thereto in an adjusted position by wedges 9S of the collet 96. The lower end of the shaft 98 is received in a iiexible tubular coupling member 19t) which is made of a non-current conducting material, such as rubber or the like. A set screw 102 fixes the coupling member 100 on the lower end of shaft 98. A second vertical shaft 194 in alignment with vertical `shaft 98 Iis supported in coupling member by set screw 105. A current-conducting coil wire 186 electrically connects shaft 98 with shaft 104. By providing the liexible coupling member 100 between the shafts 98 and 184, compensation is made for planar discrepancies between the gaging points and the gaged surface. Mounted on the lower end of shaft 104 is the testing head 28 which includes a cup-shaped member 198' having a plate member 110 bolted to its lower surface, as indicated at 112. The plate member is provided with downwardly extending anges 114 which are adapted to fit around the periphery of a container to center the same when the container is being tested for abnormal internal pressures.
The cup-shaped member 108 is provided with a cavity 116 (Figure 5) in which is mounted a microswitch 118. The micro-switch 118-, carried by a bracket 120a is axially positioned with respect to the plate member 110. Carried on the vertical aXis of plate member 110 is a pin element 122 which is adapted to be moved vertically by a container having abnormal internal pressures, to thereby close the normally open micro-switch 113. Three equally spaced gaging pins or screws 124 are carried by the plate member 110 and are adapted to engage the end of container A adjacent the outer periphery of the end. The pins or screws 124 may be adjusted vertically with respect to the plate member 110 so as to determine the closing position of the switch 118 by the switch pin 122 within a range dictated by the processer. To make an adjustment of the screws 124, it is merely necessary to loosen lock nuts 126 and then thread the screws upwardly or downwardly as the case may be until a desired position is attained. If the screws 124 are threaded downwardly with respect to the plate member 110, it will require more movement of the flexible end of a container to actuate the switch 118 than if the screws 124 were lthreaded upwardly of the plate member 110.
By providing screws 124 to engage the end of a container A, as shown in Figure 5, the testing head 23 of the present invention may be used to detect containers such as cans having a double seam to fasten the can end to the can body, The screws 124 engage the end of the container and, thus, variations in the seam do not eiect the measurement of the movement of the end of the container with respect to the container body.
Referring now to Figure the container A is shown with its end 128 in a position which it normally `assumes when the container is properly vacuumized. The dotted line position of the container end 128 is the position the end would be deliected if the container was not properly vacuumized and such a position would cause the pin 122 to move vertically upwardly with respect to the plate member 110 and engage and close the micro-switch 118. Closing of the micro-switch 118 will cause the memory device 32 to actuate the ejector unit 34 so that the container can be ejected from the line of filled containers having normal internal pressure conditions. A more detailed discussion of the opeartion of the testing heads in conjunction with the memory device 32 and the ejector unit 34 will follow later in the specification.
Referring now to Figures 7, 8 and 9, a modified form of testing head 28 is disclosed. The testing head 28 is provided with the same vertical shafts 9S and 104 coupled together by the compensating or iiexible coupling member 100, but the testing head 28" includes a novel means of adjusting the opening and closing of the microswitch for a desired movement or flexing of the container end. The testing head 23 is provided with a cupshaped member 108 bolted to a plate member 110' by the bolts 112'. A bore 130 is provided in the upper end of the cup-shaped member 10% for receiving the end of vertical shaft 104. 'I'he bore 130 also provides a cavity into which a set screw 132 is threaded transversely of the axis thereof. Set screw 132 has a tapered end 133 which is adapted to engage the end of a vertical pin member 134 carried by the cup-shaped member 108. Pin member 134 extends into the cavity 116 of cup-shaped member 108 and a bracket 136 is mounted on its end. The L-shaped bracket 136 supports a micro-switch 1118'. A coil spring 138 normally urges the pin member 134 and its bracket 136 into engagement with the tapered end of said screw `132. A switch pin 122', vertically movable with respect to the plate member 110', is adapted to engage the microswitch 11S and close the same.
By threading the set screw 132 inwardly, as viewed in Figure 7, the distance which the pin I122 must travel to close the switch 118 is less than if the set screw 132 is threaded outwardly, and, thus, the opening and closing of the switch may be accurately adjusted according to the limits or range dictated by the processor. In the modified testing head 28', disclosed in Figures 7,
8 and 9, adjustable gagng pins i124 are not necessary since adjustment of the range of operation of the microswitch is made by Vertical movement of the micro-switch with respect to the pin 122.. By moving the microswitch 11S to vary its range of operation, the container end contacts the lower surface of plate member i110 as well as the switch pin 122' for the gaging points. The contacting surface of plate 110 of Figure 7 is usable on jars. This adjusting means is also used in conjunction with flanged plate 110 and locating pins i124 when used on cans.
Memory device and container reject unit Referring now to Figures 2, l0 and ll, the memory device 32 is mounted at a convenient location on frame 1i) so that it may be driven off of the speed reductor unit 32 in synchronism with container spacing element 18 and testing mechanism 26. In more detail, the drive shaft 52 of the speed reductor unit 42 is provided with the pinion gear 78 (Figure 3) which meshes with the drive gear 80 for driving the memory device. Drive gear S0 is lixed to one end of shaft 82, as indicated at 142, the shaft being journalled in a pair of spaced pillow blocks 149 suitably mounted on the frame 10, as indicated in Figure 2. A pair of spaced vertical plates 144 and 146 respectively, are provided with aligned apertures and receive the other end of shaft 82. The vertical plates 144 and 146 are secured together in any suitable manner, such as by lthe circumferential plates 148, as shown in Figures l0 and lll and in turn are fixed to the frame 10 by a bracket 150. A disk member 152 is centrally positioned between the plates 144 and 146 and is supported for rotation on the shaft 82.
Disk member 152 is provided with a plurality of transverse holes 154, the holes being spaced circumferentially on the disk member 152. Mounted in each hole is a pin element 156 having a head 158. The pin elements 156 which are positioned in the circumferentially spaced holes 154 are adapted to move transversely of the disk member 152, as will be described in more detail later in the specification.
A plurality of magnetic coils 16E), i162 and 164 are circumferentially spaced on the plate 144, as shown in Figure 12. Any suitable means may be used to hold the magnetic coils in position on the plate 144, such as the arcuate bracket 166. The coils 160, 162 and `164 are so positioned that they will be in alignment with the holes in the disk 152 as vthe disk rotates with respect to the plate 144. The energizing of any of the coils 160, 162 or 164 will dispose the pin which is opposite the same to the right of Figure l0 so that the pin will be in a position to strike a switch arm 168 of microswitch 170, as best shown in Figures l'l and l2. Microswitch 170 controls operation of the ejector unit 34 so that a container detected as having abnormal internal pressures may be ejected from `the line of containers as they are transferred from the container inspection apparatus. A permanent magnet 172 is mounted on plate 146, the permanent magnet being so positioned as to return the pins 156 to the left of Figures l0 and ll after the pins have been disposed so as to actuate the switch It is now evident that the disk member 152 continuously rotates in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in Figure 12. The disk member carries the pins 156 normally disposed to the left, as shown in Figures l() and l1. Since each of the coils 166, 162 and 164 are electrically connected by one of the testing heads 28, the coils will be energized should the testing heads detect a container having abnormal internal pressures. In other words, the testing head 23 to the lett of Figure l is electrically connected to the coil 169, whereas, the center testing head and the testing head to the right of Figure `l are connected respectively to the coils 162 and 164. As the disk member 152 rotates, a container detected as having abnormal pressure by the testing head 28 at the left of Figure l closes the switch 118 of that testing head, causing momentary energizing of the coil 160 and, the pin 156 which, at that time, is disposed opposite of the coil, is drawn to the right o-f Figure -by the coil. The end of the pin extending out of the disk member 152 will then be in a position to operate the switch-actuating arm 168 to close switch 1170, but the disk must travel from a position where the pin is adjacent the coil l1611 to a position where the pin strikes .the switch-actuating arm 168. In the meantime, the container, which has been detected as having abnormal pressure by the testing head 28 at the left of Figure l, will have moved to a position opposite the ejector unit 34. The action of the closing of switch 170 will be simultaneous with the movement of the container to a position opposite the ejector unit 34 which is then operated to eject the container transversely `from the line of containers onto the reject table 36. The continued rotation of disk member 152 -will bring the pin which has been disposed to the right of Figure 10 adjacent the permanent magnet 172 where the pin is attracted to the left and, thus, is in a position to pass the coils 160, 162 and 164. llf none of the coils are energized, pins disposed to the left of Figure 10 will remain in that position as they are carried past the coils so that they cannot operate the switch 170. Each of the coils 160', 162' and 164 is so placed away from the switch-actuating arm 168 that the time lapse between the movement of a disposed pin by a coil to the switch-actuating arm will be such that it will actuate the ejector unit 34 when the detectedl container has moved from under a particular testing head to a position adjacent the ejector unit 34.
The ejector unit 34 is supported on frame 10 at the discharge end of the container inspection apparatus. Ejector unit 34 comprises an air cylinder 174, a piston 176 operable by the air cylinder 174 and a solenoidoperated air valve 178. Solenoid-operated air valve 178 is electrically connected to the micro-switch 17 0 and when it is momentarily energized it will permit the piston 176 of air cylinder 174 to complete an out and back cycle. A suitable source of compressed air is fed to a pressure regulator 180 and from the pressure regulator the air is delivered by a conduit 182 to the solenoid-operated air valve 178. A suitable gage 184 is provided on the pressurel regulator 180 so that the amount of air pressure for operating the piston 176 can be determined and adjusted. Suitable means may be provided for adjusting the length and time of the stroke of piston 176. As shown in Figure 2 the piston 176 is adapted to move transversely across the path of containers A travelling on the conveyor 16. The end of piston 176 will engage a containerV detected as having abnormal internal pressures and move thev container onto the reject table 36. Immediately after the container has been ejected onto table 36, the piston 17 6 will return back to its normal inoperative position so that containers having normal internal pressures can beV continuously transferred without interruption by conveyor 16 between guide rails 186 and 188 to other apparatus in the plant.
Wiring diagram Figure 13 discloses the wiring diagram for the testing heads 28, memory device 32, and ejector unit 34. In more detail, a transformer 190 is provided to reduce the voltage to the apparatus so as not to endanger the operating personnel. The transformer has a primary coil 192 connected to a suitable source of power and secondary coils 194 and 196.
A current conducting line 198 is connected to secondary coil 194 at terminal 200 and to each of the magnetic coils 160, 162 and 164. Coil 160 in turn is connected to ground through a current conducting line 202 which includes the normally open micro-switch 118 of the testing head 28 positioned at' the left of Figure l. Also,
provided in the current conducting line 202v is'V a jack 204 which engages a plug 206. Magnetic coil 162 is connected to ground by a current conducting line 208 which contains the normally open micro-switch 118 of the testing head 28 positioned centrally of the testing heads in Figure l. The current conducting line 208 also has a jack 210 and a plug 212 which receives the same. Magnetic coil 164 is connected to ground by a current conducting line 214 which includes the normally open micro-switch 118 of the testing head shown at the right of Figure l. A jack 216 received in the plug 218 is also provided in line 214. As is now evident when any of the micro-switches 118 are closed the circuit to the particular coil 160, 162 or 164 is completed and the coil is energized so as to move one of the pins 156 to the right of Figure 10.
As the disk 152, carrying the disposed pin 156, continues to rotate, the pin will contact arm 168 and close the micro-switch 170 which is in a current conducting line 220 connected to the terminal 222 of secondary coil 196. Since the solenoid-operated air valve 178 is in the circuit of line 220, the solenoid valve will be momentarily energized so as to actuate the air piston 176 to eject the container detected as having abnormal pressure in,
proper time sequence of its movement from under the particular testing head to a position opposite the piston.
A second current conducting line 224 is connected to terminal 200 of coil 194. The current conducting line 224 is provided with a test lamp 226 and a jack terminal 228. When it is desired to adjust each of the testing heads 28 prior to operation of the containerinspection apparatus, it is merely necessary to remove the jack 204, 210 or 216 from the testing head being adjusted and insert the jack 228 in its place. When the switch 118 of that particular testing head has been adjusted to close at a proper position, the lamp 226 will light, indicating that a proper adjustment has been made. The test lamp 226 may be conveniently positioned on the frame, as indicated in Figure l and, its jack 228 may be positioned below the same.
'I'he ground for the various electrical units of the apparatus is shown in the wiring diagram of Figure 13v as line 230, but of course it is understood that the ground is through the frame of the apparatus. In this respect, reference is made to Figures 4 and S, wherein the microswitch 118 is shown as grounded through the cup-shaped member 108 of the testing head to the vertical shaft 104 and in turn to the vertical shaft 98 through the coil wire 106.
Although the wiring diagram of Figure 13 has been described in connection with the testing heads 28, it is of course within the scope of the invention that the same wiring diagram could be utilized with the modied form of testing head 28 disclosed in Figures 7, 8 and 9.
Operation The operation of the container inspection apparatus of the present invention may be brieily described as follows:
First, each individual testing head 28 is adjusted to determine the exact point of switch actuation for a container having abnormal internal pressure. A container which has an abnormal internal pressure as determined by the processer is placed under the testing head 28 when the testing headv is in the position shown in Figure 1. that is, at the most downward point of its path of travel in its vertical circular orbit. Assuming the testing head 28 on the left hand side of Figure 1 is being adjusted, the plug 206 is removed from the jack 204 and inserted into the jack 228 of the test lamp circuit 224. The three adjustment screws 124 are then turned either up or down to a point where the movable switch pin 122 actuates the switch 118 to cause the lamp 226 to light. When this occurs, the testing head 28 under consideration is properly adjusted for detecting a container, which has abnormal internal pressures causing its end to deflect' a pre- 11 determined amount. The test is then repeated for each of the other testing heads 28.
After the testing heads 28 have been adjusted to accurately establish the exact switch actuation, the apparatus may then be started and continuously operated. Motor 30 is started and it in turn will cause the testing heads 28 to move simultaneously in a vertical circular orbit. Motor 30 also rotates the container spacing element 18 on its longitudinal axis so that as containers A are advanced in random on conveyor 16 they will be properly spaced in synchronism with the movement of the testing heads 28. The three testing heads 28j will move downwardly and forwardly simultaneously and engage three spaced containers on the conveyor 16 to determine if any of the three containers has an abnormal internal pressure. Assuming that one of the containers being tested has an abnormal pressure it will actuate the switch 118 of the particular testing head which is in engagement therewith. The switch 118 when closed will energize the magnetic coil of the memory device 32 which is in its circuit, causing the pin 156 of the rotating disk 152 which happens to be adjacent thereto, to be disposed to the right, as viewed in Figure l0. When the pin is disposed to the right, it will, upon further rotation of the disk member 152, strike the switch-actuating arm 168 and close the switch 170 to thereby momentarily energize the solenoidoperated air valve 178. Momentary energization of the solenoid-operated air valve 178 will cause the piston 176 of ejector unit 34 to move transversely across the path of containers being discharged from the machine. The container which will be adjacent the piston at the time the piston moves across the path of containers is the same container which was under the testing head detecting the abnormal internal pressure condition of the container, the movement of the container being in timed sequence with the movement of the pin from the time it is disposed by the coil of the memory device 32 to the time it actuates the switch 170. The rejected container is received on the reject table 36, while containers with normal internal pressures are allowed to pass onto subsequent apparatus, such as a labeling or casing machine.
The novel testing heads 28 and 28" of the present invention may be utilized to test pressure conditions on containers such as glass jars having caps that will deflect under pressure conditions or on cans having ends which deect on abnormal internal pressure conditions. In testing of cans, the centralizing type of testing head 2S or 28 is not elected by the variation found in the height of the double seam usually employed to hold the can end to the can body. The double seam of a can is used merely as a guide surface for locating purposes when the testing head engages the can end to test the same.
Although the testing heads 28 and 28 have been described in connection with detecting containers having higher internal pressure than desired, it is of course within the scope of the present invention that the apparatus could be utilized to detect containers having lower internal pressure than desired. In the iirst instance filled' containers which are vacuumized would have an outward end deiiection if a proper vacuum was not obtained within the container, whereas in the second instance containers placed under an internal pressure higher than atmosphere would have an inward deflection of the container end if the pressure was not within the desired range.
The terminology used in this specilication is for the purpose of description and not limitation, :the scope of the invention being defined in the claims.
1. In an apparatus for detecting filled containers having abnormal internal pressures, a container conveyor for continuously transferring containers in a row, a stationary frame structure, a plurality of testing heads carried by said frame structure above and in alignment with said container conveyor, means cooperating with said container conveyor to space containers travelling thereon as they pass beneath said plurality of testing heads, means for simultaneously moving said testing heads into and out of simultaneous engagement with a plurality of containers, said testing heads each having a switch thereon operable when said testing heads are in engagement with a container having abnormal internal pressures, a container reject indicator 4memory device, said memory device including a rotating disk having a plurality of movable pins on its periphery, a plurality of magnetic coils, one of said coils being connected to each of said switches and positioned adjacent said rotary disk, said magnetic coils being energized upon the closing of said switches to move the pins on said rotary disk, a reject switch positioned adjacent said rotary disk and in the path of the pins thereon when the pins are disposed by energizing of said coils, and ejector means for ejecting containers detected with abnormal internal pressures from the row of containers, said ejector means including a piston member positioned adjacent the container conveyor and movable across the rows of containers traveling thereon, said piston member being operated by closing said reject switch by any of the pins on said disk when disposed by energizing of any of said magnetic coils,
2. An apparatus of the character described in claim l wherein said container spacing means includes a helically threaded cylindrical element positioned above and along side of said container conveyor and extending beneath said testing heads, said cylindrical element being rotated on a horizontal axis in timed relationship with the simultaneous movement of said plurality of testing heads to thereby continuously position a successive plurality of containers beneath said testing heads.
3. In an apparatus of the character described in claim l wherein said container conveyor transfers containers in a straight line beneath said testing heads and wherein said testing head moving means moves said testing heads simultaneously in a circular orbit in timed synchronism with the movement of containers on said container conveyor.
4. A mechanism of the character described in claim l including means to adjust the opening and closing of the switch on each testing head.
5. In a apparatus tor detecting iilled containers having abnormal internal pressures, a testing head mechanism including a support member, a vertical member connected to said support at its upper end, a testing head connected to said vertical member at its lower end, said support member being adapted to move said vertical member and said testing head into and out of engagement with the end surface of a container positioned therebeneath, said testing head including a stationary container engaging member and a second container engaging member movable relative to said lirst member when in contact with another portion of the container end surface, said testing head also including a switch operable by predetermined movement of said second member with respect to said first member, means responsive to operation of said switch to indicate a container having an abnormal internal pressure, and means to compensate said testing head or irregularities in the end surface of a container being tested, said compensating means i includes providing said vertical member with an upper vertical shaft and a lower vertical shaft spaced vertically therefrom, said upper and lower vertical shafts being connected together by a iiexible member.
6. A mechanism of the character described in claim 4, including an indicator light, and means to individually disconnect each switch of said testing heads from its respective magnetic coil and to connect each switch to said indicator light when the switch is being adjusted.
7. An apparatus of the character described in claim 5 wherein said exible member is a tubular rubber sleeve 13 adapted to t on the lower end of the upper vertical shaft and the upper end of the lower vertical shaft.
8. An apparatus of the character described in claim 7 wherein said switch in said test head is grounded through said vertical member, a current conducting wire being provided between the lower end of said upper vertical shaft and the upper end of said lower Vertical shaft.
9. In an apparatus for detecting illed containers having abnormal internal pressure, a testing head adapted to be moved into engagement with the end surface of a container to determine the end deection of the container, a switch carried by said testing head and operable when the deection of the end surface of the container is such as to indicate abnormal pressure Within the container, means operable by said switch to indicate a container having abnormal internal pressure and means to adjust limits of opening and closing of said switch, said switch adjustment means including a rst member on said testing head for engaging contact with the end surface of the container and a second member on said testing head movable with respect to said tirst member for engaging contact with a different portion of the end surface of the container, said rst member being adjustable with respect to said second member and said second member being ladapted to be moved by a container having abnormal internal pressures to thereby operate said switch.
10. In an apparatus for detecting lled containers having abnormal internal pressures, a container conveyor means for moving containers in la row in spaced relationship with each other, a frame structure, a plurality of testing heads carried by said frame structure above containers moving on said container conveyor means, means to move said testing heads in a vertical orbital path so as to simultaneously engage and simultaneously test a plurality of containers, a switch in each of said testing heads adapted -to be operated when said testing heads engage the end surface of a container having abnormal pressure, a container rejecting means for rejecting containers detected as having |abnormal internal pressures., a memory device operable by any switch of any switch of any of said testing heads, said memory device operating said container rejecting means to reject a container detected by operation of the particular switch, means to individually adjust the opening and closing of the switch in each of said testing heads, an indicator light, and means to disconnect a switch being adjusted from said memory device, said last-mentioned means including means to connect the switch being tested to said indicator light.
11. In an yapparatus for detecting lled containers having abnormal internal pressures, a container conveyor for continuously transferring containers in a row, a stationary frame structure, a plurality of testing heads carried by said frame structure above and in alignment with said container conveyor, means cooperating with said contalner conveyor to space containers travelling thereon as they pass beneath said plurality of testing heads, means for simultaneously moving said testing heads into and out of simultaneous engagement with a plurality of containers, said testing heads each having a switch thereon operable when said testing heads are in engagement with a container having abnormal internal pressures, a container reject indicator memory device, said memory device including a rotating disk having a plurality of movable pins on its periphery, a plurality of magnetic coils, one of said coils being connected to each of said switches and positioned adjacent said rotary disk, said magnetic coils being energized upon the closing of said switches to move the pins on said rotary disk, a reject switch positioned adjacent said rotary disk and in the path of the pins thereon when the pins are disposed by energizing of said coils, ejector means for ejecting containers detected With abnormal internal pressures from the row of containers, said ejector means being operated by closing said reject switch by any of the pins on said disk when disposed by energizing of any o-f said magnetic coils, means to adjust the opening and closing of the switch of each testing head, an indicator light and means to individually disconnect each switch of said testing heads from its respective magnetic coil and to connect each switch to said indicator light when the switch is being adjusted.
l2. In an apparatus for detecting containers having abnormal internal pressure, a testing head adapted to be moved into engagement with the end surface of a container to determine the end deflection of the container, a switch carried by said testing head, a switch operating member carried by said testing head, said switch operating member being movable with respect to said testing head upon engaging the end surface of a container having abnormal internal pressure, means operable by said switch to indicate a container having abnormal internal pressure, means to adjust limits of opening and closing of said switch, said adjustment means including means to adjustably mount said switch with respect to said switch operating member, said switch mounting means including a bracket resiliently mounted in said testing head and normally urged away from said switch operating member, ya stem on said bracket, and a set screw carried by said testing head and having a tapered end engaging said stem for adjusting said bracket and the switch carried thereby with respect to the switch operating member.
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