US 2980938 A
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April 25, 1961 J. P. WHELAN CONTAINER CLEANING MACHINE 4 Sheets- Sheet 1 Filed May 17, 1956 IN VENTOR. James P l e BY ATTORNEY 1961 J. P. WHELAN CONTAINER CLEANING MACHINE April 25 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed May 17, 1956 I N VEN TOR. ames F l l/be/dn BY 9.8% QAMGM- April 1961 J. P. WHELAN 2,980,938
CONTAINER CLEANING MACHINE Filed May 17, 1956 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 I u I a u i l IN V EN TOR. k/dmea F. Vl e/dn Y ATTORNEY CONTAINER CLEANING MACHINE James P. Whelan, Quincy, Mass., assignor to Pneumatic Scale Corporation, Limited, Quincy, Mass., a corporation of Massachusetts Filed May 17, 1956, Ser. No. 585,542 6 Claims. (Cl. 304) This invention relates to a container cleaning machine.
The invention has for one of its objects the provision of a novel and eflicient container cleaning machine capable of operation at relatively high speeds with minimum liability of breakage or damage to the containers passing through the machine.
Another object of the invention is to provide a novel cleaning machine of the character above set forth wherein the cleaning operation is performed by air streams directed into the containers by means of flexible nozzles while the containers are passing through the machine in an inverted position.
. ith these general objects in view. and such others as may hereinafter appear, the invention'consists in the container cleaning machine and in the various structures, arrangements and combinations of parts hereinafter described and particularly defined in the claims at the end of this specification. I a
In the drawings illustrating the preferred embodiment of the invention: t
Fig. 1 is a side elevation of the present container cleaning machine; r
Fig. 2 is a plan view of the same; l
* atent ice ' inflated tubes 26, 28 of rubber or like resilient material Fig. 3 is a plan view detail of driving mechanism to V be described;
Fig. 4 is across sectional view taken on the line 44 of Fig. 2; v I
3 Fig. 5 is a cross sectional view taken on the line 55 of Fig. 1; i
Fig. 6 is a cross sectional view taken on the line 6--6 of Fig. 2; and
Figs. 7 and 8 are detail views showing the preferred form of air nozzle in diflferent positions of operation relative to the containers. I
[In general the invention contemplates a container cleaning machine wherein the containers are conveyed through the machine in a novel manner and by .novel "fragile containers, such as bottles, and the machine is further characterized by its ability to handle various which are also arranged to run over pulleys 22, 24 in side by side relation and which are adapted to grip between them the container advanced therebetween by the supporting belt 10. As illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2, the pulleys may be driven through drive mechanism comprising an electric motor 30 which may be connected by a chain and sprocket drive to an intermediate shaft 34. The intermediate shaft 34 is connected by a chain and sprocket drive 36 to the pulley shaft 38 -on which the pulley 22 is mounted. A chain and sprocket drive connection 37 may be provided between the pulley shafts 38, 39 as shown.
Provision is made for transferring containers from a supply thereof onto the central conveyor 10, and as herein shown, a supply of containers. may be fed into the machine on a supply conveyor 40 which may be continuously driven in any usual or preferred manner, not shown. The containers are advanced on the conveyor 40 onto a rotary transfer disk or turntable 42 and into engagement with a guide plate 44 arranged to guide and transfer the containers onto the central conveyor 10 as illustrated in Fig. 2. The transfer disk 42 may be independently driven through driving mechanism which includes an electric motor 46 operatively connected to a shaft 50 which is connected by bevel gears 52 to a vertiand resiliently gripped therebetween and carried from the upper run of the conveyor around the pulley 22 and into the lower run of the conveyor to assume an inverted position along the lower run. In practice any relatively heavy particles or other foreign matter which may be within'the containers-12 may at this time fall out of the mouths of the containers by gravity during their transition from an upright to an inverted position in passing around the pulley 22. t
I During their travel along the lower run the inverted containers are subjected to streams of air directed into the containers from a plurality of air nozzles extending upwardly from a manifold 62 which may be connected to a regulated source of compressed air through a branch pipe 64 and a main supply pipe 66. The mani-l fold 62 and its air nozzles 60 comprise a first cleaning V I station wherein the air directed into the containers 12 conveyingmeans wh ch per se forms the sub ect matter is arranged to suspend particles of dust or other foreign matter in the containers to be blown out of the months of the containers as they pass along the lower run; A second cleaning station spaced from the first cleaning station may comprise a plurality of air nozzles 61c!!- tended from a similar manifold 63 connected to branch .types and sizes of bottles or other open mouthed con- :1-
tairie rs with minimum adjustment.
"Referring now to the drawings illustrating themeferred embodiment ofithe invention, the container cleaning machine illustrated in Figs. and 2 includes a cen-. tral or intermediate conveyor 10 which maycomp-rise a 'fiat belt 'arra nged to: runover pulleys 22', 24'at each end of'th'e' conveyor, The central conveyor 10 comprises a supporting belt'fOr-contaihers l2 depositedthereonand 'is-' arranged to advance the'containers into,a con.verg?ng f iportion 25 of a conveyor comprising a pair 'of endle'ss pipe 65 and is arranged to perform a second cleaning operation in a similar manner, the space provided between the two stations serving as a fall-out area for any loose particles which may remain within the containers after thefirst cleaning operation. '1 M As shown; in Fig; 4, the tubes 26,28 are arranged to be supported'along the lower run of the conveyor in firnr' gripping engagement with the containers 12, and as herein shown, the tubes may be supported by spool shaped idler guiderollers 68 having a concave surface to fit around portions of the convex surfaces of the cylindrical tubes.
' lnorder 'to p'revent undue friction'between the differentidiameters of the concaveiportions of the spool, the guide rollers may be formed'i'n separate sections com'priS-r tact with the tubes 25, 2s; The guide rollers 68, as shown in Fig. 4, are preferably supported at an angle of about 45 with respect to the tubes in a manner such "as to urge the tubes upwardly and inwardly in gripping engagement with the containers carried therebetween. The rollers 63 may be supported in upright brackets 76 mounted on the base of the machine. In order to further control the path of travel of the tubes 26, 28 along the lower run to cause them to be maintained in firm engagement with the inverted containers 12 and to prevent upward displacement thereof, a seriesof idler rolls 78 may be supported for engagement with the upper portions of the tubes as shown in Fig. 4. The rollers78 may be supported in brackets 80 depending from a bracket 82 forming e part ofthe machine frame. 1
.As herein shown, the dust-laden air is blown out of the mouths of the containers 12 into a plenum chamber defined by a suitable enclosure, indicated by dot and dash line 84, about the lower run and from which the air is withdrawn by a suction pump 86 through suction pipes 88 and into an exhaust pipe 90 to be carried away from the machine. a
After passing through the lower run of the conveyor in an inverted position the cleaned containers 12 are again carried into the upperrun around the end pulley 24 and are released from gripping engagement with the tubes 26, 28 at a diverging portion of the conveyor, as indicated at 92, and the cleaned containers may then be transferred from the central belt onto a discharge conveyor 94 by a rotary transfer disk 96 disposed between theconveyors, as shown, and by engagement with the guide plate 44 in a manner similar to the transfer of the containers from the supply conveyor 40 onto. the central belt" 1E). The rotary transfer disk 96 may be driven in a manner similar to the supply transfer disk 42 through connections from the shaft 50, bevel gears. 98 and chain and sprocket drive 100 as shown in detail in Fig. 3. t
rollers 128 may also be provided for engagement with the outer sides of the tubes to prevent lateral displacement outwardly thereof during their passage through the diverted portion of the upper run as shown. As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, the pulley shafts 38, 39 may be journaled in upright brackets 130 supported from the base of the machine, the brackets 130 being provided with connecting side rails 132, 134 to which the" various roller supporting brackets may be attached. It will be observedjthat the central supporting belt 10 is preferably guided upwardly over the'rollers 73 along the lower run of the conveyor out of engagement with the bottoms of the inverted containers as shown Y Y i As illustrated in Fig. 4, each pulley 22,24 is provided with an intermediate or central portion 140 having a flat cylindrical surface for accommodating the intermediate or central belt 10 on which the containers are supported 7 andgadvanced into and out of engagement with the tubes 26, 28. Each pulleyis further provided with cylindrical concave portions 142, 144cm each side of: and slightly above the flat surface 140, the concave portions being adapted to conform to the shape of the cylindrical tubes 7 26,28. It will be observed that the concave portions 142,
144 are formed to correspond substantially to the outer surfaces defined by the outer lower quadrant of each cylindrical tube in the upper run, the. concave portionspreferably being extended slightly beyond each end of the lines defining the quadrant, so. that the. lower p tion of each quadrant provides a base for frictional driving engagement with the inner run of its tub,e, and, thejouter portions of each quadrant tend to urge the tubes inwardly into firm engagement with the containers carried there- In order to prevent 'twisting of' the tubes 25, 28 relative to the pulleys 22, 24 during their passage through the machine, the interior surface of each rubber tube may be provided with a relatively narrow endless band 146 .Q of fabric or like material secured to the inner. surface along the inner run of the tube. in alignmentwith the base As shownin Figs. 1 and 4, a provision is made for, I
diverting thetubes 26, 28 laterally outwardly. along the. upper run to provide the converging and diverging pore tions 25 and 92 so that the containers. received on the.
central conveyor 10 are free of contact with the tubes 26,
28, and provision is also made for diverting the tubes ver-j tically downwardly out of the plane of transfer of the containers to and from the centralbeltltl whereby to per- .mit lateral transfer of the containers to and from the central belt 10 without interference. from. the tubes. As. illustrated in Fig. 2, idler rollers 102, 10.4 are supported in spaced relation for engaging the outer surfaces of OPT posed tubes adjacent the discharge end of 'the'conve'yor along the upper run, andidler rolls 1%, 1018 are sup;
ported in spaced relation for engagementwith the inner surfaces of the tubes to provide the divergingportion 92 at one end of the conveyor. [is shown in Figs. 1 and 2,
idler rolls .110, 112,. are also, provided for engaging the.
underside of the tubes along the upper run adjacent the discharge end of, the conveyor which cooperate with another set of idler rolls; 1.14, .116, spaced therefrom and dis:
posed} at a lower plane forengagingthe upper surfaces Q of the tubes to divert the tubes downwardlyas described. One or more intermediate idler pulleys, 118 -may also be provided for maintaining the tubes in their lower diverted po i gnr Id ero s 2 .2.2 ngas ah e wi h he pp and, er a st espe iv y oper e to guid the tubes. upward y t t e n a plan of the ppe r n as illustrated inlFig. 1; Idler rolls 124 engageable'with he' nn s r ce of t e tubes, are arr nged ocagpe a fqg with idlerrollsmfiengageable with the outer-- surfaces of .the tubesgto provide the converging portion 25, at the other end comprising the receiving 'endfof' the :Vconveyor, as' illustrated in Fig. 2. Verticallydisposedgauxiliary thus prevent lateral or rotary movement of, the tubes relative to the pulleys. It will be understood that the bands 146 may comprise a flexible but relatively none stretchable fabric or. likematerial so that the inner runs of the tubes will tend to follow the base portions of; the pulleys, he described, to maintain the tubes in a straight run relative to the pulleys. In efliect the bands 146 act as narrow belts disposedwithin' the tubes. 6
' It will be observed that the. spacingof-the concave portions of the pulleys is such as to dispose the tubes in a normal slightly. spaced rel tiomgas rllustrated'in 'Fig. 4, for efficientgripping engagement with average size containers. In operation the tubes maybe inflated at a relatively low pressure, approximately one and onehalf pounds pressure for example, proyiding ample resiliency for grippingengagement with the sides-of the containers. Whileitlienbrmal pressure of oneand one; half pounds is capable. ofaccommodatinga wide range of sizes, in practicielthetubes may be inflated to a slightly greater pressure to accommodate verysmallcontainers,
or thetubes may be deflated to a'slightlyilowfir Pressure to accommodaterelatively large size containers.
In operation it will b'eiseen thatthecontainers on belt 10inv the upper run of the conveyor'are supported Q relative to the tubes 26,"28 so that the tubes willfirmly engage the sides of thelcontainers fed therebetweenand will" carry the same downwardlyfaround the pulley 22 with the bottoms of the containers in'engagement with the belt 10, and when the containers [reach vtheiliwver in an inverted rposition thebelt'ltl is guided; Out 0 engagement. with thebottor'nsof the-containersf'so that the containersaf'e' engagedi'solelyfbythextubes during their. travel throughtlie lower run. After ;the cleaning a operation the containers being carried from the lower run around the pulley 24 again engage the central supporting belt 10, and when they reach the upper run the containers are released by the tubes at the diverging portion 92 of the inflated conveyor to be again supported by the central conveyor.
In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2, the cleaning mechanism comprises a plurality of spaced stationary air nozzles 60 with the upper ends of the nozzles spaced a short distance belowthe mouths of the inverted containers carried therepast. This type of cleaning nozzle is particularly adapted for eflicient cleaning performance on relatively wide mouth bottles or jars. A preferred embodiment of the cleaning mechanism is illustrated in Figs. 7 and 8 which is particularly adapted for pneumatically cleaning relatively narrow mouth bottles, and as herein shown, each nozzle may 'comprise a tubular rubber portion 150 connected to a nipple 152 extended from the manifold 154, the outer end of the tubular rubber portion 150 being provided with a small tube 156 inserted therein of plastic or other material adapted to take wear. The upper end of the plastic tube 156 may extend upwardly beyond the mouths.
of the bottles as shown. In operation the edge of a bottle mouth will engage theend of the flexible tube or nozzle and bend it over slightly, as shown in Fig. 7, and as the bottle is advanced the tube will pass over the edge and flex into the mouth of the bottle to extend a short distance within the mouth of the bottle as shown in Fig. 8. The flexible nozzle will remain in operative cleaning engagement with the bottle mouth until the opposite edge of the bottle mouth flexes the nozzle out of engagement therewith. The flexible air nozzle is thus extended a short distance within the narrow mouth of the container for a substantial portion of the cleaning operation to effect a more efllcient cleaning than can be performed with a rigid nozzle disposed outside the mouth. Suitable side guides 158, indicated by dot and dash lines, may be provided to prevent lateral displacement of the flexible nozzles around the outside edge of the mouths of the bottles.
From the above description it will be observed that the present container cleaning machine embodies novel conveying mechanism for continuously moving containers in an inverted position past cleaning mechanism including flexible nozzles for eflecting an eflicient cleaning of the containers while moving at a relatively rapid rate.
While it is preferred to utilize air as the cleaning medium it is not desired to limit the invention in this respect, as other cleaning fluids may be used;
While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been herein illustrated and described, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied in other forms within the scope of the following claims.
Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:
1. In a container cleaning machine, in combination, means for supporting and continuously moving successive open mouthed containers in a line in spaced relation and in an inverted position, and cleaning means for directing a stream of cleaning fluid into the open mouthed containers while supported and continuously moved in an inverted position comprising a plurality of stationary spaced air discharge nozzles, each nozzle comprising a flexible and resilient air nozzle with its upper end extended above the plane of the mouths of the inverted containers, said nozzles being engaged by and flexed into and out of the mouths of the inverted containers during the cleaning operation.
2. A container cleaning machine as defined in claim 1 wherein each flexible nozzle comprises a flexible and resilient tubular member operatively connected to a supply of compressed air and having a relatively rigid upper end portion providing a wear-resistant portion for engagement with the mouths of the inverted containers.
3. A container cleaning machine as defined in claim 1 which includes guide means extending parallel to the line of travel of the containers and confining the nozzles therebetween for preventing displacement of the nozzles laterally out of the path of the mouths of the containers.
4. A container cleaning machine as defined in claim 1 which includes a plenum chamber through which the containers pass during the cleaning operation, the foreign matter removed from the containers being discharged directly into said plenum chamber, and continuously operated suction means connected to the plenum chamber for withdrawing and discharging suspended particles removed from the containers by said cleaning means.
5. A container cleaning machine as defined in claim 1 wherein the spaced air nozzles are provided at two spaced cleaning stations, the space between said stations serving as a fall-out area.
6. For use with container cleaning apparatus having a conveyor comprising a pair of opposed endless inflated tubes disposed side by side and guided to provide an upper and a lower run, said tubes being resilient and arranged to grip and convey successive open mouthed containers therebetween and to carry the containers from an upright position in the upper run to an inverted position in the lower run, the improvement comprising means for directing a stream of cleaning fluid into the open mouthed containers while gripped and continuously moved in an inverted position, said cleaning means comprising a plurality of stationary spaced air nozzles, each nozzle comprising a flexible and resilient upstanding air discharge nozzle having its upper end extended above the plane of the mouths of the inverted containers, said nozzles being engaged by and flexed into and out of the mouths of the inverted containers during the cleaning operation.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,568,594 Flint Jan. 5, 1926 2,298,475 Fechheimer Oct. 13, 1942 2,524,797 Holtclaw Oct. 10, 1950 2,568,949 Cookson Sept. 25, 1951 2,634,737 Rowe Apr. 14, 1953 2,644,188 Pacilio July 7, 1953 2,698,624 Peters Jan. 4, 1955 2,725,641 Lindsay Dec. 6, 1955 2,783,765 Hagedorn Mar. 5, 1957 2,851,383 Einhiple Sept. 9, 1958