|Publication number||US3031811 A|
|Publication date||May 1, 1962|
|Filing date||Dec 8, 1958|
|Priority date||Dec 8, 1958|
|Publication number||US 3031811 A, US 3031811A, US-A-3031811, US3031811 A, US3031811A|
|Inventors||Egleston Harry B, Monroe Charles Z, Thibo Kenneth R|
|Original Assignee||Ex Cell O Corp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (5), Classifications (7)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ETAL 3,031,811
MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec. 8, 1958 9 Sheets-Sheet 1 May 1, 1962 C. Z. MONROE ET AL MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec. 8, 1958 9 Sheets-Sheet 2 64mm, Ga NW 1 (1456M 9 Sheets-Sheet 3' May 1, 1962 c. Z. MONROE ET AL MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec. 8, 1958 a m a 1 ix Q A O I I I x 1 l I l I. .lllllllllllllll/ IHNHI T Mmm| wm m o m 1 M d WE Qm m Z Q w Q H f B fl a; r E I N M d r w n 7 h m q e n TIL I. Q3 ,vnm m PU@.\ C Tm w M \l JVILMT/ mm W H .wo mm I r I a I 1 5 m N W W H mm Q N m-w @9 mm 0 mw m w wm OmA\ r A 7/ Aw A I, n AIM; LT mmL\ May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ETAL 3,031,811
MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES 9 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Dec. 8, 1958 luverowond ovur e 6 650 m curled 9 Sheets-Sheet 5 lw b MONROE ET AL PACKING GABLE TOPPED MIL Z. MACHINE FOR CONTAINERS IN CASES May 1, 1962 Filed Dec. 8, 1958 q' lovuroe. a'm enkei l FR; be W /3} J4 CU May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ET AL 3,031,811
MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ETAL MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec 8, 1958 9 Sheets-Sheet 7 May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ET AL 3,031,811
MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec. 8, 1958 9 Sheets-Sheet 8 NcLAHP May 1, 1962 c. z. MONROE ET AL 3,031,811
MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Filed Dec. 8, 1958 9 Sheets-Sheet 9 SV-S Q-lcurrq [5.631e-9t3m n h a mbo /l\/\ WG W,
WQMMAH WW0 1 QATTORNEY/ 3,031,811 MACHINE FOR PACKING GABLE TOPPED MILK CONTAINERS IN CASES Charles Z. Monroe, Detroit, Harry B. Egleston, Livonia, and Kenneth R. Thiho, Pontiac, Mich., assignors to Ex-Cell-O Corporation, Detroit, Mich., a corporation of Michigan Filed Dec. 8, 1958, Ser. No. 778,924 17 Claims. (Cl. 53-74) The present invention relates to a new and improved mechanism for packing articles in cases and more particularly to an improved machine which finds particular but not exclusive utility in casing gable topped milk containers which have been arranged in a suitable bank or pattern for transfer to a waiting case by a gripping mechanism which engages the rib of the gable top of each container.
One object of this invention is to provide a new and improved casing mechanism for assembling a series of containers into a bank while orienting an empty case into loading position, and then transferring the bank of containers rapidly yet gently to the waiting case. Another object is to provide a mechanism of the foregoing character which accurately locates the case and guides the bank of containers into it.
Another object of the present invention is to increase the rate of loading cases by providing a mechanism which is capable of assembling a second bank of gable topped containers while a first bank of such containers is being placed into a case.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a case loader of the above character wherein a container transfer mechanism securely grips the containers in the bank during transfer and loading into a case, and, in the event a container is missing or is dropped from the bank, signals that the operation is incomplete and stops the mechanism until the trouble is corrected.
Still another object of the present invention is to eliminate the possibility of damaging containers in the bank while loading them into a case in the foregoing manner by providing an improved novel case positioning and locating mechanism which places a case in position and which, when the bank of containers is ready for loading, accurately locates the waiting empty case and, if it is out of position, is in damaged condition, or is otherwise unfit for receiving the containers, rejects it and places another empty case in position. A related object is to provide a case positioning mechanism of the foregoing type which is capable of receiving empty cases from a main supply conveyor feeding a plurality of case loaders and, after a case is filled with containers, discharging it onto a discharge conveyor carrying loaded cases to a shipping area.
Still a further object of the present invention is to provide a caser mechanism of the foregoing character which operates rapidly, efficiently and completely automatically with a minimum of attention to receive filled, sealed containers from a packaging machine and place such containers in shipping cases for ease in handling and subsequent shipping.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is an elevation view of a machine illustrative of the present invention for packing gable topped containers in a case.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a gable topped container having an upstanding rib.
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged view of an air jet States Patent "ice mechanism for sensing the presence of a line of container-s in the casing machine.
FIG. 4 is an end view of the casing machine shown in FIG. 1, taken from the discharge end thereof.
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an illustrative wire case containing nine gable topped containers.
FIG. 6 is a section view taken substantially in the plane of line 6-6 on FIG. 4 and illustrating a bank of containers in position for subsequent transfer to a case loading position.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged section view taken substantially in the plane of line 7-7 on FIG. 1 and illustrating in detail the gripping mechanism for holding the gable topped containers in the bank during transfer to a waiting case.
FIG. 8 is a section view taken substantially in the plane of line 8-8 on FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is a section view taken substantially in the plane of line 9-9 on FIG. 7.
FIG. 10 is a section view taken substantially in the plane of line 10-10 on FIG. 9 and illustrating a jaw in detail.
FIG. 11 is an enlarged section view taken substantially in the plane of line 11-11 on FIG. 4 and illustrating a case locating mechanism.
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic view illustrating the formation of a bank of containers and the direction of their movement through the casing machine as they are trans ferred to the case loading position.
FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary view of a portion of a jaw mechanism for gripping the upstanding ribs of the gable topped containers.
FIG. 14 is a schematic illustration of a case conveyor system wherein cases to be filled with containers are removed from a supply conveyor to a loading position.
' FIG. 15 is a schematic diagram illustrating an electrical and hydraulic system useful for operating the illustrative casing mechanism.
FIG. 16 is a schematic representation of a modified portion of the electrical circuit shown in FIG. 15 to be employed when packing quart and fractional-quart size containers in a case.
FIG. 17 is an illustration of a portion of a case containing one-half pint size containers.
FIG. 18 is a fragmentary illustration of a case containing pint size containers.
While a certain illustrative mechanism for packing gable topped containers in cases has been shown in the drawings and will be described below in detail, it should be undersood that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form disclosed. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, equivalents and uses falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
Referring to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 2 a container of the type which the casing machine of the present invention is especially but not exclusively adapted to pack into an empty case. This container 50 comprises a generally rectangular tubular body portion 51 surmounted by a pair of opposed upwardly inclined roof panels 52 joined at their apex by an upstanding rib 53, and by triangular end panels 54 sloping inwardly beneath the roof panels. The construction of containers of this type is well known in the art, and such containers are generally supplied in sizes ranging from as large as onehalf gallon downward through quart and fractional-quart sizes. Among the latter are pints, third-quarts and halfpints, these being the sizes commonly employed in the dairy industry. Shipping and handling cases are generally of a standard size. For example, when half-gallon size containers are to be cased, it is common practice to form a bank of nine containers with three on a side and place the nine one-half gallon containers in a case 56, the cases employed, as shown in FIG. 5, conventionally accommodating this number of half-gallon containers. The same size case 56 will also receive 16 quart size containers and, by stacking fractional-quart containers on on top of the other, the cases may contain as many as 28 pints, 32 one-third quart, or 44 one-half pints.
In the casing machine illustrative of the present invention, containers t} having the gabled top configuration proceed from the outlet of a packaging machine (not shown) and are conveyed by an appropriate conveyor 60 to the casing mechanism. This mechanism, as shown in the drawings, comprises generally a frame 61 supported on appropriate legs 62 and mounting the discharge end of the inlet conveyor 68 upon which the containers 50 are carried and guided by appropriate guide rods 64. In describing the casing mechanism unless otherwise stated it will be understood that the containers being cased are of the half-gallon type and that these containers will be formed into a bank of nine containers with three containers on a side.
In order to form the bank of nine containers, three rows of three containers each are alined one in back of the other. To this end, the containers 59 carried on the inlet conveyor 60 pass onto a series of rollers 65 freely mounted on the frame 61 as shown in FIG. 1. The presence of a line of three containers upon these rollers is sensed by an air pressure mechanism shown in detail in FIG. 3. This mechanism comprises one or more air jets 66 supplied with air from a supply source through a pressure sensitive switch 68 and supply line 69 to a manifold 70 out of which the nozzles 66 project. The pressure sensitive valve 68 is so adjusted that when air flows freely from the nozzles 66, the switch is open and a definite air pressure exists in the line 69 and manifold 79 as indicated by an appropriate gage 71. When three containers 5!) are in position (FIG. 3), one over each nozzle 66, the pressure in the manifold 70 and line 69 is increased (as can be observed on the gage 71) so that the pressure sensitive switch 68 is closed. While three nozzles 66 may be employed, it has been found in practice that under most circumstances only the nozzle shown at the far right in FIG. 3 need be employed to sense the presence of the first container in line. With the air jet arrangement, three containers Will be pushed onto the rollers 65 by a fourth container resting on the conveyor and this line of containers will be pushed onto a bankforming platform or table.
In order to form a bank of nine containers, the first three containers when alined over the air pressure sensing means are placed onto the table which is formed by a plurality of longitudinally extending bars 72. It will be appreciated that, while the table may be of a solid piec of metal, because the containers are commonly coated with a wax such as paraffin it is desirable to support them on a minimum of surface area so as to facilitate their sliding movement on the table 72 during the formation of the bank.
The three containers 50 alined on the rollers 65 are placed onto the table by a pusher mechanism 75 which operates in response to the closing of the air pressure switch 68. One illustrative pusher mechanism 75 is shown in detail in FIG. 6 and comprises a fluid pressure motor 76 of the piston type mounted on the frame 61 and having on the free end of its piston rod 78 a pusher plate 79 which is sufficiently long and high to engage the tubular portions 51 of the containers Stl alined in front of it on the rollers 65, and push this line of containers onto the table 72.
The pusher motor, as well as the many other fluid pressure operated motors employed, are preferably operated by pressure fluid such as a hydraulic oil supplied by a motor driven pump (not shown) from a reservoir ,of the oil, although other suitable pressure fluids may be employed. Unless otherwise specified, these motors are of the differential pressure type wherein the rod side of the motor is always connected to the pressure fluid supply line, designated as 80 in the drawings (FIG. 15). A drain or exhaust is indicated generally by the numeral 83. There is also no requirement that pressure fluid motors be used exclusively where it is found that oiher types will serve equally well. The fluid pressure system and electrical unit controlling its operation is schematically shown in PEG. 15. The fluid pressure operated motors are preferably of the differential piston and cylinder type, although there is no intention that the invention be so limited, in that other pressure fluid mechanisms may be employed to advantage. The pressure fluid motors are controlled in their operation by a corresponding solenoid valve located in the pressure fluid line to the motor. The valves in turn are actuated by an appropriate limit switch in the electrical control circuit. The sequence of operation will become clear from the following description.
The pusher motor 76 is operated by pressure fluid supplied to it through a control solenoid valve SV-l. In the position of this valve SV-l corresponding to the closing of the pressure sensitive switch 68, the motor is operative to force the pusher plate 79 forward to remove the three alined containers from the rollers above the air jets and place them on the table defined by the bars 72. When the containers leave the rollers, the pressure in the manifold 70 drops and the pressure switch 68 opens.
For purposes of preventing following containers from passing on to the rollers 65 in back of the pusher plate 79 when it is energized to push the line of three containers 50 onto the table 72, the pusher is provided with a rearwardly extending gate portion 81 fixed thereto and of sufficient length to extend across the path of the conveyor 60 when the pusher is in its outermost position (as shown in FIG. 6). When the pusher reaches the outer end of its stroke, an extending member 82 secured to the piston rod 78 engages a limit switch 8-1 which reverses the direction of the pusher solenoid valve SV-1 thereby to withdraw the pusher and release the next c ntainers on the entrance conveyor for entry into the casing mechanism. This operation is repeated three times in order to form a bank of nine containers as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6.
When the last row of three containers is placed on the table by the pusher mechanism 75 to complete the formation of the bank of nine containers, a three-eontact limit switch 8-2 A, B, C on the opposite side of the table 72 is actuated. This opens switches S-2B and S- 20 to deactivate the pusher in its extended position, and closes switch S-2A to initiate the transfer of the bank of containers to a waiting case 56A. This case has been placed in position for receiving the bank of nine containers 56 during the formation of the bank of containers on the table 72 by a mechanism to be described.
Empty cases 56 are supplied to the casing mechanism from a conveyor 84 extending beneath the bank forming table 72. From this conveyor, which may either be mounted on the machine frame 61 or mounted separately 1f desired, the empty cases are pushed laterally to a loading station A. In the following description, cases in the loading position will be indicated by the numeral 56A. Appropriate means are provided for positioning the cases in the loading position. One illustrative means is shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings and comprises a pressure fluid operated piston and cylinder motor 85 having a pusher face plate 86 on the free end of the piston rod 88 adapted to engage the side of an empty case 56 on the conveyor 84-. The cases are stopped in front of the pusher plate by a gate mechanism 89 which comprises a pair of rods 90 (FIG. 1) projecting over the path of the conveyor. In a modification of the case supply mechanism, which will be described later in connection with FIG. 14, the gate 89 may comprise an escapement mechanism which permits cases to pass through one casing machine for use in a second casing machine.
The case pusher motor 85 is energized by an appropriate solenoid valve SV-Z connected in the supply line of the hydraulic pressure fluid to the motor 85. The presence of an empty case on the conveyor actuates a two-contact limit switch 8-3 A, B, switch portion S-3A of which closes to energize the solenoid valve SV-Z and thereby actuate the pusher motor 85 so that the case is pushed into position in the loading station for receiving the bank of containers formed on the table. Succeeding empty cases are prevented from being carried by the conveyor 84 to a position behind the case pusher plate 86 by a gate 91. The latter is mounted for swinging movement by a suitable pivot joint 92 on the frame 61 and is urged over the conveyor 84 and into the front of a case thereon by a helical compression spring 94. On its free end, the gate 91 is provided with an abutment block 95 for engaging a case. The gate is held in its retracted position by a projecting pin 196 on the rear of the case pusher plate 86 which engages the gate at a point intermediate its ends. The pusher is guided by a rod 93 slidably mounted in the frame.
As the case is pushed into the loading station by the pusher plate 86, the gate 91 swings across the conveyor 84 to block the entrance of a further case. When the pusher reaches the end of its stroke, a finger 97 on the end of the rod 93 (FIG. 1) actuates a two-contact limit switch 8-4 A, B, to energize the solenoid valve SV-2 to reverse the direction of the pusher motor 85 (FIG. 15). This moor then withdraws the pusher plate 86 and gate 91 so that another case can enter the machine. If desired, a manual switch S-5 (FIG. 15) can be provided for reversing the pusher motor in the event the piston rod fails to reach the end of its stroke, for example, should a case get stuck in the mechanism, or if it is desired for any reason to place a different case in position for receiving containers.
In order that a second bank of containers can be formed while a case is being loaded with a previously formed bank of containers, the case loading station A is located at one side of and below the table on which the bank of containers is formed as shown in FIG. 1. With this arrangement, the bank of containers can be picked up bodily in any appropriate manner, such as by the gripping mechanism to be described in detail below, and transferred to a waiting case at a point remote from the table. Once the bank has been gripped by the gripping mechanism, the container pusher is withdrawn, the gripped containers are transported to the loading position, containers again enter the mechanism over the air jets and a new bank is formed. In this way a new series of containers can be placed in front of the pusher so that once the bank is removed from the table, a new bank can be immediately formed with a substantial saving in time.
A case 56A is supported in a loading station A by a guideway 96 on the frame 61 forming tracks on which the case rides. From the loading station, filled cases are pushed onto a discharge conveyor (not shown in FIG. 1) positioned alongside the casing mechanism so as to receive cases from the guide tracks 96.
For guiding an empty case 56 into approximately its proper position in loading station A there is provided on the frame 61 above the tracks 96 a spring biased shoe plate 98 which slides across the side of the case and urges it against a fixed plate or guides 99 on the opposite side of the frame as shown in FIG. 4. Both the shoe and the fixed plate are mounted on the frame 61 and serve as guides to locate the case in container receiving position as it is pushed into loading position by the pusher. When an empty case is in position, its presence is indicated by the closing of a limit switch S-6 mounted on the frame 61 adjacent the outer end of the track 96.
Means are provided for transferring the bank of con- 6 tainers to a waiting case and simultaneously locating and centering the case or rejecting it if it is damaged or otherwise out of position before the containers are lowered into it. One illustrative means comprises a transfer head having a plurality of jaws 101, which when the transfer head is lowered, engage the upstanding ribs 53 of each of the containers 50 so that when the head 109 is raised, the containers are lifted off of the table. After the containers in the bank are lifted, the transfer head slides laterally carrying the containers with it and positions them over an empty case 56A at the loading station. Before the containers are placed into a case, a case locator mechanism 102 is lowered to accurately center the case as well as provide a guide for the containers as they are placed into the case. The case locator mechanism engages the upper edge of the case,
and by an appropriate sensing switch arrangement, de-
termines whether or not the case is in position for re- -ceiving the containers. Assuming that it is, the containers are then lowered into position in the case and the jaws 101 are released. The transfer head 100 is then raised and traverses back to its rest position above the banking table 72. A succeeding empty case 56 then forces the filled case out of the case loading position and onto a discharge conveyor.
The transfer head 100 including the gripping jaws 101 is mounted on a bridge member 104 which is in turn mounted for traversing movement by means of appropriate bearing hubs 105 on each corner thereof guided on a pair of spaced horizontal rods 106 mounted on the frame 61 by suitable brackets 108 and extending from the container entrance position (at the left of the machine as shown in FIG. 1) over the case loading position (at the right of the machine as shown in FIG. 1), so that the bridge can traverse back and forth along the rods between the two positions. Traversing movement of the bridge is accomplished by means of a piston and cylinder motor 109 under the control of a solenoid valve SV-3 communicating with the pressure fluid line 81) supplying fluid from the pump to the various motors. The extreme positions of the bridges 104 sliding along the rod ways are sensed by means of a two-contact limit switch 8-7 A, B, and a three-contact limit switch 8-8 A, B, C, located respectively at the container banking and the case loading end position of the rods. The switch arms are engaged by appropriately extending arms 110, 111 mounted for movement with the bridge 104.
The bridge 104 supports the transfer head 10% which may be first lowered to grip the containers in the bank, then raised to lift the bank of containers from the table 72 and then, after being carried by the bridge to a position over the case loading station, again lowered to place them into a waiting case 56A. The head is guided for vertical movement on the bridge 104 by a pair of guide rods 113 journaled in appropriate bearings 114 mounted on the bridge. For raising and lowering the head there is provided a pressure fluid motor 115 of the piston and cylinder type. The free end of the piston rod 116 of the motor 115 is attached, by an appropriate link 118, to the transfer head 100 as shown in FIG. 4.
The motor 115 is under the control of a solenoid valve SV4 which is actuated to energize the motor in response to the closing of the limit switch S2A at the end of the table 72 indicating that a complete bank of containers is formed thereon. When the bridge is above the table 72, limit switch S7B of two-contact limit switch S-7 A, B, is closed so that when limit switch S-2A is closed, the transfer head is lowered to engage the ribs 53 of the containers and lift them off of the table 72. When the head reaches its lowered position it engages a limit switch S9 which actuates the jaw motor 138 to operate the jaws so that they grip the container ribs. When picking up the containers, the downward movement of the head 100 is arrested by stop 117 (FIG. 7) mounted on the frame and engaged by projecting portions of the head plate 122. The stops are desirably adjustable so that the jaws 1 can be correctly positioned to engage the ribs.
In order that each of the containers is securely gripped so as to prevent it from falling from the transfer head 100 while being transferred to a case, the jaws 1111 are actuated to grip individually the upstanding rib of each container in the bank. One illustrative jaw mechanism is shown in FIGS. 7-10 and comprises a plurality of jaw or clamp devices corresponding in number to the containers in the bank. While all of the jaw devices shown are alike, one will be described and it will be understood that the others are similar in construction. The illustrative jaw device comprises a lefthand jaw member 121 and a righthand jaw member 120 cooperating therewith to grip a container rib. For supporting the jaw device, the head is formed with top support member 122 having side panels 124 depending from opposite sides and mounting spaced pairs of shafts 125, 126, on which the jaws swing.
For each row of containers in the bank there is provided a correspondingly alined pair of shafts 125, 126 extending between the depending side panels 124 of the head 10%). The right hand jaw 120 swings on shaft 125, being drivingly engaged with a gear 128 which meshes with a corresponding gear 129 journaled on the second shaft 126 of the pair. The latter gear is connected, by means of a tongue and groove connector means 130, to an elongated lever arm 13-1 extending parallel to the shafts and journaled for Swinging movement on the shaft 126 by means of spaced hubs 132. The arm 131 is swung by a motor 138 of the piston and cylinder type to which it is connected by means of a pivot pin 134 extending between an upstanding ear 135 thereon and a bifurcated end of the motor piston rod 136. This motor 138 for actuating the jaws 101 is energized by the pressure fluid supplied by the main pressure fluid source and controlled by an appropriate solenoid valve SV-5. It should be noted that motor 138' is not of the differential pressure type but that the piston and cylinder sides are connected either to pressure or to exhaust.
The lefthand jaw 121 of the jaw device 101 is freely journaled on shaft 126 and is driven in cooperation with righthand jaw 120. For urging the lefthand jaw into gripping engagement with a container rib 53, it is provided with an upstanding leg portion 139 having a socket 141) opposed to a similar socket 141 on the lever arm 131. Between the sockets is mounted a helical compression spring 142 which serves to forcibly urge the lefthand jaw 121 against the righthand jaw 12%) when the lever arm 131 is swung by the motor 138 to press the latter jaw against the container rib 53. Referring to FIG. 7, as the link 131 is swung counterclockwise to rotate the driving gear 129 counterclockwise and driving gear 128 clockwise and thereby swing the righthand jaw 120 clockwise, the lefthand jaw is urged in a counterclockwise direction by the action of the compression spring 142. The tightness of the grip will, of course, depend upon the strength characteristics of the spring. when the jaws are to be released by reversal of the motor 138, a lost motion connection in the form of a headed bolt 144 extending between the lever 131 and lefthand jaw leg 139 limits separation of these two components, and thereby pulls the jaws apart.
The remaining jaws are constructed and actuated in the manner described above. To this end, as shown in FIG. 7, the lever arms 131 swingingly mounted on one shaft 126 of each pair are connected together by a horizontal link 1 pivoted by a pin 146 extending through the link 145 between ears 148 on the levers 131. One of the levers 131 is connected directly to the motor as described above. Each jaw mechanism is of a similar construction to that just described. For example, in a half-gallon container casing machine three jaw mechanisms are provided on each of the three pairs of shafts, making a total of nine jaw devices. These jaw mechanisms are all connected to operate together by the transversely extending lever arm 131 and gears 128, 129, connected together by the horizontal link 145.
The faces of the jaws are preferably provided with serrated teeth or ridges 14? (FIG. 13) or otherwise serrated or scored to enhance their gripping action on the container ribs. To avoid damaging the staple in the container ribs, however, it is desirable that the jaws be provided with a recessed portion 151) located for receiving the staples often present in the container ribs 53.
Operation of the jaw motor 138 is controlled by a solenoid valve SV-S which is actuated to cause the jaws to clamp in response to the lowering of the head. When the head reaches its lower position as determined by the stops 117, it engages limit switch S-9 mounted on the frame just above the bank of containers. On the other hand, solenoid valve SV-5 operates to reverse the motor and release the jaws in response to the lowering of the containers into a case and the closing of a limit switch S-lt) mounted on the bridge 104 and engaged by an arm 152 fixed on one end of the adjacent guide rods 113 (FIG. 4).
For purposes of sensing when a container is missing from the bank or drops from the jaws of the transfer head so that the operation can be stopped until the damage or misoperation is corrected, the spring biased jaws are constructed to form a type of lost motion connection which operates a safety switch S-11. It will be appreciated that the ribs of the containers have a definite thickness. It was accordingly discovered that by using an appropriate linkage to sense the overtravel of the spring biased jaw when a container rib was not present, a sensing switch could be actuated to indicate that one of the sets of jaws was empty. Such a linkage is shown in FIG. 7 and comprises an outwardly extending arm 154 on each spring biased jaw 121 having a projecting pin 155 thereon which engages a cross bar 156 extending between parallel connecting bars 158 of a linkage mechanism supported from the head by pairs of parallel depending links 159. One of the cross bars 156 is positioned against an arm 161) of the safety limit switch S11. Should one of the jaws be empty as a result of missing a container or a container dropping from the jaws, the spring biased jaw 121 will overtravel, causing the arm 154 to engage and raise the cross bar 156 and connecting bar 158 of the parallel linkage and thereby open the safety switch 3-11. When this switch is open, the solenoid valve SV-3 controlling the operation of the bridge traversing motor 109 is reversed or prevented from taking place until the trouble is corrected.
The actuation of the jaws 101 to engage the ribs 53 of the containers 50 in the bank is sensed by a pair of twocontact limit switches S12A, B and S13A, B, mounted on the head as shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. The switches are engaged by projecting arms 161, 162 respectively, secured to one or two of the lever arms 131 (FIG. 8). When the jaws are closed, these arms 161, 162 engage the switches and, as a result, switches S12A, S12B and S-13A are closed while switch S13B is opened breaking the circuit to solenoid valve SV4 and resulting in the head being lifted by the motor to lift the bank of containers off of the table 72.
So that a new bank of containers can be in the process of formation while a preceding bank is being transferred to a case, the pusher 79 is withdrawn when the jaws are closed to grip the ribs of containers in a bank. This enables three more containers to be alined on the inlet rollers in front of the pusher. To this end, closing of switch S13A upon engagement by the arm 161 when the jaws are closed by-passes open switch S-ZB. The pusher solenoid valve SV-1 is then energized to reverse the pusher motor 76 and retract the pusher 79. After the pusheris withdrawn three more containers will be positioned in front of the pusher. These containers will not be pushed onto the platform 72, however, until the preceding bank is removed and switch S-2C is closed.
When the transfer head 100 is lifted with the containers 50 securely gripped in the jaws 101 so that they are free of the assembly table, the bridge is actuated to carry the transfer mechanism and containers laterally to a position over an empty case. To this end, the head 100 carries an abutment 164 (FIG. 7) which, when the head is raised, engages a two-contact limit switch S-14A, B mounted on the bridge 104. Switch S-14B is in series with switch S-12A so when both are closed solenoid SV-3 is energized to direct pressure fluid to bridge motor 109 to move the bridge and thereby carry the containers to the case loading position. Upon completion of the traverse, the bridge engages limit switch S8 to close switches S-8B and S8C and open switch S8A. This has three effects. One is that switch S-8A, in series with closed switch S-13A (which closes when the jaws 101 are clamped to the ribs of containers), opens to place the operation of the pusher mechanism 75 again under the control of the air nozzles and pressure switch 68 and limit switch 8-1. The second is that switch S-8B closes to initiate the downward movement of the transfer head if a waiting case 56 is in position in the loading station for receiving the bank of containers. The third elfect when limit switch S4; is engaged is that switch S-8C is closed to energize the locator mechanism 102.
In order to accurately locate the case and determine whether or not it is too badly damaged to receive the containers, there is provided immediately above the case loading position the case locator mechanism 102 which operates just ahead of the transfer mechanism lowering the containers into the case to locate and center the case as well as to guide the containers into it. Referring to FIGS. 1, l1 and 15, the case locator mechanism 102 comprises, basically an open rectangular frame 165 which is adapted to be lowered over the upper edge of a case 56A and define an opening through which the containers 50 are passed. For this purpose, the frame 165 is provided at each corner with a pair of downwardly facing projections or guide members 166 corresponding to each corner of the case. When the frame is lowered, the downwardly inclined surfaces 168 of these projections engage the upper edge of the case and cam the case into centered position underneath the frame. The opening of the frame 165, on the other hand, through which the containers pass is defined by inner upwardly and outwardly sloping surfaces 169 on the frame which serve to guide the containers in the bank and urge them gently together into a compact group so that they slide easily into the case 56A as they are lowered by the transfer head.
For guiding the locator frame 165 as it moves downwardly under the force of the motor there is provided on one side of the main support frame 61 adjacent the case loading station A, a pair of spaced guide rods 170 which slidably receive bearing members 171 secured to one side of the frame 165. The frame 165 is suspended for vertical movement above the case loading position, in cantilever fashion thereby keeping the guiding and motor portions of the locator mechanism 102 to one side of the frame. This leaves a clear path for movement of the transfer head in placing containers into a case, as well as alleviating any mounting and friction problems in the locator mechanism.
The rectangular case locator frame is lowered onto a case 56A by means of a pressure fluid motor 172, also of the differential piston and cylinder type controlled by solenoid valve SV-6 which is energized when switch S8C is closed. Motor 172 is connected in series with the head lowering motor 115 so that the latter must be energized before the locator motor 172 can operate. The piston 174 of the motor 172 is connected to the frame by means of a lost motion connection 175 including a heavy helical compression spring 176. In this construction the lost motion connection comprises a rod 178 securely fixed to the piston 174 and slidably mounted through an aperture 179 in the frame 165. The rod is threaded on its free end beneath the frame 165 for receiving a pair of locking nuts 180 which engage the under surface of the frame to positively lift the same. At its junction with the piston rod 178a the rod is provided with a shoulder member 181.
Providing a driving connection between the rod 178 and frame 165 is the compression spring 176. With this construction, as the motor piston rod 1718a moves downwardly, the frame carried thereby is also moved downwardly. Should the frame meet some resistance, however, it will stop and the spring 176 will be compressed as the rod continues to move. With the device, a defective or mis-positioned case is sensed by engagement of the bottom surfaces of the projections 166 with the upper edge of the case. Should this occur, the movement of the locator frame stops and the spring is compressed as the piston is driven further downwardly by the motor.
To sense a relative movement between the frame 165 and the rod 178 resulting from the frame engaging a misplaced case, a roller 182 on a safety limit switch S15 fixed on the frame 165 is engaged by a cam surface 184 on the member 181 fixed on the piston rod 174. When the locator safety switch S15 is closed by engagement of the roller 182 with the cam surface 184, operation of the case load mechanism is temporarily halted until a new case 56A is placed into position. This is accomplished by means of a relay R-l having a plurality of contacts R-la, R-lb, and R-lc, which is energized when switch S-15 is closed to close contacts R-la and R-lb, and open contact R-lc. Opening contact R-lc breaks the circuit to and thereby reverses the position of solenoid valve SV-4. As a result, the locator motor 172 raises the locator frame 165 off of the mis-positioned case, and the transfer head motor 115 raises the head and the containers it carries. At substantially the same time, solenoid valve SV-2 is actuated by the closing of contact R-la, to energize the case pusher motor 85 to position another case in the loading station. Contact R-lb serves to lock in relay R-l until the operation of replacing the old case with a new one is complete. At this time, switch 843 is opened by the release of the gate 91. The positioning of a new case closes switch S-6, and when contact R-lc is closed, the case locating operation is repeated and the transfer head lowers the containers into the case. The frame is again lowered to locate the case. If the new case is properly positioned, the transfer head will then lower the containers through the frame and into the centered case.
When the bank of containers has been lowered through the locator frame into a waiting case, limit switch S10 on the bridge 104 is engaged by the arm 152 on the guide rod 113 of the transfer head. When this switch is closed, the position of solenoid valve SV-5 is reversed so that the jaws 101 gripping the containers are opened thereby releasing the containers. At the same time the closing of switch S-10 energizes relay R-l so that contact R-lc is opened and contacts R-1a and R-lb are closed. This reverses the locator motor 172 and the head motor to raise them away from the filled case, and energizes the case pusher motor 85 to place an empty case in position and push the filled one onto the discharge conveyor. When the head reaches its uppermost position, the bridge traverses back on its guide rods to position the head over the new bank of containers formed while the previous bank was inserted into a case. The process continues in this manner rapidly and completely automatically to group the containers in banks of nine and transfer them to a waiting empty case. The filled cases are pushed out of the mechanism by succeeding empty cases and are picked up by a discharge conveyor which carries them to a shipping area.
It will be appreciated that the mechanism is particularly well adapted for use over conveyors which carry a continuous supply of filled and empty cases, as shown in FIG.
1 1 14. In the modification illustrated somewhat schematically in this figure, empty cases 56 are carried on a conveyor 84 which passes generally through more than one casing mechanism of the type described above in order to supply empty cases to each. To enable each mechanism to take cases from the conveyor as they are needed, each casing mechanism is provided at a point adjacent the case pusher with an escapement mechanism 190 for removing needed cases from the conveyor while passing the rest. The escapement mechanism shown comprises an escapement lever 191 pivoted on the caser frame 61 and having on one end a gate portion 192 for stopping a case in front of the plunger or case pusher 86. On its other end the escapement lever is formed with a stop member 194 which is moved into position over the conveyor and in front of cases thereon when the gate is swung away to allow a case to pass. To give the gate portion 192 a sutficient chance to return to its position over the conveyor after passing a case, the stop member halts the following case substantially in front of the pusher 86. A spring 195 normally urges the lever 191 to a position with the gate 192extending across the conveyor, although this spring is weak enough to allow a case on the conveyor to swing the gate to one side and at the same time swing the stop 194 over the conveyor into the path of the next case.
When the released case 56a has passed the gate portion 192, the spring 195 swings the lever 191 to again position the gate 192 across the conveyor to stop a succeeding case 5611 in front of the pusher 86 and with following cases 560 behind it. The lever is locked in this position by the engagement of a pin 198 with a shoulder 199 defined on the lever. This pin 198 is connected through a linkage mechanism 200 to an arm 201 swingingly mounted on the conveyor frame and biased by a spring 202 to a position over the conveyor. The linkage includes a pair of hell cranks, one at each end, so that when the arm 201 is swung to one side by a passing case 56a, the escapement lever 191 is locked by engagement of the pin 198 with the shoulder 199.
After the released case 56a has passed the arm 201, the latter swings across the conveyor under the force of its spring 202, thereby releasing the locking pin from the escapement lever. It will be appreciated that the arm 201 is desirably placed a distance down the conveyor sufficiently remote from the escapement lever 191 to enable the gate 192 to swing into position after a case has passed, and yet it also must be located close enough to the escapement lever 191 so that the lever 191 will be locked into position before a following case 56b passes the gate 192. This problem of dimensioning will of course depend upon the size of cases employed.
The presence of a case in front of the pusher is sensed as described above, by the two contact limit switch S3 mounted alongside the conveyor. In either the case supply mechanism shown in FIG. 14 or described earlier above, it is desirable to employ a pilot light 204 (FIG. 15) in series with limit switch 8-33 to indicate the presence of a case ready for insertion into the loading station. In operation, the case pusher mechanism including the pusher motor 85 its associated controls, the
, stop mechanism 95, and case locator mechanism 102 are as described above.
When a case has been filled it is pushed by the entrance of the next case onto a discharge conveyor 205. In order to prevent a collison between filled cases an appropriate stop mechanism 206 operated by a motor 207 is provided to allow sufficient time for entry of a filled case onto the filled case conveyor from a casing machine. This stop can be of any desired form comprising either a piston actuated stop gate or a fixed abutment projecting outwardly over the conveyor with the provision of the piston mounted pusher for pushing the case past the stop when it is safe to proceed. The piston motor 207 can be energized by a solenoid valve SV-7 which is actuated by 12 the closing of a contact R-ld in the electrical circuit (FIG. 16).
The casing mechanism is energized by a conventional start-stop circuit shown in FIG. 15. This circuit includes the usual start and stop buttons and a locking relay. In the event it is desired to by-pass the casing mechanism and load cases by hand, the system is de-energized and a gate 208 (FIG. 4) at the end of the inlet rollers 65 is swung back out of the way to enable the containers to pass directly to a manual loading station B (FIG. 12). At this station, the containers 50 are supported on a table 209 secured to a frame 61 and from which they can be manually packed in cases. The gate 203 is swingably mounted on the frame by a suitable hinge 210 and is held in closed position by a latch or wing nut and bolt 211.
When quart and fractional-quart size containers are to be packed in a case, the casing machine transfer head is modified to include sixteen jaw or gripper devices 101, inasmuch as the bank of containers includes sixteen containers. Additionally, there is provided a height positioning mechanism which can be adjusted for adapting the machine for use with the different heights of containers. It would be appreciated that quart and fractional-quart size containers all have the same cross-sectional area, only the height differing between the various size containers. Because of the height of the upstanding closure panels and ribs, fractional-quart size containers when stacked may have a height somewhat greater than quart size containers. With conventional size cases, it is not possible for example to stack two layers of pint size containers one on top of the other and still stack the cases, because the ribs of the upper layers of containers project above the top of the case. Therefore, when casing fractional-quart size containers, it is the usual practice to put fewer containers in the top layer. The top layer then falls between the upstanding ribs of the next lower layer as shown in FIG. 17 and assume a tilted posi tion below the upper edge of the case. It has been found that the size of case commonly employed in the dairy industry will accommodate nine one-half gallon containers, sixteen quart containers, twenty-eight pint containers (one layer of sixteen and a top layer of twelve), thirty-two one-third quart containers (two layers of sixteen each), or forty-four one-half pint containers (two layers of sixteen each and a top layer of twelve, as shown in FIG. 17).
To accommodate the transfer head for packing various sizes of containers, provision is made for stopping the head 100 at a correct selected pick-up height above the table 72 so that the jaws 101 can grip the ribs 53 of the containers, and for lowering the containers into the case, and for releasing the containers without dropping or crushing them. Provision is also desirably made for lacing more than one layer of containers in a case when fractional-quart sizes are packed and means for assembling and picking up from the table less than a full bank of containers for the top case layer of pints and one-half pints. Because nine one-half gallon containers or sixteen quart size containers can be cased, the casing mechanism will come provided with a head having the desired number of jaws. When sixteen jaws are provided, quart and fractIonal-quart size containers can be cased by employing the selector and control system shown in FIG. 16. To condition the mechanism to case a particular size container, the system includes a main selector switch 8-17 positionable in a plurality of positions corresponding to the container sizes.
For purposes of stopping the head at the desired level above the banking table 72 in accordance wtih the setting of the main switch, a plurality of stops are provided from which a selection is made according to the height of the container. The fixed stops 117 are set for the smallest container, i.e. the one-half pint container, and there are provided a plurality of adjustable stops (not shown) corresponding to the heights of the other size containers. For actuating these stops, a corresponding solenoid actuator indicated in FIG. 16 by numerals 215, 216, and 217, is provided for energizing the stops for use with onethird quart, pint and quart size containers, respectively. These solenoids are energized when the selector switch 8-17 is set at the desired position as shown in FIG. 16. In its operation, the casing machine is controlled as described above, the containers being formed into a bank and then carried to a loading position over a waiting case.
When fractional-quart size containers are to be cased, it is desirable to place them in layers. For example, with one-half point size containers, three layers of containers are placed in the case with sixteen containers, in the first two layers and twelve in the top one. To this end a height sensing mechanism is provided which, according to the size of the container, stops the head and releases the jaws and containers at the proper level in the case to prevent the containers from being crushed or dropped and damaged.
The mechanism illustrated in FIG. 16 comprises a column220 mounted on the frame 61 and supporting a vertical series of limit switches. These limit switches are positioned on the column 220 so as to be actuated in accordance with the height of a certain size container relative to the case and to the level of containers present in the case.
Quart size containers are packed sixteen to a case, only one level being employed. When the selector switch 8-17 is set at the quart position, the circuit operates as described above. Briefly, as the head is lowered to place the containers it carries into a case, the arm 152 on the rod 113 engages a three-contact locking limit switch S-18A, B, C, two contacts of which S-18A and 1-18B correspond in function to switch S-10 employed in the one-half gallon machine. Also engaged is a limit switch 3-19 in series with relay R-1 and a switch reset relay R-Z. When these switches are closed, relay R4 is energized causing the jaws 101 to open and release the containers and the head and locate mechanisms to be withdrawn. Relay R-2 is energized to release the locked switch S-ISA, B, C. One-third quart size containers are packed thirty-two to a case, or in other words, two levels of sixteen containers each. Setting the selector switch 5-17 in the one-third quart position places in the level sensing circuit a limit switch 8-20 having a contactor fixed on the post 220 at a level corresponding to the height of the first layer of one-third quart size containers in the case. This switch 8-20 is in series with the upper limit switches S-18A, B, C, and the unclamp motor solenoid valve SV-S. As the head is lowered, switches S-lSA, B, C, are locked into position. When switch 5-20 is engaged, it locks into position and completes the circuit to the unclamp solenoid SV-S. The containers are released, and the head is raised and returned to its pick-up position over the table 72. The partially full case, however, is not ejected because switch 8-19 remains open and relay R-1 is not energized. As the head is raised, switch 5-20 remains locked in closed position, but the arm 152 trips the lock on switch S-lSA, B, C, opening it and resetting the clamp mechanism for a subsequent operation.
The head 109 then picks-up a second bank of one-third quart size containers and transfers them to the loading position. This time however, with the intermediate switch 8-20 closed, the second layer of containers are released at a higher level. This release is effected when switch S-18A, B, C, is closed in the same manner as with full quart containers. At the same time, switch 5-19 is closed completing the circuit to the relays R-1 and R-Z. The full case is then ejected by the entrance of an empty one, and all of the switches are opened by reset relay R-Z.
Pints and one-half pint size containers are cased in the same manner as the one-third quart size containers.
with multiple levels of containers in each case, namely to levels of pints and three levels of one-half pints. For casing the first level of pint containers, a locking twocontact limit switch S-21A, B, is provided, while for casing the first level of one-half pint containers a locking limit switch 5-22 is provided and for easing the second level a two position locking limit switch S-23A, B, is provided.
Each switch locks into position as the head is lowered, and the upper level switch (namely S-18A, B, C, and S-23A, B) are released by the arm 152 as the head is raised leaving the lower level switches (namely 8-20, 8-21, and S-22A, B) closed. In the case of one-half pint containers both the intermediate switch S-23A, B, and the lower switch S-22 remain closed during the casing of the third level of containers (FIG. 17).
In casing the second and third levels of pint and onehalf pint containers respectively, it is necessary, as described above, to place one less row of containers in the bank (ie only twelve containers) so that the upper level can tilt and be between the upstanding ribs of the next lower level (FIGS. 17 and 18). To this end, during the formation of the last bank of containers for each case, a wall 221 carrying the back stop limit switch 8-2 is moved inward over table 72 from the back edge thereof by a motor (not shown) under the control of a solenoid valve SV-S. This wall is moved a distance equal to the width of one row of containers so that only three rows of four containers each (twelve containers in all) is formed and transferred to the case. The solenoid valve SV-S is under the control of the limit switches 8-2113 and S-23B as shown in FIG. 16.
We claim as our invention:
1. In a casing mechanism for loading a plurality of containers into a case, the combination comprising a frame mounting a table and inlet container conveyor for conveying a plurality of containers from a packaging machine to the casing machine, an inlet case conveyor on said frame extending beneath said table for supplying empty cases to said casing mechanism, a container pusher means located on said frame alongside of said container conveyor for removing a plurality of series of containers from said container conveyor and forming said containers into an assembled bank on said table, a case pusher means located on said frame for removing a case from said case conveyor and positioning the same on guide members in a case loading position at one side of and below the assembled bank of containers, a transfer head means for lifting the bank off of the table and transferring the bank sideways to a position directly above the case loading position and lowering the bank into a case, means for locating a case in container receiving position and for guiding a bank of containers thereinto, means operative in response to the positioning of a case in the case loading position and the positioning of the bank above the case for impressing said case locating and container guiding means on top of said case to accurately locate and hold the case in position for receiving the containers as they are lowered into the case by said transfer head, means for discharging a filled case, and means operative in response to the impressing of said case locator on a mislocated or damaged case for stopping said transfer head from lowering the bank into the case and for actuating said case discharging means to reject said case so that a further case is fed into position by said case supply conveyor.
2. In a mechanism for packing a plurality of containers into a case, the combination comprising, means for assembling a bank of containers, means for feeding an empty case into receiving position beside said container assembly means, means operative in response to the formation of a bank of containers for lifting the bank bodily and transferring it to a position above the case receiving position and lowering it into a case, means for locating a case in case receiving position and for guiding a bank of containers thereinto, means operative in response to the positioning of a case in receiving position and a bank of containers thereabove for impressing said case locating and container guiding means on top of said case to aline the same accurately for receiving the containers as said transferring means lowers the bank of containers thereinto, means for discharging a filled case, and means operative in response to the impressing of said case locating means on a mislocated or damaged case for stopping said container transfer means from lowering said bank of containers and for actuating said case discharge means to reject said case so that a further case is fed into receiving position by said feeding means.
3. In a mechanism for packing a plurality of gable topped containers into a case, the combination comprising means for assembling a bank of containers, means for feeding an empty case into position for receiving the containers, means operative in response to the formation of a bank of containers for gripping the rib of the gable top of each container and for lifting the bank bodily and transferring it to a position above the case receiving position and lowering it into a case, means for locating a case in container receiving position and for guiding a bank of containers thereinto, means operative in response to the positioning of a case in receiving position and a bank of containers thereabove for impressing said case locating and container guiding means on top of said case to position the same accurately for receiving the containers as said transferring means lowers the bank of containers thereinto, means for discharging a filled case, and means operative in response to the impressing of said case cating means on a mislocated or damaged case for stopping said container transfer means from lowering said bank of containers and for actuating said case discharge means to reject said case so that a further case is fed into receiving position by said feeding means.
4. In a container casing mechanims including means for assembling a bank of containers and means for transferring said bank to a case loading position above a case to be filled, a case support and locator means comprising, in combination, a frame defining a case supporting platform, means for guidably positioning a case on said platform, a generally rectangular open member guidably mounted on said frame above said platform, a plurality of rigid depending projections on said member, means for lowering said member so that said projections engage the upper rim of a case on said platform and accurately center the case thereon, and means operatively connected between said lowering means and said member and operative in response to a premature engagement of the case by at least one of the projections to cause the rejection of said case and the insertion of another empty case onto the loading platform.
5. In a container casing mechanism including means for assembling a bank of containers and means for transferring said bank to a case loading position above a case to be filled, a case support and locator means comprising, in combination, a frame defining a case supporting platform, means for guidably positioning a case on said platform, a generally rectangular open member guidably mounted on said frame above said platform, a plurality of rigid depending projections on said member, means for lowering said member so that said projections engage the upper rim of a case on said platform and accurately center the case thereon, and means operatively connected between said lowering means and said member including a lost motion device operative in response to a premature engagement of the case by at least one of the projections causing a relative movement between said member and said lowering means to cause the rejection of said case and the insertion of another empty case onto the loading platform by the case positioning means.
6. In a container casing mechanism including means for assembling a bank of containers and means for transferring said bank to a case loading position above a case its to be filled, case support and locator means comprising, in combination, a frame defining a case supporting platform, means for guidably positioning a case on said platform, a generally rectangular open member guidably mounted on said frame above said platform, a pair of rigid. depending projections on each edge of said member, said projections defining an inner downwardly and outwardly sloping surface terminating in a bottom shoulder, means for lowering said member so that the inner sloping surfaces of said projections engage the outer edge of the upper rim of a case on said platform and accurately center the case thereon, and means operatively connected between said lowering means and said member and operative in response to engagement of the case rim by the bottom shoulder on at least one of said projections thereby to cause the rejection of said case and the insertion of another empty case onto the loading platform.
7. In a container casing mechanism including means for assembling a bank of containers and means for transferring said bank to a case loading position above a case to be filled, a case support and locator means comprising, in combination, a frame defining a case supporting platform, means for guidably positioning a case on said platform, a generally rectangular open member guidably mounted on said frame above said platform, said member having inner surfaces sloping downwardly and inwardly so that the bank of containers is guided thereby when it is inserted through the member into the case by the transferring means, a plurality of rigid depending projections on said member, said projections defining an inner downwardly and outwardly sloping surface terminating in a bottom shoulder, means for lowering said member so that said projections engage the outer edge of the upper rim of a case On said platform and accurately center the case thereon, and means operatively connected between said lowering means and said member and operative in response to a premature engagement of the case by at least one of the projection shoulders to cause the rejection of said case and the insertion of another empty case onto the loading platform.
8. In a container casing mechanism including means for assembling a bank of containers and means for transferring said bank to a case loading position above a case to be filled, a case locator comprising, in combination, a frame defining a case supporting platform, means for guidably positioning a case on said platform, a generally rectangular open member guidably mounted on one side of said frame and extending as a cantilever above said platform, said member having inner surfaces sloping downwardly and inwardly so that the bank of containers is guided thereby when it is inserted through the member into the case by the transferring means, a pair of rigid depending projections on each edge of said member, said projections defining an inner downwardly and outwardly sloping surface terminating in a bottom shoulder, means for lowering said member so that the inner sloping surfaces of said projections engage the outer edge of the upper rim of a case on said platform and accurately center the case thereon, and means operatively connected between said lowering means and said member including a lost motion device and operative in response to a pre mature engagement of the case rim, by the bottom shoulder on at least one of said projections causing a relative movement between said member and said lowering means thereby to cause the rejection of said case and the insertion of another empty case onto the loading platform by the case positioning means.
9. In a casing machine, the combination comprising a frame supporting an inlet case supply conveyor passing through said machine for supplying empty cases thereto, a plunger mechanism for pushing cases from said conveyor into position for loading, and an escapement mechanism for temporarily halting each case on the conveyor in front of the plunger, said escapement mechanism comprising an escapement lever pivotally mounted on said conveyor frame and having one end forming a gate and the other end forming a stop member, means biasing said lever to position said gate over the conveyor, a lock for holding said gate over said conveyor to hold a case in position in front of the case supply plunger, and a latch to release said lock, said latch operating in response to the passage of a case on the conveyor at a point past said lever to release said lock and thereby enable the held case to push past said gate and swing said stop into position in front of a following case so that the stop holds that case until the released case rides clear of the gate and approaches the latch whereupon said gate returns to its position across the conveyor and is locked therein until the released case moves past the latch.
10. In a casing machine, the combination comprising, a frame supporting an inlet case supply conveyor passing through said mechanism for supplying empty cases thereto, a plunger mechanism for pushing cases from said conveyor into position for loading, and an escapement mechanism for temporarily halting each case on the conveyor in front of the plunger, said eseapement mechanism comprising an escapement lever swingably mounted on said conveyor frame and having one end forming a gate and the other end forming a stop, means biasing said lever to position said gate over the conveyor, means for releasably locking said gate in position over said conveyor so that a case is held in front of the case supply plunger, and means for releasing said locking means in response to the passage of a case on said conveyor at a point past said lever to enable the held case to push past said gate and thereby swing said stop into position in front of a following case so that the stop holds that case until the released case rides clear of the gate and approaches said releasing means whereupon said gate returns to its position across the conveyor and is locked therein until the released case moves past the releasing means.
11. A case supply mechanism for use with a plurality of machines for packing containers in a case, which machines include a conveyor for supplying a series of containers, means for assembling a plurality of containers into a bank, and means for transferring the bank to a case, said case supply mechanism comprising, in combination, an inlet case conveyor for continuously conveying empty cases through the casing machines, a discharge conveyor for conveying filled cases from the casing machines, a pusher mechanism associated with each of the casing machines for removing a case from the conveyor and placing it in receiving position in the associated machine, an escapement mechanism adjacent each pusher mechanism for causing a temporary dwell of each case in front of the pusher of each machine, and means operative in response to the filling of a case in the machine by the transfer means to energize the pusher to remove an empty case from the conveyor and urge it into the machine and at the same time discharge the filled case onto the discharge conveyor.
12. In a case loading machine of the type described wherein quart and fractional-quart size containers are assembled into a bank on an assembly table, are engaged by a transfer head, and are inserted in one or more layers in a case at a loading station, the combination comprising a selector switch means selectively positioned according to the height of container to be cased, and container height limit switch means at the loading station operative in accordance with the selected position of said selector switch means and including means actuated by downward movement of the transfer head for causing the release of the containers carried by the head in a case at the desired height therein.
13. In a case loading machine of the type described wherein quart and fractional-quart size containers are assembled into a bank on an assembly table, are engaged by a transfer head, and are inserted by said transfer head in a case at a loading station, the combination comprising a selector switch means selectively positioned according to the height of container to be cased, and container height limit switch means at the loading station operative in accordance with the selected position of said selector switch means including means actuated by downward movement of the transfer head for causing the re-v lease of the containers carried by the transfer head in a case at the desired height therein, said container height.
. limit switch means further including a one-way locking limit switch for each layer of containers of a selected size to be placed in a single case and a switch release means actuated in response to the placing of the uppermost layer of containers in the case for releasing all of said locking limit switches.
14. In a case loading machine of the type described wherein fractional-quart size gable top paperboard containers are to be packed in a case and wherein the containers are packed in layers with the uppermost layer containing fewer containers than the next lower layer, the combination comprising a container bank assembly table of a size for receiving a bank of containers forming one complete case layer, means for transferring said complete bank to a case, means operative in response to the placing of a complete bank of containers in a case for reducing the size of the table for forming a bank of containers including less than the number making up a complete layer, said transfer means being operative in response to the formation of the second layers to transfer the same to the case so that the containers of the second layer nest between the upstanding gable tops of the containers in the next lower layer.
15. In a machine for packing a plurality of containers in a case, a frame mounting a table for receiving a bank of containers, an inlet conveyor means positioned adjacent said table and including a powered conveyor and a series of rollers mounted for free rotation on said frame, an air jet nozzle projecting upwardly between said rollers at the innermost end of said series of rollers, said nozzle having its outlet orifice closely adjacent the upper surface defined by the rollers, means for supplying air at a selected pressure to said jet, means for pushing a row of containers alined on said conveyor means onto the table, and a pressure sensitive means in the air line to said jet operative in response to the positioning of a container above said jet to actuate said pushing means to place a row of containers on the table.
16. In a machine for loading a plurality of containers into an open top case, the combination comprising, means for assembling a series of containers into a bank at an assembly position, means for inserting an empty case into loading position in the machine, orienting means for engaging the open top of said case and holding said case in loading position for receiving containers, me ans responsive to the engagement of said orienting means with said case for rejecting a damaged or misalined case, means for transferring the bank of containers from the assembly position to the waiting case, and means on said orienting means for guiding the bank of containers therethrough as they are transferred from the assembly position to the case by said transferring means and thereby guiding the bank of containers into the case.
17. In a machine for packing a plurality of containers in a case, the combination comprising, a continuously moving inlet case supply conveyor carrying a series of empty cases, means for selectively removing a case from the conveyor and inserting it into the machine for receiving a plurality of containers, escapement means positioned over said conveyor for temporarily halting each case on said continuously moving conveyor in front of said removing means and then releasing those cases not inserted into the machine for continuing movement on the conveyor, said escapement means including an escapement gate, means for temporarily stopping each case on the conveyor substantially in front of said removing means and then releasing said case for continuing movement on said conveyor, means for temporarily locking said gate to hold a case in front of'said removing means, means'operative in response to engagement by a previously released case for actuating said locking means and means engageable by each case to sense its location in front of said removing means, said temporary locking means releasing said gate when said previously released case passes said actuating means thereby to release successive cases for movement on the conveyor.
2,681,171 Brown et al June 15, 1954 2%? Haycock Jan. 3, 1956 Holstebroe et a1. Dec. 10, 1957 Okulitch et a1. Feb. 18, I958 Loveridge Mar. 4, 1958 Edwards et al Apr. 15, 1958 Cella Aug. 11, 1959' Cella Aug. 11, 1959 Notredarne et al. Sept. 22, 1959
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3159954 *||Mar 5, 1962||Dec 8, 1964||Cherry Burrell Corp||Casing machine|
|US5697202 *||Feb 18, 1997||Dec 16, 1997||Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.||Method for carton packaging|
|US5755074 *||Mar 21, 1997||May 26, 1998||Riverwood International Corporation||Self-adjusting down-article indicator for a packaging machine|
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|U.S. Classification||53/74, 53/539, 53/247, 53/201|